Arizona repeals law banning LGBTI and HIV instruction for students

A school bus with rainbow decorations

LGBTI advocacy groups are celebrating the passage of a bill in Arizona repealing a ban on LGBTI and HIV instruction in schools.

In majority votes in the state’s Senate and House, lawmakers got rid of a 28-year-old law. The 1991 law used anti-LGBTI language and banned schools from promoting inclusive education.

The law stipulated that no school district would be allowed to teach instruction that ‘promotes a homosexual lifestyle’.

Schools also could not portray ‘homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style’ or suggest ‘some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex’.

This week, legislators voted on Senate Bill 1346. The bill includes an amendment that does away with the old law.

On Wednesday (10 April), House representatives voted 55-5 in favor of the new bill and amendment. Senators voted 19-10 the following day (11 April), and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed it into law soon after.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman celebrated the bill’s passage with a series of tweets.

‘This repeal means students will no longer be denied access to medically accurate, science-based information regarding HIV/AIDS,’ she wrote.

‘More importantly, after nearly three decades of this law placing stigma on our #LGBTQ community, the repeal sends a signal to every student, teacher, and family in Arizona that they are welcome in our schools – regardless of who they are and who they love.’

 Celebrating inclusive and complete education

Many LGBTI advocacy groups are celebrating the bill’s passage. Some, such as Equality Arizona, filed a lawsuit against the state’s Board of Education regarding the former law.

‘Arizona is stigmatizing and demeaning LGBTI students and preventing them from getting medically-accurate information that literally could save their lives,’ Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Puneet Cheema said.

‘They are breeding a school environment that is hostile to LGBTI students and their relationships, and exposing LGBTI students to harassment and abuse in classrooms, hallways, and locker rooms.’

Now, organizations and politicians alike are praising the new bill.

‘We applaud today’s strong, bipartisan action that sends a message of love and acceptance to LGBTQ youth,’ said Zeke Stokes, Chief Programs Officer for GLAAD.

‘Arizona students should never be taught to hate a marginalized group, and LGBTQ youth should never be subject to harassment, discrimination, or erasure just because of who they are.’

Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D), who helped lead the efforts, added: ‘The repeal of No Promo Homo is not a victory for one person or for one group. This is something that all of us share in because we were able to come together in a bipartisan way to ensure that Arizona students never have to feel like they stigmatized for who they are.’

See also

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos admits she knowingly harmed trans students

UK government refuses to force primary schools to teach LGBTI lessons

Birmingham school at center of LGBTI row ‘sent chilling death threat’

Author: Anya Crittenton

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Trump proposes cutting over $1 billion in global HIV and AIDS funding

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump unveiled his annual budget proposal on Monday (11 March). It includes $291 million for the national fight against HIV and AIDS — while cutting over $1 billion in similar funding on a global scale.

In the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020, Trump allocated $291 million to the Department of Health and Human Services. This money is specifically allocated to end the transmission of HIV.

In his 2019 State of the Union address, Trump pledged to end new HIV transmissions in the US by 2030 — an announcement met with skepticism from many LGBTI groups.

‘My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years,’ Trump said. ‘Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond.’

In the new proposal, however, Trump drastically cuts funding in the fight against HIV and AIDS ‘beyond’ the US.

‘Actions speak louder’

Trump’s budget includes $250 million cut from the Global Fund and a $1.5 billion cut to PEPFAR.

The Global Fund is an international financial organization focused on ending the epidemics of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

PEPFAR, meanwhile, is the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief. President George H.W. Bush and the Global Fund originally started this program together. According to reports, PEPFAR has helped treat and save the lives of more than 16 million people living with HIV as of 2018.

Trump also proposed cutting funding to PEPFAR last year.

Finally, Trump is also proposing cutting funding to Medicare and Medicaid. These two programs help low-income individuals, including those living with HIV.

In his proposal, Trump would cut $818 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years.

‘LGBTQ Americans were right to be skeptical about President Trump’s pledge to end HIV and AIDS and today’s budget revealed the truth: this administration is not serious about this fight,’ said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO at GLAAD.

‘Actions always speak louder than words, and the Trump Administration once again proved to people living with HIV – which includes LGBTQ Americans – that they simply cannot trust this President to do anything more than pay lip service.’

See also

Mike Pence’s new Chief of Staff: ‘Repugnant’ homosexual intercourse caused AIDS

Trump reinstates gag rule on healthcare for LGBTIs and women

Trump says he doesn’t know about plan to decriminalize homosexuality

Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Trump proposes cutting over $1 billion in global HIV and AIDS funding appeared first on Gay Star News.

Venezuelan police raid offices of HIV and AIDS support group

Opposition rally Venezuela

Police in Venezuela raided the offices of HIV and AIDS services organization on Friday (15 February).

The International Council for AIDS Service Organizations [ICASO] confirmed that the authorities had forcibly entered the group’s offices in the city of Valencia in Carabobo state.

The police reportedly seized infant formula and medications for HIV and AIDS treatment, The Washington Blade reports.

Early reports said that three activists were arrested during the raid.

In an ICASO press release, Alberto Nieves, executive director of Acción Ciudadana Contra el SIDA, said: ‘We are scared for the safety of our activists and call upon the global community to help us — not just us, but the people of Venezuela living with HIV.’

‘A very serious situation’

People diagnosed with HIV and AIDS have been greatly affected by the political and economic crisis which continues to engulf Venezuela.

300,000 bottles of antiretroviral drug Tenofovir, Lamivudine and Dolutegravir (TLD) were shipped to the country by the Pan-American Health Organization Strategic Fund between December and January.

However, HIV and AIDS advocacy groups have said that the life-saving medication has not left the military warehouse where it is being stored in.

HIV and AIDS support group Fundación Mavid has written to the Venezuelan government demanding an explanation, adding that ‘millions and millions of pills of antiretroviral drugs are stored and withheld without justification’.

President of Fundación Mavid, Eduardo Franco said that the advocacy groups were caught in ‘a very serious situation’.

Deepening political and economic crisis

The country’s political and economic problems do not show any signs of abating.

President Nicolás Maduro has faced international condemnation for his handling of the crisis.

Last month, National Assembly President Juan Guaidó declared himself as president, gaining the support of a number of countries, including the US.

In recent years, millions of Venezuelans have migrated to neighboring Columbia to escape the crisis in their home country.

People with HIV and AIDS in Venezuela are facing serious threats due to lack of available antiretroviral drugs, The Washington Blade reported earlier this week.

In some cases, this has led to the deaths of those who were unable to access the necessary medication to treat their condition.

Author: Calum Stuart

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