SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America put in its first overtly transgender bishop in a service held in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on Saturday.

The Rev. Megan Rohrer will lead one of many church’s 65 synods, overseeing practically 200 congregations in Northern California and northern Nevada.

“My call is … to be up to the same messy, loving things I was up to before,” Rohrer advised worshippers. “But mostly, if you’ll let me, and I think you will, my hope is to love you and beyond that, to love what you love.”

Rohrer was elected in May to serve a six-year time period as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod after its present bishop introduced his retirement.

“I step into this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in Northern California and Nevada prayerfully and thoughtfully voted to do a historic thing,” Rohrer mentioned in an announcement. “My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward.”

Rohrer, who makes use of the pronoun “they,” beforehand served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and a chaplain coordinator for town’s police division, and likewise helped minister to town’s homeless and LGTBQ neighborhood. They studied faith at Augustana University of their hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, earlier than transferring to California to pursue grasp and doctoral levels on the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

Rohrer turned considered one of seven LGBTQ pastors accepted by the progressive Evangelical Lutheran church in 2010 after it allowed ordination of pastors in same-sex relationships. Rohrer is married and has two youngsters.

The church is among the largest Christian denominations within the United States with about 3.3 million members.

This story has been up to date to appropriate the title of the church. It is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, not of America.

Associated Press faith protection receives assist from the Lilly Endowment by means of The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely chargeable for this content material.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 9, 2021--

OptumHealth Education, in partnership with OutCare Health, has launched an accredited, no-cost, and publicly available education program to teach health care professionals about the unique health care needs and disparities experienced by the LGBTQ+ community. The series is designed to promote a more equitable, affirming and supportive health care environment for LGBTQ+ people through increased provider education and understanding.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LGBTQ+ people experience health disparities linked to social stigma and discrimination 1. Studies have found that an estimated 8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, and almost 27% of transgender patients, have reported being denied health care services 2.

The program is an on-demand, publicly available webcast on at no cost, and is eligible for continuing education credits. The series identifies the negative effects that implicit bias, stigma and discrimination can have on the mental and physical health of those in the LGBTQ+ community; discusses the appropriate pronouns and terminology to use in respectful communication with members of the LGBTQ+ community; covers the specific and unique health-related risks and disparities that are experienced by the LGBTQ+ community; and identifies how to create a health care environment in which members of the LGBTQ+ community can feel validated, welcome and safe to discuss health issues.

Future modules starting in fall 2021 will offer more in-depth provider-focused education around the unique health care needs of specific populations within the LGBTQ+ community, such as caring for transgender patients.

In conjunction with the education, Optum created PRIDE365+, a website that provides resources to educate and support LGBTQ+ community members and allies in creating open, safe and respectful working and living environments. PRIDE365+ includes a resource guide, an LGBTQ+ terminology and pronoun guide, a transgender support guide, and a “How to be an Ally” guide, along with informational content from Optum partner Trans Lifeline, a grassroots nonprofit 501(c)(3) offering emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis.

“LGBTQ+ people face a number of unique challenges and barriers when it comes to their health and well-being. Many of these barriers are rooted in discrimination, stigma and a simple lack of awareness and knowledge,” said Dr. Amy Nguyen Howell, Optum senior national medical director, Office for Provider Advancement. “We launched this educational series as part of our commitment to advancing health equity and improving the health care experience for everyone we serve.”

Caring for the LGBTQ+ Community: An Introduction, was developed in partnership with OutCare Health, a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) LGBTQ+ health equity organization, which offers directories of providers and public resources, mentorship, webinars, blogs, research and cultural competency trainings.

“We’re proud to launch this educational series with OptumHealth Education and Optum, and to address these disparities head-on,” said OutCare Health Founder and President Dr. Dustin Nowaskie. “Working with one of the leading health care services companies in the United States to design this training means we can reach more providers and make a meaningful impact on the barriers LGBTQ+ people experience within the health care system.”

