House Passes Hate-Crimes Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an LGBT-inclusive federal hate-crimes bill on Wednesday afternoon.
By Kerry Eleveld

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an LGBT-inclusive federal hate-crimes bill on Wednesday afternoon with a 249-175 vote. Democratic representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, applauded the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act.

“The law routinely looks to the motivation behind a criminal act and treats the more heinous of them differently,” Nadler said on the House floor. “Manslaughter is different from premeditated murder, which is different from a contract killing. We also punish crimes differently if they are terrorist acts, defined as violent acts that ‘appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.'”

Republican representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina said that the idea of Matthew Shepard’s murder being called a hate crime is “a hoax” while his mother, Judy Shepard, looked on to the House floor from the gallery. Speaking of the slain college student, whose parents have since become ardent voices for the legislation, Foxx said, “we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay. This — the bill was named for him, [the] hate-crimes bill was named for him, but it’s really a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.”

A Senate version of the bill was introduced Tuesday. Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, anticipated the Senate would vote on the legislation, now called the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, by the end of the year.

“We’re confident that we’ll make progress in the Senate as well,” Solmonese said. “We’re in conversations with Senator [Harry] Reid and other leaders in the Senate to try to determine the most expeditious way to move the bill and one that keeps that bill intact and gets it to the president’s desk.”

President Obama issued a statement Tuesday, putting his full weight behind the measure: “I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance — legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association. I also urge the Senate to work with my administration to finalize this bill and to take swift action.”

The bipartisan Senate bill is being carried by Democrat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine. Other cosponsors include Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Republican Susan Collins of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who switched his affiliation Tuesday from Republican to Democrat.

Civil rights and faith groups held a press conference call urging swift passage of the bill with leaders from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, American Association of People With Disabilities, American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Council of La Raza, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Caroline Frederickson, director of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office, said that discussion on the House floor Wednesday was sure to include warnings that the bill would impinge on freedom of speech and religious practices. She countered that since 2005 the bill has included specific provisions to protect basic First Amendment rights.

“The bill specifically blocks evidence of speech and associations that is not specifically related to the crimes,” she said, adding, “This bill will have the strongest protection against the misuse of a person’s free speech that Congress has enacted in the federal criminal code.”

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act enhances federal involvement to combat hate crimes and authorizes the U.S. Justice Department to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence against a person based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

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Diane Schroer wins $500,000 lawsuit

(Washington) A federal judge has ruled that the Library of Congress illegally discriminated against a Special Forces veteran when she was denied a job after announcing her intention to transition from male to female.

Diane Schroer of Alexandria, Virginia was awarded nearly $500,000 in damages.

In what is seen as a groundbreaking decision, U.S. District Judge James Robinson ruled that discriminating against someone for changing genders is sex discrimination under federal law.

After retiring from the military, Schroer, who had been hand-picked to head up a classified national security operation while serving as a Special Forces officer, applied for a position with the Library of Congress as the senior terrorism research analyst.

A short time later she was offered the job, which she accepted immediately.

Prior to starting work, Schroer took her future boss to lunch to explain that she was in the process of transitioning and thought it would be easier for everyone if she simply started work presenting as female.

The following day, Schroer received a call from her future boss rescinding the offer, telling her that she wasn’t a “good fit” for the Library of Congress.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit against the Library of Congress on June 2, 2005.

The lawsuit charged that the Library of Congress unlawfully refused to hire Schroer in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects against sex discrimination in the workplace.

The Library of Congress moved to dismiss the case several times, claiming that transgender people are not covered under the 1964 law.

In his ruling, Robinson ordered the government to pay Schroer 491,190 in back pay and damages.

The suit was fought during the Bush administration. It is considered unlikely the Obama administration will appeal.

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NH Senate votes for marriage equality

Click here to find out more!
April 29th, 2009

(Concord, New Hampshire) The New Hampshire Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that would make the state the fifth in the nation to grant marriage equality.

The 13-11 vote came despite a recommendation last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee that it be rejected.

The chair of the committee, Sen. Deborah Reynolds (D) was one of those who recommended voting against the bill, but on Wednesday she voted for it, saying since the committee meeting she had heard from a large number of constituents who favored the bill.

Republicans voted in a block against the measure, along with one Democrat.

The bill was amended prior to the vote to draw a distinction between civil and religious weddings – allowing churches which do not approve of gay relationships to refuse to conduct ceremonies.

Last month the bill passed the House on a 186-179 vote, but the House will need to vote on this bill again, since it was amended by the Senate.

If it passes the House a second time, it will head to the desk of Gov. Gov. John Lynch who has said he believes the current civil union law works fine, but has not said if he would veto the bill.

Earlier on Wednesday a new poll was released showing most residents of New Hampshire support same-sex marriage.

The University of New Hampshire Survey Center Poll found that 55 percent of New Hampshire residents support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, while 39 percent oppose it.

The poll was sponsored by the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition.

Same-sex marriage already is legal in three New England states – Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. A Maine Senate committee also voted on gay marriage today. Rhode Island is the only New England state where same-sex marriage legislation has not advanced.

Elsewhere, same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa. New York Gov David Paterson (D) has unveiled legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry in the Empire State and in California, the Supreme Court is expected to rule this spring on the legality of Prop 8 the voter approved measure banning gay marriage in that state.

