By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss
February 19, 2013
I’ve been invited this weekend to a symposium sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Journal of Law, Gender and Society, on the subject of Transcending Gender Lines: Title IX and Transgender Rights. I thought I’d take a break from my recent series on filing employment discrimination complaints to talk about Title IX and transgender students.
There are a lot of other fabulous people coming, and the full line up is here.
My paper is entitled “Protecting Transgender Students: Application of Title IX to Gender Identity or Expression and the Constitutional Right to Gender Autonomy.” The bottom line of this paper? If you’re filing a case to protect transgender students’ rights to proper forms of address, dress codes, facilities usage and protection from invasive questioning, then you can’t count on Title IX alone. You should also file a claim under the U.S. Constitution for the right to gender autonomy.
You may remember me banging on about the “right to gender autonomy,” in a post right here on The Bilerico Project, some years ago when I was writing a law review article on it. That article eventually was published in the Touro Journal of Race, Gender and Ethnicity. Anyway, after the jump is my brief take on the application of this constitutional right to Title IX and transgender students. There are a few typos — it’s just a conference draft — but look for a much expanded and polished version this coming Fall in the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender and Society.
Dr. Jillian T. Weiss, Professor of Law and Society, Ramapo College of New Jersey
Susan began her fifth-grade year in September, 2007. Her use of the girls’ restroom went smoothly until a male student followed her into the restroom on September 28 and called her a fag and again disrupted her use of the girls’ restroom on October 3. The male student entered the restroom at the instigation of his grandfather, his guardian, who told him that Susan was really a boy and shouldn’t be allowed to use the female restroom. The male student’s grandfather urged him to enter the girls’ restroom because he disagreed with the sexual orientation anti-discrimination law and told his grandson that if Susan could use the restroom as a boy, then the male student could use that restroom as well. The grandfather had a political or religious objection to the sexual orientation nondiscrimination law. The male student’s conduct was a violation of serious school policies. No other students expressed discomfort with or objected to Susan’s use of the girls’ restroom.
From The Center For American Progress: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/report/2013/02/19/53931/an-executive-order-to-prevent-discrimination-against-lgbt-workers/
Endnotes and citations are available in the PDF version of this issue brief.
Under federal law it is entirely legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. At the same time, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender—or LGBT—Americans report widespread discrimination in the workplace, which forces many of them into the ranks of the unemployed and leaves them without an income to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, and otherwise make ends meet. Workplace discrimination is not only a problem for workers—it also presents problems for businesses by introducing inefficiencies and costs that cut into profits and undermine businesses’ bottom lines.
While many states, municipalities, and corporations have instituted policies that shield LGBT workers from workplace bias, LGBT individuals currently lack adequate legal protections from employment discrimination. In fact, a majority of workers currently live in states that have not passed laws giving LGBT workers legal protections from workplace discrimination.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would bring uniform protections to all workers. If passed, the law would require that all Americans be judged in the workplace based on their skills, qualifications, and the quality of their work—not on job-irrelevant characteristics such as their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Short of a federal law, however, President Barack Obama can take a significant step toward combating discrimination against our nation’s LGBT workers. The president can issue an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating at all levels of employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Research indicates that the executive order would have a positive impact on workers, businesses, and the federal government.
by Robin Marty,
February 19, 2013
Note: Think that anti-choice politicians and activists aren’t trying to outlaw contraception? Think again. Follow along in an ongoing series that proves beyond a doubt that they really are coming for your birth control.
Charlotte Lozier Institute’s Michael New is at it again, with another article reminding us of why the battle over the right to control a woman’s reproduction is about more than just abortion, but also about contraception and the act of sex itself.
Writing in the National Review Online, New posits that the clearest way to determine a person’s opinions on whether abortion should remain legal is to examine whether or not that person believes premarital sex is immoral. It’s a fairly simple gamble to make, and one that doesn’t need any studies or surveys to really back it up. Considering almost 60 percent of Americans think that premarital sex isn’t a sin, and that 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex (yes, even people who believe they were going to Hell for doing it… well, do it), the idea that the same minority of people would also believe abortion is immoral would make perfect sense.
What doesn’t make sense (at least, not if anti-choice advocates really want to end legal abortion) is arguing that the best way to proceed is to convince people that premarital sex is wrong. I guess the assumption is that as a corollary, more people would then want abortion ended as well?
“Women are targets”: an interview with former foreign reporter Anne Sebba, author of a book on women journalists
Feb 21 2013
It’s tempting to think women can do everything men can. And then you hear about Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted in Egypt during a protest, after Mubarak had been deposed and while she was with her camera crew. Logan told a press conference last month that she now keeps a journal for her two young children “so that if something happens to her they’ll know why she does what she does.”
