Friday, March 27, 2015
Available here. The abstract:
This Amici Curiae brief was filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of 74 scholars of family law in the four consolidated same-sex marriage cases.
The two questions presented in the cases concern whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license or recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex. Those defending the marriage bans rely on two primary arguments: first, that a core, defining element of marriage is the possibility of biological, unassisted procreation; and second, that the “optimal” setting for raising children is a home with their married, biological mothers and fathers. The brief demonstrates that these asserted rationales conflict with basic family laws and policies in every state, which tell a very different story.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The official dictionary of the Swedish language will introduce a gender-neutral pronoun in April, editors at the Swedish Academy have announced.
“Hen” will be added to “han” (he) and “hon” (she) as one of 13,000 new words in the latest edition of the Swedish Academy’s SAOL.
The pronoun is used to refer to a person without revealing their gender – either because it is unknown, because the person is transgender, or the speaker or writer deems the gender to be superfluous information.
“For those who use the pronoun, it’s obviously a strength that it is now in the dictionary,” one of the editors, Sture Berg, told AFP on Tuesday.
Monday, March 23, 2015
A Battle Ground Middle School hosted "gender defender" day, but a school district spokesman said the name was misleading. March 19, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (KOIN 6) — Thursday was “gender defender” day at a Battle Ground middle school, and some parents weren’t happy about it.
Lorelei Hunsaker, 11, showed up at Chief Umtuch Middle School dressed in protest of gender defender day. She said the day was designated for girls to wear pink and boys to wear blue — and she believes that reinforces outdated stereotypes of what boys and girls should aspire to be when they are older.
“It’s a gender neutral school and it’s pretty good about these things,” Lorelei told KOIN 6 News. “It’s just that this day is sexist and I’m not okay with sexism.”
Lorelei decided against wearing pink or blue, instead she wore dark clothing in protest.
For the 11-year-old’s mother, it goes beyond pink and blue clothes. She is part of a nontraditional family in which she is the main bread winner. Her husband cares for their kids, and gender identification may not fall along traditional lines in their household.
“Why would you even have a gender-oriented event to show school spirit?” Lorelei’s mother, Andrea Isom, asked. “Why does gender matter when it comes to being a good student?”
Friday, March 20, 2015
While the legal wrestling continues over gay marriage, lawyers for Gov. Robert Bentley told the U.S. Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is a social experiment that undermines the rights of children.
The governor filed a friend of the court brief Tuesday ahead of April arguments regarding gay marriage.
Bentley's lawyers said marriage is a natural reality and that same-sex marriage destroys the "rights of children to be connected to their biological parents."
Alabama made similar arguments in a Mobile court case that ended with a federal judge declaring the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. The Alabama Supreme Court on March 3 ordered probate judges to stop giving marriage licenses to gay couples.
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council's Budget Committee gave a tentative green light Wednesday to a proposal to add the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the types of discrimination banned by San Diego's Nondiscrimination in Contracting Ordinance.
The ordinance already keeps the city from doing business with companies that discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability.
The proposed amendment would add gender identity -- defined by city staff as a person's sense of self, whether masculine, feminine, both, neither or somewhere in between, and gender expression -- a person's appearance or behavior no matter their sex at birth.
The change would bring the city into compliance with state law. "Including the terms `gender identity' and `gender expression' is an important step in the right direction, not only for the LGBT community, but I think for every San Diegan who would hope their government would treat everyone equally," committee Chairman Todd Gloria said.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Lawyers for a transgender inmate convicted of murder asked the US supreme court Monday to overturn a ruling denying her request for sex-reassignment surgery.
A federal judge ordered the Massachusetts Department of Correction to grant the surgery to Michelle Kosilek in 2012, finding that it was the “only adequate treatment” for Kosilek’s severe gender dysphoria, also known as gender-identity disorder. That ruling was overturned in December by the 1st US circuit court of appeals.
Lawyers with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders told the Associated Press they asked the supreme court to grant a hearing or to reverse the ruling by the appeals court. They argue that the appeals court did not find “clear error” in the judge’s ruling granting the surgery and therefore had no legal basis to overturn it.
