Posts Tagged As: Transgender

GOP Draft Platform Includes Call for Watered-Down Marriage Amendment, Support for Anti-Trans Lawuits

Jim Burroway

July 11th, 2016

This seems confusing, since CNN is reporting that the draft Republican Platform no longer language calling for a constitutional amendment to declare marriage as between “one man and one woman.” But the report then goes on the misread the platform’s draft language. Fortunately, the New York Times has reprinted the draft language in full:

The data and the facts lead to an inescapable conclusion: that every child deserves a married mom and dad. The reality remains that millions of American families do not have the advantages that come with that structure. We honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the burdens of parenting alone and embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with dignity and respect. But respect is not enough. Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society. For that reason, as explained elsewhere in the platform, we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to states.”

This does represent a change of sorts. Prior Republican platforms called for the adoption of the Federal Marriage Amendment which would have had the effect of outlawing same-sex marriage throughout the country. This draft platform is calling for a different sort of constitutional amendment “returning control over marriage to the states.” That is, if a Republican President is unable to pack the court with enough anti-marriage conservatives to overturn the Windsor and Obergefell decisions. It also, indirectly, appears to call for the establishment of a “defense of marriage act” of some sort in saying that governmental regulations should only recognize opposite-sex marriages.

The draft platform also includes language opposing the Obama Administration’s efforts to eliminate anti-transgender discrimination in the nation’s public schools via Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972:

That same provision of the law is now being used by bureaucrats — and by the current president of the United States — to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people. Their agenda has nothing to do with individual rights; it has everything to do with power. They are determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions. Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities is at once illegal, ominous, and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suits against it.”

The draft platform is still undergoing amendments and revisions today as various platform subcommittees continue their work.

Lots of Trans Legal News: One State Adds, One State Defends, Ten More States Sue

Jim Burroway

July 11th, 2016

NOTES: In states other than Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee, local jurisdictions may provide additional anti-discrimination protections beyond those provided by state law. On June 30, a federal judge issued an injunction preventing Mississippi’s so-called “religious freedom” law from going into effect.

NOTES: In states other than Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee, local jurisdictions may provide additional anti-discrimination protections beyond those provided by state law. On June 30, a federal judge issued an injunction preventing Mississippi’s so-called “religious freedom” law from going into effect.

First, let’s start with the good news: on Saturday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed a transgender rights bill into law. Massachusetts’s anti-discrimination law had previously protected against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing and employment, but there was a special carve-out for public accommodations for its gender identity provisions. This new law, which goes into effect October 1, eliminates that carve-out and allows transgender people to use the restrooms and changing facilities consistent with their gender identities rather than their identified gender at birth:

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) will adopt policies to enforce its provisions, a statement from the governor’s office said.

“No one should be discriminated against in Massachusetts because of their gender identity,” Baker said after signing the bill Friday.

“This compromise legislation extends additional protections to the commonwealth’s transgender community, and includes language to address the public safety concerns expressed by some by requiring the attorney general to issue regulations to protect against people abusing the law.”

And there’s more good news: Washington state’s comprehensive anti-discrimination laws have prohibited sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations for more than a decade with nary a problem with any of it. Last December, the state’s Human Rights Commission clarified that law by issuing new regulations ensuring access to restrooms and changing facilities according to an individual’s gender identity. That clarification produced a backlash, which led by some conservative Republicans to roll hack the regulations. When that effort failed in the state Senate, anti-LGBT campaigners filed Initiative 1515 (PDF:19KB/8 pages), which would have restricted access to public school’s “private facilities” to those who are “biologically” male or female. It would also allow people to file lawsuits against school systems that allow access to facilities based on gender identity.

The campaign backing I-1515, Just Want Privacy, had until last week to turn in 246,000 signatures that would be needed to get the initiative on the ballot. Last Thursday, campaign officials notified the Washington Secretary of State Office that they were cancelling their appointment to turn in the petitions.

