Shows with gays could lose Florida tax credit

A lot of people think I am off the wall regarding Republi-Nazis and their cohorts the Brownshirt Tea Baggers and Christo-fascists.  To quote the title of a Sinclair Lewis novel, It Can’t Happen Here.  Except it can.  If Nazism comes to this country it will wrap itself in a flag, carry a Bible and tout “family values”.

From Raw Story:

Florida lawmakers are considering a “family friendly” bill that would deny tax credits to films and television shows with gay characters in favour of those promoting traditional values.

The proposal, which has fuelled a heated controversy for its discriminatory nature, would increase current tax credits from two to five percent of productions costs for shows considered “family friendly.”

Those productions are defined as films or TV shows with a “cross-generational appeal” that includes a “responsible resolution of issues.” Smoking, profanity, nudity and sex are also out, along with what the state’s sex crime laws define as “obscene.”

Continue reading at:  http://rawstory.com/news/afp/Shows_with_gays_could_lose_Florida__03092010.html

New York State: Today is Statewide GENDA Call-In Day – It’s Time to Act!

Today is Statewide GENDA Call-In Day – It’s Time to Act!

Last week, the New York State Assembly passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The only remaining obstacle to the bill becoming law is the New York State Senate. The time is NOW to take action and make our final push to get the Senate to vote to end discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

GENDA would amend the state’s human rights law to ban discrimination in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations. It also expands the state’s hate crimes law to explicitly include crimes against transgender people.

We need you to call your Senator and the lead Senate sponsor Tom Duane at their Albany offices to tell them that you want them to bring GENDA to the Senate floor and pass it. We’re at a crucial moment and it is vital that they hear from you.

Here’s how to make your calls:

1. Find your State Senator’s Albany phone number here. You can reach Senator Tom Duane at (518) 455-2451.

2. Tell them the number of the GENDA bill (S.2406) and ask them to support GENDA and bring it to the floor for a vote.

3. Use these talking points to convey the urgent need for GENDA and the broad support it has:

  • Transgender people experience tremendous job discrimination. One-fifth of transgender New Yorkers have incomes below $10,000 a year.
  • 28% of transgender New Yorkers have experienced a serious physical or sexual assault motivated by hate.
  • 78% of New York voters support GENDA.
  • Unions representing 2.1 million working New Yorkers support GENDA.
  • 30 Fortune 500 companies based in cities like Rochester, Corning, New York City and White Plains already have non-discrimination policies that include gender identity and expression. It’s time for the rest of the state to catch up.
  • 547 clergy and lay leaders representing over 20 different religious denominations support GENDA.

4. After your call, please report your results to our partners at the Empire State Pride Agenda. Tell them which Senators you called, who you spoke to in the Senator’s office, and what response you received. Your feedback will help us pass GENDA in 2010!

Working together, we can win! If you can’t call today, call tomorrow. Start making those phone calls now!

Can you help phone bank for GENDA this Thursday?

Phone banking is a key element in the strategy to win protections for transgender New Yorkers. If you have some time to spare, you can make a huge difference. The GENDA phone bank will take place this Thursday, March 11th, from 5:30 – 8:30 pm at the offices of the Empire State Pride Agenda. You can arrive any time between 5:30 and 7:30 pm and stay for as long as your schedule allows.

Please respond by calling Joanna at 212.627.0305, x103 or sending an email letting her know that you are available.

Please forward this message to anyone you think might be interested in helping.

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DART asked to add trans protections

From DallasVoice.com
http://www.dallasvoice.com/artman/publish/article_12541.php

Texas
DART asked to add trans protections
By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com
Feb 25, 2010 – 6:19:06 PM

LGBT leaders also call for investigation of agency’s involvement in employee’s gender-marker case.

LGBT leaders this week called upon Dallas Area Rapid Transit to add transgender protections to its nondiscrimination policy, adopt domestic partner benefits, implement diversity training and conduct an investigation into its involvement in a family court case last year.

Representatives from the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and Resource Center Dallas addressed DART’s board of directors during its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23, in response to an article in the Feb. 19 issue of Dallas Voice about the agency’s decision in February 2009 to challenge a longtime employee’s gender-marker change.

DART’s objections reportedly prompted state district Judge Lynn Cherry to overturn an order granting the gender-marker change, leading to allegations of transphobia and bigotry against the taxpayer-funded regional mass transit provider.

“This is a highly publicized event and article in our community,” DGLA President Patti Fink told the DART board. “This is a really great opportunity for the DART board to step up in a leadership role and come into the 21st century.”

