Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Online Extra: Gays Across America: GOP tax plan would gut services


EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur. Photo: Rick Gerharter
Print this Page
Send to a Friend
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on MySpace!

Some LGBT-related nonprofits are warning that Congress' proposed tax reform bill would have dire consequences for the country's queer community.

Among other things, the Republican bill would cut taxes for corporations from 35 percent to 20 percent and lead to an estimated $1.4 trillion increase in the national debt over 10 years.

The legislation, which passed the Senate last week and is set to be reconciled with a House bill that already passed, is an "ill-conceived, barely considered, and massive tax bill" that "would benefit the top 1 percent of Americans and corporations at the expense of LGBTQ people, people living with HIV and AIDS, working families, students, and low-income people," Rick Zbur, executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Equality California, said in an email blast.

The bill includes "deep, across-the-board spending cuts" on programs including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or food stamps), Medicare and Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income for people who are living with HIV/AIDS and others, said Zbur.

The proposal also included a repeal of the mandate that every individual have health insurance, a key component of the Affordable Care Act. Zbur said that undoing the mandate "would lead to an 13 million people dropping from ACA coverage, and drastic spikes in insurance premiums."

A Transgender Law Center statement said the bill "would decimate health care, education," and other services that help transgender people.

TLC Executive Director Kris Hayashi stated the nonprofit "does not usually comment on tax bills, but this bill is a matter of life or death for many in the transgender community."

Hayashi added, "The bill in the Senate would devastate support systems and services, including essential health care, that many in our community need to survive. For transgender people living with HIV in particular, this bill could mean the loss of life-saving treatment and fuel an epidemic that the U.S. government has ostensibly pledged to end."

Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, pointed to President Donald Trump's World AIDS Day proclamation December 1, in which Trump attributed progress in fighting HIV/AIDS with private and public investments.

"President Trump and supporters of the Senate and House tax bills are credible threats to that progress and to those living with and at risk for HIV," Hollendoner said in a statement. "The AIDS ribbon hanging in the north portico of the White House to commemorate World AIDS Day is this year nothing more than window dressing. ... As the budget deficit looms, the network of services for people living with HIV including health care, housing, and other support services is under attack, and reduced funding for research and prevention lingers in the shadow of this tax bill."


Oregon librarian honored

Oregon librarian Natalia Fernandez  

A librarian who oversees the Oregon Multicultural Archives and Oregon State University Queer Archives recently received the I Love My Librarian award from the American Library Association and other groups.

Natalia Fernandez, 31, who's non-LGBTQ, is being honored for her leadership role in using education to transform lives. Only 10 librarians received the honor this year.

"Fernandez is commended for her ability to engage students from diverse backgrounds who have often felt excluded from library and archival spaces," according to a news release from the ALA, which administers the award. "She also uses outreach strategies to expand the boundaries of the library to reach underserved communities in rural Oregon."

Fernandez received a $5,000 prize and was honored at a reception in New York City at an award ceremony and reception November 30.

"I am so honored and grateful to my incredible colleagues and community partners for nominating me for this award," Fernandez stated. "It is such a joy to collaborate with OSU's and Oregon's LGBTQIA and communities of color to empower them to preserve, share, and celebrate their stories. Librarians and archivists are in a unique position to positively impact the communities we serve as we create a more socially just and inclusive society, and I am so proud to be a part of this profession."

Fernandez collects and shares LGBTQs' histories throughout the Pacific Northwest. Among her other efforts, she's worked with students to gather local people's oral histories for the OSU Queer Archives.

The award ceremony was hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York, which co-sponsors the award along with the New York Public Library and the New York Times.


Gays Across America is a column addressing LGBTQ issues nationwide. It runs most Tuesdays. Please submit comments or column ideas to Seth Hemmelgarn at (415) 875-9986 or

Follow The Bay Area Reporter
facebook logo
facebook logo
Newsletter logo
Newsletter logo
ISSUU logo