- December 2, 2015
JAZZ JENNINGS WRITES OP-ED ABOUT CANCELLATION OF I AM JAZZ READING IN WI CLASSROOM: Following the cancellation of a reading of her book I Am Jazz, transgender activist and HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings, who has been recognized as one of TIME’s Most Influential Teens in 2014 and 2015, today penned a powerful op-ed on the importance of creating safe spaces for all children. The reading of Jazz’s book was cancelled after a group of parents reached out to the infamously anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel who called the reading a “propaganda session” and quickly threatened to take legal action against the school. Jazz writes, “My book can help, I think, but I know from my own experience that it is adults like my parents and Johnson who can make sure that transgender children are treated fairly at school and given the same opportunities to succeed in life. Growing up transgender can be a challenging experience, and we need our parents, schools, and friends to stand by us so we can breathe easily. We want the same thing — to be who we are and feel safe and supported in this world.” Another reading has been scheduled for tonight at the Mount Horeb Library at 6:30pm.
MORE STATE GOVS AND AGS SIGN ON TO BRIEF OPPOSING TRANSGENDER EQUALITY IN SCHOOLS: While many schools across the nation are working to become more inclusive and supportive of transgender students, Republican leaders in several states are actively working to make these schools less welcoming. Governor Pat McCory of North Carolina and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson have now become the latest to sign on to an amicus brief in support of a Virginia school district that refuses to allow transgender student Gavin Grimm to use the restroom that matches his gender identity. They join Attorneys General Mark Brnovich of Arizona, Jim Hood of Mississippi and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, along with Gov. Paul LePage of Maine in challenging the Obama Administration's position. In October, HRC praised the Obama Administration for filing an amicus brief supporting Grimm in his lawsuit against Virginia’s Gloucester County School District. Grimm’s suit alleges that in denying him use of the restroom that corresponds with his gender identity, the district is violating Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, which bars sex discrimination in education.
NEW YORK OBSERVER ON THE GENDER NEUTRAL TERM “MX.”: This week, the New York Observer’s Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke profiles the growing acceptance of the gender neutral term “Mx.”which was used recently in New York Times story. They write, “Mx. may have a way to go until it is seamlessly added to the general usage. But it is worth remembering that it wasn’t long ago that newspapers defaulted to generic male pronouns and women were identified by marital status.” More here: http://bit.ly/1YHSQxD
NEW LOUISIANA GOVERNOR TO PROTECT LGBT STATE EMPLOYEES: Louisiana Governor-elect John Bel Edwards is already making quite the impact proving that all elections matter. Yesterday, Edward’s office announced plans to issue an executive order protecting LGBT state employees and government contractors from discrimination. This is quite the turnaround from outgoing governor Bobby Jindal, who is being sued by the ACLU of Louisiana and several other LGBT rights groups for his “Marriage and Conscience” executive order, which prohibits state agencies under Jindal’s control from denying licenses, benefits, contracts or tax deductions in response to actions taken because of someone’s religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman. While in office, Jindal also allowed an executive order banning discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace to expire, saying he didn’t think it “necessary to create additional special categories or special rights.” John Bel Edwards will be sworn in on January 11, 2016. Louisiana is one of more than 30 states without explicit, fully inclusive non-discrimination laws protecting all LGBT people. More here: http://bit.ly/1IEiOc5
NC SCHOOL LIFTS BAN ON STUDENT-LED CLUBS: After nearly two weeks, the Board of Directors at a North Carolina school has reversed their decision to ban all student-led clubs and implemented a new policy requiring that K-8 students get parental consent to join school clubs. The ban was put in place after parents and teachers expressed concern over the formation of an LGBT group at the school’s regular board meeting. According to the Associated Press, “A teacher at the school allowed the club to hold meetings in her classroom and gave members a poster from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to display. The board also addressed the poster, setting a policy that requires all club posters to have a stamp of approval from the school director and restricting them to designated club bulletin boards in the middle and high school halls.” More here: http://bit.ly/1jylyRI
SARAH PALIN’S HOMETOWN LIBRARY REMOVES ENTIRE YOUNG ADULT SECTION AFTER COMPLAINTS ABOUT GUIDE FOR LGBT TEENS: The Wasilla Public Library has made the rash decision to remove their entire young adult nonfiction section after a parent complained about a book entitled This Book Is Gay, a sexuality guide for young readers grappling with questions about their sexual orientation. More than 300 young adult nonfiction books will be moved to the adult section by December 11. The three-person committee responsible for handling these complaints has expressed their commitment to ensuring that the book is available to those you may need it. Their decision states, “The Committee understands the parental concern on this book being placed in the Juvenile section of the library and the accidental discovery that may be made by younger children. We also understand the subjective nature of age-appropriate content; and the herculean effort it would take for a librarian to segregate every controversial book to everyone’s liking; and the chilling effect it would have on free speech." More here: http://bit.ly/1Ox8adH
JUDGE GIVES FORMAL RULING ON ARKANSAS BIRTH CERTIFICATES: Yesterday, a Pulaski Circuit Court Judge ruled that parts of Arkansas’ birth certificate law are unconstitutional in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of marriage equality. This was a formal expansion of his opinion last month that ruled in favor of three same-sex couples who sued the Arkansas Department of Health for refusing to name both spouses on the birth certificates for their children. More here: http://bit.ly/1TkCCHk
AROUND THE WORLD
A THIRD JAPANESE DISTRICT TO RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS: Yesterday the city of Takarazuka announced that it would follow the lead of Setagaya and Shibuya wards of Tokyo by recognizing same-sex relationships with partnership certificates. The Takarazuka mayor, Tomoko Nakagawa, announced the news saying: “One of the primary missions of local governments is to stand on the side of people who feel uncomfortable living in this society.” The city will start issuing certificates in March of next year. This week, a new poll in Japan found that 51 percent of people support marriage equality
More here: http://bit.ly/1IEj4bi
Slate explains how Republican donors are no longer opposing LGBT rights… The Atlantic takes an in-depth look at how covering medical care for transgender patients makes good business sense for insurance companies….The Jacksonville Business Journal profiles the fight to pass a non-discrimination ordinance in Jacksonville, Florida in the wake of Houston…. Reuters shares the stories of LGBT activists in Bosnia who are pushing to join the European Union to end anti-LGBT violence.