Hudlin Entertainment Forum

General Category => Hard Choices => Topic started by: Battle on October 22, 2018, 06:48:32 pm

Title: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on October 22, 2018, 06:48:32 pm

Check out this 30 second television ad presenting the Fall 2018 fashions for The Real Real.

Physiology affects mind and behavior.

I've seen quite a few televsion ads featuring transgenders.

Would you recognize a transgender if you saw one in a television ad?


Real male or Real female?

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on November 14, 2018, 04:50:26 am

Physiology affects mind and behavior.

I've seen quite a few television ads featuring transgenders.

Can you spot the transgender in this 1 minute television ad  for JUVÉDERM® XC?


Real male or Real female?

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on December 09, 2018, 09:43:28 am

Physiology affects mind and behavior.

Check out this video clip of a pro boxer training before a bout that clocks just below 30 seconds.


Real male or Real female?

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on December 09, 2018, 08:12:03 pm

Physiology affects mind & behavior

Check out this 15 second television ad for SMIRNOFF.



Real male or Real female?

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on December 17, 2018, 01:45:43 pm

Check out this 0:57 second clip from the 2018 Miss Universe Beauty Pageant, as Angela Ponce represents Miss Spain.

Physiology affects mind and behavior.


Real male or Real female?

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on May 28, 2019, 12:31:01 pm

Check out this 0:37 second new television ad for Gillette.

Physiology affects mind & behavior.


Real male or real female?

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Please disregard the televised news crew embedded into this clip.
Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on June 20, 2019, 06:02:24 pm
Physiology affects mind & behavior.


Check out this Tweet from Leyna Bloom, the first openly trans woman to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2018.

In 2019, Leyna Bloom will be the first trans woman of color to premiere a film at Cannes, and will become the face of a major lingerie brand, Playful Promises: Dani St. James.

Real male or Real female?
Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on June 15, 2020, 08:43:20 am
Monday, 15th June 2o2o
U.S. Supreme Court endorses gay & transgender worker protections
by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered a watershed victory for LGBT rights, ruling that a landmark federal law forbidding workplace discrimination protects gay and transgender employees.

The 6-3 ruling represented the biggest moment for LGBT rights in the United States since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015.


In the new ruling, the justices decided that gay and transgender people are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex as well as race, color, national origin and religion.

Workplace bias against gay and transgender employees has remained legal in much of the country, with 28 U.S. states lacking comprehensive measures against employment discrimination.

The rulings - in two gay rights cases from Georgia and New York and a transgender rights case from Michigan - recognize new worker protections in federal law.

The ruling was authored by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by the person pretending to be an American president in 2017.

Chief Justice John Roberts, another conservative, along with the court’s four liberal justices, joined Gorsuch’s opinion.

(        (

conservative Justices samuel alito, clarence thomas and brett kavanaugh dissented from the ruling.

The legal fight focused on the definition of “sex” in Title VII.

The plaintiffs, along with civil rights groups and many large companies, had argued that discriminating against gay and transgender workers was inherently based on their sex and consequently was illegal.

trunk and employers accused of discrimination in the cases argued that Congress did not intend for Title VII to protect gay and transgender people when it passed the law.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Gorsuch wrote in the ruling.

“Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

The court ruled in two consolidated cases about gay people who have said they were fired due to their sexual orientation.

One involved a former county child welfare services coordinator from Georgia named Gerald Bostock.

The other involved a New York skydiving instructor named Donald Zarda who died after the litigation began, with the matter then pursued by his estate.

The court also ruled in a case that involved a transgender funeral director named Aimee Stephens fired by a Detroit funeral home after revealing plans to transition from male to female.

Stephens died in May.

Stephens’ wife Donna is now representing the estate.

The Justice Department reversed the government’s position taken under real former President Barack Obama that Title VII covered sexual orientation and gender identity.

Strongly supported by evangelical Christian voters, trunk has taken actions that have undermined gay and transgender rights since taking office in 2017.

trunk last week issued a rule that would lift anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in healthcare.

His administration also has backed the right of certain businesses to refuse to serve gay people on the basis of religious objections to gay marriage, banned most transgender service members from the military and rescinded protections on bathroom access for transgender students in public schools.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on October 21, 2020, 05:03:41 am
Wednesday, 21st October 2o2o
Black Trans Lives Matter
by ABC News


Joslyn Allen, Jaslene Busanet and Eden Estrada weren't fearing for their safety after a night out on Hollywood Boulevard in mid-August.

The three friends, all popular influencers on Instagram, were exiting a store in the early hours of August 17th when cellphone video caught a violent, unprovoked attack against them.

Just moments before the attack, the suspect had offered to buy them something.

But once inside the store, he refused to pay.

He ran out of the store and came back with a tire iron, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Onlookers recorded as Allen, Busanet and Estrada, all of whom are transgender women of color, were violently robbed while the man hurled insults and slurs at them.

"I knew this kind of stuff happens all the time to girls like me," Busanet told ABC News.

"But I just never thought it could be me. ... I'm no different than any other girl that's trans. I'm a target like everybody else is."

Busanet was trying to catch her breath when someone ran up behind and struck her in the head with a long piece of metal, knocking her to the ground.

The attacker then made derogatory remarks about her, according to police.

"I thought I was gonna die," said Busanet.

"I was just holding myself in the fetal position and I just thought this is it. I'm gonna be done after this."

As the attack ensued, a crowd of onlookers stood by, recording and some even laughing at the brutal assaults.

Many of them were shouting their own transphobic slurs at the women.

"Hit her again!" yelled one of the bystanders as the women were being assaulted.

"You wanna talk about black lives matter, but a black girl is sitting on the floor," said Allen, as she tried to render aid for Busanet, who was crying on the ground after being struck in the head.

Another onlooker responded callously, "Where's the blood?"

Los Angeles police have arrested one of the men suspected in the beating on Hollywood Boulevard, and accused him of a hate crime.
Police say they are still searching for another suspect.

"What was particularly callous about these crimes was the actions of the onlookers who recorded and appeared to celebrate the assaults rather than render aid and assist the victims," said Chief Justin Eisenberg of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The assault came amid the most violent year on record against transgender people.

ABC News has independently confirmed 33 violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people in 2020, most recently the death of Sara Blackwood in Indianapolis on National Coming Out Day.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, this is the deadliest year for transgender people on record since they began tracking deaths in 2013.

The previous high, 29, was set in 2017, according to a report from the Human Rights Campaign.

The term "at least" is often used in tracking deaths deaths in the transgender and gender non-conforming community, because many of these violent incidents are either unreported or misreported.

Activist Milan Nicole Sherry added that many deaths go unreported because victims are misgendered in the media.

Police reports and media often refer to victims by their "dead name," or their birth name, rather than their current name, making it more difficult to track their deaths.

Activists across the country have marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in late May, sparking conversations about racial justice and equality.

Simultaneously, there is a growing call for more inclusion of Black members in the LGBTQ community.

Black and Latino members of the transgender community account for almost all of the deaths on record in 2020.

Brooklyn DeShauna Smith, a young Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Shreveport, Louisiana, on October 7th.

Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, 32, and Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21, were two transgender women killed in Puerto Rico.

Their remains were discovered in a burning car, according to reports from the Human Rights Campaign.

To date, six transgender women have been violently killed in Puerto Rico.

The increased violence has led to growing concerns about the safety of transgender people in the U.S.

"When one of us is killed, that impacts our community much more distant," said Tori Cooper, director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative at the Human Rights Campaign.

"And then when there's 20 and 25 and 30 of us, how much 30 lives lost in one year really impacts the larger community."

"And if we're hitting record numbers of trans deaths while we're in quarantine, what does that say about the ridiculousness of this heightened sense of violence that we're having," Cooper added.

Black transgender Americans have been fighting this abuse for years, dating back as early as the 1960s when Marsha P. Johnson threw the first brick of protest at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, sparking the beginning of the gay rights movement.

More recently, the hashtag Black Trans Lives Matter has called attention to the epidemic of violence in the transgender community.
Sherry, a transgender woman and activist from New Orleans, founded the movement and created a new space for activism that's growing worldwide.

"There's no way that Black lives will ever matter when y'all are not inclusive to Black trans lives," Sherry said in an interview with ABC News Live.

"It's very hypocritical to say 'Black Lives Matter,' and then it's crickets when Black trans women are experiencing the same violence."


ABC News reached out to representatives of Black Lives Matter, but have not received a response.

"We have to prioritize through a lens of equity and justice," said Cooper.

"We have to prioritize the lives of Black trans people and particularly Black trans women ... saying it reinforces that our lives do indeed matter."

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on February 05, 2021, 07:19:48 am
Friday, 5th February Two Thousand and Twenty One
Former WWE superstar Gabbi Tuft comes out as transgender
by Maria Morava and Scottie Andrew


Gabbi Tuft is ready to show the world who she is.

Tuft, a former WWE wrestling star, announced she is transgender this week.

"This is me," she wrote in an Instagram post coming out as transgender.

"Unashamed, unabashedly me."

The former wrestler was active in the WWE from 2009-2012 under the ring name "Tyler Reks."

In 2012, she left WWE fame to spend more time with her wife, Priscilla, and their daughter.

But her post-wrestling life wasn't always smooth sailing.

"The previous eight months have been some of the darkest of my entire life," Tuft wrote on Instagram.

"The emotional turmoil of being transgender and having to face the world has almost ended me on multiple occasions."

"However," she said, "the day I stopped caring about what other people thought, was the day I truly became limitless and allowed my authentic self to come into the light."

Before retiring in 2014, the former WWE superstar was intimidating opponents in TV events like "Raw," "SmackDown" and "Wrestlemania."

Her signature move? The "Burning Hammer."

Videos abound on the Internet of Tuft wrapping her opponents' bodies around her neck, taking a beat and slamming them stomach-down into the canvas.

But the days of the "burning hammer" are gone -- and since then, Tuft has taken up work as a body builder, fitness instructor, motivational speaker and motorcycle racer.

Now, she shared in a news release, she is ready to live her truth as a "fun-loving and fabulous female."

"She has been finally set free and ready to rule her world," the release said.

Tuft knows her fans have questions -- and in her Instagram post, she said she intends to answer them.

But she's also making time to receive the outpouring of support from fans.

"This is probably the most exciting day of my life, next to the birth of my child and my wedding day," she said in an Instagram story.

"I am blown away," she said.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone that held support for me before the world knew ... thank you for everyone, with the flood of positive messages coming in. I love you all so much."

Tuft said she plans to go through fans messages soon.

"I have a lot on my plate, though," she said.

Tuft and her wife said in the news release that they also want to help others in the LGBTQ community struggling with their transgender identities.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on March 11, 2021, 01:33:22 pm
Thursday, 11th March 2021
Sexual orientation removed from South Carolina hate crime bill
by Jeffrey Collins of Associated Press

(COLUMBIA, South Carolina) — A hate crimes bill in South Carolina no longer protects gay or transgender people after a Republican leader said including them would likely lead members of his party to withdraw their support.

A House subcommittee on Thursday passed an amendment removing sexual orientation, creed, gender, age and ancestry from the bill.

The measure now includes just six protected groups, all of which have long been included in federal law:

race, color, religion, sex, national origin and physical or mental disability.

Supporters of the bill as originally written questioned the worth of a hate crimes law that doesn’t include gay and transgender people, who they say are among those most in need of protection.

“The mere fact in 2021 there is any disagreement on whether gays should be included in a hate crime bill is indicative of why we need the bill,” said Democratic Representative Justin Bamberg from the city of Bamberg.

Backers of the bill also bemoaned the fact that it has taken the state so long to pass any hate crime measure.

It has been nearly six years since a self-declared white supremacist gunned down nine Black parishioners at Emanuel AME church in Charleston.

South Carolina is one of only three states — along with Arkansas and Wyoming — without a hate crimes law and the state’s powerful business community has said the lack of protection could stop expansions and new companies.

The decision stunned LGBT groups, which had been encouraged by the bill’s progress.

“The FBI has stated that hate crimes against LGBTQ people are on the rise and if we can’t count on our representatives to pass a hate crime bill that actually includes one of the communities most impacted by hate-motivated crimes, then what’s the point of this bill?” said Chase Glenn, the executive director of the South Carolina Alliance For Full Acceptance.

House Judiciary Chairman Chris Murphy said protections for gay and transgender people could be restored as the legislation heads through the rest of the House or the Senate.

Murphy and Republican subcommittee Chairman Weston Newton said they understand the reasons for including sexual orientation in the bill.

But they said they needed to get as much Republican support as they could quickly.

It is quite difficult to pass any bill that doesn’t have wide support unless it has passed in at least one chamber by April 8th.

“The goal is to get a bill we’re going to be able to pass,” said Murphy, a Republican from Summerville.

Newton said the amended hate crimes bill may provide more protection than it appears after justices in a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling from Georgia determined discrimination because of sex includes sexual orientation or gender identity.

But bill sponsor Beth Bernstein said that decision was not clear cut and may require the South Carolina Supreme Court to agree to the broader definition.

