Equality Texas Legislative Update for the week ending January 25, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Equality Texas Legislative Update for the week ending January 25, 2013

Thai trans group complain to IKEA about ad

From Gay Star News:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/thai-trans-group-complain-ikea-about-ad220113

Thai Transgender Alliance demand response from IKEA Global on ‘negative and stereotypical’ advert

By Anna Leach
22 January 2013

Thai Transgender Alliance have sent an open letter to IKEA to complain about a ‘negative and stereotypical’ advert.

The offending advert, called Luem Aeb (meaning ‘forget to deceive’), was broadcast on Bangkok’s sky train system from 28 December 2012 to 13 January 2013 and on YouTube.

‘The MTF transgender/transwomen character is openly mocked as being “deceitful”,’ read the open letter to IKEA from Thai Transgender Alliance.

‘The transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for “deceitful and deviant lifestyle”.’

The advert shows a woman who is so surprised by a sale item that she speaks with a male voice. The man she is with looks shocked and horrified. The last scene of the advert shows the man running away as the woman carries a box of flat-packed furniture by herself.

The letter from Thai Transgender Alliance demands that IKEA Global issue an official public statement about the advert.

Watch the advert here:

See also Huffington Post:  IKEA Ad Offends Transgender Group In Thailand

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Thai trans group complain to IKEA about ad

Transgender People of Color and Domestic Violence

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toni-newman/transgender-people-of-color-and-domestic-violence_b_2526793.html


Domestic violence is a crime in which one person asserts physical power over another individual for the purpose of controlling or dominating that person. As I engage in the legal system to fight for the rights of transgender individuals, I find that many transgender prisoners, especially transgender prisoners of color, are in personal relationships that are violent and abusive. In the pursuit of trying to find love and happiness, many transgender people accept physical abuse as love. The main reason I wrote my memoir, I Rise, was to educate and enlighten others about the transgender journey and the many obstacles that we have to overcome just to survive.

The transformation process requires great courage and determination against objections from family, friends and associates. Once the transformation process begins, there is a rebuilding of self-esteem that requires transgender people to relearn to accept themselves in their new body. If the transgender individual opts to go on a hormone regimen, that begins to change the body and its outward physical appearance, causing the individual to have to change their perception of self and rebuild their self-esteem in their new body. While rebuilding their self-esteem, they become vulnerable to individuals who give them attention or admiration, which an in turn lead them into relationships with people who are abusive, controlling and dominating.

Leigh Goodmark, a law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and an expert in family law and domestic violence, wrote a riveting paper in February 2012 called “Transgender People, Intimate Partner Abuse, and the Legal System,” which detailed the abuse that many transgender people suffer at the hands of their lovers, often ending in their deaths. In many instances the LGBT community forgets the “T” when fighting for legal and civil rights, because the transgender population is small in comparison to the lesbian, gay and bisexual population.

Goodmark writes in her paper:

Whether characterized as hate crimes or as assaults or other crimes … violence against trans people is disturbingly common. Surveys of trans people document the disproportionately high rates of violence they experience. A 2001 survey found that over their lifetimes, almost 60% of trans people experienced either violence or harassment: over half of trans people experienced verbal abuse, 23% were stalked, almost 20% were assaulted without a weapon, 10% were assaulted with a weapon, and almost 14% experienced rape or sexual abuse. Other surveys have found similarly high rates of violence against trans people. In its most recent survey of hate violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities in the United States, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) found that trans people were twice as likely to be assaulted or discriminated against and 1.5 times more likely to experience intimidation than cisgender white people.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/toni-newman/transgender-people-of-color-and-domestic-violence_b_2526793.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Transgender People of Color and Domestic Violence

Transsexual and transgender women denied access to shelters as temperatures drop in Montréal

From Sketchy Thoughts Canada:   http://sketchythoughts.blogspot.com/2013/01/transsexual-and-transgender-women.html

The following press release from ASTT(e)Q (Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec):

