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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Diversity commitment drives RBC

Gordon M. Nixon, president and CEO, RBC

Could Royal Bank of Canada be so successful because of the diversity of its workforce? Canada's biggest bank actively targets the gay and lesbian community, new immigrants, women entrepreneurs, Canadian Aboriginals and people with disabilities. In fact, of the more than 21,000 employees who’ve joined RBC since 2006, 52 percent have been women and 26 percent have been "visible" minorities. Read more about RBC’s commitment to diversity and the positive impact it has on the bank’s business at U.S. Banker.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Frank says ENDA to come out of committee soon

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)

On Sunday Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) addressed a crowd of approximately 700 Victory Fund supporters at the group’s annual fundraising brunch in Washington, D.C. According to Frank, legislation aimed at ending employment discrimination against LGBT people will be marked up in committee ''this week or next.'' He said the LGBT community will win full equality in America, but not without a good fight. Read more in “Metro Weekly,” which covers LGBT news in the Washington, D.C. area.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Obama takes on heterosexism in hospitals

Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where last year 
Janet Langbehn was prevented from visiting her partner,
Lisa Pond, along with their children. Pond later died.

Last week President Obama jumped over a potential fight with conservatives when he ordered hospitals nationwide to honor patients' wishes about who may visit them in the hospital. Medical facilities that do not comply could lose Medicaid and Medicare money. Obama’s directive requires hospitals receiving payments from Medicare and Medicaid to follow all legally valid advance directives. The president’s action is expected to change the way some medical centers handle the issue.

Read more in the “Los Angeles Times” and at the website for ABC News. Click here to learn about the actions Jackson Memorial Hospital has taken to mend its relationship with the LGBT community.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Palm Springs welcomes LGBT visitors

Palm Canyon with Palm Springs in the distance.
(Photo: Stan Shebs)

Palm Springs continues to be a favorite destination for gay and lesbian travelers. The city, with a population of 48,000, competes with much larger rivals for a piece of the LGBT market that is estimated to be worth $63.3 billion in the United States. Read more in “The Desert Sun.”

Monday, April 12, 2010

700 protest LGBT Social Security discrimination

Protesters march Sunday to Hollywood's Social Security office.
(Photo: Nick Martinez / L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center)

An energetic crowd of over 700 people rallied at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and marched more than a mile to the Social Security Administration office in Hollywood yesterday to protest discrimination against LGBT taxpayers who are denied Social Security benefits.

Representative Linda Sanchez, a member of the House Subcommittee on Social Security, announced that she will write legislation to provide equal Social Security benefits for same-sex couples. Rep. Judy Chu offered to co-author the bill. Other political and community leaders spoke at the event, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Laura Richardson, L.A. city council member Paul Koretz, West Hollywood mayor Abbe Land, L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force executive director Rea Carey and AIDS Community Action Foundation president Craig R. Miller.

"We now have quality, affordable health care coming to all. What good is the quality of our health care in America if Americans are not treated equally under all of our laws?" said Rep. Sanchez. "I look at this country—which is great but could be made better—and I see that there is still discrimination … I don't think it's right that Americans should be treated differently by the country they love because of who they love."

Sanchez made the announcement at the Center's McDonald/Wright building before the crowd marched down Hollywood Boulevard to the Social Security office on Vine Street, where Lorri L. Jean , L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO, led the crowd in chanting and picketing to demand an end to the discrimination that hurts seniors like Alice Herman, a client of the center's seniors services department. Herman shared her story about being denied benefits after the loss of her beloved wife, Sylvia, even though the two were legally married.

"At the time I was burying Sylvia and grieving her loss, I had to look for a place to live as fast I as could," says Herman, who was left "a heartbeat away" from living in her car because she could no longer afford to live in the home they shared. Had Sylvia been a man, Herman would have been entitled to receive her spouse's larger Social Security payments. "This has got to change," she said.

Herman's challenges inspired Jean to speak out on the issue of discrimination in Social Security benefits. "We must stop the discrimination heaped upon our elders just when they are suffering profound grief after losing a partner," Jean says. "They shared their lives for 20, 30 even 40 years—and paid into Social Security with every paycheck just like everyone else. But they are cheated out of survivor benefits because their relationships are not recognized by the Social Security system."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Legal same-sex marriages create niche market for Iowa

Des Moines

Iowa’s Supreme Court ruling to legalize gay marriage has turned the state into a wedding tourism magnet. The decision a year ago to issue marriage licenses led to 1,783 same-sex weddings by the end of 2009, including 1,044 couples traveling from outside the state.
Read an Associated Press article about Iowa’s gay marriage market at

Monday, April 5, 2010

Austin officials consider support for Pride Weekend

News report (Video: KVUE-TV, Austin)

On Thursday the Austin City Council will consider making the annual Pride Weekend an event sponsored by the city. Pride Weekend began in 1997 and continues to grow each year. Critics say the city shouldn’t support an LGBT event, but several city officials see an opportunity to promote Austin as an inclusive city and generate revenue from travelers in town to celebrate. Read more at KVUE-TV’s website.