Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Flinging Monday

HUD rule aimed at protecting LGBT home searchers

Winston-Salem Journal

People searching for housing have new government backing aimed at preventing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
A ruling made this month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gives the city of Winston-Salem authority to investigate complaints from people who say they have been discriminated against during their housing search because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This ruling also applies to Arkansas municipalities and cities.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are among those who would be protected under the new rule.
The city agency that handles complaints about discrimination related to housing searches has not received any complaints based on sexual orientation or gender identity, said Wanda Allen-Abraha, the director of the city's Human Relations Department. But that could change with the new ruling.
"I think it has the potential to be a big problem because there will, inevitably, be those who will not want to provide equal access to those who are nonconforming to traditional gender expectations," Allen-Abraha said in an email. "It could become a major emerging area as people become more comfortable with being frank about their orientation."

The new ruling applies to recipients of HUD funds and to FHA-backed mortgage lenders.
Such recipients include banks, public-housing complexes and homeless shelters, among other entities. They are required to provide equal access to HUD-funded or HUD-insured properties, programs and services regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status, Allen-Abraha said.

"Basically, they are prohibited from asking a person questions based on these areas in order to determine program or service eligibility," she said.
Gender is one of the seven protected classes under the federal Fair Housing Act, and the city already has a fair-housing ordinance similar to the federal Fair Housing Act. The new HUD ruling does not change either the Fair Housing Act or the city's fair-housing ordinance. But the gender class usually applies to cases of sexual harassment, not sexual orientation or gender identity.

The new HUD rule gives the city authority to refer cases originating from same-sex couples, for example, to HUD for investigation. The rule also affects how HUD-funded programs are monitored. If a violation is found, it would be treated as a HUD-program violation, not a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Housing discrimination has been a problem nationwide for LGBT people, according to a study released last year by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, an advocacy group based in Washington, and the National Center for Transgender Equality, also based in Washington.

About 6,500 respondents were included in the study. About 1 out of 5 reported having been refused a home or apartment, and about 1 out of 10 reported being evicted because of their gender identity or expression, according to the study.

Younger people are sometimes the most adversely affected, according to Meribeth Robinson, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Winston-Salem who is doing a documentary about homeless youths. Homeless LGBT youths, sometimes kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality or gender identity, have few housing resources, she said. They are referred to as "throw-away" youths.

"This is one of the scariest parts of being homeless is where are they going to sleep and are they going to be safe," Robinson said. "When you have kids saying they're throw-away kids, well, this (ruling) says to them, 'We're not throw-away anymore.' "

NO Justice, No Peace: Trayvon Case Ramps Up Nation

The ongoing Trayvon Martin case, which is now in its fourth week of simmering just under the boiling point has everyone talking. The evolving evidence, crime scene information and apparently lackluster police investigation has taken more twist and turns than the yellow brick road to OZ. In the past few weeks as the hot white light and searing demands from such luminaries a Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rep. Shelia Jackson and the emotionally charged pleas from the youngsters parents have sent reverberations all the way to the White House. Unfortunately, as cities from coast to coast stand in solidarity with marches and protest, although there's conversation in this city, no public demonstrations have been announced or organized. Despite a recent call to action from a local brotherhood whom took to a 12th street corner citing violence issues. Where are these gents now with their observations and voices, especially since what they pointed out then, still seems to be occurring now. Of course the TM case won't be affected by any protest in Little Rock or lack thereof, but the citizens of Sanford realize that the case has brought the glare of the world to their doorstep. As more developments unfold, it obvious that Martin's character is now being assaulted with innuendo and sideshow items such as being suspended from school based on some "drug residue." Then there's the cast of characters ranging from Zimmerman's lawyer who has made outlandish unsubstantial claims, right wing mouth pieces have spewed poisonous garbage, local media outlets have published unattributed information and we as the public continue to learn of the antics of Sanford's "key stone cops" attempting to defend their actions. Meanwhile fringe group The New Black Panther Party goes "wild wild west"  with its nefarious bounty for Mr. Zimmerman allegedly "live or dead."  Hopefully this situation will not spin totally out of control but will allow the FBI, Justice Department,  Governor's Task Force, and Lady Justice to do what's needed to execute justice, heal the city of Sanford while being a teachable moment for the country.

DSRA: The Meltdown Continues

The controversy and meltdown of the Diamond State Rodeo apparently is ongoing with no real positive outcomes except for those who have defected. Former members and officers of the group are now gearing up the new Renegades for a Cause entity which has begun announcing a slate of April activities. In a recent Facebook missive, the situation as seen by one participant shared details of insensitivity and lessons not learn in respect toward other members. Each paragraph outlined attitudes and personal interpersonal relationships that as far as I'm concern don't reflect any showman ship or the basic tenants of adults learning to "agree to disagree" then coming together for the common vision of the organization which was to promote the "country and western lifestyle within the gay community." How can one promote a "lifestyle" which is wrought with in-fighting, vindictiveness, small mindedness and back biting. With life dealing you all types of body blows, who wants to embrace anything or anybody who languishes in that mindset. As I read through the posting, I kept thinking why are these folks wasting precious time, resources and energy on such a pursuit. Did someone forget the "Golden Rule" in all of this and again, where's the maturity that should be setting the example for those younger cow pokes watching this train wreck of a situation unfold. Some readers of this forum have accused me of "slaming" folks and such without offering solutions, however, if you have been a reader for some time, I'm all about solutions and alternatives to a laundry list of situations within the LGBTQ community. However, no matter what I say, most of the solutions start with you. Take a moment to reflect, remedy and refresh, then move forward into an authentic healing space. We'll keep the light on....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cornelius....!!