Tag: Equal Rights

Our Day Will Come

While the New York State Senate was approving same-sex marriage, the most recent version of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) was lying fallow.  Passed by the Assembly 78-53 for the fourth time (it was originally passed by the Assembly in 2007, then again in 2009, 2010, and this year), and having a reported 32 senators committed to voting for the bill, which would be enough for passage, it was never brought to the floor for debate or a vote.  And unlike marriage equality, there was no visible public campaign demanding a vote.

The majority leader, Long Island Republican Dean Skelos, controlled the agenda in the Senate, so GENDA was parked in the Rules Committee, which he controlled, where it sat until time ran out on 2011’s regular session.

Suing for equal health coverage

Alec Esquivel, 42, is an Oregon transman.  He works as a law clerk for the Oregon Court of Appeals.  Alec’s doctors said it was a medically necessary procedure to have a hysterectomy because of his heightened risk of ovarian and uterine cancer due to the hormone therapy he began in 2001.  Providence Health Plans, third-party insurance administrator for the state, and the Public Employees Benefit Board denied coverage for the procedure, stating

services related to a sex-change operation, including evaluation, surgery and follow-up services are not a covered benefit of your plan.

Alec is therefore suing the state of Oregon and the PEBB to cover his medical care related to the hysterectomy as well as $250,000 in damages and attorney fees.

Alec Esquivel was denied coverage for a medically necessary procedure specifically because he is transgender. This type of discrimination is unlawful and risks the health of hardworking, productive citizens of Oregon.

Dru Levasseur, Lambda Legal transgender rights attorney

The Next Civil-Rights Movement [sic]

The Cheat Sheet at The Daily Beast  provides us the following:

The Next Civil-Rights Movement

The 700,000 or so transgender people in the United States are, Eliza Gray writes in The New Republic, “some of the least protected, most persecuted people in the United States.”  One transgender person is murdered each month; more than one-third have attempted suicide; more than one-quarter say they’ve lost a job due to discrimination.  Gray tracks the story of one particular transgender woman, Caroline Temmermand.  In 2009, at the age of 55, she came out as transgender and soon thereafter began telling her family and children.  Last spring, she organized a vigil for Chrissy Lee Polis, the transgender woman whose attack was caught on video camera after she attempted to use a woman’s bathroom in a McDonald’s. “Transgender people clearly need more protection from our laws and society,” Gray writes. “But they can’t win these victories on their own.”

Successes and Failures

I’ve noticed recently the tendency to start reviewing this year’s legislative and governmental progress…as if this were the end of the year.  Admittedly it is in many cases the end of the legislative session, but my calendar still has a good six months to go.

Autumn Sandeen has a commentary in the San Diego LGBT Weekly, which highlights the fact that we have equality in three more states (HI, NV, and CT) and fought off a challenge to equality in Maine and that antidiscrimination protections were added administratively for federal employees.  And soon we should see that trans clients of our government (at least at HHS and the VA) have equal rights to the services we seek.

[For those who don’t know, transpeople will not gain anything from the repeal of DADT since we are excluded from service for other…administrative, not legislative…reasons.]

All that is good, but I was taught as a child that we learn more from our failures than from our successes.  So what of our failures this year?

Clowns and Bathrooms (with talented eye-candy)

clownfish Pictures, Images and PhotosAs per usual, I spent some time wandering around the Interweb, looking for stories that might need elucidation…or at least response.  Sometimes I find some good stuff, like the recent good news out of Nevada.  More often than not, I find depressing stuff, like the transwoman who was beaten by four people in Fredericksburg, Virginia just for being trans…and apparently for chastising a young man because his dog was a loud barker.  One of the assailants is thought to be a relative of that young man.    

On the plus side this week is Steven Petrow’s essay at Aol Healthy Living, Straight Talk: when a Daughter Changes Her Gender, Does She Become a Son?