“This is just disappointing,” said the Columbia Democrat, who has worked for months to carefully craft the bill, including by holding public hearings last summer that tried to be as inclusive as possible.

Republicans gained two House and three state Senate seats in in 2020 elections, and the rightward shift has been impossible to miss in this legislative session.

A law that would likely ban almost all abortions was passed after years of attempts, but is held up in court.

A bill banning transgender students from playing sports on girls teams in middle and high schools is getting hearings.

And the House is likely to take up a proposal to allow people to openly carry guns.

Conservatives worried the hate crimes bill might be used against religious groups who oppose homosexuality or abortion.

Supporters agreed Thursday to remove civil penalties and include a clause that the hate crime penalty couldn’t exceed the penalty for the original crime.

The bill would add up to five years in prison for someone convicted of a murder, assault or other violent crime fueled by hate, three years for stalking or harassment and an extra year behind bars for vandalism.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on March 21, 2021, 04:37:24 am
Sunday, 21st march Twenty One
Leyna Bloom is the 1st Black and Asian Transgender Woman to be featured in Sports Illustrated
by Tonja Renee Stidhum


Like the flourishing flower she is, model, actress and activist Leyna Bloom has made Sports Illustrated history!

Bloom is the first Black and Asian transgender woman to be featured in the magazine’s upcoming annual swimsuit issue, which was first published in 1964.

“This is what it looks like to be in full bloom,” Bloom, a Chicago native, posted on Instagram, following the news.

“Thank you @si_swimsuit for allowing me to showcase my heavenly form. My spirit has reached new levels. This moment is bigger than my wildest infinite dreams. In this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in.”

Leyna Bloom first gained recognition in the ballroom community and is now single-handedly changing the world of modeling.

In 2017, she made headlines for being one of the few openly transgender models to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week and was the first transgender woman of color to appear in Vogue India.

Just two years later she was the only transgender model to walk the runway at Paris Fashion Week for Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya’s Fall/Winter collection.

“[Leyna’s] story represents one grounded in resilience and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help her tell it,” a spokesperson for Sports Illustrated wrote in a statement to CNN.

“Her presence as the first trans woman of color to be in our issue is a result of her lifetime dedication to forging her own path that has led to acceptance, love and change.

She represents every person’s right to love themselves and be who they want to be.”

More info on this historic moment, via CNN:

Bloom, who is Black and Filipina, is only the second transgender woman to ever be featured in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.


Last year, Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio became the first.
Bloom told CNN Style that being in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue “is an incredible feeling and achievement,” but added “that there’s still so much work to be done for more representation.”


Bloom is absolutely used to making history as she also recently starred in Port Authority, which was the first film starring an openly trans woman of color to be selected by the Cannes Film Festival (2019).

The film marked Bloom’s big-screen acting debut, which seems to be just the beginning for the actress who is all about visibility.

“We need to constantly remind ourselves to protect those people in our society that are destined, that are different, that are beautiful uniquely themselves to go out and do what they’re destined to do which is to challenge society to make it better for everyone else,” Bloom said.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on March 21, 2021, 01:35:28 pm
Sunday, 21st March Twenty One
Pride in London’s top Black member resigns over racism concerns
by Nadine White

The most senior Black team member at Pride in London has resigned over concerns about racism within the organisation, The Independent can reveal.

Rhammel Afflick has quit as director of communications after seven years with the group, which organises the Pride march, attended by roughly 1.5 million people in the centre of the capital each year.

The 26-year-old has alleged that the LGBT+ group had turned a blind eye to bigotry, while Black volunteers have been ostracised.

Pride in London has now apologised, and admitted we “know we must do better to serve the communities we represent.”

Mr Afflick and other staffers have alleged that Pride in London has failed to tackle racism and prioritise diversity in its ranks.

In the space of three months, five senior volunteers have left, citing these concerns, The Independent understands.

Mr Afflick said:

“Within the leadership, there is an unfortunate reluctance to accept that the liberation of LGBT+ people must be coupled with the fight against sexism, ableism, racism and other forms of unacceptable discrimination."

“This reluctance has been evident through a series of decisions taken by Pride in London’s leadership. These decisions are detrimental to all our communities but in particular to Black LGBT+ people."

“I’ve also personally witnessed the leadership’s insistence on ignoring Black voices in our communities and amongst our own volunteers when they speak up and speak out. I cannot and will not condone Pride in London’s insistence on finding reasons to look the other way.”

Over the past few years, Pride in London has made decisions which have caused grave concern among marginalised communities and progressively alienated them, Mr Afflick said.

These included allowing organisations such as the Home Office and UKIP to march and have visibility at events despite their strained relationships with Londoners from ethnic minorities.

The organisation recently came under fire for rejecting calls to ban the Metropolitan Police from taking part in its parade, a move described by Mr Afflick as “hurtful”.

“It’s an unavoidable truth that allowing any organisation to take part in the parade provides an endorsement. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests and George Floyd’s death, I found it hurtful and infuriating that Pride was prepared to publicly commit to anti-racism but to date is unable to evidence any meaningful action,” he said.

Last year, Pride in London pledged solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and made a commitment towards anti-racism.

Moreover, prominent groups such as Stonewall and Black Pride, which are by-and-large trusted by LGBT+ people of colour, have previously criticised Pride in London’s events and campaigns for a lack of diversity.

Mr Afflick said:

“Pride in London is not deemed a safe space by most prominent Black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT+ activists. This is as a result of deep-rooted racism in the LGBT+ community which often surfaces in mainstream LGBT+ spaces.

“Many Black volunteers have spoken out against Pride’s lack of diversity. Many Black volunteers have also left, unable or unwilling to keep fighting within an organisation where they didn’t feel their voices were valued, respected or heard. It cannot be right that Black voices continue to experience indifference to their plight and, more often than not, a hostile environment.”

Concerns around lack of inclusivity within the LGBT+ community has led to the emergence of diverse organisations such as UK Black Pride.

Co-established by Lady Phyll Opoku-Gyimah in 2005, it has grown to become Europe’s biggest celebration for LGBT+ people of colour, with thousands attending parades each year.

Diverse recruitment at Pride in London is an ongoing issue too.

At the beginning of the year, senior volunteers resigned, saying marginalised voices were being sidelined within the organisation.

One staffer added that the notion of Pride in London as an “elitist establishment that did not care for anyone that wasn’t white” was accurate.

Pride in London has not sought the views of ethnic minority LGBT+ volunteers in a “meaningful” way when setting out its strategy or when making significant decisions about the direction of the organisation, The Independent has been told.

In addition to the exodus of top-ranking staffers since the beginning of 2021, questions have also been raised about Pride in London’s recruitment process with allegations of cronyism levied at board members by ex-team members.

Another former volunteer told The Independent:

“I know that a number of teams were not going through the official recruitment process in favour of just hiring people directly – all of the recruits were white men. It’s no secret that there are problems within Pride in London where race is concerned. This is not new.”

They added:

“There’s a lack of faith in pride at this point. Having witnessed this pattern of behaviour for some time, I can tell you that this doesn’t inspire much confidence."

“If you’d said to me years ago that I’d resign from my role at Pride in London, I wouldn’t have believed it. But I don’t feel that I could’ve remained true to my own morals, values and beliefs in what’s best for our communities by staying involved in an organisation that thinks it can turn a blind eye to diversity.”

The volunteer accused Pride in London of a “complete lack of thought” and claimed there was “total ignorance towards how it should be prioritising underrepresented voices and communities while making sure that visibility and inclusivity is there”.

“Follow the trail of ex-volunteers who have left Pride in London,” another staffer told The Independent.

“That’ll tell you a lot.”

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on March 24, 2021, 05:35:53 pm
Wednesday, 24th March Twenty One
US Senate confirms transgender doctor for key post


Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be the nation’s Assistant Secretary of Health.

She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation.

The final vote was 52-48.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Susan Collins of Maine joined all Democrats in supporting Levine.

Levine had been serving as Pennsylvania’s top health official since 2017, and emerged as the public face of the state’s response to COVID-19.

She is expected to oversee Health and Human Services offices and programs across the U.S.

President Joe Biden cited Levine’s experience when he nominated her in January.

Levine “will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability,” Biden said.

Transgender-rights activists have hailed Levine’s appointment as a historic breakthrough.

Few trans people have ever held high-level offices at the federal or state level.

However, the confirmation vote came at a challenging moment for the transgender-rights movement as legislatures across the U.S. — primarily those under republican control — are considering an unprecedented wave of bills targeting trans young people.

One type of bill, introduced in at least 25 states, seeks to ban trans girls and young women from participating in female scholastic sports.

One such measure already has been signed into law by Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, and similar measures have been sent to the governors in Tennessee, Arkansas and South Dakota.

Another variety of bill, introduced in at least 17 states, seeks to outlaw or restrict certain types of medical care for transgender youths.

None of these measures has yet won final approval.

Issues related to transgender rights also are a major factor in Republican opposition to the proposed Equality Act, which would extend federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ people across the U.S.

The measure has passed the Democratic-led House but likely needs some GOP votes to prevail in the Senate.

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, alluded to those developments as she welcomed the Senate's vote on Levine.

“At a time when hateful politicians are weaponizing trans lives for their own perceived political gain, Dr. Levine’s confirmation lends focus to the contributions trans people make to our nation,” said Parker, whose organization recruits and supports LGBTQ political candidates.

Senator Rand Paul, republican f/Kentucky, who voted no, had confronted Levine about medical treatments for transgender young people — include hormone treatment and puberty blockers — during her confirmation hearing Feb. 25.

“Do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?” Paul asked.

Levine replied that transgender medicine “is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care” and said she would welcome discussing the issues with him.

In the past, Levine has asserted that hormone therapy and puberty-blocking drugs can be valuable medical tools in sparing some transgender youth from mental distress and possible suicide risk.

The confirmation vote was assailed by the conservative Family Research Council, which contended that Levine, in addition to her stance on transgender medical care, had supported “a variety of pro-abortion and anti-religious freedom proposals” while serving as Pennsylvania's health secretary.

“Levine may be the most extreme radical ever confirmed by the Senate," said Travis Weber, the council's vice president for policy and government affairs.

A pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general, Levine was appointed as Pennsylvania’s health secretary by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf in 2017.

She won confirmation by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate.

However, Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, voted against Levine’s confirmation Wednesday.

“In Pennsylvania, the pandemic struck seniors in nursing homes disproportionately hard compared to other states,” Toomey said.

“This was due in part to poor decisions and oversight by Dr. Levine and the Wolf administration.”

He also said an extended lockdown advocated by Levine “was excessive, arbitrary in nature, and has led to a slower recovery.”

A graduate of Harvard and of Tulane Medical School, Levine is president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

She’s written in the past on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders and LGBTQ medicine.

Praise for her accomplishments and her handling of the pandemic have coincided with a steady stream of vitriol directed at at her on social media.

As reported Tuesday by the Associated Press, Levine was among the targets of a private fakebook group called the Pittsburgh Area Police Breakroom whose participants included many current and retired police officers.

Dozens of group members fueled days of transphobic posts about Levine for her role in statewide social-distancing mandates to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Someone needs to shoot this thing!!” one retired officer wrote.

In January, a Pennsylvania legislator shared on fakebook an image mocking Levine’s appearance, then offered a general apology.

State Representative Jeff Pyle, a Republican, said on fakebook that he “had no idea” the post mocking Levine “would be … received as poorly as it was” but that “tens of thousands of heated emails assured me it was.”

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on March 28, 2021, 08:00:22 pm
Sunday, 28th March Twenty One
Court rules: Ohio Christian college professor who rejected transgender student's pronouns can sue university
by Lucas Mandfredi


A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that an Ohio college professor can try to prove his First Amendment rights were violated and sue the school for damages after he was reprimanded in 2016 for refusing to address a transgender student by her preferred pronouns.

According to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University, argued a new rule by the university requiring faculty to refer to students by their preferred pronouns did not reflect "biological reality" and contradicted his devout Christian beliefs.


A student in Meriwether's class, referred to as 'Doe', complained to university officials that Meriweather's repeated refusal to use the student's feminine pronouns created a 'hostile environment' in violation of the school's nondiscrimination policy.

In response, the university gave Meriwether a written warning about his conduct, in which they explained Meriwether could be suspended without pay or fired for continuing to violate the policy.

The Shawnee State faculty union proceeded to file a grievance on Meriwether’s behalf.

While officials at the school agreed that Meriwether's conduct did not create a hostile environment, they claimed the case was related to "differential treatment" and denied the grievance.

Out of options, Meriwether pushed back with a lawsuit, alleging that he cannot address "a high profile issue of public concern that has significant philosophical implications" and that the warning letter will make it "difficult, if not impossible," for Meriwether to obtain a position at another institution once he retires from Shawnee State.

individual-1-appointed circuit judge Amul Thapar argued in the three-judge panel's ruling that Meriwether was punished for communicating a 'hotly contested' matter of public concern.

He also said that there is "no suggestion" that Meriwether’s decision to avoid using feminine pronouns impacted his duties in the classroom, hampered the operation of the school, or denied the student any educational benefits, noting Doe was given a "high grade".

