I’m heading off into the sunset…
Then we have this very, very big bird on the lake...
Then we have this very, very big bird on the lake...
"So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key"
Already Gone - Eagles
Advocates launch campaign to bar workplace discrimination against gaysThe coalition is headed by Matthew McTighe who lead Maine’s marriage equality campaign and that is what worries me, that once again we will be tossed aside in order to get the bill passed. The coalition is heavily weighted with gay and lesbian marriage equality organization with only the National Center for Transgender Equality representing the trans-community.
By Juliet Eilperin
July 30, 2013
A coalition of civil rights groups is launching a $2 million campaign aimed at mobilizing support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has languished on Capitol Hill for nearly two decades.
The coalition, called Americans for Workplace Opportunity, is targeting 13 senators in 11 states in hopes of replicating the strategy gay marriage advocates have used to push successful state ballot initiatives.
The effort includes gay rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and the GOP-leaning American Unity Fund, as well as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Service Employees International Union.
Within the gay movement, Lafferty [Traditional Values Coalition President] argued, transgender people “are kind of like the crazy aunt at Thanksgiving. They put up with the crazy aunt at Thanksgiving, but they don’t want to be seen with her in public.”Will we find a new set of tire tracks when ENDA comes up for a vote?
Thank God for transgender persons and their families, who exemplify the amazing beauty of the divine creation in all its complexity and rich diversity.One thing that we often forget, not all religions have the same beliefs; we tend to lump all Christians together, all Jews together, and all Muslims together. However, in reality all the religions of the world have different sects within each religion with their own unique set of beliefs. Some sects are more tolerant, the Episcopal are more tolerant than Baptist, the Reform Jews are more tolerant than Orthodox Jews ad so on with the other religions.
It is a blessing to share community with our transgender sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and fathers and mothers and to work alongside them to assure that each and every person, including each and every transgender person, has what they need and deserve: respect and a secure sense of personal dignity and worth, a fair share of resources, a life without fear, and the freedom to live in the world as one’s authentic self.
As a Christian ethicist, I have often reminded seminarians and myself that it is wise, in the midst of social change, to slow down and avoid “premature clarity,” or what might be called rush to judgment. Before giving any kind of ethical evaluation, we ought to take the time to understand as fully as possible the reality before us, in this instance transgenderism. The best way to gain understanding is to listen to and learn from transgender persons.We hear “nature doesn’t make mistakes” from many conservative religious leaders and I agree because I am not a mistake. I believe that there was a purpose that there are gays, lesbians, bi and trans-people and it is what Rev. Ellison said, “keeping with Jesus’ mandate to love thy neighbor.” If we are all the same there it would be very easy to “love thy neighbor” but with diversity there is discrimination and it takes work to “love thy neighbor.” It takes work to love the black kid with a hoody walking through your neighborhood. It takes work to love a person in a wheelchair and it takes work to love a trans-person.
Extending a respectful, hospitable welcome to transgender people and their families is fully in keeping with Jesus’ mandate to love thy neighbor. Standing within the prophetic tradition of his community, Jesus called for a new moral order constructed on the basis of biblical justice or the principle of right relatedness.
Pope Francis Says He Does Not Judge Gay PriestsBut when you tell someone not of your faith who they can marry and who they can’t you are marginalizing them. I have no problem with you telling people of your faith who they can marry, but I have a very big problem when your priest lobby against marriage equality.
His comments were short, subtle, but unmistakably direct: “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized.”
By Elizabeth Dias
July 29, 2013
Today the Pope stated that he does not judge gays—a statement that will send shockwaves through the church. His comments were short, subtle, but unmistakably direct. “If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized,” he told reporters on his return flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome. “The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”
The Pope also criticized journalists for reporting on allegations of homosexuality within the Vatican, saying those matters concerned questions of sin, not crimes, like the sexual abuse of children. He said when someone sins and confesses, God both forgives and forgets. “We don’t have the right to not forget,” he said.
Pat Robertson Says Being Transgender Is Not a SinHe goes on to say to the person who asked the question, “It's not for you to decide, or to judge,"
The televangelist issued an unexpected response to a viewer's question about recognizing transgender coworkers as the gender with which they identify.
BY Sunnivie Brydum
July 29 2013
On Sunday's episode of the Christian Broadcasting Network's question and answer forum, "Bring It Online" with televangelist Pat Robertson, the right-wing pundit had some surprising things to say about transgender people.
"But I think there are men who are in a woman's body," the 83-year-old former Baptist minister continues. "It's very rare, but it's true. Or women that are in men's bodies. And they want a sex change. And that is a very permanent thing, believe me, when you have certain body parts amputated, and you have shot up with various kinds of hormones, it's a radical procedure. I don't think there's any sin associated with that — I don't condemn somebody for doing that."
Equal Access at All LevelsThe author goes on to say what I said, while this in not a policy like the EEOC policy on employment discrimination it does show is that the Departments of Justice and Education believe that the laws do cover gender identity and expression and that the laws also cover sex-segregated facilities.
