AMERICA WAKE UP – George Carlin – American Dream 2020

President Barack Obama eulogy at John Lewis funeral

Linking Trans Rights to Gay Rights Wasn’t an Easy Sell in the ’90s

Stonewall wasn’t about “Trans-Rights”.  It wasn’t in a particularly hip part of the Village like MacDougal Street or St. Marks Place.  It was next to the Sheridan Square Subway Station, across from a small park where older men went to pick up young male hustlers.

Until the second half of the 1970s what has now become a string of initials was the “Gay Liberation Movement’.  We had our own movements and they weren’t all Kumbaya, “We are all Transgender”  No…  Transsexuals had their movements and queens had theirs as did cross dressers.

On the West Coast in the early days when I went to leadership conferences I was generally the only trans-person there.

Riki is right.  I remember the 1990s.  I was there too.

From The Advocate:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2020/6/16/linking-trans-rights-gay-rights-wasnt-easy-sell-90s

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Why I’m Supporting Joe

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Harry Potter and the Scales of Justice

I’ve gone through life knowing there are a good many people who think it would be perfectly fine to exterminate me.

Transphobia is a misnomer it is hatred pure and simple, whether from Evangelicals or JK Rowling or certain radical feminists.

Bigotry destroys the lives and souls of those targeted with that bigotry. It doesn’t matter what robe or uniform or label that bigotry hides behind nor does it matter what group bigots target for dehumanization.

I’ve listened to people defend JK Rowling and other TERFs, defend the hatred and abuse of transfolks while those same people are quick to condemn racism and other forms of bigotry. How can they look in the mirror and not see they are the same sort of bigots as those they decry?

I’m old, I survived, I am tougher than most of you can imagine being. I came out before Stonewall when it was still a crime for me to express even the smallest elements of my being and I survived.

Do somehow think I haven’t earned the right to speak truth to power and denounce the anti-trans bigotry of JK Rowling and other TERFs?

Never Again!

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/opinion/scotus-lgbt-jk-rowling-trans.html

A little bit of good news, in a dire month for L.G.B.T.Q. people.

By Jennifer Finney Boylan
June 16, 2020

“I used to think people like you should be, you know, exterminated,” the nice young man said to me. “But after listening to you speak, I’ve really changed my mind!”

This was after a lecture I’d given a few years ago at a college in Ohio. He looked at me proudly, clearly hoping that I’d be cheered that my words had opened his heart.

But that word, “exterminated,” tempered my happiness somewhat.

Sometimes I forget that there are people who want to wipe me off the face of the earth.

I forget, even though the Trump administration does its best to remind me, every day. For the last three and a half years, this administration has done all it can to make the lives of queer people more miserable. I suppose it’s trying to push back on our “gay agenda.” You know, the one in which people like me keep asking for “special rights.”

What are these special rights I want? The same ones everybody else has. What is my gay agenda? It is the hope to live my life in peace.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court finally issued its ruling on Bostock v. Clayton County, a long-awaited decision that would determine whether it was legal to fire workers for being gay, bisexual or transgender. It was with happy surprise that I saw that the court had ruled in favor of the L.G.B.T.Q. plaintiff, 6-to-3. Remarkably, the majority opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the man whom Senator Mitch McConnell had wrangled onto the court after refusing to even consider President Barack Obama’s more liberal nominee, Merrick Garland.

Even in his dissent, Justice Brett Kavanaugh gave us a little rainbow shout-out, admitting that gay men and lesbians have “worked hard for many decades to achieve equal treatment in fact and in law. They have exhibited extraordinary vision, tenacity, and grit, battling often steep odds in the legislative and judicial arenas, not to mention in their daily lives.”

That was nice of him, although it’d have been nicer if his words hadn’t erased bisexual and trans Americans. It’d also have been nice if he’d, you know, voted yes.

But a win is a win. Until then, it had been a thoroughly miserable June for transgender people and our allies — and that’s not even counting the pandemic, the national economic collapse and the curse of police violence.

Last week, the author J.K. Rowling felt it necessary to unveil a screed against trans folks that ran to nearly 4,000 words, and read like a greatest-hits list of false statements and groundless fears.

She stated that trans men transition because being a woman is hard; they do not. She stated that trans women pose a threat to others in the ladies’ room; we do not. In fact, more Republican congressmen have been busted for causing trouble in public lavatories than trans women. But no one wants to throw them out of the Coast Guard.

