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ABC host Karl Schmid reveals he’s HIV positive

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 09:51 AM PDT

Karl Schmid (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

ABC correspondent Karl Schmid has come out as HIV positive after keeping his status secret for a decade.

The Australian-born, Los Angeles-based journalist is known for covering red carpet and gala events, such as the Academy Awards, for ABC7. He also was co-host of Logo’s "Operation: Vacation" from 2013 to 2014.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Schmid opens up about his health and why he was advised to keep his HIV status a secret.

"For 10 years I've struggled with 'Do I or don't I?' "Schmid, who is openly gay, writes. "For ten years the stigma and industry professionals have said, 'Don't! It'll ruin you.' But here's the thing. I'm me. I'm just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted. I may be on TV from time to time, but at the end of the day I'm just an average guy who wants want we all want. To be accepted and loved by our friends and family and to be encouraged by our peers."

“I know who I am, I know what I stand for and while in the past I may not have always had clarity, I do now. Love me or hate me, that's up to you. But, for anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters. Your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions count. And don't let anybody tell you otherwise. I'm Karl Schmid, and I'm an HIV-positive man!” he continued.

Schmid’s post went viral with more than 500 shares and more than 3,500 likes. The reporter later thanked his fans for their “overwhelming” support.

"Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact," Schmid writes. "For those of you who dm'd with your stories THANK YOU."

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst breaks with Trump on trans military ban

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 08:09 AM PDT

Joni Ernst, Iowa, Republican Party, CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, gay news, Washington Blade, United States Senate

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has broken with Trump on his transgender military ban. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A Republican who was the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate has broke from President Trump on his policy seeking to bar transgender people from the U.S. military.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday transgender people who are qualified to be in the U.S. armed forces “should serve.”

“I have asked transgenders myself, if you are willing to lay down your life beside me, I would welcome you into our military,” Ernst said.

The Iowa Republican, however, emphasized transgender people must “meet physical requirements” for being in the military and she’d “support the president and the administration in making sure that standards are met.”

“If there are transgenders that meet those qualifications, certainly I would gladly have them serving in the United States military,” Ernst added.

Asked by CBS News' Margaret Brennan if she’d call on Trump to change his position, Ernst demurred, but said she’s happy to talk with the administration.

“I think the White House has done a very studied analysis of how we have the best qualified people coming into the military, and so, I’m happy to have those discussions with the administration, but, again, making sure that those standards are applied fairly across the spectrum of every citizen that wants to join our United States military,” Ernst said.

Ernst has indicated before she supports allowing transgender people to serve in the military, but has declined to support payment for gender reassignment surgery as part of the U.S. military health plan. Her views were incorporated in a full-page newspaper ad and TV ad from the Human Rights Campaign this year showcasing bipartisan for transgender military service.

The first-term senator makes the remarks days after Trump announced he’d keep his ban on transgender service in the military following a report signed by Defense Secretary James Mattis recommending limited access to transgender people in the armed forces.

Watch the video here. The exchange begins at 4:08.

Gun control rallies take place across U.S., around the world

Posted: 25 Mar 2018 02:13 PM PDT

A participant in a “March for Our Lives” rally in Tampa, Fla., on March 24, 2018, holds a sign in homage of Emma González, a bisexual student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who has emerged as a vocal gun control advocate after a gunman killed 17 people inside her school last month. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

TAMPA, Fla. — Hundreds of “March for Our Lives” gun control rallies, marches and protests took place across the U.S. and around the world on Saturday.

More than 10,000 people attended a “March for Our Lives” rally in Tampa, Fla. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn are among those who spoke.

“I’m here today because I’m a mom of a senior in high school,” Cathy James of Riverview, Fla., told the Washington Blade as she stood with other members of the Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa in the city’s Kiley Gardens where the rally took place. “I’m here as a community member to support our students and to support our community and say this has got to stop. Enough is enough.”

Upwards of 800,000 people attended the “March for Our Lives” rally in D.C. on Saturday.

The “March for Our Lives” events took place less than six weeks after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Susana Valdivieso pointed out at the Tampa rally that 7,000 children have died from gun violence since the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in 1999. Valdivieso also recalled the shooting that took place at her school on Feb. 14.

“My classmates were not killed by knives or bombs,” she said. “They were struck down by the bullets of a semi-automatic weapons in the hands of a 19-year-old aided and abetted by the leniency of laws that make it far too easy to acquire a weapon that can massacre dozens in mere seconds.”

“How many more will face down the barrel of a gun before we acknowledge this as a public health crisis,” asked Valdivieso.

