Category: politics & causes

CA Trans Students: Good News

Posted by – August 12, 2013

Well, this is indeed good news:

Today, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the historic School Success and Opportunity Act into law, ensuring transgender youth have the opportunity to fully participate and succeed in schools across the state. Assembly Bill 1266—which goes into effect on January 1, 2014—was authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and passed the California State Senate and Assembly earlier this summer. The law is the first of its kind in the country, and requires that California public schools respect students’ gender identity and makes sure that students can fully participate in all school activities, sports teams, programs, and facilities that match their gender identity. . . 


California law already prohibits discrimination in education, but transgender students have been often discriminated against and unfairly excluded from physical education, athletic teams, and other school activities, and facilities. This exclusion negatively impacts students’ ability to succeed in school and graduate with their class. For example, physical education credits are required to graduate, but transgender students often do not have the support they need to fully participate in the courses.

It’s the first law of its kind, but it would be amazing to see this happen in a lot more states.

#ENDA Committee Votes 15-7 in Favor

Posted by – July 10, 2013

This is good news: a 15-7 vote, says the Maddow blog, means there may actually be bipartisan support for ENDA, at long last.


The Night a Feminist Army…

Posted by – June 27, 2013

… of loud angry bitches beat the GOP, is the full title. I absolutely love this article about what happened in Texas the night of the 25th. I stayed up and watched it as the midnight hour drew near and passed; I was watching when the time stamp was changed on the vote; I was watching when the “At what point?” question was asked – which should, imho, go down in history as AT LEAST as significant as the “Have you, at long last, no decency?” that was asked during HUAC).

It was an insane thing to see but a proud, proud thing to watch.

A feminist army of loud angry bitches. We need more of them.

Filibuster In Progress: Texas

Posted by – June 25, 2013

Ann Richards would be proud.

Coy Mathis Wins

Posted by – June 24, 2013

At long last, great news: Coy Mathis was being discriminated against when her school stopped allowing her to use the girls’ room as she had been all along.

According to TLDEF:

This is the first ruling in the nation holding that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms that match who they are, and the most comprehensive ruling ever supporting the rights of transgender people to access bathrooms without harassment or discrimination.

Great, GREAT news.

Allyson Robinson Fired from OutServe

Posted by – June 23, 2013

A mere nine months into her position, Allyson Robinson was forced to step down as a result of what Bilerico is calling a “board coup”. There does seem to be evidence of board manipulation, but more than anything is the evidence that quite a few other board members – now a third of the board – have resigned in protest.

Because trans military were not included in DADT, and the US military still doesn’t accept openly service trans people, Robinson’s leadership was necessary. We in the trans community will keep watching this closely to see what happened, and where the organization – and the political mission of trans inclusion in the US military – will go from here.

Allyson is both a friend and colleague, and I have no doubt she will go on to do even more amazing things than she has already.

How (Not) To Be An Ally

Posted by – June 19, 2013

My patience for snark is really, really low these days, but I still found some of the gems in “8 Ways Not To Be An “Ally”: A Non-Comprehensive List” pretty useful.

But I’m still going to re-articulate them for those who don’t understand irony. I’ve put her comments in italics, and tried to articulate in my earnest, non-snarky way, why this list is so vital. I’ve also added one of my own.

1. Assume one act of solidarity makes you an ally forever means fighting oppression is an ongoing, day to day struggle that doesn’t come with much resolution if any. One day the world is not going to just be better. Which means that you, as an ally, need to keep doing whatever work you do to minimize racism, sexism, homphobia, etc.

2. Make everything about your feelings, or, it’s not about you. The best way to go about this is to shut up and listen. That’s all. Stop talking so much. Listen. Pretend you don’t have an opinion and that other people’s lived experiences are actually as valid as your own. It’s a nutty idea, I know, but it’s true. People who live with marginalization are often – shocker! – at least as smart as you, if not smarter.

3.  Date ‘em all will not, in any way, make you an ally automatically. In fact, it could instead mean that you’re a fetishizing, exploitive, clueless jerk. (Trans admirers take special note here, please.)

4. Don’t see race/gender/disability/etc. is a good way of eliminating someone’s identity and specifically an identity which – because of the sexist, racist, transphobic, ablesist culture we live in, tends to essentialize a person due to that marginalization. Not seeing that aspect of them is belittling and really only lets you off the hook, free from your white liberal guilt. That is, it does nothing for people who are marginalized, but everything for people who aren’t.

