Questioning Calling Everything Transphobia

Contrary to popular belief among some of the most seriously transgender identified of the transgender activists I actually support transgender inclusive ENDA as well as Hate Crimes bills that include phrases like gender identity and perceived gender expression.

Shoot I can even exchange non hostile e-mails with Monica Helms regarding transsexual and transgender veterans issues.  We may not agree on every thing but we can dialogue and examine the positions of the other with out resorting to name calling.

On the other hand I have seen certain other people trashing Feministing, a blog I both feature in my list of links and post comments upon, as being “transphobic” for having a post regarding Focus on the Family’s hate mongering beg for money letter.  The trashing wasn’t really about the post itself but rather about the comments.

It ended trashing Feministing… a blog run by Jessica Valenti that publishes pieces by Julia Serano periodically.

As far as some are concerned the only concern a post-SRS woman can have are centered on transissues to the exclusion of all other issues.  One must be transgender identified.  If one is woman identified then one is transphobic.

This makes dialoguing rather difficult.  It also makes working together on specific issues difficult.  It sort of reminds me of the rabid right wing which insists on screaming names and hatred at other nations and then wonders why the rest of the world considers them nut jobs who would rather go to war than enter diplomatic talks.

Fortunately the moderates in the transgender movement are more understanding and it is possible to advance positions on given issues working on an ad hoc basis.

Activists expect swift action on hate crimes

Washington Blade – DC, USA


Bill poised to pass after first being introduced 12 years ago

By CHRIS JOHNSON, Washington Blade | Apr 8, 3:48 PM

UPDATED: Apr 9, 2:04 PM

After languishing in Congress for 12 years, hate crimes legislation is expected to see swift movement due to strong support from lawmakers and a sympathetic president in the White House.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the recent re-introduction of the bill in Congress was “one of the most important factors” in passing the legislation.

“The fact that we now introduced the bill in the House and are set to move in the next few weeks is going to … start this process, and hopefully it’ll be done and on the president’s desk in as expeditious a period as possible,” he said.

Becky Dansky, federal legislative director for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, similarly expected movement soon in the House on the legislation.

“We anticipate that things will move very quickly when the House comes back from recess,” she said. “The committee markup [will be] followed by floor consideration almost immediately.”

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the longest-serving openly gay member of Congress, announced Thursday that the House Judiciary Committee would consider the legislation the week of April 20. He’s expecting the committee to pass the bill, and that the House will vote on the bill later this spring.

Frank said he’s proud to have helped draft legislation that respects free speech while offering “needed protection to those who are victims of physical crimes based on hatred.”

“The law already increases penalties for crimes motivated by hatred in several categories, so the absence of protection for [LGBT] people is particularly egregious,” he said. “This bill remedies that gap in a responsible way, fully respectful of constitutional rights and I look forward to it being passed and signed by a president who is committed to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

On April 2, U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the hate crimes bill in the House. The bill, H.R. 1913, is officially known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. As of Tuesday, the bill had 42 co-sponsors.

The legislation would allow the Justice Department to assist in the prosecution of hate crimes committed against LGBT people that result in death or serious injury. The federal government could lend its assistance to local authorities or take the lead if local officials are unwilling or unable to prosecute cases.

The bill also would make grants available to state and local communities to train law enforcement officials, combat hate crimes committed by juveniles and investigate bias-motivated violence.

Conyers’ office didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment on the legislation. Alejandro Miyar, a U.S. Justice Department spokesperson, said staff in his department “support strengthening federal hate crimes protection and are working with Congress to do so,” but wouldn’t offer further details.

During his campaign last year, Barack Obama pledged to support the legislation. Before he took office, HRC called on Obama to push for passage of the bill within six months of starting his administration.

Solmonese said he still thinks it’s possible for Obama to sign the measure within the six-month timeline.

“I would think that if it happened slightly outside of that first six-month period, it would be a matter of scheduling the vote in both chambers and nothing more than that,” he said.

Solmonese and Dansky said they expected a House floor vote on the legislation later this month or in May, but the timeline was less clear in the U.S. Senate.

“Getting some signals in terms of when the House is moving,” Solmonese said, “will help inform what’s going to happen in the Senate.”

Although passage of the legislation is widely expected, Dansky said supporters of the bill “can’t afford to get lazy.” She said the strategy for passing the bill should involve Hill lobbying and grassroots mobilization.

Dansky said passage of the bill in the Senate “is not a given” and “there is a potential to face a filibuster.” She noted that support from moderate Republicans would be necessary to “hopefully avoid any obstructionist tactics” in the Senate.

