Should the term “same-sex attraction disorder” get you banned by the CBC?

From The National Post: http://life.nationalpost.com/2011/03/21/should-the-term-same-sex-attraction-disorder-get-you-banned-by-the-cbc/

By Jonathan Kay
Mar 21, 2011

Like all mainstream media web sites that allow users to comment on published stories, CBC.ca reserves the right to delete “offensive” comments. This apparently includes use of the term “same-sex attraction disorder” to refer to the condition otherwise known as being “gay.”

I know this because a Halifax-based Kevin McDonald has been writing to news editors and reporters across Canada with his complaints about the CBC policy.

Back in February, McDonald wrote a short entry in the comment section under a CBC story about Canadian Olympian Mark Tewksbury, in which he referred to Tewksbury as being afflicted with “same-sex attraction disorder” (SSAD). When that comment was deleted, McDonald complained to the CBC through its ombudsman’s office, arguing that his use of the SSAD term is legitimate because “people can and do leave the homosexual lifestyle with therapy,” and “thousands [of people] leave the gay lifestyle every year.” In response, he got a note from a CBC moderator who explained as follows:

We appreciate that this is an issue that you feel strongly about. Certainly, you are entitled to your opinion that the term “same-sex attraction disorder” is acceptable.  But as you will also be aware the notion that homosexuality is a “disorder” is not recognized by any mainstream medical or mental health organization. Indeed, the American Psychological Association and all other major national health organizations have expressed concerns that therapy promoted to modify sexual orientation is neither safe nor effective. To suggest that homosexuality is a “disorder”, a “malady”, as you wrote, is not only without scientific basis, but considered to be needlessly offensive.

In response to this, McDonald has unleashed a wave of email upon Canadian journalists, declaring that “Canada’s public broadcaster is imposing a particular ideology (the idea that homosexuality is only ever normal behavior) about an ongoing, unsettled social controversy and excluding any dissent of that opinion.”

Continue reading at:  http://life.nationalpost.com/2011/03/21/should-the-term-same-sex-attraction-disorder-get-you-banned-by-the-cbc/

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Texas Lawmaker Defends Bill That Would Protect Creationists On The Job

No special protections and privileges for ignorant superstitious fucktards.

What upsets me most is how creepy right wing idiots like this one makes it seem like every one here is a Bible thumping moron.

He’s a disgrace to Texas.

From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/religion/2011/03/texas-creationism-bill-discrimination

By Josh Harkinson
Mon Mar. 21, 2011

Last week, I wrote about an unusual piece of legislation in Texas that would ban workplace discrimination against creationists. HB 2454 would make it a crime to “discriminate against or penalize in any manner” a professor or student based on his or her “conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design.” On Friday, the author of the bill, Republican state Rep. Bill Zedler of Arlington, called me to defend it. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:

Mother Jones: Are you a creationist?

Bill Zedler: Evolutionists will go “Oh, it just happened by chance.” Today we know that’s false. Today we know that even a single-celled organism is hugely complex. When was the last time we’ve seen someone go into a windstorm or a tornado or any other kind of natural disaster, and say “Guess what? That windstorm just created a watch.”

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/religion/2011/03/texas-creationism-bill-discrimination

 

February Home Sales Plummet As Housing Market May Have Further To Fall

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/21/existing-home-sales_n_838411.html

Lila Shapiro
Posted: 03/21/11

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell sharply in February, after several months of increases, according to a report released Monday, in an another blow to a sagging housing market that may have further to fall.

Existing home sales dropped 9.6 percent from January to February to an annual rate of 4.88 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors, an industry group. Compared with the same period last year, sales fell 2.8 percent. Home prices fell to their lowest in nearly nine years.

Although economists expected a decline from January’s annual rate of 5.36 million units sold — economists polled by Reuters expected February sales to fall 4.0 percent — the steepness of the drop came as a surprise. The last several months of housing market data from NAR showed glimmers of recovery, but many analysts now feel that the downward trend is clearly reasserting itself.

