Category Archives: Healthcare News

LGBT Homeless Youth – Denver

Fact sheet: Homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in Denver,
CO.
1) How many homeless youth in the city/state?
a) Denver: There were 853 homeless youth (ages15 to 25) in the metropolitan Denver
area in 2004 according to the Metropolitan Denver Homeless Initiative, Inc. (Source
http://www.cdhs.state.co.us/shhp/PDFs/2004_PIT_Final_Report.pdf)
b) Colorado: There are an estimated 1,500 homeless youth in the state of Colorado at any
given time according to the web site of the Colorado Department of Public Health and
Environment. (Source:
http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprevention/download/pdf/Office%20of%20Homeless%20
Youth%20Report.pdf)

2) How many are LGBT?
a) Denver: We estimate that between 170 and 340 homeless youth in Denver identify as
LGBT
b) Colorado: We estimate that between 300 and 600 homeless youth statewide are LGBT
c) These calculations are based on research that demonstrates that 20-40 percent of all
homeless youth identify LGBT.

3) What are the public agencies that deal with homeless youth?
a) The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) houses the Office of Homeless
Youth Services within the Division of Supportive Housing and Homeless Programs.
CDHS also houses the Office of Children, Youth and Family Services, which in turn
houses the Division of Child Welfare.

4) What has the city/state done to address needs of homeless LGBT youth?
a) The city of Denver has implemented a 10 year plan to end homelessness called
“Denver’s Road Home.” However, there is no specific LGBT youth focused effort.
b) Jamie Vanleeuwen is the project manager of this plan and is personally committed to
serving the LGBT homeless population (see Jamie’s contact info on the next page).

5) Contact information for a Denver service provider with expertise on LGBT youth:
Urban Peak Denver
Craig Archibald, CEO
730 21st Street
Denver, CO 80205
Phone: 303-777-9198
Fax: 303-295-6116

Susan Boyle of Urban Peak in Denver contributed a chapter to the study Lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness, which focuses on specific challenges facing transgender homeless youth and the agencies seeking to serve them.
Susan is no longer with the agency.

6) Contact information for public agencies or key person’s office:

a) Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS)
1575 Sherman St., Denver, CO 80203
Tel: 303.866.5700
Fax: 303.866.4047

b) Office of Children, Youth and Family Services
Office Director: Steve Bates
1575 Sherman Street
enver, Colorado 80203
Telephone: 303-866-4426

c) Division of Child Welfare
Director: Ted Trujillo
1575 Sherman Street
Denver, CO. 80203
Telephone: (303) 866-5932
Fax: (303) 866-5563

d) DHS serving Denver County (covering Denver, the city)
Mgr: Roxane White
1200 Federal Blvd.
Denver 80204-3221
Tel (720) 944-3666
Fax (720) 944-3096

e) Office of Homeless Youth Services / CDHS
Coordinator: Andy Johnson
4020 S. Newton Street
Denver, CO 80236
Telephone: 303-866-7366
andrew.johnson3@state.co.us

f) Denver’s Road Home
Project Manager: Jamie Van Leeuwen, Ph.D.
1200 Federal Boulevard
Denver, Colorado 80204
Phone: 720-944-2506
Fax: 303-944-3083
jamie.vanleeuwen@dhs.co.denver.co.us

** Source:  The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:  http://thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/fact_sheets/HomelessYouthDenver012507.pdf

California 9th Circuit Likely to Uphold Ban on Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’

9th Circuit Likely to Uphold Ban on Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’

While he had tough questions for both sides of the emotional debate, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski seemed inclined to allow the state to regulate treatment of minors.

Scott Graham  2013-04-17 04:29:45 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sounded ready Wednesday to uphold a state law that bans psychotherapists from trying to change minors’ sexual orientation.

During nearly two hours of argument before a packed courtroom, attorneys for the therapists argued that the law violates free speech and religious rights. But the judges seemed likely to hold that the state has broad powers to regulate medical care — even if it’s exclusively based on talking — when it’s provided to minors.

