Human Rights

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.



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.




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.


 photo transgendervoting_zpsb8208d4e.jpg

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.




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."




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.




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




The crux of the biscuit

crossposted from: Humanitarian Left


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.




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


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.'



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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