Tag: discrimination

Mar 06

The Latest Muslim Travel Ban

Donald Trump signed a new executive order that would ban travel from six mostly Muslim countries for 90 days. The refugee resettlement program is banned for 120 days instead of indefinitely. The order no longer includes Iraq, travelers with green cards or valid visas. It also does not include language that prioritized refugee claims from …

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Dec 20

Holder places government support behind transgender people

With Congressional action on the Employment NonDiscrimination Act distinctly absent for the past two legislative sessions, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder provided employment protection for gender nonconforming people through another means yesterday.

Holder issued aa memo informing all Department of Justice component heads and United States attorneys that the department will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination.  This reverses an earlier Department of Justice position.

Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of the individual’s…sex. ” among other protected characteristics.

I have determined that the best reading of Title VII’ s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status

This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.

This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants.  And it reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.

–Attorney General Holder

Nov 15

The battle for equality

In times of trouble federally and at the state level, the battle for equal treatment and access moves to the local level.

In recent times I have written about current attempts to move us forward in South Florida and Northeast Ohio.

Miami-Dade commissioners unanimous in support of transgender protections (preliminary vote)

Transgender Awareness

Oct 25

Transgender in the Workplace

For many transgender people the hardest thing is maintaining or finding employment.

Today I focus on three cases.

Personally i transitioned as a tenured college mathematics professor at the University of Central Arkansas.  So while I feared the university might seek to fire me, I definitely had more leverage than most people.

In fact, when I was approached the Chair of my Department, who sought to bait me into violating my contract, I told him,

The University cannot hire me based on my gender, nor can it fire me based on my gender, so my gender is no business of yours.

So on to the case studies, in New York City, Oregon, and Florida.

Oct 08

Transgender, mental instability and suicidal ideation

Among the of current links of interest are Suggested Links between discrimination and suicide attempts by transgender people, which delves into a Williams Institute study from much earlier in the year and the Movement Advancement Project’s A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers, which was published about a year ago.

These were woven together in the story of the recent suicide of Kate Von Roeder

One of the most commonly voiced perceptions about transgender people is that because we are transgender we are of necessity also mentally deficient.

This is not a new belief.

When an individual fails to mature according to his (or her) proper biological and sexological status, such an individual is psychologically (mentall deficient).  The psychological condition is in reality the disease.

When an individual who is unfavorably affected psychologically determines to live and appear as a member of the sex to which he or she does not belong, such an individual is what may be called a psychopathic transexual.

–David O. Caldwell, Psychopathis Transexualis, Sexology: Sex Science Magazine vol. 16 (1949)

Jul 05

Discrimination in intimate places

 photo carmen_zps57632587.jpgPetticoat Fair is a well-known Austin lingerie shop specializing in “custom filling of women’s intimate apparel since 1964.”

 photo KylieJack_zps947f0b32.jpgKylie Jack is a transwoman who went to that store for a bra fitting recently.  Last weekend she posted to her Facebook account:

Hello Austinites:  today I went for a bra fitting at Petticoat Fair, where an employee humiliated me by asking for ID stating I was female and saying I needed bottom surgery in order to get a fitting.  If you are in solidarity with trans women, please boycott Petticoat Fair until they remove their transphobic and cissexist policies.  Please feel free to share this post.

A store employee first asked Jack to see her ID in order to prove that she was legally female.  That was followed up by a statement that she would have to have had bottom surgery in order to be served by a fitter.

None of that seems to make much sense. Trans women may or may not choose to undergo surgery for any number of reasons, which are their own, and genital surgery is irrelevant to bra-fitting anyway. I’ve been wearing bras since I was 12, and I’m fairly certain that bras and vaginas have nothing to do with each other.

Elizabeth Licata, The Gloss

May 03

DOE Office of Civil Rights extends Title IX protections to transgender students

On my last day of actual teaching (only Finals Week to go before my retirement), I am proud to announce a major breakthrough in the rights of transgender and other gender-variant people on the federal level.

On Tuesday the Department of Educations Office of Civil Rights issued a letter barring all schools which receive Title IX funds from the Federal government from discriminating against gender-nonconforming students, entitled Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence.

Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such complaints for investigation.  Similarly, the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the parties does not change a school’s obligations.  Indeed, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth report high rates of sexual harassment and sexual violence.  A school should investigate and resolve allegations of sexual violence regarding LGBT students using the same procedures and standards that it uses in all complaints involving sexual violence.  The fact that incidents of sexual violence may be accompanied by anti-gay comments or be partly based on a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation does not relieve a school of its obligation under Title IX to investigate and remedy those instances of sexual violence.

If a school’s policies related to sexual violence include examples of particular types of conduct that violate the school’s prohibition on sexual violence, the school should consider including examples of same-sex conduct.  In addition, a school should ensure that staff are capable of providing culturally competent counseling to all complainants.

