Illinois does what With LGBT students HIV/AIDS status?!

Illinois currently reports all students who test positive for HIV/Aids to their school's principle which is bad enough, but this is especially devastating to our trans youth. Transgender teens and those in their twenties are more likely than any other sub demographic to have HIV/aids according to the CDC. And transgender people with new infections are less likely to acknowledge having HIV/AIDS or to seek treatment even if health care is available.

Compound these factors with the fear a young person would feel of being outed by their principal to whom ever he wants to and the inevitable subsequent rumors, stigmatization and social ostracization. That would make the first step, testing, unlikely.

This should never be the case. Advocates for Youth are taking action.

Students in Illinois need your help to correct an outrageous violation of privacy.

Illinois is the ONLY state in which health authorities are required by law to notify school principals of the names of students that test HIV-positive. Their principals can then disclose the information to any school personnel they like.

A bill before the senate, HB 61, would repeal this invasive and unnecessary requirement.

Urge the Illinois Senate to pass HB 61

Illinois’ disclosure law was written in 1987. Unfortunately, even in 2013, HIV remains highly stigmatized. Sharing students’ HIV status without their permission perpetuates this stigma and could discourage young people from getting tested for HIV. Plus, it is a violation of their right to medical confidentiality. Read more about this dangerous law.

Let’s change this law. Sign the petition and tell the Illinois Senate to pass HB 61.


Diana Rhodes
State Strategies Manager
Advocates for Youth

Ponni, Transgender Woman Realizes Her Dream Teaching Dance In an Indian Slum

Ponni, a transgender woman from Chennai, India had a dream 20 year ago as a youth. She longed to dance, but because of her gender expression Ponni was denied the classes she needed to hone her skills. She was forced to watch dancers, secretly, alone from outside peering threw a window.

Ponni's life long dream is being realized and much to her amazement, with the support of her students parents. Ponni's story is an inspiration to all of us as she crosses bridges, creating friendship with respect, hard work and unselfish dedication while dancing to her own music.

CHENNAI: The clanging of the 'nattuvangam' resonates with the synchronised thumping of more than a dozen pairs of feet. Dressed in purple and blue, the children elbow one another in the cramped room, but they snap to attention when their guru dances to the invocatory song.

The room is small and in a ramshackle tenement, but the clutter does not hamper the passion with which Ponni, a transgender, leads her students. "I want to be as graceful as her," says 12-year-old R Supriya, trying to perfect her mudras in front of the mirrors that line one side of the class.

Located in a slum in Vyasarpadi on the outskirts of Chennai, Abhinaya Nrithyalaya is the outcome of Ponni's 20-year dream. "I've wanted to set up a dance school for slum children since my childhood in Tuticorin when I was rejected by a dance class because it was open only to Brahmin students. I used to secretly stand by the window and watch them dance," recalls Ponni, who underwent a sex reassignment surgery in her 20s.
Read more at Times of India

Photo The Hindu "Carving an identity with dance