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Miami-Dade Moves Towards Adding Trans Protections To Non Discrimination Ordinance

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The Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously voted yesterday to further consider expanding discrimination protections to include transgender-identified people. The Commission’s preliminary amendment to Dade’s anti-discrimination ordinance adds “gender identity” and “gender expression” to its list of prohibited forms of discrimination. The expansion will provide transgender individuals equal access to governmental services as well as housing and employment opportunities.

The Commission attempted to pass a similar amendment last year, but found itself unable to find the necessary number of committee-level approval votes that would have brought the law to the floor for review. Proponents of the revision expressed their need to further educate the public of the law’s necessity before redoubling their efforts.

“It’s fairly apparent the education failed and the politics failed,” said Mara Kiesling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “They now know who they need to educate and who they need to advocate with.”

After being shut out of a vote last year, supporters of the expansion came to the Miami-Dade County Hall prepared to defend themselves against a vocal opposition. Instead, as SAVE field organizer Charo Valero discovered, most of the people in the County Hall were preoccupied with film industry tax rebates. SAVE, a Miami-based LGBT organization, has been pushing for broader protections for Miami's trans communities.

“This update that we’re working on would ensure very basic protections for a very vulnerable part of our community that many take for granted," Valero explained to the Miami Herald.

Watch an interview with SAVE field organizer Charo Valero, AFTER THE JUMP...

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IDAHO: Lewiston City Councilors Speak Out on Why They Oppose LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance - VIDEO

Rj johnson Lewiston Idaho

City councilors in Lewiston, Idaho, have spoken out against a proposed non-discrimination ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate in housing, employment and public accommodation based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, reports KLEWTV.

Lewiston City Council Mayor Pro Tem R.J. Johnson said that although all seven members of the council are against discrimination based on sexual orientation, ordinance 4614 would infringe “on our basic civil liberties."

According to Jesse Maldonado, the youngest person ever elected to the Lewiston City Council, it is currently “legal to discriminate in the workforce, hiring or firing, or refusing someone service or not giving someone housing if they are gay lesbian, or transgender and there's no ramifications for doing so. So basically what this ordinance would do would make it a misdemeanor to do that which could then be punishable by jail time or a fine."

However, councilor Clinton Daniels said that 4614 could lead to retailers being “put in jail for six months” with a fine of $1,000 for refusing to serve LGBT customers. In a statement, Daniels said:

"My strong belief in liberty compels me to oppose ordinances that do not respect private property, freedom of association, and voluntary contracts; even when the stated goal of such ordinances is something I support.

When you engage in commerce, whether it be for a personal sale or a commercial one, it is a form of a contract, and in a free society all contracts should be voluntary."

Maldonado has since asked supporters to attend the next of two further readings of the ordinance on September 22nd.

 

Watch a KLEW TV reports, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Colorado Transgender Teen Crowned Homecoming Princess

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On Friday, a transgender teen at Sand Creek High School in Colorado was crowned homecoming princess, making her the first transgender person at the school and, according to KRDO, also the state, to receive the honor.

Scarlett Lenh, who began to identify as transgender earlier this school year, told KCNC-TV

"It’s just about being yourself. That’s what I want to do, inspire people. I want everyone to know no matter what body you’re in or what mind set you have, being you is the best feeling in the world. No matter what."

But, according to The Gazette, not everyone is happy about Lenh's win.

"It's craziness," said Jana Neathery, whose granddaughter attends Sand Creek.

"Originally, it was a joke that he was going to be nominated for homecoming princess, but he got a lot of nominations," she said, referring to Scarlett, "and now there are a lot of upset girls because a spot was taken from them.

"I'm very sympathetic that he's transgender, but he should be on the boys' side, not the girls'."

The school is located in Colorado Springs, which is not only home to Focus on the Family but also the National Association of Evangelicals.

Some of the school's students agree with Neathery:  

"I think it's wrong because he's actually a guy, he's not a girl, and he hasn't been doing this his entire life - he's only been recently doing it," said Jarrod Clarke, a junior at Sand Creek.

"We know him pretty well," another Sand Creek student who asked not to be identified said of Scarlett. "He's only cross-dressing, putting on girls' clothes."

While some people are upset by Lenh's win, most of the students have been highly supportive and, as KRDO reports, "only cheers could be heard from the stands" once her name was announced on Friday. Representatives from the district the school sits in have released a statement which also backs her.

