Law and Justice

New Jersey transgender rights bill resurrected

A bill to allow transgender people born in New Jersey to change the sex listed on on their birth certificate without being required to have undergone surgery rises for the third time today.

Though New Jersey has issued changed birth certificates to residents who undergo sex reassignment surgery since the nineteen-eighties, those who do not want or cannot afford surgery have no recourse. A new version of the bill goes to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Thursday.

On the previous two occasions the bill appeared, it was passed, only to be vetoed by Governor Chris Christie, who claimed that the bill opened the door for "fraud, deception and abuse."

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2016: Number 1

 photo Loera_zpsmyqfplfn.jpgMonica Loera was shot and killed on her front doorstep on January 22.

Although police have made an arrest in the case and a suspect has been charged, there’s been no public acknowledgement of her death or the community that has been further traumatized in its wake. And that’s wrong.

Reading the arrest affidavit or local news reports about the death, you’d have no idea that the victim was a transgender woman. The wild curls and wide grins from her Facebook page – and above all else, her chosen name – have been omitted to a staggering degree. Instead Loera has been described using her birth name and masculine pronouns.

--Nina Hernandez, Austin Chronicle

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Another victory for transgender employment

Deluxe Financial Services, Inc. is a check printing company. Britney Austin used to work at their Phoenix call center. Then she informed her supervisors that she would be transitioning from male to female. Her managers and co-workers proceeded to shower her with harassment and offensive slurs. The company refused to let her use the women's restroom and refused to change her name and sex on employment records, saying she would have to complete gender confirmation surgery first.

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Gender in the courts

Last week in a federal court in California, US District Judge Dean Pregerson allowed a case against Pepperdine University to proceed "on the basis it may have violated the prohibition against gender bias under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by engaging in anti-gay discrimination against members of the women’s basketball team. Haley Videckis and Layan White sued the University, charging employees of the school with harassment by conducting a lesbian witch hunt.

At one point Coach Ryan Weisenberg held a team leadership meeting at which time he said that

lesbianism was a big concern for him and for women’s basketball, that it was a reason why teams lose, and that it would not be tolerated on the team

Adi Conlogue, an athletic academic coordinator of the team, allegedly in 2014 would hold meetings with each of the players to determine their sexual orientation as opposed to focusing on their academics, asking questions about their relationships and whether they slept with their beds together.

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Challenge to ADA Exclusion

In a federal district court in Pennsylvania there is an ongoing challenge to the transgender exclusion in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Passed in 1990 the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of a medical or mental condition but includes the Helms Amendment, along with a portion of the original act included in hopes of enticing support from the extreme right, which some call the "moral code": the act excludes from protection "transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, and other sexual behavior disorders

Kate Lynn Blatt was hired as a seasonal stocker at Cabela’s Retail in the fall of 2006, according to allegations in the complaint. Before starting her job, she attended a two-day orientation dressed in female attire, and used the women’s employee restroom without issue. Once she started working, however, Blatt was prohibited from using the women’s restroom and was forced to wear a name tag depicting her name as “James,” even after she presented the director of human resources with documentation of her legal name change.

Blatt claims her colleagues called her “ladyboy,” “freak,” and “sinner.” Cabela’s made Blatt use the single-sex “family” restroom at the front of the store, rather than the female employee restroom closer to her work area, according to the complaint. Blatt claims she endured harassment from management and coworkers, and was abruptly terminated in March 2007.

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Confusion and Conclusions in Jackson Heights

Transgender activists marched Tuesday to protest the savage beating of Kathy Sal in Jackson Heights last Sunday and the actions of the police and media since that took place.

NYPD identified the victim as a man in their report, even though they were aware that she was known by a female first name. Television station WCBS deadnamed the victim (deadname: verb transitive, "identify a transgender person by their former name instead of their perferred name"). The Daily News and Newsday both misgendered the victim.

Daily News headline: EXCLUSIVE: Crossdressing Queens man brutally attacked, suspect repeatedly smashed his head into a curb

Newsday headline: NYPD: Cross-dressing man attacked in Jackson Heights, Queens

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She's having a bad year

I first wrote about Samantha Hulsey back in January, when she was attacked with a friend on a Muni bus by a man who stabbed her twice with a steak knife while calling Hulsey and her friend "faggots".

On November 15 a San Francisco couple, Dewayne Edward Kemp, 36, and Rebecca Louise Westover, 42, were arrested near Eighth and Mission for allegedly assaulting transgender resident Samantha Hulsey.

In court Friday afternoon, Kemp and Westover pleaded not guilty to the charges, contending that they were acting in self-defense when Westover threw a cup of hot coffee an Hulsey and her girlfriend, Daira Hopwood and Kemp punched Hulsey four times in the face while uttering transphobic comments.

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Federal Judge: Lawsuit against MI Sec. of State continues

A federal judge in Michigan has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a group of transgender people against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

The six trans people and the ACLU are claiming their constitutional rights are being violated.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds found that the plaintiffs raised a cognizable claim that their constitutional rights to privacy are being violated by a state policy that makes it difficult or impossible to change the gender recorded on their driver's licenses.

Emani Love, Tina Seitz, Codie Stone and three other trans people claim that the under the policy promulgated by the state, the ability to change the gender on a driver's license is denied them.

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Franken presses Feds to take action on anti-trans violence

On Wednesday, Minnesota Senator Al Franken sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey seeking answers on the reporting of this year's record level of anti-transgender violence. Franken wrote the two-page letter from his position as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I write to express serious concern about the alarming number of homicides and violent crimes targeting transgender and gender nonconforming people. I strongly urge the U.S. Department of Justice to work with state and local authorities in the investigation and prosecution of these incidents, and to redouble its efforts to ensure the accurate reporting of all bias-motivated crimes.

--Franken

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