Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Today gay marriage is obviously the big issue. And there a lot of articles and commentaries about it.
Here are a couple that I chose. The Most Awkward Moments during oral argument, discussed here.
From the NYT.
From the Fox News.
A commentary by Toobin in the New Yorker; he thinks the Court will decide in favor of gay marriage.
An editorial by the conservative National Review.
Monday, April 27, 2015
There are some obvious reasons not to be sympathetic to Bruce Jenner's coming out: for one, he lives with the Kardashians; for another, the coming out looks like a publicity ploy by an aging celebrity who had milked everything once of fame for his achievements in an obscure sport called the decathlon.
But then there was the response by his family, which was admirable:
“I am at peace with what he is and what he’s doing,” his mother, Esther Jenner, said in a separately filmed portion of the two-hour segment. “I never thought I could be more proud of Bruce when he reached his goal in 1976, but I’m more proud of him now.” Kim Kardashian tweeted, “Love is the courage to live the truest, best version of yourself. Bruce is love. I love you Bruce. #ProudDaughter.” (Jenner told Sawyer that he first came out to Kim, and that she once walked in on him in a dress.)
Seventeen-year-old Kylie Jenner, Jenner’s youngest child, tweeted, “Understandingly, this has been very hard for me. You will hear what I have to say when I’m ready to but this isn’t about me. I’m so proud of you, Dad. You are so brave. My beautiful Hero.” In this unconditional and unquestioning way, the Kardashian and Jenner clans are defining what it means to be a family today. They may be superficial, but their support for Bruce is notable for its candid demonstration of acceptance.
Friday, April 17, 2015
ROME, April 15, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In his catechesis today, Pope Francis strongly refuted the foundational tenets of “gender theory” that forms the basis of radical feminism as well as the homosexualist political movement. The differences between men and women are not a matter of “subordination” as feminist and gender theory would have it, but of “communion and generation,” he said in his weekly General Audience at the Vatican.
The pope wondered aloud “if so-called gender theory is not an expression of frustration and resignation, that aims to cancel out sexual difference as it is no longer able to face it. Yes, we run the risk of taking a step backwards. Indeed, the removal of difference is the problem, not the solution.”
He asked whether the current global crisis of faith, of belief in God and Christian teaching, “that is so harmful to us,” and that builds “incredulity and cynicism,” could be “connected to the crisis in the alliance between man and woman.”
Monday, April 13, 2015
WASHINGTON — A 17-year-old transgender youth, Leelah Alcorn, stunned her friends and a vast Internet audience in December when she threw herself in front of a tractor-trailer after writing in an online suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.
In response, President Obama is calling for an end to such therapies aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian and transgender youth. His decision on the issue is the latest example of his continuing embrace of gay rights.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
"Prison officials must treat an inmate's gender identity condition just as they would treat any other medical or mental health condition, the Justice Department said in a court filing Friday."
The news story continues:
"The Southern Poverty Law Center in February filed a lawsuit against Georgia Department of Corrections officials on behalf of Ashley Diamond, a transgender woman. The lawsuit says prison officials have failed to provide adequate treatment for Diamond's gender dysphoria, a condition that causes a person to experience extreme distress because of a disconnect between the birth sex and gender identity."
Monday, April 6, 2015
The Indiana law that ostensibly protects religious rights--while effectually permitting discrimination against gays--has provoked companies like Angie's List to pull out of Indiana.
But you know that the law isn't popular when NASCAR--the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing--is against it, too. Here's the statement by NASCAR:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 31, 2015) -- "NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race." -- NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes
Whither the Indy 500?
Friday, April 3, 2015
The Justice Department filed suit on Monday against an Oklahoma university alleging the school discriminated against a transgender professor. “Rachel Tudor was hired as a tenure-track assistant professor in the English department at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2004, after applying as a man with a traditionally male name, according to the lawsuit filed Monday,” the Washington Post reports. “Then in 2007, Tudor told school officials that he would become a woman during that academic year, took the name Rachel, and began wearing women’s clothes and a traditionally female hairstyle.”
“The complaint said Tudor taught in the English department and was terminatedfrom the university in 2011 after the school denied her tenure,” Reuters reports. “A lawyer for Tudor said it was the first time the university had denied an English professor's application for tenure and promotion after a favorable tenure recommendation from a promotion committee and the department chair.” The DOJ suit alleges that someone in the university’s human resources department told Tudor that the school’s vice president for academic affairs had inquired about whether Tudor could be fired because her gender transition offended his religious beliefs.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University said in a statement: “The University is confident in its legal position and its adherence to all applicable employment laws."
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Indiana recently passed a law that ostensibly promotes religious freedom but arguably also promotes the right of businesses to discriminate against gays. Arkansas has followed suit with a legislative bill that does something similar.
For discussion by the NYT, see here.
And for a conservative defense of the Indiana law--which is interestingly couched in the technical formalities of law, rather than the cultural ideology of heterosexuality (a tacit homage to liberalism?)--check out the arguments in the National Review.
And, for a typically droll commentary by Andy Borowitz at the New Yorker, check out this spoof (it's quite absent any snark and it's a telling commentary about the ubiquity these days of straight people having friends, colleagues, and, indeed, family members, who are gay).
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.