Holmes v. Moss Point School District, et al. (USA)

destin_holmes_southern_poverty_law_center_photo_by_jonathan_bachman.ap_images

Destin Holmes was subjected to pervasive anti-lesbian bullying and harassment by fellow students, faculty and even administrators within the schools of Mississippi’s Moss Point School District. The harassment became so severe Destin was eventually driven out of school. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf to end the bullying and harassment in the district.

The lawsuit describes how Destin temporarily left the district in March 2012 to be homeschooled after the then-principal at Magnolia Junior High School called her a “pathetic fool” and told her, “I don’t want a dyke in this school.” It also outlines how Destin and other students perceived as gay were subjected to anti-gay slurs on a daily basis and were physically threatened or attacked by peers.

Although many of these abuses occurred in front of teachers or were reported to school officials, school personnel did little to stop the abuse. The SPLC demanded in March 2013 that the district take immediate action to end the bullying and harassment. The demand came after an investigation found that district students, faculty and administrators targeted gay students because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and nonconformity to gender stereotypes.

Gay and lesbian youth are disproportionately “gender nonconforming”  because, by definition, we buck the stereotype of who we are supposed to love. As a result of this, gay and lesbian youth are often targeted for homophobic abuse.

During Destin’s time at Magnolia Junior High School, students and district staff called her slurs such as “it,” “freak” and “he-she.” She heard such insults as many as 20 times a day. She also was denied access to the girls’ restroom by a teacher. Another teacher even refused to allow her to participate in a classroom activity where teams were divided by gender because Destin – according to the teacher – was an “in-between it.”

Even after Destin threatened suicide, school officials failed to take appropriate action. When a social worker providing mental health services for Destin met with the then-principal about the need to stop the harassment, the principal said he wouldn’t follow the social worker’s suggestions because “when you are in my school, you follow my lead since I allow you to be here.”

After leaving Magnolia Junior High School in March 2012, Destin was home-schooled until it became too much of a financial burden for her family. After returning to the district as a student at the Moss Point High School, Destin continued to face similar harassment.

The lawsuit, which asserts the district violated Destin’s rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, also describes anti-GLBT bullying encountered by other district students. These incidents include a transgender student who was attacked and ridiculed, as well as a gay male student assaulted by students because he was open about his orientation.

We applaud the Southern Poverty Law Center for taking steps to protect gender nonconforming youth.

Holmes v. Moss Point School District, et al.

 

Emily LeVan (USA)

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From a news report:

“Emily LeVan said she legally changed her daughter’s name last week from Keaten to Keat to reflect her identification with the female gender (ed. note – her word) and announced the move on Facebook. LeVan said parents of some of Keat’s classmates at Highland Elementary School in Morrow County wrote negative or derogatory messages about her daughter.

‘I am terribly ticked that the parents are allowed to send their boy to school as a girl and put him in this embarrassing situation,’ wrote one parent, and another called her actions child abuse.

The transgender girl said she was teased by other children as she started her transition last year, saying that she was a boy the year before. ‘I said, ‘I was a girl, and it’s none of your business,’’ said 9-year-old Keat.”

The video where Emily LeVan voluntarily puts her child on the television news appears here. In the video, it appears that the “social media harassment” of which LeVan complains consists of people disagreeing with her parenting choices. Contrary to the view of MRAs, people actually have the right to disagree that “liking pink” or “liking Barbie” transforms  a boy into a girl. Indeed, Feminists have fought against sex stereotypes like this for decades. On a related point, GLBT Organizations push legislation to ban sexual orientation change therapy, which forces gay and lesbian youth (who are generally identifiable as such because they are gender nonconforming) to adopt rigid sex stereotypes in order to appear “less gay.”

Gender Identity, rather than dismantle sex stereotypes, instead embraces them as more powerful than sex. Indeed, identification with sex stereotypes are so powerful that they can turn a little boy into a girl, simply because he likes Barbie and sparkly things. Query how it isn’t “sexual orientation change therapy” to make a gender nonconforming child embrace stereotypes associated with the opposite sex (“I like pink”) as a way to make them “become” the opposite sex – thus rendering them gender conforming with their identified sex. On a related point, “progressive” countries like Iran embrace sex reassignment surgery while condemning homosexuality, thus incentivizing gay and lesbian people to “change their sex” as a way to stay alive.

Gender Identity is a conservative ideology. And it is dangerous to tell children that they are bullying another child by correctly identifying that the child was a boy last year.  And it is not inconceivable that it is child abuse to subject your child to this ideology.

Parent Says Her Transgender Child Being Harassed | WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio.

 

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (USA)

With the support of every member of the Democratic caucus and some Republicans, the Senate on Monday, November 4, 2013, voted to move forward with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (“ENDA”), S. 815, a bill that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

ENDA would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. “Sexual orientation” means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. It does not mean, despite right-wing activist claims, that pedophiles are now protected from discrimination.  Gay people need ENDA because no federal law protects us from unlawful discrimination in the workplace.

