Monthly Archives: July 2011

Same Sex Couple Retirement Benefits

In another advance that helps solidify LGBT rights as legitimate federal concerns, the Obama Administration this week released labor data that included questions about the degree to which private and government workers have access to benefits for their same-sex partners. Continue reading

New York Wedding Bells

Connie Kopelov, 84, and her partner of 23 years, Phyllis Siegal, age 76, were among the first New York couples to get married this morning, echoing the first same-sex marriage in California, between Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, who were of similar ages at the time.

If you’re the type who likes to cry at weddings, be sure to watch the video newsclip by NY1.com, at http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/143554/marriage-equality-comes-to-the-city

Reverse Mortgages for LGBT Homeowners

You know you’ve hit the big time when “they” start marketing to you!  Here’s a new article on someone who has targeted the aging LGBT community for reverse mortgages:  http://reversemortgagedaily.com/2011/07/19/senior-lgbt-community-presents-growing-opportunities-for-reverse-market/

“Outrageous” Cases Lead to Good Ends

Too often news and social media outlets tell us about some outrageous homophobic or transphobic behavior on the part of some business, and never tell us “what happened next.”

“What happened next” is the title of a column in Indiana’s Star Press dated July 9, 2011, that follows up on a July 2010 case that garnered national attention.  The incident took place at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana.  A transgender woman said that she was called “it” and “he-she” when she went to the hospital’s emergency room coughing up blood, and was ultimately denied treatment.  She complained widely and loudly, and engaged Indiana Equality and the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance in filing formal complaints against the hospital, which “quickly released a statement saying the hospital was conducting an internal review of its ‘care policies, employee benefits, and diversity training.’” Continue reading

LGBT Senior Housing Project Hits Snag

San Francisco’s project to build LGBT senior housing has hit a snag, the Bay Area Reporter reported this week.

The project, sponsored by openhouse, is designed to build 330 market-rate housing units on a site a block away from San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center.  Many years in development, the current problem stems from a new proposal to revise the plan to eliminate 49 below-market-rate housing units, and instead pay the City $17 million, which would in turn be used to finance the project.

The modification has drawn the ire of housing advocates, who do not want to sacrifice new affordable housing units in a city that has extraordinarily high housing costs.  It appears that part of the opposition may stem from a failure to keep community activists in the loop as changes were discussed, a lesson that may be of critical importance to other LGBT elder housing projects.  The full article is available at http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=5830

Gay Holocaust Survivor Profiled

What does it take to survive the literal Holocaust?  98-year-old Rudolf Brazda, the last known remaining gay survivor of the German death camps, suggests it takes a sense of humor and gratitude.

“I had always been blessed with good fortune” is the title of a German-language biography of him, a title that reflects his philosophy.  A long profile in Spiegel walks us through highlights of his life and how he lives now, in an Alsatian hospital.  (Make sure you read past the fourth paragraph, or you’ll miss the point of the painful opening story.)  He speaks of openly holding hands with his lover in 1934, when Hitler was already beginning to openly persecute gay men (lesbians, the article says, were never sent to the death camps).  He explains how homosexual prisoners were separated from the rest of the concentration camp inmates, and sentenced to “extermination through labor.”  Brazda escaped that fate by being selected by another camp inmate, a political prisoner, given supervisory powers for his lover.

The article also describes what happened after the war, when liberated gay men were still shunned by the community at large.  Even now, the memorial for the estimated 6,000 gay men who were imprisoned and died during the holocaust has been repeatedly attacked.

What does he want us to remember?  “People need to know that we homosexuals were persecuted,” he says, pausing for effect, “by people who themselves were also gay.”

The article, which includes three photos (one of which is seen here), is available at http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,772667,00.html