Transgender Woman Terminated for Transitioning in the Workplace

From Everything Transgender In NYC:

By Jennifer Lopez
on July 27, 2013

After being informed of a Transgender Female that was being terminated from her employment over transitioning in the workplace, I decided that I should investigate a bit more.  Since 2011, Allisson Mueller formerly known as Zachary Stahlnecker worked as a waitress at the Riverside Golf Club in Grand Island, Nebraska.  She began her transition from presenting in public as a man to presenting as a woman in January of 2013.  Things were going great, except she still had to present as a man while going to work.

In the months leading up to July 20, 2013 Ms. Mueller began doing subtle things to present as a women at her place of employment, such as wearing pins in her hair and makeup.  She felt that most of the staff knew of her desire to go to work presenting as the sex that she has always felt and presented in public for the prior seven months.  But that day would soon become one of Ms. Mueller’s dreaded days.

Ms. Mueller informed Everything Transgender in NYC (ETNYC) that she contacted her direct supervisor Tony Sutik and let him know that she would be presenting as the women that she knows she is.  She felt ready to step out of the “employment closet” and into a world where she could present as the sex she is.

When Ms. Mueller showed up to work presenting as a women she was not welcomed.  She said “Mr. Sutik brought me into his office and explained to me that he hired Zachary Stahlnecker.” (Referring to Ms. Mueller’s former identity)…”He continued by saying Riverside Golf Club is very conservative.” She explained that he went on to compare her transition to his Tattoo, quoting Mr. Sutik as saying “A mistake I made and can never get rid of.”

After talking with Ms. Mueller on the phone I decided to call Randy Wiges, who is the manager for Mr. Sutik’s at the Riverside Golf Club.  Mr. Wiges agreed to talk with ETNYC.  When I asked him about the policies at the Golf Club on Transgender issues, he said “We do not have any policies regarding that.  It is something we have never had to deal with in the past”…”I will have to bring it up to the board and see if they would like to develop a policy.”

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WILLIAMS: Don’t transform transgender bill into safety issue

From The Chronicle/Herald Ca:

July 22, 2013

In light of the Senate’s discussion of Bill C-279, Calgary MP Rob Anders had some choice words on the issue of transgender rights this month.

On his website, Anders chooses to paint his opposition to the recognition of transgender rights as being an issue of women’s safety, saying that his feelings are rooted in the need to protect women and children from men lurking in their public washrooms.

As a woman, I am perfectly aware that I am less safe in my daily life than the average man. However, if Anders is really as concerned about my safety and well-being as he claims to be, then I would suggest that there are any number of alternative topics (domestic violence initiatives, education about consent or the fight against street harassment, to name a few) upon which he could focus his attention.

Stigmatizing and painting transgender people as implicitly dangerous sexual deviants does absolutely nothing to make women safer, and I would appreciate it if he did not use my gender as an excuse behind which to hide his ignorance and bigotry.

Unfortunately, this is a recurrent theme when it comes to this debate. Ontario MP Dean Allison has said the bill means that, “The door would be open to sexual predators having a legal defence to charges of being caught in a women’s washroom or locker room.”

Statements like these, where transgender people are explicitly linked to sexual predators are incredibly irresponsible and harmful, particularly when made by a public figure. Society still has a long way to go where the understanding of transgender people is concerned, and comments like these do absolutely nothing to help encourage greater education and awareness. To claim linear association between transgender people and rapists and pedophiles is fear-mongering, plain and simple.

This sort of rhetoric is particularly disheartening coming from elected officials, who have a voice in policy-making and and therefore help to shape the public perception of this issue. Statements to this effect will influence how the greater public sees — and, in turn, treats — transgender people in their own lives.

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Trans Teen Must Have Access to Male Locker Room, Says DOJ

From The Advocate:

The Department of Justice mandated that a California school district give a transgender student access to men’s facilities.

BY Daniel Reynolds
July 25 2013

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education today told a California school district that it must allow a transgender student to use locker rooms, bathrooms, and other facilities designated for males.

The decision came as the result of a resolution agreement between the departments and the Arcadia Unified School District, in response to a complaint filed by the transgender student, who chose to remain anonymous.

In addition to access to these facilities, the landmark decision also mandates that the rising ninth grader, who was assigned female at birth but identifies and presents as male, be allowed to participate in sports teams and other male-exclusive extracurriculars. He “will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district,” the statement reads.

The departments ordered the Arcadia district to change its policies to reflect these stipulations, and to provide training for school administrators on gender-based discrimination, as well as methods for providing a safe environment for transgender students.

Asaf Orr, a lawyer with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, advocated the case of the student, who wished to remain anonymous. Orr told Politico that, while the school had responded to cases of bullying, it had also ostracized the student by offering him a nurse’s bathroom, which was often locked, as well as a separate cabin for sleeping quarters during a school field trip.

“This sends a clear message to school districts around the country saying ‘This is what the federal government is going to be expecting of you,’” said Orr.

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Think Russia is Scary? Look at Greece

From Frontiers:

by Karen Ocamb

Et tu, Bruté? So much attention is being paid now to the anti-gay horror unfolding in Russia that the LGBT community and health care advocates are completely missing an equally horrifying new law in Greece.