Solmonese said winning approval of hate crimes legislation with the widest margin possible is important because it will help in passing future pro-LGBT legislation. “I think the strength and the health of this vote and of this fight is going to have a lot to do with taking on the next fight,” he said.

As for congressional hearings, Solmonese said they won’t take place in the House and he wasn’t certain about whether any would happen in the Senate.

Dansky also said she didn’t think hearings were needed in either chamber of Congress.

U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) is expected to introduce the Senate version of the bill, but had not done so before Blade deadline.  Anthony Coley, a Kennedy spokesperson, said the senator “plans to introduce this very important piece of legislation soon,” but didn’t offer a specific timeline.

Solmonese said he didn’t think there was any particular reason why Kennedy has not yet introduced the legislation. The senator has been battling brain cancer and has not always been on Capitol Hill, but Solmonese said he didn’t think the absence of the Senate bill was related to Kennedy’s illness.

Dansky said passage of hate crimes legislation is “in some ways contingent” on when Kennedy is available and said the senator has “identified this as a really important vote to him.”

“He’s made it very clear that this is something he cares deeply about and his staff has assured us that he very much wants to be here for it,” she said. “It would be a shame to move this and not have him be part of the celebration when it passes.”

Sexual orientation-inclusive hate crimes bills have languished in Congress since they were first introduced in 1997. The drive to pass legislation picked up steam after Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was murdered in 1998 near Laramie, Wyo. In memory of Shepard, versions of federal hate crimes legislation have been sometimes known
as the Matthew Shepard Act.

Passage of such legislation nearly occurred in 2007, when the House voted to approve legislation and the Senate voted to pass the measure as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. But the House refused to include it in the defense bill because it provided for Iraq war support. Anti-war lawmakers convinced the Senate to drop the hate
crimes provision from the legislation.

Solmonese said he spoke with Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s mother and executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, last weekend at a fundraiser in Wyoming about how “painfully overdue this legislation is.”

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than a decade since Matthew Shepard was murdered,” he said. “It’s incredibly inspiring to think after all this time, we’re poised to bring justice.”

But opponents of the legislation are campaigning against the bill and urging people to contact lawmakers to vote against it. On March 31, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, issued a letter to followers asking for opposition to the legislation because it “could lead to the criminalization of the biblical view of homosexuality in sermons and elsewhere.”

Perkins said that a hate crimes law could be “construed by many law enforcement officials and judges to include words that inflict emotional or psychological distress.”

“That means an ‘offended’ homosexual,” Perkins said, “could accuse a religious broadcaster … a pastor … Sunday school teacher … or other individual of causing emotional injury simply by expressing the biblical view that homosexual behavior is morally wrong and unhealthy.”

Solmonese said it’s “absolutely not” true that the legislation would restrict the freedom of religious leaders to condemn homosexuality, noting provisions in the bill explicitly protect First Amendment rights.

“It’s not palatable to be an outright bigot anymore, so they have to find something around the margins that they can distort the truth with,” he said.

Dansky said the Family Research Council letter represents a “misinformation campaign.”

“It’s completely inaccurate, unless their priest or reverend or religious leader is physically assaulting someone based on their sexual orientation while they’re giving that sermon,” she said.

© 2009 | A Window Media LLC Publication

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Washington (State) Legislature passes hate crime bill

The Daily Evergreen (Washington State University), WA, USA

The law would make it a felony to injure or threaten people because of their sexual identity.

Andy Jones
The Daily Evergreen

Published: 04/10/2009

Transgendered people will receive hate crime protection under a new bill passed by the state Legislature on Wednesday.

The state’s hate crime law makes it felony to “threaten, damage the property of, or physically injure someone because of ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.” The new bill would add “gender expression or identity” to the definition.

GIESORC Director Heidi Stanton said the announcement continued a great week for the GLBTQ community across the country.

On Friday, same-sex marriage was legalized in Iowa after a unanimous court decision by the state Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the Vermont state Legislature legalized same-sex marriage, the first time it has been legalized by a non-judicial decision.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” she said. “Good things are happening all around.”

ASWSU Director of Legislative Affairs Shawn Hoey said Gov. Chris Gregoire has publicly stated in the past that would she would sign the bill.

“It looks like a done deal,” Hoey said.

If Gregoire signs the bill, it will go into effect three months after the legislative session ends.

The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 68-30, with six Republicans joining all House Democrats in favor of the bill. A similar bill passed in the Senate 36-12 on March 13.

Three cases of alleged hate crimes against transgendered students occurred in Pullman in October.

On October 15, Kristopher Shultz, a junior women’s studies major, was walking past the Scott-Coman Soccer Fields when someone shouted hate speech and knocked Schultz unconscious.