"If professors lacked free-speech protections when teaching, a university would wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity," Thapar wrote.

"A university president could require a pacifist to declare that war is just, a civil rights icon to condemn the Freedom Riders, a believer to deny the existence of God, or a Soviet émigré to address his students as "comrades." That cannot be."

"By forbidding Meriwether from describing his views on gender identity even in his syllabus, Shawnee State silenced a viewpoint that could have catalyzed a robust and insightful in-class discussion," Thapar added.

The lawsuit has been returned to a Cincinnati judge, who dismissed the case in February 2020.

Shawnee State did not immediately respond to fox News' request for comment.

John Bursch, a lawyer at the conservative nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom who represented Meriwether, praised the decision.

"Nobody should be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep their job," he said.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on April 04, 2021, 05:06:29 pm
Sunday, 4th April Twenty One
Virginia becomes 12th state to ban gay/trans panic defense
by Jo Yurcaba

Virginia has become the 12th state to ban the use of the “gay/trans panic” defense.

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill Wednesday against the defense, which has allowed those accused of homicide to receive lesser sentences by saying they panicked after finding out the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill passed the state House and the Senate in February.

The bill’s author, Democratic Delegate Danica Roem said she first became aware of the defense after Matthew Shepard, a gay man, was murdered in 1998, and the men who killed him used the defense in court, according to the American Bar Association.

Then, in 2004, one of the four men who were convicted of killing Gwen Araujo, a trans teenager, also used it.

Roem was a college freshman and knew she was trans when she read about Araujo’s death.

It terrified her, she said.

But what made her determined to introduce a bill to ban the defense in Virginia was a letter she has received from a 15-year-old LGBTQ constituent.

“He's out, and he sent me an email asking me to pass this bill, and I came to realize that in 2021, my out teenage constituents are living with the same fear that I did in 1998, after Matthew was killed, and that I did in 2002 after Gwen Araujo was killed,” Roem said.

“And you think of how many other people will stay closeted because they have a fear of being attacked, let alone all the other fears that a closeted person who wants to come out has.”

Roem said that a researcher who studies the LGBTQ panic defense testified that it has been used at least eight times in Virginia.

She said some Virginia lawmakers questioned it, arguing that other legal defenses aren’t banned, which Roem said is not true.

“We went through the list,” she said.

“The rape shield law — you cannot blame a rape survivor or a rape victim’s past sex life, more or less, for that person's rape in that encounter. Their sexual history is irrelevant.”

In addition, committing statutory rape against someone 14 or older and then marrying that person does not exonerate the rapist, she said.

The marriage “is not a viable defense in court,” Roem said.

“What we were showing was, sometimes things are so egregious that when we have this universal acknowledgement that this shouldn't be happening, we codify that,” she said.

“And so that's what we did with this bill.”

Though only 12 states have banned the defense, Roem said it’s still progress.

And, she said, it’s a sign that the makeup of state legislatures is changing.

In Vermont, Taylor Small, who was elected to the state House in 2020 and is the state’s first openly trans legislator, introduced a similar bill there.

“You'll notice with me introducing this bill, with Taylor Small introducing this bill in Vermont, that, as more of us who are coming from the very communities that are most affected by legislation like this have that lived experience that we were bringing to the table, we are able to speak to this,” Roem said.

Having more openly LGBTQ representatives, particularly trans people, affects whether constituents feel like their concerns will be heard, she said.

“In my case, my teenage constituent — who knows that his delegate is trans, and he as someone who's out feels safe talking to her — can send me a bill idea and say, ‘Delegate Roem, can you carry this, can you make this happen?’ And my answer to that constituent, my answer is ‘yes.’ And we did.”

Roem said that Virginia, as the first Southern state to pass a ban on the defense, also sets an example for other states.

She said Virginia banned the defense before Vermont, Maryland and Massachusetts, though both Vermont and Maryland are considering similar bills.

Roem said that once Delaware “gets on board,” she hopes the Mid-Atlantic states can send a message to LGBTQ people.

“I hope that as a region, the Mid-Atlantic can really tell people that you are welcome here because of who you are, and we will protect you here because of who you are,” Roem said.

The delegate also said that if an LGBTQ person is killed or hurt, the state will not "let them use your mere existence as an out LGBTQ person — or the perception of you being LGBTQ — be a reason that they can hurt you.”

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on April 05, 2021, 01:02:39 pm
Monday, 5th April Twenty One
Arkansas' republican governor vetoes anti-trans health care bill
by Devan Cole


Arkansas' republican governor on Monday vetoed an anti-transgender health care bill that would've prohibited physicians in the state from providing gender-affirming "procedures" for trans people under age 18.

Governor asa hutchinson told reporters that he killed HB 1570 because the bill "would be and is a vast government overreach" and because it would've created "new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people."

The governor called the legislation "a product of the cultural war in America," adding that his veto comes even though he believed the bill was "well-intended."

The bill, called the Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, passed the state Senate late last month by a vote of 28-7.

The state House passed it in early March by a vote of 70-22.

The bill made what it called an "exception" for some intersex people with unspecified chromosomal makeup and hormone production, and those with difficulties resulting from previous gender-affirming treatments.

It also would have banned ​so-called cross-hormone therapy,​ a gender-affirming treatment that allows for trans people to ​change their physical appearance to be more consistent with their gender identity.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on April 07, 2021, 03:52:59 am
Wednesday, 7th April Twenty One
Youth activists lead the fight against anti-trans bills
by Jo Yurcaba


Eli Bundy, an 11th grader, sat in the teacher’s lounge for two hours February 23rd, missing class to testify in front of a South Carolina House subcommittee against a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing in school sports.

Bundy, 16, said while it was frustrating to miss class, the bill “directly impacts me and my friends.”

“They didn't want to hear from us,” Bundy, who uses gender neutral pronouns, said of lawmakers who supported the bill, adding they believe the timing of the hearing was strategic.

“I think that's part of the reason why they weren't more accommodating — they didn’t want to sit through that.”

Bundy is a nonbinary activist who has been involved in challenging anti-LGBTQ legislation in the state, including a bill last year that would’ve banned transgender minors from accessing certain medical care.

Young activists like Bundy are taking a leading role in the fight against anti-transgender legislation in states across the country.

Some have testified at hearings for the more than 70 state bills targeting transgender people, and some have filed lawsuits against bills that have successfully become law.

Eliza Byard, a senior executive adviser at GLSEN, which advocates for LGBTQ youth, said that as conservative organizations like the Alliance Defending Freedom have helped craft and support the increasing number of bills, trans youth have “come up with ways to fight back.”

“The incredible well of youth activism that has been at the vanguard of LGBTQ progress for the last 30 to 40 years continues to push back in new ways,” said Byard, who was the executive director for GLSEN from 2008 until a few months ago when she stepped down.

Youth activism “goes way back, and it continues today, and I feel very confident given what I've seen over the years that these advocates will prevail,” she said.

Young people say they’re stepping up because they have to, though it can be emotionally challenging for them to stay engaged.

“In my case, it feels like a necessity,” Bundy said.

“I feel like I can't afford to not pay attention, because it's my life and the life of my friends on the line, and that feels like much too high of a cost not to be paying attention to, even though it definitely can be very painful.”

Over the last few years, state lawmakers have moved away from “bathroom bills” targeting transgender adults and toward legislation meant to “protect” transgender minors or protect their cisgender peers from them.

At least 20 states are currently considering bills that would ban transgender young people from competing in school sports or limit their access to medical care, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

LGBTQ young people have been fighting restrictive legislation for decades, Byard said.

In the 1990s, one of her first projects for GLSEN was to support a young woman in Salt Lake City named Kelly Peterson, who was fighting legislation designed to prevent students from forming gay-straight alliances, or LGBTQ school clubs also known as GSAs.

“What I think is particularly true about this wave of attacks on trans students is the unbelievable and twisted invasiveness of these bills,” she said.

“Whereas Kelly Peterson in Salt Lake City was fighting for the right to form a GSA in her school, these bills are saying that any person can challenge a female athlete and subject them to a physical examination, including transvaginal examination by a doctor.”

Supporters of the bills often claim that the increasing number of youth coming out as trans is evidence that they’re being “brainwashed.”

Byard said it’s the same argument that advocates have heard for decades.

“I would remind you that 30 years ago, we were brainwashing young children to be lesbian and gay,” she said.

“In 1990, the argument was, ‘What are you talking about, there is no such thing,’ because no one was really out except the bravest young people.”

Byard said it takes “huge cultural shifts” that then allow more young people to come out.

“There is a symbiotic relationship between individual bravery and choices, cultural shifts and movement advocacy over a long period of time that has led us to the point where there is a vibrant visible population of transgender, nonbinary, LGB youth out there,” she said.

“And right now, trans youth across the country are fighting for their right to exist.”

Elliot Vogue, a 17-year-old activist who lives in Hartford, South Dakota, said he thinks young activists like himself are stepping up because “we're being silenced by our own state government and it feels powerless.”

Last year, he protested against a bill that would have made it a felony for medical professionals to provide gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers to trans minors.

In January, he testified against a measure to require birth certificates to reflect assigned sex at birth, because he is in the process of trying to change his gender marker.

Vogue said every time state lawmakers propose anti-trans bills, trans people in the state speak out against them.

Activists defeated the gender-affirming care bill, the birth certificate measure, and, on Monday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem rejected a bill to ban transgender athletes from competing in school sports, arguing that it was too broad.

“When these bills come up and trans people are saying, ‘Hey, this isn’t OK, this isn’t going to help us, this isn’t going to help anybody else, why are you doing this?’ And then they ignore us and continue to make these bills again, it's really frustrating,” Vogue said.

“Even when we do talk to them, they don't want to listen.”

Anti-trans policies, even when they don’t pass, take a toll on young trans people’s mental health, Bundy said.

For example, a survey by the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization, found that calls to its hotline from transgender young people rose from 7.3 percent to 17.5 percent in the 24 hours following individual-1’s tweet in 2017 that he would ban transgender people from the military.

Calls to the hotline from trans young people also doubled to 14.7 percent in the week after the Texas Legislature introduced its “bathroom bill” in 2017, which would’ve required trans people to use the bathroom for their assigned sex.

Trans and nonbinary youth also have higher rates of suicidal ideation, with 52 percent reporting that they seriously considered suicide between December 2019 and March 2020, according to the Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health.

The data shows that the rhetoric surrounding anti-trans policies is “a clear danger to trans young people who are already potentially vulnerable,” Bundy said.

“I think that's what scares me the most about it, is that it is just another harmful thing in the lives of people who already potentially are struggling with a variety of other outside pressures or issues or lack of support.”

Some young people have taken their activism to the courts.

Lindsay Hecox, a 20-year-old sophomore at Boise State University, has been involved in a legal battle against an Idaho law for nearly a year.

Hecox planned to join the university cross-country team in September 2020.

She ran 70 miles a week and did all the workouts the team did, she said.

But last March, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed a bill banning transgender athletes from competing on the sports team of their gender identity.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Voice filed a lawsuit on behalf of Hecox in April, and in August, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction that prevented the law from taking effect.

“It's been quite the journey,” she said of the lawsuit.

“I can say that nothing prepares you for this, especially if you're part of a marginalized group and you don't really want all that attention, which is definitely my case.”

Hecox said she’s “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome of her case.

“I'm in this for the long run,” she said.

“Over the course of the past year that I started being an activist for this, I've gained so much more confidence in asserting that, yes, I'm doing the right thing. I should never feel like I should back down due to the amount of pressure from people who don't believe that trans women don't have any advantage in sports. I know I don't have any advantage and it's just up to the legal team, these judges, when it gets down to the decision time.”

In South Carolina, the House Judiciary Committee tabled its trans athlete bill, making a vote in 2021 unlikely, The Associated Press reported.

Bundy said it’s a positive update, but that the bill’s sponsors have said they plan to bring it back next session.

“I’m definitely glad that it isn’t going to pass this time around, but it’s one of many bills that would do harm to trans youth both in our state and others, so the fight is certainly long from over,” they said.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on April 07, 2021, 04:22:53 am
Wednesday, 7th April  Twenty One
Arkansas lawmakers enact transgender youth treatment ban
by Andrew DeMillo

(LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas) — Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday made the state the first to ban gender confirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth, enacting the prohibition over the governor’s objections.

The Republican-controlled House and Senate voted to override GOP Governor asa Hutchinson’s veto of the measure, which prohibits doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.

Opponents of the measure have vowed to sue to block the ban before it takes effect this summer.

Hutchinson vetoed the bill Monday following pleas from pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youth who said the measure would harm a community already at risk for depression and suicide.

The ban was opposed by several medical and child welfare groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“This legislation perpetuates the very things we know are harmful to trans youth,” Dr. Robert Garofalo, division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, told reporters on a press conference call held by the Human Rights Campaign.

“They’re not just anti-trans. They’re anti-science. They’re anti-public health.”

The bill’s sponsor dismissed opposition from medical groups and compared the restriction to other limits the state places on minors, such as prohibiting them from drinking.

“They need to get to be 18 before they make those decisions,” Republican Representative Robin Lundstrum said.