July 29, 2013
Last week's settlement between the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights and a California school district may have been issued at the K-12 level, but the newly clear message that federal laws prohibit discrimination based on gender identity applies to colleges too, experts say.
The settlement is also a first in that it deals with access to educational programs, facilities and activities -- which is really what Title IX is all about -- whereas the 2010 letter [the "Dear Colleague" letter] related more to school climate, harassment and bullying. The issue is not hypothetical; colleges report that they are enrolling more transgender students who are requesting various services and policies -- anti-bias rules, access to bathrooms, ability to join athletic teams -- and at some institutions, they haven't been satisfied with the response.
"It actually is groundbreaking," Erin Buzevis, the law professor at Western New England School of Law who runs the Title IX Blog, said in an e-mail. "By taking one such case, OCR signals its willingness to take similar cases in the future, and there's no reason to think those cases wouldn't also include college students."The actual agreement between the U.S. DOJ & Ed also requires the Arcadia School District to provide training
Finally, OCR required the school district to hire a consultant with expertise in child development and transitioning youth to help address these issues and make sure the changes are thorough and lasting. Colleges might want to do something similar, Orr said.Just remember that the Departments of Justice and Education agreement with the Arcadia School District is not a court order but an agreement between two parties and a court could have a different ruling or the next President could put an entirely different Attorney General and Commissioner with their own interpretation of the law.
New South Wales gay marriage report pushing reform in other statesNow for the bad news…
A report by a New South Wales state parliamentary committee that found that Australian states can make laws in regard to same-sex marriage may lead to same-sex couples being able to wed in South Australia and in the nation’s capital of Canberra
Gay Star News
29 July 2013
By Andrew Potts
South Australia may vote again on same-sex marriage, but this time it is likely Opposition MPs will be given a conscience vote on the issue – meaning the bill may pass.
Last week South Australian Opposition leader Steven Marshall told The Australian newspaper that he would allow his MPs a conscience vote on the issue if a New South Wales (NSW) state parliamentary inquiry found that states could legislate for same-sex marriage – and on Friday the committee did just that.
NSW marriage equality bill excludes trans and intersexThat is OK, just another set of tire track over our bodies.
Gay News Network
Author Cec Busby
29 July 2013
A NSW parliamentary report released on Friday saying state-based marriage law was not unconstitutional was cause for celebration amongst the LGBTI community, but when news surfaced that a new marriage equality bill would exclude trans and intersex, LGBTI activist groups were alarmed.
Community Action Against Homophobia immediately sent out a release condemning the marginalisation of trans and intersex people in the proposed bill.Um… did CAAH call for the bill to be voted down or pulled? Ah… no, but don’t worry we’ll come back for you.
CAAH Co-Convenor Cat Rose said “The exemption of trans and intersex people's rights shows they haven't shifted nearly far enough. Our campaign has been for full equality for everyone, we don't settle for concessions and we won't stand for this transphobia and the invisibilising of intersex people."
Legislature to reconsider bill protecting transgender access to public accommodationsOf course the opposition were posturizing that it was the “bathroom bill” all over again,
Posted by Jeremy C. Fox
July 8, 2013
Levi [Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD] said access to housing is often an issue for transgender people, and finding a safe place to stay is especially important because LGBT young people are disproportionately likely to become homeless.
That’s one reason Levi and other transgender advocates hope this will be the year the state Legislature will pass a bill that would protect the access of transgender people to public accommodations, including “hospitals, public transportation, nursing homes, supermarkets, retail establishments, and all other places open to the public.”
Opponents of the bill say it would improperly give men access to women’s private spaces.They always preach doom and gloom of rapists and perverts using the bill as an excuse to use the women’s bathroom. The first gender inclusive anti-discrimination law was passed in 1975 in Minneapolis and since then there has been no cases of anyone using the law to commit a crime.
“We believe in the safety, the privacy, and the modesty of all citizens, and we believe this legislation would violate that,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Woburn-based Massachusetts Family Institute.
In a letter to the chairs of the Judiciary Committee, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he signed a similar ordinance guaranteeing access within the City of Boston in 2002 and asking them to support the current bill.Here is Jennifer Levi’s testimony…
At a press conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was joined by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court to announce the year-long project. A statement of support was read out on behalf of renowned South African singer and UNICEF and Roll Back Malaria Goodwill Ambassador Yvonne Chaka Chaka.The United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 voted on a resolution convened a panel to study discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The vote cumulated years of progress in Human Rights for LGBT community. Back in 2008 a Dutch/French-initiated, European Union-backed statement presented to the United Nations General Assembly and 66 nations voted in favor of the statement (it is now up to 85 nations). Unfortunately, the United States was not one of the signers because of President Bush. However, President Obama did sign the statement.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises a world in which everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights – no exceptions, no-one left behind,” said High Commissioner Pillay. “Yet it’s still a hollow promise for many millions of LGBT people forced to confront hatred, intolerance, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.”
