Friday, September 19, 2014
Many people have called last week's brutal attack on two gay men in Center City a hate crime, but it can't be prosecuted as one under Pennsylvania law.
That gap in Pennsylvania's ethnic intimidation statute -- the law used to prosecute hate crimes -- has prompted calls for changes to the law and a federal hate-crime investigation.
Pennsylvania law defines ethnic-intimidation offenses as crimes motivated by "malicious intention toward the race, color, religion or national origin" of a person or group.
That means attacks based on sexual orientation aren't considered hate crimes.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
From my neck of the woods, near Ft. Lauderdale, the Sun Sentinel reports:
Broward County's tourism bureau has been marketing to the LGBT community since 1996, but results of a survey released Monday show extra effort is needed to attract more transgender travelers.
In August, some 700 members of the transgender community across 48 states participated in the online survey conducted by Community Marketing & Insights, a San Francisco-based specialty marketing and research firm.
Only 10 percent of participants perceived Fort Lauderdale to be very trans-friendly, the study revealed.
Friday, September 12, 2014
David Cruz at USC Law has uploaded "Baker v. Nelson: Flotsam in the Tidal Wave of Windsor's Wake" on SSRN. The abstract reads:
Part I of this Article sketches the virtually unbroken string of pro-marriage decisions in the lower federal and state courts since the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor (2013) to give a sense of the size and magnitude of this “tidal wave” of precedent. Next, Part II briefly explores some of the reasons that might help account for the flood of litigation and overwhelmingly positive outcomes. Part III tentatively suggests one way this flow of decisions in favor of marriage equality might influence the Supreme Court when it returns to the issue. It then at some length shows one particular aspect of Windsor’s wake: the way it has helped lower federal courts unanimously and properly conclude that doctrinal developments after the Supreme Court summarily rejected a same-sex couple’s constitutional claims to a right to marry in Baker v. Nelson (1972) have rendered that decision no longer dispositive. Although Baker would in no event prevent the Supreme Court itself from revisiting the constitutional issues, the ability to declare Baker doctrinally undermined has positive repercussions for the social equality and lived reality of same-sex couples across the country in the mean time. Finally, Part IV of the Article addresses some of the ways in which United States v. Windsor itself developed constitutional doctrine in ways that advance the cause of constitutional justice and same-sex couples’ rights to equal protection and to marry.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
For nine years, Barbara Webb, 33, taught honors chemistry and coached sports at Marian High School, a private Roman Catholic girls’ school in Bloomfield Hills, a Detroit suburb.
When she told her employer she was pregnant, she says she was given two options: resign or be fired.
Because she got pregnant “outside the Catholic way,” as she put it in a Facebook post in late August announcing her pregnancy with Kristen Lasecki, her partner of more than five years. In same post, she announced the news of her dismissal.
In August, the school offered to pay for her healthcare through May if she left quietly, Webb said. She refused. Not just because the offer was insulting to her, but she felt it sent the wrong message to her students.
“It is part of Marian’s mission to educate women about human diversity and in this have really missed out on a true life opportunity to set an example. Instead they are only perpetuating hate,” she wrote. She added: “It is a shame because Marian is an amazing school with a wonderful staff and a very promising student body. I feel horrible for the students that I was forced to leave behind and wish them only the best.”
The president of the school, Sister Lenore Pochelski, confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that Webb was no longer at the school as of Aug. 19, but refused to comment further.
Friday, September 5, 2014
(a cathedral in Copenhagen)
Even in countries that are nominally supportive of transgender people, sterilization—whether by surgery or hormones—is often the price a trans individual must pay in order to receive legal recognition of his or her transition. It’s a paradigm that theWorld Health Organization has called "counter to respect for bodily integrity, self-determination and human dignity," and it’s one that doesn’t acknowledge the fact that for many trans people, transition is not necessarily tied to invasive physical changes.
Earlier this week, Denmark moved beyond this inhumane legal logic when its new gender recognition law came into effect. Under the new policy, trans people in the country are now only required to fill out some paperwork in order to receive a new social security number and accompanying personal documentation for their gender. Medical intervention, including surgery, psychological diagnosis, and official statements, are no longer necessary prerequisites—in Denmark, gender identification is now based solely on self-determination.
KINGSTON, JAMAICA - Young Jamaican gay rights activist who brought a legal challenged to the Caribbean island's anti-sodomy law has withdrawn the claim after multiple threats and violent backlashes, advocacy groups and colleagues said Aug. 29.
Javed Jaghai made headlines in 2013 after he initiated a constitutional court challenge to Jamaica's 1864 law that bans sex between men. Jaghai argues the law fuels homophobia and violates the 2011 adopted Human Rights Charter that guarantees people the right to privacy. However, Jaghai is withdrawing his challenge due to threats of violence.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
City Council today (Thursday, Aug. 28) could make Austin the first city in Texas to pass a resolution (Item 84) requiring single-stall public restrooms to be gender-neutral. Sponsored by Council Member Chris Rileyand co-sponsored by Bill Spelman and Sheryl Cole, the draft resolution directs the city manager to "process any necessary code amendments to require gender-neutral signage for single-occupancy restrooms, to create an implementation plan, and to report back to Council by September 25."
