Monday, October 24, 2016

This And That In The News

It is catch up time. Since I have been away I want to touch on some of the news stories from last week.

Dawn Ennis touched on this during her keynote speech,
DoD School to Let Transgender Student Use Girls' Restroom
Military Times
By Oriana Pawlyk
October 23, 2016

Beginning Monday, the transgender daughter of a U.S. airman at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will be allowed to use the girls' bathroom after being denied access to the facility, according to the Department of Defense.

The principal of Ramstein Intermediate School, one of four schools located on the base, had planned on allowing the 11-year-old fifth-grader (who goes by the name Blue) to start using the restroom the week of Oct. 10.

But that decision was overruled by Dr. Elizabeth Dunham, the superintendent of schools Europe East region of the Department of Defense Education Activity, for reasons that remain unclear. After news of the case broke on Friday, the activity apparently reversed Dunham's ruling.
The Department of Defense Education Activity in its statement noted that the departments of Education and Justice issued guidelines in May "to allow students who are transgender access to restroom facilities and other accommodations consistent with their gender identity." While the guidelines have been legally challenged, the department "is not precluded from following the guidelines and granting accommodations requested by parents and students," it stated.

In addition, Todd Weiler, the Pentagon's assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, "will engage and reaffirm the guidance with schools and other facilities that provide services to school aged children," according to the statement.
Once again there was a policy in place that school officials chose to ignore, the woman who barred her from using the correct bath didn’t state her reason for violating the policy but my guess it was for personal reason and not based on any facts.

Then down in Texas a trans woman said that she was discriminated against by a Uber driver.
Transgender woman claims she was thrown out of Uber
By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter
Posted: October 23, 2016

HOUSTON - “An Uber driver just literally kicked me out because I was transgender,” Chanel Santini said as she wiped away the tears that streamed down her face.

It’s not the kind of picture that Santini would ever want anyone to see, but still she posted the video Thursday morning on Snapchat. Moments later, she said she was left stranded and standing in a gas station after an Uber driver ordered her out of his car.

“No matter what my identity is, at the end of the day, transgender or not, I’m still a woman and you don’t treat women like that”, Santini said.
When the driver arrived, Santini said he immediately sexually harassed her and asked cruel questions.

“He asked if I was a stripper. I mean, who asks that kind of question? He said I sounded like a man, my voice he said, sounded like a man.  He told me my body was like a man’s”, Santini said.
And Uber said,
“We have a strict policy prohibiting discrimination of any kind on the Uber platform and will not tolerate the behavior that has been described here.”
My question what is Uber going to do about the driver?

It is hard to prove any type of employment discrimination, first you have to prove you are a member of a protected class and then you have to prove that you were discriminated because you are a member of that class.
On LGBT Job Discrimination, The Courts Are Finally Correcting Congress
New Civil Rights Movement
By Claude Summers
October 23, 2016

Courts May Finally Prohibit Employment Discrimination On The Basis Of Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity

The difficulty in passing a national bill protecting LGBT workers from employment discrimination highlights the dysfunction of American government. Despite the fact that a large majority of Americans supports such legislation, Republicans have steadfastly blocked proposed nondiscrimination laws through a variety of tactical maneuvers or poison pill amendments. However, the courts may finally do what Congress has been unwilling to do.

Currently, LGBT people are partially protected from employment discrimination by a patchwork of state and local laws, executive orders, and court rulings.

Although there is no federal law explicitly addressing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, executive orders--the first of which was issued in 1995 by President Bill Clinton--prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal employment and--thanks to President Obama--by government contractors.
Recent court rulings, at both the district and appellate levels, have affirmed that transgender people are protected from discrimination in employment.

For example, on December 6, 2011, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Glenn v. Brumby upheld a lower court ruling that the Georgia General Assembly discriminated against Vandy Beth Glenn, a transgender woman who was fired from her job as Legislative Editor after she told her supervisor that she planned to transition from male to female.
The victory was the first ruling on transgender rights from the Eleventh Circuit, considered one of the most conservative circuits. The ruling brought the Eleventh Circuit in line with other circuits in applying to transgender individuals the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989) that said that gender non-conformity is included in the Civil Rights Act's prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex.
At Fantasia Fair I was talking to a trans woman who just won her federal case here in Coonnecticut, one of the things that she mentioned was how hard it is to find a lawyer to take her case. The LGBT legal organizations don’t want to handle these cases, they tend to take ground breaking cases and not those who have plain vanilla cases.

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