And he is indeed her son — no need for quotation marks around the word. One of the basic concepts of gender identity is that you are the gender you think and say you are. The external genitalia that make a doctor proclaim, “It’s a girl!” in the delivery room are not the sum total of that individual’s gender identity.

Like he said.  For some reason, people have this fixation that gender is determined by one’s chromosomes and so sex should be inelastic.  I guess they’ve never met a clownfish.

(Cue Nemo).  

News with a T

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has called for more to be done to provide for greater protections for transpeople in his state.  This comes in the wake of the brutal attack of Crissy Lee Polis by Teonna Monae Brown and a juvenile accomplice and the subsequent filing of hate crimes charges.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons. We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

–Martin O’Malley

Brown’s attorney claims her actions were in self-defense and that she is really a “nice young woman”.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons,” O’Malley said. “We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

There is an accompanying video reporting on the hate crime charges but embedding has been disabled.  The video features Lynne Bowman of Equality Maryland.

Avoiding becoming part of Gen Silent

On Thursday I went to a retirement party for the woman with whom I have been co-coordinating the Bloomfield College Gay/Non-Gay Alliance since I started working full-time here in 2001.  It got me thinking about my own impending retirement and what will happen as I grow older.

Together with that, there was a news item about a film festival in Canada, called the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival in Calgary, which is showing, among many other films, Gen Silent, a film about elderly GLBT people who fear they will have to go back in the closet in their last years to be treated as they wish to be.  Below is the trailer for this documentary.

Professor Fired for “Offending Baptist Beliefs”

Some stories are more painful than others.  Sometimes that’s because I can imagine the hurt if I were the person involved.  But the more painful ones are the ones that dredge up memories of past hurts.

A recap:  In 1992 I began my transition from male to female as a tenured college professor at a state university in Arkansas.  That did not go particularly well.  There was a lot of pain involved.  But by the end of 1994 my transition was over and, amazing thing, I still had my job.

Now to the story at hand.  Rachel Tudor was a college professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma.  “Was” is the operative word.  She has been denied tenure and will be terminated effective May 31, 2011.

Good Parents v. Bad People

Last week I shared the first four of five episodes of a series called Transformation, produced by Canada’a Global News BC.

My first objective for tonight was to share the last episode.

Nikki’s Story

What struck me about this short video was the acceptance of Nikki that we see she has gotten from her mother, Michelle Buchamer.

Why be out?

During the troubles of last weekend, a few people asked why I identified as a transwoman (or trans woman or transsexual woman) and not simply a woman.  Well, the truth is that I do identify as a woman.  Trans is simply a modifier, transsexual is an adjective.  The noun is “woman”.

Then I guess the question becomes, “Why do I add the modifier?”  The question strikes me in a couple of ways.  I wonder if the person is implying that everyone would be so much more comfortable if all the transpeople would just disappear into the closet after transitioning.

The truth is that many do…maybe even most.

But the serious question is,

How are we ever going to gain equal rights if none of us are out?

Job Requirement: Have you always had a penis?

El’Jai Devoureau was hired for a part time job by Urban Treatment Associates in Camden, New Jersey.  The treatment referred to in their name is substance abuse and addiction treatment.  El’Jai’s job was to observe clients as they created their samples.  That’s right, his job was to watch men pee in a cup.

Sometime between the day of his training and the next day, someone outed him to his supervisor as having been born female.  Now, El’Jai began hormone treatment suitable for transitioning to a male in 2005 and had sex reassignment surgery in 2009, but that, apparently, was beside the point.

His supervisor asked him if he was a man.  When he said he was, the supervisor asked him if he had ever had any surgeries.  El’Jai responded that it was none of her business…and was promptly fired.  El’Jai wasn’t, in her mind, man enough for the job.

From the Lions’ Den

One in 4 Utahns are now protected for employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity now that Grand County has become the tenth local governmental body to pass protections.

Cities and towns in Grand County are Castle Valley (population 349) and Moab (4779), the unincorporated areas Brendel (aka Crescent Junction) and Thompson Springs, and the ghost town, Cisco.

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