Caring for the LGBTQ+ Community: An Introduction, is offered by OptumHealth Education, an organization dedicated to providing interprofessional continuing education that improves patient outcomes and positively affects the delivery of health care. OptumHealth Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

For more information or to sign up for the educational series, please visit

Hate crimes based on sexual orientation dipped slightly last year, but crimes based on bias against trans and gender-nonconforming people continued to increase, new FBI data suggest. 
The Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s Hate Crime Statistics 2020 report the epidemic of violence against transgender Americans  found that 7,759 hate crime incidents were reported last year, up by 6 percent from 7,314 incidents in 2019. 

Although reports of hate crime incidents based on anti-LGBTQ bias were down overall, from 1,393 in 2019 to 1,287 in 2020, reports of incidents motivated by gender-identity bias jumped by nearly 20 percent for the second year in a row

Law enforcement agencies reported 1,051 hate crime incidents motivated by sexual orientation last year, down from 1,195 in 2019. Hate crime incidents motivated by gender identity increased from 198 in 2019 to 236 in 2020.

Although hate crime incidents motivated by anti-trans bias appear to be increasing, advocates have said government data often don’t tell the full story. 

Anecdotally, trans people have reported facing bias-motivated violence much more often. Advocates have said the discrepancy between FBI data and trans people’s lived experiences is a common theme when it comes to data collection on LGBTQ people.

Of the 27,715 trans adults surveyed by the National Center for Transgender Equality in the summer of 2015, nearly half (46 percent) reported that they were verbally harassed in the previous year, and nearly 1 in 10 (9 percent) said they were physically attacked in the previous year for being transgender. 

This year is also on track to be the deadliest on record for transgender people, with at least 35 trans and gender-nonconforming people having been killed so far — most of them Black trans women — according to the Human Rights Campaign. At this time last year, at least 29 trans people had been killed, according to the group. Advocates say the estimates are low, as law enforcement agencies often use trans people’s birth names, also known as their deadnames, and their sexes assigned at birth in reports of their deaths.

The number of hate crime incidents reported by the FBI is also likely to be low for a number of other reasons, advocates say.

“This data is critical, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of anti-transgender violence," Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in an emailed statement. "Many transgender people do not feel comfortable or safe reporting crime to the police. In fact, according to our U.S. Transgender Survey, more than half (57%) of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable asking the police for help if they needed it."

Heng-Lehtinen said concern about interacting with police is greater among transgender people of color, with with 67 percent of Black trans people, 59 percent of Latino/a trans people and 59 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native trans people reporting discomfort turning to the police.

2013 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs also found that less than half (45 percent) of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV who experienced violence reported their incidents to police, in part because of past experiences of police hostility and mistreatment.

Law enforcement agencies also collect, categorize and submit hate crime data voluntarily.

A 2018 report from the Human Rights Campaign found that no state has a comprehensive law that requires all government-funded data collection efforts to include sexual orientation and gender identity data with other demographic data, such as race, ethnicity and sex.

Four states — New York, California, Oregon and New Jersey — and Washington, D.C., have narrower laws that require LGBTQ-inclusive data collection in some areas other than hate crimes.

Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., require law enforcement agencies to collect and report data on hate crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the report found.

In addition, the FBI report doesn’t provide details about how LGBTQ people of color are uniquely affected by violence; research shows that they report facing more violence than white LGBTQ people. 

The report does indicate that incidents motivated by anti-Black and anti-Asian bias increased significantly. Specifically, it found that the number of incidents motivated by anti-Black bias rose from 1,930 in 2019 to 2,755 last year and that incidents motivated by anti-Asian bias jumped from 158 to 274. 

Advocates have recently called for more comprehensive federal data collection related to sexual orientation and gender identity so they can help suggest better policy solutions that account for the rising fatal violence against Black trans women and hate violence against all LGBTQ people.

In June, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., reintroduced a bill to improve collection of data about sexual orientation and gender identity in violent crimes and suicides.

“The epidemic of violence against transgender Americans — particularly transgender women of color — is only getting worse,” Maloney said in a statement at the time. “HRC has been tracking the underreported data since 2013, and Congress still hasn’t acted to enable local law enforcement to do the same.”

