Transfolk are Now Banned from the Military

As of today, President Trump has signed an order banning transgender folks from the military.

What’s next for people like me? Banning us from bathrooms, restaurants, grocery stores, and hospitals? Where will it stop? And which group is next on the list?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

~Martin Niemoller

Kansas Senate Comes To It’s Senses And Nixes Extreme Anti-Gay (Jim Crow) Legislation [politicususa.net]

kansassealBy: Justin Baragona / politicususa.net
The Kansas Senate decided on Friday that they would kill the legislation that was passed earlier this week by the state’s House of Representatives. The bill, known as House Bill 2453,would have opened the door to widespread segregation and discrimination of those in the LGBT community. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives, which is overwhelmingly Republican, passed the bill with ease by a vote of 72-49. It was assumed that with a large majority in the state’s Senate and the extremely conservative Sam Brownback as Governor, the legislation was going to fly through and become law.

Well, something happened along the way. Perhaps it was the fact that the law made national headlines and had a lot of blowback. Or maybe it was due to what Andrew Sullivan wrote on Friday regarding what the law would do for the LGBT community. In his column, Sullivan accurately noted that passing a law that so blatantly discriminates gays and treats them like second-class citizens would inevitably be the death knell for the religious right in its attempt to prevent the advancement of gay rights.

Basically, by going forward with this, the gay community could rightly point to this law and compare it to the Jim Crow laws of the South. It also would have an avalanche effect on the GOP, as young voters would be turned off by them for good due to their penchant for bigotry. Sullivan nailed it with the following paragraph:

If the Republican Party wanted to demonstrate that it wants no votes from anyone under 40, it couldn’t have found a better way to do it. Some critics have reacted to this law with the view that it is an outrageous new version of Jim Crow and a terrifying portent of the future for gays in some red states. It is both of those. It’s the kind of law that Vladimir Putin would enthusiastically support. But it is also, to my mind, a fatal mis-step for the movement to keep gay citizens in a marginalized, stigmatized place.

San Francisco Police Department Issues “It Gets Better” Videos

Mayor Lee & Chief Suhr Unveil First of its Kind LGBT Youth Video. 

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) along with Mayor Ed Lee is proud to announce the debut of the “SFPD It Gets Better” video project as part of the nationwide campaign to end bullying of LGBT youth. The video provides a message of transformation, hope and encouragement to LGBT yo…uth that it does get better. The SFPD is the first and only Police Department in the country to produce a video for the campaign.

“It Gets Better” is a nationwide project, that offers support and encouragement to youth who are struggling with their sexual identity or bullied for being “different.” These messages of hope let young people know that they are not alone and that help is available.

The making of this video was a concerted effort by numerous members of the SFPD with the assistance of San Francisco film maker Shawn Northcutt who produced and edited the video along with San Francisco local musician Lynden Bair who developed the musical score.

“Today our Police Department joins the nationwide campaign to end bullying of LGBT youth by producing a heartfelt video that provides a message of hope and encouragement that it will get better,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “San Francisco is a city that prides itself on embracing equality for all and this video is another great example of our commitment to reinforcing our City’s values.”

Chief Greg Suhr wants youth to know that it really does get better. “This is a first of its kind video for the SFPD and for any law enforcement agency in the United States. I hope this message of encouragement will give hope to anyone who might be bullied because of who they are. The members of the SFPD will continue to work with all young people and reach out to the communities, as mentors and role models.”

“Suicide is not the answer.”
If you’re considering suicide or need help, call the Trevor Project now.
1-886-4-U-TREVOR
(866-488-7386)

www.thetrevorproject.org

Gov signs transgender rights bill [wwlp.com]

by Christine Lee, 22News State House Correspondent

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Deval Patrick hosted a ceremonial signing Thursday of a civil rights bill that extends protection from discrimination to people based on their gender identity or gender expression.

