The governor of New York recently approved a new policy that will allow the state's tax dollars to fund sex change operations for indigent New Yorkers who identify as transgender and have been medically diagnosed with gender identity disorder.
The new regulation will permit the state's $55 billion Medicaid program, which is already the largest in the nation, to fund gender reassignment surgeries as well as other medical treatments, such as hormone therapy for transgenders enrolled in the program.
Officials in the state estimate that the new provision in the Medicaid policy will expand the program by nearly $6.7 million a year. According to the New York Post, there are approximately 661 transgender residents enrolled in the state's Medicaid program who've been diagnosed with gender dysphoria who would qualify for the reassignment surgery. more >>
"Teen Mom" star Maci Bookout is pregnant with her second child, who she's named her "miracle" baby.
"We still can't believe it," the mother of one told InTouch Weekly on Monday. "It was such a huge shock but we are very excited."
Bookout is in a relationship her boyfriend, Taylor McKinney, and has one son, Bentley, with previous boyfriend, Ryan Edwards. She became famous when her story got picked up by MTV for its series "16 and Pregnant," then followed on the sequential series "Teen Mom." Bookout's ensuing relationships and the stress of going back to college was all captured on film, and a special follow-up entitled "Being Maci" showed viewers what progress the teenage mother had made. more >>
A Christian organization that runs a restorative shelter program in the U.S. for women recovering from domestic human trafficking has pointed out ahead of National Human Trafficking Prevention month in January that anyone can be pulled into sex trafficking — its shelter has girls with master's degrees, and those that come from affluent families. The Samaritan Women organization urges churches to offer hands-on engagement and respond not with judgment, but with compassion toward victims.
The Samaritan Women is one if the organizations that appears in the newly released documentary "In Plain Sight," which seeks to raise awareness for National Human Trafficking Prevention month in January. more >>
A topless abortion activist with the words "God is Woman" written across her bare chest was arrested in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Thursday, after rushing the nativity scene and attempting to flee with a baby Jesus figurine.
Iana Zhdanova of FEMEN, a radical feminist organization from Ukraine that's based in Paris, stunned onlookers in Rome on Christmas Day when she stormed the nativity display wearing only jeans and sneakers. Video footage of the incident shows the blonde-haired activist proudly raising baby Jesus above her head and screaming an inaudible message to horrified onlookers before being apprehended by Vatican police.
The protest came shortly after Pope Francis unveiled the nativity while marking Christmas with a late-night mass in St Peter's Basilica. more >>
A petition posted on the Obama administration's "We the People" page in late November calling for the federal government to legalize gay marriage nationwide has failed.
In order to get an official response from the White House, the petition had to garner 100,000 signatures by Dec. 26, but attracted fewer than 600 supporters.
The petition was created by a resident of Albany, Georgia, and reads in part: "This petition is to get Congress to review a federal law allowing same-sex marriage in all 50 U.S. states and territories. ... And to vote on legislation protecting the rights, liberties, and the pursuit of happiness of LGBT American citizens as per the United States Constitution." more >>
The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it's easing restrictions on gay men donating blood, reversing a policy enacted during the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic decades earlier.
In a statement released Tuesday, the FDA said easing the ban came after several years of research into the matter.
"Following this review, and taking into account the recommendations of advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA, the agency will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period for men who have sex with men from indefinite deferral to one year since the last sexual contact," stated the FDA. more >>