Human Rights

Gender Prison: The battle for equality

The battle for equality

transgender, discrimination, equal rights, equal access, Miami-Dade, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio

In times of trouble federally and at the state level, the battle for equal treatment and access moves to the local level.

In recent times I have written about current attempts to move us forward in South Florida and Northeast Ohio.

Miami-Dade commissioners unanimous in support of transgender protections (preliminary vote)

Transgender Awareness

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Gender Prison: Transgender woman speaks to International Bar Association

 photo akkai_zps64963422.jpgTransgender woman Akkai Padmashali of Karnataka, India traveled to Tokyo on her newly issued passport (identifying her a female) to attend a conference and address approximately 5000 legal professionals from the the International Bar Association on "Mr., Ms. or Mx.? Legal issues facing transgender persons’. The conference is to run October 19-24. Ms. Padmashali's special session is set to focus on "key differences and tensions" between laws and political considerations behind them.

Ms. Padmashali told The Hindu that her talk would focus on the violence and human rights violations faced by transgenders in India as well as issues of civic identity. “I will also talk about the recent Supreme Court judgment on transgenders that is very radical in the way it defines the community and elucidates its rights.

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NCIS: Olongapo City

 photo Jennifer_Laude_t250_zpsb56ca96d.jpgClosed Circuit TV cameras show PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton, 19, and three other Marines were drunk when they entered a Ambyanz Disco in Olongapo City around 11pm on Saturday, October 11. They show Pemberton leaving the bar a few minutes later with Jennifer Laude and three friends. Pemberton is seen holding hands with Jennifer's friend Barbie as they left Ambyanz for Celzone Lodge.

At around 11:35 Pemberton's buddies were seen returning to the bar, looking for him. They asked the bar employees if they might know where he was. They had midnight curfew and had to get back to the ship.

One witness identified Pemberton from a photo line-up by Philippine National Police. That witness also identified the 26-year-old Barbie as a witness of interest. Both witnesses have asked for government protection. Barbie also identified Pemberton.

Barbie has told investigators that she was sent away by Jennifer, who sensed there might be danger because they were transgender, so she and another friend went to another room in the lodge. Barbie said that a room attendant (Elias Gallamos) knocked on their door around 11:45 to tell them that Pemberton had left, leaving the door ajar and Jennifer "passed out" in the bathroom of her room.

Jennifer was, in fact, dead. She had been strangled and drowned in the toilet. Autopsy listed the cause of death as asphyxiation by drowning.

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Gender Prison: The Fraudulence of 'Family Values'

Family can be so very toxic.

Robby Rikard is a baptist pastor because of course he is...our story just wouldn't be the same if he weren't. However much he wants this story to be about his cousin Jessica and her husband, Robby is the central actor in our drama (written by Rob Watson aka @JandJDad, who deserves major props)..

Other characters in the story are Robby's cousin Jessica and her husband Nick and American Family Association hater-in-chief Bryan Fisher.

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EEOC files first ever lawsuits against companies for discriminating against transgender employees.

EEOC files first ever lawsuits against companies for discriminating against transgender employees.

R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes of Garden City, Michigan and Lakeland Eye Clinic of Lakeland, Florida have been found to have much in common by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 photo Amiee-Stephens-x400_zps650425d2.jpgIn 2013 Aimee Stephens, an embalmer and Funeral Director told her boss at Harris that she was transitioning from male to female. Two weeks after that the owner of the funeral home chain fired here...telling her that what she proposed to do was "unacceptable."

In 2011 Brandi Branson was fired from her job as director of hearing services at Lakeland Eye Clinic after informing her employer that she was transitioning to female and beginning to wear makeup and women's tailored clothing.

Branson observed that co-workers snickered, rolled their eyes and withdrew from social interactions with her.

EEOC says the companies violated federal law by discriminating based on gender stereotypes. and has filed suit against them.

Federal law “prohibits employers from firing employees because they do not behave according to the employer’s stereotypes of how men and women should act.

--Laurie Young, EEOC attorney.

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Gender Prison: Miami-Dade commissioners unanimous in support of transgender protections (preliminary vote)

A year ago Miami-Dade County commissioners withdrew a proposal which would have added gender identity and expression to the county's anti-discrimination law. At the time they said that was done in order to "allow more time" to educate the commission about transgender people.