Media reports indicate 20,000 people took part in a “March for Our Lives” march in Parkland.

Virginia state Del. Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg) — a former television reporter whose then-girlfriend, WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were shot to death in 2015 during a live broadcast — spoke at a “March for Our Lives” rally in Blacksburg, Va.

A gunman in 2007 killed 32 people when he opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech, which is located in the city.

More than 20,000 people attended a “March for Our Lives” rally and march in Orlando, Fla.

A gunman in 2016 killed 49 people when he opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub in the central Florida city.

Christine Leinonen, whose son, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, died inside the nightclub, and several survivors of the massacre marched in the D.C. “March for Our Lives” rally. Several of those who attended the “March for Our Lives” rally in Tampa wore t-shirts that honored those who died inside the Pulse nightclub.

A number of the victims were from the Tampa Bay area.

Tracy Vanderneck of Bradenton, Fla., wore an Orlando United t-shirt in honor of the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre at the Tampa rally. She told the Blade the “same problems that cause the shootings like at the school are the same problems that cause them at Pulse nightclub.”

“We can put different faces on it or different names on it, but it’s the same core problem and until all of these people get together and form a united front, it’s going to keep happening,” said Vanderneck.

Prominent activist acknowledges march participants from Cuba

Gun control advocates around the world also held “March for Our Lives” rallies and events on Saturday.

Several dozen gun control advocates gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Chile. Michael Petrelis, a prominent American LGBT rights activist who is currently visiting Cuba, in a Facebook post from Havana expressed his solidarity with “March for Our Lives” organizers and participants.

“Muchas, muchas gracias (sic) the student and youth leaders of *today* who called for and organized demonstrations,” he wrote in his post.

Democrats Abroad Haiti on Saturday posted pictures of their members in Pétionville, Haiti, holding signs in support of gun control.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday in a tweet that acknowledged those who marched in support of gun control noted his government last week introduced “a plan for common sense gun control that will keep our communities safer.” This proposal includes enhanced background checks for those who want to have a firearm.

Debunking common myths about disability insurance

Posted: 25 Mar 2018 10:56 AM PDT

disability insurance, gay news, Washington Blade

Ninety percent of disabilities are the result of an illness, not an injury.

Disability insurance is one of the most commonly misunderstood necessities of modern living. If you think that sounds dramatic, consider what else you cover with insurance. You cover your car, your home, your health – shouldn't you also cover your paycheck?

That's what disability insurance does. Also known as paycheck protection, this affordable coverage protects you from one of life's real risks – becoming disabled so that you cannot work and cannot support yourself and family for a significant period of time.

Who needs disability insurance?  Everyone who relies on earning an income to support ourselves and our loved ones. Your ability to earn a living is widely viewed as your most valuable financial asset.

Here are four of the most common myths about disability insurance (and their corresponding truths):

Myth 1: Worker's Compensation will cover me if I become disabled. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, less than five percent of disabling accidents and illnesses are work related. The 95 percent that are not work related are not covered by Worker's Compensation.

Myth 2:  I'm too young – I don't need to worry about disabilities at this age. Most working Americans tend to underestimate their chances of experiencing a long-term disability. Statistics from the Social Security Administration show that just over one in four of today's 20-year-olds are protected to become disabled before they retire.

Myth 3:  I don't need it – I work at a computer all day, how likely am I to get into an accident? Many people believe that most disabilities result from an accident. However, according to the Council for Disability Awareness, 90 percent of disabilities are the result of an illness.

Myth 4:  I'll rely on savings if I can't work for a while. Consider this, the average disability claim lasts almost three years, according to the Gen Re U.S. Group Disability & Risk Management Survey. How would you and your family survive without your income for three years or longer?

Your income most likely allows you to pay bills (such as your mortgage or rent), take vacations, fund your child's education, and save for your retirement. If you are like most working individuals, you think the chances of becoming disabled for an extended period of time due to an injury or illness won't happen to you. No one can predict the future. But we can (and should) plan for it and the surprises it may bring.


Greg Klingler is Director of Products and Member Services, Government Employees' Benefit Association (GEBA) Wealth Management. GEBA was founded in 1957 by NSA employees to offer group insurance plan access to NSA employees. From the beginning, GEBA has been a nonprofit employee benefit association committed to its members' best interests. Over the past 60 years, the list of Federal agencies that GEBA supports has increased tremendously and now serves the entire federal government. In addition, GEBA's product line has increased to include a growing set of insurance and investment options for members.