"The leaders at Sand Creek High School and in District 49 respect the decision of the Scorpion student body in electing their homecoming court." The statement went on to say, "Our board policy sets the standard that we do not exclude any person from participating in any program or activity on the basis of gender identity and gender expression."

Watch a news segmenet which shows Lenh being escorted on the school's football field by two of her best friends just after she received the title of homecoming princess, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Indian Government Objects to Supreme Court Ruling Recognizing Trans People As Third Gender

India's government is asking the country's Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark ruling back in April recognizing transgender people as a third gender, The Wall Street Journal reports:

IndiaThe government — led by the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party, which has deep roots in the country’s Hindu nationalist movement — said in an application to the Supreme Court that the transgender ruling “may pose problems both practically and politically” and asked for clarifications and changes.

The application complained that the court’s finding that the term transgender people can also apply to gay, lesbian and bisexual Indians, “seeks to create an ambiguity.” 

It also argued that on procedural grounds it would “not be proper” for the court to classify the transgender community as part of India’s backward classes, which are eligible for affirmative-action benefits.

Additionally, the government asked that the court to clarify the definition of "transgender." Approximately two million people are said to be transgender, or hijira, in India.

Homosexuality, meanwhile, is still criminalized in India after a stunning Supreme Court ruling last year. The Indian government has announced it has no plans to amend the newly reinstated law criminalizing homosexuality until the Supreme Court settles the issue. 


24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO

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Strict voter ID laws in ten states could create barriers to voting and lead to possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November, reports LGBTQ Nation.

MapAccording to the study “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election,” about 84,000 transgender people across the ten strict photo ID states are estimated to be eligible to vote. The 24,000 transgender voters who may face barriers to voting reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In order for these 24,000 voting-eligible transgender people to obtain the updated photo IDs required to vote in the November 2014 general election, they must comply with the requirements for updating their state-issued or federally-issued IDs.

The study’s author Jody L. Herman, Ph.D, said:

“Some voters may not have the means or the ability to present the required voter identification for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, disability, or religious objection.

Transgender people have unique barriers to obtaining accurate IDs needed to vote.

As these ten states begin planning for their fall elections, educating poll workers is crucial in order to ensure that transgender voters in their states have fair access to the ballot.”

Watch the 2012 National Center for Transgender Equality's "Voting While Trans" campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NY Radio Hosts Kimberly and Beck, Who Were Fired for Transphobic Remarks, Back on the Air: VIDEO

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Kimberly and Beck, the Rochester, NY radio hosts who were fired from 98.9 'Breakfast Buzz' show after unleashing a tirade of disturbing and offensive remarks about transgender people in a 'discussion' of the city's new trans health benefits, have been hired by Clear Channel station Radio 95.1.

The radio duo apologized after being let go over the offensive segment (which you can listen to HERE), saying, in part:

We are very sorry for the hurt and pain we have caused anyone, especially those in the Transgender community and their friends and families. What we said and the manner in which we handled ourselves was wrong; we take full responsibility and we deeply apologize to any and all that we offended.

Our attempt was to discuss a controversial healthcare issue; however our lack of sensitivity and understanding of the Transgender people and their plight created 12 minutes of radio we that wish we could take back...

...It is our hope that this situation can be a time of learning and understanding about the Transgender community and not a time for additional anger and insensitivity. This is a community of individuals who struggle painfully to be themselves and find the support and comfort they deserve. We believe that this can be a chance for all of us to stop the ignorance and find our humanity."

In an announcement released today about their new show, Kimberly says:

"We took some time to reflect and kind of figure out what went sideways and we made the statement that we were sorry and made amends to the transgender community and we're just glad to be back."

Kimberly and Beck say they're doing the same kind of show they have been doing for 13 years and don't deny they might say something else that gets them in trouble.

Says Kimberly:

"Oh we'll probably say stupid things. I mean, there's no doubt. We're all human...There are things that you say that in a minute you wish you could take back. It's the nature of the business. We never intend to hurt anyone."

Adds Beck:

"It's live radio. In the area where we live, once in a while we overstep our boundaries."

Kimberly and Beck do not specify the amends they made to the trans community or how their understanding of transgender people has changed in the time since the controversy. Perhaps they will do so on their show.

Watch the duo's announcement today, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning:autoplay)

Continue reading "NY Radio Hosts Kimberly and Beck, Who Were Fired for Transphobic Remarks, Back on the Air: VIDEO" »


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