The Free & Equal campaign hopes to begin legal reforms and public education to counter homophobia and transphobia.
Presented to the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2008.
We have the honour to make this statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity on behalf of Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Sao Tome et Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.
We reaffirm the principle of universality of human rights, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whose 60th anniversary is celebrated this year, Article 1 of which proclaims that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights";
We reaffirm that everyone is entitled to the enjoyment of human rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, as set out in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 2 of the International Covenants on Civil and Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as in article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
1. We reaffirm the principle of non-discrimination which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity;
2. We are deeply concerned by violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
3. We are also disturbed that violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatisation and prejudice are directed against persons in all countries in the world because of sexual orientation or gender identity, and that these practices undermine the integrity and dignity of those subjected to these abuses;
4. We condemn the human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity wherever they occur, in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest or detention and deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health;
5. We recall the statement in 2006 before the Human Rights Council by fifty four countries requesting the President of the Council to provide an opportunity, at an appropriate future session of the Council, for discussing these violations;
6. We commend the attention paid to these issues by special procedures of the Human Rights Council and treaty bodies and encourage them to continue to integrate consideration of human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity within their relevant mandates;
7. We welcome the adoption of Resolution AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) on "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity" by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States during its 38th session in 3 June 2008;
8. We call upon all States and relevant international human rights mechanisms to commit to promote and protect human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity;
9. We urge States to take all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention.
10. We urge States to ensure that human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity are investigated and perpetrators held accountable and brought to justice;
11. We urge States to ensure adequate protection of human rights defenders, and remove obstacles which prevent them from carrying out their work on issues of human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity.
DOJ ripped for making transgender restroom use new front in civil rights battleThere we go again; that chromosomes are only XX or XY and totally ignoring intersex conditions, just a simplistic 1950 view of sex. We'll just use a little reparative therapy and everything will by okay again. Hey maybe just a few jolts of electroconvulsive therapy and it will straighten them right out.
By Michael Roppolo
Published July 26, 2013
The U.S. Department of Justice's latest cause - fighting for a transgendered California ninth-grader's right to use the boy's room at school - has conservative groups wondering just how far Washington will go in the name of civil rights.
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, said Attorney General Eric Holder is off-base in pushing the case as a matter of civil rights.
“Eric Holder needs to reread the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and find out that civil rights are based on an unchangeable, immutable characteristic,” Thomasson said. “You cannot change your genes or your gender. You have chromosomes and they are either XX or XY. This is a girl who has been environmentally warped to believe she is a boy, and, instead of coddling this confused child, her parents should have gotten her into counseling with an expert on gender confusion.”
But several conservative groups said the federal agency has no business getting involved in the issue as a civil rights matter, and in doing so, trampled on the rights of other students.Um… where to even begin with that logic. Have they even heard of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? They is a whole series of federal court case going all the way back to the 1989 Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins Supreme Court case that ruled that sex discrimination can also be the way a person looks or dresses. That case was followed by numerous other court cases that ruled that gender identity and express are covered Titles IV and IX.
“Eric Holder needs to reread the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and find out that civil rights are based on an unchangeable, immutable characteristic,” Thomasson said. “You cannot change your genes or your gender.Some more thoughts about "unchangeable, immutable characteristic;" the best legal challenge to this logic that I have heard was from a judged who ruled (I believe from a court case in Georgia) sex discrimination covers transgender people because it is still "sex." The judges used the analogy that if a person changed their religion it is still religious discrimination and it is still sex discrimination if a person their sex.
Racism, xenophobia and intolerance are prevalent problems. Prejudice and discrimination are reflected throughout United States history from European-American exploitation of Native Americans and enslavement of people of African descent; job discrimination against the Irish; World War II internment of Japanese Americans; state-sponsored racial segregation of Mexican Americans; Jim Crow laws, and the War on Drugs that results in mass incarceration of African Americans.
To encourage conversation and solution-building, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center presents What Can You Do to Fight Intolerance?, a free workshop on July 25 from 5-7 p.m., facilitated by Dr. William A. Howe, CT Department of Education. Reservations are encouraged: 860-522-9258, ext. 317 or Info @ StoweCenter.org.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
United States Reaches Agreement with Arcadia, California, School District to Resolve Sex Discrimination Allegations
The United States entered into a settlement agreement with the Arcadia Unified School District in Arcadia, Calif., to resolve an investigation into allegations of discrimination against a transgender student based on the student’s sex. Under the agreement, approved by the district’s school board unanimously last night, the school district will take a number of steps to ensure that the student, whose gender identity is male and who has consistently and uniformly presented as a boy at school and in all other aspects of his life for several years, will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district.
