Tag: legislation

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.

And Back in the States…

Posted by – March 22, 2013

Arizona legislators want to make it illegal for people to use the “wrong” bathroom, and to make the offense punishable with fines and jail time. They’ve raised the usual bugaboo of pedophilia – which, if anyone has noticed, we don’t seem to care one whit about when it’s done by straight men – and which Mara Keisling clarifies:

“These (anti-discrimination) laws are in effect in more than 160 cities and 16 states,” said Keisling, and that the problem of sexual predation on minors that the discriminatory policy alleges to address, “isn’t happening anywhere. It just doesn’t occur. It’s one of the terrible things that opponents of equality always raise in hopes of scaring people.”

Oh, and by the way? “Birth gender” is an oxymoron. Pass it on.

Go Canada!

Posted by – March 22, 2013

Canada has just passed a bill that would protect transgender people nationally. The Prime Minister voted against it, and it still has to make it through the Senate, but still: impressive.

I’m adding a bit sent in by a reader about how the Canadian system works, and some info on what’s actually going on up there in terms of this specific bill. Interesting stuff.

 

More

CA Leads, Again

Posted by – September 1, 2012

California’s Assembly voted Thursday to approve a bill that would prevent people from practicing “ex gay” therapy on minors.

About damn time. & Way to go, California.

Fair Wisconsin: Wisconsin Court Upholds Domestic Partnerships

Posted by – June 20, 2011

via Lambda Legal: Applying v. Doyle case summation, and the document of the actual ruling.

(Madison, Wisconsin, Monday, June 20, 2011) – Today, the Circuit Court, Branch 11 in Dane County Wisconsin upheld as constitutional the state’s Domestic Partner Registry.

Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Daniel R. Moeser wrote, “Ultimately, it is clear that Chapter 770 does not violate the Marriage Amendment because it does not create a legal status for domestic partners that is identical or substantially similar to that of marriage. The state does not recognize domestic partnership in a way that even remotely resembles how the state recognizes marriage. Moreover, domestic partners’ have far fewer legal rights, duties, and liabilities in comparison to the legal rights, duties, and liabilities of spouses.”

“The law is clear—the domestic partnership law does not violate the Wisconsin constitution,” said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office based in Chicago. “The research the court provided in its ruling today is a showcase of material proving that the proponents of the antigay marriage amendment repeatedly told voters in 2006 that the Marriage Amendment would not ban domestic partnership benefits.”

In June 2009, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed domestic partnerships into law, granting limited but important legal protections to same-sex couples, including hospital visitation and the ability to take a family medical leave to care for a sick or injured partner. Wisconsin Family Action, an antigay group, brought a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court arguing that the domestic partnership law is a violation of Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Shortly thereafter, Lambda Legal successfully moved to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of Fair Wisconsin and five same-sex couples.

“We are pleased that the Court upheld the limited protections provided by domestic partnerships because they are essential in allowing committed same-sex couples to care for each other in times of need,” said Katie Belanger, Executive Director of Fair Wisconsin. This is an exciting day for Wisconsin. Domestic partnerships marked our state’s first step toward full equality in nearly 30 years. Judge Moeser’s decision will ensure that we can continue advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Wisconsinites in the years ahead.”

Woohoo! Good news for Wisconsin!

Anti-Non-Discrimination, or Legal Discrimination

Posted by – May 11, 2011

What the hell is going on in this country? While I find most of my students are surprised – and appalled – that there is no federal non-discrimination legislation that includes LGBTQs, states are now passing amendments to prevent any cities or towns in that state from passing any.

That is, states are passing legislation that makes it illegal to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

What?

Bill Headed to Vote in State Senate Would Gut Nashville’s Anti-LGBT Discrimination Ordinance

In a letter to Tennessee state Senators, TLDEF and the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) raised concerns about the constitutionality of a proposed bill that would make it unlawful for any city or town in the state to pass a law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Tennesseans from discrimination. If this sounds familiar, it should. We recently faced a similar bill in Montana.

Senate Bill 632 – which today passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee by a vote of 6-3 – would strike down local legal protections from discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Tennesseans, and would make it impossible to pass such protections in the future. It previously passed the House of Representatives (where it was known as House Bill 600) on April 25 by a vote of 73-24. It is expected to be voted upon in the full Senate shortly.