The effect of Ms. Rowling’s manifesto was immediate and passionate — I heard from many young L.G.B.T.Q. people who’d grown up reading her books who responded to her words with sadness and fury. Surely Ms. Rowling was familiar with a series of books about a group of outcasts who were treated differently simply because of who they were?

It was nice that Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint all have released eloquent and unambiguous statements in support of trans people. I was especially cheered to see Mr. Grint join the fray — surely, Ms. Rowling, when you’ve lost Ron Weasley, you’ve lost everybody.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/opinion/scotus-lgbt-jk-rowling-trans.html

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You Don’t Have to Publish Both Sides When One Side Is Fascism

From The Nation:  https://www.thenation.com/article/society/tom-cotton-new-york-times/

Elite media still hasn’t figured out how to cover the Trump presidency.

The Trump administration and its Republican enablers are fighting a series of wars directed at targets inside the United States. A partial list would include immigrants, African Americans, Jews, poor people, middle-class people, people with student loan debts, the environment, voting rights, fair elections, blue-state taxpayers, the rule of law, honest elections, and all forms of accountability for Donald Trump, his family, and the criminals who helped him get elected. Because these are by and large unpopular causes, and it is the job of the press to let the public know what is going on, journalists are also a necessary, if ancillary, target. That explains Trump’s frequent use of the phrase “enemies of the people,” which had been the go-to charge of dictators and mass murderers, as well as his incessantly parroted mantra “fake news.”

Those running the country’s elite media institutions have no experience with a situation like this and still cannot figure out how to handle it. Historically, media machers have seen themselves as collaborators with government officials to ensure that things run smoothly for whoever is in power. They do this, in part, because they believe in the cause and, in part, to obtain access, quotes, and the public pretense of respect. When James Reston, who was then The New York Times’ most influential columnist, published an op-ed in 1979 titled “By Henry Kissinger With James Reston,” he did so not with shame but pride.

Reston was flacking for a man who directed a secret, unconstitutional war in Cambodia and Laos and illegally wiretapped journalists and the members of his own staff to determine who leaked the news to Reston’s paper. US government officials, especially but not exclusively Republicans, have been lying to the American people about matters of life and death for a long time. The mainstream media eventually righted itself under President Richard Nixon’s assault on our democratic institutions, but its ability to do so today under Trump, an even greater threat to American democracy, is considerably diminished. The reasons for this are complex. Some are economic, others technological. But during the present crisis, the biggest problem is that the leaders of the mainstream media cannot make up their minds about the fundamental question of the Trump presidency: “Which side are you on?”

The top editors of almost all of America’s mainstream media institutions have explicitly rejected the notion of a journalism of opposition. While The New York Times and The Washington Post, for instance, have tallied Trump’s untruths—separate from the articles in which they are repeated verbatim—neither has proved willing to reconsider its commitment to the mindless both-sides style of reporting in which Republican lies and incitements to fascist violence are given equal weight to Democratic attempts to tell the truth and defend democracy.

Thanks to Trump’s response to the protests against police brutality, however, the jig is up. Military leaders past and present and even a few Republicans have had enough. It is not OK for Trump to demand a military attack on our own citizens and then lie about having done so. And yet at this moment, New York Times opinion editors offered American journalism’s most prestigious real estate to Senator Tom Cotton to make the case for Trump’s proposed assault.

Continue reading at:  https://www.thenation.com/article/society/tom-cotton-new-york-times/

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J. K. Rowling and her inaccuracies about trans youth

From Openly:  https://www.openlynews.com/i/?id=3f6507d2-0526-4125-9e36-db9b850672f5

The “Harry Potter” author has misinterpreted studies about transgender young people, but any opportunity for dialogue is being lost amid understandable anger

by Scott Leibowitz | Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Sunday, 14 June 2020

As a physician who has worked with transgender youth for over a decade, one might imagine the content of my social media feed when one of the most famous authors in the world, J.K. Rowling, published her recent piece about gender identity.

With news of U.S. federal healthcare protections being rolled back for trans people only a few days later, it is not hard to imagine why there is so much anger and hurt from a group that has been stigmatized in so many areas of life.

Full disclosure: I have never read a Harry Potter book, nor have I seen the movies—a slight source of shame for me considering many of my patients are fans.  For me, Dumbledore sounds like the name of a city in a foreign country. So it feels odd to me that the first writings I have read from Rowling are her views on sex, gender, and trans youth.

I must also disclose: I am a cisgender white man. That is, not trans nor a woman in any sense.  So, part of me wonders: who am I to weigh in on the definition of a woman?  Who am I to weigh in on what constitutes transphobia?