The Family Council, a conservative group that backed the measure, praised lawmakers for enacting “historic legislation.”

Hutchinson said the measure went too far in interfering with parents and physicians, and noted that it will cut off care for transgender youth already receiving treatment.

He said he would have signed the bill if it had focused only on gender confirming surgery, which currently isn’t performed on minors in the state.

“I do hope my veto will cause my Republican colleagues across the country to resist the temptation to put the state in the middle of every decision made by parents and health care professionals,” Hutchinson said in a statement after the vote.

The law will take effect in late July at the earliest.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it planned to challenge the measure before then.

“This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over — and we’re in it for the long haul,” Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas’ executive director, said in a statement.

The override, which needed only a simple majority, passed easily in both chambers, with the House voting 72-25 in favor and the Senate 25-8.

The ban was enacted during a year in which bills targeting transgender people have advanced easily in Arkansas and other states.

Hutchinson recently signed legislation banning transgender women and girls from competing on teams consistent with their gender identity, a prohibition that also has been enacted in Tennessee and Mississippi this year.

Hutchinson also recently signed legislation that allows doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections.

And the Legislature isn’t showing signs of letting up.

Another bill advanced by a House committee earlier Tuesday would prevent schools from requiring teachers to refer to students by their preferred pronouns or titles.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights group, said more than 100 bills have been filed in statehouses around the country targeting the transgender community.

Similar treatment bans have been proposed in at least 20 states.


The foundation established by the family of Bentonville-based Walmart’s founder on Tuesday raised concerns about the recent measures in Arkansas targeting LGBTQ people.

“This trend is harmful and sends the wrong message to those willing to invest in or visit our state,” Tom Walton with the Walton Family Foundation said in a statement released before the override vote.

One lawmaker opposed to the measure compared it to the anti-integration bills Arkansas’ Legislature passed in 1958 in opposition to the previous year’s desegregation of Little Rock Central High School.

“What I see, this bill, is the most powerful again bullying the most vulnerable people in our state,” Democratic Senator Clarke Tucker said before the vote.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on April 07, 2021, 11:10:29 am
Wednesday, 7th April  Twenty One (originally published Sunday, 11th October  Twenty Twenty)
Authors Including Roxane Gay And Stephen King Have Signed A Letter In Support Of Trans People
by Rebecca Shaw


More than 1800 literary figures from the US and Canada, including Stephen King and Roxane Gay, have signed a letter pledging their support for trans and non-binary people.

Authors like Stephen King, Roxane Gay, and Neil Gaiman have joined almost 2000 American and Canadian writers, editors, and publishing professionals in making a public statement in support of trans and non-binary people.

In recent times we have seen transphobic opinions given credibility in news organisations, and famous figures like J.K Rowling using their platforms to espouse transphobic beliefs.

In an attempt to show support for trans and non-binary communities, by using an equally public platform, a new letter has been released, with many well-known signatories publicly declaring that they agree with the contents.

It begins with a short but direct statement.

“As members of the writing and publishing community of the United States and Canada, we stand firmly in support of trans and non-binary people and their rights. We are writers, editors, journalists, agents, and professionals in multiple forms of publishing. We believe in the power of words. We want to do our part to help shape the curve of history toward justice and fairness.”

Much of the discourse around trans people and their rights is muddied by transphobic activists.

They want to use semantics, and misinformation to try and get other people over to their side.

The letter opening with such a strong stance cuts through all of that, and makes it clear that it comes down to fairness, and respect.

The opening statement is then followed up with a more personal declaration.

“To that end, we say: non-binary people are non-binary, trans women are women, trans men are men, trans rights are human rights. Your pronouns matter. You matter. You are loved.”

The letter has been signed by almost 2000 people, and is expected to grow.

You love to see it.

Although the letter itself never explicitly mentions J.K Rowling by name, creator and author Maureen Johnson told Publisher’s Weekly that J.K’s involvement in the debate over transgender rights had a direct impact on the trans community.

“When J.K. got involved, it gave a lot of legitimacy to something that before seemed fringey. It became more accepted, because people know J.K. from Harry Potter,” and saying that she had organised the letter because “it’s human decency. Sometimes you need to put your name on the line and say I don’t agree with what’s going on.”

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on April 07, 2021, 12:45:04 pm
Wednesday, 7th April  Twenty One
NC bill orders any school employee to 'immediately' notify parents if a child 'exhibits gender nonconformity'
by David Badash

North Carolina bill attacking the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender and queer or questioning youth and young adults violates their right to privacy and places tremendous power in the hands of any person – regardless of training or expertise – who is employed by, contracted by, or is even a volunteer to any school district, court, or child placement agency.

Senate Bill 514 makes it illegal for any teacher, school administrator, contractor, and even volunteers, among other "government agents," to not "immediately" inform, in writing, the parents or legal guardians of any child or young adult – up to the age of 21 – if that "minor under its care or supervision has exhibited symptoms of gender dysphoria, gender nonconformity, or otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner incongruent with the minor's sex."

"The notice shall describe all of the relevant circumstances with reasonable specificity," the legislation adds.

In other words, the bill's author, republican state Senator ralph hise, a individual-1 acolyte, is deputizing every government "agent, employee, volunteer, or contractor of a public child services agency, private child placing agency, court, or school district" to not only determine what constitutes symptoms of gender dysphoria (a medical diagnosis) or gender nonconformity, an entirely subjective belief.

The legislation also "would prevent doctors from performing gender confirmation surgery for transgender people younger than 21," the Associated Press reports.

"Medical professionals who facilitate a transgender person's desire to present themselves or appear in a way that is inconsistent with their biological sex could have their license revoked and face civil fines of up to $1,000 per occurrence. The measure bars doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery."

The mis-named legislation, the Youth Health Protection Act, pushes the age of majority from 18 to 21 for the purposes of banning gender confirmation treatment of any kind, and for reporting to parents the possibility their children may be transgender.

It literally puts some LGBTQ children at risk of physical and emotional abuse and homelessness, and sends the message statewide to be on the lookout for LGBTQ children and young adults, and that their behavior should be subject to extraordinary action.

"Transgender youth have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and affirmed, not singled out and denied critical care that is backed by virtually every leading health authority," Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said in a statement to the AP, adding that "a person's gender identity shouldn't limit their ability to access health care or be treated with dignity and respect."

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on April 11, 2021, 10:17:40 am
Sunday, 11th April  Twenty One
Alarm grows over impact of states banning trans youth treatment
by Justine Coleman & Lauren Vella


Medical experts and LGBT advocates are sounding the alarm over the physical and mental health risks to the transgender community after at least 19 state legislatures, including Arkansas, have proposed or passed bills seeking to ban trans youth treatment.

Proponents of the bills have argued that the legislation is in place to protect children from making irreversible decisions about their bodies.

But earlier this week, doctors and LGBT organizations defended treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy, and warned about a potential increased suicide rate among trans youth if such legislation is enacted.

Arkansas on Tuesday became the first state to pass a law prohibiting treatment for trans individuals younger than 18 years old.

The bill passed after the state legislature overrode Governor asa Hutchinson's (R) veto against the bill.

The law does not address what happens to children who have already started trans treatment, which experts warned could be dangerous.

Several states are close behind Arkansas.

The Alabama Senate passed a bill that makes providing treatment like puberty blockers or hormones to minors a felony.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has tracked at least 25 bills specifically targeting trans youth health care, proposed in at least 19 states this year.

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said that just the act of lawmakers proposing this legislation poses a mental health threat to transgender youth and the community as a whole.

"In the past when states have floated anti-trans bills, we've seen calls to the trans lifeline as much as triple," Heng-Lehtinen said, recounting calls placed to suicide lifelines following North Carolina's so-called bathroom bill, H.B. 2.

"That really shows the extreme mental health harm inflicted on trans people of all ages. They really send a message to all trans people about whether or not your government cares about you," Heng-Lehtinen said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the Endocrine Society and several other large medical groups have publicly opposed bills outlawing trans youth treatment.

Robert Garofalo, the division head of adolescent and young adult medicine at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, called the Arkansas legislation "not just anti-trans" but "anti-science" and "anti-public health."

"These are not experimental treatments," he said during a press conference with the Human Rights Campaign ahead of the Arkansas legislature's override.

"They've been well-studied, and they're well-supported by scientific evidence that has been conducted globally."

"There's a need to really understand that there are many studies that detail the very benefits of these treatments, and almost none of them suggest that there's any harm in accessing care," he added.

Jack Turban, a fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, pointed to research that "consistently shows" how health care for trans minors "results in better mental health outcomes."

"Kids who want these interventions but can't access them have higher rates of a whole range of mental health problems, including considering suicide," he said at the HRC briefing.

"My fear, and the fear among a lot of doctors and parents and researchers in this area, is that if these bills were to pass, we're going to be throwing away decades of medical progress and really putting the health of these vulnerable people at risk," he added.

Kansas Representative Stephanie Byers (D), the first transgender lawmaker to serve in the Kansas legislature, pushed back on the notion that treatments such as puberty blockers cause irreversible change and suggested access to such treatment supports youth mental health.

"It's a misdirection," she said during an interview with The Hill.

She added that these treatments give children a head start and make it so that they are "not having to combat a body that's developed backwards from where they need to be," she said.

Medical experts recommend puberty blockers and hormone therapy as the best way to give adolescents more time before making more permanent decisions, such as surgery.

More than half of trans and nonbinary youth, aged 13 to 24, already report that they had seriously considered suicide, compared to 34 percent of cisgender LGBT youth, according to The Trevor Project's 2020 National Survey.

Crisis line supervisors at the Trevor Project, a crisis and suicide prevention organization for LGBT youth, have already received calls from youth and family in which they ask what they can do about losing "life-saving" care, said Casey Pick, the senior fellow for advocacy and government affairs.

"When you take away that hope of treatment, you increase a sense of hopelessness," she said.

"You increase a sense of lack of control over their own lives. And all of these are negative factors when it comes to an individual's mental health and to potential suicidality."

Pick said she's concerned the Arkansas law will cause a "domino" effect of other successful legislation in other states.

The ACLU has committed to legal action to prevent the Arkansas law from being enforced 90 days after the state's legislative session.

Arli Christian, a campaign strategist with the ACLU's National Political Advocacy Department, said the union is "determined to continue to fight this bill."

"If our Arkansas legislature cannot have the decency to understand that this is flying in the face of medical science and experts, and it is discriminatory, then we will bring that to the courts and show that this is pure and simple discrimination against transgender people and transgender youth specifically," Christian said.

The legislation barring treatment for trans youth are not the only bills proposed this year that target transgender individuals.

Various state lawmakers have also proposed a series of legislation that prevents transgender girls from participating on middle school, high school and college sports teams aligned with their gender identity, including bills enacted in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Arkansas Representative Robin Lundstrum (R) sponsored the health care legislation that made it to Hutchinson's desk but initially received a veto instead of a signature.

The governor labeled the bill as "well-intentioned, but off course," saying it amounted to government overreach.

Lundstrum has asserted that the state bill was designed to ensure the safety of children, saying "they need to be protected" from transgender treatments.

"Even medicine sometimes is wrong," she said, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

"We should never experiment on children. Ever."

But advocates argue that it is medical professionals, along with trans youth and their parents, who should be making decisions about health care.

"We know that people are able to live their best lives and be productive and find joy when they are treated with dignity and respect and have support," Kierra Johnson, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, told The Hill.

"These anti-trans bills are creating barriers to just that. It interrupts the opportunity for physicians to make the best recommendations for the child."

As state legislatures battle over whether to restrict trans health care, President Biden issued the first presidential proclamation officially recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility last month.

His administration includes the first openly transgender official in a Senate-confirmed position.

Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Rachel Levine faced questions on trans youth treatment during her confirmation hearing from Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who said Levine backs surgeries for trans minors in a misleading claim.

"Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed," Levine said to Paul, without specifically answering his question.

Despite efforts in state legislatures, critics say that one way to change the conversation surrounding transgender treatment as a whole in the U.S. is to increase visibility.

Sasha Buchert, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal, said that many of these bills are "preying on a misunderstanding and fear about who trans people are."

But, she argues, humanizing trans people will inform the public about the trans community and the challenges they face.

The more visible the trans community is to others, she says, the more "the personal experiences they've had with trans people has shifted them and their views."

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on April 11, 2021, 11:55:09 am
Sunday, 11th April  Twenty One
Trans official who met with Arkansas governor before the anti-trans bill vote
by Ali Velshi


Arkansas is the first state to ban health care and gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth, after the legislature overrode a veto by republican Governor asa Hutchinson.

In the days before he vetoed the bill, Hutchinson met with health officials, and members of the transgender community, including the state's first transgender elected official, Evelyn Rios Stafford.

She says, “there was a moment where I said to the governor, ‘I thought Republicans were supposed to be the party of small government and here we've got nine bills in all in our state that are doing everything from reaching in between families and their doctors’…They're reaching into every aspect of life and collectively they're just trying to make life impossible for trans people in this state, especially trans youth.” She added,

“in a state like Arkansas, I almost feel like the best thing that could happen right now is for legislators to just leave us alone.”

