HIV Hardship Fund To Be Re-Opened

A national Hardship Fund for people with HIV on low incomes is to be re-opened.

The Hardship Fund was operated by Crusaid until the charity merged with Terrence Higgins Trust in March.

THT said it would work to keep the Hardship Fund, which provides low-income HIV sufferers with money for essentials such as utilities, food and clothing.

The fund will be relaunched in spring 2011. An interim fund is available now and will offer grants of up to £100 to those suffering poverty.

Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of THT, said: “In the current economic climate, it is vital that people living with HIV receive the support that they need. Research tells us nearly one in three people with HIV have ongoing problems getting enough money to live on, which has clear implications for how they manage their condition.

“For years the Hardship Fund has been an important resource, making a real difference to the lives of people with HIV, and THT is fully committed to preserving its legacy. We are working hard to get the national fund fully operational by next spring, and in the meantime we hope our interim fund will continue to help those who need it most.”

The new Hardship Fund is currently under review to make it more efficient.

A report released this week by THT and the National AIDS Trust said that one in six people diagnosed with HIV make use of the fund, and that the majority of beneficiaries are living in “extreme” poverty, on just 20 per cent of the average weekly income.

People can apply for Hardship Fund grants through thirteen services across the country. For more information, call THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200.

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Christine Burns Becomes First Trans Patron Of LGBT History Month

Trans activist Christine Burns has become the first trans patron of LGBT History Month.

The writer, campaigner and former Tory branch secretary was instrumental in helping the government pass the 2004 Gender Recognition Act and was awarded an MBE in 2004.

She joins other patrons for the yearly event, including Gareth Thomas, John Amaechi and Sir Ian McKellen.

LGBT History Month co-chair Tony Fenwick said that trans people were still largely “invisible”.

He added: “LGBT History Month has always celebrated the lives and contributions of trans people. We hope to work with Christine to highlight the common ground trans and LGB people share, and to educate people about the important differences.”

Ms Burns, who runs the Just Plain Sense podcast channel, commented: “May I say straight away how incredibly honoured I feel to receive this invitation. I’m not exaggerating when I place it up there on a par with the letter from the Palace inviting me to accept my MBE.”

LGBT History Month is celebrated every February in the UK, while the US marks GLBT History Month in October.

In the next two years, LGBT History Month will focus on sport in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

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Trans Golfer Sues After Being Banned From Tournament

An American trans woman is suing the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) because it only allows women who were “female at birth” to participate.

Lana Lawless, 57 and of Palm Springs, California, completed her transition from male to female in 2005.

She won the Women’s Long Drive Association in 2008 but was barred from the contest this year because it changed its rules to match the LPGA’s.

Her lawsuit demands that the LPGA suspends events in California until the “female at birth” policy is changed.

It also mentions the Long Drivers of America, which runs the Women’s Long Drive Association contest and two of the Long Drivers of America’s sponsors.

She argues that the policies violate California’s equality laws.

Ms Lawless, a former police officer, said: “I just want to have the same opportunity to play professional golf as any other woman.

“I am, in all respects, legally, and physically female. The State of California recognises me as such and the LPGA should not be permitted to come into California and blatantly violate my rights.”

Her lawyer, Christopher Dolan, said in a statement. “California’s civil rights laws prevent discrimination against all minorities, including transgender persons.”

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EHRC Report Calls For More Research On Transgender Issues

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a report into the experiences of trans people.

Titled the Trans Research Review, the paper looks at transphobia, including bullying and discriminatory treatment, in schools and other public services.

It also covers harassment, rejection and physical or sexual assault from families, work colleagues and friends.

The paper draws together a wide variety of small research studies on trans issues but points out the difficulties of identifying and studying the trans population.

Some issues highlighted were the fact that many transitioned people no longer see themselves as part of the trans community and the difficulties of including transvestites and intersex people who may not feel they are trans.

There is no question on gender identity in the UK census, while the report also criticised official surveys or documents including trans status with sexual orientation. Current figures suggest there are between 65,000 and 300,000 trans people in the UK, although it is not clear how ‘trans’ was defined.

Another problem cited was that respondents were usually found through gender identity clinics, which does not include the large numbers of trans people who are not receiving medical treatment.

The paper set out a number of areas which needed more research. One was the use of the internet as a community for trans people, while another was the seemingly disproportionate number of trans people in prison.

