Labor union vows to advocate on behalf of transgender workers during contract negotiations
Washington – Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, applauds the member-delegates of the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for passing a resolution at their 2012 national conference in Denver yesterday. The resolution states that SEIU local groups and members will bargain for transgender-inclusive heath care coverage as part of their contract negotiations with businesses and employers.
“This is a tremendous step forward in the fight for workplace equality for LGBT people,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Our friends at SEIU recognize that all workers should be treated equitably, and that includes being free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We are incredibly grateful to Mary Kay Henry and the SEIU member-delegates for continuing to be champions of justice and equality.”
With the passage of this resolution, SEIU joins the HRC Foundation, who, for the last decade, has been working to make workplace policies and protections more inclusive for transgender employees and their families through its Corporate Equality Index (CEI). This year the CEI rating criteria was made more stringent, requiring employers to have transgender inclusive health insurance coverage. A remarkable 206 companies met the criteria. Furthermore, HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index recommends that all U.S. healthcare facilities provide transgender-inclusive health coverage to their employees.
Historically, transgender people have been categorically denied health care coverage for medically necessary treatment, irrespective of whether treatment is related to sex reassignment/affirmation. Until recently, nearly all U.S employer-based health insurance plans contained “transgender exclusions” that limited insurance coverage for this population.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
From New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/news/features/transgender-children-2012-6/
By Jesse Green
Published May 27, 2012
Looking up from the changing table, the beautiful boy said to his mother, “I want to be a girl.”
This was not a passing phase. At 3, Mark asked to dress for Halloween as Dora the Explorer; his parents bargained him down to Darth Vader, which at least featured a cape. At 5, he insisted on trick-or-treating as Gabriella Montez, the High School Musical sweetheart. By then, his birthday parties were girl-only, with girl-only themes. Any boy toys received were instantly re-gifted to a cousin.
At first, his mom was “all Free to Be You and Me about it,” she says, willing to let Mark experiment within reason. But whose reason? The neighborhood’s? (The Benders, as I’ll call them, live in a conservative suburb in the tri-state area.) Their own? They of course loved Mark, the middle of their three sons, but worried that permission amounted to encouragement. As for Mark’s “reason”—well, as many people trying to be helpful pointed out, it was pre-rational, as if this diminished instead of intensified its authenticity. Who credits a child’s wishes? Their youngest son wanted to be Spider-Man.
But the Benders knew that Mark’s desire was different: It went far deeper than a costume donned or discarded. When asked to explain himself, he’d say things like, “I want to have long hair that moves.” The Benders would counter: Well, there’s the dad at the bus stop whose hair is like that, and he’s a boy; you can be a boy like that. “But I don’t want to be a boy with those things,” Mark would answer. “I want to be a girl with those things.” The more he pushed, the more they worried, and the more desperate his rhetoric became. “Why did God make me this way?” he cried. “I don’t like myself.” “I hate myself.” “I want God to take me up to the clouds and bring me back down as a girl.”
Through her reading on the subject, Mark’s mother gradually came to feel that she and her husband had to be that “God” for their son. But it took Mark’s implicit threats of self-harm to convince his dad. “I’m in a conservative business; I sell software,” he says. “I want the normal life. And this was gonna be different, when my son is getting out of the car in a dress in front of everybody. But then you have to think about who are you protecting? Yourself or your kid? People would say, ‘I can’t believe you’d let your kid do that. That’s abuse.’ I’ll tell you what’s abuse: suicide. Do you want a live daughter or a dead son?”
Continue reading at: http://nymag.com/news/features/transgender-children-2012-6/
I added a link under Resources for The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.
From The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging: http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/resource.cfm?r=512
Harper Jean Tobin, Policy Counsel, National Center for Transgender Equality
Organizations serving LGBT older adults regularly ask the National Resource Center, or my organization, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), how they can better serve transgender people. They may not see trans older adults taking advantage of their services and programs, or they may feel staff or volunteers are unprepared to adequately serve this segment of the community. They may even have encountered prejudice against trans older adults among other LGBT community members. These are common challenges for LGBT organizations of all kinds. The following advice is adapted from Opening the Door to the Inclusion of Transgender People: The Nine Keys to Making Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations Fully Transgender Inclusive a publication of NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. These principles can help guide organizations toward full inclusion of transgender older adults.
