Marie Cau: First transgender mayor elected in France

From BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52795973

25 May 2020

A trans woman in France has won election in her local commune to become the country’s first openly transgender mayor.

The council in Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes in northeastern France chose Marie Cau as its new mayor on Saturday.

The 55-year-old ran on a platform of ecological sustainability and building the local economy.

Speaking to the AFP news agency, Ms Cau said she was “not an activist” and wanted to focus on municipal politics.

“People did not elect me because I was or was not transgender, they elected a programme,” Ms Cau said. “That’s what’s interesting: when things become normal, you don’t get singled out.”

France’s gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa tweeted her support on Sunday.

“Trans visibility, and the fight against transphobia, also depends on exercising political and public responsibilities. Congratulations Marie Cau!”

Residents of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes – a commune of under 600 inhabitants on the Belgian border – voted in municipal elections in March.

They elected all the councillors from the “Deciding Together” list, among them Ms Cau. On Saturday these councillors voted nearly unanimously to make her the new mayor of the town.

Stéphanie Nicot, co-founder of France’s National Transgender Association, said the election showed that “our fellow citizens are more and more progressive”, voting on “the value of individuals, regardless of their gender identity”.

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J.K. Rowling facing backlash after controversial comments about transgender people

Fuck her.  Writing a wildly popular series of books does not automatically make you a good person.

From The Hill:   https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/501663-jk-rowling-facing-backlash-after-controversial-comments-about

By John Bowden
06/08/20

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling is facing criticism from gay and transgender rights organizations after the British writer posted a tweet that many groups have said was anti-transgender.

A tweet from Rowling on Saturday commented on a headline from a news article referring to “people who menstruate,” which she suggested should have been shortened to just “women.”

“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” she wrote.

The tweet caused Rowling’s name to trend across Twitter over the weekend and earned backlash from LGBT rights groups including GLAAD, which urged supporters to “direct your rightful anger over JK Rowling’s latest anti-trans comments into something positive.”

Book Riot, a literary website, announced it would no longer cover Rowling’s material after the comment.

Rowling has faced criticism in the past for her views on the issue and was criticized on social media in December after defending a researcher who was fired for what a judge called an “absolutist” view of transgender people and sex.

“The enormous universe of #LGBTQ young people & adults who have been inspired by JK Rowling’s work deserve better,” said Lambda Legal, a nonprofit legal group representing LGBT clients, said at the time.

See also:

HRC President Alphonso David Responds to J.K. Rowling’s Latest Transphobic Blog Post

Anti-LGBTQ hate group tries to defend Rowling’s transphobia, gets its ‘wig snatched’

Emma Watson speaks out in support of transgender community amid JK Rowling row

Daniel Radcliffe on J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans tweets: ‘Transgender women are women’

Transgender bathroom ban heard by federal appeals court

From PBS:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/transgender-bathroom-ban-heard-by-federal-appeals-court

May 26, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia school board defended its transgender bathroom ban before a federal appeals court Tuesday, as a transgender man who was barred as a student from using the boys’ bathrooms at his high school argued that the policy discriminated against him and violated his constitutional rights.

A judge ruled last year that the Gloucester County School Board had discriminated against Gavin Grimm, but the board appealed that ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

David Corrigan, a lawyer for the school board, said school officials treated Grimm with respect after he began transitioning from female to male during high school, accommodating his request to use male pronouns and to be called by his new name.

Grimm had chest reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy. He also obtained a Virginia court order and Virginia birth certificate declaring his sex is male in 2016, when he was in 12th grade.

Grimm’s lawsuit alleged that the school board violated Grimm’s equal protection rights as well as Title IX, the federal policy that protects against gender-based discrimination.

But Corrigan argued that the law protects against discrimination based on gender, not gender identity. Corrigan said that because Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and still had female genitalia, the board’s position was that he remained anatomically a female.

“Our position is it’s a binary concept, that you have males and females,” Corrigan said.

Joshua Block, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the board treated Grimm differently than other students when it required him to use separate but unequal facilities — either bathrooms that corresponded with his biological gender — female — or private bathrooms.

“They were stigmatizing and humiliating,” Block said.

“It’s stigmatizing to be excluded from the facilities that everyone else uses,” he said.

Grimm’s lawsuit was once a federal test case that drew national attention. He graduated in 2017 from Gloucester High School, located in a mostly rural area about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Richmond.

The three-judge panel that heard the case Tuesday did not indicate when it would issue a ruling. The arguments were held remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The hearing was the latest step in a years-long legal battle. Grimm’s lawsuit was supposed to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the high court hearing was canceled after President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era directive that students can choose bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk ruled in August that the board discriminated against Grimm.

“(T)here is no question that the Board’s policy discriminates against transgender students on the basis of their gender noncomformity,” Allen wrote.

“Under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity,” she continued. “Transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment, and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go.”