In terms of the attitudes of non-trans people, the survey cited 2006 research from Scotland which found that 50 per cent of respondents would be unhappy if a close relative had a relationship with a trans person. Thirty per cent of those questioned said a trans person should not be a teacher.

A 2003 survey of 1,700 people found that many respondents viewed trans people “with pity”, and in the same way they viewed disabled people.

However, 2008 research in the north-west of England found that only 14 per cent of people felt negatively about trans people, with the vast majority saying they felt neutral or positive.

Small studies have found that the majority of trans people have faced harassment or violence due to their trans status.

A 2008 study of 71 people found that 44 (62 per cent) had been subjected to harassment from strangers in public places. Of these, only 15 per cent had reported the harassment to police.

Just under 17 per cent said they had suffered violence, although 22 per cent said they had never been perceived as trans by strangers.

There was no research on incidences of domestic or sexual violence suffered by trans people.

As with other areas, very little research on trans pupils was found, although it was suggested that 75 per cent of trans students face bullying compared with 25 per cent of lesbian, bisexual or gay students.

The report found that trans people were likely to be working below their capabilities. Trans women reported particular issues with bathroom facilities, while a number of trans men said they were given less demanding work to do after returning to employment as men.

“Considerable” levels of discrimination in the workplace were cited, while research found that trans people were more likely than the general population to struggle with paying bills and debt.

The EHRC concluded: “The review reveals that there is a case for UK-wide quantitative and qualitative study on the economic position, experiences and needs of the trans population. The absence of such evidence means that the correct support, funding, services and policies, are not in place for trans people.”

Recommendations of the report include assessing whether current equality legislation is suitable for trans people, assessing the impact of transphobia and commissioning more independent research on trans experience.

To read the full report, click here

Film Screening To Mark Trans Awareness Day

On Saturday 20th November at 8pm, QUAD Derby will be showing 2005 film, ‘Transamerica’ starring Felicity Huffman, to mark Trans Awareness Day. Before the screening, Beth Seymour of Derbyshire Friend’s Rainbow Vision project will be giving an introduction.

Felicity Huffman left Wisteria Lane and the world of ‘Desperate Housewives’ to play a male-to-female pre-operative transsexual, Bree, and nabbed an Oscar nomination for her efforts. On the cusp of her final operation, she discovers she has a son. Her therapist refuses to give her wirtten permission for the operation until she resolves the issues with him.

Tickets are £6.50 (£5.00 concessions) and can be booked through QUAD’s box office on 01332 290606 or online at

For a poster advertising this special, one-off screeening, please click here.

‘Kick Up Your Heels’ – World AIDS Day Fundraiser In Matlock – Sat 27th Nov

Get your tickets for the fabulous annual World AIDS Day Fundraiser organised by Derbyshire’s AIDS Resource Team!!

This year’s event is called ‘Kick Up Your Heels’ and will be hosted at County Hall, Matlock from 8pm ’til midnight on Saturday 27th November. The event will feature some great live music from Chaser (a great live band) and the wonderful Hayley Elliott as well as the chance to ‘kick up your heels’ on your dancefloor to all of your favourite songs courtesy of White Rose Disco.

Included in the price of your ticket, you will receive bubbly and chocolates on arrival. There will also be a licensed bar and snacks will be available.

This event has been a great success every year and all proceeds raised will be donated to Derbyshire Positive Support in order to support World AIDS Day.

Tickets are priced at £10 and are allocated on a first come, first served basis so buy them quick to avoid disappointment!!!

For more details, contact 01332 204020 or 01629 531452.

EHRC To Be ‘Substantially Reformed’ While HIV Quangos Are Scrapped

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is to be substantially reformed, the Cabinet Office said today.

Today’s shake-up of public bodies saw 192 quangos axed, with an estimated 10,000 staff expected to lose their jobs.

The EHRC, which was criticised last year for how it was set up, escaped the cull but is set for significant changes.

Both the Expert Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and the Independent Advisory Group of Sexual Health and HIV have been scrapped.

The former will be reformed as a Department of Health expert committee, while the latter will be replaced with a “stakeholder advisory group”.

As yet, few details about the changes have been revealed and the government is considering how the EHRC, and other surviving public bodies, will be reformed.

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