Hawaii Bill Bans Discrimination Against Transgender Patients

Cathy Bussewitz | Associated Press | April 26, 2016

Insurance companies would not be allowed to discriminate against transgender patients under a bill passed by the Hawaii Legislature.

The bill passed Tuesday by the House of Representatives prohibits denying, canceling or limiting coverage based on a person’s gender identity.

“That’s something that’s really critical, especially now when you have states around the country moving the other direction, explicitly placing into law the ability to discriminate based on who people perceive themselves to be,” said Democratic Rep. Chris Lee, who introduced the bill. “Here in Hawaii where we treat everyone with respect and aloha. We think everyone is created equal and ought to be treated the same.”

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The Latest: Bathroom law didn’t deter transgender protesters

Associated Press | Yahoo News | April 26, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on protests over a law curtailing rights for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

The leader of a national advocacy group says transgender people used bathrooms aligned with their gender identity during protests in North Carolina’s Legislative Building and weren’t arrested for it, despite a law curtailing LGBT rights.

Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a phone interview Tuesday that the stance of state Republican leaders toward transgender bathroom access is “nonsense.” State law directs transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate in many public buildings.

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‘Bathroom bills’ focus on the trans community but could affect another group more

Steven Petrow | Washington Post | April 25, 2016

The political storm around HB2, North Carolina’s sweeping “bathroom bill,” has focused on its implications for transgender individuals, but much less has been written about what it means for the “gender nonconforming.” By that I mean those women and men, girls and boys whose appearance doesn’t fit neatly into traditional male and female boxes — or restrooms. To be blunt: It has been cruel.

Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has been quick to blame outsiders, notably the “PC elite” and the media, for “smearing our state” over the HB2 debacle, which by some estimates could cost the state’s economy hundreds of millions of dollars. But that’s not all that concerns North Carolina native Jamie Lamkin, 50, a former librarian, who said the new law invites discrimination and harassment against women like herself and her daughter.

Steven Petrow, the author of “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners,” addresses questions about LGBT and straight etiquette in his column, Civilities. View Archive

Because of her height (5-foot-10), hair (short) and build (she calls it “square”), Jamie has been called “sir” more often than she can recall — even when she has worn a dress. “It’s happened to me my whole life,” she said with a sigh. Double down on that for her 15-year-old daughter, Sofie, who has short spiky hair and sports “fuzzy legs;” she’s often mistaken for a boy. Women like Jamie and Sofie are likely to be the most frequent victims of the law.

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My trans coming out story shows how much the Jewish world has changed

Surat-Shaan Knan | Gay Star News | February 12, 2016

I grew up in the 80s on a small Mediterranean Island as the lone child of a secular and rather dispersed Jewish family of mixed ethnic heritage.

I didn’t know much about being queer.

I didn’t know it was possible to be Jewish and LGBTI. In fact, I didn’t know much of anything past the infamous pink triangle gay men were forced to wear in Nazi Germany. My grandpa was a concentration camp survivor and he would often tell me about the horrors he witnessed.

We moved to a bigger city in my teens, and I eventually came out as gay.

A gay woman.

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Landmark Ruling as Transgender Woman’s Employment Discrimination Case Heads to Trial

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | January 15, 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 7.27.08 AMTuxedo Park, NY- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has ruled that a transgender woman may take her employment discrimination case against a Georgia auto sales company to trial. The decision (click here) in Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, LLC reverses an opinion by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in part, holding that there was sufficient evidence of discrimination for the case to be heard by a jury.

In January 2010, Jennifer Chavez was fired from her job as an auto mechanic at Credit Nation Auto Sales, LLC, a company near Atlanta, for “sleeping on the job.” The termination came shortly after Chavez had transitioned to live authentically while working for the company and allegedly experienced a number of discriminatory incidents in the workplace, including being told to “tone it down”, not wear a dress to and from work, not talk about her transition with other colleagues, and not  go into the restroom used by other female employees, among other incidents of of bias. The Eleventh Circuit opinion noted that Chavez offered evidence that her boss (James Torchia, President of Credit Nation) had told her, “I know you [Chavez] are the best mechanic here and I have heard that from everyone.” The ruling further states: “And yet even though Chavez was an excellent employee and had no prior disciplinary history, after disclosing her gender transition, Chavez soon found herself the subject of discipline.

Chavez asked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to take her complaint and was denied on two  separate occasions. On the third attempt, the Commission took the complaint, but ruled it too late. (The EEOC later acknowledged the error, and filed a brief in favor of Ms. Chavez.) The Law Office of Jillian T. Weiss then took on the case and ultimately filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court, receiving the initial ruling against Chavez that was overturned on appeal this week by the Eleventh Circuit Court.

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Khloe Kardashian: ‘Caitlyn denied being trans’

Stefanie Gerdes | Gay Star News | January 14, 2016

Caitlyn Jenner repeatedly denied being trans when questioned by her family, one of her daughters has claimed.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Khloe Kardashian said when the sisters asked Jenner whether she was trans, as alleged in magazine articles, the former Olympian repeatedly denied the rumors were true.

Referring to Jenner as ‘he’ throughout the interview, Kardashian said the sisters decided to ‘ask the source’ and turned to their stepfather for clarification – but it wasn’t until a meeting with E!, the broadcaster of the family’s reality show, they learned the truth.

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Lambda Legal Sues Boulder County Property Owner for Denying Housing to LGBT Family

Melanie Nathan, January 14, 2016

Lambda Legal today filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against a Boulder County property owner who violated the federal Fair Housing Act and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to rent a housing unit she owns in Gold Hill, Colorado, to a same-sex couple, one of whom is transgender, and their children because she worried their “uniqueness” would jeopardize her standing in the community.