“I signed this bill as a matter of conscience. No individual should face discrimination because of who they are,” said Patrick

“And we intend to enforce that bill the way it is intended to do,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Patrick formally signed the transgender rights bill quietly in his office late November, but the start-of-the-year ceremonial signing drew an overflowing crowd from the transgender community.

Legislative leaders praised the progress Massachusetts is making toward recognizing transgender rights.  “Allowing them to more easily find employment, housing, education, credit, and most importantly, a better quality of life,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop)

The bill is big step for the Commonwealth, but activists note, their work isn’t over yet.

“These things are vital but we mostly need public accommodation,” said Danica Ali, an LGBT activist from Springfield.  “[It] must be added to the bill.”

Public accommodation refers to the right to stay at a hotel, ride a bus, or even use a bathroom without being discriminated against.  The bill signed by the governor falls short of extending those rights to transgendered people and activists feel their fight isn’t over until it does.

“Just because it’s such a basic right for people and the fact that it’s not protected is kind of atrocious,” said Kaylin MacNeil of Holyoke.

The governor acknowledged there’s work to be done but for today, he wants to relish in what they’ve accomplished so far.  The House Speaker said nearly 33,000 Massachusetts residents will now no longer face discrimination.

http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/politics/state_politics/Gov-signs-transgender-rights-bill

NAACP president says group supports extending rights to transgender residents in Maryland [washingtonpost.com]

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said Thursday the civil rights group supports legislation in Maryland to extend rights to transgender residents.

Jealous spoke at a national conference on rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the 24th national conference on LGBT equality.

“This striving for inclusion is not new,” Jealous told a crowded convention room at the Baltimore Hilton.

Under Jealous, the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People launched an equality task force for the LGBT community. The Maryland measure would extend rights relating to employment and housing to transgender residents.

Last year, legislation that would have protected transgender people from housing and employment discrimination passed the House of Delegates, but the bill failed to pass the Senate.

About a week after the legislative session adjourned in April, an attack on 22-year-old transgender woman at a McDonald’s restaurant in Rosedale highlighted the issue again.

First Lady Katie O’Malley, who also attended the conference, told a crowd outside the convention room where Jealous spoke that “cowards” prevented same-sex marriage legislation from passing in Maryland last year. The measure cleared the Senate but stalled in the House of Delegates.

“We didn’t expect the things that happened to the House of Delegates to occur, but sadly they did, and there were some cowards that prevented it from passing,” she said.

Still, she told the crowd she and her husband, Gov. Martin O’Malley, are hoping the votes will be there this year.

The governor has made same-sex marriage legislation a priority this session.

Katie O’Malley, who is a judge in Baltimore District Court, also told the crowd that religion should not play a role in determining state laws relating to civil rights.

“We’re all very diverse and that’s what makes us so strong, but religion should never play a part in what the laws of our state are, and that’s what we’re trying to convey to religious leaders who are opponents of the bill,” she said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/naacp-president-says-group-supports-extending-rights-to-transgender-residents-in-maryland/2012/01/26/gIQAfBr9TQ_story.html

Tennessee Bathroom Bill Sponsor: ‘I Would Stomp A Mudhole’ In A Transgender Person [thinkprogress.com]

by Zack Ford / thinkprogress.com

Much has unfolded in the day since the “Bathroom Harassment Act” was first introduced in the Tennessee legislature, a bill that would fine transgender people $50 for using bathrooms and dressing rooms.

First, state Sen. Bo Watson (R) has withdrawn his version of the bill. He had introduced it as a courtesy to state Rep. Richard Floyd (R), who represents the same region of Tennessee. In a statement to ThinkProgress, Watson’s communications director explained that “Sen. Watson concluded that there are far more pressing issues facing the state of Tennessee at this time.”

Floyd now stands alone as the sponsor of the bill (HB 2279), which he defended yesterday using incredibly transphobic rhetoric. In no uncertain terms, he explained that he would resort to violence if he ever encountered someone transgender in a dressing room:

FLOYD: I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry.

Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts. Now if somebody thinks he’s a woman and he’s a man and wants to try on women’s clothes, let him take them into the men’s bathroom or dressing room.

In an extended interview with WTVF News Chanel 5, Floyd doubled down on his comments, claiming that his bill doesn’t “penalize anybody,” it “protects everybody,” and he could “care less” what transgender advocacy groups think. Watch it:

This bill is nothing short of an outright attack on transgender people, and Floyd’s comments make it clear he lacks any understanding or compassion for the trans community. Enforcement of this bill could lead to ID checks in public restrooms and would be devastatingly stigmatizing, especially considering Tennessee offers no option for individuals to change their birth certificate gender markers. Even individuals passing through one of Tennessee’s airports or bus stops could be targeted for these fines, just for being transgender.

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/01/13/403904/tennessee-bathroom-bill-sponsor-i-would-stomp-a-mudhole-in-a-transgender-person/

 

In Jerusalem, women are voiceless at a decidedly womanly health event [theglobeandmail.com]

By Patrick Martin / theglobeandmail.com

The controversial exclusion of women from various settings in Israel because of pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders reached a new level this week with a major conference on gynecological advances that is permitting only males to address the audience.

The conference on “Innovations in Gynecology/Obstetrics and Halacha [Jewish law]” is being held by the Puah Institute this Wednesday in Jerusalem. It will include such topics as “ovary implants,” “how to choose a suitable contraceptive pill” and “intimacy during rocket attacks,” in which there are many qualified female professionals, but none will be permitted to speak, at least not from the podium.

Women are allowed in the audience, in a section separate from men.

Several Israeli human rights groups have protested the men-only nature of the conference. While it is considered a private rather than a public forum, and therefore not subject to Israeli policies against discrimination, Puah receives considerable funding from the Health Ministry, these complainants point out.

Such complaints are unlikely to make much of an impression, however. The Health Minister, to whom they are addressed, is actually the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, owing to another sop to the Ultra-Orthodox.

The United Torah Judaism party refused to formally join the coalition cabinet since doing so would signal an acceptance of the Zionist state, something its beliefs preclude. So its representative was given the post of Deputy Health Minister, a non-cabinet position. It is this ultra-Orthodox man who really runs the department, while the PM represents it at the cabinet table.

At least two male Israeli doctors have withdrawn from making presentations at this week’s Puah event once they were made aware of the exclusion of women, or at least once public outrage over the exclusion became apparent.

Puah – ironically named for one of the ancient Hebrew midwives believed to have refused the pharaoh’s order to kill all male babies in Egypt at the time of Moses – has held many other conferences with male-only speakers. But this one comes on the heels of several other incidents in which women, or their images, have been excluded from public places under pressure from ultra-Orthodox leaders and their enforcement squads.

Until two years ago, public buses did not run through such religious neighbourhoods as Mea Sharim, in Jerusalem, and Beit Shemesh outside the city, because of frequent attacks on the buses in which windows were smashed by rocks.

Having been ordered to resume service in all these communities, many buses carry security guards and most adhere to the practice demanded by the rabbinate of seating women only at the back of the bus. Recent attempts to break this practice have resulted in well-reported altercations with male passengers.

As well, pictures of women are not displayed in the posters and ads carried by the bus in these areas, nor are they shown in ads at bus stops in religious communities.

As far as Puah is concerned, it operates on a strictly kosher basis, as required by the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate. While there are women on its board of directors, its public face is strictly male, and the two sexes are not allowed to mix at its events.

To be sure, not all sectors of the ultra-Orthodox community support these exclusionary tactics, explains Nachman Ben-Yehuda, a Hebrew University sociology professor and author of the recently published book Theocratic Democracy. “But most people are too afraid to speak out.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/worldview/in-jerusalem-women-are-voiceless-at-a-decidedly-womanly-event/article2297159/