LGBT Rights Hub

Texas Lawmaker Wants To Throw Transgender People in Jail for Using Public Restrooms


A Texas state legislator has filed a bill that would make it a crime for transgender people to use public restrooms according to their gender identity. 

The proposal from GOP Rep. Debbie Riddle (above) would make it a class-A misdemeanor — punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine — for transgender people to use "a locker room, shower facility, or toilet facility designated for use by persons of a gender that is not the same gender as the individual’s gender."

Riddle's HB 1748 would also make it a state jail felony — punishable by up to two years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine — for a building manager to "repeatedly allow" a transgender person to use such a facility according to their gender identity. 

Here's how the bill defines gender: 


Riddle's bill is similar to one filed earlier this month in Florida. 

In Texas, anti-LGBT groups have recently used the issue of transgender restroom use to attack Equal Rights Ordinances in Houston and Plano

Read the full text of Riddle's bill, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Petition to Repeal Plano's LGBT Nondiscrimination Ordinance Declared Invalid


A petition to repeal an LGBT nondiscriimination ordinance in Plano, Texas has been declared invalid, The Dallas Morning News reports:

The petitions stated: “Also under this policy, biological males who declare their ‘gender identity’ as female MAY BE ALLOWED to enter women’s restrooms!”

The ordinance specifically excludes public restrooms, showers, locker rooms and dressing rooms. It states that it is not illegal to “deny the opposite sex access to facilities inside a public accommodation segregated on the basis of sex for privacy.”

By making this false representation, the petition asked residents to repeal an ordinance that didn’t exist, city officials said.

They also said the petitions failed to comply with the Texas Election Code which requires petitions in cities located in two counties to include a column for the signer’s county or voter registration number.

In addition, the petitions failed to include a copy of the ordinance, as required by the Plano City Charter, officials said.

Plano City Attorney Paige Mims said the city contacted the organizing groups three weeks before the petition deadline, alerting them to the problems and providing links to the city charter, Texas Election Code and the secretary of state’s website.

After the email was sent, some information, such as the statement about restrooms, was removed from the petitions. But other omissions were not corrected, Mims said.

The City Council in Plano approved the ordinance 5-3 on December 8 amid intense opposition from anti-LGBT groups and local Republican lawmakers. The ordinance also faces opposition from transgender activists over an exemption for restrooms, nonprofits and educational institutions.

The anti-gay Liberty Institute reacted to the news with the following statement:

“While we are shocked that the City has so little regard for its citizens, we remain committed to advancing religious liberty and challenging this ordinance that clearly violates laws protecting religious freedom.”

Gay Florida Couple Encounters Another Benefits Roadblock Despite Successful Lawsuit Against State

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Jim Brenner and Chuck Jones, the gay Tallahassee couple who successfully sued the state of Florida over denial of spousal benefits, encountered another roadblock as the Department of Management Services recently told the couple they couldn’t change their pension plan, reports The Tallahassee Democrat:

On Friday, Brenner was told by a DMS official that despite [Judge Robert] Hinkle's ruling, he would not be able to pick the option he wanted in the first place. He said he was told by DMS that under Florida law, he could only make changes to the plan within the first month of entering DROP, a time that has long since passed. Brenner said a personnel official at the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services tried to intervene on his behalf but also was told no by DMS.

"I feel like I'm being made to beg for what I'm entitled to," said Brenner, fire-management administrator for the Florida Forest Service. "It was one of the original reasons for us filing the lawsuit. And now we're being told we're not entitled. It's our perception that the judge told us we are."

DMS officials, however, announced on Tuesday afternoon that they’re working on a plan to resolve the issue. Said DMS communications director Kendra Parsons:

"The Department of Management Services is developing a plan to contact all (Florida Retirement System) recipients and provide them necessary information on how to receive spousal benefits in light of the court's recent decision,"


Michigan Doctor Cites Religious Beliefs in Her Cowardly Refusal To Treat Lesbian Couple’s Baby: VIDEO

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A Michigan lesbian couple has been left reeling and hurt after a doctor they were referred to agreed to post-natal care for the couple’s newborn daughter, but later reneged, Detroit's Fox 2 reports. Krista and Jami Contreras, who married in Vermont in 2012, were referred to Dr. Vesna Roi in September by their midwife before the birth of their baby Bay Windsor in October 2014. "We were really happy with her," Krista said of the couple’s initial meeting with Roi, "The kind of care she offered, we liked her personality, she seemed pretty friendly. She seemed pretty straight up with us." 