However, as a child and adolescent psychiatrist working with trans youth, I have treated many of the people she referred to. I am also trained to view a situation through multiple lenses.

As I read Rowling’s piece, I felt it came more from a place of fear rather than intentional hate. Her open disclosure of past experiences of domestic and sexual violence demonstrated vulnerability. But that was overshadowed by the fact that she did not seem to appreciate the influence of her platform and the potential harmful impacts to the lives of young people I encounter every day.

Should this excuse Rowling from being insensitive to the way transgender people define themselves?  No. Do we have more insight about her underlying perspective? Yes.  Do I wish that people who aren’t doctors —especially celebrities with millions of followers—spoke to medical providers like me with thousands of hours of direct clinical experience with these families before interpreting research studies? Absolutely.

Often in this field, individuals hone in on research that confirms their original beliefs.  In her piece Rowling said, “60-90% of gender dysphoric teens will grow out of their dysphoria.”

But the longitudinal studies Rowling referenced have been widely misinterpreted and have significant methodological flaws. They included only pre-pubertal children, not teens – while Rowling conflated children and adolescents. They also included children who were not necessarily gender dysphoric in the first place. Some of the earlier studies looked at children who were feminine boys or masculine girls, many who never said they were, in fact, a different gender.

Someone of her status needs to understand the inaccuracy of this statement and the harm associated when someone like her makes absolute claims about controversial research. For a trans young person wanting acceptance from family members, a statement like this can give skeptical parents a reason to reject this aspect of them, thinking they will “grow out of it”, because a famous person said so.

Rowling mentioned that she might have been considered a trans man had she grown up in this time. However, clinicians such as myself spend a lot of time with patients and families, comprehensively understanding who they are, in order to ensure that appropriate clinical recommendations are made.

A similar point could be made for another study she cites, related to a survey of skeptical American parents. The study is thought to have been very overreaching in its conclusion that there is a new diagnostic entity entitled “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria”. Typically new diagnostic categories are developed over years of replicated research, not from one online survey that did not even assess the experiences of the youths themselves.

Rowling mentions the change in the sex ratio of youth coming to gender clinics, with more females-at-birth attending clinics.  The implication that sexism is causing more young people to identify as male is based in fear that negates other possibilities for young people – such as the visibility of trans people giving meaning to an experience that previously could not be defined. Or perhaps we are living in a time with evolving sociocultural definitions of masculinity and femininity.  The focus on one element of a larger multifaceted conversation is similar to narrowing the complexity of “Harry Potter” into what I would call “Scary Fodder”. That is dangerous.

Continue reading at:  https://www.openlynews.com/i/?id=3f6507d2-0526-4125-9e36-db9b850672f5

Black Trans Women Murdered in Philadelphia, Cincinnati

From Gay City News:  https://www.gaycitynews.com/black-trans-women-murdered-in-philadelphia-cincinnati/

By
June 12, 2020

Two Black transgender women were murdered in back-to-back killings on June 8 and 9 in Philadelphia and a suburb of Cincinnati, adding to an ongoing rash of deadly violence disproportionately targeting Black trans women nationwide.

Riah Milton, 25, was murdered allegedly by teens seeking to rob her in the Cincinnati suburb of Liberty Township, Ohio, on June 9, while the severed body of Dominique Rem’mie Fells was discovered the previous day in the Schuylkill River in the Bartram Village section of Philadelphia.

According to WLWT5, a local news outlet in the Cincinnati area, Milton was shot early in the morning in the 6600 block of Spruce Creek Drive. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones announced on June 10 that two people had been arrested in connection with Milton’s death. The pair and a third unapprehended suspect allegedly lured Milton to a location where they sought to rob her, but wound up shooting her to death. No details regarding whether the alleged killers knew Milton or how the interaction that led to her death played out have been announced.

One suspect, 18-year-old Kaelb Marshall Tooson, was charged with murder and aggravated robbery. A 14-year-old girl, whose identity remains private, was also arrested and charged with complicity to aggravated battery, complicity to murder, and tampering with evidence, according to WLWT5. Cops are looking for a third suspect, Tyree Jeffrey Cross, for complicity to murder, complicity to aggravated robbery, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

As in many previous murder cases of transgender women, media outlets misgendered Milton, and her sister, Ariel, who is also transgender, said in a Twitter post that Sheriff Jones did the same thing.

