Showing posts with label Transgender Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Transgender Rights. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Tale of Two Articles

Great News! No fuck that, Fantastic News!

A study from John Hopkins University published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that suicide attempts among queer teens has decreased since introducing marriage equality.

Written by the Associated Press via NBC News:

Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found.  
The research found declines in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide. The results don't prove there's a connection, but researchers said policymakers should be aware of the measures' potential benefits for youth mental health.  
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for all U.S. teens. Suicidal behavior is much more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids and adults; about 29 percent of these teens in the study reported attempting suicide, compared with just 6 percent of straight teens.
So it would appear there is a correlation between societal expectance and a reduction in suicide. I feel like this falls into the category of "no duh."

The article goes on to point out:

About 230,000 students reported being gay, lesbian or bisexual. The surveys didn't ask about transgender status. They included questions about suicide attempts, smoking and alcohol or drug use.
In 32 states that enacted same-sex marriage laws during the study, suicide attempts dropped 7 percent among all students and 14 percent among gay kids after the laws were passed. There was no change in suicide attempts in states without those laws.
So it would appear there is a correlation between societal expectance and a reduction in suicide. I feel like this falls into the category of "no duh." Jinx you owe me a coke. Ok I should stop being shitty about this, because at the end of the day it is such great news.

And now for the shitty part.

On the same day as the mega-ultra-super-phenomenal news broke, the Washington Blade published an article detailing the Trump Administration's plan to roll back Transgender Rights. Chris Johnson writes:
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Washington Blade on Monday she’s heard from “reliable sources” President Trump has green-lighted the plan for the Justice Department and Education Department to send a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools rescinding the guidance. 
At the time of this writing, this is a rumor. Based on how this White House operates, I normally won't write about a rumor. However, Tump promised on the campaign trail to rescind the Obama guidelines barring discrimination against transgender students.

The article further explains:
Jointly issued in May under the Obama administration by the Justice Department and Education Department, the guidance asserts that denying transgender students access to the restroom in accordance with their gender identity violates the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. 
Rescinding the guidance is consistent with a legal brief the Justice Department filed earlier this month in litigation against the guidance filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on behalf of 12 states. As a result of the litigation, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a preliminary injunction barring the administration from enforcing the guidance nationwide. 
Although the Justice Department under former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch filed an appeal along with a request with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to limit the scope of the injunction to the 12 plaintiff states, the brief under Sessions withdraws that request and informs the federal appeals court the Trump administration is “currently considering how best to proceed in this appeal.”
Ugh. Fuck all of 'em. Those heartless shit bags. Going after any group of teens as political targets is disturbing, but going after LGBT youth is fucking deplorable. Transgender youth have it particularly rough.

According to the Trevor Project "In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25." The report they're citing is The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

What next are they going to propose euthanizing homeless children and orphans.

Fucking shit bags.


So yes they are rolling back protections for trans* students 'cause states rights, despite this being tied to federal funding and Title IX, but you know states rights... fucking muppets the lot of them.

Liam '17

Saturday, January 24, 2015

And Politics has gone to the Toilets

I have never felt that it is necessary to look up the location of public bathroom online. I never personally have had a need. I know that every store or business in America has adequate facilities. 

I am fortunate.There are people who worry about finding adequate bathrooms, where they will not be judged based on their sex. (There actually is website and an app that can help find a proper bathroom.)

This what trans activists would call privilege. I'm going way out on limb here (sarcasm) and say that everybody should be able to comfortably take a piss in public without the threat of ridicule or even violence.

I couldn't find who created this image to ask for permission and credit it. If anyone figures it out, please let me know, so that I can fix the situation.

I was really dismayed when I read about this story last week. According to this article in the Washington Post by Peter Holley, a Kentucky State Senator has proposed a bill restricting bathroom access to certain children:
If a school administrator allowed a transgender student to use a facility designated for the opposite sex or if a school “failed to take reasonable steps to prohibit the person encountered from using from facilities designated for use by the opposite biological sex,” students would be allowed to sue the school, according to the bill. Aggrieved students could seek up to $2,500 in damages from the offending school for each time they encountered a person of the opposite sex in school facilities, as well as “for all psychological, emotional and physical harm suffered,” according to the bill’s language. 
Hate the queers, and you'll get $2,500.  Thanks asshole.That's not incentivizing bigotry or anything. Fuck! I struggle to imagine what trans people go through, even though I am someone who does not conform to traditional gender-roles. It was difficult enough realizing that I am gay, but I've always had an ownership of my body, as if my body belongs to me.

