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Mariela Castro Votes Against Cuban Government, Voices Support For Transgender Rights

 

Mariela_Castro_2010_Hamburg

Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuba’s president Raul Castro and niece of Fidel Castro, has made the first recorded vote against the government in a show of support for LGBT people, reports NPR.

Castro was behind the sixth International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Conference held in Cuba earlier this year.

The proposed update to Cuba's expansive labor code included explicit protections based on sexual orientation. However, Castro said that because it didn't also specify protections for people based on their gender identity and HIV status, it was inconsistent with her beliefs.

It is thought to be the first time that a government bill has been voted against.

However, according to LGBTI News, Baruch College Latin American studies professor Ted Henken said that Castro’s vote “is more a sign of what Mariela can get away with than a sign of what your everyday parliamentarian can get away with.”


Department Of Labor Announces Protections For Transgender Employees Of Federal Contractors - VIDEO

Mia macy

The Department of Labor has finally issued guidance to protect transgender employees of federal contractors from discrimination, reports Buzzfeed.

The move comes after an April 2012 decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) supporting a claim for discrimination against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives filed by transgender woman Mia Macy.

The EEOC ruled in favor of Macy’s claim under the sex discrimination ban in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because anti-transgender discrimination is a type of sex discrimination.

When Labor Secretary Tom Perez addressed the issue in February, he said that the issue was under review. However, it wasn’t until President Obama announced in June that he would be signing an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT employees of federally-funded organizations that Perez announced the Labor Department would be applying the Macy decision to the existing executive order.

The guidance was issued yesterday “[t]o clarify that existing agency guidance on discrimination on the basis of sex under Executive Order 11246, as amended, includes discrimination on the bases of gender identity and transgender status.”

Welcoming the decision, Sarah Warbelow, The Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, said:

“The Labor Department guidance issued today is a giant step toward ensuring American workers are judged based on the work they do, and never because of a fundamental aspect of who they are — like their gender identity.”

Watch a Center for American Progress profile of Mia Macy, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Department Of Labor Announces Protections For Transgender Employees Of Federal Contractors - VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Sultan of Brunei Eyeing Iconic New York Hotels - VIDEO

Sultan

Hassanal Bolkiah, the homophobic Sultan of Brunei, has offered to pay around $2 billion to buy New York’s Plaza Hotel, along with Grosvenor House in London and the Dream Hotel in lower Manhattan, reports Huffington Post.

Bolkiah has faced severe criticism for Brunei’s new penal code which includes death by stoning as a punishment for homosexuality.

A number of celebrities - including Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson - have protested against the Brunei-owned luxury hotel operator Dorchester Collection following the implementation of the country’s anti-gay laws. However, Russell Crowe announced his support for Dorchester, claiming that protests would “throw employees under the bus to make a political point.”

A statement from the hotel chain said that the company continues to “abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind.”

However, activist group Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb said “the American profit stream that flows from [Bolkiah’s] hotels back to his regime needs to stop. We urge all New Yorkers to have one simple and straight-forward message for the Sultan: take your business elsewhere."

Watch a CBS News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Sultan of Brunei Eyeing Iconic New York Hotels - VIDEO" »


Fayetteville, Arkansas To Vote On Controversial LGBT Non-Discrimination Order Today - WATCH

Bart hester

Fayetteville could today become the first Arkansas city to implement an LGBT non-discrimination order (NDO), reports NWA Online.

Alderman Matthew Petty proposed the NDO, which would ban employment discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, gender expression, familial status, marital status, socioeconomic background and veteran status, after being approached by the Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality, an LGBT advocacy group with offices in Fayetteville.

During the proposal's second reading on August 5th, the vast majority of the more than 100 people who packed the City Council chambers criticized the proposed NDO as government overreach and an unnecessary infringement upon residents' religious beliefs.

Speaking against the NDO at a protest last Saturday, Republican Senator Bart Hester said:

“I think they’ve included a whole bunch of things that are already covered in law, just to protect the few little issues that we all know this is about…this is about telling a church that they have to host a gay marriage that they don’t support.”

A Monday robocall to voters, narrated by reality television star Michelle Duggar and paid for by the Arkansas Family Council, urged residents to speak out against the NDO:

“I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space.”

However, Blake Pennington, assistant city attorney, said that such arguments are "nothing more than fear-mongering."

City council member Sarah Marsh, who said that the ordinance “guarantees that all people will have access to housing, employee and public accommodation,” expects there to be a vote today following the third and final discussion of the ordinance.

Earlier this month, Billings, Montana Mayor Tom Hanel cast the deciding vote against a proposed NDO that would have protected Billings residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Watch a report on last weekend's protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Fayetteville, Arkansas To Vote On Controversial LGBT Non-Discrimination Order Today - WATCH" »


Richard Land: LGBT Non-Discrimination Measures 'Suppress The Freedom Of Speech' - LISTEN

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 7.51.36 AMDiscussing the defeat of an LGBT non-discrimination measure in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, homophobes Richard Land and Gene Mills have claimed that such ordinances “suppress the freedom of speech,” reports Right Wing Watch. Mills also suggested that any "discrimination" members of the LGBT community might feel from society is really just the inner "shame and guilt" surrounding their "ultimate rebellion against God."

By a vote of 4-8, Baton Rouge last week voted down an ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination in the parish, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, approximately 200 cities currently have non-discrimination ordinances in place.

Filling in for Tony Perkins last week on hate group Family Research Council broadcast Washington Watch, former Southern Baptist Convention official Land said:

“Homosexuality and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community, that is the ultimate rebellion against God. We don’t want them to take away from us the right to say that, to say that’s a rebellion against God.”

Louisiana Family Forum member Mills replied:

“And that’s exactly what they were doing, they were going to use a cause of action against us to silence — and that is what is happening in ‘everywhere USA’ — religious liberty is under assault…. Any expression, any thought, anything you just shared, could have been construed as a hate crime or an act of discrimination, and the reality is the shame and the guilt the homosexual feels is mistakenly reinterpreted as discrimination and what they attempt to do is to call it discrimination and prohibit it.”

Referring to President Obama’s executive order providing protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors, Land last month said that conservatives need to stand up to “the gay thought police” or face Nazi-style persecution.

Listen to the Washington Watch broadcast, AFTER THE JUMP...

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American Bar Association Unanimously Approves Resolution Opposing Anti-LGBT Discrimination

AbaAt the American Bar Association's annual meeting on Tuesday, the House of Delegates (the organization's policy body) unanimously approved a resolution denouncing anti-gay laws as human rights violations and calling for repeals of those laws. 

Read the resolution:

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association recognizes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have a human right to be free from discrimination, threats and violence based on their LGBT status and condemns all laws, regulations and rules or practices that discriminate on the basis that an individual is a LGBT person;

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the governments of countries where such discriminatory laws, regulations, and practices exist to repeal them with all deliberate speed and ensure the safety and equal protection under the law of all LGBT people;

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges other bar associations and attorneys in jurisdictions where there are such discriminatory laws or incidents of targeting of LGBT people to work to defend victims of anti-LGBT discrimination or conduct, and to recognize and support their colleagues who take these cases as human rights advocates; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the United States Government, through bilateral and multilateral channels, to work to end discrimination against LGBT people and to ensure that the rights of LGBT people receive equal  protection under the law.

Last year, a similar resolution was unanimously passed “urging federal, state, local and territorial governments to pass legislation curtailing the availability and effectiveness of the use of 'gay panic' and 'trans panic' defenses by criminal defendants.”


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