“Seeing the news completely dead-name and misgender my sister was like seeing someone just wipe her existence clean away,” Ariel wrote before directing her attention to the sheriff, who, she said, refused to correct himself after he misgendered her late sister.

“Your ignorance is noted,” Ariel said. “I need you, for a second, to place yourself in someone else’s shoes. Imagine someone who you loved died in a tragic way and you find out that the very people who are supposed to ‘protect’ and ‘serve’ completely misgender them and call them an entirely different name, how would you feel?”

Continue reading at:  https://www.gaycitynews.com/black-trans-women-murdered-in-philadelphia-cincinnati/

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Flags and Statues

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Daniel Radcliffe Responds to J.K. Rowling’s Tweets on Gender Identity

From The Trevor Project:  https://www.thetrevorproject.org/2020/06/08/daniel-radcliffe-responds-to-j-k-rowlings-tweets-on-gender-identity/

By Daniel Radcliffe
June 8, 2020

I realize that certain press outlets will probably want to paint this as in-fighting between J.K. Rowling and myself, but that is really not what this is about, nor is it what’s important right now. While Jo is unquestionably responsible for the course my life has taken, as someone who has been honored to work with and continues to contribute to The Trevor Project for the last decade, and just as a human being, I feel compelled to say something at this moment.

Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.

I am still learning how to be a better ally, so if you want to join me in learning more about transgender and nonbinary identities check out The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth. It’s an introductory educational resource that covers a wide range of topics, including the differences between sex and gender, and shares best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people.

To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.

Love always,
Dan

Civil Rights Law Protects Gay and Transgender Workers, Supreme Court Rules

I really wish I wasn’t surprised when people in power actually do the right thing.  I sometimes think the line between those who are privileged and those who are not is one of social expectations.  Those who are privileged, expect those in power to act in such a way as to protect their lives and dignity, while those with lesser privilege dread the possibility of those in power acting in a manner which destroys those hard won rights and deprives them of their rights and dignity.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/us/gay-transgender-workers-supreme-court.html

The court said the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

By
June 15, 2020

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination, handing the movement for L.G.B.T. equality a stunning victory.

The vote was 6 to 3, with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch writing the majority opinion. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The case concerned Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex. The question for the justices was whether that last prohibition — discrimination “because of sex”— applies to many millions of gay and transgender workers.

The decision, covering two cases, was the court’s first on L.G.B.T. rights since the retirement in 2018 of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinions in all four of the court’s major gay rights decisions.

Those decisions were grounded in constitutional law. The new cases, by contrast, concerned statutory interpretation.

Lawyers for employers and the Trump administration argued that the common understanding of sex discrimination in 1964 was bias against women or men and did not encompass discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If Congress wanted to protect gay and transgender workers, they said, it could pass a new law.

Lawyers for the workers responded that discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation or transgender status must as a matter of logic take account of sex.

The court considered two sets of cases. The first concerned a pair of lawsuits from gay men who said they were fired because of their sexual orientation. The second was about a suit from a transgender woman, Aimee Stephens, who said her employer fired her when she announced that she would embrace her gender identity at work.

The cases concerning gay rights are Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., No. 17-1618, and Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623.

The first case was filed by Gerald Bostock, a gay man who was fired from a government program that helped neglected and abused children in Clayton County, Ga., just south of Atlanta, after he joined a gay softball league.

The second was brought by a skydiving instructor, Donald Zarda, who also said he was fired because he was gay. His dismissal followed a complaint from a female customer who had expressed concerns about being strapped to Mr. Zarda during a tandem dive. Mr. Zarda, hoping to reassure the customer, told her that he was “100 percent gay.”

Mr. Zarda died in a 2014 skydiving accident, and his estate pursued his case.

Most federal appeals courts have interpreted Title VII to exclude sexual orientation discrimination. But two of them, in New York and Chicago, have ruled that discrimination against gay men and lesbians is a form of sex discrimination.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/us/gay-transgender-workers-supreme-court.html

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NCLR Applauds Historic Supreme Court Rulings Affirming LGBTQ Employees’ Right to Work Free of Discrimination

From The National Center for Lesbian Rights:  http://www.nclrights.org/about-us/press-release/nclr-applauds-historic-supreme-court-rulings-affirming-lgbtq-employees-right-to-work-free-of-discrimination/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2020

CONTACTS:
Christopher Vasquez, NCLR Communications Director
415.365.1337 | cvasquez@nclrights.org