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on May 06, 2021, 05:47:01 am
Thursday, 5th May  Twenty One
‘The Normal Heart’ virtual reading set with Sterling K. Brown & Laverne Cox
by Blue Telusma


For the first time in history, a predominantly Black, LGBTQ and POC cast – led by Sterling K. Brown and Laverne Cox – will be starring in Larry Kramer’s famed play, The Normal Heart.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the play, which follows the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, will have it’s historic virtual table read on May 8th, 2021.

In addition to Brown and Cox, the cast will be rounded out with Jeremy Pope, Vincent Rodriguez III, Guillermo Díaz, Jake Borelli, Ryan O’Connell, Daniel Newman, Jay Hayden, and Danielle Savre.

Martin Sheen, who starred in the original London production back in 1986, will also make a cameo to provide a special introduction.

Ahead of the show, director Paris Barclay spoke to THR about the decision to re-imagine the story in a way that highlighted Black love against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was in New York when this play happened and felt the reverberations of it in every aspect of my life,” explained Barclay.

“I went and saw the original production at The Public Theater, in which Brad Davis played the Ned Weeks role, and not only was I moved by it, but it’s one of the things that made it clear to me that I couldn’t have a career without also being some kind of an activist.

“That’s the plea of the play, that we have to all get involved. We have to all do something to help each other. And so very, very early before I even was a director, I was still an advertising copywriter at that time, this play is one of the things that instilled the idea that there really isn’t a public life without activism.”

The 64-year-old then explained how the impressive A-list cast was assembled to take part in the project.

“What happened was I was offered the opportunity to do the reading of the play by the heroes at the ONE Archives Foundation. I immediately grabbed at it — I said, “Sure, I’ll do a reading, I don’t have anything to do with my spare time, I’ll just do a reading of The Normal Heart, why not,” he recalled.

“I immediately thought of Sterling K. Brown. I thought Sterling K. Brown would be exactly suited to the power, the passion and the emotion of Ned Weeks,” he continued.

“Before the casting process even really began, I ran that name up the flagpole, it was agreed, I reached out to him and he agreed to do it.

“So he was the linchpin of the cast for me — I’ve always admired him, I’ve never had a chance to work with him directly, and we’re going to have that chance at some point soon, I hope. But he became Ned Weeks and once he became Ned Weeks I thought well, there’s no reason when you’re doing a reading not to cast it with people that you also think would be powerful in the roles regardless of who they appear to be.”


This week’s reading is being organized by ONE Archives Foundation, the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the U.S., along with the Invisible Histories Project, which is dedicated to making LGBTQ Southern history accessible to the community.

One hundred percent of ticket sales will go towards the One Archives Foundation and its initiatives.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on May 10, 2021, 09:49:40 am
Monday, 10th May  Twenty One
Biden administration restores protections for LGBTQ folks in health care
by Marissa Higgins


When individual-1 was in office, we know he and his administration pushed numerous harms onto the nation, including the most marginalized communities.

As Daily Kos covered, we saw enormous steps backward in terms of immigration, COVID-19 response, and transgender rights and equality, among countless others.

Because individual-1 left the nation in such shambles, much of President Joe Biden’s early days in office have focused on fixing the mess individual-1 left.

In this case, the Biden administration just announced its reversal of a hateful individual-1-era policy that is sure to give LGBTQ people a breath of relief.

On Monday, the Biden administration affirmed it is reversing the discriminatory individual-1-era policy that tried to minimize legal rights for LGBTQ people receiving health care, as reported by the Associated Press. ⚧️

What does this mean in simple, practical terms?

Already existing federal laws that protect people from health care discrimination on the basis of sex do also apply to LGBTQ people, including transgender folks. ⚧️

Basically, Biden is bringing us all the way back to the Obama years, and in terms of LGBTQ health care protections, that’s a very good thing.

Hospitals and other medical entities that violate the law can also face government sanctions.

In a statement, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra explained that people may forgo medical care because they fear discrimination.

Becerra stressed that “Everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.” ⚧️

Becerra is correct: Studies show that LGBTQ people do report discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and that it can contribute to people not seeking care. ⚧️

For example, as reported by the American Independent, a national CAP survey found 8% of LGBTQ respondents said a physician refused to treat them because of their perceived sexual orientation, while 9% said a physician used abusive language while treating them, and 7% said a physician refused to recognize their family, such as a same-sex partner.

If you can imagine it, the outlook can feel even more dire when it comes specifically to the transgender community. ⚧️

For example, as found in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, nearly 30% of respondents said they delayed medical care when hurt or sick because they feared discrimination. ⚧️

Sadly, this fear isn’t totally outside the realm of reality as nearly 30% of people also said they had survived harassment in medical settings.

About 19% said they had been refused care because they were transgender or gender nonconforming.

So, all in all, this change by the Biden administration is an important one.

As Becerra pointed out, it will also bring the HHS up to speed with the Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBTQ folks from employment discrimination on the basis of sex. ⚧️

“Now it’s clear, there’s no ambiguity,” Becerra said, as reported by Reuters.

“You cannot discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” ⚧️

That said, we know these changes are not enough.

For example, state lawmakers are pushing a truly overwhelming number of anti-trans bills, most focused on health care, girls' sports, and birth certificates.

Some of these bills have been signed into law—including by republican governors who claim they’re not even priorities—and some have failed in various state committees.

Every failure is a relief, but just the fact that republicans are pushing this anti-trans hysteria so strongly and getting it out into the public dialogue is concerning.

The national effort can cement the notion that these ideas are actually popular, and that they are reasonable and deserving of a platform.

So we need to take steps forward with joy, but also not hesitate in the fight to protect the most vulnerable among us.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on June 16, 2021, 04:00:21 pm
Wednesday, 16th June   Twenty One
Education Department says Title IX protects LGBTQ students
by Jo Yurcaba


The Department of Education will interpret Title IX, a federal law that protects students from sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools, to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination, according to a federal notice published Wednesday. ⚧️

The update is a reversal of a individual-1 policy rolling back Obama-era guidance that directed schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms, changing rooms and other school facilities that aligned with their gender identity. ⚧️

The department said in a press release that its interpretation came from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which held that LGBTQ people are protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ⚧️

President Joe Biden issued an executive order in the first days of his presidency directing all federal agencies to implement the Bostock ruling and update their enforcement of sex discrimination protections accordingly.  ⚧️

In the 6-3 Bostock majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch, an appointee of individual-1, wrote that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is discrimination based on sex.  ⚧️

"The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination — and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.   ⚧️

"I'm proud to have directed the Office for Civil Rights to enforce Title IX to protect all students from all forms of sex discrimination. Today, the Department makes clear that all students—including LGBTQ+ students—deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination."  ⚧️

The directive will allow the Department of Education to pursue Title IX complaints from LGBTQ students — reversing individual-1's 2018 announcement that it wouldn't investigate civil rights complaints from trans students prohibited from using school facilities that aligned with their gender identity.  ⚧️

The policy could also affect states that have passed laws barring trans student athletes from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender.  ⚧️

Nine states have passed such measures — eight of which passed in 2021.  ⚧️

After the department announced the policy, Cardona tweeted video of an interview he did with ESPN about trans athlete bans.

"Transgender athletes are students, first and foremost, and they deserve every right that every other student gets," including access to extracurricular activities such as sports, he said.  ⚧️

Sponsors of trans athlete bans have said trans girls have a competitive advantage over cisgender girls, but they've been unable to cite clear scientific evidence to show that's true or examples where trans girls competing in girls sports have caused problems.

Cardona said he recognizes there's "a lot of concern" around the issue of fairness, "but what's not tolerable is saying that some students cannot participate because of their gender."   ⚧️

He added that he does believe in states having control over their own laws, "but we do have a responsibility to protect the civil rights of students, and if we feel the civil rights are being violated, we will act."   ⚧️

A peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization, found that trans and nonbinary youth who reported experiencing discrimination based on their gender identity had more than double the odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those that didn't. ⚧️

It also found that the odds of trans youth attempting suicide declined by 25 percent when they reported having at least one gender-affirming space.

“Young people spend most of their time at school and it’s crucial that all students are protected from discrimination and afforded the same rights," Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project said in a statement.

"This policy clarification is welcomed, but we must continue to push the Senate to pass the Equality Act and codify nondiscrimination protections for the trans community, and to resist efforts to restrict trans students’ access to gender-affirming bathrooms, school sports, and LGBTQ-inclusive curriculums.”   ⚧️

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on June 17, 2021, 02:45:59 pm
Thursday, 17th June  Twenty One
Supreme Court unanimously rules in favor of Catholic foster agency in case that pitted religious freedom against LGBTQ rights
by Kelly McLaughlin & Madison Hall


The US Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday in favor of a Catholic child welfare organization, saying the charity has a right to decline to place foster children with same-sex couples.

Catholic Social Services sued the City of Philadelphia after it informed private agencies that provided foster care services that it would not refer children to the agencies unless they agreed to nondiscrimination requirements.

Catholic Social Services argued that it had the right to opt-out of the nondiscrimination requirement, citing the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Philadelphia cannot force the charity to certify same-sex couples as foster parents, saying the rule violated their First Amendment rights.

The case marks a win for religious groups in a case that pitted religious freedom against the rights of LGBTQ citizens.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on June 20, 2021, 10:32:08 pm
Monday, 21st June  Twenty One
Transgender weightlifter Hubbard selected for Tokyo Olympics
by Associated Press


(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) — Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics after being selected by New Zealand for the women’s event at the Tokyo Games, a decision set to test the ideal of fair competition in sports. ⚧️

Hubbard will compete in the super-heavyweight 87-kg category. ⚧️

Her selection was made possible by updated qualifying requirements. ⚧️

The 43-year-old competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013.  ⚧️

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard said in a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) on Monday.

Hubbard has been eligible to compete at the Olympics since 2015, when the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months before their first competition.  ⚧️

Some scientists have said the guidelines do little to mitigate the biological advantages of those who have gone through puberty as males, including bone and muscle density.  ⚧️

Advocates for transgender inclusion argue the process of transition decreases that advantage considerably and that physical differences between athletes mean there is never a truly level playing field.  ⚧️

Kereyn Smith, the CEO of New Zealand’s Olympic Committee, said Hubbard met the IOC and the International Weightlifting Federation’s selection criteria.   ⚧️

“We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” Smith said.   ⚧️
“As the New Zealand Team, we have a strong culture of …. inclusion and respect for all.”

Save Women’s Sport Australasia, an advocacy group for female athletes, criticized Hubbard’s selection.  ⚧️

“It is flawed policy from the IOC that has allowed the selection of a 43-year-old biological male who identifies as a woman to compete in the female category,” the group said in a statement.  ⚧️

Weightlifting has been at the center of the debate over the fairness of transgender athletes competing against women, and Hubbard’s presence in Tokyo could prove divisive.

Her gold medal wins at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, where she topped the podium ahead of Commonwealth Games champion Feagaiga Stowers, a Samoan, triggered outrage in the host nation.

Samoa’s weightlifting chief said Hubbard’s selection for Tokyo would be like letting athletes “dope” and feared it could cost the small Pacific nation a medal. ⚧️

Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen said last month allowing Hubbard to compete at Tokyo was unfair for women and “like a bad joke”.   ⚧️

Australia’s weightlifting federation sought to block Hubbard from competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but organizers rejected the move.   ⚧️

Hubbard was forced to withdraw after injuring herself during competition, and thought her career was over.

“When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end,” Hubbard said while thanking New Zealanders on Monday.  ⚧️

“But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha (love) carried me through the darkness.”

Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand President Richie Patterson said Hubbard had “grit and perseverance” to return from injury and rebuild her confidence.   ⚧️

“We look forward to supporting her in her final preparations towards Tokyo,” he said.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on June 23, 2021, 08:33:50 am
Wednesday, 23rd June  Twenty One
Louisiana Won't Ban Transgender Athletes On Girls' Teams
by The Associated Press


(BATON ROUGE, Louisiana)Governor John Bel Edwards on Tuesday struck down a bill prohibiting transgender athletes from competing on girls' sports teams in Louisiana schools, pushing back against legislation that has passed several Southern states.

The veto from the Deep South's only Democratic governor was expected, since Edwards called the measure discriminatory.

"As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana," the governor said in a statement.

"Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn't a single case where this was an issue" in Louisiana.

Backers of the measure said they were trying to protect female athletes from unfair competition and preserve equality for women's sports across K-12 schools and colleges.

The proposal by Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell, the Senate's second-ranking republican, passed with bipartisan veto-proof margins:

a 29-6 vote in the Senate and a 78-19 vote in the House.

Still, it's unclear if enough lawmakers would hold together to call for a special veto session to try to override the governor's rejection.

The regular legislative session is over, and Louisiana has never held a veto override session under the current constitution adopted in 1974.

Mizell didn't immediately return a call for comment Tuesday about the veto and whether she'd seek an override effort.

The legislation was similar to bans passed by republican-led legislatures in several states.