5. Don’t try any harder, or, try until you succeed, not just until your white liberal guilt is assuaged. See above. More

Mark Pocan (D-WI) on ENDA and ExxonMobil

Posted by – June 11, 2013

Pretty simply put with a lot of useful information about why ExxonMobil is the exception and not the rule and need to get out of the way of this important American legislation.

Mark Pocan is gay, out, and is now filling the position recently vacated by Tammy Baldwin when she became the first out LGBTQ Senator.

Here’s a 7 minute video of personal stories about the importance of this legislation. Even though it is specifically about West Virginia, it makes the point for many states without this kind of basic protection.

MN’s Birthday Present

Posted by – May 13, 2013

And… Minnesota gives me the best 44th birthday present!


Queer Wisconsin

Posted by – May 5, 2013

Okay, maybe not queer Wisconsin, but definitely LGBTQ Wisconsin, at least. There are two interesting articles out about the state of gay rights and marriage equality and non-discrimination in this state.

One is mostly about Fair Wisconsin: its history, current goals, and what kinds of policy and legislation they’ve been addressing.

The details of how Action Wisconsin, the predecessor to Fair Wisconsin, got started are sketchy, though there seems to be consensus it coincided with the election of Tammy Baldwin to the state Assembly in 1992.

The story is that the newly elected Baldwin, then the first out lesbian elected to the Assembly, was in great demand as a speaker around the state. Belanger says Baldwin would go to these speaking engagements and collect names and contact information in a spiral notebook.

“The legend is that those lists started Action Wisconsin,” says Belanger. John Kraus, spokesman for Baldwin, now a U.S. senator, confirms the story.

The second is about the change of attitude about marriage equality and gay rights in the state:

Yet Wisconsinites are now out of sync with the rest of the country.

The latest poll from Marquette University shows that 42% of Wisconsinites support full marriage equality, while 26% support civil unions and 28% oppose any legal recognition of these partnerships.

That’s a positive change from 2006, when 59.4% of voters approved a constitutional ban on marriage equality and civil unions.

Although it’s the law of the land, the constitutional ban is at odds with Wisconsin’s long tradition of tolerance, said Katie Belanger, executive director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights group Fair Wisconsin. She noted that in 1982 Wisconsin was the first state to make sexual-orientation discrimination illegal and voters clearly supported the election of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, a lesbian, to the U.S. Senate in 2012.

“We may disagree on all of the issues of importance to the full LGBT community, but a Wisconsin value is that we treat people fairly and with respect,” Belanger said.

And people wonder why we moved here! There’s so much to do! You can donate to Fair Wisconsin to help us keep moving things forward.

Happy May Day: The Internationale

Posted by – May 1, 2013

“The Paris Commune had fallen … but now he was fleeing for his life. He was in hiding, Eugene Portier . . . and that very month of May, 1871, he writes six long verses & a chorus calling on all the hard working people of the entire world to overthrow their masters, and he was quite confident that they would, soon.” – Pete Seeger, from the documentary

There are six parts, and it’s a pretty cool bit of history. Gives us in the US, in particular, a little better sense of how exactly one-sided our political conversation has been since the 1950s.

Suffrage & Marriage Equality

Posted by – May 1, 2013

In 1893, Colorado gave women the right to vote.

Nine years later, three states had done so.

President Wilson started supporting the right in 1918.

In 1920, the US recognized suffrage for women. At that time, 9 states & 1 territory (Utah!) had given women the right to vote.


In 2004, Massachusetts recognized the need for marriage equality.

Nine years later, 10 states have done so.

President Obama started openly supporting it in 2012.


So then — when?


Posted by – April 30, 2013

Today is LGBTQ Equality & Justice & Day in New York. It’s long overdue.

Back when they passed SONDA, they promised they’d come back. So tell our legislators it’s long over due: include gender identity in New York State’s non-discrimination act.

Equality Wins This Week

Posted by – April 27, 2013

Also, I love this tidy summation from Fair Wisconsin‘s Katie Belanger:

Just this week alone,
(1) France became the 17th nation in the world to recognize marriage equality,
(2) the Delaware House voted in support of the freedom to marry, sending the bill to the Senate,
(3) Nevada kicked off the process to repeal its constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, and
(4) Rhode Island is poised on the brink of becoming the tenth state in the US to extend the freedom to marry to committed gay and lesbian couples – only one more procedural vote and on to the Governor!