Transsexual and transgender women denied access to shelters as temperatures drop in Montréal
ASTT(e)Q urges Québec shelters to change discriminatory practices

25 January, 2013 – As temperatures drop to extreme lows, transsexual and transgender women in Montréal continue to be turned away from many homeless women’s shelters. Over the past week of bitter cold, ASTT(e)Q, a local trans health project of CACTUS Montréal, has witnessed several of our members be denied shelter on the grounds of being trans. While such refusals are frequently justified by administrative regulations, members of ASTT(e)Q believe that these exclusive practices are rooted in discriminatory attitudes towards trans people.

A majority of women’s shelters throughout Québec require trans people to have undergone sex reassignment surgery, and/or to have changed their legal sex. “Such requirements are unattainable for most homeless trans people, due to prohibitive costs, and extensive administrative requirements,” says Mirha-Soleil Ross, staff of ASTT(e)Q. “Trans women are left with no alternatives, as men’s shelters are clearly not an option. With no place to turn, homeless trans women find themselves on the streets, which in -30 below temperatures is nothing short of deadly.”

“Just this week, a trans woman who had her surgery months ago was refused access to a woman’s shelter because she didn’t have an ‘F’ on her identity documents! While we believe trans people should have access to shelter and housing regardless of surgical status, this is a clear case of discrimination disguised as administrative regulations,” continues Ross.

“We are currently seeing many important legal and social advances for trans people, including in neighbouring Ontario where one can change their legal sex regardless of surgical status,” says Nora Butler Burke, coordinator of ASTT(e)Q. “In Québec, trans people have been relentlessly educating intervention workers and calling for shelters to address the exclusion of homeless trans people for decades. Yet shelters continue to refuse trans people based on the outdated policies of the Québec Department of Civil Status.”

In the context of life threatening temperatures, ASTT(e)Q urges all shelters to immediately remove barriers to admission for trans people based on the legal documentation in their possession and/or their surgical status. More broadly, we advocate for access to shelters, as well as other gender specific services, to be available according to one’s social identity rather than according to their legal or surgical status. We encourage organizations across Québec to work in collaboration with trans community groups to ensure that trans people are no longer denied access.

About ASTT(e)Q (Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec)

ASTT(e)Q aims to promote the health and well-being of trans people through peer support and advocacy, education and outreach, and community empowerment and mobilization. We understand the health of trans people and our communities to be interrelated to economic and social inequalities, which have resulted in trans people experiencing disproportionate rates of poverty, un(der)employment, precarious housing, criminalization and violence. We believe in the right to self-determine our gender identity and gender expression free from coercion, violence and discrimination. We advocate for access to health care that will meet the many needs of our diverse communities, while working collectively to build supportive, healthy and resilient communities.

For interviews: Nora Butler Burke at 514-347-9462
Email: nora@astteq.org
For terms, definitions and additional information about trans people: http://www.santetranshealth.org

UK Catholic Church says ‘time to act is now’ against gay marriage

From Gay Star News:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk-catholic-church-says-time-act-now-against-gay-marriage280113

The Roman Catholic Church launched a last ditch attack against the UK government’s plans for gay marriage

By Dan Littauer
28 January 2013

The Roman Catholic Church has launched a last minute attack against the UK government’s plans to legalize gay marriage, 10 days before the vote.

In a letter on behalf of The Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith, the second most senior active Catholic cleric in England and Wales, told priests: ‘The time to act is now’ against gay marriage.

In the letter quoted by the The Telegraph, the Archbishop Smith urged Catholic priests to mobilize against marriage equality and put pressure on the government.

Archbishop Smith wrote: ‘It is therefore particularly important at this time for all MPs to be made aware of the strength of feeling on this issue among their own constituents, and the Bishops have received requests from a number of laity about mobilising further action.

‘The first key vote is likely to take place in early February so the time to act is now.

‘We need to encourage as many people as possible to get involved. Please do all you can’.

