Friday, September 27, 2013

Around The Nation

New York
Renowned NY gay equestrian riding instructor killed by unknown gunman
Ross Reisner, right, with longtime partner Kevin Murray
Photo Credit: Mimi Tashjian courtesy of Kim Tudor
EAST SETAUKET -- A fifty year old renowned openly gay New York equestrian riding instructor died Tuesday, after an unknown gunman fired multiple rounds into the victim's home killing him as he sat next to his partner of 26 years.
A spokesperson for the Suffolk County police department told LGBTQ Nation Friday, that Ross Reisner and his longtime partner Kevin Murray, were sitting on a couch at about 8:45 p.m. when an unknown gunman, using a high-caliber weapon, fired multiple rounds through the window of the victim's East Setauket home on Long Island. Reisner was shot in the chest and died later at Stony Brook University Hospital.  Murray, was grazed by a bullet and refused medical treatment.
According to Lieutenant Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the Suffolk homicide squad, "This is not a random act," he said "Given the information we possess, I believe they were fired on by someone who was intentionally firing on them." Fitzpatrick noted, "The shooter or shooters entered the yard and fired shots through a window." 
According to the New York Post, Suffolk police are looking to question Reisner’s former roommate in connection with the shooting, but he has not been named as a suspect.  A relative told the Post that Reisner had a falling out with the ex-roommate two years ago, and that the former roommate even once sent Reisner and Murray a dead bird to express his anger.
“[He] had some sort of psychotic break,” the relative said to the Post. “Ross and Kevin had called the police on him. It got very bad.”
Reisner is remembered as an accomplished equestrian and horse trainer who trained successful riders for decades and was a fixture on the national horse show circuit. According to his business partner and childhood friend, Bobby Ginsberg showing horses was his passion.
"Everybody knew Ross. He always had clients at the horse shows. He was always striving to be a great trainer and rider," Ginsberg said. "When it came to his training and his riding, he was very serious and dedicated to it — he loved to win," 
Ginsberg added, "On his downtime, he was just one of the funniest people you'd ever to hope to meet."
Shanette Cohen, the executive director of the Hampton Classic, reacted to the about Reisner saying, "He was very well-liked and he was a real fixture in the Long Island equestrian community. We're shocked and saddened and horrified by this news. What a loss for Long Island's equestrian community and the greater equestrian community." 
Reisner trained competitive equestrians and his team of riders were scheduled to take a riding team to the U.S. Equestrian Federation finals in New Jersey next month.

Trans people to be covered by Affordable Care Act in Colorado's Health Insurance Marketplace
Courtney Gray via GLBT Community Center
DENVER -- LGBT activists are cheering the announcement that another health insurance plan will offer health services for Coloradan transgender residents.
As the state moves to roll out its Health Insurance Marketplace next Tuesday, as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente announced this week that it will cover health services for transgender citizens following the announcement earlier this month that Colorado HealthOP, a nonprofit cooperative health insurance plan, would offer similar coverage.
Courtney Gray, the Transgender Programs coordinator for the GLBT Community Center of Colorado pointed out that transgender people have historically had a difficult time finding health care coverage.
"Colorado will be one of the first states to have a health insurer selling plans that do not exclude transgender people," she said adding "If you're being denied access to health care altogether, based on who you are - when you're at your most down and out and when you're needing care - to be discriminated against at that point is devastating." 
According to the Washington D.C. based National Center for Transgender Equality, the transgender population has a 41 percent suicide rate, compared with less than 2 percent for the general population. A spokesperson for the center noted that a lack of adequate health care protections is a factor in the higher suicide rate.
The GLBT Community Center of Colorado, located in Denver, will serve as a location for Coloradans LGBTQ people to sign up for health coverage under Connect for Health Colorado
Gray, who is herself transgender, said finding health care was not easy, until she started working at the Center.
"Several years ago, on the individual market, I applied to every single health insurance company in the state of Colorado. I didn't qualify for low income, and every other health insurance company - when they found out I was transgender - decided not to cover me at all."
The Colorado Division of Insurance had issued a bulletin earlier this year outlining that Colorado's anti-discrimination law does apply to health insurance. All plans must offer the same services for transgender people that are offered the state's other residents.
A spokesperson for the CDI told LGBTQ Nation that all health insurers doing business in the state must offer coverage for the transgender population, although only two have done so thus far.
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