“Expectations had looked for a decline, but a much more modest decline than what we saw,” said Miller Tabak economist Dan Greenhaus. “I think what we’re seeing is a complete and total reversal of any strength we saw as a result of the first time homebuyers credit.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/21/existing-home-sales_n_838411.html

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Kill Public-Employee Unions; Erase the Middle Class

From  Truthout: http://www.truth-out.org/kill-public-employee-unions-erase-middle-class68639

Dmitri Iglitzin and Carson Glickman-Flora
Monday 21 March 2011

It’s not like we didn’t see it coming.

At the very start of this year, January 2, The New York Times warned us of the coming battle with a front-page story, “Public Workers Facing Outrage in Budget Crisis.” The Economist, in its January 8 issue, gave us, “The battle ahead: confronting the public-sector unions.” And the January Time Magazine, “Public Employees Become Public Enemy No. 1.”

So, nobody should have been surprised when public employees became enemy No. 1 in Wisconsin, whose governor and Republican-dominated Legislature are pressing a bill that would eviscerate most of the unions representing that state’s employees.
Oklahoma, Tennessee and Ohio are likewise all considering legislation to ban various types of collective bargaining, and in Indiana, almost every Democratic member of the state’s House of Representative recently boycotted a legislative session to stop a bill that would weaken collective bargaining.

What has not been clearly noted, however, despite the thousands of barrels of ink that have been spilled about this topic, is the underlying motive behind these attacks. Why, exactly, has the governor of the Badger State made destroying public-sector unions his No. 1 goal? Why are similar efforts being made in numerous other states? Why target public-sector workers and their unions? What put this on the top of the hard right’s agenda? Especially because, as The New York Times noted, “A raft of recent studies found that public salaries, even with benefits included, are equivalent to or lag slightly behind those of private sector workers with a similar education.”

Some of the reasons are mundane. Class envy is there, for sure. Public employees are, on average, better educated and better compensated than other workers; thus, resentment by the latter can always be ginned up against the former. Tea Party-ish dislike of government in all of its forms, however irrational, can always be transmuted, by those with a motive to do so, into a passionate hostility against the government’s agents and representatives, its employees.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/kill-public-employee-unions-erase-middle-class68639

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Employees accuse Bayer of sex discrimination

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/21/employees-accuse-bayer-of-sex-discrimination/

By Reuters
Monday, March 21st, 2011

NEW YORK – Six former and current employees of a U.S. unit of Bayer AG filed a class-action lawsuit against the company on Monday, alleging gender discrimination in pay, promotions and the treatment of pregnant women and mothers.

The lawsuit, filed against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey federal court, sought $100 million in lost pay and benefits as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

The plaintiffs, women who served at the associate-director level or higher, blamed a male-dominated management team for fostering an environment that was hostile to women. According to the complaint, internal company communications stated a preference for men in leadership roles and described women as “loose cannons” prone to “mood swings,” “indecision,” and “backstabbing.”

The complaint also cited examples of overt hostility toward motherhood and pregnancy, including the denial of promotions for women who took maternity leave and a senior manager’s alleged statement that he “needed to stop hiring women of reproductive age.”

The company denied all allegations of gender discrimination and said it would vigorously defend itself against the charges. The company is committed to nondiscrimination and equal treatment for all employees, it said in a statement.

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of gender discrimination class actions filed by Sanford Wittels & Heisler against large corporations on behalf of female employees. On March 3, the firm filed a suit against health insurer Cigna Corp for allegedly blocking women from promotions and higher-paying jobs. The same firm sued Publicis Groupe on February 24, describing the multinational advertising conglomerate’s glass ceiling as a “cement wall.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/21/employees-accuse-bayer-of-sex-discrimination/

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WI justice admits he called female colleague a ‘bitch,’ threatened to ‘destroy’ her

Or Why Republican is not only synonymous with Nazi but with Misogynistic Dickwad.