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Trans DSM-V rally/protest in San Francisco May 18

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trans DSM-V rally/protest in San Francisco May 18

Please spread the word about the upcoming protest and rally

at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in San Francisco.

Monday, May 18, 2009
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Location: Moscone Center 747 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 701-885-1125
Email: protestgenderdx@

The APA appointed Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard to determine how trans people will be categorized in the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Metal Disorder (DSM-V). On the 18th, transcommunity leaders will be speaking on a panel:

“In or Out?”: A Discussion About Gender Identity Diagnoses and the DSM

1. The DSM-V Revision Process: Principles and Progress William E. Narrow, M.D.
2. Beyond Conundrum: Strategies for Diagnostic Harm Reduction Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

3. Aligning Bodies With Minds: The Case for Medical and Surgical Treatment of Gender Dysphoria Rebecca Allison, M.D.
4. The Role of Medical and Psychological Discourse in Legal and Policy Advocacy for Transgender Persons in the U.S. Shannon P. Minter, J.D.

We need to stand up and be heard! This DSM-V revision will affect an entire generation of trans people and will be a historically significant factor in how our legal status is determined during the next 15 to 20 years.

Please join this Facebook event to help us plan the event. Questions?
Contact Lore M. Dickey at the contact information above.

This is talk, not advice. See Terms of Use for details.

Posted by Andrea James on 04/28 at 10:10 AM

©1996-2007 Transsexual Road Map. All rights reserved.

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APA Task Force Reviews Possible Gender Identity Disorder Treatment Guidelines

For Information Contact: For Immediate Release: Eve Herold, 703-907-8640

April 28, 2009 Release No. 09-22
Jaime Valora, 703-907-8562

ARLINGTON, Va. (April 28, 2009) — The American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees has established a task force on the treatment of Gender Identity Disorders (GID) to address concerns about the relative lack of evidence-based treatment guidelines and to determine if guidelines should be developed. The task force was created on a recommendation by the APA Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues.

The board asked the task force to review the literature on the treatment of Gender Identity Disorder at different ages and to report back with “an opinion as to whether or not there is sufficient credible literature to take the next step and develop treatment recommendations.”

The board asked the task force to communicate with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) work group on Gender Identity Disorder, which can serve as a resource on diagnostic issues during the term of the task force.

After the May 2008 announcement of DSM-V work group membership, the APA received many inquiries regarding the Gender Identity Disorders work group on treatment. These inquiries most often dealt with treatment controversies for GID in children, rather than issues related specifically to the DSM text and diagnostic criteria.

While the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders are inextricably linked, separation of the diagnostic mission of the DSM work groups from the evaluation of treatment issues is especially important.

Gender Identity Disorders Task Force on Treatment members have been identified and appointedby APA President Nada L. Stotland, M.D., M.P.H. They include APA members William M. Byne, M.D., Ph.D.; A. Evan Eyler, M.D., M.P.H.; Edgardo Jorge Menvielle, M.D., M.S.H.S.; Richard Randall Pleak, M.D.; and David A. Tompkins, M.D. Advisors include Susan Bradley,M.D.; Eli Coleman, Ph.D.; Richard Green, M.D., J.D., and Heino F. L. Meyer-Bahlburg, Dr., rer. nat.

About the American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the nation’s leading medical specialty society whose more than 38,000 physician members specialize in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research of mental illnesses including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at and

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House votes on hate crimes bill

(Washington) The US House is scheduled to vote today on legislation to add sexual orientation  and gender identity to the list of categories covered under federal hate crime law.

A parallel bill was introduced in the Senate on Tuesday.

Gay rights groups have been fighting to have the legislation passed for over a decade.

Because there is no federal law mandating states and municipalities to report hate crimes, they are often under-reported.  However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s own statistics, based on voluntary reporting, show that since 1991 over 100,000 hate crime offenses have been reported to the FBI, with 7,624 reported in 2007, the FBI’s most recent reporting period.

Violent crimes based on sexual orientation constituted 16.6 percent of all hate crimes in 2007, with 1,265 reported for the year. In addition, while not captured in the federal statistics, transgender Americans too often live in fear of violence.

The legislation gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

It provides the Justice Department with the ability to aid state and local jurisdictions either by lending assistance or, where local authorities are unwilling or unable, by taking the lead in investigations and prosecutions of violent crime resulting in death or serious bodily injury that were motivated by bias.

It also makes grants available to state and local communities to combat violent crimes committed by juveniles, train law enforcement officers, or to assist in state and local investigations and prosecutions of bias motivated crimes.

President Obama has said that if the bill is passed he would sign it.

The legislation  passed the House in 2007, but President Bush threatened to veto it if it passed in the Senate.

In an effort to get around a veto the Senate version was tied to the 2008 defense authorization bill.  It passed but then went to conference where it was stripped out.

A wide coalition of national organizations has called for the passage of the legislation.  Some of those organizations supporting this legislation include the National Sheriffs Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, 26 state Attorneys General  and the National District Attorneys Association.

“After more than a decade of delay and tens of thousands of additional victims, now is the time for this critical piece of legislation to be signed into law,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

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