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Opponents Of California Law Protecting Transgender Students File Suit Against Secretary Of State

Last August, California Governor Jerry Brown (right) signed AB 1266 into law, effectively protecting the rights of transgender students across the state to utilize whichever locker room and bathroom facilities match their gender identities, and to choose sports teams in a similar fashion.

The bill received a large amount of conservative backlash at the time, with one referendum petition from the group Privacy for All Students receiving nearly 500,000 valid signatures, falling just short of the amount needed to get on the 2014 ballot. Though the manual recount of the petition yielded similar results, opponents believe that some signatures were thrown out. Now they have filed suit against California's secretary of state.

JerrybrownThe Daily Bulletin reports:

“We have served the Secretary of State with another legal action asking her to qualify the referendum and we have served county officials across the state with a demand for the documents to prove the abuse of discretion in rejecting more than 131,000 signatures,” Gina Gleason, director of faith and public policy at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, wrote in a press release issued Tuesday morning...

“Keeping boys out of the girls’ bathroom and locker room is an issue of privacy and safety,” she wrote to PFAS supporters. “Counting all of the valid signatures is an issue of integrity and trust. We must fight for all of these things. Thank you for your continued support in this battle.”

The flagrant disregard for the sensitivities and tact necessary when discussing youth who are transgender-identified is disturbing. The evidence being used by the Pacific Justice Institute, the firm working with Privacy for All Students, while justifiably outraged, seems sketchy at best.

In the PFAS press release, Matthew McReynolds, an attorney for the Pacific Justice Institute...said his signature was one of those rejected by his local registrar of voters.

“You read that correctly -- a petition from one of the key backers of the referendum, more familiar than most with the rules, was not good enough to satisfy elections workers here in Sacramento County,” he wrote. “So what did I do wrong? The explanation was that my signature didn’t look exactly like it had on my registration card. And you know what? They’re probably right; my signature has undoubtedly changed over the last few years as I have become totally blind and no longer able to see what I’ve written. That’s a long story that I’ll save for another day. But my disability shouldn’t prevent me from participating in such a core function of democracy as signing a referendum petition.

“What’s really scary is that I only found out I had been disenfranchised because I am very involved in the massive effort by the Privacy for All Students coalition to examine the signatures that were invalidated.”

Proponents of the bill are confident that the lawsuit will not hold up and that the fate of AB 1266 remains secure.

A Daughter Deals With Her Dad's Gender Transition In '52 Tuesdays': VIDEO


52 Tuesdays is a feature-length drama about 16-year-old Billie and her father James who is undergoing a female-to-male gender transition. For some reason, Billie’s time with her dad is limited to Tuesdays only and in a unique filmmaking rule Sophie Hyde shot the film only on Tuesdays over the course of a year with the entirely non-professional cast receiving scripts one week at a time and only of the scenes that they act in.

Thus, the film acts as a realistic chronicle of James’ transformation and the effect it has on those around him. James will be played Del Herbert-Jane, a gender non-conforming actor who is not trans, but welcomed the opportunity to explore the film’s themes.

52 Tuesdays — which marks Sophie Hyde’s directorial debut — snagged her the best directing award in the World Cinema Dramatic category of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Watch the trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "A Daughter Deals With Her Dad's Gender Transition In '52 Tuesdays': VIDEO" »

Transgender People Voted for the First Time in El Salvador's History

LGBT activists display their inked fingers after voting in the second round of the Salvadoran presidential elections, on March 9, 2014. in order to prove that a citizen has voted, fingers are dipped in semi-permanent ink after turning in the ballot. Third from left is Pati Hernandez, executive director of ASPIDH Arco Iris, and second from right is Karla Avelar, executive director of COMCAVIS trans.


SAN SALVADOR and NEW YORK—Rubi Navas is among the first transgender women in the history of El Salvador to be allowed to vote.

In previous years, Rubi and her peers were normally barred from voting, because their physical appearances don’t match the masculine birth names on their national identification cards. The few who were able to cast ballots were lucky; an unusually progressive election official had probably let them by.

But on Feb. 1, three days before the first round of the 2014 Salvadoran presidential elections, the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal proclaimed that all people must be allowed to vote, without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

CerenWhile recent historic advances, like this one, were made by the administration of outgoing president Mauricio Funes, questions remain about whether his successor, Salvador Sanchez Ceren (pictured), will take the same proactive stance.

Despite previous progress, the climate for LGBTI rights in El Salvador is complicated by corruption and organized crime, which exacerbate the already pervasive issues of discrimination and violence.

