The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, May 30
May 30th, 2012
ExxonMobil Shareholders To vote On Anti-Discrimination Policy: Dallas, TX. When Exxon merged with Mobil Corporation in 1999, the merged company ended Mobil’s domestic partnership program for its employees and rescinded Mobil’s non-discrimination policy. Since the merger, LGBT advocates have been trying to convince the ExxonMobil board to reinstate the non-discrimination policy. In 2010, only 22% of shareholders voted to uphold the policy, with most shareholders allowing the ExxonMobile board to vote their shares by proxy.
Today, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is responsible for investment decisions for the $140 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, will once again bring a shareholder resolution to the annual board meeting calling for the corporation to adopt policies that ensure its employees are not fired or harassed at work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. ExxonMobile earlier this year tried to block a vote on the proposal, claiming that the company has already informally implemented most of the changes sought. The Securities and Exchange Commission disagreed, ruling last March, “Based on the information you have presented, it appears that ExxonMobil’s policies, practices and procedures do not compare favorably with the guidelines of the proposal and that ExxonMobil has not, therefore, substantially, implemented the proposal.”
ExxonMobil is currently rated a minus 25 on Human Rights Campaign’s annual “Corporate Equality Index,” making ExxonMobil the first corporation ever to receive a negative score on the index. The shareholders meeting takes place at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (a.k.a “The Mort”) in Dallas, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CDT. It will be streamed live.
Lambda Legal, ACLU Announce Marriage Lawsuits On Behalf of Illinois Couples: Chicago and Springfield, IL. On June 1 last year, Illinois began granting civil unions for same-sex couples. Today on the eve’s eve of that anniversary, Lambda Legal and the ACLU are coordinating a joint announcement of separate lawsuits that will be field on behalf of LGBT families seeking full marriage equality. The Chicago press conference will take place at the Westin Chicago River North (320 North Dearborn Avenue, and will feature Camilla Taylor, National Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal who lead the litigation in Iowa resulting in the historic unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision winning marriage for same-sex couples in Iowa. The Springfield press conference will take place at the State House Inn (101 East Adams), and will feature Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office based in Chicago. Both press conference will begin at 10:30 a.m. CDT.
California Senate May Vote On Ex-Gay Therapy Curbs: Sacramento, CA. It now appears likely that the California Senate will vote on SB 1172, which would prevent licensed therapists from providing therapy to change sexual orientation to minors. It would also require that all others sign an informed consent statement. The bill would apply to licensed therapists only. Religious-based ex-gay programs and ministries would remain unaffected by the bill.
Several changes have been made to the proposed bill since the last time we looked at it, but the basic outlines remain the same. The bill has strong support from Equality California, and from several ex-gay survivors and their families. The bill’s supporters received a boost when Robert Spitzer retracted his 2001 ex-gay study and apologized to those who underwent ex-gay therapy believing it was effective. They also received unexpected support when the Pan American Health Organization called on governments to to ensure that “clinics offering (ex-gay therapy are) reported and subject to adequate sanctions.” NARTH strongly opposes the bill, and it has also drawn qualified opposition (PDF: 115KB/9 pages) from the California Psychological Association, which opposes the outright ban on therapy for minors as an intrusion on the organization’s management of its own code of ethics.
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Albany, NY (Black & Latino Pride); Birmingham, UK; Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Cambridge/Kitchener/Waterloo ON; Davenport, IA; Dayton, OH; Detroit, MI; Dresden, Germany; Gothenburg, Sweden; Honolulu, HI; Kansas City, MO; Karlsruge, Germany; Kiel, Germany; Lille, France; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Los Ranchos, NM; Mexico City, DF; Nantes, France; Pittsburgh, PA; Queens, NY; Riga, Latvia; Sacramento, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Santa Cruz, CA; Sheffield UK; Sonoma Co, CA; Spencer, IN; Springfield, MA; Staten Island, NY; Tulsa, OK and Warsaw, Poland.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Male Couple attends Senior Prom: 1980. Aaron Fricke was a Senior in High school when he publicly came out as gay and stated dating Paul Guilbert and decided to ask him the Cumberland (Rhode Island) High School senior prom. His principal prohibited their attendance, saying the move “upset other students, sent the community abuzz, and rallied out-of-state newspapers to consider the matter newsworthy.” It also earned Fricke five stitches under his eye when he was attacked in the hallway. Fricke filed a lawsuit in Federal court, charging that the school district was infringing on his first amendment right to free speech. “I feel I have the right to attend,” he told the judge. “I feel I want to go to the prom for the same reason any other student would want to go.” The judge agreed (PDF: 60KB/7 pages), and not only ordered the school district to allow the couple to attend, but to beef up security in case there were any problems. And on this day in 1980, Frike and Guilbert attended the prom, and the case of Frike v. Lynch became an important legal precedent for other gay couples across the nation since then.
Fricke later wrote about his experiences in Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay. He also collaborated with his father on another book about coming out, Sudden Strangers: The Story of a Gay Son and His Father.
Christine Jorgensen: 1926. She was born in the Bronx, and described herself as “frail, tow-headed, introverted little boy who ran from fistfights and rough-and-tumble games.” She was also known as George. After a stint in the army following World War II, her identity as a woman was overwhelming — and her physical development as a man was underwhelming. As she attended dental school, she began taking the female hormone ethinyl estradiol on her own and began researching the subject of sexual reassignment surgery. At the time, the only surgeries being performed were in Sweden. But at a stopover in Copenhagen to visit relatives, she discovered Dr. Christian Hamburger, a Danish endocrinologist and specialist in rehabilitative hormonal therapy. Denmark’s Minister of Justice allowed her surgery to take place.
Christine’s surgery was not the first of it’s kind, but that’s how it was presented on December 1, 1952 when the New York Daily News carried the front-page headline, “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty.” When she returned to New York the following February, she became an instant celebrity. She was reputedly the most written-about person in 1953, and she tried to use her celebrity as an opportunity for education. Educating the entire world turned out to be a huge task, but it was a task she was ready to take on. She acted in summer stock, toured the lecture circuit, wrote an autobiography, and made countless radio and television appearances. After her surgery, she was engaged to marry John Traub, but that engagement was called off. In 1959, she announced her engagement to Howard J. Knox, but the couple were unable to obtain a marriage license because Jorgensen’s birth certificate still listed her as a male. By the time the engagement was called off, Knox had already been fired over the publicity. Shortly before she died in 1989, she said she had given the sexual revolution “a good swift kick in the pants.” She died of bladder and lung cancer just a month shy of her 63rd birthday.
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?