Map, US, Lawsuits

But it’s not all good news for the pro-T camp. Ten more states, led by Nebraska, filed a federal lawsuit on Friday seeking to halt the Obama Administration’s trans-rights rulings to Title VII and Title IX funding and its recent to schools instructing them to develop anti-discirmination policies protecting transgender students which would include allowing them to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. According to Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner:

The Nebraska-led lawsuit contains many of the same claims raised in the Texas-led lawsuit, often repeating the same exact language as appeared in the Texas complaint.

Despite naming the same defendants as in the Texas-led lawsuit, however, the Nebraska-led lawsuit appears to focus on protections relating to transgender students — asserting that students have the right under federal law to use a restroom in accordance with their gender identity. Nonetheless, it does name the Education, Justice, and Labor departments, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as defendants and asks for relief against all of those agencies’ transgender-inclusive policies.

Nebraska’s attorney general, Douglas Peterson, is joined in the suit against the Obama administration by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

The lawsuit has been assigned to be heard by U.S. District Court Judge John Gerrard, nominated to the bench by President Obama in 2012. Gerrard previously had served as a justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

With this filing, exactly half of all states are involved with federal lawsuits challenging the Obama Administrations pro-trans policies.

Texas Leads 13-State Lawsuit Against Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Directive

Jim Burroway

July 7th, 2016

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading a coalition of thirteen states in a lawsuit filed against the Obama administration. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against directives from the Justice Department and the Education Department which warn that Title IX funding may be withheld from school districts and colleges that discriminate against transgender students. The particular point of contention among conservatives is whether schools can be compelled to make restrooms and changing rooms available to transgender students according to their gender identity:

The coalition, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, has already filed suit against the Obama administration to seek a permanent block of the directive. Wednesday’s request, if approved, would affect not just these states but public schools across the country.

The states filed the case in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas. Harrold Independent School District, just northwest of Wichita Falls, is the official plaintiff on behalf of Texas, but most of the attention in the Lone Star State has fallen on the Fort Worth Independent School District.

There, the superintendent incurred the wrath of Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Republican leaders for setting local rules that would allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Last week, Paxton issued a nonbinding opinion that the new guidelines for transgender students violate state law by relegating “parents to a subordinate status” in being informed about their children. He also said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner illegally enforced the rules without the school board’s input.

Scribner countered that the school district’s guidelines for transgender students had been approved by the district five years ago, long before the current controversy.

The thirteen states joining the lawsuit are: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Pentagon Ends Ban On Transgender Service Members

Jim Burroway

June 30th, 2016

AshtonCarterAnnouncementSecretary of Defense Ashton Carter this afternoon announced that “effective immediately,” the ban on openly transgender service members in the military has come to an end:

“The Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now — the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” Carter said Thursday at the Pentagon.

“We don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or marine who can best accomplish the mission. We have to have access to 100% of America’s population,” he added.

“Although relatively few in number, we’re talking about talented and trained Americans who are serving their country with honor and distinction,” he said. “We want to take the opportunity to retain people whose talent we’ve invested in and who’ve proven themselves.”

Carter said the decision was “a matter of principle.”

“Americans who want to serve and meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete,” he said.

The ban’s lifting comes after about a year of study, and it will take another nine month to implement all of the policy changes needed. That nine-month plan includes providing transition-related care and beefing up the armed services non-discrimination policies:

By Oct. 1, the Pentagon will create training handbook, medical protocol and “guidance for changing a service member’s gender in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment System (DEERS),” Carter’s announcement said. “At this point, the services will be required to provide medically necessary care and treatment to transgender service members according to the medical protocol and guidance, and may begin changing gender markers in DEERS.”

The reality, Carter said, is that there are already transgender people serving in the military, and the Pentagon owes it to them to care for them and give commanders guidance.

…The decision to lift the ban was not entirely welcome on Capitol Hill. Rep. Mac Thornberry, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee and a Texas Republican, asked Carter pointed, specific questions last year about how removing the ban would improve military readiness, including its cost and effect on morale. A letter in response to Thornberry from the Pentagon, obtained by USA TODAY, thanked him for his interest but provided no specific answers.

Carter called the decision to end the ban his own, which was why the military’s top uniformed officers, such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, was not appearing with him to announce the change.

