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Trans Teen Wins Discrimination Lawsuit Against Maine School District

MainesNicole Maines, a 17 year-old transgender tenager from Orono, Maine, has won her discrimination lawsuit against the Orono school district after being forced to use a staff-only bathroom. A lower court awarded Maines and her family a settlement of $75,000 having found that the school district was in clear violation of the Maine Human Rights Act. The award will be split between the Maines family, their legal representation, and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders organization.

“A significant portion of the monetary award will go to the Maines’ family,” Carisa Cunningham, spokeswoman for GLAD, explained Monday. “We’re grateful that it was resolved favorably, not only for Nicole and her family but for all transgender students who are just seeking to get an education like every other student.”

The Maines family first raised the issue of their daughter’s discrimination to the Maine Human Rights Commission in 2009 while Nicole was still in middle school. Together the family and the Commission brought a lawsuit against Regional School Unit 26  in Penobscot County Superior Court where the family won their initial case. In 2012, however, a Superior Court Justice William Anderson reversed the decision and ruled in favor of the school district. In January, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court further review the Maines’s case and ultimately ruled in their favor.

“I’m just glad it’s over,” Nicole’s father, Wayne Maines, said of the years long legal struggle. “We just want to move on. We just want to be normal.”

Watch Nicole Maines describe her fight to end discrimination at the 2011 GLAD Spirit of Justice Ceremony AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Trans Teen Wins Discrimination Lawsuit Against Maine School District" »


Could Trans Protections In Miami-Dade County Be A Death Knell For The Right-Wing Bathroom Myth?

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Sixteen years — almost to the day — after the Miami-Dade County Commission banned anti-gay discrimination, its members voted Tuesday to extend those protections to transgender people. 

After several hours of testimony from speakers on both sides, the commission voted 8-3 to add gender identity to county laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. More than 170 people signed up to speak, many of them mobilized by the fear-mongering mailer above, according to WPLG-TV

Bryant.AnitaThe addition of sexual orientation to the laws in 1998 reversed the outcome of an infamous 1977 ballot measure championed by beauty queen Anita Bryant (right) — which overturned the commission's initial decision to ban anti-gay discrimination.  

From The Miami Herald

During Tuesday’s debate, there were repeated echoes of Dec. 1, 1998, when commissioners — by a single vote — banned discrimination against gay men and lesbians. ... The man who was the swing vote back then, Commissioner Dennis Moss, was absent this time around, though he co-sponsored the legislation.

“It’s interesting to note that in the 16 years that have transpired since we passed the ordinance, while much catastrophe was predicted by the opposition, the world has not come to an end,” said Katy Sorenson, the former commissioner who sponsored the 1998 legislation.
Not unlike the battle over gay rights in Miami-Dade, the battle over transgender protections there could ultimately take on broader significance. It's been nasty at times — one Cuban-American commissioner who backed the amendment was accused of being a Communist — and supporters expect a ballot measure aimed at overturning it. 
 
Miami-Dade joins 27 other Florida cities and counties with similar laws, and BuzzFeed reports that Tuesday's vote could be a tipping point for statewide LGBT protections. Meanwhile, other major cities across the US, from Cleveland to Houston, are grappling with similar laws. 
 
In those cities, like in Miami-Dade, opponents have relied heavily on the baseless right-wing myth that sexual predators will use the laws to sneak into women's restrooms. From Buzzfeed

“There are cases of the deviants who will take advantage of this,” said Commissioner Esteban Bovo, who represents suburban Miami. He would only support the ordinance if it carved out an exception so it did not apply to transgender people using public bathrooms. “We have to be mindful of a segment of the population, who is probably a majority, who is very concerned with this issue,” he said. “It is a concern for the safety of their family.”

But in the end, a majority of the commission rejected a bathroom amendment and sided with supporters of the ordinance, who characterized the measure as a basic civil right.

“It’s a scare tactic when we come down to the bathrooms and locker rooms,” said Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, one of the ordinance’s primary co-sponsors. “These are scare tactics.” ... 

Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez plans to sign the measure. 

Watch the report from WPLG-TV, as well as clips of testimony from supporters of transgender protections, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Could Trans Protections In Miami-Dade County Be A Death Knell For The Right-Wing Bathroom Myth?" »


Transgender Protections Added to Toledo Hate Crime Laws After Brutal Assault On Transgender Woman

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Toledo City Council voted 12-0 today to approve House Bill 300; a bill that expands upon Ohio's current hate crime laws to include crimes committed against people because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or disabilities reports The Toledo Blade. The push for the new legislation comes a month after the brutal mid-day assault on notable Ohio transgender activist Candice Rose Milligan that left her with severe injuries including a broken jaw. Milligan, who still has her jaw wired shut from the attack, praised the council's decision in a public address yesterday.

Picture 15Toledo Councilman Jack Ford and three other council members are also credited for their adamant backing of the bill, which only received one hearing on the floor at the time of Milligan's attack. Milligan faced her attacker, 20-year-old Christopher Temple, in court on Nov. 20. Temple is charged with robbery to inflict, attempt to inflict, or threaten serious physical harm on another. David Crafts, the executive director of Equality Toledo, praised Toledo police's handling of the case thus far.

Said Craft:

"We know she was targeted based on her transgender status and her gender expression, and we have no question about that. We also know that Toledo Police have procedures they must follow in order to classify cases, and they are doing the best they can to make sure this is classified appropriately."