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 12.16.23 PM“Worrying about what the neighbors will say is no excuse for discrimination,” Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said. “Tonya and Rachel Smith are loving spouses and parents whose ideal home was denied to them because they are a same-sex couple with kids and Rachel is transgender. That’s not just wrong, it is unlawful. By refusing to rent to Tonya and Rachel because of their ‘uniqueness,’ Deepika Avanti is engaging in discrimination in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.”

Tonya and Rachel Smith are a loving, committed same-sex couple living in Colorado. They have been married for more than five years and have two children, ages six and two. Rachel is also transgender. In early 2015, Tonya and Rachel were looking to find a new home for their young family. In April, they located a two-bedroom duplex in the community of Gold Hill, Colorado, that seemed to meet all of their needs – affordable, lots of outdoor space where their children could play, and near a small, high quality public school. After meeting the landlord, Deepika Avanti, and touring both that unit and a three-bedroom unit on the same property, Tonya and Rachel believed they had located their ideal house.”

However, within hours, Avanti emailed Tonya and Rachel and informed them she would not be renting either unit to them, because she thought their “unique relationship” would become the focus of discussion in town and would harm her position in the community. She added that she had kept a low profile for 30 years, but that would no longer be possible if she rented to them due to Tonya and Rachel’s “uniqueness.”

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Protest as Lesbian Hate and Transphobia Haunts South Africa

Melanie Nathan, January 11, 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 11.32.25 AMTwo recent horrific murder cases elucidate the horror that lesbians and trans people encounter when faced with what is still considered endemic homophobia, lesbian hate and transphobia, in South Africa, a country with a constitution that ensures equality for all.

1.  A Western Cape transgender woman was knifed to death by a 15-year-old youth in broad daylight; the second reported LGBTI murder in the last month, as reported by Mambaonline:

On 27 December, at around midday, 30-year-old Phoebe Titus went with a neighbour’s child to an informal shop in the town of Wolseley to buy ice lollies.

According to reports received by LGBTI rights group Triangle Project, Titus accidentally stepped on the toes of a 15-year-old boy at the store.

The furious youth responded by allegedly shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs, including “vuil moffie” (dirty faggot) at the woman.

It’s alleged that a man in his twenties near the shop handed a knife to the boy, who then allegedly plunged it into Titus’ neck.

Bleeding profusely, she staggered away, collapsing and dying about 500 metres down the road in a pool of blood.

“I think she’d just had enough of being called names,” an emotional Sharon Cox, Triangle’s Health and Support Services Manager, told Mambaonline. “She was beautiful and was loved in the community. She was a hairdresser in Wolseley at the time of her death, and was a friend to many. Everybody knew her.”  READ MORE.

2. The horrific murder of a young lesbian woman who had just passed senior high school year,  has left the LGBTI community in the Vaal Triangle reeling and extremely angry: 

The body of Motshidisi Pascalina was discovered in an open field near her home on 18 December in Gauteng’s Evaton North.

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Study Looks at Transgender Veterans

Military.com | January 11, 2015

The first large, controlled study of health disparities between clinically diagnosed transgender and non-transgender patients showed that transgender veterans had a significantly greater prevalence of numerous psychiatric and medical conditions. The study is based on the medical records of more than 5,000 patients treated in the Veterans Health Administration. In the current study, transgender veterans were significantly more likely to suffer from all ten of the mental health conditions examined, including depression, suicide thoughts or intentions, serious mental illness, and post-traumatic stress disorder. An article on the study is available until February 6, 2016 on the LBGT Health website.

For more on veteran benefits, visit the Military.com Benefits Center.

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Christie ties terrorism to trans kids’ “confusion” over their gender identities

| America Blog | December 22, 2015

Chris Christie’s been getting a lot of mileage out of anti-trans bigotry lately. It wasn’t enough for the presidential hopeful to vetoand laugh about — a bill that would have made it easier for trans people to change their gender identity on their birth certificate. Yesterday, he implied that questions about their own gender identity are too confusing for kids who are already confused about terrorism, so it’s best not to accommodate them.


From CNN, on Christie’s answer to a question about California’s recently-passed law allowing high schoolers to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities:

Chris Christie, via Wikimedia Commons

Chris Christie, via Wikimedia Commons

Christie responded by joking that life is simpler in New Jersey, “Men go to men’s rooms, women go to women’s rooms and there really shouldn’t be a whole lot of confusion about that — public accommodations. And I don’t think we should be making life more confusing for our children.”

He quickly pivoted to his bigger concern that terrorism is making growing up too confusing for children.

“Life is confusing enough right now for our children,” Christie said. “Think about those kids in Los Angeles who last week had their entire district closed because of a threat. Think about what they felt like the next day when they went back to school. Did they feel completely comfortable, did they feel like they were safe? How did their mothers and fathers feel when they sent them to school that day? And now today the Nashua schools are closed, based on a threat as well. How are those kids going to feel when they go back to school?”

There’s a lot going on here. First, yes, men go to men’s rooms and women go to women’s rooms, but since when does Chris Christie get to decide who’s a man and who’s a woman? Second, I’d imagine that when high schoolers in Los Angeles went back to school after classes were canceled over an obvious hoax, terrorism wasn’t the first thing on their minds. If anything, the wild-eyed paranoia that led to the district to err too far on the side of caution is the most confusing thing about the whole episode, and Christie, by leaving out the fact that the terror “threat” in Los Angeles wasn’t at all credible, is adding to that confusion.

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