Miss. Gov. Bryant: Transgender People Do Not Deserve Hiring Protections

From The Jackson Free Press: http://m.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2018/sep/06/gov-bryant-transgender-people-do-not-deserve-hirin/

by Ashton Pittman
Thursday, September 6, 2018

JACKSON — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant joined 15 other Republican leaders across the country in signing a brief that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not protect transgender people and that employers have the right to fire them for their gender identity.

The amicus brief comes after lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the ruling, the court decided a Michigan employer—a devout Christian—violated an employee’s Title VII protections by firing her after she disclosed that she was transgender and transitioning. Title VII bars employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission first brought the lawsuit against the Detroit-area R.G. & G.R. Funeral Home in 2014 after the woman, Aimee Stephens, filed a sex-discrimination claim after the business fired her from her job as a funeral director.

The only reason offered for her termination, Stephens alleged, was that “the public would (not) be accepting of (her) transition.” Over the course of the investigation, the EEOC also found that, while the funeral home provided male employees with clothing benefits, it allegedly did not do so for female employees.

A lower court initially ruled against the EEOC and Stephens, but the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio overturned that ruling in March of this year, finding that “discrimination against employees, either because of their failure to conform to sex stereotypes or their transgender and transitioning status, is illegal under Title VII.”

Bryant was one of three Republican governors to sign onto the amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to deny such protections to transgender people; Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Maine Gov. Paul LePage also signed. The other 13 signees were Republican attorneys generals. Like Mississippi, Bevin and LePage’s states have Democratic attorneys general.

Bryant’s office did not return a call for comment. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s spokeswoman, Margaret Ann Morgan, confirmed to the Jackson Free Press that Hood had no involvement in Bryant’s decision to join the petition.

The Meaning of ‘Sex’

In the brief, Bryant and the others argue that the high courts should overturn the 6th Circuit’s ruling because “‘sex’ under the plain terms of Title VII does not mean anything other than biological status.”

“When Congress enacted Title VII, … the understanding of the word ‘sex’ did not include the expansion of that word to include ‘gender identity,'” the brief continues. “The term ‘gender identity,’ or as the 6th Circuit labels it, ‘transgender’ and ‘transitioning status,’ are not found in the text or legislative history of Title VII.”

In its ruling, however, the 6th Circuit pointed to Supreme Court precedent, highlighting Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, a 1989 case in which the court found that “sex” in Title VII “means that gender must be irrelevant to employment decisions.” The case involved a female employee who, as the 6th Circuit explains, “was not discriminated against for being a woman per se, but instead for failing to be womanly enough.”

Continue reading at:  http://m.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2018/sep/06/gov-bryant-transgender-people-do-not-deserve-hirin/

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The Gender Divide in Preschoolers’ Closets

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/28/well/family/the-gender-divide-in-preschoolers-closets.html

I buy my daughter boys’ pants because even in an age of female fighter pilots and #MeToo, boys’ clothes are largely designed to be practical, while girls’ are designed to be pretty.

By Sara Clemence
Aug. 28, 2018

“How adorable!” crooned the woman in line behind us at the department store. “And look at those lashes. How old is he?”

I looked down at my 3-year-old daughter, Lia, who was trying to scale the counter, and paused. It’s not unusual for strangers to think my little girl is a little boy. People are used to seeing boys with tumbles of curls like hers — but a girl wearing boxy olive-green pants and a sturdy space-motif T-shirt has a way of throwing off the gender radar.

Lia’s bucking of clothing stereotypes isn’t her choice (yet). When her older brother started outgrowing his clothing, I put a lot of it aside for Lia. The hand-me-downs saved money and let us squeeze a little more enjoyment out of those tiny jackets and sweet sailor shirts. While I was happy if they also happened to de-girlify her wardrobe, I didn’t set out to turn her into a pint-size fashion iconoclast.

But by the time Lia was a year old, I was buying most of her clothes in boys’ sections. When she started walking, then running and climbing and jumping, I looked for clothes that were as functional as my son’s: Pants that would buffer her knees against falls and have pockets to hold the rocks and leaves she picked up in the park. Substantial shirts that would shield her arms from the sun and mask grass stains and food smear.