Temple, and two other men, attacked Milligan in broad daylight in Toledo last month, hurling homophobic and transphobic slurs and epithets toward her before slamming her onto the ground. Toledo police are still searching for Temple's two accomplices in the attack.


Inspiring Parents Announce 'Arrival' Of 19-Year-Old Transgender Son - VIDEO

Kai Bogert

In a move that may well restore your faith in humanity, the parents of Australian transgender teenager Kai Bogert - who was born Elizabeth Anne - have placed a birth notice in their local newspaper to celebrate the “arrival” of their 19-year-old son, reports The Daily Mail. 23AA5C2200000578-2857263-This_birth_announcement_appeared_in_Tuesday_s_edition_of_Queensl-10_1417521571927

Kai’s parents Yolanda Bogert and Guy Kershaw placed the notice in yesterday’s edition of Brisbane newspaper The Courier Mail to correct their “mistake” and place a “retraction.”

The message reads:

“In 1995 we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son – Kai Bogert. Loving you is the easiest thing in the world.”

Explaining the notice, Kai’s mother said:

“I needed to show my son I support him 100 per cent and wanted to let the world know that. It is all very new to us. Kai just told me a few days ago that he no longer wanted to live as a girl.”

Kai added:

“This last week has changed everything for me. I am still me but I am more me than I was a few days ago and feel free.”

Kai is yet to undergo gender reassignment.  His parents have now set up a transition fund.

Watch a preview of an Australian documentary about the struggles of young transgender people, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Inspiring Parents Announce 'Arrival' Of 19-Year-Old Transgender Son - VIDEO" »


District Of Columbia Council Approves Bill Protecting LGBT Youth From Conversion Therapy

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The District of Columbia Council unanimously approved a bill today that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth from the unhealthy and discredited practice of conversion therapy reports the National Center For Lesbian RightsUpon the signing of the bill, Washington, D.C., will become the third jurisdiction-after California and New Jersey-to ban the deranged practice of conversion therapy that often leads to depression and suicide in its "patients." Samantha Ames, the NCLR staff attorney and coordinator of the #BornPerfect campaign at NCLR, commended the council's decision.

Said Ames:

"Today, the D.C. Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved.

"The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

NCLR and the Human Rights Campaign collaborated on organizing a coalition that backed the bill, which was authored by Democratic Councilmember Mary M. Cheh. Several groups supported the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, including national LGBT and mental health organizations, youth advocates, religious faith leaders, civil rights organizations and reproductive justice groups. 

Support for the repeal of the practice is mounting as the United Nations Committee Against Torture called the dangerous therapy "troubling," when they convened last month, and questioned the U.S. Department of State representatives asking why the unviable treatment is still in practice. Even former practitioners of the therapy are condemning its use, including Exodus International co-founder Michael Bussee, who called the practice "Poison to the soul," along with eight other prominent ex-gay leaders. 


Minnesota Newspapers Publish Misleading, Transphobic Ads From Anti-LGBT Hate Group

STad

Minnesota's largest daily newspaper is doubling down on its decision to publish misleading, fear-mongering, transphobic ads opposing a policy that would allow high school students to participate in athletics according to their gender identity.

But The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis isn't alone. Also publishing the latest ad from the anti-LGBT Minnesota Child Protection League on Sunday were The St. Cloud Times and The Duluth News Tribune, according to Media Matters

The ad states:

"THE END OF GIRLS' SPORTS? Her dreams of a scholarship shattered, your 14-year-old daughter just lost her position on an all-girl team to a male ... and now she may have to shower with him. Are you willing to let that happen?"

The ad calls on people to contact Minnesota State High School League board members, who are set to consider the policy Thursday. 

Back in September, LGBT advocates slammed The Star Tribune for publishing a similar ad from the Minnesota Child Protection League opposing the policy, which was originally set to be voted on in October: 

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According to the LGBT Sports Coalition, 15 states have adopted policies similar to the one proposed in Minnesota, with no reported problems related to trans athletic participation:  

"By running the ad again, the Star Tribune has once again contributed to a negative stereotype at the same time as it has potentially put trans youth in danger by fostering a demonstrably untrue accusation. Editorial decisions matter. Research has shown that LGBT teens and young adults are at greater risk for depression and bullying, and that bullying is a contributing factor in many suicides. By accepting and publishing this kind of advertisement, the Star Tribune has empowered the untrue expectation that one minority group -- transgender children, no less -- are a threat to their classmates.

"Worse yet, the Star Tribune already knew that the content of the ad was deliberately misinformative about trans youth while advocating discrimination, because editors at the Star Tribune have already discussed the first ad (run by the same local hate group in September) with local and national LGBT organizations after they ran the first ad in September. The Star Tribune already knew that the content of the new ad also misrepresented trans lives and endangered trans youth -- and elected to run it again anyway."

The Star Tribune is also taking heat on Twitter, including from NBC Sports writer Aaron Gleeman: 

Representatives from The Star Tribune, which editorialized in favor of the trans-inclusive policy in October, haven't commented on the latest ad. In September, the newspaper's vice president of marketing and public relations told Minneapolis City Pages: "The ad in question met all the requirements of our ad policy. Not much I can tell you about it beyond that."

But it appears that for many, that explanation isn't cutting it. While the advertising director of The Duluth News Tribune told Media Matters it's a question of free speech, some are calling on subscribers to make their own statement: 


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