Human Rights

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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The crux of the biscuit

crossposted from: Humanitarian Left

By OPOL

I've long been aware of the growing schism between the actions of our elected officials and the best interests of their constituents (we the people). I've pondered it and agonized over it and watched as it has grown to ridiculous proportions.

I've gnawed at the whys and the wherefores, mocked and shamed the guilty and thrown every rock I could find at the pathetic system that props up the disgusting status quo, tells horrible lies to us all, ignores the common welfare it is charged with promoting by the U.S. Constitution, and drags us kicking and screaming into unpopular, immoral and pointless wars while drowning us in a maelstrom of mindless waste and consumption – consequences be damned.

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Cry Me a River

crossposted from:

By OPOL posted to HL on 24 June, 2014

* Originally posted at Daily Kos and reposted here because it's one of my better pieces of writing.

Well, you can cry me a river
Cry me a river
I cried a river over you

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I've been thinking about my life and how it fits into the human tapestry. This leads me inevitably to thoughts about that which has been called 'the human condition.'

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Discrimination in Intimate Places

 photo carmen_zps57632587.jpgPetticoat Fair is a well-known Austin lingerie shop specializing in "custom filling of women's intimate apparel since 1964."

 photo KylieJack_zps947f0b32.jpgKylie Jack is a transwoman who went to that store for a bra fitting recently. Last weekend she posted to her Facebook account:

Hello Austinites: today I went for a bra fitting at Petticoat Fair, where an employee humiliated me by asking for ID stating I was female and saying I needed bottom surgery in order to get a fitting. If you are in solidarity with trans women, please boycott Petticoat Fair until they remove their transphobic and cissexist policies. Please feel free to share this post.

A store employee first asked Jack to see her ID in order to prove that she was legally female. That was followed up by a statement that she would have to have had bottom surgery in order to be served by a fitter.

None of that seems to make much sense. Trans women may or may not choose to undergo surgery for any number of reasons, which are their own, and genital surgery is irrelevant to bra-fitting anyway. I’ve been wearing bras since I was 12, and I’m fairly certain that bras and vaginas have nothing to do with each other.

--Elizabeth Licata, The Gloss

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Gender Prison: White House to protect transgender people via executive order

I guess it's "In for a penny, in for a pound." With the Republicans threatening to sue over presidential executive actions, a thought which did not receive airing until the president's odrder circumventing the House's non-action on ENDA, President Obama has decided to push forward.

President Obama announced yesterday during the White House's annual LGBT Pride Month reception that he would extend executive action protection to protect transgender federal employees from discrimination.

If Congress won’t act, I will. I have directed my staff to prepare an executive order for my signature that prohibits discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. And I’ve asked my staff to prepare a second executive order so that federal employees –- who are already protected on the basis of sexual orientation –- will now formally be protected from discrimination based on gender identity as well.

--Barack Obama

White House spokesmen had no further details about what would be contained in the orders.

It’s my understanding that there is an ongoing process as it relates to the drafting of an executive order that would take the kinds of steps the President has talked about quite a bit. But at this point, I don’t have any update for you in terms of the content or the timing of that executive order.

--Press Secretary Josh Earnest

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Emergence of the Hive Mind – Orchids in the Cracks

crossposted from:

By OPOL

There is a principle in Judo called kuzushi that refers to the art of unbalancing one's opponent. Stated simply: push when pulled, pull when pushed. The 'ju' in judo or ju jitsu, its direct ancestor, can be translated as soft, gentle or yielding. Conceptually, it is the bamboo or water principle in action. Bamboo bends in the wind, water flows around obstacles, bamboo springs back, water wears down stone. Translated to martial arts, the velocity of an attack is not resisted directly, force to force, but yielded to, blended with and turned by indirection to the defender's advantage. It flows like water. It uses the opponent's strength against him. It is the triumph of wisdom over power, yielding over force, weak over strong.

What are people to do when the political class, financial elites, national security apparatus and legal system turn against them? What do you do when your bank steals from you, your representatives ignore you, your government spies on you, your doctors prey on you and your culture shits on you?

What do you do when decades of organizing, marching, voting, protesting and political struggle produce a big-assed boatload of too-little-too-late?

What do you do when your government becomes totally useless?

Perhaps the answer, or one of them, is that you don't resist the assholery directly. You back up and go around. You yield, blend and spring back. You push when pulled, you pull when pushed.

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Gender Prison: The Cult of Transgender

No, Federalists. We transpeople are not being totalitarian.

What is it that fear of transgender people is called? Oh, yeah. That would be transphobia. But you know what? Calling writer Stella Morabito at The Federalist transphobic for the article she produced...from whatever orifice it may have emerged...would not make me totalitarian. The designation neither robs her purse nor breaks her leg...and has no legal consequences.

Morabito is worried...about a lot. She's worried that transpeople can have children and thus redefine what it means to be a father or mother. She cites Thomas Beatty giving birth to 3 children during his transition from female to male. She worries that somehow how Thomas, and the rest of us transpeople identify somehow affects how other people are identified.

It’s not an overstatement to say that ENDA is a huge step, mostly under the radar, to codify a new definition of humanity.

--Morabito

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The Humanitarian Left

NB: A New Blog is Born, I'll let Humanitarian Left explain for itself.

By OPOL

I think of myself as being part of the humanitarian left. That's not a formal thing (afaik). I'm not an ideologue, a dedicated Marxist or committed socialist (though I do lean that way). I just come down on the left side of things because that's where one finds compassion, charity, kindness, altruism, etc.- all those things that I perceive to be the best of which we are capable. I define myself as a leftist in opposition to what one finds on the right: selfishness, greed, profits over people, authoritarian meanness, police-state regulation of the powerless and lawlessness for the rich and powerful. It's easy to be selfish and mean, perhaps that's why so many people are. It's much harder, and more laudatory in my view, to be a humanitarian. After all, what does the world need more of? Mean, selfish, greedy assholes? Or humanitarians? I think the answer is obvious.

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Disguise and Deception

 photo chase-culpepper_zps4614b15a.jpgChase Culpepper is a 16-year-old resident of South Carolina. Like 16-year-olds all over the country, Chase applied for his drivers' license this past March. Unlike most 16-year-olds. DMV officials forced Chase to change his appearance before they would take his license picture.

Chase prefers male pronouns at this point, but wears girl's clothing and make-up. DMV workers accused him of not looking the way "a boy should." They refused to take his picture as long as he was "in disguise."

CNN's video is not embeddable

The government should not be in the business of telling men and women how we are supposed to look as men and women.

--Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)

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