“That really is the pivot point, whether this is speech at all or treatment,” Judge Morgan Christen told Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel. “Adults can get the counseling they wish,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski added. “There’s no prohibition to that.”

The judges appeared be wrestling with how to get there, though, and lawyers on both sides struggled to answer their questions plainly. Deputy attorney general Alexandra Robert Gordon had trouble identifying empirical evidence of harm caused by so-called conversion therapy, while Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute likewise couldn’t point to proof that it actually works.

But the factual disputes sounded likely to give way to the state’s power to regulate the medical profession, particularly in the area of pediatric care. If legislators wanted to ban the use of electroshock therapy or psychoactive drugs on minors, Judge Susan Graber asked, “why can’t they do that?”

Staver pointed to a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that said California could not ban children from buying violent video games, but Christen didn’t seem impressed with the analogy. “That assumes this is speech, right?” she asked.

The Legislature enacted SB 1172 last August, declaring that “being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming” that requires curing. Under the law, “any practices” that seek to change a minor’s sexual orientation are deemed unprofessional conduct subject to discipline.

Conversion therapy practitioners say the law unconstitutionally dictates what they can say during counseling sessions, pointing out that 10 years ago in Conant v. Walters the Ninth Circuit ruled that the government can’t discipline doctors for recommending medical use of marijuana,

U.S. District Judge William Shubb of Sacramento struck down the law last fall, but U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller, also of Sacramento, upheld it. Those two rulings, Welch v. Brown and Pickup v. Brown, were before the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday.

Kozinski, who was a member of the Conant panel, had tough questions for deputy AG Gordon. Armed with a stack of paper a foot-and-a-half high, he challenged her to point to compelling evidence of harm caused by conversion therapy. “We don’t really have anything compelling here, as I see it,” he told her.

Gordon told Kozinski that conversion therapy is ineffective and scientifically discredited.

“You’re giving us your view,” Kozinski said. “I would like you to point to evidence.”

“Fine,” Gordon fumed, citing specific legislative findings.

“That’s not evidence, that’s the Legislature speaking,” Kozinski pressed. “Point me to the one piece of evidence that’s compelling that this causes harm.”

Part of the problem, Gordon acknowledged, is there haven’t been many scientific studies of conversion therapy on children, because conducting them would be unethical. “When they become suicidal we’ll know for sure this is a harmful practice — happily, the law does not require that,” she said.

Graber noted that the state doesn’t have to prove compelling evidence of harm if it concludes that psychotherapy isn’t pure speech. Gordon agreed. “The question you’d really be asking is, is that a reasonable regulation?” she said.

By contrast, in the violent video game case, the state conceded the video games represented pure speech.

“You’re not making that mistake again,” needled Kozinski, who also was on the Ninth Circuit panel that was affirmed in the video game case.

But Kozinski was equally tough on Staver, pointing to an amicus curiae brief from individuals who underwent conversion therapy and described the intense emotional harm that person endured. Christen challenged Pacific Justice Institute’s Snider to point to evidence before the Legislature that conversion therapy actually helps teenagers become heterosexual.

“We don’t have the burden of proving that it’s effective or ineffective,” Snider argued.

“Just humor me,” Christen pressed. “Where is it?”

Kozinski pointed to another amicus brief, by a group of First Amendment scholars, which argued that much professional communication falls outside of constitutional protection.

“It’s really a fine line,” he said at one point. A doctor can give all kinds of advice, but “if they do something below the standard of care, furious consequences follow, even if it’s just speech.”

Staver argued that merely recommending conversion therapy would clearly be free speech under Conant, but Christen and Kozinski suggested there would be no professional consequences if mental health professionals referred clients to clergy or unlicensed therapists for the treatment.

“We can solve that for you,” Kozinski told Staver. “We can construe the statute not to cover that. What’s your next problem?”

Colorado civil unions bill signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper at History Colorado Center

Colorado civil unions bill signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper at History Colorado Center

By Lynn Bartels The Denver Post The Denver PostPosted:DenverPost.com

Amid cheers and tears, Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday signed a civil-unions bill into law, erasing a generation of anguish for supporters of gay rights in what once was dubbed “the hate state.”