Continue reading at: http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/resource.cfm?r=512
From In These Times: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/13257/torie_osborn_crashes_the_party
The spirited California Assembly candidate battles the Democratic establishment.
BY Steve Early
May 24, 2012
In 2008, thousands of Obama campaign volunteers got fired up about electoral politics in a way they hadn’t been before. Four years later, some are now running for office themselves. But few have made a bigger splash in local Democratic circles than former In These Times staffer Torie Osborn, a nationally-known advocate for gay and lesbian rights and other progressive causes. Her insurgent campaign for a California Assembly seat has roiled the waters of Los Angeles-area liberalism and bucked the legislative leadership in Sacramento, which is circling the wagons around her main opponent.
If Santa Monica-based Osborn beats Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in the newly-created 50th Assembly district—either on June 5 or in a November general election run-off—her victory over the party establishment will be a Left Coast monument to what might have been possible, in more places, if Obama’s campaign organization (or the Democratic Party) had been serious about grassroots movement building. “There could have been 100, or even 1,000 Torie Osborns, who came out of the network of energized people trying to change American politics in 2008,” says California political consultant Paul Kumar, an admirer of Osborn’s “extraordinary campaign organization.”
Given her strong resume as a community organizer, non-profit organization leader, and influential advisor to several Los Angeles mayors, it’s been surprising to some that Osborn’s well-funded first-time bid for public office wasn’t welcomed by Assembly Speaker John Pérez and other Democratic legislators. After helping to launch this magazine as a founding staff member in the mid-1970s, she played leadership roles in the National Organization for Women, a pioneering Los Angeles clinic for HIV/AIDS sufferers, and the national Gay and Lesbian Task Force that mobilized hundreds of thousands of civil rights marchers in Washington in 1993. While serving as director of Liberty Hill Foundation, and later with United Way, she helped channel millions of dollars from well-heeled Hollywooders into Los Angeles neighborhood projects dealing with gang violence, low-income housing, and environmental issues. Osborn’s latest work, with California Calls, has focused on boosting voter registration in the state and building a coalition to end “loopholes for giant corporate property owners and the requirement of a two-thirds supermajority vote by legislators to increase taxes.”
As San Francisco lawyer and Democratic Party activist Paul Hogarth noted in a February 2012 post on the Bay Area political blog Beyond Chron, California’s just-completed redistricting process has given “Democrats an historic opportunity to pick up seats in November— and win a two-thirds majority that would make Republicans irrelevant.” Instead, Hogarth charged, “[Speaker] Pérez has diverted resources from competitive ‘swing districts’ and is instead meddling into Democratic primary fights in deep-blue seats” so he can “consolidate control at the expense of everything else.” The chances of the Democrats gaining the necessary two additional seats in both houses of the legislature has decreased, as a result.
Continue reading at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/13257/torie_osborn_crashes_the_party
The 1992 Rio Earth summit established “sustainable development” firmly in the global political lexicon – even though the term meant, and continues to mean, different things to different people. For Stephan Schmidheiny, a CEO who was appointed chief adviser for business and industry at the summit and subsequently set up the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, it apparently means continuing with business as usual: in February, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the deaths of thousands of workers at his asbestos-cement factory.
As the Rio+20 anniversary conference approaches, a battle rages over the definition of another term: “green economy“. “A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” is a key conference theme. It sounds good, but what does it mean?
According to one of the official preparatory documents (pdf): “Several delegations proposed the valuing of ecosystem services and internalising of environmental externalities as key elements of a green economy, as well as green accounting (pdf); while some delegations cautioned against further marketisation of nature’s services.”
The jargon masks some diametrically opposing views. On one side, many northern governments are saying we trash the natural world because we don’t value it properly. So far, so good. But they go on to confuse “value” with “price”, which is where it all starts to break down. They argue that to conserve or protect the resources and functions we need from nature, we need to ascribe a financial value to them and bring them into the market. Then we will pay the proper price for nature and stop destroying it.
The UK government is a big advocate of this approach, having bought heavily into the recommendations of a report on the subject by a team led by the former Deutsche Bank employee Pavan Sukhdev. It has gone as far as publishing a white paper that commits to pushing the agenda, both in the UK and on the international stage.
A market-based approach to dealing with natural resources is not an entirely new concept. The idea behind the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (Redd), for example, is that if the carbon stored in forests is valued and quantified, forests will be seen as more valuable standing than they would be cut down.