Media Trail: Oct. 11-17, 2019

Media Trail: Oct. 11-17, 2019

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West Virginia mayor cancels appearance over author's homophobic views

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported the mayor of West Virginia's capital city has canceled her upcoming appearance at the West Virginia Book Festival over a presentation by an author with homophobic views.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin announced the cancellation Oct. 1 in a letter to the Kanawha County Public Library Board of Directors.

Goodwin says she objects to the financial support of “Ender's Game” author Orson Scott Card, who she says has a “history of homophobic, transphobic and racist views.” She had unsuccessfully asked event administrators to cancel his presentation.

A festival statement says Card was invited because of his novels, not his opinions. Card previously sat on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, and has suggested that gay people were abused into their sexuality. 

Faith-based Anchorage women's shelter claims lawsuit victory

Alaska Public Media reported a faith-based Anchorage women's shelter is claiming victory in a lawsuit against the city over a requirement that it accept transgender women.

Conservative Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom and city attorneys say in documents filed in federal court Sept. 30 that the city has agreed to make permanent a judge's recent ruling.

In August, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason issued an injunction preventing the city from applying its gender identity law to the Hope Center shelter.

Anchorage Municipal Attorney Becky Windt Pearson said the injunction showed the city it was unlikely to succeed in further litigation.

The shelter operators sued the city and its Equal Rights Commission last year, months after a transgender woman complained to the commission that she was denied entry at the shelter.

Fired teacher who wouldn't use trans student's pronouns sues

The Washington Post reported a Virginia high school teacher who was fired for refusing to use a transgender student's new pronouns has filed a lawsuit.

Peter Vlaming is suing West Point Public Schools. The system is outside Richmond.

Vlaming says his rights to speak freely and exercise his religion were violated. The suit states that Vlaming “sincerely believes that referring to a female as a male by using an objectively male pronoun is telling a lie.”

The French teacher was fired in December. He had told superiors at West Point High School that his religion prevented him from using male pronouns for a student who had informed the school of his transition during the summer.

County insurance omits gender transition coverage

 The Macon Telegraph reported a federal lawsuit accuses a Georgia county of discriminating against a transgender sheriff's sergeant by not having gender dysphoria treatment covered by its insurance.

Houston County Sheriff's Sgt. Anna Lange sued the county and its board of commissioners Oct. 2, saying she'd been denied coverage for medically necessary sex reassignment surgery.

The lawsuit says the 46-year-old is being discriminated against for having a “stigmatized medical condition,” leaving her to suffer “distress, humiliation and a loss of dignity.” The 12-year department veteran said she's already paid for other gender affirmation treatments, including hormone therapy and breast augmentation.

Houston County's self-funded health insurance plan through Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield allows employers to choose whether to cover such surgery. Lange unsuccessfully asked commissioners to consider the addition in February. 

MaineCare to provide coverage for transgender medical care

The Portland Press Herald reported advocates said MaineCare has removed a policy that limited medical coverage for transgender people.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services policy went into effect Sept. 16, reversing a previous policy that denied access to gender-affirmative care. Under the new policy, medical providers will be reimbursed for providing MaineCare covered services to patients with gender dysphoria.

Maine joins 22 other states that offer transition and gender affirming care through Medicaid.

Reporting via Associated Press


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