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Legal News out of Oklahoma

Back in April I wrote about the denial of tenure for Dr. Rachel Tudor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University because Dr. Tudor’s “transgender lifestyle” offended the religious beliefs of the school’s vice president for academic affairs Douglas McMillan.

The Department of Justice sued both Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Regional University System of Oklahoma for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The suit alleged that the University terminated the employment of Dr. Rachel Tudor, an assistant professor, based on her gender, gender identity and gender expression, as well as in retaliation for making complaints of discrimination.

Dr. Tudor intervened in that law suit by bringing her own complaint in early May, additionally claiming that she had been subjected to a hostile work environment.

Southeastern and the RUSO asked the court to dismiss Dr. Tudor’s suit, arguing that transgender people are not entitled to protection from sex discrimination because we are not a protected class under the law.

Last Friday Judge Robin Cauthron of the US District Court in the Western District of Oklahoma denied the motion to dismiss.

Pentagon follows the lead of its branches

I’m sure you have heard the news by now.  Several people posted about it yesterday or this morning.  

Let’s face it.  I’ve been scooped.

After there were several instances of leaks and near leaks yesterday sharing that the Pentagon’s ban on transgender personnel was not going to survive the week, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter came out with it.

Carter issued two directives.  The first one established a Pentagon working group to “study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.”  

At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified.

The second directive stated that all decisions to dismiss troops with gender dysphoria would come under the purview of acting Secretary of Defense for personnel and readiness Brad Carson.

Tough Times in the Hate Business

I guess when you run a hate organization, you have to keep the perceived horrors involving what you hate in the news in order to keep those donations rolling in.  I mean, the hate down’t pay for itself!

It must be really painful when this sort of stuff backfires.

Case in point.  People have noticed the recent stories about the Girl Scouts’ policy on transgender girls.  That’s not really news.  The policy goes back to 2011 when Colorado trans kid Bobby Montoya wanted to join.  After Bobby was first humiliated by he local troop leader, the Girl Scouts of Colorado announced,

Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members.

If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.

Girl Scouts

As I reported back then, girls all over the country expressed their support.

Congressional Research Service on being transgender in the military

The Congressional Research Service issued a report on April 28 which stated that the Department of Defense should seriously consider following the lead of the Justice Department, which at the end of 2014 announced that transgender federal employees would be added to the list of people protected against discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The report was unearthed by the Federation of American Scientists and made available at the blog, Secrecy News

The document is entitled CRS Insights, and subtitled What are the Department of Defense (DOD) Policies on Transgender Service?.  It was written by Kristy N. Kamarck, who is described as an analyst in military manpower.

On December 18, 2014, then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status. While Title VII does not apply to military personnel, for some, this change in the Administration’s position has raised questions about U.S. law and DOD policies as they relate to transgender individuals.

Hallmark jerks tears for Mother’s Day

Hallmark has a new campaign for Mother’s Day, #PutYour HeartToPaper

 photo Alex_zpssd4tc1kx.jpgHallmark has a new campaign for Mother’s Day, #PutYour HeartToPaper

Alex, a transgender man, begins with this:

My mom is the most light, bright, positive person I have ever met in my life, and that’s just how she’s always been.

When she hugs me, she really hugs me. And when you get a good hug, that is something that makes you feel safe and loved and she’s the only one that has that effect on me.

I’ve never felt [at] home in my body, and even though I was born a girl, I always felt like I was a boy.  And I was afraid to tell her because I thought love would have conditions.

And the unconditional love that she’s shown has made me a better person in all of my relationships.

The video is on the other side.

That Transjenner moment

(Re:  the title

I swear, I couldn’t help myself.  We all know someone was going to use it.  I just thought I’d avoid the rush.

It’s a play on the CNN story from yesterday, America’s transgender moment.)

The LA Times put the following byte under their lead photo:

Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer will be so widely watched Friday night it could prove a tipping point, further normalizing Americans’ perceptions of the nation’s transgender population.

Or, you know, not.  It could also be a huge disaster for us public-relations-wise.

 photo cardassian_zps602gqsbd.jpg

Free Nicoll

Nicoll Hern├índez-Polanco tried to enter this country twice when she was 17.  The Guatemalan native was caught and deported.  

In October of 2014, Nicoll again crossed the Sonora desert to the Arizona border.  This time she turned herself in and asked for asylum.  Guatemala is one of the most dangerous countries in the Western Hemisphere for transgender women, battling for second with Honduras behind Brazil.