And yesterday,
(5) a fully inclusive federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was introduced in the House and the Senate. If passed into law, ENDA simply would make it illegal to discriminate in employment based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.

Philly’s “Transiest Bill Ever”

Posted by – April 26, 2013

Just to reiterate: this is great goddamn news: it will end discriminatory exclusion of health benefits for transgender City employees by Jan. 1, 2014 and allow employers offering health care to transgender employees to qualify for the “Equality Tax Credit”.

But I just have to point out the very last bit of this article:

There’s a whole bunch more, but you get the gist of it . . . State Rep. Brian Sims called it “a remarkable day in our city’s rich history,” and you know what? It is.

So there you have it: The world is not totally made of shit. Have you got some good news? If so, send it to tips[at]philebrity[dot]com with “GOOD MOTHERFUCKING NEWS!” in the subject header — we’d love to hear about it.

Philly Wins

Posted by – April 26, 2013

Really, the Philadelphia City Council just passed an amazing equality bill. According to Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club the LGBT Equality Bill will:

• Make Philadelphia the largest city in the nation to end discrimination against transgender people in its employee health-care plan.
• Make Philadelphia the first city in the nation to offer a Transgender Health Tax Credit to companies that offer transgender-specific health coverage.
• Make Philadelphia the first city in the nation to offer a Life Partner Health Care Tax Credit to companies whose employee health plans treat life partners and their children equal to heterosexual families.
• Clarify that life partners of city employees have authority equal to heterosexual spouses for hospital visitation and medical decision making, and access equal to heterosexual spouses for pension, retirement and survivor benefits.
• Protect the rights of workers to dress and groom consistent with their gender identity.
• Require that individuals be permitted use of restrooms in accordance with their gender identity.
• Require city buildings to provide gender-neutral restrooms.
• Make it easier for transgender Philadelphians to update their name and gender on city documents.

This is very exciting stuff, a whole new plateau the rest of us have to catch up to.

Mara Keisling’s Lessons for Activists

Posted by – April 22, 2013

Mara Keisling of NCTE spoke here at Lawrence a little over a week ago and she talked not just about trans issues and policy and legislation, but also about the importance of white people talking about racism and about what kinds of things are required of an activist.

She presented this list:

1. Have a worldview. Know what is right and wrong for you.

2. Be intentional. Don’t just do things the easy way.

3. Remember that you are in service with your activism.

4. You have to love the people you serve. If you don’t love them, you can’t serve them.

5. Respect other people’s work.

6. Know your superpower.

7. You can’t be amazing unless you are amazed.

And I found the list pretty astonishing. I’m certainly not perfect at it, but it does summarize so much of what I’ve been thinking these past few years about my own work.

I’ve got #s 1 & 4 down, at least. I’m pretty good at #s 3, 5, & 6. #s 2 & 7 are my weakest. I wonder, if you’re an activist, how these measure up for you.

#13?: NZ

Posted by – April 17, 2013

New Zealand has made same sex marriage legal. They’re the 13th country in the world to do so. & Guess what? The US isn’t one of them.

(I can’t quite sort if they are the 13th or 14th. Seeing conflicting #s from good sources, so here’s a list.)

  1. Argentina
  2. Belgium
  3. Canada
  4. Denmark
  5. Iceland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Norway
  8. Portugal
  9. Spain
  10. South Africa
  11. Sweden
  12. Uruguay
  13. New Zealand

RIP Margaret Thatcher

Posted by – April 8, 2013

… and here are a bunch of songs expressing similar sentiments.

LGBTQ Immigration Stories Needed

Posted by – April 6, 2013

From NCTE:

The U.S. Senate is close to announcing its plan to reform our immigration system. But as we’ve learned from this Congress, we’ve got to build up our tools to fight against attempts to exclude LGBT people from immigration reform.

We can do that by sharing the stories of LGBT people whose lives have been affected by our dated immigration laws.

Share your immigration story here or post this on Facebook to encourage your friends to submit theirs.

It really matters that we all come out for immigration reform and the fact that there are transgender immigrants is just one reason to do so .

NCTE is prioritizing immigration reform because it’s a moral issue to address all of the indignities that every immigrant in our country faces, including everyone who is without documents, faces inhumane treatment in detention centers, or is in deportation proceedings because their relationship isn’t recognized by our government.

If we are able to collect the stories of LGBT immigrants, we can build the public education campaign we need to get real reforms that help real people.

Join us in collecting these stories now.