On April 5, 2011, the Nashville and Davidson County Metropolitan Council passed an anti-discrimination ordinance which bars the Nashville government from doing business with any entity that does not prohibit discrimination in employment against LGBT workers. Mayor Karl Dean signed it into law three days later. SB 632 was immediately rushed through the Tennessee House of Representatives by opponents of Nashville’s anti-discrimination ordinance. Their goal was to strike down Nashville’s ordinance and ensure that no city or town in Tennessee could ever enact a law protecting LGBT Tennesseans from discrimination again.

SB 632 is motivated by bias, which is a constitutionally impermissible basis for legislation. It would deprive LGBT Tennesseans of their right to participate in the political process and seek help from their local governments. It would turn lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Tennesseans into strangers to Tennessee’s government and would violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection under established United States Supreme Court precedent.

“Tennesseans have spoken through their local governments and have stated clearly that they want to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Tennesseans from discrimination,” said TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman. “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Tennesseans want the same right to live and work free from discrimination that everyone else enjoys. It is unconstitutional for Tennessee to target them by taking away their right to pass local laws that protect them from the discrimination that they face in the cities and towns where they live,” he added. “Tennessee must treat all Tennesseans equally. It violates the Constitution when it closes its doors to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Tennesseans simply because some people do not like them.”

“This bill is blatantly discriminatory,” said TTPC President Dr. Marisa Richmond. “It is an attempt to deny basic rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Tennesseans and we hope that the Senate will defeat it when it comes up for a vote.”

I’m really starting to wonder if I live in the US anymore. This kind of thinking seems antithetical to what I was always taught was American.

We need a national ENDA, and we need one with teeth.

How Many More Gay People Does God Have to Create?

Posted by – May 6, 2011

Passing Privilege and Maine Politics

Posted by – April 18, 2011

Last week, Jennifer Finney Boylan spoke to the Maine legislature over gender inclusion in Maine’s non discrimination laws. She writes:

Yesterday, I spoke to the Maine legislature’s Judiciary committee. A bill has been proposed to “exempt” transgender people from protections under the Maine Human Rights Act, which went into effect six years ago. Currently, Maine protects GLBT people from discrimination, and this includes a so called “public accommodations” provision of the very sort that was, in part, the deal breaker in the Maryland law that was shelved last week. (Although I should make it clear that the Maine law has been on the books for six years without problem, and the proposed legislation is to REMOVE the protection for trans people; Maryland currently has no such provisions and the shelved legislation would have put these protections into place.)

She made some lovely remarks to the Maine legislature’s judiciary committee, which she’s reprinted in full on her blog, but the issue that comes up is that of passing privilege: how people are more than ready to have trans people who pass in their transitioned gender protected and welcomed in gender-specific spaces, but that the people who don’t pass are suspect.

That’s obviously a problem, since it’s exactly the trans people (and cis people, for that matter) who don’t have “acceptable” or culturally legible genders that need the protection most. No one asks for anyone’s ID on the way into a public bathroom after all; we are carded by our gender expression, and if our gender isnt normative, there’s often trouble, whether the person is trans, butch or some other gender that doesn’t stick closely enough to “man” or “woman”.

A quick thanks to Boylan for the heads up and for speaking up, too.

Institute of Medicine Recommends Studying LGBT Health Needs

Posted by – April 1, 2011

& That’s not an April Fool’s joke! Honestly, you’d expect it would be, but it’s not: the IOM released a report that in order to address LGBT health disparities, LGBT health issues need to be studied further.

Seems nutty, right, to find out what people need in order to provide it.

Tammy Baldwin will be introducing an Act (the Ending LGBT Health Disparities Act) based on the IOM’s findings.

More

ENDA

Posted by – March 30, 2011

ENDA has been re-introduced in the House as of today, according to NCTE and TLDEF. More updates as they come through.

All Out: Help Brazil Pass a Hate Crimes Law

Posted by – March 19, 2011

A 22 year old woman named Priscila was murdered execution style in Brazil. Too many LGBT people in Brazil – particularly trans people – are killed. A local group, All Out, is seeking a hate crimes law to help prevent these murders, and have an online petition you can sign.

