Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This And That In The News – Trans Issues

"This And That In The News" is about articles in the news that have caught my eye and I want to share or comment about. These are the articles that caught my attention last week.

I realize that this is a couple of weeks old news but I just read about it…
Joe Biden: Transgender Discrimination Is 'The Civil Rights Issue Of Our Time'
The Huffington Post
By Jennifer Bendery
Posted: 10/30/2012

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden said transgender discrimination is "the civil rights issue of our time" during a visit to a Florida field office on Tuesday, according to pool reports.
The vice president has been a steadfast ally to the LGBT community. He told gay rights advocates in August that they are "freeing the soul of the American people." Most notably, however, he got out in front of President Barack Obama in May when he unexpectedly announced that he is "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex marriage. Obama, at the time, was still "evolving" on the issue.
My prediction, we will see more trans-people appointed to government positions within the next couple of months. President Obama has been firm supporter of trans-rights and I expect to continue that support.

A blog post in the Huffington Post by Kortney Ryan Ziegler that was also about trans-rights. Ms. Ziegler wrote…
This year has witnessed transgender pioneers set impressive precedent in the ongoing struggle against the multiple levels of discrimination faced by the community. In June activist and attorney Kylar Broadus became the first transgender witness to testify before the Senate, relaying his experience of discrimination in defense of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). A few months earlier the Transgender Law Center led a landmark case that resulted in an EEOC ruling that extended employment protection rights to transgender individuals throughout the country.
Notice she said “before the Senate” and that is because House has already held hearing on ENDA and there were a number of trans-people who testified before the committee.

Continuing along with politics, this time from New Hampshire,
N.H. voters elect country’s first out transgender statewide candidate
Washington Blade
By Michael K. Lavers
November 9, 2012

A New Hampshire Democrat on Tuesday became the first openly transgender person elected to statewide office in the country.

Stacie Laughton, a Nashua selectman, will represent portions of the state’s second largest city located on the Massachusetts border in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. She and two other Democrats defeated two Republicans who had also ran.
You may remember that New Hampshire is the only New England state that does not protect its transgender citizens from discrimination. When the bill came up for a vote, no one voted in favor of the bill, not even the bill’s sponsor.

Then we have the flip-flopping  East Aurora School Board back in the news, this time they are appointing a committee to come up with a policy on gender identity and expression…
Following its controversial decision to rescind a policy that would have added protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students in its schools Oct. 19, the East Aurora School District announced Monday that it is forming a committee to work on an all new “inclusive policy.”
Whoopee! I can wait to see what they come up with now.

Next is bad news, Thomas Beatie is back in the news and it can be very bad for us.
Beatie Divorce Update
Arizona is Attempting to Invalidate the Beaties’ Marriage and Thomas’ Legal Male Gender Identity
Defining Normal
October 16, 2012

Sometimes divorce happens. (Or does it?) After 14 years of being in a relationship (9 years of marriage) Thomas and Nancy Beatie filed for divorce in Phoenix, Arizona of March, 2012. For three months, the case moved through the system like any other divorce... granted there are complications like a bitter child custody dispute and an order of protection being served against Nancy due to her alcohol addiction and domestic violence, but a final divorce hearing was set for September 18, 2012. Unexpectedly, on June 26, 2012, Judge Douglas Gerlach, the Maricopa County Superior Court judge overseeing the matter, vacated the final trial date and put the divorce on hold. The judge backpedaled from what seemed to be the course for a normal divorce case to issuing a Nunc Pro Tunc Order challenging the jurisdiction and validity of the Beaties' marriage and Thomas' male identity. Due to the fact that Thomas chose to use his reproductive organs and give birth to his children, the judge potentially sees their marriage as a same-sex union.
Why is this bad for us? It is because if the judge rules on whether a trans-man must have his reproductive organs removed it can result in a very invasive surgery and cost thousands of dollars more to GRS. In this case the judge has decided to answer a question that neither party in the divorce asked, talk about an activist judge! The case will be heard on December 7, 2012 and Beatie’s lawyer has filed a document saying that they are legally married in PR Web they quote Beatie's lawyer...
"We filed our memorandum showing that under Arizona State Statute that a transgender man's legal definition is set by certain medical operations, treatments, and finally a certified doctors approval." states Thomas’ Lawyer David Michael Cantor of the Cantor Law Group "Since Arizona and Hawaii have virtually the same Sex Change Statue, in this case we will prove that under the law Thomas was a man at the time of his wedding. Sterilization is not a requirement of either State’s Statute. Under both Arizona’s and Hawaii’s law Thomas was a man at the time of his marriage, and therefore his three children born during the marriage are legitimate."
Hopefully, this case will turn out in our favor.

Lastly some news from Hollywood…
Sundance Channel Developing Transgender Drama
BY Neal Broverman
November 10 2012

In a first for television, the Sundance Channel is developing a scripted drama series focusing on a transgender man reconciling his past as a lesbian activist.
… little else is known about T except that it centers on a transgender man following gender reassigment surgery, who was previously a lesbian activist at Massachusetts's Mt. Holyoke College in the 2000s.

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