NORFOLK, Va. — A school board in Virginia has agreed to pay $1.3 million in legal costs to the American Civil Liberties Union after the nonprofit spent six years representing a student who sued over the board's transgender bathroom ban. 

Gavin Grimm's suit against the Gloucester County School Board ended in June after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the board's appeal to reinstate its bathroom policy. 

Lower courts ruled that the board's policy was unconstitutional and discriminated against Grimm because he was required to use restrooms that corresponded with his biological sex — female — or private bathrooms. He was barred from the boy's facilities in high school. 

The board agreed to the pay the ACLU's legal costs in a filing made in a U.S. District Court in Norfolk on Thursday.

Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that "it should not have taken over six years of expensive litigation to get to this point." 

Grimm, who is now 22, said in a statement that he hopes "this outcome sends a strong message to other school systems that discrimination is an expensive, losing battle."

Tossing out a July decision, a full federal appeals court will hear a battle about whether a transgender male student should have been allowed to use boys’ bathrooms at a St. Johns County high school.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday vacated a July 14 ruling by a three-judge panel that said a St. Johns County School Board policy preventing Drew Adams from using boys’ bathrooms was “arbitrary” and violated equal protection rights.

After the 2-1 panel ruling, the school board asked the full Atlanta-based appeals court to hear the case --- a request known as seeking an “en banc” hearing.

The court issued a one-paragraph order Monday granting the request and vacating the panel ruling. As is common, the notice did not explain the court’s decision.

Adams was born a biological female but in eighth grade told his parents he was a transgender male, according to the July ruling. The lawsuit, which Adams and his mother filed in 2017, stemmed from Nease High School requiring Adams to use a gender-neutral, single-stall bathroom or girls’ bathrooms.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan ruled in favor of Adams in 2018, prompting the school board to appeal.

The appellate panel in July said the school district’s policy about bathroom use is arbitrary because it relies on information submitted when students enroll in the district, rather than on updated information. Adams enrolled in the district in fourth grade, with information listing him as a female, but he later obtained legal documents listing him as a male. He has graduated from Nease High School as the court fight has continued.

The panel said, in part, that the policy could lead to a transgender male being able to use boys’ bathrooms if he is listed as a male on enrollment information, while Adams was barred because his initial information listed him as female. The panel said the policy “runs afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment (guaranteeing equal protection) because it does not even succeed in treating all transgender students alike.”

“The school district gives no explanation for why a birth certificate provided at the time of enrollment takes priority over the same document provided at the time the bathroom policy is applied to the student,” said the panel ruling, written by Judge Beverly Martin and joined by Judge Jill Pryor. “And we have come up with no explanation of our own. Mr. Adams has a birth certificate and a driver’s license issued by the state of Florida stating that he is male. But the school district refuses to accept for the purposes of the bathroom policy Mr. Adams’s sex listed on those current government-issued documents.”

But Chief Judge William Pryor wrote a lengthy dissent to the panel decision.

“When shorn of misunderstandings of the school policy and the legal standards that govern sex-based classifications, this appeal is straightforward,” the chief judge wrote. “The school policy protects longstanding privacy interests inherent in using the bathroom, and it does so in an ancient and unremarkable way --- by separating bathrooms on the basis of sex. That policy is not unconstitutional.”

But in the majority opinion, Martin fired back at the dissent, writing that “this case is not about challenging sex-segregated bathrooms.”

“The policy turns solely on the information provided at the time of enrollment, and a transgender student who updates his documents prior to enrollment would not be barred from using the bathroom matching the sex on his legal documents,” Martin wrote. “This, of course, is in contrast to the treatment Mr. Adams received. Despite the dissent’s imagined parade of horribles, this opinion does not resolve any other issue of student privacy.”

In a document this month asking the full court to hear the case, attorneys for the school board argued that the panel ignored broader issues in the dispute.

“This case has always been about whether a definition of sex founded in the real and enduring biological differences between boys and girls substantially advances the important privacy interests of students to use the bathroom free from members of the opposite biological sex,” the document said. “Yet, the court has not answered that question. The school board requests that the entire panel of this court do so.”

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