According to DART spokesman Morgan Lyons, the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. DART also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees, Lyons has said.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, DART president and executive director Gary Thomas indicated that he hadn’t had a chance to look into the situation involving the transgender employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity.

“I’m certainly not in a position right now to say we’re going to do anything differently,” Thomas told Dallas Voice. “I need to review the circumstances and understand better what happened.”

Longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee’s who attended Tuesday’s meeting, said afterward she believes the board will “do the right thing.”

“They might drag their feet, but I don’t think they’re going to react badly,” Curry said. “I’m optimistic that we are heading toward a good resolution.”

Curry, who brought the case to Dallas Voice’s attention two weeks ago, said she spoke to the employee by phone after Tuesday’s meeting. The employee was “thrilled” to learn about the support she’s receiving from the community, Curry said.

“I honestly don’t think [she] has anything more to worry about at this point,” Curry said. “I doubt seriously they’re going to retaliate against her. It would be pretty stupid of them to retaliate now.”

Earlier, Curry told the DART board that the agency’s decision to intervene in the gender-marker case was “the culmination of six years of discrimination and bigotry and harassment and fostering a hostile work environment.”

Curry alleges that since the longtime employee began to transition from male to female in 2003, DART supervisors have told her she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms on the job. Lyons, the DART spokesman, has declined to comment on those allegations.

After undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2006, the employee obtained a court order last year directing state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female. When the employee presented the court order to DART’s human resources department, the agency’s attorneys drafted a motion seeking a rehearing in the case.

In their motion, DART attorneys argued that judges don’t have the authority to change gender markers, and that birth certificates can be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time they were issued. As is common with gender marker changes, the case file is sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.

Contacted this week, Judge Cherry said she hadn’t read the Voice’s Feb. 19 article about the case and wasn’t immediately familiar with it because she presides over thousands of cases each year.

Cherry, a Democrat who’s considered an LGBT ally, received Stonewall Democrats’ Pink Pump Award last year for her support of the group.

After being provided with the case number, Cherry looked it up and said that for unknown reasons it’s still pending. Therefore, Cherry said she couldn’t comment.

In a letter to DART board member Angel Reyes prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the Resource Center’s Rafael McDonnell suggested that DART attorneys and Cherry may have committed ethical violations by engaging in ex parte communications about the case. In response to phone and e-mail messages, Reyes declined to comment on the letter.

Lyons, the DART spokesman, has said that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender-marker change before the agency filed its motion for a rehearing. But Curry alleges that the attorneys spoke privately with Cherry and pressured her into reversing the order.

According to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and the State Bar of Texas, judges and attorneys are generally prohibited from discussing pending cases unless all parties are notified and/or present.

In his letter to Reyes, McDonnell went on to say that some of DART’s peer agencies, including BART in San Francisco and MBTA in Boston, have added gender identity/expression to their nondiscrimination policies. The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth have also adopted ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.

“Without a doubt, you have gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender customers among the 220,000 riders on DART each weekday,” McDonnell told the board.

“Resource Center Dallas is calling for an immediate and thorough investigation into this incident, and a renewed commitment to diversity through expanding the agency’s nondiscrimination policies, implementing diversity training and adopting domestic partner benefits.

“This agency’s actions — or the lack of action — are being watched by the GLBT community, and sends a signal to them on how DART values them as customers and employees,” McDonnell said.

Others from the LGBT community who attended Tuesday’s meeting were Stonewall Democrats President Erin Moore, Latisha McDaniel of Equality March Texas, and Blake Wilkinson and Corbin Bates of Queer LiberAction.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 26, 2010.

© Copyright by DallasVoice.com

Looking to the past, looking to the future

National Center for Transgender Equality – DC, USA

Looking to the past, looking to the future

Yesterday marked the 45th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, a day when about 600 non-violent civil rights marchers left to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. They had just gone a few blocks when Alabama state troopers launched tear gas at the crowds, attacked the marchers with billy clubs, and charged them on horseback, thus driving them back to Selma. Two days later, Martin Luther King Jr. led a march as far as the bridge where the beatings and violence had taken place. Finally, on March 21, about 3,200 people set out again on the 54-mile journey to Montgomery, this time with federal protection to prevent the violence they had encountered before. By the time they reached Montgomery four days later, their numbers had grown to more than 25,000 people.