Kosilek, born Robert Kosilek, is serving a life sentence for killing spouse Cheryl McCaul in 1990.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
An Irish Catholic bishop said on Monday that homosexuality — like Down’s syndrome or spina bifida — was not part of God’s plan, and that same-sex couples with children were “not necessarily parents.” In an interview with the NewsTalk Breakfast radio program, Elphin Bishop Kevin Doran argued that voters should reject an upcoming referendum to legalize same-sex marriage because LGBT couples could not procreate.
Hear the interview here (scroll down to bottom).
Thus runs the headline from a post by the HRC:
Today, Utah legislature introduced yet another anti-LGBT bill, this time targeting school discussions around sexuality.
The “Protections on Parental Guidance in Public Schools” bill would require a school to obtain written consent from a student’s parents before exposing students to “any course material” or “discussing” a number of topics, including “sexuality,” “marriage,” “pregnancy,” and “child birth.”
HB 447 comes on the heels of the dangerous SB 297, a poison pill targeting religious minorities, racial minorities and LGBT people introduced just four days ago.
HRC is proud to stand in support of Equality Utah and the ACLU of Utah in opposition to these bills.
Friday, March 6, 2015
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — ON Tuesday the Supreme Court of Alabama prohibited the state’s probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This decision effectively throws down the gauntlet, challenging the federal courts to make earlier federal rulings stick — including last month’s refusal by the United States Supreme Court to stay a federal judge’sdecision requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages. It draws on a disturbing line of thinking in the history of American federalism, one that, were it to gain currency as a model, could compromise our entire system of law.
The story is from three days ago:
Today is the first day of the state legislative session in Tallahassee and already mean-spirited, anti-transgender legislation has been put on the calendar for a vote.
The Transgender Discrimination Bill, H.B. 583, seeks to criminalize transgender people by making it illegal for them to enter sex-segregated facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms, or dressing rooms. H.B. 583 would also compel businesses to discriminate against their own employees and customers, and invalidate nondiscrimination policies that already exist on the local level.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Facebook users who don't fit any of the 58 gender identity options offered by the social media giant are now being given a rather big 59th option: fill in the blank.
"Now, if you do not identify with the pre-populated list of gender identities, you are able to add your own," said a Facebook announcement published online Thursday morning and shared in advance with The Associated Press.
Facebook software engineer Ari Chivukula, who identifies as transgender and was part of the team that made the free-form option, thinks the change will lead to more widespread acceptance of people who don't identify themselves as a man or woman.
"We're hoping this will open up the dialogue," Chivukula said.
As mainstream understandings of bodies and identity evolve and change, it's only fitting that industries, such as fashion, evolve too.
That's the case with NiK Kacy, one of the first luxury footwear brands to describe their product as gender-neutral. At HuffPost Gay Voices we've been documenting the shifting nature of queerness within the fashion world through our series"FABRICATIONS: Emerging Queer Faces of Fashion Design." The NiK Kacy brand is certainly emblematic of this shift and an exciting prospect for bodies existing outside of binary understandings of gender.
NiK Kacy is currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the brand's first line. The Huffington Post chatted with Kacy this week about their vision for this footwear line, as well as its cultural significance.
Monday, March 2, 2015
Wesleyan University has created a special dorm that is meant to house the LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM crowd. From the school website:
Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.
I must say that I am ambivalent about this. Is this a good thing for the students in the dorm? To segregate themselves so completely like this from the rest of the school? So too I find disturbing the notion that all these quite different groups would naturally share a desire to live together, simply because they are sexually marginalized in society.....
Friday, February 27, 2015
A counter to the perspective expressed in the previous post, there's the HRC case against conversion therapy:
Research shows that young people experience conversion therapy as a form of family rejection, and LGBT youth who experience family rejection face increased health risks. In one study, such youth were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, and 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs compared with peers who had not experienced such rejection. On the other hand, family acceptance has been shown to be an important protective factor that can help to prevent suicide behavior and mental health issues. Providers who engage in conversion therapy under the veneer of state license can mislead families about the risks involved, leading to negative psychological outcomes and irreparable damage to family cohesiveness. This legislation is needed to protect families from these damaging practices.
OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill guaranteeing the right of parents to seek therapy for “same-sex attraction” for their minor children cleared the Oklahoma House of Representatives Committee on Children, Youth and Family Services on Tuesday.
House Bill 1598 author Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, turned aside a question about whether such therapies might “push” young people toward self-destructive behavior.
“In our schools, in our movies, the kids are being pushed in the direction that they’re born homosexual and they can’t change,” Kern said. “This bill will allow children who are struggling with these feelings … to go and have some counseling to get both sides of the issue to find out why they’re struggling with this.”
Kern agreed that nothing currently in state law prevents parents from sending their children to such counseling, but she said HB 1598 is a “pre-emptive” measure against legislation banning so-called “conversion therapy.”
Monday, February 23, 2015
It is startling to think that in Glendale, Arizona a person can be evicted from their home or fired from their job simply because of whom they love or their gender identity. In Glendale, LGBT citizens still lack basic legal protections at work, at home and in public spaces.
The Glendale City Council started the process of protecting LGBT residents with a non-discrimination ordinance, however the process has stalled.
The momentum continues to build among Glendale residents- LGBT and allies alike. Supporters are anxious to ensure that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity not be tolerated.
Last week, HRC hosted a phone bank to encourage Glendale residents to call the Mayor and City Council to get the ordinance back on track. Conversations with residents reinforced the need to move this ordinance forward and make sure that all Glendale citizens are equally treated under the law.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
PRINCETON — Princeton University plans to switch its single-stall bathrooms to "gender-neutral" facilities to create a more inclusive environment for the campus, officials said Thursday.
Michele Minter, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity at Princeton, said the issue has been raised many times over the years, particularly among staff in the university's Office of Disability Services because neutral spaces would be more accessible to those who require assistance from caretakers.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
LINCOLN — A bill to prohibit employment discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity has advanced to the floor of the Nebraska Legislature.
Legislative Bill 586 would ban job discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender Nebraskans. The eight-member Judiciary Committee advanced the legislation Tuesday with the required minimum of five votes.
Lawmakers debated a similar proposal last year that would ban employment bias against gay, lesbian and transgender Nebraskans. Opponents killed the measure with a filibuster.
On Tuesday, committee members amended the bill to make it clear that religious corporations, associations and societies are exempt from the nondiscrimination requirements based on religious beliefs.
Lincoln Sen. Adam Morfeld, a member of the committee who sponsored LB 586, said he was pleased that the bill will be discussed by the full Legislature.
“There will be a robust debate, I have no doubt,” he said after an executive session of the committee.
Monday, February 9, 2015
Gay marriage has been legal in Florida for a month now, and at this point, even the state’s hardcore conservatives seem increasingly resigned to the fact that marriage equality is here to stay. Accordingly, Florida’s more bigoted legislators have decided to turn their ire toward another maligned, disfavored minority—trans people—by proposing one of the most viciously sadistic, hypocritical bills the legislature has ever considered.
The basic purpose of the bill is quite simple: to forbid trans people from using the public bathroom that matches their true gender. According to the bill’s text, any trans person who enters a “single-sex public facility” that doesn’t match their “biological sex” is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. A “single-sex public facility” includes bathrooms “maintained by an owner of public accommodations, a school, or a place of employment”—basically, any public bathroom in the entire state. Any trans person who violates the act could be sentenced to one year in prison.
Friday, February 6, 2015
California judges will no longer be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts after the state Supreme Court voted last week to eliminate an exception to a rule that bars jurists from being a part of discriminatory organizations.
The Boy Scouts of America in 2013 lifted a ban on openly gay youths but continues to bar openly gay and lesbian adults from serving as leaders in the organization.
California's judicial code of ethics bars judges from holding "membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity or sexual orientation."
And a furious reaction from a judge, here.