I didn’t embed the video here because it’s too triggery for too many of us who have lost people to transphobic violence. Do watch, because it’s important – and a lovely chance to see this young woman alive and optimistic about her life – but I thought people needed to ready to watch.

Great News on Trans Marriage Rights in NYC

Posted by – March 9, 2011

From the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF):

We are happy to announce that the city of New York has adopted a new policy designed to ensure that transgender people have equal access to marriage licenses. The policy was adopted as part of an agreement to resolve threatened legal action involving a transgender couple. The couple wishes to remain private and we refer to them as Jane and John.

Jane and John are both transgender. They are an opposite-sex couple who have been in a relationship for over a decade. In Dec. 2009, they attempted to marry in the Bronx. They fulfilled all of the requirements for receiving a marriage license in New York City and presented their government-issued photo identification – the only identification required by the City Clerk’s office. Rather than issuing the marriage license, the City Clerk refused and instead demanded that Jane and John produce their birth certificates before they could be married – something not required of other marriage license applicants.

Under the terms of the new policy, issued on Feb. 7, 2011, once a marriage license applicant produces the required photo ID, the City Clerk may not request additional proof of sex. Moreover, City Clerk employees are forbidden from considering the applicant’s appearance or preconceived notions related to gender expression when deciding whether to issue a marriage license.

“Transgender people are challenged all the time about their status as men and women,” said TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman. “Our clients are legally entitled to marry and were denied that right just because they are transgender. We applaud the City Clerk’s office for adopting this policy and for taking steps to ensure that this does not happen again.”

In addition to the adoption of the new policy, the agreement to resolve the couple’s claims calls for the City Clerk to apologize to Jane and John, to institute training for all City Clerk employees on issues relating to gender identity and gender expression, and to ensure that Jane and John are free to marry at a time and place of their choosing.

For more about this new policy, read up at TLDEF’s site.

Go Massachusetts!

Posted by – February 18, 2011

The governor of MA just signed a law that bans discrimination against state employees who are trans.

“This is going to make a real difference in the lives of transgender state workers and their families,” said G­unner Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and a leading partner in the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition. “No one should have to work in fear that they could lose their job simply because of who they are.”

Yay, Gunner Scott! Thanks to all your work, and to all of MTPC’s work!

Canada’s ENDA

Posted by – February 12, 2011

Canada’s version of ENDA – which adds both ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ has passed the House of Commons, and next it will need to pass the Senate.

Don’t Be Distracted: Women’s Lives Are at Stake

Posted by – February 11, 2011

Egypt is fascinating and amazing and cool, and it’s easy to enjoy the good news of democracy in progress.

That said, ours is being battered here in the US.

The “forcible rape” language has not yet been removed, for instance.

And health care for poor women (Title X) is on the chopping block as an “austerity measure.” Because we all know keeping poor women from contraception, HIV tests and abortion will make for a better world. Cost effective? Not at all. Better to prevent HIV and various STIs than to have to treat them later.

Write your politicians, write Chris Smith, and tell them to cut it out.
Then, join Planned Parenthood or NARAL or some other organization that will be fighting harder than usual for women’s lives and women’s health for the next few years.

From NCTE: New HUD Rules

Posted by – January 23, 2011

The National Center for Transgender Equality applauds President Obama and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for proposing new regulations, unveiled today, that would ensure that HUD’s programs would be open to all who need them, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that all of HUD’s core programs, such as Public Housing, rental vouchers (called Housing Choice vouchers), and FHA home financing, will serve all those who are eligible.
Data from a forthcoming report on transgender discrimination in the United States, co-sponsored by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was cited as evidence demonstrating the dire need for housing protections for the transgender community.  Nineteen percent (19%) of the survey’s more than 6,000 respondents had been denied a house or apartment because of their gender identity, while 11% had been evicted due to bias. The full report will be released in a matter of weeks.

“There are so many individuals and families who rely on HUD’s programs to ensure that they have a roof over their heads and that they can make ends meet,” noted NCTE’s executive director, Mara Keisling. “And yet far too often, they have encountered discriminatory landlords and regulations that make it impossible for them to have a fair deal. HUD’s strong stand against discrimination will make a concrete difference in the lives of transgender people and our families. Every American needs and deserves a home.”