Over the weekend, Catholic priests across England and Wales have distributed a million postcards to churchgoers, asking them to complete and post them to their MP demanding that they vote against gay marriage.

Archbishop Smith has also recently stated about gay marriage that ‘the fundamental problem with the bill is that it will radically alter the meaning of marriage for everyone and therefore undermine the common good.

Continue reading at:  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk-catholic-church-says-time-act-now-against-gay-marriage280113

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on UK Catholic Church says ‘time to act is now’ against gay marriage

The boundaries of tolerance

From Pink News UK:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/23/comment-the-boundaries-of-tolerance/

23 January 2013

Don’t be fooled by the victim narrative of religious lobby groups, writes Adrian Tippetts for PinkNews. In a society of competing ideas, cultures and aspirations, individual liberty is sacrosanct.

The verdict from the European Court of Human Rights, in deciding against the Lilian Ladele, the Islington marriage registrar and Gary McFarlane the relationship therapist, who both refused to offer services to same-sex couples, is a landmark in the history of LGBT equality. The highest legal authority has finally ruled that withholding services against anyone on basis of sexual orientation is unlawful.

As predicted, not all are happy about this. The Telegraph claims in its leader comment  that the verdict marginalises Christians: ‘gay rights trump religious rights’. Its leader article says that the verdict reflects a secular society that is intolerant because it misses toleration – tolerating those beliefs of which we do not approve.

But tolerance cannot be a free for all, and the Christians in question do have certain liberties guaranteed. We have to determine the boundaries of tolerance, and for the consequences that acting on those beliefs has for others. As philosopher AC Grayling noted in his treatise on the defence of Enlightenment values, Liberty in the Age of Terror, toleration only works if is reciprocated. A tolerant society must not tolerate intolerance if it is to protect itself. That does not make tolerance in breach of itself: at its heart is an ethical demand that everyone should respect everyone else’s rights and liberties. The Strasbourg ruling works for both a devout Christian’s right of conscience and the gay couple’s right to equal treatment under the law: in performing their duties, the Christian employees are not forced to change their beliefs, about either homosexuality or the morality of their gay customers.

They have the freedom and full protection of the law to express and promote that belief, as many street preachers do on high-streets at weekends to bewildered passers-by. They have freedom to associate with others with similar beliefs in any mega-church of their choosing. Ms Ladele, a civil marriage registrar has the additional satisfaction of knowing the couple is not married in the eyes of god, let alone her God – a deliverance for the couple in question too, no doubt. Ladele and McFarlane  choose their professions and were under contractual obligations to offer their services to the general public. They have the liberty, like anyone else,  to say ‘no’ to the job if the terms and conditions do not meet their liking.

Continue reading at:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/23/comment-the-boundaries-of-tolerance/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The boundaries of tolerance

Britain Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Bill

From The Edge:  http://www.edgeonthenet.com/news/international/news//140992/britain_introduces_same-sex_marriage_bill

Associated Press
Friday Jan 25, 2013

The British government published a bill to legalize same-sex marriage Friday, and said lawmakers will get their first vote on it in Parliament next month.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill extends marriage to gay couples but excludes clergy in the Church of England – the country’s official faith – from having to carry out the ceremonies.

That is intended to placate religious opponents of same-sex unions – though it has not stopped criticism of the bill from religious leaders.

“We feel that marriage is a good thing and we should be supporting more couples to marry and that is exactly what the proposals being brought forward today do,” Equalities Minister Maria Miller told BBC radio.

But she said the bill offered “protections … for churches who feel that this isn’t appropriate for their particular beliefs.”

The bill is likely to become law because it is supported by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, many members of his Cabinet and most Liberal Democrat and Labour lawmakers.

But some reactionary Conservative lawmakers say they will vote against it. The first debate and vote are scheduled for Feb 5.

Continue reading at:  http://www.edgeonthenet.com/news/international/news//140992/britain_introduces_same-sex_marriage_bill

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Britain Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Bill