Even without a scientific explanation of transsexualism, I find the bigotry against transgender people repulsive. Something is driving a group of people to not feel comfortable with either their gender or their bodies.And those people deserve support rather than ridicule.  However, when there is a scientific explanation that can predict with near certainty of who is and isn't trans based on a sexual dimorphic feature, bigotry becomes inexplicable.

Below is a video by Dr. Robert Sapolsky from Stanford University explaining the sexual dimorphism of the bed nucleus of stria terminalis.

Moving forward, let's take a look at what's being proposed. According to S.B. 76, 2015 Sen., Reg. Sess. (Ky. 2015) § 1(1)(a):
"Biological sex" means the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person's chromosomes, and is identified at birth by a person's anatomy;
The first clause of the first section is fatally flawed when it proposes sex is "determined by a person's chromosomes, and is identified at birth." 

One thing that immediately jumps out is the conjunction "and." Your chromosomes might not match what was identified at birth. 

Another problem that I notice with that clause is that there are a whole host of conditions related intersex. Just off of Wikipedia there dozens of conditions that either cause ambiguous genitals or affect the chromosomal definition given above:
XXY, XYY, XXX are possible Trisomies that occur on the 47th chromosome. They are also not covered by the in the definition of the bill.

To be fair the bill proposes a solution for transgender students at  § 3(3)(a)-(b):
 A student who asserts to school officials that his or her gender is different from his or her biological sex and whose parent or legal guardian provides written consent to school officials shall be provided with the best available accommodation, but that accommodation shall not include the use of student restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex while students of the opposite biological sex are present or could be present. 
Acceptable accommodations may include but not be limited to access to single-stall restrooms, access to unisex bathrooms, or controlled use of faculty bathrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms.
An unisex bathroom is a good idea; however it should not be a forced issue. If a person is comfortable in a gender specific bathroom, fantastic. People just want to change cloths, urinate, or defecate. It's just silly to think otherwise.

However the modicum of civility is undercut in § 5, where the bill state:
Because situations currently exist in which the privacy rights of students are violated, an emergency is declared to exist, and this Act takes effect upon its passage and approval by the Governor or upon its otherwise becoming a law.
That's right; this is an emergency. There could be a queer in the shower. Women and children first... unless they happen to be queers. All hands on dick deck; c'mon people this a fucking emergency! A queer might be taking a piss. or worse...?! And they definitely will be violating your privacy in a public place!

Ughh. Kentucky.

Liam '15

Saturday, January 3, 2015

That's Fucked Up

Dear Leelah,

Like many queer teens, I was suicidal too when I was 17 years old. Anytime I was driving alone I would fantasize about pulling the wheel hard to the right and burying my car deep into the river. And when I would correct the steering wheel, I would become depressed, because I was a coward.

In college, I dated a guy who was practically disowned by his family. He would have mental emergencies and go into a state of deep anxiety over virtually nothing. Once he went so far as to propose a suicide pact. It was not the type of proposal I hoped for.

Shortly afterwards, I was going through a rough patch in my life. I was unemployed, and I felt unemployable. I laid out a full 30 day prescription of pain medication on my desk. If my roommate hadn't come home early and surprised me...

Needless to say, I get emotional when I read about teen suicide. It hurts. One of the things that led me to the edge was that I felt like I didn't have an advocate. No one was one my side. No one was willing to help.

Every time I read about another teen suicide, all I can think is I wish I could have helped. I wish I could been there for them. They needed an advocate. It's silly, and it's stupid, but I cannot help but feel that way. And then I do nothing, and nothing changes.

Maybe this time it is different.

When it comes to suicide and platitudes, I will not lie and say that I know it will get better for you. It may not. You might die homeless and unloved. I do not know what the future holds for an individual.

What I do know is that the world cannot get better without you. It will not get better for you ,and it will not get better for the next woman. We have lost far too many beautiful people due to depression and the lack of love and compassion. And you are beautiful.

This may be a bit disjointed but whenever I feel depressed I like to draw crappy cartoons to express my frustrations. It helps me survive to do something creative rather than to nothing at all.

Gay Conversion Therapy
Remove the adjective, and you get the sentence "Stop being."

If you are suicidal and you need an advocate, please call a friend. Or call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. Join an online group. I read Joe.My.God daily. Leave a comment. Just please do something.

Liam '15

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Dawn

Perhaps there is a little more good news out of the Wisconsin Marriage news.  The price of marriage equality has been high both on the individuals launching  the lawsuits and to the tax payers who are on the hook for defending their States' constitutional bans.