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/21/wi-justice-admits-he-called-female-colleague-a-bitch-threatened-to-destroy-her/

The anger of one conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice boiled over last year when he called a fellow justice a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy” her, according to a published report.

Justice David Prosser reportedly made the comments to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson following a February 2010 debate over whether another justice should have been forced off criminal cases.

“In the context of this, I said, ‘You are a total bitch,'” Prosser admitted to the Mulwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel last week.

The conservative justice told the paper that he had made the comments because Abrahamson had tried to undermine and embarrass him.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/21/wi-justice-admits-he-called-female-colleague-a-bitch-threatened-to-destroy-her/

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Committee passes NV bill adding transgender people to hate crime protection

From The Republic (Columbus, Ind.): http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/e3cc15f5a7bb4a10a3f0605b5266a53e/NV–Transgender-Crimes/

The Associated Press
First Posted: March 17, 2011
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Crimes prompted because a person is transgender could be eligible for harsher penalties under a bill moving forward in the Nevada Legislature.

SB180 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 4-3 along party lines Thursday. It would add offenses based on one’s “gender identity or expression” to a list of hate crimes that already includes crimes motivated by sexual orientation, and could tack one to 20 years of prison time to a sentence.

Supporters from Equality Nevada, who in previous hearings had described murders, rapes and disparaging slurs toward transgender people, said Thursday’s move was a step of progress for transgender Nevadans.

“We have something on the table early in a very busy legislative session,” said Equality Nevada Executive Director Lauren Scott. “It’s a win, as far as I’m concerned.”

National organizers of the Transgender Day of Remembrance estimate 15 people are killed each year in the U.S. in attacks motivated by their transgender identity.

Republicans said they opposed the bill because it elevates one group of victims above others. Las Vegas Republican Sen. Michael Roberson said the term “gender identity” was too broad and could open the door for lawsuits based on anything that expresses a person’s gender.

SB180 defines gender identity or expression as “a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/e3cc15f5a7bb4a10a3f0605b5266a53e/NV–Transgender-Crimes/

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Feds Squeeze Banks in Bid to Freeze Out Medical Marijuana

From Stop The Drug War: http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2011/mar/16/feds_squeeze_banks_bid_freeze_ou

by Phillip Smith,
March 16, 2011,

[Editor's Note: Houston-based crime and criminal justice journalist Clarence Walker is an occasional contributor to the Chronicle. He can be reached at cwalkerinvestigate@gmail.com.]

Federal regulators ignited a firestorm of controversy recently when they ordered banks located in the North Coast area of California to spy on transactions of customers who are suspected of making money in the marijuana business. In a bid to crack down on California’s marijuana industry, regulators have ordered banks to look out for suspicious activity by those running such operations, but that is leaving legal — under state, but not federal law — medical marijuana businesses out in the cold.

Although DEA and FBI officials are not specifically targeting medical marijuana, they say they are looking for drug traffickers and money launderers, and they regard any marijuana-related banking activities with suspicion. The banks are not being ordered to not do business with dispensaries, but are instead closing accounts rather than put up with the hassles of investigating and reporting those transactions.

Banks in the North Coast region, including Savings Bank, Wells Fargo, the Exchange Bank, and Ukiah Bank, as well as other financial institutions in the Sacramento and San Joaquin areas are scrambling to comply with the government’s order as the feds continue their onslaught against the legal marijuana trade.

The enforcement action is the result of the North Coast’s widespread reputation for marijuana production and also includes the arrest of citizens in the area operating legal medical marijuana businesses under California state law. California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, legalizing the medical use of marijuana for patients whose doctors have recommended they use it.

According to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, the policy took effect last month when the largest bank in Mendocino County informed shareholders that federal banking regulators would now require the North Coast banks to scrutinize deposit accounts because the area had been designated a high-risk area for money laundering, particularly from those in the medical marijuana business.