ENDA would also ban discrimination based on ‘‘gender identity’,” defined as the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.  Not only is this definition horribly overbroad and references sex stereotypes as if such stereotypes are innate, the protections for transgender people are not strictly needed in ENDA because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that it will accept transgender discrimination cases under existing protections against sex discrimination.

Note that nothing in ENDA prohibits an employer from requiring an employee, during the employee’s hours at work, to adhere to reasonable dress or grooming standards not prohibited by other provisions of Federal, State, or local law, provided that the employer permits any employee who has undergone gender transition (not defined) prior to the time of employment, and any employee who has notified the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition after the time of employment, to adhere to the same dress or grooming standards as apply for the gender to which the employee has transitioned or is transitioning.

Prior versions of ENDA had the “certain shared facilities” exception to provide some recognition of female employee privacy rights when asked to shared sex-segregated space with transwomen with male anatomy. The exception provided that “(n)othing in this Act shall be construed to establish an unlawful employment practice based on actual or perceived gender identity due to the denial of access to shared shower or dressing facilities in which being seen fully unclothed is unavoidable, provided that the employer provides reasonable access to adequate facilities that are not inconsistent with the employee’s gender identity as established with the employer at the time of employment or upon notification to the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition, whichever is later.” S. 815 does not include this language, as the National Center for Transgender Equality fought for and won removal of this language.

ENDA.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) makes progress in the Senate – CBS News.

Mara Keisling_ ENDA 2013_ Everything You Need to Know.

The ENDA the First Amendment.

Pennsylvania (USA)

H.B. 1811 would prohibit mental health professionals from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” with an individual under 18 years of age.  “Sexual orientation change efforts”  means any practices by mental health professionals that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behaviors, gender identity or gender expressions (not defined), or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward an individual of the same gender. The term does not include counseling for an individual seeking to transition from one gender to another, counseling that provides acceptance, support and understanding of an individual or facilitates an individual’s coping, social support and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, or counseling that does not seek to change sexual orientation.  The language is identical to language in resolutions, laws and bills in the U.S. CongressCalifornia, New Jersey and Ohio. There is litigation currently over the constitutionality of this law, with opponents calling them an infringement on speech.  Advocates counter that the laws regulate conduct, not speech.

H.B. 1811.

Iceland

Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, interior minister, has proposed a bill amending the Criminal Code to make it a criminal offense to make fun of trans people.  The Diet supplied amendments is reflected to the bill being drafted by the Criminal Law Committee under the auspices of Hanna bears. The bill provides that “whoever publicly ridicules , slander , abuse or threatens a person or group of persons with comments or other forms of expression, such as images or symbols of nationality , color , race , religion , sexual orientation or gender identity , or extends this out, be fined or imprisonment for up to 2 years.”

Proposed Bill.

Vísir – Bannað að spotta eða smána transfólk.

Iceland Review Online: Daily News from Iceland, Current Affairs, Business, Politics, Sports, Culture.

Cyprus

The Cypriot government amended its Penal Code to criminalize incitement to violence or hatred against people or groups, based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  The addition of the proposed offense, complements the criminal framework το cover all grounds of discrimination, in accordance with the motion of the Commissioner for Administration and Authority against Racism and Discrimination.

Cyprus adds sexual orientation and gender identity to anti vilification code _ Gay Star News.

Cyprus Protects Gay Rights with New Penal Code _ Greece.GreekReporter.

 

Royal Oak, Michigan (USA)

Voters in the City of Royal Oak, Michigan will decide whether to uphold a city ordinance passed by the local government to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity.  Gender identity means “a person’s actual or perceived gender, including a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, expression, or behavior, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, expression, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s sex at birth as being either female or male.”

It is unfortunate that Gay Rights Activists allowed such misogynistic, stereotyping language to be included in this ordinance, as the ordinance has the supportable goals of banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and HIV status.

One Royal Oak Unites for Human Rights Ordinance – Government – Royal Oak, MI Patch.

Human Rights Campaign Kicks Off in Royal Oak – Around Town – Royal Oak, MI Patch.

PrideSource – What’s At Stake In Royal Oak.

One Royal Oak rallies for human rights ordinance.

‘I thought I was the only one’.

2013 petition — Royal Oak (1).

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San Antonio, Texas (USA)

San Antonio, Texas is considering a law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and “gender identity.” Gender identity is defined as “a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

Ordinance.

City of San Antonio – Request for Council Action – Memo.

Ordinance Fact Sheet.

Gay rights groups seek anti-bias victory in Texas _ Politics _ The Seattle Times.

 

Frankfort, Kentucky (USA)

The Frankfort City, Kentucky Commission  passed an ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

Special Meeting 8-29-2013 agenda.

Frankfort City Commission passes Fairness Ordinance – Frankfort & Franklin County, Kentucky.

REGULAR- August.

 

Department of Education (UK)

The UK government has restored protections for nontransgender individuals in education.  The National Curriculum in Education Framework document provides that “(t)eachers should take account of their duties under equal opportunities legislation that covers disability, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.”  The document no longer includes “gender identity.”

News Report.

National Curriculum in Education Framework document.