In a passionate plea, John Oliver, the host of “Last Week Tonight,” explains why the need for the federal government must put an end to the discrimination that the LGBT community faces. He does it like no else could.
Tag: Equal Rights
Jun 27 2015
June 26, 2015 Postscript: I Love Rainbows
I don’t think I can actually describe the emotions I’ve felt today; they’ve run the entire gamut. I’m not LGBT, so technically, this ruling legally doesn’t affect me directly, but I have really felt strongly today. Strongly proud. Strongly jubilant. Strongly angry at a select few.
The decision came down around 9am Central, just as I got to work. My phone, with its many news notifications, went absolutely nuts. I did my first work stuff, then got online and it was so early it wasn’t even in my regular newsfeeds. But I got to Facebook. That graphic of the guy with the rainbow coming out from his computer – that was it – that captured the moment perfectly.
I was very emotional. This surprised me. I don’t even think I can adequately convey it in words. I got really choked up. I’m still really choked up, but this morning was just something else.
May 09 2015
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.
Dec 13 2014
OMG this slope is slippery: Air Force Secretary supports transgender in military
In an interview with Capitol Download’s Susan Page on Wednesday Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said that the ban on transgender troops is likely to be reassessed in the near future and that she believes it should be lifted.
Times Change. [The current policy] is likely to come under review in the next year or so.
From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.
You know, I think that is likely to come under review in the next year or so. So I think we should stand by, and times change, and we’ll just have to see what happens there.
James is the first secretary of a branch of the armed forces to openly support the idea of ending the ban on transgender troops.
The Williams Institute has estimated that there are currently about 15,500 transgender people now serving in the US military.
Conservative forces say allowing transgender troops to serve openly would create complications on issues of housing and health care.
Aaron Belkin of The Palm Center called James’ remarks a positive step.
President Obama is the commander in chief and is ultimately responsible for setting policy, and it is imperative for him to clarify his position as well.
[James’ remarks] provide further proof that it is only a question of when, not if, the outdated, discriminatory ban on transgender troops will be lifted.
–Ian Thompson, ACLU
Nov 15 2014
The battle for equality
In times of trouble federally and at the state level, the battle for equal treatment and access moves to the local level.
In recent times I have written about current attempts to move us forward in South Florida and Northeast Ohio.
Miami-Dade commissioners unanimous in support of transgender protections (preliminary vote)/i>
Sep 20 2014
Do we get a turn? (A bit of a rant)
A few days ago one of the Daily Kos membership wrote a diary proclaiming the need for “a new gay rights platform,” presumably because the fight for marriage equality was over and done.
I have to say that the diary disappointed me at first…and the comments made by the author in response to comments made by myself and MargaretPOA proceeded to really piss me off.
First off I was sure that those LGBT people who live in states where marriage equality is still not a legal fact would be very concerned about am attitude that suggests ceasing to work for their rights, too…an attitude that suggests that if they want to get married, all they have to do is move to somewhere it is legal. We all know that the wounded evil monster that is the denial of our rights will not die if we just walk away and tun our attention elsewhere. When you have the monster on the ropes, it is time to make a concerted effort to drive a stake through its crusty hide into its black heart.
And even after that it will be necessary to hang around for a bit to make sure it doesn’t rise from the dead.
But secondly what really frustrated me was the exclusion from the discussion of any concern for the rights of transgender people…the T in LGBT was treated as if it was silent.
May 31 2014
Time announces our victory…or defeat
It has been a long, hard struggle.
And it is not over yet.
But this is progress. Time Magazine has declared that this society has reached the “transgender tipping point.”
I’m not a subscriber, but Zack Ford at Think Progress informs me that June 9, 2014 issue of the magazine includes “an extensive Transgender 101 article” that covers many of the issues affecting our community, photo essays of some of the transgender people who have influenced American and world culture (no, I am not included)…both living and dead (Kye Alums, Cassidy Campbell, Carmen Carrera, Candis Cayne, Lynn Conway, Caroline Cossey, Laverne Cox, Paisley Currah, Jamie Ewing, Fallon Fox, Rose Hayes, Christine Jorgensen, Isis King, Lana Lawless, Ashton Lee, Chelsea Manning, Janet Mock, Mike Penner/Christine Daniels, Renee Richards, Sylvia Rivera, Amanda Simpson, Lea T, Jenna Talackova, Brandon Teena, Billy Tipton, and Lana Wachowski), and an interview with Ms. Cox.
May 10 2014
What it comes down to is, they really don’t like us
I’ve got a couple of stories I am cobbling together to support the title thesis…which should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody. I mean, it’s nearly a tautology.