“This area in general has been targeted by Washington because the amount of cash that comes out of here,” said Charles Mannon, chief executive of the Ukiah Bank.

Mike Johnson, an entrepreneur in the marijuana industry who requested that this article not identify the name of his business, felt the squeeze from the federal regulators when Wells Fargo and the Umpqua Bank closed his accounts last year. “They think we’re all drug dealers,” Johnson said.

Those in the trade familiar with the feds’ regulation policy complain of how the government has forced banks and financial institutions to enlist as foot soldiers in the war on drugs. The new requirements force banks to expend unnecessary time and money probing clients’ accounts for evidence of illegal activity associated with the marijuana business, they say.

Continue reading at:  http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2011/mar/16/feds_squeeze_banks_bid_freeze_ou

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Koch And Native-American Reservation Oil Theft

From Campaign for America’s Future: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011031120/koch-and-native-american-reservation-oil-theft

By Dave Johnson
March 20, 2011

Just what is this Koch Industries? Should it be called a “company?” If so we need to re-think the idea of what a company and a business is supposed to be. Even the brother of Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch called the company an “organized crime” operation.

Koch money is a key driver of the conservative movement. Almost every conservative-movement rock you turn over has Koch money crawling around under it. As the movement becomes more and more of a pay-to-play operation conservatives of every stripe do more and more to protect and enrich the Koch operation. This has included blocking, disrupting and avoiding official investigations of accusations. It also includes funding front groups to advance the political and financial interests of the company and its owners.

Theft Of Oil From Reservations

Oppose The Future has the story of how Koch Oil was caught stealing oil from an Indian Reservation, reduding or removing the incomes of so many poor residents.

At some point in 1987, Thurmon Parton’s royalty checks for the three oil wells he inherited from his mother suddenly dropped from $3,000 a month to a little over $1,000. He and his sister, Arnita Gonzalez, members of the Caddo tribe, lived near Gracemont, Oklahoma, a town of a few hundred people on a small grid on the prairie.

Those modest royalties were the only source of income each of them had.

. . . What happened to Mr. Parton, Ms. Gonzales and Ms. Limpy had nothing to do with the wells or how they were producing. Their oil was being stolen. And all of the evidence pointed to the same culprit: Koch Oil, a division of Koch Industries.

Continue reading at:  http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011031120/koch-and-native-american-reservation-oil-theft

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Wal-Mart sexual discrimination case could redefine class action

I hate the idea that this is going to go before a court dominated by scum sucking ultra right wing activist judges who are engaged in class war against the hard working American people.  What a bunch of elitist misogynistic dildos.

From The Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20110320-wal-mart-sexual-discrimination-case-could-redefine-class-action.ece

By Greg Stohr
Bloomberg News
Published 20 March 2011 10:09 PM

More than 100 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. workers paint a similar picture in sworn complaints about the company: Local managers made sexist decisions about promotions and pay, and top officials did nothing to stop them.

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to consider whether those allegations warrant a class-action suit of unprecedented size, potentially on behalf of more than 1 million female Wal-Mart workers. At issue is whether the claims point to a companywide practice of alleged discrimination or instead amount to isolated anecdotes at a company with almost 1.4 million employees.

<snip>

“It has a huge impact for large employers,” said Lisa Blatt, a Washington appellate lawyer at Arnold & Porter LLP who filed a brief supporting Wal-Mart for the company-backed Retail Litigation Center. “If you’re an employer with a million people, you’re subject to these nationwide, massive, sprawling lawsuits.”

(This by the way is why I hate the corporate capitalist system.  Such concern for people who exploit its workers like virtual slaves. Fuck the corporations.)

<snip>

Seligman says the claims of the Wal-Mart workers — a group that includes six women seeking to serve as class representatives and more than 100 who filed sworn statements about their experiences — meet that standard. The women tell stories about being leapfrogged by more junior male colleagues into management positions and about supervisors who quietly directed promotions to their male friends.