“Unbelievable,” Hickenlooper said, looking at the gays and straight allies who were crammed into the History Colorado Center to watch history being made.

Sen. Pat Steadman of Denver, one of four gay Democrats who sponsored Senate Bill 11, recalled that “painful” night when voters approved Amendment 2, which prohibited laws from protecting gays from discrimination.

“I was there on election night in 1992 with many of you, and I see your faces in this room,” he said. “That was a very tragic moment, and yet it gave us so much hope and so much momentum moving forward. We didn’t take that defeat sitting down. We were in the streets, and we were in the courtrooms, and we were in the halls of the Capitol building.”

Steadman quoted from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in 1996 that overturned Amendment 2.

“He wrote, ‘A state cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws,’ ” Steadman said.

The atmosphere at the bill-signing was electric, with huge cheers when lawmakers and the governor took to the small stage. Senate Bill 11 gives same-sex couples many but not all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. It goes into effect May 1.

“Dearly beloved,” Steadman said before the crowd erupted, forcing him to pause before he continued, “we’re going to make history.”

Steadman and another gay Denver Democrat, Rep. Mark Ferrandino, have sponsored the civil measures for three years, but the bills died in the previous two sessions when Republicans controlled the House. Last year’s bill died a dramatic death although Democrats had enough votes to get it passed through the House.

Democrats won back the House majority in November. This year, Steadman and Ferrandino were joined by two other gay sponsors: Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge, and Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver.

“What a great day to be a Coloradan,” Schafer said.

Ferrandino, who now is the House speaker, recognized the “courageous Republicans in the House and the Senate who were willing to stand up and do the right thing.”

The GOP senators who voted for civil unions last year, this year or both are Ellen Roberts of Durango, Jean White of Hayden and Nancy Spence of Centennial. The GOP House supporters are Reps. B.J. Nikkel of Loveland, Don Beezley of Broomfield, Cheri Gerou of Evergreen and Carole Murray of Castle Rock.

PHOTOS: Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper signs the civil unions bill

Gerou waved at Ferrandino when he called her name.

“I kept saying it wasn’t a matter of if; it was a matter of when,” Ferrandino said. “It’s an amazing day to be here.”

The speaker said the bill has always been personal but that it has ever more meaning now that he and his partner, Greg Wertsch, have a 15-month-old foster daughter.

“When I wake up and I go and take her out of her crib and see that smiling face, to know that after the governor signs (the bill) she’s going to have the protections just like every other family makes my heart warm,” Ferrandino said.

Hickenlooper, a former geologist who started Wynkoop Brewing Co. after the oil bust in the 1980s, said that in the early 1990s a gay employee was promoted to general manager. When a couple of customers asked to speak to the owner about the manager, Hickenlooper thought they were going to say what a good job the manager was doing.

“They said they weren’t going to come to our business anymore,” the governor recalled. “One of our waitresses was standing beside me, and she said, ‘You know, that’s not going to bother any of us at all.’ ”

The anecdote drew laughs, but Hickenlooper talked about how attitudes have changed over time.

“It is a moment that the whole community has waited for for so long,” the governor said.

One of his staffers tweeted: “From hate state to great state?”

But Steadman said the civil-unions bill is “admittedly imperfect.”

“It is not an extension of equal rights. It is not something that includes us fully and on equal footing with others in society,” he said. “There is still much to do.”

Full equality is marriage, Steadman, Ferrandino and others have said, but a constitutional amendment voters passed in 2006 recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Steadman deliberately chose the number of this year’s civil-unions measure: Senate Bill 11.

His partner, Dave Misner, who died last September after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, was born on May 11. They had been together 11 years. Some of those who attended the civil-unions signing wore the same purple ribbons they wore at Misner’s funeral.

After civil unions passed this year, Steadman wrote a poem:

11 is a prime number.

Eleven is a lovely word.

It’s binary; a pair of ones.

It’s two like things, bound together,

to make a whole of ones.

Lynn Bartels: 303-954-5327, lbartels@denverpost.com or twitter.com/lynn_bartels