Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bills, Bills, Bills

Tis the legislative season and there are a number of bills introduced around the country that affects us in the trans community, the first is here in Connecticut.

The bill to ban conversion therapy for those under 18 needs a push to get it started again. Are any of these legislators from your districts? We need you to call them and ask them to sponsor HB6695.

1) Calls to Uncommitted Legislators: 
Ask constituents to call or email the following legislators who have not yet indicated that they will support the bill. The ask is simple: “I am a constituent and I hope that you will vote to support HB 6599, AAC Protection of Youth from Conversion Therapy."

73 Rep. Berger D 860-240-1372
86 Rep. Candelora R 860-240-8734
S09 Sen. Doyle D 860-240-0475
47 Rep. Dubitsky R 860-240-8725
148 Rep. Fox D 860-240-1372
3 Rep. Gonzalez D 860-240-1373
107 Rep. Harding R 860-240-8381
S28 Sen. Hwang R 860-842-1421
S07 Sen. Kissel R 860-842-1421
S2 Sen. McCrory D 860-240-1453
122 Rep. McGorty R 860-240-8389
S24 Sen. McLachlan R 860-842-1421
140 Rep. Morris D 860-240-1373
125 Rep. O Dea R 860-240-8778
69 Rep. O Neill R 860-240-1342
80 Rep. Sampson R 860-240-8398
33 Rep. Serra D 860-240-1378
31 Rep. Srinivasan R 860-240-1310
S13 Sen. Suzio R 860-240-8321

2. Thank you calls to HB 6599 co-sponsors:
If your legislator is a co-sponsor of HB 6599, AAC Protection of Youth from Conversion Therapy, (and either your State Rep. or State Sen. likely are because there are over 90 co-sponsors!), PLEASE call and thank them for their support. You can find the list of co-sponsors here: (scroll down to find co-sponsor list; Note: they are not in either alphabetical or numerical order):

If you don’t know who your state representative and state senator are, you can find them here:

Down in Texas we are still battling to stop an anti-trans bill there,
Gov. Abbott says he wants to sign a transgender bathroom bill
By Chuck Lindell
April 18, 2017

No longer silent on an issue that has roiled the Texas Legislature for months, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he wants to work with the House and Senate to approve a transgender bathroom bill.

“I support the principles of both the Senate and House to protect privacy in bathrooms. We will work to get a bill to my desk,” Abbott said via Twitter.

Abbott’s statement of support came one day before a House committee was to begin debate on a new measure that would block cities, counties and school districts from enacting or enforcing transgender-friendly restroom policies.
Hmm… sound familiar? Maybe the North Carolina law comes to mind?

But there are some roadblocks, and one of them is,
House Speaker Joe Straus has also questioned the need for legislation aimed at bathroom use by transgender people.
“I would suggest that it’s worse than SB 6, which was limited to government buildings and schools, while this applies to everywhere in the state, all restroom facilities anywhere in the state,” said Chuck Smith with Equality Texas.

Smith said HB 2899’s ban on bathroom-related protections for what the legislation broadly calls “a class of persons” was one-sided and unfair.

“It says you cannot protect a class of people, but it would allow any of those jurisdictions to pass ordinances that would specifically discriminate against those people,” Smith said
Stay tune for the continuing saga of Texas legislature.

Meanwhile up in Idaho
Transgender woman sues to change Idaho birth certificate
Magic Valley
By Nathan Brown
April 19, 2017

BOISE — A transgender woman is suing the state of Idaho for the right to change her gender on her birth certificate.

Identified be her initials F.V. in the court papers, which were filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, the lawsuit says F.V. has been living as a woman since she was 15 and has undergone sex reassignment treatments and changed her name to a feminine one on her driver’s license and in Social Security records. It says she contacted the Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics in March to change her gender on her birth certificate but was told she could not.

According to a news release from Lambda Legal, a pro-gay and transgender rights legal organization that is representing her, F.V. is now 28 and lives in Hawaii.

“Unlike nearly every other state in America, Idaho currently enforces a categorical ban against transgender people changing the gender on their birth certificates, which is an archaic policy that defies logic,” said Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn. “In fact, government officials in Idaho know this, given that they allow transgender people to change the gender on their drivers’ licenses.”
Connecticut is one of the few states where you can change your birth certificate with a letter from you doctor or therapist.

In North Carolina the NCAA buys it hook, line, and sinker.
NCAA returns to North Carolina after transgender bathroom law repeal
By Daniel Trotta
April 18, 2017

The National Collegiate Athletic Association on Tuesday formally reversed course and scheduled championship games in North Carolina, returning to the state after previously stripping it of events to protest a law on transgender use of public bathrooms.

Transgender advocates immediately criticized the decision, saying although the bathroom law was repealed last month, North Carolina still discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and did not deserve to be rewarded.

The controversy started with the March 2016 approval of House Bill 2, which required transgender people to use bathrooms matching the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity. In response, the NCAA disqualified North Carolina from hosting neutral-site championship events for the 2016-17 academic year.
But the new law does nothing for us!
Seeking to win back business, state lawmakers repealed the law on March 30, but they also approved a new measure banning cities from passing their own anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people until 2020, drawing outrage from civil rights advocates.
The Charlotte Observer writes,
This was the first real test of leadership for Gov. Cooper, a Democrat, and he failed spectacularly by inexplicably discarding his earlier promise not to accept any deal that left people vulnerable to discrimination. The new law ensures that all gay people – not just transgender people seeking to relieve themselves without being harassed – are susceptible to unequal treatment for at least the next 3 ½ years.

HB2 was a Republican-written law, passed primarily by Republican supermajorities. It has been an embarrassment for North Carolina since the day it passed – so much so that even House and Senate Republican leaders eventually agreed it needed to be repealed. The onus was on them, not on Cooper and other Democrats, to make things right. Purely from a political strategy perspective, Democrats held the upper hand, not because they had the numbers but because they had public opinion on their side. Yet they caved anyway and essentially locked in HB2’s key requirements for years.
It seems to me that at the very least the NCAA should have waited until the new law goes into effect.

Once again we get the short stick.

Update 9:15 AM

Down in Alabama, they are trying to a pass special rights for religious bigots to hide behind. The HRC wrote on their blog,
Today, HRC denounced the Alabama State Senate and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh for passing the anti-LGBTQ H.B. 24. HRC Alabama calls upon Governor Kay Ivey to not sign this bill, which would most harm the children in Alabama’s child welfare system.

The bill, deceptively titled the “Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act,” would enshrine discrimination into Alabama law by allowing state-licensed adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s religious beliefs.

“Plain and simple -- H.B. 24 is discrimination dressed up as a ‘solution’ to a fake problem,” said Eva Kendrick, HRC Alabama State Director. “It creates an unnecessary hardship for potential LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents in Alabama and primarily harms the children looking for a loving home. It’s unfortunate that leaders continue to push this bill, even as child welfare organizations, faith leaders and fair-minded Alabamians are standing up and calling this bill out for what it is: discrimination. We now ask Governor Kay Ivey to not sign into law this harmful bill.”

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