The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT civil rights organization, has led the call for gender-neutral restroom requirements across the country. Members of the transgender community may face harassment and even violence when using gender-segregated restrooms, when suspicious onlookers decide they've entered the "wrong" restroom. According to a statement from Riley's office, "Austin has demonstrated leadership on LGBTQ issues, and gender-free restrooms are one more way that we can lead. This change will make our city safer and more inclusive, which is better for all Austinites."
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
From the Catholic Online:
In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into objects of use and degrades the dignity of human sexuality.
Sadly, the same spirit of the age fails to recognize the integral unity of the human person, body, soul and spirit, and has turned the human body into a machine with parts which the revolutionaries think can simply be interchanged. Removal of genitals and attachment of artificially constructed ones which are absolutely incapable of ovulation or conception, does not change the structure of reality. The removal constitutes mutilation and the construction of artificial organs with no reproductive function does not alter the gender or sex of the person.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
A whole lot of judges who are being asked to decide whether states may ban same-sex couples from marrying think the Supreme Court clearly gave them the answer last year: no.
But a few judges think the Supreme Court provided the answer more than 40 years ago: yes.
That reading comes from a one-sentence order the court issued in a 1972 case, Baker v. Nelson, which said there was no “substantial federal question” in a state’s decision to ban same-sex marriages.
The dismissal of that long-ago case might be the reason that same-sex marriage supporters see their winning streak in federal courts come to an end.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
From the Irish Times:
....many members of the trans community still exist on the fringes of Irish society and experience high levels of stigmatisation and discrimination.
A major cause of the marginalisation of trans people in Ireland is the lack of State recognition of trans identities. While you can change your gender marker on certain documents such as your passport or driving licence, there is no legal process to change the gender on your birth cert.
People are forcibly “outed” every time they are asked to produce a birth certificate. Young people miss out on their college places because the CAO office has no capacity for dealing with trans people. Trans people have to explain ourselves – to validate our identity – over and over. But legal gender recognition goes beyond the practicalities of daily life; it is about the State recognising that we exist.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Or, so declared the European Court of Human Rights:
Gay marriage is not recognized in Finland, and it appears to be staying that way at least for now.
According to the court, “[I]t cannot be said that there exists any European consensus on allowing same-sex marriages.”
Thursday, July 31, 2014
We previously posted about the religious exemption from Title IX granted to a religious school over dormitory housing for a transgender student. The school is run by the Quakers, but the Quaker leaders don't agree that on what their religion holds. Debate Over Transgender Student Reveals Division in Quaker Church
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Harriette Cunningham, 11, was born a boy called Declan.
She filed paperwork in 2013 to change her name with support of her family.
She also began a letter-writing campaign to government officials allowing her to change her gender on official documents.
"It just made me so mad and made me almost frustrated to know that I'm a girl and then I look on my passport and it says that I'm a boy," Cunninghamtold CTV News.
She is one of the first 30 people in British Columbia, Canada, to do so without having gender reassignment surgery, which the new legislation allows.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
From the Baltimore Sun:
Maryland has officially become the third state in the nation to provide insurance coverage for transition-related care,The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.
The policy shift, which went into effect July 1 but was only announced publicly this week, means that any state employee, retiree, or dependent will be able to access mental health services, hormone therapy, and a range of surgeries associated with gender reassignment without having to pay entirely out of pocket. California and Oregon are the only other states that provide similar insurance coverage for their transgender employees.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Sunday, July 20, 2014
"The European Court of Human Rights declared Wednesday that countries can legally require transgender citizens to get divorced before issuing updated identification documents, lest the spouses become a legally recognized same-sex couple, reports U.K. LGBT sitePinkNews."
“They can be cured simply by dressing as a man again," said Negeri Sembilan state legal adviser Iskandar Ali Dewa.
He also told the court yesterday that since this is the case, Section 66 of the Syariah Law which states that a man cannot dress or pose as a woman, is applicable to them.
A medical report from the Ministry of Health however cites GID as incurable and life long.
The Court of Appeal is hearing a case where three transgenders are challenging the unconstitutionality of the Negeri Sembilan state Syariah law which prohibits them from expressing their gender identity.
Their lawyer Aston Paiva also showed the court proof that the Health Ministry signed off the medical reports of the transgenders citing that their disorder is incurable.
“According to psychiatrists from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, the patients suffering from GID, although born biologically male, are actually female trapped in a man’s body,” stressed Paiva.
Paiva also added that his clients “are in no way challenging Islam but instead are challenging the legislative laws that discriminate them.”