Idaho was the first state to approve such a bill, and it's been followed by others including Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Proponents in Louisiana pointed to the state of Connecticut, where they said two transgender females participating in women's track events broke 15 records.

They suggested transgender athletes have an automatic, built-in advantage in competitions against other females.

"Nobody wants to treat anyone with inequity, but there is not an equal situation physically," Mizell said during legislative debate on the bill.

Though the ban would have kept both transgender girls and boys from competing on teams of their identified gender, nearly all the discussion centered on female sports.

Mizell named the bill the  "Fairness in Women's Sports Act."

She pushed back against arguments that the law was unnecessary in Louisiana because no specific examples could be located in the state.

She told colleagues:

"I don't know why we'd want to wait until the state is in a lawsuit with a school or a family."

Opponents said the ban would discriminate against people who already are marginalized and suggested Louisiana could lose businesses and events that refuse to locate in places that have enacted such laws.

Edwards cited similar concerns.

He said the bill "would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health."

"We should be looking for more ways to unite, rather than divide our citizens," he said. ⚧️

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association already has enacted the equivalent of a prohibition on transgender athletes participating on high school sports teams in the state.

The organization requires student athletes to compete "in the gender of their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex reassignment."

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on June 25, 2021, 07:15:22 pm
Friday, 25th June  Twenty One
President Biden Signs A Law To Memorialize Victims Of The Pulse Nightclub Mass Shooting
by Alana Wise


President Biden signed a memorial bill to recognize the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting and offered his condolences to people who are awaiting news on their loved ones in the wake of the deadly Surfside, Florida, partial condo collapse.


Biden — who was vice president when a 29-year-old man killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in the nightclub mass shooting — signed the bill to enshrine a monument to the dozens killed in the Latin Night massacre. ⚧️

The shooting occurred at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016.

The month of June is celebrated annually as LGBTQ Pride Month in the United States.

"May a president never have to sign another monument like this," Biden said.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on June 29, 2021, 12:47:11 pm
Tuesday, 29th June Twenty One
New Jersey Prisoners Will Be Placed Based On Gender Identity Under A New Policy
by Jaclyn Diaz


For 18 months, Sonia Doe faced humiliating strip searches in front of male guards. Male prisoners exposed themselves to her.

She faced sexual harassment, discrimination and physical threats from corrections officers and inmates alike.

Doe, who is transgender, has lived her life publicly as a woman since 2003.

Yet, Doe — a pseudonym used for her lawsuit — was transported to four different men's prisons across New Jersey from March 2018 to August 2019.

It took a lawsuit filed that August for Doe to finally be transported to a woman's prison weeks later.

As part of the settlement for that lawsuit Tuesday, the New Jersey Department of Corrections will now make it customary for prisoners who identify as transgender, intersex or nonbinary to be assigned a prison stay in line with their gender identity — not with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Tuesday's news marks a major policy shift for the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Research has shown that transgender inmates face particular danger while in prison, but few states offer them protections like these.

Connecticut and California passed laws in 2018 and 2020, respectively, that require transgender inmates to be assigned prisons based on their gender identity. ⚧️

Rhode Island, New York City and Massachusetts also have housed inmates based on their gender identity. ⚧️

"When I was forced to live in men's prisons, I was terrified I wouldn't make it out alive. Those memories still haunt me," Doe said in a statement announcing the settlement.

"Though I still have nightmares about that time, it's a relief to know that as a result of my experience the NJDOC has adopted substantial policy changes so no person should be subjected to the horrors I survived."

According to court documents reviewed by NPR, Doe was placed in men's prisons in spite of the state's Department of Corrections knowing she was a transgender woman. ⚧️

Clear documentation, including her driver's license, showed her gender identity, but Doe was still forced to remain in men's prisons.

In addition to facing physical assaults and verbal and sexual harassment in prison, she was also forced to remain in solitary confinement for long stretches.

Corrections staff would refer to her as a man and address her using male pronouns, according to her complaint. ⚧️
She also was denied gender-appropriate clothing items and had difficulty receiving her hormone therapy regularly and on time.

The new policy will require staff to use appropriate pronouns, and prohibits harassment and discrimination based on gender identity.

As part of the settlement in the Doe case, all New Jersey state corrections officers, regardless of rank or facility, will have to sign an acknowledgement that they have read the policy.

The agency also will provide targeted training on the changes. ⚧️

The Department of Corrections also said it would guarantee gender-affirming undergarments, clothing, and other property for the inmates.

Medical and mental health treatment, including gender-affirming care, also will be provided "as medically appropriate." ⚧️

Inmates who are transgender also will be given the opportunity to shower separately and won't have to go through a strip searches or pat downs by an officer of the opposite sex.

"The settlement of this lawsuit puts in place systemic, far-reaching policy changes to recognize and respect the gender identity of people in prison," said Tess Borden, ACLU-NJ Staff Attorney. ACLU New Jersey represented Doe along with Robyn Gigl of Gluck Walrath LLP.

As part of the settlement, the New Jersey Department of Corrections have agreed to pay Doe $125,000 in damages and $45,000 in separate attorney's fees. ⚧️

Doe was not the only transgender inmate who has faced frightening treatment in New Jersey prisons.

Rae Rollins, a transgender woman, filed a lawsuit in March saying she was one of several inmates attacked by corrections officers earlier this year at the scandal-plagued Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women. ⚧️

In January, several women were severely beaten by corrections officers at that facility.

Ten correctional police officers have been charged in connection to the alleged beatings of prisoners.

Rollins sought a transfer to a different women's prison after the incident, but was moved to a men's prison instead.

Rollins has since been moved to an out-of-state prison, according to the state's records.

Earlier this month, New Jersey's embattled corrections commissioner announced his resignation from his post — a day after Governor Phil Murphy said the state would close the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on July 23, 2021, 08:43:17 pm
Friday, 23rd July  Twenty One
Senate Confirms 2 LGBTQ Veterans To Top Pentagon Positions
by Shawna Chen

(Washington, DC) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Shawn Skelly as assistant secretary of defense for readiness by unanimous consent.


Shawn Skelly, a retired Navy commander, is the second openly transgender person to be confirmed as a federal official. ⚧️

With Thursday's vote, she becomes the highest-ranking openly trans official at the Department of Defense, per the White House.


Gina Ortiz Jones, an out lesbian and Iraq War veteran who ran for Congress twice, became the first woman of color to serve as the Under Secretary of the Air Force. ⚧️

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on July 26, 2021, 03:31:53 am
Monday, 26th July  Twenty One
Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue Has A Trans Model On The Cover For The 1st Time
by Becky Sullivan


Model and actress Leyna Bloom has become the first trans person to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, the magazine's most famous and perennially bestselling edition. ⚧️

"I dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future," Bloom wrote on Instagram. ⚧️

"Many girls like us don't have the chance to live our dreams, or to live long at all. I hope my cover empowers those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued."⚧️

The 27-year-old's star turn on the Sports Illustrated cover is just the latest on a growing list of barriers she's broken since she came out in 2014: one of the first trans women to walk the runway at Paris Fashion Week, the first trans woman of color to star in a film at the Cannes Film Festival, and the first trans woman to grace the pages of Vogue India.⚧️

"This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder," ⚧️ Bloom tweeted.

Osaka and Megan Thee Stallion are making history as well: Osaka as the first Black athlete, and Megan Thee Stallion as the first rapper, to appear in the issue. ⚧️

Sports Illustrated has worked in recent years to make its swimsuit issues more inclusive.

First published in 1964, the magazine didn't feature a Black cover model until Tyra Banks won a spot in 1996.

Last year, the magazine featured a trans model, Valentina Sampaio, inside the issue for the first time.

In 2019, Sports Illustrated featured Halima Aden, a Muslim model who wore a hijab and burkini, alongside soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who was the first openly gay woman to appear in the issue.

"I have dreamt a million beautiful dreams, but for girls like me, most dreams are just fanciful hopes in a world that often erases and omits our history and even existence," ⚧️ Bloom wrote on Instagram in March when Sports Illustrated announced her inclusion in the swimsuit issue.

The magazine's decision to feature Bloom comes as republican-led state legislatures have moved to ban trans girls and women from competing on girls' and women's sports teams.

At least nine states have enacted such bans, though they face legal challenges.

"It's so much going on in sports alone with gender identity and trans women trying to be in sports. But to have a trans woman as a symbol of beauty in swimsuits on a beach in comparison to other icons, like Tyra Banks and Giselle and Heidi Klum, it's a testament of what's happening right now in the world and what's going to happen in the future,"⚧️ Bloom said in an interview with Variety.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on July 27, 2021, 06:34:53 am
Tuesday, 27th July  Twenty One
In Louisiana, House of Tulip Provides Housing to Trans People of Color
by WNYCstudios


Black and Latinx LGBTQ Southerners are particularly vulnerable to homelessness. ⚧️

Data from the U.S. Trans Survey show that 1 in 3 trans Louisianans report experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives.

The House of Tulip is a New Orleans-based non-profit organization dedicated to addressing this crisis.

They are buying and restoring homes to provide zero-barrier housing to trans and gender nonconforming people of color who need safe places to stay. ⚧️

Interim host host of The Takeaway,  Melissa Harris-Perry traveled to New Orleans and spent time with Mariah Moore, executive director of the House of Tulip and current candidate for the New Orleans City Council. ⚧️

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on July 29, 2021, 01:52:22 am
Thursday, 29th  July  Twenty One (originally published Thursday, 2nd April 2o2o)
Transgender woman reveals how she met and married her husband in prison


A man who married his transgender wife in prison after they met while both serving as inmates in a male facility before her transition say that meeting under those circumstances has helped their relationship to go the distance. ⚧️

When asked, 'How did you meet?' Adriel, 53, and Monae, 29, Alvarado's story is like no other.⚧️

The couple met at SCI (State Correctional Institution) Chester, a medium security male prison in Pennsylvania - where they were both inmates, and in spite of the considerable opposition they faced, the couple believe meeting in prison is the reason they have been able to overcome so much.⚧️

Adriel told Truly: 'I think being inside was the foundation that made our relationship.⚧️

'I seen Monae at her lowest, Monae seen me at my lowest. I see her at her happiest, she's seen me at my happiest.'

Monae added: 'So we had that you know unique bond I guess in prison, so I guess what makes us stronger.'⚧️

She was incarcerated for burglary, while Adriel was serving time for illegal gun possession after breaking parole on a previous third degree murder conviction, the sentencing of which was again tied up in his illegal possession of a firearm.⚧️

When she was incarcerated, Monae had already started to take hormone replacements but she hadn't yet had surgery.⚧️

At the time of her sentencing, it was policy to incarcerate pre-surgery transgender based on their gender at birth.⚧️

Monae said: 'There wasn't a policy for giving options for trans women who want to be sent to a female prison or a male prison, so there wasn't that option when I was sentenced.'⚧️

Given her own private cell for safety, Monae continued to take hormone replacements throughout her incarceration.⚧️

She would use a biro to draw in her eyebrows and rub juice packets on her lips to give the effect of lipstick.⚧️

Monae first caught Adriel's attention in the laundry room where he was working.⚧️

Adriel said: 'We was on the same block together, I worked in the laundry room and Monae walks in and she's talking to one of the guys I work with asking him something about some clothes or something or laundry.⚧️

'So I'm looking at her but she keeps cutting her eyes at me. I'm holding the bucket, she starts to walk away.⚧️

'So I walk up, and I'm like, "You could say hi to me, stop acting like a diva."⚧️

She turned around and she started laughing, giggling.'⚧️

Noticing 'a spark', Monae realized that 'he had a thing' for her.⚧️

The couple had to find ways to spend time with each other in a place where being in control of your own time is a luxury not often afforded.⚧️

Monae said: 'I just started finding ways to see him, and every time I see him in the hallway or in yard, I would go out of my way to say hi, hello.'⚧️

It didn't take long for the two to start dating officially, meeting in the library, gym or for movie nights to be together.⚧️

Monae said: 'I remember the movie nights, they was giving out pretzels and ice cream and soda, and we sat next to each other watching the movie together in the gym, in the front row, behind the projector.'⚧️

In the early days of their relationship, it wasn't just finding ways to meet up that was a struggle, they also faced hostility from fellow inmates and prison staff alike.⚧️

Most significantly, Adriel who was a prominent gang leader when first incarcerated, also found himself physically threatened – and attacked for embarking on a relationship with a transgender woman.⚧️

Adriel said: 'I was a gang leader, so for me to be with Monae, a lot of people didn't like that, a lot of my former gang friends didn't like that, officers didn't like it, nobody liked it, nobody. Nobody have really nothing good to say.⚧️

'I got jumped twice by members of my gang, I got stabbed, I got into a whole bunch of fights.⚧️

'People that I grew up with in the prison system, people that I knew since childhood, gang members, they didn't expect me to start dating a transgender, they didn't expect that at all.'⚧️

Word quickly got out from the prison that Adriel was dating a trans woman and when it reached his family, not everyone was willing to believe – let alone accept the news.⚧️