NCLR Applauds Historic Supreme Court Rulings Affirming LGBTQ Employees’ Right to Work Free of Discrimination

“For the first time, this historic decision ensures that LGBTQ people have nationwide employment protection and represents a monumental step that will help to create a safer working environment for everyone”

WASHINGTON, DCThe National Center for Lesbian Rights applauds today’s rulings by the Unite States Supreme Court that federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against LGBTQ workers. In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice Roberts, the Court ruled that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination because a person is gay or transgender. The historic rulings in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia reaffirm the opinion of a broad percentage of the American public that no one should be fired simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“For the first time, this historic decision ensures that LGBTQ people have nationwide employment protection and represents a monumental step that will help to create a safer working environment for everyone,” said NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon. “During a global health crisis and a growing nationwide movement to focus on supporting and protecting Black Lives – particularly Black transgender lives – against systematic racism and violence, this historic ruling is both uplifting and encouraging. However, we know that our work is far from complete, and the fight for fullLGBTQ equality continues.”

“This is a huge victory not just for LGBTQ people, but for our country, which benefits enormously when LGBTQ people are permitted to participate and contribute on equal terms,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR. “Today’s decision will be remembered as a watershed in the history of LGBTQ rights, even as our country continues to grapple with the brutal legacy of racism. The transgender movement owes a particular debt of gratitude to Aimee Stephens, who courageously fought this battle in the months of her life.”

While today’s ruling provides critical federal protections for LGBTQ people, most states still permit discrimination in public accommodations – including stores, restaurants, and hotels – based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Additionally, the Trump Administration continues to target LGBTQ people in federally-funded programs that provide basic necessities such as healthcare, housing, and education. To achieve full equality for LGBTQ people, the National Center for Lesbian Rights urges Congress to pass the comprehensive Equality Act to ensure all LGBTQ Americans are protected from discrimination in every aspect of their lives.

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Marie Cau: First transgender mayor elected in France

From BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52795973

25 May 2020

A trans woman in France has won election in her local commune to become the country’s first openly transgender mayor.

The council in Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes in northeastern France chose Marie Cau as its new mayor on Saturday.

The 55-year-old ran on a platform of ecological sustainability and building the local economy.

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Ms Cau said she was “not an activist” and wanted to focus on municipal politics.

“People did not elect me because I was or was not transgender, they elected a programme,” Ms Cau said. “That’s what’s interesting: when things become normal, you don’t get singled out.”

France’s gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa tweeted her support on Sunday.

“Trans visibility, and the fight against transphobia, also depends on exercising political and public responsibilities. Congratulations Marie Cau!”

Residents of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes – a commune of under 600 inhabitants on the Belgian border – voted in municipal elections in March.

They elected all the councillors from the “Deciding Together” list, among them Ms Cau. On Saturday these councillors voted nearly unanimously to make her the new mayor of the town.

Stéphanie Nicot, co-founder of France’s National Transgender Association, said the election showed that “our fellow citizens are more and more progressive”, voting on “the value of individuals, regardless of their gender identity”.

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J.K. Rowling facing backlash after controversial comments about transgender people

Fuck her.  Writing a wildly popular series of books does not automatically make you a good person.

From The Hill:   https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/501663-jk-rowling-facing-backlash-after-controversial-comments-about

By John Bowden
06/08/20

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling is facing criticism from gay and transgender rights organizations after the British writer posted a tweet that many groups have said was anti-transgender.

A tweet from Rowling on Saturday commented on a headline from a news article referring to “people who menstruate,” which she suggested should have been shortened to just “women.”

“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she wrote.

The tweet caused Rowling’s name to trend across Twitter over the weekend and earned backlash from LGBT rights groups including GLAAD, which urged supporters to “direct your rightful anger over JK Rowling’s latest anti-trans comments into something positive.”

Book Riot, a literary website, announced it would no longer cover Rowling’s material after the comment.

Rowling has faced criticism in the past for her views on the issue and was criticized on social media in December after defending a researcher who was fired for what a judge called an “absolutist” view of transgender people and sex.

“The enormous universe of #LGBTQ young people & adults who have been inspired by JK Rowling’s work deserve better,” said Lambda Legal, a nonprofit legal group representing LGBT clients, said at the time.