WindsorHowever, the Contreras went in to see Dr. Roi six days after Bay’s birth and found themselves face-to-face with a different doctor. Roi’s replacement, Dr. Melinda Karam, told the couple that Roi "decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won't be able to care for Bay," and that Roi didn’t even come into the office that day to avoid seeing the couple. The Contreras felt humiliated and embarrassed with Roi’s decision.

Said Jami Contreras:

"It was embarrassing, it was humiliating and here we are, new parents trying to protect her, and we know this happens in the world and we're completely prepared for this to happen other places. But not at our six-day-old's wellness appointment." 

The couple proceeded with Dr. Karam and later sought another pediatric group for their baby. The couple took to social media to share their story, which raised awareness and led people to start calling Eastlake Pediatrics to share their concerns. Nearly four months after the appointment, the Contreras finally received a letter from Roi.

RoiSaid Roi:

"After much prayer following your prenatal, I felt that i would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients."

 "We do not keep prenatal information once we have our meetings so I had no way to contact you."

"I should have spoken with you directly that day. Please know that I believe that God gives us free choice and I would never judge anyone based on what they do with that free choice."

Watch a Fox 2 report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

The American Medical Association prohibits physicians refusing care to patients based on sexual orientation, but doctors can refuse treatment if it conflicts with their personal, religious or moral beliefs. Michigan currently does not have laws that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families from discrimination. 

Continue reading "Michigan Doctor Cites Religious Beliefs in Her Cowardly Refusal To Treat Lesbian Couple’s Baby: VIDEO" »

LGBT Activists Stage Valentine's Day Protests In Arkansas, Kansas: VIDEO


It used to be a tradition for same-sex couples to protest marriage bans on Valentine's Day — often by requesting licenses from clerk's offices. 

But now that marriage equality has arrived in 37 states, the focus has shifted. 

Instead of seeking legal recognition of their relationships, LGBT people are demanding that they be protected against discrimination based on who they are and who they love. 

On Saturday, activists in Arkansas and Kansas spent part of their Valentine's Day protesting decisions by Republican governors that effectively sanction anti-LGBT discrimination. 

In Kansas, nearly 1,000 people gathered outside the statehouse to protest Gov. Sam Brownback's decision to rescind an executive order protecting LGBT state employees. The Kansas rally featured some colorful signs and costumes. 

In Arkansas, about 70 people gathered outside the governor's mansion to call on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto SB 202, which would prohibit cities from passing LGBT protections. 

View more images and watch news reports on the two rallies, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Gay Arkansas Couples File Lawsuit Seeking Recognition Of 'Window' Same-Sex Marriages


Two Arkansas same-sex couples filed a lawsuit Friday against the state attorney general seeking to have their "window" marriages recognized. 

The couples were among about 600 who wed during a weeklong period in May after a circuit court judge struck down the state's marriage ban, and before the Arkansas Supreme Court put the ruling on hold

The Washington Blade reports: 

One of the plaintiff couples in the case is Angelia Frazier-Henson and Katherine Henson; the other is Markett Humphries and Dianna Cristy. Both are Pulaski County residents and wed on the first day same-sex marriage was available in Arkansas.

According to lawsuit, the state requires these plaintiffs to “commit a Class C felony in order to comply with Arkansas law requiring the filing of individual income taxes.” To make things more complicated, Humphries is a law enforcement officer and committing perjury “could result in the loss of her employment.”

The lawsuit alleges that denying recognition of these couples’ unions violates their right to due process and equal protection under both Arkansas Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The litigation calls for the court to enjoin Arkansas from enforcing its ban on same-sex marriages with respect to couples who wed during that week-long period in May. 

The Blade notes that the federal government has never announced it would recognize the Arkansas marriages, even though it has done so for so-called window marriages in other states, including Utah, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana. 

In November, a federal district judge also struck down Arkansas' marriage ban, but put the decision on hold pending the state's appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court. 

In related news, Arkansas LGBT advocates staged a love-in Saturday afternoon outside the governor's mansion to protest a bill banning local nondiscrimination ordinances. The bill has passed both the House and Senate, and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson says she plans to allow it to take effect without her signature.

Ground zero for LGBT equality may have just shifted from Alabama two states to the west. 

Read the Arkansas' couples lawsuit seeking recognition of their marriages below:



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