Kelly Nicholaides, The Record
RUTHERFORD — At a time when coming out is still a life-changing move, more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender entrepreneurs are identifying their businesses as part of the LGBT community, as a matter of pride as well as economics.
About 100 LGBT people attended the New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast at the Renaissance Hotel in Rutherford on Tuesday. The group meets at least once a month for meetings and social events held all over the state.
Ferlie Almonte is an image consultant through her business Resilient Life With Ferlie, while her wife, Christine Cipriano, helps people exceed in business through golf with her business Fit for the Tee. Both businesses fall under their combined LLC. The Garfield couple are seeking the chamber's help in getting a free national certification as an LGBT Business Enterprise. That certification through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) will give them access to 160 Fortune 500 companies where some spending is dedicated to LBGT-owned businesses.
It [the chamber] brings us access to corporations so we can help build our business, and it validates us, in a way," Almonte explained. "We are accepted, celebrated, and together we will be elevated through these opportunities."Read more
John Petrick, The Record
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 1:21 AM
When it comes to the advent of AIDS within the gay community and its impact on the safety of America's donated blood supply, North Jersey health officials and legislators alike say that one thing is clear — that was then, and this is now.
"What may have seemed reasonable 30 years ago is not justifiable now, especially with modern blood screening techniques. It's time to update outdated laws and policies," said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood.
In the aftermath of the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that killed 49 people and injured 53, blood centers in that area were overwhelmed with people who wanted to donate. Gay men, however, weren't all allowed to do so — a policy harking back to the height of the AIDS crisis.
Until recently, men who had sex with men at any point in their lives were prohibited from giving blood in the U.S., the rationale being that they were more likely to be HIV positive. Federal authorities have begun to loosen those restrictions, put in place in 1985, after years of opposition by gay rights advocates and improvements in screening technology. In December, the Food and Drug Administration published new voluntary guidelines for blood centers that would permit donations by gay or bisexual men who have abstained from sex for one year.
While observers say it's a step in the right direction, they say the ban ultimately needs to be lifted once and for all.Read more
John C. Ensslin, The Record
While the battle over the rights of transgendered people to use the restrooms of their choice is being fought in at least a dozen states, some New Jersey lawmakers are struggling to get a hearing on a measure requiring students to learn about LGBT history.
A day after a packed meeting where Pascack Valley School District officials considered an anti-discrimination policy for transgender students, lawmakers said they hope this local and national attention might help spur action on proposed legislation requiring schools to teach about the contributions to society of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people. But there’s no sign yet that the bill, which has been lingering since it was introduced in 2015, will get traction in the Legislature.
The school policy debate comes at a time when controversy is raging over a recently adopted North Carolina law that would require people to use restrooms according to their gender at birth.Read more