The agreement, joined by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which participated in the investigation, resolves a complaint filed in October 2011. The complaint alleged that the district had prohibited the student from accessing facilities consistent with his male gender identity, including restrooms and locker rooms at school, as well as sex-specific overnight accommodations at a school-sponsored trip, because he is transgender. The United States investigated this complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both Title IX and Title IV prohibit discrimination against students based on sex.
Under the settlement agreement, the district will:
Additionally, the district will take a number of steps to treat the student like all other male students in the education programs and activities offered by the district. The district-wide provisions of the agreement will be in place until the end of the 2015-2016 school year. The student-specific provisions of the agreement will be in place as long as the student is enrolled in the district.
- work with a consultant to support and assist the district in creating a safe, nondiscriminatory learning environment for students who are transgender or do not conform to gender stereotypes;
- amend its policies and procedures to reflect that gender-based discrimination, including discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, transgender status, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is a form of discrimination based on sex; and
- train administrators and faculty on preventing gender-based discrimination and creating a nondiscriminatory school environment for transgender students.
“All students, including transgender students, have the right to attend school free from discrimination based on their sex,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We commend the district for taking affirmative steps to ensure that this student and his peers can continue to learn and thrive in a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.”
“Our commitment to civil rights enforcement runs deep and nowhere is that commitment more meaningful than in our schools,” said André Birotte, Jr., United States Attorney for the Central District of California. “This agreement helps ensure continued advancement towards equal rights under the law for all students.”
In recent years, the Justice Department and the Department of Education resolved a number of cases involving gender-based harassment in public schools. In 2012, the departments entered into a consent decree addressing harassment against students who do not conform to gender stereotypes in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minn. In 2011, the departments entered into an agreement with the Tehachapi Unified School District, Calif., to resolve a similar complaint of harassment against a gay student who did not conform to gender stereotypes.
Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 each prohibit harassment based on sex. The enforcement of Title IV and Title IX are top priorities of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt .
In abrupt reversal, Anthem covers transgender careDo you really think that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado out of the kindness of their heart reversed their decision not to cover surgery for trans-people in Colorado?
Health Policy Solutions
By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
Posted on 24 July 2013
One of Colorado’s largest health insurance companies has reversed itself and is now covering care for transgender patients.
Kelly Costello, 32, of Denver, received stunning news last week. One day after getting a formal notice that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado would not cover chest reconstruction surgery, the company abruptly overturned its decision.
Costello received a written notice that Anthem has reversed its decision and now will cover “some or all of the services.” Costello had paid about $8,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for the surgery he underwent in April.
In March, Colorado’s Division of Insurance issued a bulletin barring health insurance companies from discriminating against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.They realized that they had a losing case and were ripe for a law suit.
Your Brain on Childhood: The Unexpected Side Effects of Classrooms, Ballparks, Family Rooms, and the MinivanI was watching my grandnieces and grandnephews play with Logos one Christmas building the toy pictured on the box (I believe it was an action figure from Star Wars) and when they went on to another toy, I started to build something with the Legos and I got chided for not building the picture on the box. They were using their imagination but only within the confines outlined on the box, they were zoom around the room fighting imaginary space battles with it; but if you wanted to build a tank with the Legos, they didn’t like that.
By Gabrielle Principe
For more than 99 percent of human existence childhood was spent in a natural environment. Children spent their days roaming in packs and playing on their own in the out-of-doors. They improvised their play, invented games, and made up their own rules. Education was informal and new skills were learned through interacting with peers and encountering the natural world.
Today, infants find themselves strapped into bouncy seats and plunked in front of the TV set; preschoolers are given talking doll houses and battery-powered frogs that teach them their ABCs; and older children sit in front of computers with iPods in their ears texting friends.
Although such artificial environments have made life easier and more secure for children, scientists are finding that this new lifestyle is having unwanted side effects on children’s brains. In Your Brain on Childhood, developmental psychologist Gabrielle Principe reviews the consequences of raising children in today’s highly unnatural environments and suggests ways in which parents can learn to naturalize childhood again, so that a child’s environment gels with how the brain was designed to grow.
The startling implication is that today’s structured, controlled, and fabricated surroundings are exactly wrong for developing brains. Instead of emphasizing technology and organized activities, parents and teachers could better help children learn by encouraging exploration, experimentation, and exposure to the real world…Now it seems like that Little League goes for the whole summer and there is no time for family activities, it seems like the summer about going from one camp to another summer camp. From band camp to cheerleader camp to soccer camp. When my brother and I were little we use to travel all over the eastern U.S. by car exploring the countryside. We explored the caves of New York State, the civil war battle fields and visited just about every national park this side of the Mississippi and we didn’t have a built-in TV to watch or an electronic game to play. Instead we looked for Burma Shave signs or Mail Pouch tobacco barns or find a particular state license plates (My brother always won because he was usually sitting on the driver side of the car).
…Recess, now often dismissed as a waste of time, should be considered an essential part of children’s cognitive and social development; lessons should be individualized as much as possible; and the current focus on homework and letter grades should be de-emphasized and eventually eliminated altogether.Now it is “teach the test” we don’t want individual thinking, heaven help the child that asks “why?” What are the first classes that are dropped from the curriculum? Art and music, we don’t need those they are not on the standardized tests.