The idyllic birthplace of lesbian poet Sappho and Greek mythological gods such as Adonis may not be so alluring now that another Adonis—Greek Health Minister Adonis Georgladis—has reinstated a measure that not only requires mandatory HIV testing but enables Greek police to stop anyone—including tourists—they suspect of being HIV-positive and force them to be tested.

This is from HIV Plus Magazine:

“Health minister Adonis Georgladis has reinstated Public Health Decree 39A, a 2012 measure that allows police to detain people suspected of being HIV-positive and force them to be tested, according the Greek news outlet ENET. The measure also urges landlords to evict tenants who are HIV-positive (as a public health threat).

In April 2012, the measure was the catalyst for the forced testing of hundreds of women. The 17 that were discovered to be HIV-positive were splashed across media outlets, with their personal information and photographs published for the world to see. They were characterized by police as “prostitutes” despite the fact that there no evidence was ever provided to back up the accusations. After the women were detained for months, the regulation was repealed and they were sent home.

Now that same measure is being implemented again.

Greece has been seen as increasingly fearful of people with HIV. Rates of the virus have risen over 200% since 2011, most likely due to increased drug abuse and rising unemployment among young adults, which is now over 20%. According to the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV infections among injecting drug users has doubled from 206 to 487 since 2011. At the same time, HIV prevention budgets have taken a major cut, from 35 million Euros in 2010 to 20 million last year.

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Don’t You Think It’s Time for a Raise?

From Common Dreams:

by Ralph Nader

Thirty million Americans are making less today, adjusted for inflation, than they did 45 years ago in 1968!

If the 1968 minimum wage grew with inflation, it would be $10.67 today. Unfortunately the federal minimum wage is a miserly $7.25.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, U.S. CEOs of major companies earned 18.3 times more than a typical worker in 1965 and in 2012, CEO pay was 202.3 times more than typical worker pay.

Don’t you think it’s time for a raise?

Fortunately, Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) has introduced H.R. 1346, the “Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013,” which would raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour and index it to inflation.

We started the Time for a Raise campaign to help mobilize citizens across the country to encourage Members of Congress to support the H.R. 1346 and catch up with 1968.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Visit TimeForaRaise.Org and sign our petition. The single most important thing we can do to is to make sure members of Congress hear from their constituents on this issue. Each petition will be presented in person to your Member of Congress to request a town meeting in your district focused on raising the federal minimum wage. This means every signature counts!
  2. We need citizen leaders in each Congressional district to be district captains to help spread the word about the need to raise the federal minimum wage. Captains will gather signatures, present the collected petitions to their member of Congress and help with media outreach. The time commitment is low — no more than a few days of work — and the upside is high: exercise your civic muscles as a community activist; meet with your Member of Congress; and, most importantly, correct a major injustice by helping thirty million Americans making less than $10.50 per hour receive the increased federal minimum wage they deserve.
    (Email to be a district captain.)

Every step in our nation’s struggle for fair working conditions — from overtime pay to the 40-hour workweek to the original federal minimum wage — has been hard earned. This step will be no different. However, if you sign our petition, become a district captain and spread the word about our campaign, we will have a serious chance of securing the increase in the federal minimum wage that low-wage workers have long deserved.

Onward with your participation!

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More than 1.5 million workers living in U.S. make less than minimum wage

From Raw Story:

By John Light,
Friday, July 26, 2013

This week marked the four-year anniversary of the last time Congress increased the minimum wage — from $5.15 in 2007 to $7.25 in 2009. Groups demonstrated across the country, demanding increases at both the state and federal level. President Obama pledged that he would continue to press for an increase in his economic policy speech at Knox College.

But there’s another problem: Millions of working Americans make less than minimum wage. In fact, more Americans are exempt from it than actually earn it.

The Pew Research Center examined Bureau of Labor Statistics data and found that about one and a half million Americans earned the minimum wage in 2012, but nearly two million people earned an hourly wage that was even less than $7.25 an hour. These workers, for one reason or another, are exempted from the part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) that requires employers to pay at least the minimum wage, and include tipped workers and many domestic workers, as well as workers on small farms, some seasonal workers and some disabled workers.

The largest of these exempted groups is tipped employees, many of whom work in food service. Today, tipped employees earn just $2.13 an hour — the rationale being that tips cover the rest. In fact, some of these workers do earn a reasonable living through their tips, but, as Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, told us, many don’t.

“Imagine your average server in an IHOP in Texas earning $2.13 an hour, graveyard shift, no tips,” she said. “The company’s supposed to make up the difference between $2.13 and $7.25 but time and time again that doesn’t happen.”

The Obama administration proposal laid out in the State of the Union calling for $9 an hour also called for an increase in the minimum wage for tipped workers, and for that increase to be indexed to inflation. At the moment, the minimum for tipped workers has not changed for 22 years, because, in 1996, Congress detached tipped worker wages from the normal minimum wage at the bidding of the National Restaurant Association — a powerful lobbying organization headed, at the time, by Herman Cain. This leaves millions of tipped workers — a group that is mostly women — living in poverty.

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80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey

From Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON — Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.

As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused – on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.

Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said. Children, she said, have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

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