Law and Justice

Judge, jury uphold HERO

A state judge in Texas ruled that opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) did not gather enough signatures to force a repeal referendum.

After separate rulings from both a jury and state District Judge Robert Schaffer, attorneys for both sides entered dueling counts of the valid signatures, adding and subtracting voters as Schaffer responded to motions. By early this week, the counts were closer together than ever before, fewer than 1,000 signatures apart.

Ultimately, Schaffer on Friday ruled the final count of valid signatures was 16,684, leaving opponents short of the threshold required in the city charter of 17,249 signatures, or 10 percent of the ballots cast in the last mayoral election.

(As) a matter of fact and as a matter of law the Referendum Petition is not valid or enforceable in all respects.

--Judge Robert Schaffer

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The dress code is on your birth certificate

 photo broussard_zpsvne0daif.jpgTristan Brousard is a 21-year-old native of Hathaway, LA, in Jefferson Davis Parrish. The transgender man has filed a sex disrimination lawsuit against his former employer, First Tower Loan LLC, which is based in Flowood, Mississippi and has offices in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois.

Broussard says that he was forced out of his job in Lake Charles, LA, after a company executive discovered he was born female. Tower was hired in February of 2013 as a sales representative and in March a supervisor was going over his employment papers and noticed that his driver's license listed him as female. Broussard told the supervisor that he was transgender.

Most people that don't know me from before can't tell.

--Brossard

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EEOC rules for equality again

 photo Lusardi_zpsxn3pmqcs.jpgThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that the US Army must financially compensate Tamara Lusardi for employment discrimination she experienced while working at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

The ruling follows a verdict previous issued in Lusardi's case in October in which the EEOC labeled actions taken against her by supervisors were discriminatory. Those actions included barring Lusardi from the women's restroom and continuing to use male pronouns and her former name. The EEOC found at that time that the supervisors were violating a federal law which "which prohibits discrimination based on conduct that does not adversely affect job performance."

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Stipe, John condemn treatment of transgender prisoners

Michael Stipe and Elton John issued a joint statement yesterday condemning the treatment of transgender prisoners in the state of Georgia.

Transgender women in male prisons have an equal right to protection from violence and abuse in prison, yet they continue to face horrific injustices.

The musicians referred to both the situation of Ashley Diamond, linked above, and that of Zahara Green, who was forced to perform oral sex on a prisoner at Rogers State Prison in 2012. When Ms. Green complained, she was placed in protective custody...in the same cell as her abuser. There she was raped repeatedly for 14 hours before a guard came to check on the situation.

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DOJ intervenes in case of Ashley Diamond

 photo Ashley_Diamond_zpsva39xxxv.jpgThe Department of Justice has filed a 19-page brief in the case of Ashley Diamond v Owens, et al. in a District Court in Georgia.

Ms. Diamond, 36, lived openly as a transgender woman since she was a teen, but was arrested for theft, probation violation, escape, and obstruction of justice. She was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of 11 years. She was, of course, sent to a male prison.

You’d have thought she murdered a small village. But it was their final chance to get her out of Rome, and they did.

--Charles Neal Sumlin, victim of the theft

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Gender Prison: Trial begins in the killing of Jennifer Laude

 photo Laude_zpsegwflf54.jpgThe trial of Marine Pfc. Joseph Pemberton in the murder of transgender Fillipina Jennifer Laude began yesterday.

 photo Pemberton_zpsoox2j9xa.jpgPemberton arrived in court with what was called a security escort but appears to the casual observer to be his entourage.

Laude's mother, Julita Cabillan, when approached by reporters was reported to have said that she would not drop the case, even is she was offered a million dollars.

Lawyers for the Laude family say that prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos had taken that statement as a sign that the Laude family was open to a plea bargain and that the prosecutor promoted that idea with defense attorneys.

Laude's relatives say they received a letter from Pemberton offering 21 million pesos (US $468,000) in exchange for their approval to lower the charge from murder to homicide. Murder carries a 40 year sentence, while homicide gets 20 years.

No amount of money could pay for the years I spent raising my child.

What they did to my child was gruesome. Just because we are poor doesn't mean we can't fight for justice.

--Cabillan

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Transgender protesters block traffic in downtown LA

This last Friday at 5pm several dozen transpeople gathered in downtown Los Angeles at 3rd and La Cienega, at the site of the Beverly Center shopping mall.

 

 

 

 

The rally, called the Spring into Love Rally was organized by FAMILIA: Trans and Queer Liberation Movement and the transLatin@ Coalition and supported by NGLTF.

The purpose of the rally was to call for an end to violence against and killings of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Southern California.

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A Diatribe

Often I see it mentioned by folks that the country is going to hell in a handbasket and bemoaning the state of our society. This is often accompanied by myriad reasons, some of which seem to have more merit than others in my opinion.
 
While I tend to agree with the statement in general, and several of the reasons in particular, I have come upon what I consider a defining moment among the reasons, and that is defending the torture that our gov’t and its operatives did in our name.
 

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Our Ugly History

What's going on in America with regards to the killing of black men for pretty petty crimes so often now really reminds me of the old days of lynchings. In those days, the white folks in town played judge, jury, and executioner of a great many black folks who they had accused of some crime or another. They didn't get a trial.

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South Carolina DMV sued in federal court over gender policing incident

Last March Chase Culpepper, 16, applied for a South Carolina driver's license. Chase is gender non-conforming but still uses male pronouns. At the DMV Chase was told that he could not have his license photo taken unless he removed the make-up he uses on a daily basis.

I covered the story at the time: Disguise and Deception, complete with the basic concept:

 

No amount of makeup remover can erase how he feels.
 

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)

On Tuesday TLDEF filed a federal lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles brought by Theresa Culpepper on behalf of her minor child, asking the court to rule that denying Chase the freedom to wear his everyday makeup in his license photo constitutes sex discrimination and violates his right to free speech and expression under the United States Constitution. The suit also seeks a ruling that the DMV's policy (roughly, that it cannot take the photo of anyone who is "in disguise") is unconstitutionally vague, too broad, and allows DMV employees to "police gender" (i.e. to arbitrarily decide how a driver's license applicant should look without regard to the rights of the people they are supposed to serve).

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