<snip>

The question is whether the workers must meet the standards that normally apply to class actions seeking damages or instead the looser requirements for plaintiffs seeking an injunction. The answer is in dispute in part because courts traditionally consider back pay to be an injunctive award.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20110320-wal-mart-sexual-discrimination-case-could-redefine-class-action.ece

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Labor movement could kick-start a ‘popular revolt’ in the U.S., Nader claims

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The Stigmatization of the Unemployed

From Naked Capitalism: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/03/the-stigmatization-of-the-unemployed.html

By Yves Smith
Sunday, March 20, 2011

One thing I have never understood in America is the way that people who lose their jobs become pariahs in the job market. We’ve now had a spate of commentary on the fact that official unemployment figures are looking a tad less dreadful by dint of the fact that increasing numbers of the long term unemployed have dropped out of the job market entirely. Even the conservative Washington Post woke up last week, Rip Van Winkle like, to take note of the growing number of long-term unemployed. Bizarrely, or perhaps as a fit illustration of the spirit of the day, the article was titled: “Hidden workforce challenges domestic economic recovery.” In other words, they are Bad People because if the economy ever picks up, they might come out of the woodwork and start looking for jobs!

Many pundits, such as Paul Krugman in his latest New York Times op-ed, have decried the lack of anything remotely resembling adequate responses to the unemployment problem, particularly that of the long-term unemployed. Ronald Reagan, hero of the right, was concerned when unemployment rose over 8% and took a series of corrective measures, including the Plaza Accord, which was a G-5 currency intervention to drive up the value of the yen. So why do we have a nominally Democratic president sitting on his hands in the face of much worse unemployment?

Continue reading at:  http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/03/the-stigmatization-of-the-unemployed.html

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Former Goldman Sachs Banker Revving Up Smear Campaign Against Elizabeth Warren

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/150291/former_goldman_sachs_banker_revving_up_smear_campaign_against_elizabeth_warren/

Is a former Goldman banker using the Wall Street Journal to defame the consumer watchdog?Huffington Post / By Zach Carter
March 18, 2011Wall Street Journal editorial writer who has been closely involved with the paper’s recent attacks on Elizabeth Warren is a former Goldman Sachs banker. The same editorial writer, Mary Kissel, is readying another piece critical of Warren and the new consumer agency, according to a source familiar with the coming article.

Like most major newspapers, the Journal does not disclose the authors of its editorials. Kissel recently appeared on the John Batchelor radio show as a representative of the Journal’s editorial board do discuss Warren, and repeated the main arguments used in the editorials.

The editorials paint both Warren and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as an immensely powerful, unaccountable organization. The nascent agency is assuming the consumer protection duties currently exercised by regulators at the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The author, Mary Kissel, worked for Goldmanbetween 1999 and 2002 as a fixed income research and capital markets specialist.

Kissel is listed on the Journal’s website as a member of the editorial staff and her bio includes her time at Goldman Sachs and notes that she worked for the company in both New York and London.

On Wednesay, Warren testified before a House subcomittee, providing 34 pages of written answers while submitting to two-and-a-half hours of aggressive questioning from congressional Republicans, who deployed talking points similar to those used in the recent Journal editorials.

“There has definitely been an uptick in attacks on her and on the agency over the past few weeks, it’s hard to imagine it hasn’t been well-coordinated by somebody,” said a source close to Warren. “The smear campaign by The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board this week includes the most unfactual and outrageous hit pieces on her yet. If it’s true that the author of the editorials and Goldman Sachs coordinated on them, they should both be exposed and called to account.”

Continue reading: http://www.alternet.org/economy/150291/former_goldman_sachs_banker_revving_up_smear_campaign_against_elizabeth_warren/

Nazis, immigrant rights activists face off

From The Los Angeles Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/03/white-supremacists-immigrants-rights-activists-face-off-in-claremont.html

March 19, 2011

About two dozen white supremacists took to the streets in Claremont on Saturday to protest what they view as an unbridled flow of illegal immigration into the region, including the small college town.