Instead, I found girls’ sections filled with lightweight leggings, scoop-neck tops, and embellished shoes. I scoured the internet for girls’ pants with capacious pockets and reinforced knees, and found maddeningly few options.

I eventually realized that, even in an age of female fighter pilots and #MeToo, boys’ clothes are largely designed to be practical, while girls’ are designed to be pretty. Now when I shop for Lia, I hit the boys’ section first. It’s not just about avoiding skinned knees, but also the subtle and discouraging message that’s woven right into girls’ garments: you are dressed to decorate, not to do.

Some might think I’m being sartorially oversensitive. But what we wear matters — and not just as a projection of our personalities and priorities. An abundance of research has shown that our clothes affect how other people perceive us, as well as how we see ourselves.

A 2012 study by researchers at Kenyon College showed that adults thought fifth-grade girls who wore more sexualized outfits were less intelligent and capable than girls who wore more childish clothes. In another study, published in the journal Social Behavior and Personality, ballerinas who wore tights and leotards felt worse about their bodies and their performances than those who wore loose get-ups.

How we dress can even change the way we act. Studies have found that wearing more formal work clothes can get people thinking in a more abstract, big-picture way, and that adults become more focused when they put on lab coats — even if they’re not scientists. It’s not a stretch to think that putting our girls in tighter, frillier, flimsier clothes can imprint them with outdated notions about what they can and should do.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/28/well/family/the-gender-divide-in-preschoolers-closets.html


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Gender dysphoria study faces criticism

Mainly because it was a poorly done study that appears politically motivated and in line with other bigotry disguised as legitimate scientific studies produced in the past by people like Paul McHugh and Janice Raymond.

From Brown Daily Herald:  http://www.browndailyherald.com/2018/09/04/gender-dysphoria-study-meets-criticism/

Recent study uses parental surveys to examine ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ in transgender youth

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

On Aug. 22, the University published a press release on the first-ever research study to investigate “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” which was authored by Lisa Littman, assistant professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences in the School of Public Health. Littman’s study proposed that online forums and social media have allowed transgender identities to spread among adolescents in a manner dubbed “social contagion.” Five days later, PloS ONE, the peer-reviewed journal which published the study, posted a comment on the online paper indicating that the journal would “seek further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses.” The same day, Aug. 27, Brown removed the press release highlighting Littman’s findings from its website and news distribution.

The following day, Dean of the School of Public Health Bess Marcus issued a letter affirming the School’s commitment to both academic freedom and the well-being of sexual and gender minority populations. A recent petition supporting Littman’s research and calling on both Brown and PloS ONE to “resist ideologically-based attempts to squelch controversial research evidence” has garnered 3,926 signatures, as of press time.

Methodology and data collection

Gender dysphoria is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which they identify. Littman’s study defined a new form of this phenomenon, “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” which takes place when “gender dysphoria is observed to begin suddenly during or after puberty in an adolescent or young adult who would not have met criteria for gender dysphoria in childhood.” In the study, Littman gathered data by posting a survey that asked parents about their transgender teens on three parenting websites focused on transgender adolescents.

Littman declined a request for comment.

“The three websites (that Littman posted to) all have ties (to) organizations and people that promote conversion therapy and reject gender identity,” wrote Brynn Tannehill, who has written widely about transgender experiences, including her own, in a follow-up email to The Herald. “The fact that she did not acknowledge the bias of these websites, and the effects that this would have on the data, clearly distorts whatever conclusions you may find. That’s flat-out bad research,” she said.

Multiple other experts interviewed for this article agreed with Tannehill, adding that it was unfair to draw conclusions about transgender adolescents and their experiences based on parent experiences.

Continue reading at: http://www.browndailyherald.com/2018/09/04/gender-dysphoria-study-meets-criticism/

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How Multiculturalism Hijacked Feminism

From Real Clear Politics:  https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/09/05/how_multiculturalism_hijacked_feminism_137980.htm

By Phyllis Chesler
September 05, 2018

n my college and graduate school days, we knew absolutely nothing about our feminist foremothers or about their campaigns for equality and freedom.

I did not know that women were oppressed and that feminists had battled for women’s rights for many centuries.

Earlier feminist writers (Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman) were unknown to most of my generation. We did not know how hard they had had to fight and how much they had disagreed with one another.