Summer Reading Contest Winner | Transgender RightsThe week before Times asked to students the question “What Interested You Most in The Times This Week?” and they received over 450 responses last week. Out of the all the responses not only was a trans-girl was picked number one; her comment was from the heart and personal and it beat out about comments about the 19 firefighters that died in Arizona, the revolt Egypt and other top stories that week.
Each Monday through Sept. 2, we’ll be announcing the winner and runners-up for a different week of our Summer Reading Contest.
New York Times: Education
By CATHLEEN BELL, ADAM COOPER and GEORGIA SCURLETIS
July 22, 2013
We unanimously chose Lily’s response to “Rights Unit Finds Bias Against Transgender Student” as our contest winner.
Not only is Lily’s post well written and emotionally potent, she deserves commendation for her courage in sharing her story of surviving high school as a transgender teen. Lily celebrates Coy’s victory, comes to terms with her own defeat, and finds consolation in the power of her advocacy. And part of what makes her writing so rich with complexity is her confident and correct use of demeanor, defy and precedent, among other apt words:
A large smile came to Coy Mathis’s face upon hearing she won; a larger one came to my face upon reading of it. I have identified as female for the past two years, though like Coy my birth certificate states that I am male: simply put, I am transgender.
I am on my way to college in the fall, but it is with a slight sense of regret over leaving high school without winning my own fight for equality. Like Coy, I had already been living as a female for quite some time. There was little in my demeanor or comportment that suggested anything deviant, but the official administrative decision my school made was to force me to use the gender-neutral staff restroom.
I didn’t have the support Coy had to fight this decision. I had to settle with defying this order throughout my final two years of high school, though not without a certain degree of shame; I had to settle with thinking of myself as “almost female enough to use the female restrooms.” There was a lot of pride-swallowing over the last few years.
“Perhaps society isn’t ready yet,” I thought, but this ruling has proven me wrong. It has upheld and even expanded the rights of transgender children and affirmed the existence of hundreds of thousands of children in the same position as Coy and me. This small case in Colorado may seem relatively insignificant in our republic, where states can determine many of their own laws, but it is a massive first step in establishing a precedent for transgender children in our education system.
My opportunity to benefit from this growing change may have passed, but I still have the power of advocacy, the power to influence my school and others like it to change their policies for the better. Coy Mathis will be able to attend school and live according to the gender she identifies as — I would like to help other children like her to do the same.
Transgender Group Leaves OutServe-SLDN, Joins Startup Group SPART*AThe article also goes on to say that the Military Transgender Group has divorced itself OutServe-SLDN and said that,
The transgender group of OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network announced Monday that it is cutting ties with the embattled organization, partnering with a new splinter group formed in the wake of a public controversy.
By Sunnivie Brydum
July 22 2013
A group of transgender veterans and members currently serving in the armed forces announced today that they are leaving the embattled LGBT military advocacy group OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to join a new startup group focused more explicitly on securing open military service for transgender individuals.
A press release today announced the formation of Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All, or SPΛRT*A, a "group of LGBT people and allies who are currently serving or have served in the military, and our families," that is "especially committed to our Trans members… and to gaining full equality for them in the U.S. Armed Forces. SPART*A's Facebook page is currently active, while a website for the fledgling group is still under construction.
...in a statement issued Monday. "This process has been painful, and strained personal and professional relationships that had previously been strong… The ultimate question we had to answer was where we need to be in order to most effectively move the issue of open service for transgender people forward. Unfortunately, it was the considered opinion of our members that OutServe-SLDN will not be able to represent our interests effectively for the foreseeable future."So will OutServe-SLDN no longer be working to end discrimination in the military against trans-sevicemembers? SPART*A will need time to organize and get up to speed, stay tune for further updates.
Thousands in back taxes ride on one question: Is Venus de Mars a professional or amateur artist?Isn’t that stupid? How do they define “work hard enough”? How many small independent businesses make a profit for the first three years? Is she supposed to hate her work in order to have tax deductions?
Minnesota Public Radio
By Marianne Combs
July 19, 2013
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Venus de Mars has been a longtime fixture in the Twin Cities music scene, producing seven original albums over the past two decades. Known for provocative stage shows that involve lots of black leather and reverb, the transgender rock musician tours regularly around the country, singing songs inspired by her experience living between genders.
De Mars does not have a day job. She makes about $20,000 a year entirely on her music, painting and other artistic endeavors and considers herself a professional artist.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue, however, disagrees. Its ruling earlier this year defining de Mars as a hobbyist who cannot claim tax deductions for her artistic work could set a precedent that advocates for artists say would put artists' careers in jeopardy.
Now get this…
It listed several reasons, chief among them that de Mars took too much pleasure from her work, and didn't work hard enough to make a profit. As a result, state officials say she owes thousands of dollars in back taxes.