On March 9, in the elections’ second and final round, Rubi went to the polls with a bandaged right arm to protect bullet wounds she sustained in an attack nearly one month earlier. In a violent episode all-too-familiar to many LGBTI people in El Salvador, Rubi was shot three times by an off-duty police officer.

While simultaneously enjoying a newly awarded right, Rubi arrived at the polling station still the unhealed victim of attempts on her life—an event which is representative of the state of LGBTI rights in El Salvador, and the ways in which discrimination still functions against LGBTI people.

On the night of Feb. 7, 2014, Rubi was working on a street near downtown San Salvador.

Like many transgender women in El Salvador, she is only able to find employment in sex work. An off-duty, intoxicated officer cornered Rubi, accusing her of stealing his mobile phone. When she denied the accusation, he shot her three times, hitting her once in the neck and twice in the arm.


Continue reading "Transgender People Voted for the First Time in El Salvador's History" »

Maryland State Delegate Says Trans Rights Bill Would 'Normalize Abnormal Behavior'

AfzaliIn a recent letter to her constituents, Republican Maryland State Representative Kathy Afzali said that she is “completely and unequivocally opposed” to the “Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014" (aka House Bill 1265) — a bill which would prohibit gender identity discrimination in all housing, employment and public accommodations — because it “doesn’t aim to end discrimination, but to normalize abnormal behavior.”

The Washington Blade has more of her remarks:

“HB 1265 seeks to create a new class of protected individuals in the state’s anti-discrimination statute… It is important that Maryland does not separate one’s ‘gender identity’ and their ‘assigned sex at birth’ as noted in the bill.

“Like the majority of Marylanders, I share the view that this redefinition rejects our society’s understanding of human nature. So ladies if you happen to see a guy in a dress in the restaurant bathroom, you’ll know the bill passed and that I voted no.”

Afzali's rhetoric uses the tired right-wing scare tactic of conflating transgender bathroom users to sexual predators and rapists even though such sexual assaults have never ever occurred, even in states that have passed similar bills.

The Blade also notes that Afzali has also said that gay men make bad parents and spoke at a rally where a pastor said that Superstorm Sandy struck New York City because then-mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $250,000 in support of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.

Maryland House Bill already passed the senate on March 4th and has the support of 71 percent of all Marylanders.

Transgender Serial Killer Suspect Blames Murders on Person She Was Before Gender Surgery: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 5.27.41 AM

A transgender woman accused of killing three prostitutes in 1990 has allegedly blamed the murders on the person she was before undergoing gender reassignment, The Huffington Post reports:

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 5.27.00 AMCourt documents revealed this week in Washington state show that Donna Perry, 62, said she underwent a gender confirmation operation in Thailand partly as "a permanent way to control violence," KXLY-TV reports.

Officials believe that Perry shot Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois and Nickie Lowe, and left their naked remains along the Spokane River in 1990. At that time, Perry identified as Doug Perry, according to ABC News.

After being arrested in 2012 on federal weapons charges, investigators linked Perry’s fingerprints to the women’s deaths.

When asked by detectives why the killings stopped, Perry responded, “Douglas didn’t stop, Donna stopped it.” She went on to say “I’m not going to admit I killed anybody. I didn’t. Donna has killed nobody.”

Watch a news report of the story, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Transgender Serial Killer Suspect Blames Murders on Person She Was Before Gender Surgery: VIDEO" »

Seeking Hormone Therapy, Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning Petitions For Name Change

Convicted Wikileaker Private Chelsea Manning has petitioned a Kansas court for a legal name change to match her female identity. The day after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act, Manning released a statement announcing her transgender identity.

Chelsea_manningManning is seeking the name change as part of a longer battle to secure hormone therapy during her time in incarceration. The New York Times has more:

Manning has asked to receive hormone replacement therapy and live as a woman while incarcerated... [and] will go to court, if necessary, to obtain the hormone treatment.

Civilian federal prisons are required to provide such treatment, if deemed medically necessary, for inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Unlike in military prisons, the policy also allows inmates who believe they are the wrong gender to dress and live accordingly as part of their individual treatment plans.

The military has said it does not provide treatment for gender dysphoria because Pentagon policy dictates that transgender soldiers are not allowed to serve.

According to Lauren McNamara (aka Zinnia Jones) — an activist, friend and former defense witness for Chelsea Manning — civilian courts have found in almost all cases that prisons are required to provide hormone therapy and increasingly surgery as well for trans inmates. If Manning succeeds in her quest to receive hormone treatment and other trans accomodations, she could help set a precedent for future trans soldiers both in and out of prison. 


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