Good News with an Asterisk

Transgender pride

This is important:

The largest group of internal medicine doctors in the U.S. came out Monday in support of policies it says will improve the health of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Those policies include support for civil marriage rights for same-sex couples, opposition to so-called conversion or reparative therapy and support for health insurance plans that include comprehensive transgender healthcare services.

“The LGBT community deserves the same high quality care that any community in the United States should be getting, but may not be getting,” said Dr. Wayne J. Riley, president of the American College of Physicians.


This is the challenge: Prevention and risk identification. The Reuters report notes, for instance, that among the estimated 1.1 million HIV cases in the United States, one in six is not yet diagnosed. And think about that for a moment; that nearly seventeen percent works out to nearly one hundred eighty-four thousand people with unknown transmission potential likely in high risk profiles.

And this is a problem. First and foremost, doctors need to know these patients in order to help. But as a practical concern, this number also represents a tremendous gateway for potential further undiagnosed exposure, transmission, and contraction. Both individual and public health are at risk.

Dr. Riley explained the new policy position is “based upon our longstanding policy in regard to eliminating healthcare disparities”. As Reuters explains, the College considered lower likeliehoods for lesbian and bisexual women to undertake cancer screenings; another paper published in the same edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine discusses lower HPV vaccination rates among lesbians.

The policy position, which was built over the course of more than a year, covers nine points, including gender identity coverage under nondiscrimination and antiharassment standards, comprehensive transgender health insurance, marriage equality, and, we should take care to note, a rejection of reparative conversion therapy.

This is one of those important sorts of things. Work with me here, for a moment.

There is something of a joke I occasionally tell about how certain things that have come to pass in American history have done so from the wrong political direction. It has to do with upbringing and how the world was framed and shaped in a young mind, and while certain expectations have indeed come ’round to fulfillment, they are coming through strange dimensions.

Consider the strange panic throughout the Gay Fray in which conservatives insisted on believing that the homosexuals were coming after their children. Part of this relied on one of the greatest sleights you might imagine, a satirical article read into the Congressional Record under the deliberate pretense of being real. After all, it is so naked a maneuver that we really should be surprised to still hear about it even today.

But, you know … They’re comin’ for your children!

Thus, we should not be surprised at the news coming up from Texas:

Texas House lawmakers are expected to consider a measure as early as Wednesday that could be used to protect child welfare service providers who want to force kids into discredited gay conversion therapy programs. The bill also protects providers who deny minors access to birth control or abortions.

The bill, co-authored by nine Republicans, aims to protect child welfare service providers who get taxpayer dollars from losing government funding or benefits if they take actions motivated by religious beliefs. This covers providers who offer counseling, assistance to abused children, and foster and adoption services.

For example, the legislation protects welfare providers who want to give kids in their care “a religious education,” including “placing the children in a private or parochial school.” Three organizations that advocate on behalf of the LGBT community in Texas have argued this provision would allow providers to force gay and transgender minors into programs to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, under the guise of education.


And part of this is simply the times, but is there really any context by which they’re not taking it out on children with this sort of stunt?

It’s a fair question. We’re talking religious re-education. Programming. Cult induction. Of children experiencing elevated need.

Or, at least, that is what they are aiming to protect in Texas.

Among other things. It is, generally speaking, a Christian-supremacist discrimination bill. It is also a particularly harrowing example of what faithlessness brings.

Supremacism ≠ Equality. Harm ≠ Love.


Seaman, Andrew M. “Doctors’ group supports LGBT-inclusive policies, same-sex marriage”. Reuters. 11 May 2015.

Liebelson, Dana. “Texas Bill Could Protect Welfare Providers Who Force Kids Into Gay Conversion Therapy”. The Huffington Post. 13 May 2015.

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