If the rules proposed today are fully implemented after the 60 day public comment period, transgender people facing discrimination in public housing or public housing financing will have recourse to fix the problem. The new regulations would include definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity, ban landlords from asking about sexual orientation or gender identity, prohibit lenders from discriminating on that basis, and clarify that public housing programs are open to LGBT families who are otherwise eligible for them.

This is far from HUD’s first advance in transgender equality. Thus far, the Obama Administration has announced that they will conduct the first-ever national study of housing discrimination against LGBT people. They have also issued fair housing guidance that specifically clarified that discrimination against transgender people can be considered a violation of the Fair Housing Act. In addition, HUD has ruled that those who receive HUD discretionary funding must abide by state and local anti-discrimination laws.

NCTE will continue to follow HUD’s progress through the comment period.

Do Marry Me, Argentina

Posted by – July 15, 2010

Congratulations to Argentina for being the first Latin American country to legalize same sex marriage.
In Spain it’s been legal for a while.

Which is my way of saying: not all primarily Catholic countries, & not all Catholics, are bigots.

NYS GENDA Defeated

Posted by – June 8, 2010

Senator Lanza apparently takes his marching orders from Senator Diaz. Tell him how you feel about him retracting his yes vote at the last minute, ask Tom Duane why the hell he wasn’t there.

Vote: 12 ayes, 11 nays, 0 abstentions

Sen. Diaz: (unintelligible)

(Senator Lanza retracts his yes vote.)

New tally: 11 ayes, 12 nayes, 0 abstentions.

Speaker 8: Where is the sponsor, Senator Tom Duane? I thought the idea of the new committee rules was to make this a better process. If the sponsor isn’t here to hear our thought process, how can this bill be made better?


It’s just sad all around.

NYS GENDA on the Move

Posted by – June 7, 2010

GENDA is moving in the Senate – call your Senator NOW!

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) is on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda for tomorrow morning. This vital civil rights bill will make it illegal to discriminate against transgender New Yorkers in areas like employment, housing and public accommodations, and expand hate crimes protections to explicitly include gender identity and expression. Your Senator is a member of the Judiciary Committee and has the power to pass GENDA out of the committee and onto the Senate floor for a full vote.

We need you to get on the phone and call your Senator at their Albany office RIGHT NOW and tell them that you want them to pass GENDA in the Judiciary Committee. It is vital that they hear from you TODAY.

Here’s how to make your call:

1. Enter your address to find your State Senator’s Albany phone number here.

2. Tell your Senator: “I support the GENDA bill (S.2406). Please pass GENDA from the Judiciary Committee onto the floor for a full Senate vote.”

Your voice is crucial! Make your call now!

Good News: ENDA & DADT Update

Posted by – May 10, 2010

ENDA & the bill to repeal DADT are supposed to go to the floor this month!

Meanwhile, the whip count on ENDA, which Obama also backs, is entering its fifth week. The effort has most recently focused on rechecking support among Members thought to be more comfortable with the legislation than politically imperiled moderates who have raised most of the concerns, one source familiar with the effort said. That, the source said, bodes well for its progress. But many Members remain officially undecided and have quietly voiced frustrations about the prospect of taking a tough vote that they see as a distraction from an agenda focused on job creation.

“It seems to run contrary to what the Speaker said a few months back about focusing on jobs and moving away from these controversial items,” one senior Democratic aide said. “Anything that’s not specifically tied to keeping the economy going raises red flags for folks.”

But Frank said that he is optimistic about the vote count and that transgender protections will remain in the bill.

“There’s no chance of doing it without it,” he said of the transgender protections.

Frank said he’s told wavering Democrats that “the principle is the same. It’s discrimination.”

He said concessions were made in the drafting of the language to address moderates’ concerns. For instance, Frank said, transgender people with “one set of genitals” would not be able to go to a bathroom for people with another set of genitals.

And, Frank said, they also would have to have a “consistent gender presentation” in order to be able to sue for discrimination.

“They can’t sit there with a full beard and a dress,” Frank said.

We’re going to need to make a lot of calls, folks. Stay tuned.