Human Rights

At the corner of Hate and Hate

I grew up just about two miles, as the crow flies, or as the child finds a path through what we called the Creek, from Lewis and Clark College. My older brother matriculated there, played basketball for them in the late 60s for awhile. One of my major life heroes, William Stafford, taught English there for many years while I was growing up.

So it has been a major blow to me to discover that this past weekend at least two hate crimes occurred on the campus in the span of a couple of hours.




HUD: Proposed new rule requires transgender people to be treated as their identified gender rather than their sex assigned at birth

HUD Secretary Julián Castro has announced the agency has proposed a new rule to update the existing policy that bars discrimination against LGBT people seeking public housing or housing assistance from the federal government.

Under the new proposal HUD would provide access to housing and services based on a person's gender, not sex assigned at birth.



Transgender Awareness Week -- Bathroom Break

The recent spate of stories about the transgender teen in Palatine, IL has, among other things, drawn some real exhibition of lack of might even call it ignorance...on the part of some of those commenting. It's the sort of thing one might expect to find from the right-wing commentariat rather than at Daily Kos.

It has made me question whether the 11 years I have spent posting at DK have done anything good whatsoever.

Tuesday's Editorial at WaPo An Illinois high school’s tragic discrimination against a transgender student serves a couple of necessary purposes beyond what I have written or what Kerry Eleveld has written about the situation.

First of all it will be read by more people. Secondly, it includes some facts previously not mentioned.

The writer begins by decrying the fear-mongering, which is good. When it comes to trans people, the Fearmongers Shoppe is always open.

The Fearmongers Shoppe, serving all your phobia needs since 1947.



Equal Dignity for all



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If you are like me, Laurence Tribe is a name that evokes memories, but you are not totally sure which ones. The professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School since 1968 taught the subject to Barack Obama, John Roberts and Elena Kagan.

As a lawyer he represented the National Gay and Lesbian Task force in 1985 in National Gay Task Force v. Board of Education v. Board of Education, a case that ultimately prohibited the State of Oklahoma from firing teachers because they had same sex attraction or spoke in favor of civil rights for LGBT people. In 1986 he was the losing attorney in Bowers v. Hardwick, but in 2003 he wrote the ACLU's amicus curiae brief in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned Bowers v. Hardwick.

Tribe testified extensively against the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. And he represented Al Gore in 2000, arguing the initial case in Miami to continue to count the votes.

He is cofounder of the American Constitutional Society and was judicial advisor to President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

His voice is more likely to be heard than any of us. Yesterday he authored an opinion in the Boston Globe, entitled Achieving dignity for all. If the principle of equal dignity sparks a synapse, it was articulated in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court case that brought us marriage equality.




An Anonymous Mom: Our Child is a Girl

The mother of the trans girl at the center of the controversy in Palatine, IL has posted an essay by the title name at the ACLU-IL website.

The ACLU of Illinois is representing the family in their dealings with the school district. The mother writing the essay says that her daughter's friends call her "the most famous anonymous student." Her daughter is "Student A" in the legal proceedings.

[O]ur daughter is “Student A” at the center of the recent controversy over whether a girl who is transgender should be permitted to use the girls’ locker room. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights says yes. Our school district — Township District 211 — insists that students “of the opposite sex” should not be permitted in the girls’ locker room.

For the record, we agree with District Superintendent Daniel Cates about not permitting students of the opposite sex in the locker room. But the inconvenient fact for Mr. Cates and his supporters is that our daughter is not “of the opposite sex.”

She is a girl.

The district wrongly assumes what many who are not educated about the issue assume: That what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy is simple anatomy. We believed this, until our daughter came along. Despite early signs — from as young as four, when she declared herself a girl, to the fact that she had mostly girlfriends growing up, played with dolls, begged to wear girls’ clothes, insisted on wearing a Hannah Montana wig while she danced around the living room, and was heavily distraught over the male characteristics of her body — we were still shocked and ill-prepared when, at the end of seventh grade, our daughter again told us that she was a girl and had to live openly as one.



Trans man sues Giant

 photo transgender-lawsuit-giant-supermarket_zps5trnqeyu.jpgSam Melrath, 22, is a trans guy who now lives in Northeast Philly. He came out as trans during 11th grade at Abington High School. He says his classmates were very supportive, as has his family.

When his junior year ended, Sam got a summer job as a bagger at Giant Food Store in Huntingdon Valley. At the time he was living as a man, dressing as a man, and had chosen the name "Sam," which also happened to be a short version of his birth name.

After he began working there, store management began pressuring him to dress and act like his sex at birth. He says he was pressured to change his name tag from Sam to his given name at birth, even though other employees were allowed to use shortened versions of their names on their name tags, including one female employ named "Samantha" who used the shortened version "Sam."



LGBT Equality Caucus forms Transgender Equality Task Force


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The House LGBT Equality Conference announced this morning that they will hold the first ever congressional forum on transgender issues next Tuesday.

Following a press conference in the morning to launch the Task Force the forum will specifically address violence against the transgender community.

The forum comes during Transgender Awareness Week, which culminates with Friday's Transgender Day of Awareness.

This week, as we seek to raise awareness of the issues facing the trans community, it is important to renew our commitment to help trans individuals be free of the fear of violence or bullying just for being who they are. It is my hope that by launching this workforce and holding a first-ever forum, we will reach some of my colleagues and encourage them to stand with the trans community. It is only through social change that we can truly elevate the conversation in this country and reach a place of true understanding and embrace all people for who they are.

--Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), who has a transgender granddaughter

Most of this year's 21 transgender murder victims were trans women of color.



Obama Administration officially endorses Equality Act

Yesterday The administration officially endorsed the amending of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect LGBT Americans from discrimination.

As of yet, there is no federal law that explicitly prevents people from being fired, evicted, or refused service on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity. A proposal just to ban employment discrimination for LGBT Americans (ENDA) has been continuously stymied since 1994.

The Equality Act, which the White House announced it would support Tuesday, aims to provide a wider range of protections, and in the most direct way possible. The bill would insert language about gay and transgender people into legislation created by the 1964 Civil Rights Act — the historic measure that banned many forms of discrimination by race, color, religion, sex or national origin.



The Drop the T campaign rears its ugly, ugly head

Every time the LGBT community suffers a significant political loss, such as HERO in Houston or California's Prop 8, or ENDA in the US Congress, one can count on a campaign to drop the T from the end of LGB.

This time it takes the form of a petition. The petition so fat has 1229 signatories.

We are a group of gay/bisexual men and women who have come to the conclusion that the transgender community needs to be disassociated from the larger LGB community; in essence, we ask that organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Lambda Legal and media outlets such as The Advocate, Out, Huff Post Gay Voices, etc., stop representing the transgender community as we feel their ideology is not only completely different from that promoted by the LGB community (LGB is about sexual orientation, trans is about gender identity), but is ultimately regressive and actually hostile to the goals of women and gay men.

So far there have been public rejections from GLAAD, HRC, and the Advocate.



What good are anti-discrimination laws anyway?

The District of Columbia has had anti-discrimination laws protecting transgender people for quite some time (since 2005). But a new study, qualified and transgender", by the Office of Human Rights, reveals that nearly half of D. C. employers prefer less qualified cisgender applicants to more qualified trans applicants.

Five employers will face director's inquiries from the Office of Human Rights for their results—two in the restaurant industry, two in the administrative sector, and one university. These investigations will determine whether the actions were discriminatory and could become public documents.

OHR submitted resumes to openings in various sectors from February to July.




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