He said: 'I have friends and family that didn't believe it was true that I was messing with a transgender woman, messing with Monae. A lot of them thought it was a phase. A lot of them, thought I was joking around.⚧️

'But when they found out it wasn't a phase some stopped talking to me like for instance, I haven't spoken with my brother in two years. I got a couple cousins that still are weird about it.'⚧️

But in spite of the opposition the couple faced either side of the prison bars, they took their relationship to the next level with Adriel proposing to Monae.⚧️

Adriel said: 'I proposed to Monae in the yard where all the inmates were playing basketball. I got down on one knee in the middle of the yard.'⚧️

The couple exchanged makeshift rings made from cloth twisted together and dyed orange from drinks packets.⚧️

Although they had hoped to marry while they were both still inmates, ultimately they had to wait until Monae was released – or 'maxed out'.⚧️

Adriel said: 'We wanted to get married as inmates in the prison but there was no policy in place to marry two inmates at the time.⚧️

'So we basically would have created a new DOC [department of corrections] Pennsylvania policy so I guess they waited for Monae to max out.'⚧️

With Monae able to go directly to the court house to get the right paperwork, the couple were finally able to get married at SCI Chester.⚧️

It also gave her the time to have top and bottom surgery ahead of their wedding day.⚧️

Monae's mother and godfather were the only family that attended and after exchanging vows and taking pictures the couple had to say goodbye again.⚧️

Adriel said: 'I got my hair braided, I got my state browns pressed with starch and all that. It was in the visiting room. Nobody was there, it was just me, Monae, Monae's mother, Monae's Godfather, a couple of councillors, union manager and the lady that officiated the wedding and the reverend.'⚧️

Monae also braided her hair and wore a white dress that she bought online.⚧️

She said: 'It was a happy and sad day, but mainly sad because obviously you want to spend time together. We expected when we got married that we'd be together, but we had to leave each other.'⚧️

When Monae was finally able to not just visit her husband but this time drive back home with him, the couple found themselves in the unique position of being a married couple who were yet to have done the simplest of things together.⚧️

Whether getting a takeout, shopping for groceries or cooking together, everything is new.⚧️

Monae said: 'Our memories was in prison and we never was able to make memories out here. Now it's about to happen it's like it's going to be like the first time for everything for us, it's like starting new again.'⚧️

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on August 07, 2021, 09:47:35 am
Saturday, 7th  August   Twenty One
Is Being Trans A Religion?


Have you noticed how common it is for right-wingers to describe things they oppose in terms of religion?
Back in April, for example, Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab (the social media platform of choice for white supremacists and right-wing conspiracy theorists) argued that getting vaccinated against COVID had become a “religious ritual” that Christians had the right to refuse.

(I will not link to Gab, but the blog post remains up and easily searchable.)

And just this week, Wesley J. Smith argued that “trangenderism”—which, he maintains in terms that echo the constant reductionist refrain of Gospel Coalition founder Tim Keller, “is totally subjective and centered in the solipsistic self”—has some things in common with religion.

And why does that matter to Smith, who reprehensibly compares “transgendered” people to “real people” in his hateful National Review article?

(The transgender community and our allies generally do not use the terms “transgenderism” or “transgendered,” as we find them dehumanizing.)

If being transgender is a religion, claims Smith, then gender-affirming healthcare should not be funded with taxpayer dollars any more than a religious institution should.

This is a particularly bad-faith argument coming from a senior fellow of the crypto-creationist Discovery Institute and a zealous, culture-warring convert to Orthodox Christianity whose conservative movement seems determined to funnel as much taxpayer funding to conservative Christian institutions as possible—not least to Christian schools, a matter that is once again headed for the Supreme Court.

And I only entertain the argument because of its manipulative use of the rhetoric of religion and “religious freedom.”

Why take knowledge and practices supported by the medical establishment and cast them as a “religion”?

While this rhetorical tactic might seem absurd on its face, it’s surprisingly effective for the Christian Right’s particular approach to authoritarian politics.

When I was about 9 or 10, thanks to the subscription to Ranger Rick magazine my relatively moderate grandma gave me each Christmas, I declared myself an environmentalist.

I loved reading about ecology, nature, and animals, and, wanting to see nature protected and preserved, I proceeded to annoy my family by frequently reminding everyone to turn off the lights when they left the room and pestering my parents to start recycling (something that, in fairness, was not common or especially easy to do in late-80s and early-90s Indiana).

Naturally, my embrace of the moniker “environmentalist” sparked some bemused pushback in our white evangelical community.

At some point, one of our family friends told me that environmentalism was a “religion” that was incompatible with Christianity.

“Environmentalists are Hindoooos,” he said, derisively overpronouncing the second syllable of the word, evidently to relish the bigoted ignorance and casual racism of his phrasing.

“They worship the creation rather than the creator.”

The casting of a movement to protect the environment for the good of both humanity and the many species with which we share our planet as a “religion” struck me as odd.

I would later come to understand, however, that right-wing Christians describing things they don’t like in terms of “religion” is a common outgrowth of the “presuppositionalist” approach to Christian apologetics (that is, the defense of the faith).

Presuppositionalism itself is a radical epistemology whose adherents believe that only those enlightened by the Holy Spirit can perceive the capital-T Truth as presented in the infallible Bible.

The “unsaved,” bringing their own presuppositions to the evidence, will come to different conclusions—about the Bible, for example, or about the formation of the Grand Canyon, which the “evolutionist” will see in terms of geologic time, while the creationist will see the impact of Noah’s flood.

(Although this is not a humor column and I am not Dave Barry, I feel compelled to state that I am not making this up. I was forced to watch “documentaries” about “flood geology” in AP biology at my Christian high school.)

Based on human observation of the evidence alone, the reasoning goes, there is no way to adjudicate between these two incommensurate “worldviews.”

The “saved” Christian, with his “biblical worldview,” simply “knows” that he—these obnoxious theobros are usually men—is right.

But why is it so important to these apologists to represent something like evolutionary biology or environmentalism as just another “religion” competing with Christianity?

In presuppositionalist thinking, the casting of viewpoints opposed to Christianity (according to right-wing Christian extremists’ definition of the faith) as other religions serves to level the playing field between more objective, empirically derived knowledge on the one hand, and religious dogma on the other.

It would be bad enough if that were this move’s only rhetorical function, but it isn’t.

Even more insidiously, by categorizing everything they oppose under competing “religions,” presuppositionalists are able to argue that there can be no religiously neutral space, no concept of equal accommodation as a way to manage the fact of pluralism in any modern society democratically.

Instead, there can be only a struggle for the domination of your religion or worldview over those held by others.

If you want to prima facie invalidate mid-century liberal philosophy regarding tolerance, decency, and democracy, adopting presuppositionalism is a good way to do it.

A classic illustration of how this works involves Christian Right opposition to public schools, which they base on the spurious claim that, in attempting to fulfill the legal requirement to be religiously neutral, the schools inevitably “indoctrinate” children into the “religion” of secular humanism.

Hopefully it’s clear by this point that one need not be a self-defined presuppositionalist in order to use these presuppositionalist rhetorical tactics, just as one need not be a self-defined Christian Reconstructionist to be influenced by the mainstreaming of Christian Reconstructionist ideas through Christian schooling and homeschooling as documented by religious studies professor Julie Ingersoll.

What we’re seeing in much of contemporary conservative rhetoric is a sort of popular presuppositionalism run amok.

If you’re a fair-minded reader who spends much time exploring conservative arguments about social policy—or, really, much of anything—you’ll undoubtedly have noticed a strong predilection for false equivalence.

Presuppositionalist arguments can be a powerful way to make such false equivalence seem reasonable.

republican economic and social policies are objectively harmful to the vast majority of Americans, especially to members of marginalized groups like the LGBTQ community, and they’re perennially unpopular.

republicans succeed largely because of unfair advantages, de jure and de facto, baked into our political system—equal Senate representation for all states regardless of population (and the refusal to consider DC’s case for statehood), combined with gop abuse of the filibuster; state-level voter suppression; gerrymandering; dark money in politics; and an illegitimately stacked Supreme Court that will only continue to gut transparency, election integrity, voting rights, and church-state separation.

In other words, the American Right is wrong.

Being anti-democratic, its leaders are happy to hold on to power by unfair, illegitimate means.

At the same time, many of them still crave “respectability” and plausible deniability of their malfeasance, and that’s where rhetorical sleight-of-hand and pseudo-intellectualism come in.

Post-truth politics is a powerful tool for authoritarians, because it renders winning arguments less important than simply wearing down your interlocutors.

In so doing, authoritarians confuse as many onlookers as possible to the point that they give up on determining the truth altogether—which is the point of flooding the zone with bad-faith arguments.

For its part, false equivalence is the bread and butter of the post-truth approach, and the upshot, thanks to misguided media insistence on giving “both sides” of any “controversy” a hearing, has been the normalization of extremism and the enabling of America’s surging conspiratorial far right—especially the Christian Right.

After all, the Christian Right has had over a century to hone its skills in this regard since the publication of the pamphlets known as The Fundamentals, a reaction against liberal theological “modernism” that gave us the term “fundamentalism.”

And, as Professor Christopher Douglas of the University of Victoria has convincingly argued here on RD, it’s precisely Christian anti-intellectualism and trafficking in “alternative facts” that has contributed mightily to the rise of post-truth America, a problem for which too many elite commentators instead prefer to blame postmodernism, relativism, and the “epic individualism” of hippies and New Age types.

There is a thick layer of irony in the fact that, for their part, the right-wing Christian ideologues using presuppositionalist arguments to uphold “alternative facts” also style themselves enemies of postmodernism, relativism, “hyperindividualism,” and “solipsism”

(that word does not mean what they think it means).

These buzzwords become weapons in their culture war against the civil rights gains made since the 1960s, the racial animus behind which is clearly evident in their current moral panic over critical race theory (or, rather, the bastardized bugbear they’ve made of it).

Irony of ironies, when you get right down to it, there’s nothing more “relativistic” than presuppositionalism. Cutting through the sophistry, presuppositionalist arguments essentially amount to:

“Humans have no ability to grasp the truth; therefore, I’m right.”

Tacking “Because God, that’s why” onto the end of that statement doesn’t make it any more convincing or less essentially nihilistic, since, after all, people who claim a direct channel to the divine disagree with each other and are proven wrong every day.

Like other post-truth rhetoric, presuppositionalism, which is inherently political, is nothing more than a dressed-up power grab.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on August 07, 2021, 09:12:24 pm
Sunday, 8th August  Two Thousand and Twenty One
Gonzo, from Disney Junior’s ‘Muppet Babies,’ comes out as nonbinary
by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson


On a recent episode of the Disney Junior series Muppet Babies, viewers got a big surprise.

In the episode, the beloved character Gonzo, who was introduced to the Muppets franchise all the way back in 1970, comes out as nonbinary.

Gonzo's news comes after the young characters plan a "royal" ball and Miss Piggy and her friend Summer tell Gonzo that they can't wear a dress.

Gonzo is disappointed, but decides to do their own thing anyway and shows up to the ball as "Gonzo-rella," though they don't reveal their identity to the rest of the Muppets until the event is over.

The message is undoubtedly a statement of love and support for gender-nonconforming kids who watch the show.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on August 19, 2021, 12:44:04 pm
Thursday, 19th August  Twenty One
Hobby Lobby loses 11-year battle to stop trans woman using the bathroom
by Gino Spocchia


US retailer Hobby Lobby has been fined for blocking a transgender woman employee from using its women’s bathroom for 11 years, following a court ruling that is a first for transgender people in the state.⚧️

The 51-year-old employee, Meggan Sommerville, had worked at the same Hobby Lobby location in Illinois for almost 23 years, but was barred from using the women’s bathroom after transitioning between 2007 and 2010.⚧️

“Sommerville’s sex is unquestionably female,” ruled the Illinois Second District Appellate Court on Friday,

“just like the women who are permitted to use the women’s bathroom.”

With that crucial determination, the judges unanimously concluded that Hobby Lobby Stores Incorporated violated the law in Illinois by denying a transgender woman employee access to its women’s bathroom in the store in which she’s worked for almost 23 years. ⚧️

“They stuck to the law,” Meggan Sommerville, 51, told me in a phone interview.⚧️

“I think that, to me, was as much of a victory as anything else; That the law in Illinois is so clear that even conservative judges couldn't go any other way with it.”

This landmark ruling, as Bloomberg first reported, is one of first impression, meaning it is a case in which a legal issue has never before been decided by that governing jurisdiction.

“This is a precedent setting case in Illinois, because the Human Rights Act has never been tested in this way in Illinois, and actually in the country,” Sommerville said.

According to her lawyer, the decision applies statewide to every transgender individual and every public bathroom, not just the Hobby Lobby store in East Aurora, Illinois.

“It is so broad, sweeping, when you read through it,” said attorney Jacob Meister, who has represented Sommerville for more than nine years of her 11-year battle to use the ladies room at work, working alongside attorney Katie Christy.