Body composition, volumetric and areal bone parameters in male-to-female transsexual persons.And another study,
M-->F transsexual persons have less lean mass and muscle strength, and higher fat mass. In addition, they present lower trabecular vBMD and aBMD at the lumbar spine, total hip and distal radius, and smaller cortical bone size as compared to matched controls. Both the lower level of sports-related physical activity as well testosterone deprivation could contribute to these findings. These results indicate that bone health should be a parameter of interest in the long-term follow-up care for M-->F transsexual persons.
Prevalence of low bone mass in relation to estrogen treatment and body composition in male-to-female transsexual persons.It seems that one of the things that we have to be aware of when we are on cross gender hormones is our bone density. I had a bone density scan this spring after 9 years on hormones, my bone density was normal.
Bone health is a parameter of interest in the daily follow-up of male-to-female (M --> F) transsexual persons both before and after sex reassignment surgery (SRS) due to an intensely changing hormonal milieu. We have studied body composition, areal, geometric, and volumetric bone parameters, using DXA and peripheral quantitative computed tomography at different sites in 50 M --> F transsexual persons, at least 3 yr after the start of the hormonal treatment and 1 yr after SRS. In this cross-sectional study, hormone levels and markers of bone metabolism were assessed using immunoassays. Prevalence of low bone mass as defined by a Z-score < or = -2.0 according to DXA criteria was 26% at lumbar spine and 2% at the total hip. We found no major differences in hormonal parameters between participants with a Z-score < or = or > -2.0. Markers of bone turnover were comparable between subjects with or without low bone mass, indicating a stable bone turnover at the time of investigation. No significant differences in bone size or density were observed between patients on transdermal vs. oral estrogens. Low bone mass is not uncommon in M --> F transsexual persons. Smaller bone size, and a strikingly lower muscle mass compared with men appear to underlie these findings.
Greece is Waging a Horrifying War on Transgender WomenWhile the persecution of trans-people was going on in Greece the European Union's Council of Ministers passed a LGBT human rights guidelines; according to EuropeanVoice,
by Steve Williams
July 9, 2013
Members of the European Parliament last week condemned what appears to be a systematic attack on trans citizens by Greece’s authorities.
Members of the European Parliament have issued strong statements against Greek police who, based on witness testimony and strong evidence, have been carrying out systematic arrests against trans women and detaining them without cause.
The first reported instance of this reportedly dates to August of 2012 when, without justification, police in Athens arrested and detained 25 transgender women in just one night. Those women were forced to submit to HIV tests under a new provision that allows forced HIV screenings as a matter of public health — more on that later. Those women were later released without charge.
Furthermore, on the night of June 4, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT rights reports that lawyer Electra Koutra, acting to defend the women, was also arrested when she attended the police station where the women were being held. The reason for her arrest has not been given.
The Greek Transgender Support Association contends that this might be a wider problem dating back to at least late May, when trans women had been arrested under the pretext, but no evidence, of them being sex workers, detained for up to four hours without charge and often forced to endure what the GTSA describes as humiliation from the authorities.
Furthermore, the GTSA contends that when those women did attempt a formal complaint, they were threatened legal action. Another report alleges that while in custody, a number of women were told by the police that if they did not “return to normal,” legal proceedings would be initiated on grounds of indecent behavior in public — despite no evidence any of the women had engaged in such.
On 24 June, the European Union's Council of Ministers adopted a ground-breaking foreign-policy document entitled “Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) persons”. These guidelines, drawn up by the European External Action Service (EEAS) are a comprehensive, legally binding document that instructs European Union institutions and member states on how to help progress the rights for LGBTI people when dealing with third countries and in international forums. These guidelines replace the non-binding ‘toolkit' adopted in 2010, they include references to the human rights of inter-sex people, and enhance the scope. They call for actions to combat discriminatory laws and policies; combat LGBTI-phobic violence; and promote equality and non-discrimination. In short, the EU now has a state-of-the-art framework for the promotion of greater recognition of LGBTI human rights internationally. This is an extraordinarily fast-paced development and deserves to be praised.But as the article points out, not internally, the guidelines are only international.
Atlanta City Council adds 'gender identity' to all city laws that include anti-bias policyThe article goes on to list other cities in Georgia that have non-discrimination policies, but unfortunately the article doesn’t say if they also include gender identity and expression.
by Dyana Bagby
July 16, 2013
The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved Monday legislation to ensure “gender identity” is included in all of the sections of the city's codes dealing with its non-discrimination policy.
In 2000, the city of Atlanta approved a nondiscrimination ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, domestic relationship status, parental status, familial status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, racial profiling, age or disability.