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Black Trans Protesters Are Marching for a Police Killing That Cis People Aren’t Talking About: Tony McDade

From Vice: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep4xp4/black-trans-protesters-are-marching-for-another-police-killing-cis-people-arent-talking-about-tony-mcdade

“We have two different worlds. We’re fed up with the murders. We’re fed up with law enforcement just brutally killing us.”

by Tomas Navia and Sam Donnenberg
Jun 3 2020

As protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd and police brutality entered their eighth night, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the historic Stonewall Inn in New York Tuesday yelling the name of another black man killed in a confrontation with police: Tony McDade.

McDade, a 38-year-old black trans man, was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida, on May 27, two days after Minneapolis police kneeled on Floyd for almost nine minutes until he couldn’t breathe. Tallahassee police said in a press release that McDade was the suspect in a local stabbing and was armed, which led to the shooting.

His death hasn’t received much attention in the wake of Floyd’s killing. Protests have happened in Florida, and national LGBTQ rights organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Black Justice Coalition released statements about the killing.

Now, trans rights advocates are taking to the streets in New York, during Pride Month, to call for an investigation and bring more attention to the killing of black trans people.

“The cis people always take to the streets over all of their deaths, their murders,” said TS Candii, a 26-year-old black trans woman and one of the organizers of the protest at the Stonewall Inn. “We have two different worlds. We’re fed up with the murders. We’re fed up with law enforcement just brutally killing us.”

McDade’s death was at least the 12th killing of a trans or gender-non-conforming person in 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Three of the known killings occurred in the last month — one of which, McDade’s, was at the hands of police.

Black trans women are disproportionately killed by violence, and arrest rates for their murders are significantly lower than for other demographics.

Though most of the killings of black trans women are not at the hands of police, the community does disproportionately experience police harassment. A third of black trans women who interact with police report that officers assume they are sex workers. Nearly 90% of trans women who police assume are sex workers report experiencing police harrassment and abuse, including verbal, physical, and sexual assaults.

Like the nationwide protests since Floyd’s death last month, the stark disparity in the treatment of black people by police was the central theme of the gathering on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s organizers led speeches in Sheridan Square outside the Stonewall Inn, where six days of violent protests against police in 1969 kickstarted the modern gay rights movement. Candii and Tahtianna Fermin, another organizer, recognized trans people of color killed by violence and called out the names of McDade and Nina Pop, a trans woman murdered in May, into the crowd.

Continue reading at:  https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep4xp4/black-trans-protesters-are-marching-for-another-police-killing-cis-people-arent-talking-about-tony-mcdade

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A Daughter Is Beheaded, and Iran Asks if Women Have a Right to Safety

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/world/middleeast/honor-killing-iran-women.html

By Farnaz Fassih
June 7, 2020

Before he beheaded his 14-year-old daughter with a farming sickle, Reza Ashrafi called a lawyer.

His daughter, Romina, was going to dishonor the family by running off with her 29-year-old boyfriend, he said. What kind of punishment, he asked the lawyer, would he get for killing her?

The lawyer assured him that as the girl’s guardian he would not face capital punishment but at most 3 to 10 years in jail, Mr. Ashrafi’s relatives told an Iranian newspaper.

Three weeks later, Mr. Ashrafi, a 37-year-old farmer, marched into the bedroom where the girl was sleeping and decapitated her.

The so-called honor killing last month, in a small village in the rolling green hills of northern Iran, has shaken the country and set off a nationwide debate over the rights of women and children and the failure of the country’s social, religious and legal systems to protect them.

It has also prompted a me-too moment on social media of women pouring out their own stories of abuse at the hands of male relatives in hopes of shedding light on a problem that is usually kept quiet.

Minoo, a 49-year-old mother of two in Tehran, said her husband had beaten their 17-year-old daughter when he spotted her with a male friend in the street.

Hanieh Rajabi, a Ph.D. student in philosophy, tweeted that her father had lashed her with a belt and kept her out of school for a week because she had walked home from class to buy ice cream instead of taking the school bus.

Others shared stories of rape, physical and emotional abuse and running away from home in search of safety.

“There are thousands of Rominas who have no protection in this country,” tweeted Kimia Abodlahzadeh.

In many ways, women in Iran are better off than those in many other Middle Eastern countries.

Iranian women work as lawyers, doctors, pilots, film directors and truck drivers. They hold 60 percent of university seats and constitute 50 percent of the work force. They can run for office, and they hold seats in the Parliament and cabinet.

But there are restrictions. Women must cover their hair, arms and curves in public, and they need the permission of a male relative to leave the country, ask for a divorce or work outside the home.

Honor killings are thought to be rare but that may be because they are usually hushed up.

A 2019 report by a research center affiliated with Iran’s armed forces found that nearly 30 percent of all murder cases in Iran were honor killings of women and girls. The number is unknown, however, as Iran does not publicly release crime statistics.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/world/middleeast/honor-killing-iran-women.html

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