Queer news this week
1. Hospital rights for LGBT couples
President Obama issues a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that ensures LGBT couples have the same visitation rights. It applies to hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid funds.
I personally think this is a step long overdue. The idea that you may have to die alone, in a hospital, because you’re gay doesn’t sit very well with me. People who receive the death penalty seem to have more rights. I think it should be my decision who I want making my medical decisions for me when I cannot, especially on my death bed. I appreciate what Obama said in his memo, “And it means that all too often, people are made to suffer or even to pass away alone, denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments while a loved one is left worrying and pacing down the hall.” The quote is so simple that it makes the issue seem that much more awful. Why have people of the LGBT community been denied this for so long? I mean the right to marry whoever you want is arguable, with ideas such as religion and tradition, but when it comes to health-related emergencies I think people need to be a little more open-minded.
2. Johnny Weir makes a statement
Figure skater Johnny Weir gives his opinion on the LGBT community. He also mentions other minorities.
Although the story is not necessarily “CNN” headline news, I think it is important to recognize the importance of small acts such as this. Johnny Weir is still a household name, coming off his highly publicized Winter Olympics performance. This statement would probably grab more attention than if someone like Elton John were to come out and say it today, just because Johnny is more fresh and more relevant right now. In order to build awareness and tolerance, people need more exposure. A few weeks ago you had Ricky Martin coming out, and now you have Johnny talking about, “And this community, us, our people, are the people who make it fucking gorgeous.” I look at it as positive reinforcement. LGBT celebrities owe it to themselves and their community to use their exposure to build a type of awareness that ordinary people have a much more difficult time achieving. It tells people we are not ashamed, we are not scared, and we are very proud of who we are.
3. Derrick Martin and his boyfriend attend his prom
Derrick Martin and his boyfriend attend his prom with no major issues. He did have to ask for permission first though.
This article is kind of bittersweet. If you tie it to the article above, it just goes to show how reminders like the one by Weir are beneficial to the entire community. People may have their opinions on what is right and what is wrong, but versus how things may have been 20 years ago, people are more tolerant and less aggressive, and you can really only ask so much of people. What is unfortunate about the story is how Martin had to ask for permission from his school. Coming from a Baptist high school, I can understand how this might have been an issue, but it isn’t clearly defined if he goes to a public or private school. I think it just goes to show how much extra the LGBT community has to go through to do things that most people would normally take for granted. It’s stories like these, which are more personal, that get people thinking. It’s not that we want your pity, but sympathy is never a bad thing!