My generation (1963-1980) launched “speak-outs” on violence against women, established rape crisis hotlines and shelters for battered women, brought class-action lawsuits, implemented feminist ideas within our professions, and fought to pass an Equal Rights Amendment.

In 1975, Lin Farley coined the phrase “sexual harassment” and published a book about it in 1978; Catharine MacKinnon did so in 1979.

Perhaps if this history had continued to be taught, it might have armed the coming generations and served as a warning to predators.

What if students—the future American journalists, actors, and opinion makers—had been taught that they were part of an honorable historical struggle to expose and abolish sexual violence against women? Would presidents and media moguls have been allowed to sexually harass and assault so many women without being outed, shamed, and stopped long ago?

In 1982, in “Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them,” Australian scholar Dale Spender documented how pioneering feminist work has always been systematically disappeared.

Guess what? By the mid-1980s, radical feminist works by the best minds of my generation were out of print and/or not being taught in college or graduate schools. By the late 1980s, professors and their students were largely unfamiliar with most of our work.

I am referring to: Louise Armstrong, Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kathy Barry, Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, Kate Millett, Janice Raymond, Diana Russell—and the incomparable writings of New York Radical Women and Cell 16, and their grassroots counterparts across the country.

All these radical thinkers happen to be Caucasian. I myself am not sure what to make of this other than that many of us were relatively privileged (in terms of race) and could therefore afford to focus on gender and not, simultaneously, on race and ethnicity.

Feminist women of color were definitely present but they were in the minority. Their lives forced them to wrestle with race as well as gender; the demand for loyalty to their race-based community also claimed their attention. White girls were always apologizing—and being castigated—for how few women of color joined us at marches and conferences, or who published pioneering work between 1963-1980.

In the 1970s, some African-American feminists published position papers (Combahee River Collective), essays and anthologies (Toni Cade Bambara, Frances Beale, Barbara Smith), poems (June Jordan, Pat Parker) and books (Audre Lorde, Dorothy Sterling, Alice Walker, Michelle Wallace).  I cited them in my early work. While some names may have been forgotten, their primary insistence that race, ethnicity, geography, etc., are as important—perhaps more important—than gender has prevailed in the academy.

Continue reading at:  https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/09/05/how_multiculturalism_hijacked_feminism_137980.htm

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Texas conservatives say bathroom, gay-marriage fight will continue

From The Austin Statesman:  https://www.mystatesman.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/texas-conservatives-say-bathroom-gay-marriage-fight-will-continue/K2FrnZlfHlvQIT3cyhbPZI/

By Chuck Lindell
Friday, September 07, 2018

With the Legislature set to convene in four months, conservative Republican lawmakers said Friday that the fight is not over on transgender-friendly bathrooms and same-sex marriage.

Speaking at an Austin forum sponsored by Texas Values, a Christian public policy advocacy group that is influential in GOP circles, the lawmakers said the issues were too important to leave unsettled after their favored bills were defeated in the 2017 legislative session.

“The only way that you fail is to not try,” said state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, author of unsuccessful bills to limit transgender-friendly bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and government buildings last year.

State Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, said the time is ripe to advance legislation to protect people and businesses opposed to gay marriage and other policies because of deeply held religious beliefs.

The rapid pace of conservative judges appointed by President Donald Trump, combined with a June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that said governments cannot be hostile to religious practice, should give social and religious conservatives confidence heading into the legislative session that begins in January, Krause said.

The pending retirement of House Speaker Joe Straus, a moderate Republican who has thwarted several conservative priorities, should help as well, he said.

“We should be able to get something signed, and because of the favorable climate in the judiciary, I think it will be upheld as well,” Krause said.

The lawmakers’ comments came at the opening of Texas Values’ first Texas Faith, Family and Freedom Forum, a two-day gathering that is expected to become an annual event intended to inspire conservative Texans to political action. The forum sold out with 200 participants, organizers said.

Requiring bathrooms and locker rooms to be used based on the sex listed on each person’s birth certificate is a 2019 legislative priority for the Republican Party of Texas, which sees the issue as a matter of privacy and safety.

The fight over transgender bathrooms, however, was one of the most contentious issues last legislative session, producing several all-night committee hearings, numerous rallies and protests, and vigorous debates on the Senate floor.

