Update from NCTE re: Mara Keisling’s Arrest in NC

4/26: Mara has been released and is safe.

Bail is set at $1k. Donate if you can.

Thanks to everyone who has expressed support for Mara Keisling, who was arrested earlier this evening while protesting ?#?HB2?. We’ve been told that she has been treated respectfully, and that she even conducted an impromptu training for the detention center staff around how to treat trans people who have been arrested.

Mara’s bail has been set at $1,000, and we would appreciate any donations to NCTE to help us continue to ?#?FlushDiscrimination? in North Carolina and across the whole nation: http://www.flushdiscrimination.org/

LGBTQ Immigration Stories Needed

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.

Mara Keisling Comes to Appleton

She’ll be coming here to Lawrence University in 8 days, that is, & I’m very please that LU’s Gender Studies program and Government department, as well as the Fox Valley INCLUDE initiative AND the LU student group GLOW are all helping co-sponsor.

Mara is one of my favorite people, an amazing speaker, funny, wonky, and deeply compassionate.

Here’s the FB event page, and more info:

Thursday, April 11th

Changing Minds, Changing Policy: Lessons from a DC Activist – NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling will discuss creating alliances in order to achieve policy and legislative changes that benefit marginalized communities.

This event is free and open to the public, so please, invite anyone who may be interested.

ENDA Again

Gay City News has an interesting article on the possibility of ENDA being passed be Executive Order. Mara Keisling of NCTE gets cranky about it, & rightfully so. But it’s an interesting idea, & might especially be interesting to those of you who like somewhat obscure US history:

Nan Hunter, the associate dean for graduate programs at Georgetown Law School who is also the legal scholarship director at the Williams Institute, explained that the president’s authority to issue such an order derives not from existing nondiscrimination law, but rather from the Federal Procurement Act, in his role, essentially, as “the CEO” of the US government. Precedent for such an exercise of power dates back 70 years –– more than two decades prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act –– to a Franklin D. Roosevelt order regarding racial nondiscrimination by Defense Department contractors as the nation ramped up for World War II.

One key factor about such executive orders –– as distinct from nondiscrimination laws –– is that they do not create a private right of civil action for bias victims. Enforcement is carried out by the Labor Department’s Office of Contract Compliance, which she said has been an effective agent for civil rights protections under administrations friendly to the underlying goal. Regardless of a particular president’s enforcement diligence, however, most government contractors take seriously their obligations under existing orders and regulations, Hunter said.

Still, nothing has happened yet, & it looks like it won’t until after Election Day.

Traveling While Trans

Cool new information about Traveling While Trans when it comes to the TSA and security. Amongst other things:

Private Screening: Screening can be conducted in a private screening area with a witness or companion of the traveler’s choosing. A traveler may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process.

Travel Document Checker: The traveler will show their government-issued identification and boarding pass to an officer to ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and match. Transgender travelers are encouraged to book their reservations such that they match the gender and name data indicated on the government-issued ID.

I am quite pleased to see the use of the term “prosthetic” – by which they mean, if you weren’t sure, things like breast forms and packers. Of course NCTE has more information, and follow-up on the info TSA has provided.

Transition-Related Care is Tax Deductible

How’s that for good news for an upcoming tax season?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has affirmed that transgender people can deduct their hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery expenses. This announcement indicates that the IRS will follow the U.S. Tax Court’s 2010 ruling in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, which held that gender identity disorder (GID) is a medical condition, and transgender people receiving hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery as treatment for GID may deduct these costs as medical expenses.

NCTE has links to the .pdf of the IRS announcement as well as the tax trial that set the precedent.

No Gender for Social Security

NCTE has been working on the bureauacratical mess within Social Security viz a viz gender markers. If you’ve noticed, there is no gender marker on your Social Security card, but somehow gender started getting added to people’s files anyway, & the category started to be used as a “no match” category – meaning that if the gender marker on someone’s SSN file didn’t match their current gender marker, they were sent a letter saying the two didn’t match and that additional documentation was needed. The SSN did this with other categories, too, such as date of birth, etc.

That all said, NCTE filed an FOI (Freedom of Information) claim:

The extent of the problem was made crystal clear when NCTE’s Freedom of Information Act request was answered showing 711,488 gender no-match letters were sent in 2010 alone. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality says, “Ending this practice, which has endangered transgender people and our jobs, has been a priority for NCTE and we are pleased that the SSA has updated its policy.”

There’s a good article in The Miami Herald with more info, and the Social Security W-2 News Page has the official announcement.

NCTE Looking to Hire New Communications Person

I have good news and bad news. First the bad:
NCTE’s amazing communications person, Justin Tanis, is moving back to the Bay Area and taking a new job. Justin has provided NCTE with over 5 years of insightful strategic thinking, savvy communications, superb educational materials, and professional trainings for everyone from our members, to allies and government agencies. It’s hard to hold on to talent like that and we’re not surprised he was sought after by a smart allied organization.

The good news is that we are now hiring someone – maybe you – who is looking to be a part of an amazing team of mission-driven, wonderful people. As a small organization the communications staff person will be a key part of our team and involved in strategic discussions. The ideal candidate will be a communications person who is a go-getter with their own ideas, a burning passion, and collaborative spirit. You’ll fit in nicely if you take this work very seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Juggling skills are optional.

Here’s the announcement. Please share it with interested people.

Job Description
As NCTE’s Communications staff person you will be involved in all aspects of the organization’s publications, and media relations, as well as web, email, and telephonic communications. This person will provide the information and tools that educate our members, allies, policymakers and the general public and that then motivate and mobilize our members and allies to take action in pursuit of our common goals. NCTE will consider applicants within a range of experience levels and will tailor the job to fit the right person. An experienced Communications expert will play a major leadership role in crafting messages and setting strategy. This position provides potential for growth with the organization.

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