Media Trail: Oct. 18-24, 2019

Media Trail: Oct. 18-24, 2019

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Transgender man shunned by Baptist college to get new name

The Tennessean reported a transgender man who was shunned by his private Tennessee college after getting breast reduction surgery has now returned to the state and plans to legally change his name.

It’s been two months since Yanna Awtrey left for North Carolina after having been essentially kicked out of Welch College, previously known as the Free Will Baptist Bible College. He had been suspended for two years over “sexual perversion” and was told he couldn’t return to student housing.

The unexpected upheaval left him with family friends who allowed him to stay long enough to recover from the August surgery.

He returned to Nashville recently, saying it feels like home despite everything. Awtrey started transitioning this spring and has an upcoming court hearing to legally change his name.

Craft beer, drag queens used to boost Ohio LGBTQ turnout

Cincinnati’s reported a nonpartisan coalition seeking to boost turnout among Ohio’s LGBTQ voters in 2020 has launched a campaign that pairs voter registration with drag queens and craft beer.

Craft the Vote kicked off Oct. 10 at Land-Grant Brewing Company. Similar events will follow at craft breweries around the state.

Organizer Brad Henry said the effort seeks to educate the many young gay voters disengaged from the democratic process and to generate enthusiasm through fun activities. The coalition estimates Ohio has 400,000 LGBTQ citizens and over 1.8 million who support equal rights.

A Vote Responsibly website the campaign’s developing will help people vet news and information sources. The coalition won’t advocate issues or endorse candidates.

Participants include the Human Rights Campaign, the League of Women Voters, Stonewall Columbus and Ohio State University.

AG seeks to halt adoption ruling, denies anti-Catholic bias 

WNDU-TV reported Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking a federal judge to halt an injunction that lets religious-based adoption and foster care agencies refuse to serve LGBT couples.

The Democrat announced Oct. 11 that she filed an emergency motion for a stay Oct. 10.

She contends U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids, who ruled last month, misinterpreted a 2015 law. She said state law allows child-placing agencies to turn away families in private cases based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, but not when they place state-supervised children.

Nessel says the injunction upended a nondiscrimination policy that’s been in place several years.

She also says the judge misconstrued and took out of context her past criticism of the Republican-enacted law. Her office says Jonker wrongly accused Nessel of being anti-Catholic.

California OKs pharmacists to dispense HIV prevention meds

Pharmacists in California will be able to dispense HIV prevention pills to patients without a doctor’s prescription after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Oct. 7 that supporters say will greatly reduce the spread of infection.

Advocates of Senate Bill 159 said that California is the first state to authorize pre-exposure prophylaxis, also called PrEP, and post-exposure prophylaxis, known as PEP, without prescriptions. California is already considered a leader in HIV/AIDS prevention, they said.

PrEP is a once-daily pill for HIV-negative people while PEP is a medication that people take to prevent the virus from taking hold. Supporters say PEP significantly reduces the risk of infection, but only if started within 72 hours of exposure to the virus.

Not everyone can get to a doctor in that time frame, says Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California.

“The ability to go into a pharmacy to avail themselves of the medication is a huge improvement to removing a barrier,’’ he said.

He said that the law will greatly improve access and help reduce the stigma around the drugs, especially in rural areas and among minorities.

The California Medical Association was initially opposed to the legislation but became neutral on it after it was amended to limit the number of PrEP pills patients can get without a physician’s note to 60 days, said Anthony York, spokesman for the association.

The association was concerned about “long-term use without physician oversight,” he said.

The law also prohibits insurance companies from requiring patients to get prior authorization before using insurance to get the drugs, eliminating another obstacle.

The bill was co-authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who has publicly disclosed that he takes PrEP as an HIV prevention strategy.

Pharmacists in California are already authorized to dispense emergency contraceptives and birth control without a prescription. 

Reporting via Associated Press

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