Big surprise. Maryland recently became the 17th state to offer anti-discrimination protections for gender non-conforming people…so immediately the people who voted against it and lost started howling…and lying and fear-mongering…hoping to cajole the Maryland public into dispensing with the new law.
Incredibly, the conservatives’ main line of attack is that the law will turn women’s restrooms into fertile ground for peeping toms disguised in dresses and wigs, even for similarly attired rapists. This is middle school trash talk disguised as policy analysis. There is no evidence that this is a statistically detectable problem in other states that have banned discrimination against transgender people, nor in Maryland localities, such as Montgomery County, that have had similar statutes on the books for years.
More broadly, opponents of the legislation tend to miss its central point, which is to ban the blatant discrimination that transgender people report is pervasive. In a 2011 survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 71 percent of transgender people in Maryland said they had experienced harassment or mistreatment at work and 18 percent said they had lost a job or been denied a promotion as a result of their gender identification. Seventeen percent reported having been denied housing. Shocking numbers of students in public schools report harassment (81 percent) and assaults (38 percent).
The Post rightly points out that although recall leader Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Asshole) has concentrated on raising fears about behavior in bathrooms, he opposed transgender protections at every turn when they didn’t include public accommodations.
Nov 05 2013
Oh, noes!!! Transgender teachers!
The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack couldn’t resist. In the face of the Senate’s immanent passage of the Employment NonDiscrimination Act, McCormack stated the real concern: ENDA Would Grant Transgender Rights to Elementary School Teachers…by which I believe he is concerned with the fact that transgender people might…just might…become elementary school teachers.
John, John, John, oh, John. That boat left the dock decades ago. Teaching is one of the foremost occupations that transgender people gravitate to in their lives before transitioning.
McCormack bemoans the numbers calimed by the HUman Rights Campaign…that 88% of Fortune 500 companies have formal employment policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. McCormack even brings up the fact that Rick Santorum has a gay friend and confidante.
It’s hard to imagine that in the year 2013 that any business in the country could fire someone simply because he is gay without facing a major backlash and boycotts.
Transgender, on the other hand, is a different matter.
ENDA contains no exceptions for schools at any age level (though the law does contain a modest religious liberty provision).
Horrors! Transgender teachers! Run!
Nov 01 2013
Iowa: Bathrooms and Locker Rooms times three
Two Iowa transwomen have won the right to use public women’s restrooms, while one transwoman has been denied the use of women’s facilities at the Burlington, IA YMCA.
In 2007 Iowa added gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination policies. In the fiscal year 2008, there were six complaints filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission on the basis of gender identity. That has increased to 51 complaints in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2013. Beth Townsend, director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission attributes that to increased awareness about the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
The new law does require … that individuals are permitted to access (restrooms) in accordance with their gender identity, rather than their assigned sex at birth, without being harassed or questioned.
–Sara Stibitz, civil rights specialist with the Commission
Oct 12 2013
DOJ sues Texas RV park for violation of Fair Housing Act (evicting transwoman)
Eric Holder has filed a lawsuit putting the federal government behind the discrimination claim of a transwoman against a Texas RV park.
On October 3 the suit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler Division) against George Toone and his company, In Toone Services. In Toone Services owns Texas RV Park in Athens, TX.
Roxanne Joganik filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in June 2012, alleging that Toone discriminated against her on the basis of sex, violating the federal Fair Housing Act. Joganik and her roommate, Darlina Anthony, moved into the park on a month-to-month lease in April of 2011. In Toone Services acquired the property in May of 2012, 5 days after Joganik had paid her rent through the month of June. Joganik informed Toone that she was transgender and asked him if he would have a problem with her wearing female clothing in the common areas of the RV park. Toone said it would be a problem because “there are children around the pool.” So Joganik refrained from doing so.
A week later Toone distributed copies of the new park rules, requiring residents to sign them along with their service agreements. The rules said that management “reserved the right to refuse entrance to anyone for any reason other than ‘race, religion, handicapped (sic), color or national origin.'” The new rules did not include sex or family status, which are protected classes under the FHA. So Joganik refused to sign the rules.
Aug 17 2013
Mother Jones takes up the call for transgender equality
In an essay entitled The Pentagon’s Transgender Problem Mother Jones writers Adam Klasfeld and Brett Brownell consider the situation of military service by transgender people and the treatment of transgender veterans. They have subtitled the piece, in very small type:
New studies suggest that transgender civilians are twice as likely to enlist, and transgender veterans are 20 times as likely to commit suicide.