See also:

HRC President Alphonso David Responds to J.K. Rowling’s Latest Transphobic Blog Post

Anti-LGBTQ hate group tries to defend Rowling’s transphobia, gets its ‘wig snatched’

Emma Watson speaks out in support of transgender community amid JK Rowling row

Daniel Radcliffe on J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets: ‘Transgender women are women’

Transgender bathroom ban heard by federal appeals court

From PBS:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/transgender-bathroom-ban-heard-by-federal-appeals-court

May 26, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia school board defended its transgender bathroom ban before a federal appeals court Tuesday, as a transgender man who was barred as a student from using the boys’ bathrooms at his high school argued that the policy discriminated against him and violated his constitutional rights.

A judge ruled last year that the Gloucester County School Board had discriminated against Gavin Grimm, but the board appealed that ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

David Corrigan, a lawyer for the school board, said school officials treated Grimm with respect after he began transitioning from female to male during high school, accommodating his request to use male pronouns and to be called by his new name.

Grimm had chest reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy. He also obtained a Virginia court order and Virginia birth certificate declaring his sex is male in 2016, when he was in 12th grade.

Grimm’s lawsuit alleged that the school board violated Grimm’s equal protection rights as well as Title IX, the federal policy that protects against gender-based discrimination.

But Corrigan argued that the law protects against discrimination based on gender, not gender identity. Corrigan said that because Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and still had female genitalia, the board’s position was that he remained anatomically a female.

“Our position is it’s a binary concept, that you have males and females,” Corrigan said.

Joshua Block, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the board treated Grimm differently than other students when it required him to use separate but unequal facilities — either bathrooms that corresponded with his biological gender — female — or private bathrooms.

“They were stigmatizing and humiliating,” Block said.

“It’s stigmatizing to be excluded from the facilities that everyone else uses,” he said.

Grimm’s lawsuit was once a federal test case that drew national attention. He graduated in 2017 from Gloucester High School, located in a mostly rural area about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Richmond.

The three-judge panel that heard the case Tuesday did not indicate when it would issue a ruling. The arguments were held remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The hearing was the latest step in a years-long legal battle. Grimm’s lawsuit was supposed to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the high court hearing was canceled after President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era directive that students can choose bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk ruled in August that the board discriminated against Grimm.

“(T)here is no question that the Board’s policy discriminates against transgender students on the basis of their gender noncomformity,” Allen wrote.

“Under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity,” she continued. “Transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment, and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go.”

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Black Trans Protesters Are Marching for a Police Killing That Cis People Aren’t Talking About: Tony McDade

From Vice: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep4xp4/black-trans-protesters-are-marching-for-another-police-killing-cis-people-arent-talking-about-tony-mcdade

“We have two different worlds. We’re fed up with the murders. We’re fed up with law enforcement just brutally killing us.”

by Tomas Navia and Sam Donnenberg
Jun 3 2020

As protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd and police brutality entered their eighth night, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the historic Stonewall Inn in New York Tuesday yelling the name of another black man killed in a confrontation with police: Tony McDade.

McDade, a 38-year-old black trans man, was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida, on May 27, two days after Minneapolis police kneeled on Floyd for almost nine minutes until he couldn’t breathe. Tallahassee police said in a press release that McDade was the suspect in a local stabbing and was armed, which led to the shooting.

His death hasn’t received much attention in the wake of Floyd’s killing. Protests have happened in Florida, and national LGBTQ rights organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Black Justice Coalition released statements about the killing.

Now, trans rights advocates are taking to the streets in New York, during Pride Month, to call for an investigation and bring more attention to the killing of black trans people.

“The cis people always take to the streets over all of their deaths, their murders,” said TS Candii, a 26-year-old black trans woman and one of the organizers of the protest at the Stonewall Inn. “We have two different worlds. We’re fed up with the murders. We’re fed up with law enforcement just brutally killing us.”

McDade’s death was at least the 12th killing of a trans or gender-non-conforming person in 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Three of the known killings occurred in the last month — one of which, McDade’s, was at the hands of police.

Black trans women are disproportionately killed by violence, and arrest rates for their murders are significantly lower than for other demographics.

Though most of the killings of black trans women are not at the hands of police, the community does disproportionately experience police harassment. A third of black trans women who interact with police report that officers assume they are sex workers. Nearly 90% of trans women who police assume are sex workers report experiencing police harrassment and abuse, including verbal, physical, and sexual assaults.

Like the nationwide protests since Floyd’s death last month, the stark disparity in the treatment of black people by police was the central theme of the gathering on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s organizers led speeches in Sheridan Square outside the Stonewall Inn, where six days of violent protests against police in 1969 kickstarted the modern gay rights movement. Candii and Tahtianna Fermin, another organizer, recognized trans people of color killed by violence and called out the names of McDade and Nina Pop, a trans woman murdered in May, into the crowd.