So it is down right pleasant to find a little nugget of extra good news within Wolf v. Walker. In the court case, there appears to be some juicy little dicta:

Because of the uncertainty in the law and because I am deciding the case in plaintiffs' favor on other grounds, I decline to wade into this jurisprudential thicket at this time. However, the court of appeals’ statement that sex and sexual orientation are related provides some support for a view that, like sex discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination should be subjected to heightened scrutiny.

What can I say, I love me some dicta...But let me back up and explain exactly how this can be used for furthering gay rights. Wisconsin has a version of ENDA in place, so it would be little help to gay people to join in to the EEOA. However, the law doesn't provide protections for gender identity.

So when I read this naughty little bit I had to go back and read the section over:

Plaintiffs identify two theories of sex discrimination. The first is straightforward: if each plaintiff was to choose a marriage partner of the opposite-sex, he or she would be permitted to marry in Wisconsin. Therefore, plaintiffs say, it is because of their sex that they cannot marry. Plaintiffs’ second theory is more nuanced and relies on the concept of sex stereotyping. In particular, plaintiffs say that Wisconsin’s ban on marriage between same-sex couples “perpetuates and enforces stereotypes regarding the expected and traditional roles of men and women, namely that men marry and create families with women, and women marry and create families with men.” Plts.’ Br., dkt. #71, at 18...

With respect to plaintiffs’ second theory, there is support in the law for the view that sex stereotyping is a form of sex discrimination. Virginia, 518 U.S. at 541-42 (“State actors controlling gates to opportunity . . . may not exclude qualified individuals based on fixed notions concerning the roles and abilities of males and females.”) (internal quotations omitted); Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 250–51 (1989) (“[W]e are beyond the day when an employer could evaluate employees by assuming or insisting that they matc[h] the stereotypes associated with their group.”). See also Doe by Doe v. City of Belleville, Illinois, 119 F.3d 563, 581 (7th Cir. 1997)(“A woman who is harassed . . . because [she] is perceived as unacceptably ‘masculine’ is harassed ‘because of’ her sex. . . . In the same way, a man who is harassed because . . . he exhibits his masculinity in a way that does not meet his coworkers' idea of how men are to appear and behave, is harassed ‘because of’his sex.”) (citations omitted). But see Hamm v. Weyauwega Milk Products, Inc., 332 F.3d 1058, 1068 (7th Cir. 2003) (Posner, J., concurring) (“‘Sex stereotyping’ should not be
regarded as a form of sex discrimination, though it will sometimes . . . be evidence of sex discrimination.”). Some commentators have argued that sexual orientation discrimination should be seen as the ultimate form of sex stereotyping because it is grounded in beliefs about appropriate gender roles, e.g., Sylvia A. Law, Homosexuality and the Social Meaning of Gender, 1988 Wis. L. Rev. 187 (1988), but plaintiffs have not cited any courts that have adopted that theory and I am not aware of any.

Plaintiffs’ arguments about sex discrimination are thought-provoking enough to have 
caught the interest of at least one Supreme Court justice. Oral argument, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, 2013 WL 1212745, at *13 (statement of Kennedy, J.) (“Do you believe [that a ban on same-sex marriage] can be treated as a gender-based classification? It's a difficult question that I've been trying to wrestle with it.”). However, neither the Supreme Court nor the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has embraced either theory asserted by plaintiffs. With respect to the first theory, the court of appeals assumed in a recent case that a sex-based classification may be permissible if it imposes comparable burdens on both sexes. Hayden ex rel. A.H. v. Greensburg Community School Corp., 743 F.3d 569, 581 (7th Cir. 2014) (“Sex-differentiated standards consistent with community norms may be permissible to the extent they are part of a comprehensive, evenly-enforced grooming code that imposes comparable burdens on both males and females alike.”). With respect to the second theory, the court has stated that there is “a considerable overlap in the origins of sex discrimination and homophobia,” but the court declined to “go so far” as “to conclude that anti-gay bias should, in fact, be understood as a form of sex discrimination.” Doe, 119 F.3d at 593 n.27. The Supreme Court has not discussed either theory as it relates to sexual orientation.

Because of the uncertainty in the law and because I am deciding the case in plaintiffs’ 
favor on other grounds, I decline to wade into this jurisprudential thicket at this time. However, the court of appeals’ statement that sex and sexual orientation are related provides some support for a view that, like sex discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination should be subjected to heightened scrutiny.

So perhaps.. I have yet to read any article backing this approach or referencing this paragraph. But.... But.. it is there. 

This is big. Perhaps.

Liam '14