For the first time in TV history, a transgender character is at the forefront of a show and being portrayed by a black transgender woman. (Transgender is an umbrella term that also includes transsexuals.) Laverne Cox plays Sophia Burset, a former firefighter sent to prison for using credit cards stolen from the wreckage of fires she helped put out. In prison, she acts as a hairdresser, friend, and political conscience for the other prisoners, while also trying to ensure access to her female hormones and repairing her relationship with her wife and son…I can understand why it is a hit, there are plenty of boobs and lesbian sex. I only watched the first episode but I have a question, is Sophia Burset post-op in the show? I ask that because she is in a women’s prison and if she isn’t then in real life they would have put her in a men’s prison. On of the fears that trans-people have is going to jail and being placed in with their birth gender even through they transitioned.
Another Fox Voter Fraud Story DiesWOW! 950 DEAD VOTERS* VOTED! But wait what is that little asterisk? Oh, it may have been a data base error. But somehow that little asterisk got lost in all the hype Republicans and the right wing media made over 950 dead voters voting.
By Matt Gertz
July 8, 2013
Seventeen months after Fox News became briefly fixated on Republican claims that hundreds of dead voters had cast ballots in South Carolina, those allegations have been completely debunked by an investigation by law enforcement that found no evidence of voter fraud.
The South Carolina "dead voter" claim sprang from testimony from Kevin Schwedo, the director of the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, who said on January 11, 2012, that more than 950 residents were recorded as having cast a vote after their reported death date. Schwedo made clear that this could have been the result of data errors or voters dying after casting an absentee ballot, but the state's Republicans, led by Attorney General Alan Wilson, seized on the report as evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Indeed, on July 3 the public release of an investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) provided the answer we anticipated: No voter fraud was found, no charges filed. As of noon E.T. on July 8, Fox had not reported on those findings.If the report got mentioned at all in the news media it was delegated to the back page, so what does the public think? Maybe think that we need new laws to prevent voter fraud, we need the “Voter ID” act that will disenfranchise the marginalized voter so when the Republicans push the new bills everyone is shouting about stopping “voter fraud”.
According to the report, released due to a public records search by the Columbia Free Times' Corey Hutchins, SLED reviewed the findings of the State Election Commission, which had looked into the 207 votes that had been called into question that occurred during the 2010 general election. Nearly half were the result of "name recognition errors," where, for instance, when a father who was deceased but whose name still appeared on the list would be marked as having voted when his son of the same name had actually cast the ballot. The balance was due to other types of clerical errors and individuals casting absentee ballots before their deaths.
Being Transgender in Kuwait: “My Biggest Fear Is a Flat Tire”Here in the U.S., many trans-people also fear having a flat, but it depends mainly where you live. Last year I had a flat tire in Massachusetts and a nice man stopped and changed the tire for me. Once before I transitioned I was going up to First Event in Boston, a transgender conference, when we had a flat tire on the Massachusetts’ Turnpike and I feared that a trucker or someone would stop and help us.
Human Rights Watch
July 15, 2013
By Belkis Wille
On a warm evening in late April 2013, I was sitting at a Starbucks in Kuwait City across the table from a thirty-one year old woman. Even though “Reem” had undergone male-to-female surgery almost a decade earlier, legal barriers prevented her complete transition to womanhood.
Reem still wore a bulky suit and tie every day to her office to conceal the fact that she was now a woman. When she would go out as herself, she would have to borrow her sister’s ID; luckily, they have similar features.
While she [a friend of Reem] was driving home one night, Dalia had car trouble and had to pull over. A policeman pulled up and asked for her papers. On official documents, Dalia, like Reem, is a man—in Kuwait, transgendered people have no legal recourse to change the gender on their ID cards.
The policeman arrested Dalia for dressing as a woman. Ultimately, she spent eight days in prison, for the crime of imitating the opposite sex. Upon release, Dalia was ordered to pay a fine and banned from traveling abroad for seven months. “Now,” she told me, “my biggest fear is a flat tire.”
Thirty-nine of the forty transgender women who HRW interviewed for its report said they were arrested, some individuals as many as nine times. In the majority of cases, the criminal court either acquitted the individual or failed to reach a verdict.
Many of these transgender women claimed, however, that police forced them—by threat or physical violence—to sign declarations stating they would “never again imitate the opposite sex” before releasing them from prison.
Why did Marissa Alexander get a 20-year sentence despite invoking ‘Stand Your Ground’?The moral to the story is as obvious as black and white.
Alexander, an African-American Florida woman, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 for shooting what she described as warning shots into a wall during a confrontation with her husband. Alexander’s lawyers claimed self-defense in the case, and said her husband had a history of abuse in their relationship. They invoked Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives people the right to use lethal force if they feel their life is threatened. The jury ultimately sided with prosecutors in deciding Alexander’s actions were not in self-defense, WJXT reported.
Her sentencing fell under the guidelines of what’s known in Florida as the “10-20-Life” law, which set certain mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed with a firearm. The law enacted in 1999 requires that any crime committed with a gun earns the perpetrator a minimum ten year sentence, as the Florida Department of Corrections explains. If the firearm is discharged, the convicted will receive a 20-year minimum sentence, and if shots fired from the gun injure or kill anyone, the minimum sentence is 25-years to life.