Having experienced about a decade of sexual and physical abuse in Guatemala and then Mexico, ICE threw the new fish into the shark tank that is their Florence, AZ all-male detention center.  Since she has been there she has been assaulted by another detainee, forced to shower with men, verbally abused by both the guards and the other inmates, and placed in solitary confinement for standing up for herself.

Mariposas Sin Fronteras (Butterflies without borders), the Transgender Law Center, and other LGBT and immigration rights advocates have been fighting for her release…for an end to the torture…but ICE refuses to budge.  In their eyes, her deportation is a priority because of her two previous deportations.

Reply from an elder

On this, my 67th birthday, I found a tear wrenching letter to transgender old people at the Advocate.

Now the letter was not so much aimed at me personally. I did not transition in my 60s.  I transitioned 2/3 of my life ago, at the age of 44.  That was enough of a problem in itself.

How did you do it? How did you keep yourself going all those decades in the wrong gender?  You must be the toughest person alive.

–Marlo Mack

Marlo, there just a wasn’t a lot of choice.  Survival is a strong motivation.

Coming soon…to a television near you

Rescue me!  I got stuck over at E! Online.

Jazz Jennings recently appeared on NBC’s Meredith Vieira Show.

While I’m certain that she was there to promote the fact that she is the newest face of the Clean and Clear #SeetheRealMe Campaign, some other things came up as well.

First of all, there is the response the campaign has generated

When I first saw Jazz Jennings, nothing struck me as peculiar. She looked like any other vibrant, charming and charismatic teenage girl. I assumed that her age and on-camera presence made her an ideal candidate as a representative of Clean and Clear. She fit the mold of what you see for something targeted at younger audiences. Teenagers get pimples and she’s a teenager – it works.

It’s not until it’s mentioned that Jennings is transgender that people start to stir, debate and wonder why a brand of face wash tries to “force” our youth to accept something so perverse. The backlash from parents is horrifying. I was used to seeing opponents attack adults on the Internet, but Jennings is a child. “Concerned parents” were saying that we should burn “it” at the stake, that she is wearing dresses to get attention or that she should just admit that she is a homosexual boy.  Teaching children that saying these hurtful things about others will influence them far more than a commercial will.

Elizabeth Legget

OK. Do let us think about the children

Everyone knows the right wing oratory.  When it comes time to adress LGBT…especially T, rights, the religious conservatives are all, “Think about thew children!”

I do.  All the f’ing time!

Let’s think about some of the children whose stories I have recently run across, shall we?

Let’s think about Tom Sosnik.

I am no longer Mia. I never really was.  And now I finally stand before you in my true and authentic gender identity as Tom. I stand before you as a thirteen-year-old boy.

For a while, I dismissed the fact that I hated my body. I pretended to be content with what I was assigned until, at a certain point, I broke.

I went through a series of horrible breakdowns. And I would stand under the water in the shower crying. I knew I wasn’t happy.

I really hope that you all will support my decision to embark on a harder route in life as the boy I truly am.  Any form of support I receive with much gratitude and I hope that everyone can really support me because you guys are like my second family. And if you support me, I’ll feel like the luckiest boy in the world. Thank you for letting me share my story.

In my heart, I am still the same person. Whether you like that person or not, it’s me.

–Tom

Tom adds:  “To all those struggling to embrace their true and authentic gender or sexuality, I want you to know that if no one else accepts you, I always will.”

Existing Beyond Theory

While many of the essays I have written over the years have a footing firmly based in emotions, I have explored the theory of transgender from time to time.  Let’s face it:  some people are not going to accept that transpeople are not just crazy loons unless they have some “solid evidence.”

Unfortunately, what people consider to be solid evidence has a wide variance.

In January of 2011 I shared a review of the literature.  Since most of “the literature” comes from psychological research, that won’t be good enough for some people.  Since I live with a graduate professor involved in educating and mentoring doctoral researchers, I’m sure we might disagree on that point.

This literature review is not up to her graduate school standards.  I have not included an annotated bibliography in APA style.  I’m only a layperson when it comes to psychology.

My actual purpose (and hope) is to get people to read it, especially the people who need the information presented this way.  Well, that and making a few corrections so that it properly fits into my autobiography thingy.

I’ll get started on the other side.

The graphic above is called Faces.

Not a Pretty Girl

Body photo body2.gifI would be remiss if I didn’t include my most successful diary ever as one of the chapters in my autobiography.  Presented here with some minor rewrites, this chapter comes from January of 2009.

The graphic to the left is named Body.  Some might consider it NSFW, but it’s just an assemblage of red pixels on a yellow background.

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