Apr 19

Illinois Transwoman Refused Medical Care Because Religious Freedom

Naya Taylor found out that her primary care physician, Aja Lystila, considered her to be less than human.  When Taylor requested the start of hormone therapy in order to treat her gender dysphoria, Lystilla first claimed that she was not experienced enough to supervise the hormone therapy of  transgender person.  But the clinic in which Lystilla works provides hormone therapy to non-transgender patients every day.

Later the truth of the matter came out, when clinic staff told Taylor,

We don’t have to treat people like you.

When they said, ‘we don’t have to treat people like you,’ I felt like the smallest, most insignificant person in the world.  The doctor and office provide hormone replacement therapy for others at the same clinic, they just refused to do that for me.

-Naya Taylor

The Affordable Care Act is partially a civil rights law in that it prohibits health care providers that receive federal funds from discriminating against any individual on the basis of sex for the purpose of health care.

Taylor is being represented by Lambda Legal in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday charging Dr. Lystila and the Carle health care services group which operates the clinic with denying medical care.  Lambda Legal claims that discrimination based on sex extends to discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, as per Title IX.

Mar 21

Out of Arkansas

I’ve shared before that I was teaching at a university in Arkansas when I transitioned.  The University of Central Arkansas is located in Conway, about 35 miles north of Little Rock on I-40.  

I can’t say it was a good place to transition…but looking back, I wonder if there was anyplace that would have been good to transition in 1992.

Anyway, we left there in 2000 and moved to New Jersey.That meant I went from a tenured faculty member at UCA to teaching as an adjunct in mathematics at Montclair State University and as an adjunct in Computer Information Systems at Bloomfield College.  Fortunately I was offered a tenure-track position at Bloomfield at the end of the first year, which I accepted…even though I had no background in computer programming.

But I taught myself the languages I needed to be able to teach and gained tenure in CIS in 2006.  I moved back to teaching mathematics three years ago.

Anyway…enough about me.  There are three news stories out of Arkansas I would like to share.

Mar 01

Portsmouth seeks to ignite transgender rights in New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire is perhaps going to be the ignition point for transgender rights in New Hampshire.  The state is the only New England state which has not passed protections for transgender people.  

New Hampshire is one of four states which has protections for people on the basis of sexual orientation, but not on the basis of gender identity or expression.  The others are New York, Wisconsin and Maryland.  I reported on efforts to change that status in Maryland in January.

 photo splaine_zps8ccbc750.jpg

I want to make sure the ‘City of the Open Door’ has a welcome mat for all residents and visitors.  There’s nothing more important than the way we treat one another.

Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine

Splaine and transgender advocates spoke Wednesday to the editorial board of the Seacoast Media Group.

Feb 20

New study calls for improved medical care for transgender patients

Daphna Stroumsa, an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, has published research on medical discrimination against transgender people whichis available in the American Journal of Public Health:  The State of Transgender Health Care:  Policy, Law and Medical Frameworks.  Access to the full document requires APHA membership or paid subscription, which I do not have.

Abstract:

I review the current status of transgender people’s access to health care in the United States and analyze federal policies regarding health care services for transgender people and the limitations thereof.  I suggest a preliminary outline to enhance health care services and recommend the formulation of explicit federal policies regarding the provision of health care services to transgender people in accordance with recently issued medical care guidelines, allocation of research funding, education of health care workers, and implementation of existing nondiscrimination policies.  Current policies denying medical coverage for sex reassignment surgery contradict standards of medical care and must be amended.

Dr. Strousma is a graduate of The Hebrew University Haddassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Israel.  She calls for the medical establishment to immediately address of the situation.

Feb 01

It’s never too late to discriminate

 photo Robina-Asti_CURRENTX400_zps7ad6b395.jpgRobina Asti is 92 years old and has been recognized by the government as a woman for over 30 years.  She transitioned in 1976.  She is a commercial pilot and the FAA has recognized her as a woman ever since they awarded her a license.  She has made a living teaching people how to fly airplanes.  The government issued her a passport designating her to be a woman.  Her Social Security account labels her a woman.

Robina is a WWII veteran, having served as a Navy pilot.  She is currently locked in a battle with the Social Security Administration…which she is losing.

In 2004 Robina married Norwood Patton in Hanger A of Orange County Airport in New York.  Norwood new she was a transsexual woman, but he didn’t care.  Oh, he was upset at first, but he got over it in a week.  He asked her to get married every month for a lot of years.

Norwood died in 2012 at the age of 97.  So Robina asked the Social Security Administration for survivors benefits.  After almost a year of review, she was denied.  

The reason?

[H]er marriage does not meet the requirements under Federal law for payment of Social Security widow’s benefits.  

At the time of your marriage, you were not legally a woman.

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