Jersey City To Become 1st City in New Jersey to Offer Trans-Inclusive Health Benefits

Expansion of healthcare coverage continues Jersey City’s record of outstanding leadership on LGBT equality

JERSEY CITY – Today, Mayor Steven Fulop announced that Jersey City would be expanding the health care it offers city employees to include coverage for transgender medical care and related procedures, such as gender affirmation surgery. Jersey City will become the first large city in the state to offer such coverage – and one of only a handful across the country.

“Government has a responsibility to be a legitimizing force, to pull people in the direction of what is right, especially on LGBT issues” said Mayor Steven Fulop, “Today, we’re doing that in Jersey City: We’re making sure that our transgender neighbors get the care they need.”

Jersey City joins a small but growing list of American cities – including San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Austin – to ensure transgender employees have equal access to care.

Nationwide, two in ten transgender Americans are denied care because of who they are. One in three face significant delays getting necessary medical attention. This lack of access to care can have serious negative consequences, including depression and suicide. An analysis last year by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that 41 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals had attempted suicide. Gender affirmation treatment has been shown to reduce suicide by around 75 percent.

“Jersey City is doing what every municipality in New Jersey must do: provide medically necessary transition-related care to its employees,” said Andrea Bowen, an activist and the Executive Director of Garden State Equality, “Jersey City is leading the way in showing how to improve the lives of transgender people, and Garden State Equality is honored to have worked with Mayor Fulop and his staff on this great reform.”

“The American Medical Association, the US Dept of HHS, and all of mainstream medicine support ending discrimination against transgender people,” said Barbra Siperstein, Director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey. “As a native of Jersey City, on behalf of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of NJ, I take particular pride in congratulating Mayor Steven Fulop and the City of Jersey City for taking the leadership in being the first New Jersey municipality to provide medically necessary transition related care for its employees.”

According to the city’s health care providers, the cost of expanding coverage for transgender care is very small: roughly one tenth of one percent of the current cost of healthcare for the city.

This step continues Jersey City’s record of outstanding leadership on LGBT equality. Jersey City has received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for two consecutive years, the only city in New Jersey to have done so. Last year, Jersey City was also named the 8th most LGBT-friendly city in the United States by the financial website Nerdwallet.

All media inquiries should be directed to Ryan Jacobs, Communications Director for Mayor Steven M. Fulop. ////
Also – read Mayor Fulop’s op-ed on this reform in the Star-Ledger: http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/09/why_jersey_city_will_provide_transgender-related_h.html

Plenty to be proud of LGBT festival will celebrate landmark year

From: Hudson Reporter
Sunday, August 23, 2015

This is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered) pride week in Jersey City, featuring a series of events that started Aug. 22 and will lead up to the15th annual Jersey City LGBT Pride Festival on Aug. 29 at the Newark Avenue pedestrian mall.

Ceremonies for the annual event included two flag raisings on Friday, one at the Hudson County Court House on Newark Avenue, and another at City Hall on Grove Street.

The festival is co-hosted by Gayborhood Jersey City and Humanity Pride Productions.

Read more: Hudson Reporter

Pentagon may lift ban on transgender people

From CNN.com
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

(CNN)The Pentagon could in the coming months lift the ban on transgender people openly serving in the U.S. military, after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Monday a plan to study “readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.”

Carter made the announcement in a memo outlining a pair of directives to both study the effect of transgender service men and women over the next sixth months, as well as adding the new protocol that any personnel diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify as transgender will have their paperwork for dismissal from the military reviewed at the highest personnel levels in DOD.

“At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite,” Carter wrote in his statement. “Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.”

Read full story here >>

‘Overjoyed’: Hudson County cheers Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling

From The Jersey Journal
Friday, June 26, 2015

JERSEY CITY — The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down gay marriage bans nationwide makes June 26, 2015 an “historic day,” Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said this morning.

“I think it’s a great day for civil rights,” Fulop said. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

The nation’s high court ruled 5-4 that states cannot ban gay marriage, in a decision released this morning. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the reasons marriage is “fundamental” under the U.S. Constitution “apply with equal force to same-sex couples.”

Elizabeth Schedl, of Hudson Pride Connections Center, emailed a statement that included five exclamation points. The LGBT group is based in Jersey City.

“Today marks one of the greatest days in history for our community,” said Elizabeth Schedl, of Hudson Pride Connections Center in Jersey City. “We are thrilled that the Supreme Court values the importance of marriage equality and understands how everyone deserves these rights.”

Read full story here >>

Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal In All 50 States

From NPR
Friday, June 26, 2015

States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions, the Supreme Court says in a ruling that for months has been the focus of speculation. The decision was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as a pivotal swing vote in the case, wrote the majority opinion. All four justices who voted against the ruling wrote their own dissenting opinions: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” Kennedy wrote of same-sex couples in the case. “The Constitution grants them that right.”

Read full story here >>

Jersey City seeks to create LGBT advisory board

From The Jersey Journal
Monday, May 4, 2015

JERSEY CITY – City officials will ask the City Council next week to approve the creation of its first LGBT advisory board, one that will give the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community “a seat at the government table,” the bill’s sponsor said.

The nine-member board would not have any policy-making power, but it would recommend policies and programs to Mayor Steve Fulop and the City Council for their approval. Its members would serve as volunteers.

Councilman-at-large Daniel Rivera, the measure’s sponsor, said the board would “make sure the city is not reactive, but proactive to issues or incidents that involve the LGBT community.”

Read full story here >>

F.D.A. Easing Ban on Gays, to Let Some Give Blood

From New York Times
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, a major stride toward ending what many had seen as a national policy of discrimination.

However, the agency will continue to ban men who have had sex with a man in the last year, saying the barrier is necessary to keep the blood supply safe, a move that frustrated rights groups that were pushing for the ban to be removed entirely.

Read full story here >>

CHICpeaJC: Hudson Pride Center

CHICpeaJC: Fashion, food, fun, and and all things awesome in Jersey City

We went to visit the Hudson Pride Center in the JSQ area and sat down to chat with Jon and Liz, two amazing human beings who dedicate their lives to helping people in the community.

See the interview here >>

Hudson Pride’s Jeffrey Campbell talks LGBT issues, ‘closeted politicians’

From Hudson County View
Monday, June 30, 2014

VIDEO: Hudson Pride Executive Director Jeffrey Campbell sat down with Hudson County View to discuss his organization, “closeted politicians,” and issues facing the LGBT community.

See video here >>

PHOTOS: Faces of LGBT Youth Seeking ‘Forever Families’

From Advocate.com
Monday, June 23, 2014

For the first time, the celebrated Heart Gallery NYC highlighted photos of LGBT youth in the foster care system.

Last week, visitors to Times Square were greeted with something more than the usual flashing lights of theater ads: the faces of LGBT youth in the foster care system who are seeking permanent homes.

In conjunction with Pride month, Heart Gallery NYC exhibited the photos in a series titled “Forever Families.” Taken by a group of celebrity photographers, the images of 12 LGBT youth (in addition to 24 other youth) were displayed in the Times Square Museum and Visitor Center from June 10 through June 20, with some even projected on the Square’s massive Jumbotron.

Read full story here >>

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