Their demonstration along Foothill Boulevard was interrupted by a counter-protest by more than 200 immigrant rights activists, who decried the group as racist.

The screaming confrontation appeared to be tense but nonviolent. Dozens of officers from several police agencies watched over both sides, but Claremont police could not be reached for comment on whether anyone was arrested.

Jeff Hall, southwest regional director of the National Socialist Movement (Nazi Party), said his group was concerned about protecting U.S. borders.

<snip>

But immigrant rights activist Ernesto Ayala, a member of the Brown Berets and La Raza Unida, said Hall and his fellow demonstrators had “backward and racist beliefs.”

“We’re not going to stand by and let them roll over peoples’ rights,” he said.

Continue reading at:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/03/white-supremacists-immigrants-rights-activists-face-off-in-claremont.html

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The Declaration ** Trans Empowerment in America ** August 25, 2010 ** “We hold these truths to be self evident”

by Teresa Ellen Reeves

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Published with Permission

HE DECLARATION AUGUST 25, 2010

Trans Empowerment in America
We hold these truths to be self evident

Human Rights, Civil Rights, Equal Rights Are For Everyone!
Homeless People Included!*

Not just for Straight White Men,

Not just for Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals

For Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex

& All Gender Diverse People!

Homelessness does not discriminate on the basis of Gender Identity or Gender Expression

And neither should we!

We are not the Last Words in Your Revolution!

We are not an afterthought for your generosity in victory

We refuse to depend upon the kindness of less than perfect strangers!

We are not subservient to Your Dreams

And you will not defer and delay Our Dreams

So that Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals can be the first among Less-than-Equals!

We will not have our history denied, erased, borrowed or stolen to serve an L G & B agenda

Nor will we be labeled, gendered, degendered or regendered and we will not be sexualized, desexualized or resexualized to that end!

We will not be made into victims of transmisogynistic gay establishment media where we are depicted as as caricatures of women and not even human beings and where media exploits the blood and the suffering of us as victims of violence as comedic entertainment.

We will not serve in any Coalition organization where we are not made to feel welcome, where we can never lead, where we must remain invisible and silent and where we are regarded as less than full and equal partners!

L G & B Separatism “Separate But Equal” is Not Equality!

It is Transphobic Exclusion, Prejudice, Bigotry & Apartheid!!

In Separatism There Is No T in L G B T Unity!!

We are the First Words in Our Revolution!

We will form Our New Coalition of Friends that are outside, above and beyond the Box you tossed us into!

We will take the Lead in Our Revolution and We will never be less than Full & Equal Partners

Our Rights– For Our Dignity & Respect

To Be Welcome & Accepted

Our Marriage & Family Rights

Our Right to Work, Housing & Safe Shelter,

Health & Health Care, Safety & Well Being

Are just as Important to Us and We Will Not Be Denied Our Rights to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness!

That Includes a Trans-Inclusive Employment Non Discrimination

Act (ENDA) & the End of L G & B Separatist Apartheid!!

No More Exclusion of TransWomen & TransMen by Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual People & Organizations!

Any Organization that Endorses & Supports such Exclusion shall be Boycotted, Sanctioned & Banned!!

We are women and we are men just like you.  We are everywhere.  We are white collar professionals and blue collar laborers.  We are parents and school teachers, doctors and lawyers, scientists and engineers, artists, entertainers, politicians and public servants.  We protect and serve as police and in the military.  We are the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the middle class and the middle of the road.  We are liberal and conservative, progressive and reactionary, religious and secular humanist, evolutionist and creationist.  We are the homeless and the housed,  the healthy and the sick,  the single and the coupled.   We are racial minorities and of the silent majority.  We are all of the above and none of the above and something in between.

We aspire to all the good things that life can bring, We have a right to live out our hopes and dreams in peace.