Continue reading at:  https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep4xp4/black-trans-protesters-are-marching-for-another-police-killing-cis-people-arent-talking-about-tony-mcdade

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A Daughter Is Beheaded, and Iran Asks if Women Have a Right to Safety

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/world/middleeast/honor-killing-iran-women.html

By Farnaz Fassih
June 7, 2020

Before he beheaded his 14-year-old daughter with a farming sickle, Reza Ashrafi called a lawyer.

His daughter, Romina, was going to dishonor the family by running off with her 29-year-old boyfriend, he said. What kind of punishment, he asked the lawyer, would he get for killing her?

The lawyer assured him that as the girl’s guardian he would not face capital punishment but at most 3 to 10 years in jail, Mr. Ashrafi’s relatives told an Iranian newspaper.

Three weeks later, Mr. Ashrafi, a 37-year-old farmer, marched into the bedroom where the girl was sleeping and decapitated her.

The so-called honor killing last month, in a small village in the rolling green hills of northern Iran, has shaken the country and set off a nationwide debate over the rights of women and children and the failure of the country’s social, religious and legal systems to protect them.

It has also prompted a me-too moment on social media of women pouring out their own stories of abuse at the hands of male relatives in hopes of shedding light on a problem that is usually kept quiet.

Minoo, a 49-year-old mother of two in Tehran, said her husband had beaten their 17-year-old daughter when he spotted her with a male friend in the street.

Hanieh Rajabi, a Ph.D. student in philosophy, tweeted that her father had lashed her with a belt and kept her out of school for a week because she had walked home from class to buy ice cream instead of taking the school bus.

Others shared stories of rape, physical and emotional abuse and running away from home in search of safety.

“There are thousands of Rominas who have no protection in this country,” tweeted Kimia Abodlahzadeh.

In many ways, women in Iran are better off than those in many other Middle Eastern countries.

Iranian women work as lawyers, doctors, pilots, film directors and truck drivers. They hold 60 percent of university seats and constitute 50 percent of the work force. They can run for office, and they hold seats in the Parliament and cabinet.

But there are restrictions. Women must cover their hair, arms and curves in public, and they need the permission of a male relative to leave the country, ask for a divorce or work outside the home.

Honor killings are thought to be rare but that may be because they are usually hushed up.

A 2019 report by a research center affiliated with Iran’s armed forces found that nearly 30 percent of all murder cases in Iran were honor killings of women and girls. The number is unknown, however, as Iran does not publicly release crime statistics.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/world/middleeast/honor-killing-iran-women.html

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Hungary votes to end legal recognition of trans people

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/19/hungary-votes-to-end-legal-recognition-of-trans-people

Activists say new law will increase discrimination, especially as Hungarians must often display their ID cards

in Budapest
Tue 19 May 2020

Hungary’s parliament has voted to end legal recognition for trans people, passing a bill that rights activists say pushes the country “back towards the dark ages”.

The new law defines gender as based on chromosomes at birth, meaning previous provisions whereby trans people could alter their gender and name on official documents will no longer be available.

The votes of rightwing prime minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party pushed the legislation through by 134 to 56, with four abstentions. It is likely to be signed into law by the president, János Áder, a close ally of Orbán.

Although Orbán passed a bill during the coronavirus pandemic to allow him to rule indefinitely by decree, the transgender bill was part of a larger package of legislation that went through parliament in the normal way. It was proposed by the deputy prime minister on 31 March, International Transgender Day of Visibility, and amendments submitted by opposition parties were discarded one by one on Tuesday.

The law has been roundly condemned both at home and abroad. Bernadett Szél, an opposition MP who spoke out strongly against the bill in parliament, described it as evil.

Trans people and advocates say the bill will lead to increased discrimination against the community, especially as Hungarian daily life requires people to show their identity cards frequently. It also means that trans people will not be able to choose a name that fits with their identified gender, as Hungarian law requires first names to be chosen from a list kept by the country’s Academy of Sciences, which is sorted according to gender.

“It basically means coming out as trans to complete strangers, all the time,” Ivett Ördög, a 39-year-old trans woman living in Budapest, told the Guardian last month.

The Háttér Society, a Hungarian trans rights group, said on Tuesday that the law violated international human rights norms and went against the case law of the European court of human rights, as well as previous rulings of the Hungarian constitutional court.

