Human Rights

Chicago YMCA stirs the pot

YMCA of Metro Chicago has issued guidelines for accommodating transgender members and guests. They allow access to restrooms and changing areas matching gender identity.

The protocol was explained in a letter posted Wednesday on the organization's website. The YMCA of Metro Chicago said it also sent the letter to its 140,000 members at its 21 Chicagoland centers. The guidelines will cover all YMCA of Metro Chicago programs and services, from gym and pool facilities to summer camps and various classes. The policies wouldn't apply to some smaller, independent YMCA's in the Chicago area.

We recognize our commitment in support of the rights of all individuals can cause some to feel uncomfortable.. Again, it's our goal for all members to thrive at the Y, and this is why we will do our best to support each of you while maintaining an environment that reflects the inclusive values we share.

--Dick Malone, YMCA of Metro Chicago

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EEOC files bias case against Bojangles

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a worker identified as Jonathan Wolfe against Bojangles Restaurants, Inc. Wolfe was employed at a Bojangels in Fayetteville, NC.

According to the release, Wolfe "was repeatedly subjected to offensive comments about her gender identity and appearance. The belittling statements often demanded that Wolfe, who identifies and presents as a woman, engage in behavior and grooming practices that are stereotypically male, because that is the sex Wolfe was assigned at birth."

The release said derogatory comments about Wolfe continued, even after she had reported them on at least two occasions.

Wolfe was fired shortly after complaining about the statements.

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Gov. Hassan makes a move

In the transgender community New Hampshire is mostly known as one of three states that have anti-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation, but not on the basis of gender identity (Wisconsin, New York).

On Thursday Gov. Maggie Hassan followed New York's Gov. Andrew Governor by utilizing the power of her office to do what she could. Gov. Hassan signed an executive order that bans discrimination in state government against transgender people,

Throughout our history, it has been clear time and again that we always grow stronger when we work to ensure the full inclusion of all citizens in our democracy, our economy and our communities. By making clear that gender identity and gender expression are protected in the State’s anti-discrimination policies, this Executive Order helps ensure that New Hampshire state government welcomes and incorporates the talents and contributions of all of our citizens.

--Gov. Hassan

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Reactions

Captain Jennifer Peace is an intelligence officer at Joint Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma, WA. She says she found herself "moved" as she watched Sec. Ashton Carter's announcement yesterday of the lifting of the ban on open service by transgender members.

Transgender people have served honorably in the military for years. To hear that validated by the secretary of Defense, it was an incredible feeling. It had a lot more impact than I anticipated.

--Peace

Captain Peace is one of an estimated 15,000 transgender service members on active duty.

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Republicans rejecting science: It's what they do

Nico Lang has an essay at the LA Times: Being transgender isn’t a mental illness. What’s sick is a society that treats it that way

Attacking Obama, Kansas state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald:

You’re either male or you’re female, and it’s not changeable. It’s reality. Inability to deal with that reality, or to recognize that reality, is disoriented, and can be disoriented to the point of insanity.

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Hate strikes in Seattle

 photo SEattle_zpscr8gvdmp.jpgMichael Volz, a 36-year-old transgender man, was leaving a fundraiser for Orlando victims  held Wednesday evening at a nightclub when he was approached by a man of about 20 who said "Hey, Happy Pride" before grabbing the transman by the throat while yelling a transgender slur.

The transgender man was choked to unconsciousness and beaten. Then the suspect fled the scene.

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Military's transgender ban may be lifted before the Fourth

After a delay that has lasted several months the Pentagon is planning to publicly announce the repeal on its ban on service by transgender troops on July 1.

Top personnel officials plan to meet as early as Monday to finalize details of the plan, and Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work could sign off on it by Wednesday, according to a Defense official familiar with the timetable but who spoke on condition of anonymity because officials were not authorized to speak publicly about it. Final approval would come from Defense Secretary Ash Carter, and the announcement will be on the eve of the Fourth of July weekend.

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