Anne Sebba, a biographer and former Reuters correspondent in Rome, notes that in many ways, things are easier today for a woman reporter than they were in what she calls “the days of the still-idolized Martha Gellhorn, who had to dress up as a hospital orderly in order to report the D-Day landings in competition with her husband Ernest Hemingway.” The new edition of Battling for News, Sebba’s 1994 history of women reporters, is a story of women’s competence in the field overcoming sexism against them.
But while she acknowledges that a lot has changed for the better, Sebba has given the new introduction to Battling for News a downbeat spin. (The book will be re-released in the UK in April.) While inherent bias in journalism has eased, changes in media technology and combat tactics have put women reporters in physical peril.
by Ruth Rosen
February 21, 2013
You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby (Or Have You?)
The Women’s Movement, the Next Half-Century
In 1968, the Phillip Morris Company launched a memorable campaign to sell Virginia Slims, a new brand of cigarettes targeting women, itself a new phenomenon. It had a brand-new slogan: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” The company plastered it on billboards nationwide and put it in TV ads that featured women of the early twentieth century being punished for smoking. In all their advertising, smoking was equated with a set of traits meant to capture the essence of women in a new era of equality — independence, slimness, glamour, and liberation.
As it happened, the only equality this campaign ended up supporting involved lung cancer. Today, women and men die at similar rates from that disease.
Still, women have come a long way since the mid-twentieth century, and it’s worth considering just how far — and just how far we have to go.
Once Upon a Time
These days it may be hard for some to believe, but before the women’s movement burst on the scene in the late 1960s, newspapers published ads for jobs on different pages, segregated by gender. Employers legally paid women less than men for the same work. Some bars refused to serve women and all banks denied married women credit or loans, a practice which didn’t change until 1974. Some states even excluded women from jury duty.
Radio producers considered women’s voices too abrasive to be on the air and television executives believed that women didn’t have sufficient credibility to anchor the news. Few women ran big corporations or universities, or worked as firefighters and police officers. None sat on the Supreme Court, installed electrical equipment, climbed telephone poles, or owned construction companies. All hurricanes had female names, due to the widely held view that women brought chaos and destruction to society.
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlo-thomas/equal-pay-for-women_b_2678611.html
Let’s play a little game.
Let’s say you’re a hard-working working woman. You’re trying to make ends meet and doing okay — the economy is tough, but you’re tougher.
Still, it’s a struggle. Suddenly, someone walks up to you and hands you a $10,000 check. You’re thrilled, of course, and immediately begin thinking about what you’ll do with the new-found dough. Maybe you’ll put it right into the bank to save for the kids’ college tuition. Maybe you’ll go shopping for a car, so you can get back and forth to work easier. Or maybe you’ll just say, “What the hell,” and finally plan that well-earned family vacation.
Whatever your decision, this money was an unexpected windfall — and one that you technically didn’t earn, right?
Well, the truth is, if you’re a working woman in America today, you actually did earn that money. It’s just that no one ever gave it to you.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, the majority of America’s full-time working women are still being paid 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes — a paltry 18-cent increase over what women were making in 1970, when I first joined the fight for equal pay. This disparity, says the Law Center, translates into $10,622 less per median-income woman every year.
There’s that check for ten grand that you never got.
Almost two years ago, I posted a blog that underscored our failure to make headway in this forty-year fight. I noted that not only is pay disparity dispiriting at the bottom of the ladder (where hourly-waged men made 40 or 80 cents an hour more than women), but downright outrageous up the corporate ladder, where the gap between women and men executives is $150,000 a year. That should shake all of us up.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlo-thomas/equal-pay-for-women_b_2678611.html
Our little group of a dozen families was running out of time. After meeting every weekend for three years to plan our hoped-for cohousing community, and after investing much of our savings to acquire a few acres of land, it looked as though our dream would fail. We couldn’t find a bank that would finance a cooperative.
It was our local credit union that saved us. “You’re owned by your members? What’s so odd about that? We’re owned by our members,” the president of the Kitsap Credit Union mused.
With that financing, we were able to build 30 affordable homes and a common house, and to make space available for gardens, an orchard, a playfield, and a tiny urban forest. In 1992, we moved into Winslow Cohousing, the first member-developed cohousing community in the United States.
Co-ops—just like people—can get more done together than anyone can do alone. The good news is that co-ops come in many forms and are more common than you might imagine. They are owned by workers, residents, consumers, farmers, craftspeople, the community, or any combination. What they have in common is that they circulate the benefits back to their member-owners, and these benefits ripple out to the broader community. As Marjorie Kelly explains, cooperative forms of ownership allow the well-being of people, the planet, and future generations to take priority over profits for shareholders and executives.
This is an exciting moment for cooperatives. A growing disillusionment with big banks and corporations is sparking interest in economic alternatives, and new opportunities are opening up:
• The United Steelworkers and other unions are exploring worker-ownership as a means to assure stable, living-wage jobs that can’t be outsourced to low-wage regions.
• Communities seeking alternatives to profit-driven corporate health insurance are forming health care co-ops.