It also inflamed a long-simmering feud between Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate and made curtailing transgender-friendly bathroom policies a high priority, and Straus, who said the bathroom bill was an unnecessary and mean-spirited distraction.

Continue reading at:  https://www.mystatesman.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/texas-conservatives-say-bathroom-gay-marriage-fight-will-continue/K2FrnZlfHlvQIT3cyhbPZI/

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Family Research Council whining that Obama is picking on Trump

Reposted with the permission of Alvin McEwen

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  https://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2018/09/family-research-council-whining-that.html#.W5gRI4gUmUm

By Alvin McEwen
Monday, September 10, 2018

Former president Barack Obama made a return to the spotlight in order to urge folks to vote for the Democratic party in the upcoming midterms. It was a welcomed return for those of us who miss having an intelligent and decent person in the Oval Office instead of  the sentient pile of dog poop which now pollutes the area.

Naturally conservatives went ballistic in their whines. And very few were more ballistic than the LGBTQ hate group the Family Research Council:

Almost two years to the day that Hillary Clinton gave her fateful “deplorables” speech, Obama proved that Democrats still haven’t learned how to control their contempt for millions of conservative Americans. With a sanctimony that people learned to despise, one of the most polarizing presidents in history had the nerve to lecture Americans on demagoguery. Implying that Trump supporters are “bigots” and “fearmongers,” Obama went on to blame Republicans for tearing the country apart. “…The politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican party,” he said. This from a man who made Middle-America bashing a professional sport in his eight years at the White House. Who dismissed blue-collar patriots “bitter clingers” who turn to religion and guns because they’re too ignorant to know better. Who called political opponents “unpatriotic” or even “craz[y].” 

Republicans like Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) fired back at the hypocrisy almost immediately, posting, “Pres. Obama is right. It is wrong for a President to use divisive language, such as: 1. Call all opponents of same-sex marriage bigots; 2. Call the Pro-Life movement a ‘War on Women;’ 3. Call all immigration enforcement advocates racists; 4. Call the GOP the enemy of Hispanics.” On Fox News, Judge Jeanine Pirro said that if Obama was looking for someone to blame for the animus, he ought to look in the mirror. “Your lies, your policies, and your divisiveness… You elected Donald Trump.”

Aw that’s cute . .. and totally inaccurate. I could point out the simple fact that Obama wasn’t running in 2016 or how FRC conveniently omitted the big elephant of 2016, i.e. the influence of Putin and Russia i.e. the subject which is presently under intense investigation by Robert Mueller.

But I will merely point out  that as I speak, Trump’s disapproval rating is at 60 percent while 40 percent of respondees in a July poll ranked Obama as the best president of their lifetime. And granted, some may cry foul in terms of the timing of the two items, I still stand by the fact that I doubt that Obama would remind most Americans why they voted for Trump. Any notion resembling that is nothing more than a product of the topsy-turvy bullshit world which has been created since Trump attached himself to the Oval Office . . . like a leech.

But one thing which should stand out is how the Family Research Council, a so-called Christian organization, which has openly given Trump what its leader calls a “mulligan,” i.e. a pass on cheating on his wife, overlooks all of his lies, personal attacks on people, and incompetence, and basically has acted as the figurative “Groom of the Stool” (look it up. it’s naaaasty) for all of his excesses is suddenly getting “offended” at someone for pointing out that Trump is an incompetent boob who is in over his head and will probably cripple America physically, psychologically, and spiritually before his reign of terror is over.

It’s amusing how the Family Research Council thinks that the rest of America is as dumb as its supporters.

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Science Does Not Support Claims That Contraceptives Are ‘Abortion-Inducing’

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/07/health/kavanaugh-abortion-inducing-contraceptives.html

By Pam Belluck
Sept. 7, 2018

During his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Thursday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh referred to some forms of birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs.” The phrase is a characterization that some anti-abortion religious groups use, but it is not supported by scientific evidence.

Judge Kavanaugh used the phrase while answering questions by Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, about a 2015 dissent he wrote in a case brought by a Catholic organization over a requirement in the federal health care law that employers include contraception coverage in employee health plans. The group, Priests for Life, argued that the provision violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, despite an exception allowing employers with religious objections to arrange for a separate insurance company to provide contraceptive coverage.