Today is the Day & Now is the Hour for Our Rights!

We Will Enable & Achieve Our Own Empowerment!

We have Earned Our Victories & Your Respect!

Our Revolution is Here! It Might Even Be Televised!

What We Require is Our Own Stonewall!

We Must Storm Our Own Bastille!

We Must Take On & Overcome Our Oppressors Because Our Cause is Just!

We Must Nail Our Message to the Doors Where We Are Locked Out!

If at First We Don’t Succeed…. Try Try Again!!

If at Last We Don’t Succeed…. Secede! Secede! Secede!

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Sorry Equality Maryland: HB-235 Does Not Protect the Homeless

From EndaBlog: http://endablog.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/sorry-equality-maryland-hb-235-does-not-protect-the-homeless/

Reposted with permission

Katrina Rose
March 20, 2011

[Note from Kat: In 2001, Maryland gays and lesbians blatantly and openly lied to the Legislature and to the public, claiming that trans people were already protected under Maryland law and, as such, inclusion in the gay rights bill was unnecessary.  Now, it appears as though their claims that the anti-trans HB 235 will be of benefit to homeless trans people is even more of a lie.  At least some who pushed the 2001 lie might actually have just been guilty of grossly wishful thinking, hoping for Maryland law to apply Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins in a way that would actually help trans people obtain and keep employment.

Michiko Ota, however, has discovered that the 2011 claim of Maryland's gays is as empty as the cooling pool at the Fukujima nuclear reactor - and as potentially politically deadly for trans people as the radiation now drifting out of the pile of spent fuel rods.  This was first posted at Pam's House Blend.  Its is re-posted here by permission.]

Equality Maryland has been misinforming the public that the current language of HB-235 would provide protection for transgender men and women who are homeless under the “housing discrimination” language. As much as I have been hard on Equality Maryland on this, I am thinking that this has been a misunderstanding on their part.

Maryland law is very clear about what constitutes “housing” which is covered under the housing discrimination laws and what is considered “transient lodging” which is covered under the existing public accommodation law.

The first reading of HB-235 covers amending housing discrimination laws to include gender identity but does not amend the laws relating to public accommodation.

According to a post that was made on Equality Maryland’s Facebook page in a note titled “FAQ – Censorship, HB 235 and the EQMD Facebook page“, the official Equality Maryland made in a comment expressing concerns about homeless shelters:

..the bill that we are working on actually provides protections for shelters, since they are included under housing.

I have seen Equality Maryland make this comment several times during the debate to assure supporters that homeless shelters are supported.

Let’s look at the “definitions” within the current housing discrimination law (Title 20, subtitle 7):

§ 20-701:
(d) Dwelling.- “Dwelling” means:
(1) any building, structure, or portion of a building or structure that is occupied, or designed or intended for occupancy, as a residence by one or more families; and
(2) any vacant land that is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location on the land of any building, structure, or portion of a building or structure described in item (1) of this subsection.

Key phrase here is “as a residence”.

Homeless shelters are emergency temporary housing intended for transient occupation not intended for short term or long term “residence”.

Let’s now look at what the existing housing law does not apply to:

§ 20-704. Scope of subtitle.

(a) In general.- This subtitle does not apply to:
(1) the sale or rental of a single-family dwelling, if the dwelling is sold or rented without:
(i) the use of the sales or rental facilities or services of any:
1. real estate broker, agent, or salesperson;
2. agent of any real estate broker, agent, or salesperson;
3. person in the business of selling or renting dwellings; or
4. agent of a person in the business of selling or renting dwellings; or
(ii) the publication, posting, or mailing, after notice, of any advertisement or written notice in violation of this subtitle; and
(2) with respect to discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or marital status:
(i) the rental of rooms in any dwelling, if the owner maintains the dwelling as the owner’s principal residence; or
(ii) the rental of any apartment in a dwelling that contains not more than five rental units, if the owner maintains the dwelling as the owner’s principal residence.