By Bruce Melton
Thursday, 21 February 2013
Beginning in just eight years, we could see permanent climate conditions across the North American Southwest that are comparable to the worst megadrought in 1,000 years. (1)
The latest research from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University published in December 2012 has some truly astounding news. The megadroughts referred to in the paper published in Nature Climate Change happened around about 900 to 1300 AD and are so extreme that they have no modern counterpart for comparison (these megadroughts will be referred to in the following as the “12th century megadrought”). The research was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
We have been warned for decades that we would be facing a megadrought if we did not do something about climate pollution. We did not, and now according to the projections of a new study, that is just what the future may hold. And remember, projected conditions similar to the worst megadrought in 1,000 years would be the baseline conditions. Dry periods, which we normally refer to as drought times today, would be superimposed on top of the megadrought extremeness.
The Lamont-Doherty research not only includes one of the four new climate scenarios, but also uses the new high-resolution climate models that provide more detail and accuracy. Both will be found in the forthcoming 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC 2013). The authors tell us about the new climate scenario:
The RCP85 scenario involves stronger anthropogenic radiative forcing [than the old IPCC scenario] and was chosen to reflect the present lack of any international action to limit CO2 emissions.
Let me interpret. “RCP85” is one of four new scenarios the IPCC has requested the research community to prepare. The four scenarios were chosen from existing international research literature in 2007 at a meeting in the Netherlands consisting of 130 international stakeholders.
Wednesday, Feb. 20 2013
With debate over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” running at a fever pitch, it seems the only thing everyone can agree on is that, for better or worse, there is plenty of natural gas down there for the taking.
Now a provocative analysis of unconventional fuel reserves in the United States aims to slap a big question mark over that assumption. In a comprehensive look at all the major shale gas plays currently being tapped across the U.S., the study focuses on the rapid decline of individual gas wells, along with entire fields, and concludes that optimistic projections for a long-running boom that will unleash cheap gas for decades to come are unwarranted.
“The hype around shale gas is just that,” said David Hughes, a geologist and former research manager with the Geological Survey of Canada who authored the study, which was release on Tuesday.
Dr. Hughes is not exactly reporting from neutral ground. The study was sponsored by the Post Carbon Institute, a California-based think tank that promotes sustainable energy. Yet, Dr. Hughes says, the numbers are there in black and white, drawn from a widely used industry database.
It’s not that shale gas isn’t abundant, Dr. Hughes says, but that fracking only releases gas from a relatively small volume of rock. And apart from a few “sweet spots,” much of the overall reserve is of relatively marginal quality. Once the sweet spots are tapped out, continuing to get gas out of the ground at the current rate is going to require a vastly ramped-up effort with attendant environmental costs. The likely outcome, he says, is a decline in production and a rise in price, which means that expectations that gas will replace coal as an economically viable, cleaner burning alternative, or enable the U.S. to become a net exporter of liquid natural gas, are off base.
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/21/keystone-xl-pipeline-bad-for-canada
The choice President Obama has faced in recent weeks – whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline – has been framed as a choice between losing the support of environmentalists or alienating America’s key ally, Canada. Here’s a better approach: President Obama should use the Keystone XL pipeline issue to send a message to Canada that its environmental policies are damaging to both Canada and the world.
The Keystone pipeline feels like a reward for Canada’s worst practices. Last year was perhaps the nadir of Canada’s dwindling track record on environmental issues. Not only has Stephen Harper‘s government amended the Coastal Trade Act to explicitly encourage oil companies to drill for oil in the Gulf of St Lawrence – the world’s largest estuary and home to a unique ecosystem that would likely be damaged by the process – but the $160m cuts to environmental spending in last year’s budget decimated the projects set up to monitor and mitigate against the damage caused by tar sand refining and drilling. For example, one victim of the federal cuts is oil spill response units, which means that drilling and pipeline projects will become even riskier. For the Keystone XL project to go ahead under these circumstances looks to be courting disaster.
Canadian oil industry advocates argue that the Keystone XL pipeline, the proposed $7bn pipeline that would run nearly 2,000 miles from Canada’s oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico, is crucial for Canada, where oil is a key factor in Canada’s economic growth. But criticism has come not just from environmental activists, but those concerned about the safety of the pipeline, especially in light of government cuts to the bodies that would regulate it.
In his resignation this month, outgoing Commissioner of the Environment Scott Vaughan pointed to, amongst other “gaps” in Canada’s environmental policies, a concerning lack of preparedness in the face of an offshore oil spill. Yet it is unlikely that Harper will pay attention, which is why it’s important that President Obama does.
Harper is the man who derailed the Kyoto Protocol, dismissing it as a “socialist scheme”. In his years of minority-government rule through the 2000s, Harper pushed both Albertan tar sand projects and Arctic drilling, landing Canada last in a World Wildlife Fund ranking for G8 countries in tackling climate change. Since gaining a majority government in 2011, his increased power has given him a stronger hand in a relatively strong Canadian economy to push oil interests and cut support for climate research.