The march took place after years of work for voter registration and for integration. Those who advocated for their rights faced beatings, shootings and other violence that had gone on for years. Even thought the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had passed, those civil rights had not been realized. One of the impacts of Bloody Sunday and the other marches was that it changed the emotional tone of America’s response to the civil rights movement. American’s eyes were opened in a new way to the ugly brutality of the police and the humanity of the marchers.
In the months that followed, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other important gains were made.

One of the people beaten badly on Bloody Sunday was John Lewis, now a member of Congress representing Georgia’s 5th district, and someone who has dedicated his life to fighting all forms of discrimination. He is one of ENDA’s cosponsors. He had been involved in the voting rights activism that led to the Selma to Montgomery march in the early 60s,
organizing people to go to the courthouse to register to vote. Yesterday, as part of the commemorations, Congressman Lewis led a group back over the bridge over the Alabama River where he had been attacked by state troopers many years ago.

Thinking back to the events of the Selma to Montgomery march remind us that change–genuine, lasting changes to end discrimination–take time, sacrifice and ongoing dedication. The racism that led to the beatings and violence has not ended yet, although the country has seen remarkable changes and gains to American civil rights. The advances of the civil rights movement have improved our country in ways beyond measure, moving us closer to the ideal of democracy that Americans cherish.

Securing basic rights for transgender Americans–including the job protections in ENDA–has taken many years and will continue to call upon us to take action as work to pass this bill. On the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, it is an opportunity to commit ourselves to ending discrimination in all its forms, against our community and all others.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 8th, 2010 at 10:47 pm

http://transgenderequality.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/looking-to-the-past-looking-to-the-future/

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Take Action Against DART Transphobia

[I am embarrassed to say that I am only slightly aware of the details of this story.  Particularly since those details I have heard are very disturbing.  I will try to learn more and post that information.  I am under the impression that the woman being harassed is post-SRS and several years post transition, had all her paper work legally changed and that some bureaucrat decided to act like a right wing Christo-Nazi and change her sex designation back to male and return her paper work to her original male name.

We as post-SRS women are suddenly finding ourselves vulnerable to this sort of BS because the data banks and access to any and all information regarding us is just a few mouse clicks away.  all it takes is a Christo-fascist, self rightious bigot with motivation to deny us employment, privacy and ruin our lives.]

What if?

What if you woke one morning to find your employer had changed your name?

What if they altered your legal documents changing your gender marker from female to male?

What if as a woman, your employer made you dress in clothes of the opposite sex, made you use the wrong restroom and addressed you as sir?

What if your employer did not allow you to have routine medical procedures because they now insist that you are not whom your legal documents previously said you were?

What if your employer did these things and then threatened your job, your pension, the very foundation of your family home, if you asked anyone for help?

This is not a nightmarish Orwellian big brother scenario. This is happening now, today, to Ms T DART, a transgender employee of the Dallas Rapid Regional Transit, silenced by intimidation into anonymity.

Are you a resident of these Texas counties?

• Collin County
• Dallas County
• Denton County
• Ellis County
• Kaufman County
• Rockwall County
• Tarrant County (TRE operates in Dallas and Tarrant counties)

Then this could also happen to you regardless of how secure you feel you are.

WE MUST NOT ALLOW THIS TO BE A REALITY FOR Ms. T DART.

Please email your city council members and elected Dart representative and tell them that you will not allow this to stand. Tell your representatives at your cities DART board meetings that we live in a country that is built on the promise that all people are equal and everyone has the right to life liberty and justice.

We do not live in a country that allows employers to influence judges to reverse court findings in a way that strips us of our very identities.

Please attend this DART Board meeting on February 9, 2009

RSVP on the Face Book event page
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=377841175010&ref=mf

Sign in before the meeting to be given three Minutes to speak.

Board Meeting: Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Board Room
DART Headquarters
1401 Pacific Ave. (Akard Station)
Dallas, TX 75202

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Stop Violence Against Women

IRC TAKE ACTION

Stop Violence Against Women

Watch our short video. Then, stand up for a child.

Friend,

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, women and girls are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse as they struggle to survive and protect their families. Stand up for women in Haiti, and other women around the world who face unspeakable violence. Watch our video and sign the IRC petition asking Congressional leaders to protect and empower women.

We must ensure a safer, more secure future for women and girls. The International Violence Against Women Act is a critical first step by helping survivors, protecting those still vulnerable and preventing further violence through international aid programs and foreign policy efforts.

Empower women by signing our petition to stop violence against women around the world. We have a responsibility to support those who are threatened and abused.

Sincerely,
Robyn Yaker
Emergency Gender Based Violence Coordinator, International Programs
International Rescue Committee

Submit the Petition
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