On October 18, another transgendered student was attacked outside of Munchy’z by three men wearing masks resembling those from the movie “Scream.” The student was transported to the Pullman Regional Hospital, where he was treated with a collapsed lung, though the injury was not life-threatening.

On October 20, Jackson Hogan, a junior French and Spanish major, was punched to the ground and kicked in the CUE parking lot by a man who recognized him at event sponsored by the GLBTQ community.

Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said no suspects have been found in any of the three cases.

GLBTA President Nikki Hahn said she was grateful for the Legislature’s approval of the bill.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction – fingers crossed that Gregoire will sign it,” she said. “It gives me more hope.”

Stanton said gender identity and expression is protected in WSU’s Business Policies and Procedures Manual and the Student Conduct Code. She said the policies to protect ransgendered people are in place, but that more education training and outreach are necessary.

“I think we’re moving the right direction, but there’s still definitely a lot to be done,” she said.

©1999-2009 WSU Student Publications Board

Mass., NH and RI lawmakers debate transgender rights bills

by Joe Siegel
EDGE New England Editor

Friday Apr 10, 2009

Amid the hoopla over the Iowa Supreme Court decision and marriage legislation in Vermont, activists in several New England states have been lobbying lawmakers to add transgender-specific protections to existing non-discrimination bills.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 188-187 on Wednesday to pass House Bill 415, which would add gender identity and gender expression protections to the state’s anti-discrimination and hate crime statutes. The bill now goes before the state Senate.

“We applaud the New Hampshire’s House of Representatives for voting to update existing anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws to include protections for gender identity or expression,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said.

Across the border in Massachusetts, Reps. Carl Sciortino (D-Medford) and Byron Rushing (D-Boston) have reintroduced House Bill 1728. State Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) followed suit in the state Senate.

More than 300 people gathered on Beacon Hill on Tuesday to lobby legislators to support the bill. The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition organized the effort.

“It was well organized and went very smoothly, thanks in part to the many volunteers from Join The Impact who helped out,” MTPC chair Nancy Nangeroni said. “Many legislators stopped by, and the halls of the state house echoed with our applause and cheers.”

An MTPC report found 6.3 percent of all hate crimes in the Commonwealth from 2002 through 2006 were committed against transgender people. A 2006 survey found less than 25 percent of trans women in the Boston area had full-time employment while only 20 percent worked part-time. The same survey found 55 percent of trans people surveyed
have been homeless at some point.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia currently ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression. More than 100 counties across the country and Boston, Cambridge and Northampton and nearly a 100 other cities have enacted similar policies.

Rhode Island lawmakers held a hearing on Tuesday to debate a bill that would amend their state’s hate crime statutes. And similar legislation is before Maryland legislators.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.

Copyright © 2003-2009
EDGE Publications, Inc. / All Rights Reserved

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Archbishop says pending report to show Irish priests abused ‘thousands’ of children

04/09/2009 @ 7:18 pm

Filed by Stephen C. Webster

At a Thursday mass in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral, an Irish Archbishop shocked his congregation, which included numerous priests, by exclaiming that a forthcoming investigative report will reveal that over three decades, Irish Catholic priests have abused “thousands” of children.

“[The report] will make us and the entire church a humbler church,” he said.

“The archbishop said the report, compiled by the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation, is expected to show that ‘thousands of children or young people across Ireland were abused by priests in the period under investigation and the horror of that abuse was not recognized for what it is,'” reported the Associated Press.

“The government-appointed commission was set up to investigate abuses within the Dublin archdiocese in 2006, the same year the diocese admitted that up to 102 of its priests were suspected of abusing children. The report is studying how complaints of child sexual abuse were handled.”

“Martin is seen as a reformer sent in by the Vatican to clean up a church rocked by a decade and a half of scandals,” reported the Guardian. “One of the most notorious, in the mid-1990s, involved priest Brendan Smyth and indirectly led to the collapse of Albert Reynolds’s government.

“Accusations that the Irish attorney general’s office blocked moves to extradite Smyth to Northern Ireland led to the Irish Labour party pulling out of coalition with Reynolds’s Fianna Fбil and the government falling.”

“The Archdiocese of Dublin is facing challenges of a kind that it has not experienced for many years,” he said, according to the Press Association.

“Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin warned that a massive investigation of parishes in the Irish capital will find children were subjected to horrific attacks between 1975 and 2004,” the group reported.

According to the BBC, “In 1999, the then Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern delivered an unprecedented apology to the victims on behalf of the state.

“He also set up the commission to report on abuse allegations in institutions such as schools, orphanages, hospitals and children’s homes that were funded by the state, but were mainly run by Catholic religious orders.

“Some of the allegations date back to the 1930s.”

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