Pay attention to section (a). What that says that in order for the housing rules to be enforced, there must be a SALE or RENTAL which is arranged through a real estate agent, broker, salesperson in the business of selling or renting dwellings or the agent of such a person.

Someone requesting and receiving emergency shelter is not purchasing entering into a sales contract, lease or rental agreement in exchange for a “dwelling” as we have already read the definition of.

Now.. let’s look at the current Maryland public accommodation law.

First of all, as a matter of full disclosure and for those who just think “public accommodation” is only about restroom access. Here’s what’s covered in Maryland law:

§ 20-301. “Place of public accommodation” defined.
In this subtitle, “place of public accommodation” means:
(1) an inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment that provides lodging to transient guests;
(2) a restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food or alcoholic beverages for consumption on or off the premises, including a facility located on the premises of a retail establishment or gasoline station;
(3) a motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium, or other place of exhibition or entertainment;
(4) a retail establishment that:
(i) is operated by a public or private entity; and
(ii) offers goods, services, entertainment, recreation, or transportation; and
(5) an establishment:
(i) 1. that is physically located within the premises of any other establishment covered by this subtitle; or
2. within the premises of which any other establishment covered by this subtitle is physically located; and
(ii) that holds itself out as serving patrons of the covered establishment.

As you can see, public restrooms are not even mentioned in here. It just happens to be that public restrooms are in these places. I want to focus on what is in bold.

Users of a homeless shelter may stay for one night, they may stay for several nights and then they move on. They have no intention of long term residence. Therefore, it can be argued that a homeless shelter can be defined as an “other establishment” that provides “lodging to transient guests”. If you check into a shelter, you are not signing a 30-day month to month rental agreement or a 1 year lease. You are allowed to come in for the night and in some cases, expected to leave the next morning. Sounds like transient housing to me. No different than when I travel and I check into a hotel for 3 days and then I leave.

What this comes down to is that Equality Maryland is misunderstood by the definition of the existing law. If you read the first reading of HB-235 introduced into committee, you will notice there’s nothing in the that places transient housing under the umbrella of “housing discrimination”.

In order for it to be considered “housing discrimination”, the exchange of money or other consideration must take place through a rental or mortgage contract. This does not happen when someone checks into a shelter.

Also remember, the housing discrimination law does not apply to rented rooms if the owner lives in the same establishment or apartment buildings with 5 or fewer units if it also the owner’s primary place of residence. This provision also applies to sex or sexual orientation in the existing law.

Unfortunately, Equality Maryland has missed the mark on this one. I think this is just a substantial oversight on their part. I really think they feel that HB-235 would cover emergency transient homeless shelters.

Based on this, leaving public accommodations out of HB-235 is now more than ever, a fatal flaw as it will defeat one of the primary intentions of the legislation which is to address the large percentage of transgender women and men who are currently living in the streets.

Those inside and outside Maryland must continue to put the pressure on Equality Maryland, the NCTE, HRC and the Maryland House of Delegates and State Senate to insist that public accommodations are placed back into this legislation.

Without protection for the transgender homeless, the exclusion of public accommodations from HB-235 is now a much more serious issue well beyond the bathroom.

Edited by Michi [after original publication at PHB] to add:

Just to clear something on this in case you read it.. I am referring to shelters (homeless, domestic violence, etc.) which are for temporary and transitory lodging to stay warm for a night or get away from a violent partner while determinin…g where to go next. My interpretation of the regulations would protect gender identity where it comes to public housing (e.g. housing projects, remaining in a location for a longer period). Establishment of residence is the key to the differences between what is considered “lodging” for public accommodation (you check in at the Hampton Inn on a trip to Omaha for a week, that does not establish your residency there and you don’t change your address on your drivers license, etc.) but public housing is where you would establish your residence (e.g. change your address) and should be protected under the currently written 235.

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