Reports: Pentagon to Lift Transgender Ban

Jim Burroway

June 24th, 2016

There are multiple reports that the Pentagon will lift its ban on transgender service members, with USA Today saying the announcement will come on July 1:

Top personnel officials plan to meet as early as Monday to finalize details of the plan, and Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work could sign off on it by Wednesday, according to a Defense official familiar with the timetable but who spoke on condition of anonymity because officials were not authorized to speak publicly about it. Final approval would come from Defense Secretary Ash Carter, and the announcement will be on the eve of the Fourth of July weekend.

…The main focus of the Pentagon’s review of the policy has been on the effect of repeal on the military’s readiness to fight, Pahon said. More details about the review’s findings are expected to be released soon, he said.

Several issues relating to repeal of the ban have proven to be contentious, according to officials familiar with the review but not authorized to speak publicly about it. One sticking point has been how long transgender service members would have to serve before being eligible for medical treatment to transition to the other gender.

 

The Daily Agenda for Thursday, June 9

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 8.29.45 AMA small bomb exploded in the women’s bathroom at a Target store in Evanston on Wednesday, and officials are investigating whether it’s connected to the company’s policy allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.

Thankfully, no one was in the restroom when the explosion went off a little after 4:00 yesterday afternoon outside of Chicago. Police say a plastic bottle was used, but no nails or projectiles were inside. The restroom sustained minor damage.

No, trans is not a box with defining characteristics

Timothy Kincaid

December 8th, 2015

My friend, the beautiful and talented Arisce Wanzer, discusses the assumptions that are far too often made about trans women. Give it a read. Here’s the entro:

Being transgender means facing no shortage of struggles, whether they be internal, interpersonal, or societal. These pressures run the gamut from feeling passable, finding love, and securing housing to being hired for dependable, well-paying jobs or receiving proper healthcare. They weigh differently on each trans person individually—no one problem affects all trans people in exactly the same way.

Professional heterosexual Jeff Johnston takes non-Biblical position on Facebook gender options

Daniel Gonzales

February 13th, 2014

Facebook has updated their site to allow users to select options for their gender beyond “male” and “female.”  In a surprise to no one Focus On The Family is worked up about this and trotted out their resident ex-gay-for-pay Jeff Johnston to provide quotes for an AP story:

“Of course Facebook is entitled to manage its wildly popular site as it sees fit, but here is the bottom line: It’s impossible to deny the biological reality that humanity is divided into two halves – male and female,” Johnston told the AP.

Except the Bible makes repeated reference to eunuchs* in both the Old and New Testaments.  Which gender box would Johnsnton force Heigai from the Book of Esther to choose? How about the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8? Or Ebed-melech who rescued Jeremiah from the well?  What box on Facebook would Johnston tell them to check?

Even Jesus spoke of eunuchs in Matthew 19:12

“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Johnston ignores a direct commandment from Jesus and Biblical record to falsely claim a two choice gender binary exists, when it clearly does not as recorded in his own holy book.  Focus seems to agree with Johnston’s position since their PR team tweeted a link to the article.   It’s unclear why Focus has adopted a non-Biblical position on the existence and dignity of transgender people.

 

*As modern medicine has given us hormones and surgery to supersede castration the term “eunuch” is rarely used today. The Biblical context of Matthew 19:12 makes it clear there are multiple reasons for a person being a eunuch beyond involuntary castration, I argue in Biblical times it is was an inclusive term much like “trans” is today. Also, one of the few continuing ancient transgender traditions are the Hijra of South Asia who still today often self identify as both eunuchs and transgender further supporting my assertion the terms are interchangeable.

Taiwanese transgender couple’s marriage allowed

Timothy Kincaid

August 7th, 2013

Abbygail Wu and Ji-yi Wu both transitioned from male to female last July, but Ji-yi did not report her transition until this year. In the meantime, in October, they married.

GayStarNews

In a surprise decision that shocked even the couple themselves, the Taiwanese government has decided not to revoke a marriage between two trans women.

After a marathon meeting with colleagues from justice and welfare ministries and other experts, the Interior Ministry announced today (7 Aug) that the marriage license of Abbygail Wu and Ji-yi Wu should remain valid.

It said the Wus were indeed ‘a man and a woman’ in accordance with civil law when the registration took place. The government respects people’s right to change their gender, it added.