The plan, which would have banned discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment, could not gather enough votes at the committee level.

This morning commissioners gave unanimous preliminary approval to amending the human-rights ordinance by adding the phrases "gender identity" and "gender expression."

This update that we’re working on would ensure very basic protections for a very vulnerable part of our community that many take for granted.

--Charo Valero, SAVE

The vote this morning was momentous for what did not happen. Nobody showed up to speak against the amendment.

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Study estimates 24000 transgender people will be disenfranchised by Voter ID

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law has released a new study, this time concerning the affects of Voter ID. The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in 2014 General Election, written by Jody Herman, concludes that there could be over 24000 eligible transgender voters across ten states who will not be able to vote because of Voter ID laws.

The Institute finds that there are approximately 84000 eligible transgender voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. All those states have photo voter ID laws except Wisconsin...which might have one come election time. The study estimates that 28% of those eligible voters do not have valid photo ID that reflects their gender and name sufficient to the standards of the laws.

 

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Lawmakers should not overlook the consequences of enacting stricter voter ID laws on transgender voters. Election officials must consider the potential impact of these laws in the upcoming November elections. Voter ID laws create a unique barrier for transgender people who would otherwise be eligible to vote.

--Herman

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Gender Prison: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issues ruling protecting allies

The Human Rights Tribunal basically ruled that is a violation of rights to attempt to force someone else to act in a bigoted manner.

The case was Salsman v. London Sales Arena Corp. Salsman is notable because the highest damages awarded did not go to any of the three transgender individuals involved but to their non-transgender employer.

The case involved three transgender women who were working at the booth of Karen Clarke-McIlwain at the Trails End market in London, Ontario which is operated by London Sales Arena Corp.

Clarke-McIlwain rented the booth at Trails End in order to sell candles.On September 10, 2011, transgender woman Daniella Freeman was working the booth along with two transwomen friends, Judith Salsman and Falicity Chartrand.

That evening Clarke-McIlwain received a telephone call from the market manager on behalf of the store's owner, Edward Kikkert. Market management claimed that the call was to "pass on" complaints about the burning of incense at the booth and that those attending the booth were "scantily clad" and "inappropriate for the family market."

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Gender Prison: New Palm Center study of transgender military service: administratively feasible and neither excessively complex nor burdensome

I'm not generally in favor of military service. To me it was a dehumanizing experience, not much better than being incarcerated or otherwise institutionalized.

But let's face it. There has been no better measure of the acceptance of certain classes of people in our society than whether or not they are allowed to serve equally in the military. People who were 4F at the time of WWII and the Korean War were typically shunned and that carries over to the treatment of people with disabilities to this day. Blacks were racially discriminated against in the military until Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, which led to the final all-black military units being abolished in September, 1954.

Don't Ask Don't Tell (Defense Department Directive 1304.26) was eliminated on September 20, 2011, prohibiting military personnel from discriminating against or harassing openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members.

A new study was released last week by the Palm Center (a San Francisco think tank) which concluded that ending the military's ban on transgender personnel would be "administratively feasible and neither excessively complex nor burdensome." A previous Palm Center study called for lifting of that ban in March of this year. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in May that he was open to reviewing the issue of transgender eligibility.

As always, I read the studies so you don't have to.

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Gender Prison: Eleven local fairness campaigns

In the absence of federal anti-discrimination legislation on the basis of sexual orientati/gender identity (SOGI) and since only 18 states have passed such protections...with an additional three which only protect on the basis of sexual orientation...attention moves to the more local arena, where we seek ordinances that make it safer to live in some areas than others.

So I have reports from 11 municipalities that have recently taken up the issue. There were fortunately more successes than failures, with some of the ordinances still up in the air.

Orlando, FL unanimously approved the addition of gender identity as a protected category in its human rights ordinance at its August 11 meeting of the City Council, twelve years after after adding protection on the basis of sexual orientation.

By passing this protection you are truly saving lives. Within the transgender community, there will be one more person who will not lose their livelihood; there will be one more person who will not lose their ability to provide for their families and who will not decide to take their own life.

Being transgender is not a choice and the need to live a true and authentic life is a difficult and perilous journey. For many transgender people who go through transition on the job, everything that we hold dear is at risk: our families, our friends, our jobs, our quality of life.

--Gina Duncan, Equality Florida

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