Is There Racial Bias in “Stand Your Ground” Laws?So do you still want to live in Florida or another state with “Stand Your Ground” laws? But on the other hand, if you are white I guess it is OK.
July 31, 2012, 12:40 pm ET by Sarah Childress
At least 20 states have laws with provisions that don’t require civilians to flee from an intruder before fighting back, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, eight states, all of them in the south, specifically use the phrasing, “Stand Your Ground.” That includes Florida.
At least 20 states have laws with provisions that don’t require civilians to flee from an intruder before fighting back, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of those, eight states, all of them in the south, specifically use the phrasing, “Stand Your Ground.” That includes Florida.
Using this analysis, Roman found that a greater number of homicides were found justified in Stand Your Ground states in all racial combinations, a result he believes is because those states yielded more killings overall.
Roman also found that Stand Your Ground laws tend to track the existing racial disparities in homicide convictions across the U.S. — with one significant exception: Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.
In Florida, for example, if a shooter invokes the Stand Your Ground law, police can determine whether to make an arrest when they arrive on the scene. If they do arrest him, the suspect then appears before a judge who determines whether Stand Your Ground applies to the case. If it does, the prosecutor then decides whether to go to court.
The system offers substantial discretion to authorities at every level, which is much more difficult to monitor and evaluate — and much more vulnerable to creeping bias.
That’s why the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced last month that it would investigate concerns about racial bias in the law’s application.
Transgender clients at women's shelter draw complaintsOK, so let me get this straight; the trans-women did nothing wrong they just looked at her. They didn’t break any laws or break the shelter rules. They didn’t harass her. They just looked at her funny.
But officials for Florence House say their policy is to accept people as they present themselves.
Portland Press Hearld
By Joe Lawlor Staff Write
July 15, 2013
PORTLAND - Two women who stay at Florence House, a homeless shelter for women in Portland, have complained that two men who dress as women have also been staying there for the past few months -- using the same common bathrooms, showers and sleeping facilities.
The women say it's unsettling to share a space with people they consider men, although shelter officials say the two people identify as transgender and are therefore allowed to stay.
"I am supposed to be there as a woman with other women," said one of the women, who did not want to be identified for fear of losing her spot at the shelter. She said one of the people in question has stared at her, making her uncomfortable.
But the women who complained said they believe that in at least one case, it was a ruse. They believe one of the people in question is a man who occasionally dresses as a woman to get into the shelter, perhaps for voyeuristic reasons. That person did not have any feminine mannerisms and often dresses in a T-shirt and jeans, sporting a 5 o'clock shadow of male facial hair, they said.So, women, real women wear makeup and never dress in T-shirts and jeans. As for the 5 o’clock shadow… Honey, if you want to give them a couple of thousand dollars for them to have electrolysis or laser treatment, I sure they would be happy to have their beards removed. But since it is unlikely you will give them the money and since they are living in a homeless shelter I doubt very much that they have the money.
"If they're really living as a woman, I think they have every right to be there," said one of the women who complained. "But he wasn't wearing makeup or wearing eyeliner or anything. Just a man wearing a skirt. It was just odd."
One of the women said the shelter is supposed to be a safe haven for women, who in many cases are leaving domestic violence situations.I can understand her feelings but I think she has to understand that trans-women also can be in an abusive relationship and if they are forced into a men’s shelter then they maybe assaulted there and further victimizing. The article also pointed out that the shelter has individual shower stalls and bathrooms with locks on them.
How the media outrageously blew the IRS scandal: A full accountingWait! Wait, what was that? The Republicans asked them to only investigate conservative groups… no, the Republicans would never do anything like that. And of course the media would have not just wanted a sensation to sell more advertising; they would have researched it and not just taken the Republican’s word on it.
Almost everything "reported" about the big Obama scandal was wrong, and no one has been held to account (UPDATED)
By Alex Seitz-Wald
July 8, 2013
The first few days of the IRS scandal that would consume Washington for weeks went like this: Conservatives were indignant, the media was outraged, the president had to respond, his allies turned on him … and only then, the Treasury Department’s inspector general released the actual report that had sparked the whole controversy — in that order. It’s a fitting microcosm of the entire saga, which has gone from legacy-tarnishing catastrophe to historical footnote in the intervening six weeks, and a textbook example of how the scandal narrative can dominate Washington and cable news even when there is no actual scandal
And they would have gotten away with it, too, had their narrative had the benefit of being true. But now, almost two months later, we know that in fact the IRS targeted lots of different kinds of groups, not just conservative ones; that the only organizations whose tax-exempt statuses were actually denied were progressive ones; that many of the targeted conservative groups legitimately crossed the line; that the IG’s report was limited to only Tea Party groups at congressional Republicans’ request; and that the White House was in no way involved in the targeting and didn’t even know about it until shortly before the public did.