“They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objecting to,” Judge Kavanaugh testified, describing the group’s position.

It was not clear exactly which methods Judge Kavanaugh was referring to when he used the phrase “abortion-inducing drugs.”

Most common types of contraception — birth control pills, condoms, hormonal intrauterine devices and implants — prevent conception by keeping eggs from becoming fertilized.

The description “abortion-inducing” is most often used by anti-abortion religious groups to characterize methods they believe can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. These groups typically say that such methods are morning-after pills and copper intrauterine devices.

There are two main reasons this belief does not comport with scientific evidence. First, the medical definition of pregnancy is that it begins after a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus, not before. That is because many, probably most, fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant in the uterus on their own.

Second, a growing body of research strongly indicates that morning-after pills, such as Plan B and Ella, do not prevent implantation. Instead, the pills, if taken up to five days after unprotected sex, work to stop fertilization from occurring. They do this by delaying ovulation, the release of eggs from the ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, or by thickening cervical mucus so that sperm have trouble swimming and reaching the egg to fertilize it.

A New York Times investigation of the science behind morning-after pills in 2012 prompted the National Institutes of Health website to delete passages suggesting emergency contraceptive pills could disrupt implantation. A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration said at the time that “emerging data” suggested that morning-after pills do not inhibit implantation.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/07/health/kavanaugh-abortion-inducing-contraceptives.html

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Anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bills’ Are Based On Lies. Here’s The Research To Show It.

From Huffington Post:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-transgender-bathroom-crime_us_5b96c5b0e4b0511db3e52825

Brian Barnett

I don’t give a great deal of thought to which bathroom I’m going to use when I’m out in public. I look for the word “men” or a male symbol on the door and head on in to do my business. Like everyone else, I’ve got plenty in my life that I could better spend my time thinking about than bathroom selection. And I don’t need to think about it, because I fit neatly into the binary system our society has created to describe gender; I was born anatomically male, and that’s my gender identity, too.

But many transgender people spend a lot of time thinking about bathrooms and give serious consideration to which set of toilets they are going to use each time they need one. It’s a game of bathroom calculus: Should they go in the room designated for the gender they know themselves to be, or should they go in the one designated for the gender that other people say they are? Either decision risks harassment and violence.

Transgender bathroom selection has been a big part of our national consciousness in recent years. In March 2016, North Carolina passed the first state law in the U.S. explicitly limiting transgender bathroom access. The law required that people use the public bathroom corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate. The law was finally repealed a year later, a small piece of progress in the shadow of a larger setback ― the Trump administration’s rescindment of federal rules allowing transgender people to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. More recently, a transgender girl named Maddie Rose in Oklahoma was the target of threats from parents and adults on Facebook after using a girl’s bathroom on the first day of school. She and her family are now planning to move with the help of a GoFundMe campaign that has already raised more than $50,000.

Several states continue to consider bills restricting bathroom access based on biological sex, though none have yet passed. In the meantime, transgender people are still having to waste time and lose sleep over which bathroom they’ll spend at most a couple of minutes in. The impact this worry has on their lives is profound. A survey of nearly 28,000 transgender participants revealed 59 percent avoided using a public restroom at least once in the previous year due to confrontation concerns.

Undisguised cisgender men are by far the primary perpetrators of bathroom sex crimes in the U.S.

Ignorance and fear of the transgender community repeatedly interfere with people’s ability to simply choose and use the bathroom that best suits their needs. And those in opposition are quick to defend their ignorance by arguing that transgender individuals are at high risk of committing sex crimes ― or that opportunistic men will take advantage of any expansion of transgender bathroom access by claiming to be transgender and sneaking into women’s bathrooms to commit sex crimes.

I’m a fellow in forensic psychiatry, so I spend a good deal of time navigating the spots where our legal system meets our cultural beliefs. I began to wonder if there were any data to actually support or refute these societal concerns. CNN and Media Matters have previously asked law enforcement agencies in states with anti-discrimination policies regarding gender identity whether they’ve observed increased rates of sex crimes in bathrooms, and none have. Other than that, there wasn’t much else out there in terms of empirical data.

Continue reading at:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-transgender-bathroom-crime_us_5b96c5b0e4b0511db3e52825

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