Since 2017, legal gender changes in the country have effectively been frozen, and now the backlog of people waiting for the legal procedure will all be rejected, along with any new applicants. Because the new category will list “sex at birth”, there are also fears it could be used to target trans people who have already legally changed their gender.

Krisztina Tamás-Sáróy of Amnesty International said: “This decision pushes Hungary back towards the dark ages and tramples the rights of transgender and intersex people. It will not only expose them to further discrimination but will also deepen an already intolerant and hostile environment faced by the LGBTI community.”

Orbán’s government has increasingly used anti-LGBT rhetoric as part of a perceived culture war, and has made “traditional family values” a mainstay of many of its policies. The speaker of parliament, an Orbán ally, last year compared gay couples that adopt to paedophiles.

Black transgender man fatally shot by Florida police

From NBC News:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/black-transgender-man-fatally-shot-florida-police-n1218156

At least 11 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been killed this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

By Gwen Aviles
May 29, 2020

A black transgender man was fatally shot Wednesday by a police officer in Tallahassee, Florida — at least the third reported officer-involved shooting in Tallahassee in two months.

The victim, Tony McDade, 38, was identified as a suspect in a reported stabbing the morning of his death. Police said McDade fled the scene of the stabbing on foot before officers arrived, but they encountered McDade nearby shortly afterward.

According to police, McDade reportedly had a handgun and “made a move consistent with using the firearm” against an officer, prompting the officer to shoot McDade.

The Tallahassee Police Department said that it is investigating and that the officer, who was not identified, has been placed on administrative leave.

News of McDade’s death coincides with protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground and put his knee on his neck for about eight minutes. The officer was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder.

“When we say all Black lives matter, we mean ALL,” tweeted Black Visions Collective, a Minneapolis-based advocacy group working for racial justice. “Our hearts go out to Tony’s family and the Black people of Tallahassee.”

In a video posted to Facebook early Wednesday morning, less than 10 hours before the McDade shooting, McDade said he’d been attacked by a group of men and that he planned to fight back.

“It’s just Tony the Tiger all alone coming for your blood,” McDade said. “I am killing and going to be killed, because I will not go back into federal prison.”

McDade was released from prison in January after serving 10 years on federal charges of possessing firearms following felony convictions.

Though police and several local news reports referred to McDade as a “female,” McDade used he/him pronouns on Facebook, and local advocacy groups said he identified as a transgender man.

Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, said McDade’s death further exemplifies that Florida is “an epicenter of anti-trans violence.” At least seven black transgender people were murdered in Florida over the last two years, according to the organization.

Following McDade’s death, the National Black Justice Coalition said the “tragic incident should be a reminder that hate crimes against Black LGBTQ” people happen “too frequently” and “often without the national public outcry that our cis and/or heteronormative brothers and sisters receive.”

“It is important to highlight the too often ignored violence that members of our community face in addition to the discrimination we may experience because we are Black,” the coalition said in a statement.”

At least 11 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other means this year so far, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy group.

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Protests in the Face of Racism and Fascism During an Epidemic

I stopped going to demonstrations that had any potential for violence or confrontation back in the early 1970s.

Any interaction with the Police that might possibly include arrest, which invariable results in severe emotional abuse and degradation along with the possibility of physical abuse, is not a situation I choose to put myself in.

Dare I say it.  I am afraid of the Police and rightfully so. I’m also old and walk slowly so running from danger is not an option.

These demonstrations are extremely dangerous.  We have a truly evil man in the White House who has pretty much given Police the authorization to use lethal force.

He is backed up by various ultra right wing paramilitary groups of thugs who want to start a race war.  One thing some seem to be doing in order to recognize each other is carrying an umbrella.  They are breaking windows and setting fires.  Many are armed and ready to kill people of color and liberals, progressives and people of the Left.  Numerous antisemitic incidents have been reported.

People…  Just last week we were sheltering in place to try to avoid infection with Covid 19. Trump was trying to prevent measures to allow voting by mail.

The right wing would like nothing better than to cancel the elections.

I am a gun owner.  Many people on the left don’t even have the shotgun or 9mm which I have for home defense.  Many of these people who are actively promoting a race war, they call the Boogaloo, are heavily armed and have practiced with those firearms.

Consider the risks before running into situations that may put your lives at risk from either violence or Covid 19.

I’m old I do my fighting with words and by voting.  I was young and crazy brave too once upon a time.  Don’t get killed or thrown in prison.  We need your votes come November.