LifeSiteNews’ Ben Johnson misrepresents “Christian position” on transgender people, fails to actually cite the Bible

Daniel Gonzales

August 1st, 2013

Eunuch Ebed-Melek successfully argues against the rest of King Zedekiah’s court and leads a team of 30 men to rescue the prophet Jeremiah from a well. (Jeremiah 38)

 

Ben Johnson of LifeSiteNews is in a tizzy over Pat Robertson’s declaration that transgender people altering their bodies is not a sin and thus he will not condemn it. Johnson cites multiple sources attempting to condemn transgender people.

Traditional Christians have condemned such actions as a form of self-mutilation since the days of the ancient church.

Well that’s overly broad and has no source to back it up.

Speaking specifically of castration, the Apostolic Canons, a fourth century Syrian document, states, “If a layman mutilate himself, let him be excommunicated for three years, as practising against his own life.”

The Apostolic Canons were merely church orders issued in 692, many of which were rejected by Pope Constantine.  The Apostolic Canons were written several centuries after the last books of the Bible were written.  Johnson continues to cite irrelevant sources:

More contemporary teachers uphold the Christian admonition to maintain one’s biological gender and respect our bodies.

“To destroy organs purposefully that are healthy and functioning, and to try to create imitation organs which will never have the genuineness and functioning of authentic organs lacks charity,” said Fr. William Saunders, professor of Catechetics and Theology at Christendom College’s Notre Dame Graduate School. “Such surgery which purposefully destroys the bodily integrity of the person must be condemned.”

Continuing to avoid citing the Bible at all costs, Johnson instead cites the National Catholic Bioethics Center for his final jab at trans people.  I won’t bore you with a quote.

Had Johnson bothered to open his Bible he might find clarity with Matthew 19:12 which quotes Jesus:

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. [KJV]

Yes, the King James Version quotes Jesus as using the phrase “born that way.”  I’m sure printing that would cause LifeSiteNews all sorts of problems.

Or perhaps Johnson could ask why God hasn’t selected the transgender person mentioned in The 700 Club to spread the gospel.  This would be Biblically consistent with Acts 8 : 26-39 in which God selects an Ethiopian eunuch to spread His word to Ethiopia. That eunuch by the way was the modern day equivalent of Secretary of the Treasury to the queen of Ethiopia.

In fact in Biblical days eunuchs held the most powerful positions in government. In the Book of Esther eunuchs ran the royal court of King Xerxes and a eunuch by the name of Hegai personally selected Esther to ascend to the throne from the royal harem.

And I haven’t even cited all the references to eunuchs in the Bible, just my personal favorites.  Transgender and gender non-conforming people play major rolls all throughout the Bible and consistently held positions of power and importance.  Rather than looking to the Bible for his article, Johnson grasps at straws to condemn them.

 

A milestone in our community turns 60

A Commentary

Timothy Kincaid

December 1st, 2012

Some years ago my friends John and Terry lived across the street from a frumpy older woman who was, according to them, pretty much indistinguishable from any other frumpy older woman. Her name was Christine Jorgensen.

But six decades ago Jorgensen was anything but frumpy or older. But she was a woman. Named George. And sixty years ago this weekend she set about the process of having her body match her gender. Hers was the first widely known successful transexual transition.

Much of the rest is known. She was a curiosity, a celebrity. And Christine did what she could to educate and inform an incredulous public. BBC has a nice write up of her life.

But for me, the point is that at the end, after the glamour was gone she was exactly what she was all the time: a woman.

We can sometimes forget this from the way that Hollywood or the media can at times report on the subject. A transgender woman or man is almost always just that: a “transgender woman” and “transgender man”, as though there must be an asterisk on their gender.

But while politics and prejudice can very often demand that trans folk place this aspect of their being first and fight for their rights, they are not the “colorful edge” of the LGBT community and the processes they may have chosen to align their body with their gender does not define their gender.

Transgender poeple are neither exotic flowers or freaks. They are not as a whole glamorous and exciting or “a man in a dress”. They’re just people. And, in my experience, the novelty soon wears off and then you see transgender people through their humanity – some good, some less so – all just living their lives with integrity, but no asterisk.

    

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