“The court basically says this was not just transgender discrimination, it was sex discrimination, which is what federal courts have found. What this court said is, as a matter of Illinois law, Meggan’s sex is female. She not only has a female gender identity, but as a matter of Illinois law, her sex is female.” —Jacob Meister ⚧️

Efforts to prevent transgender people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity are nothing new, of course. ⚧️

North Carolina’s infamous HB2 law, which restricted the use of public bathrooms to the sex on birth certificates, flushed away $600 million in lost revenue in 2016, resulting from boycotts of state businesses and events.

A repeal that didn’t remedy all of the contentious issues was enacted the following year.

As The Atlantic reported, an anti-discrimination ordinance in Houston, Texas was soundly defeated in 2015 mostly because of a successful fear-mongering campaign, perpetuating the myth that allowing trans women into ladies rooms would put cisgender women and girls at risk of male predators.⚧️

It was built around the slogan:

“No Men in Women’s Bathrooms.”

In July 2021, a federal judge blocked Tennessee from enforcing a law requiring businesses to post a signs, warning customers that transgender patrons may use the bathrooms matching their gender identity.⚧️

In its arguments, Hobby Lobby unsuccessfully claimed Sommerville, who came out to family in 2009 and transitioned at work in 2010, could simply use the unisex bathroom it installed in 2013. ⚧️

The company also argued that she could use the ladies room if she underwent gender affirming surgery and if she changed her birth certificate; Lawyers for Hobby Lobby claimed that by blocking her access to the ladies room, the store was protecting women.⚧️

The appellate court rejected all of these claims Hobby Lobby made in its argument for the so-called right to discriminate against Sommerville.⚧️

Here are the four key findings by Appellate Court Justice Mary Seminara-Schostok, who was joined unanimously by fellow Appellate Court Justices Kathryn E. Zenoff and Ann B. Jorgensen—three white, cisgender, heterosexual, conservative women in their 60s and 70s:

1. “The only reason that Sommerville is barred from using the women’s bathroom is that she is a transgender woman, unlike the other women (at least, as far as Hobby Lobby knows).” ⚧️

2. “Hobby Lobby argues that it was simply acting as a reasonable employer and enforcing its rules about separate bathrooms by keeping a male out of the women’s bathroom, but Hobby Lobby itself recognizes that Sommerville is female. Hobby Lobby’s unlawful discrimination was not designating bathrooms by sex, but denying Sommerville access to the bathroom that matched her sex.” ⚧️

3. “The existence of the unisex bathroom is irrelevant to the main issue in this case, which is whether Hobby Lobby violated Sommerville’s civil rights in denying her, but not other women, access to the women’s bathroom. Hobby Lobby’s provision of a unisex bathroom available to all employees and customers cannot cure its unequal treatment of Sommerville with respect to the women’s bathroom.”  ⚧️

4. “The final argument raised by Hobby Lobby regarding its bathroom ban—that it was necessary to protect other women from Sommerville—lacks support in either the record or logic... There is simply no evidence that Sommerville’s use of the women’s bathroom would pose a safety risk to other women... The presence of a transgender person in a bathroom poses no greater inherent risk to privacy or safety than that posed by anyone else who uses the bathroom.”  ⚧️

Sommerville explained what it’s been like since she was first written up for using the ladies room in February 2011.

She developed a medical condition, fibromyalgia, which impacts her thyroid and results in a more frequent need to empty her bladder.

“Every time you go to the bathroom, sometimes it's four or five times a day, I have to use the unisex bathroom,” she said.⚧️

What if somebody else is using it?

“I wait, but I don't want to feel like a creeper and be waiting outside the bathroom. All the bathrooms are at the front of the store. So, I walk back to my shop at the back of the store and wait until I have another opportunity, and then go back up and hopefully somebody is not there.”

The justices also denied Hobby Lobby’s attempt to avoid paying $220,000 in damages awarded by the Human Rights Commission, and opened the door to more:

“We remand this case to the Commission for a determination of any additional damages and attorney fees that may be due.” ⚧️

The ruling lifts a stay ordered by the appellate court in 2019, and enforcement of its order now moves back to the Illinois Department of Human Rights, which originally denied Sommerville’s claim in 2012, then reversed itself.

In 2015, an administrative law judge ruled Hobby Lobby violated the state’s Human Rights Act, as Daily Kos reported. ⚧️

So what took so long to get this decided?

Meister said when Illinois elected Republican Bruce Rauner governor in 2014, his Republican appointees to the commission were less than interested in pursuing her claim. ⚧️

“They took this case and somebody put it in a file drawer and locked it up for four years. So, it didn't move for quite a long time, and that was part of the delay of 10 years to get to the appellate court.”

“When the judge who ruled on this case some years ago, there was all this media coverage that I had won the case. But, no, I didn't, because nothing was concrete yet, because you knew they were going to appeal everything,” Sommerville said.

“This is one where I can literally look at the order and say, ‘I won.’” ⚧️

“Hobby Lobby has been fighting this case tooth and nail for years,” Meister said.

The national chain of home crafts stores won a landmark ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2014, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, that decided for-profit corporations have the same protection for religious beliefs as churches and individuals.

Although Hobby Lobby has not responded publicly to the ruling or vowed to appeal, both Sommerville and Meister said they are prepared to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.

Although it was not a part of the appellate case, that potential next round could feature a religious objection to Sommerville’s claim.

Christian groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom have already gone to court to fight transgender inclusion in school sports and access to affirming healthcare.

Hobby Lobby’s website is full of Christian messaging and commitments to religious expression.

“Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles,” is the corporation’s mission statement.

“We believe it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, we trust Him for our future,” said founder David Green.

While acknowledging scripture appears to reference gender expression, the LGBTQ advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign, argues those opposed to transgender identity are ignoring the most revered lessons from the Bible about love, acceptance and judgment of others.⚧️

Also important is that the Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that transgender Americans are protected from workplace discrimination in Bostock v. Clayton County.

And in June 2021, the high court declined to hear yet another appeal of Gavin Grimm’s case, allowing the victories he won in lower courts, to use the bathroom matching his gender identity, to stand.

When Hobby Lobby’s lawyers cited precedence in a 20-year-old case in Minnesota, Goins v. West Group, the appellate justices pointed to how that lone decision doesn’t befuddle the clarity of Illinois law, and cited case after case in which transgender rights have been affirmed, including by the Supreme Court.

Meister said what these courts are saying is that transgender people are entitled to the same civil rights protections as everyone else, and that is not “special rights,” as opponents claim.

“The right to human dignity is a civil right. It's not a special right to have your dignity. To use the bathroom at work, without being humiliated and frightened and segregated, is a fundamental right,” he said. ⚧️

“And that's what we work every day to protect, these people's right, to just feel safe, secure and welcome in all aspects of life.” ⚧️

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on August 19, 2021, 04:12:17 pm
Thursday, 19th  August  Two Thousand & Twenty One
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Declares LGBTQ People Must Be Protected from Discrimination in Jury Selection

*** Press Release ***

(BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS) – In a novel ruling with important implications for addressing discrimination on the basis of both race and LGBTQ status in jury selection, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) today said explicitly that peremptory challenges based on a prospective juror’s sexual orientation are prohibited by both the Massachusetts and federal constitutions.⚧️

In its opinion, the SJC also strongly reaffirmed that having some members of a protected class seated on a jury does not alter a trial court’s obligation to require neutral justification for strikes of other members of that class which are challenged as discriminatory.

Black and Pink MA, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court arguing that by failing to examine the prosecution’s peremptory strikes – exclusion of prospective jurors without reason – of four Black jurors and two jurors perceived to be LGBTQ, the trial court denied the defendant access to an impartial jury of his peers and subjected those individual jurors to impermissible discrimination.⚧️

While the SJC found that the record did not present sufficient evidence of anti-gay bias in jury selection, both the majority and a concurring opinion asserted firmly that peremptory jury strikes based on the presumed sexual orientation of a juror are prohibited under both the Massachusetts and Federal constitutions.

“This ruling is a win for Black and queer people who too often have the deck stacked against them when interacting with the criminal legal system,” said Michael Cox, executive director at Black and Pink Massachusetts.  ⚧️

“Racial- and LGBTQ-status discrimination have no place in jury service or selection.” ⚧️

“We welcome the SJC’s clear articulation that sexual orientation is protected for the purpose of jury selection for the first time in this opinion, which affirms that LGBTQ people are constitutionally entitled to equal protection under the law,” said Chris Erchull, Staff Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.

“Discrimination in jury service against members of any historically marginalized group, including LGBTQ people, is contrary to the very idea of equal citizenship. Today’s ruling is an important step toward the aim of ensuring that prosecutors cannot use bias to exclude LGBTQ jurors or to improperly shape a jury to deny defendants in criminal cases their right to a fair trial.”

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on September 10, 2021, 08:46:05 am
Friday, 10th  September  Twenty One
Young Transgender Athletes Caught in Middle of States' Debates
by Katie Barnes


Becky Pepper-Jackson slides her toes into her running shoes as the sun sets behind the Appalachian Mountains. ⚧️

She likes to run at the end of the day, when the summer heat has broken and she's done with her chores. ⚧️

The 11-year-old and her family live on three acres of land outside Bridgeport, West Virginia, a town with fewer than 10,000 people about halfway between Charleston, the state's capital, and Pittsburgh.

Every morning, Becky has to let the chickens out and fill up the water bucket.

"Which half the time ends in a hose fight, by the way," Becky's mother, Heather, says.

On this particular July evening, Becky climbs into the family car with her mom, her dad and an older brother to drive to their favorite running spot.

The road they live on is too busy, so they drive to a cross street where the cows far outnumber the cars.

"The cars that do come, they can see you from a mile away," Heather says.


Becky has been logging miles with her mom since Heather pushed her around in a stroller.

Now they run a mile through the rolling hills most every evening.

Sometimes when they run, they also count.

Math is Becky's favorite subject, so Heather incorporates it where she can.

"We do counts while we're running," Heather says.

Sometimes they count the number of breaths between foot falls.

And then to make it interesting, Heather turns it into a story problem.

"Like if we take 47 more steps, how many breaths do we need to take in order to stay on our program?"

All of this running has put Becky in position to make the cross country team at her middle school.

As a sixth-grader, this is her first chance to run competitively for her school.

"It's the first chance to do any organized sports other than cheer," Heather says.

Cross country was the obvious choice.

"The reason why I love it so much is because my whole family has always done it," Becky says.

But the path for Becky to run competitively was almost blocked in the spring of 2021 when West Virginia passed HB 3293 -- a law that prevents transgender girls from competing in girls' and women's sports.

West Virginia is one of seven states that, during the 2021 legislative session, passed a law that restricts transgender athletes' access to sports; nearly three dozen states in all introduced bills seeking to do the same.

As a new school year begins and youth sports regain a foothold after pandemic precautions, transgender kids in the United States are stuck in the middle of the ongoing and often ugly battle over science and assumption, sex and gender identity, politics and policy.

Stephanie is a 9-year-old soccer player.

Kris Wilka is a 13-year-old football player.

They're not Olympians or NCAA stars.

They're not even high school students.

They are kids who just want to play.

"Becky is just like every other 11-year-old girl," Heather says.

"Transgender people are just like everybody else. They're all normal."

So, Heather sued.

TITLE IX BARS discrimination "on the basis of sex" in educational programs receiving federal funds, including athletics, and it is at the heart of this debate.

The interpretation of how Title IX either applies, or doesn't, to transgender athletes' participation in sports has been the focus of a partisan tug-of-war during the past three presidential administrations.

When the Obama administration issued formal guidance in the spring of 2016 through the departments of Justice and Education that mandated transgender inclusion in schools, 23 states sued.

And when individual-1 took over in 2017, that guidance was formally rescinded and the lawsuits were dropped.

As the Biden administration has made its picks for leadership in the Department of Education, inclusion of transgender students has been front and center.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has made the federal position clear.

"Transgender athletes are students first and foremost, and they deserve every right that every other student gets," he said in an interview with ESPN's Paula Lavigne in June.

"That means access to extracurricular activities, be it theater, sports. It doesn't matter."

Without formal federal policy, opportunities for children like Becky Pepper-Jackson are often determined by where they live.

While nine states have laws that restrict transgender athletes' participation, athletic eligibility for transgender youth typically is determined by the policy of each state's high school association, creating patchwork policies across the country.

Not to mention confusion.

In Connecticut, for example, transgender students may compete in accordance with their gender identity without requiring medical steps.

In Kentucky, transgender students may compete in accordance with their gender identity if they never went through puberty associated with their sex assigned at birth -- commonly referred to as endogenous puberty. ⚧️

If they started puberty, they need to have been on hormone therapy for "a sufficient length of time" and have undergone surgery. ⚧️

Otherwise, their birth certificate determines in which category they can participate.

Most of the state associations fall somewhere in between, employing committees to review documentation, or having different rules for transgender boys and transgender girls -- not addressing the fact that some students are nonbinary or more fluid with their gender identities.

Iowa has two associations -- one for boys and one for girls.

In the boys association, transgender boys may participate without restriction.

The girls association suggests inclusion for transgender girls, but ultimately each school makes a determination.

Sometimes the state associations sit on the sideline.

In Georgia, the school decides who can participate where, so if a school says a transgender athlete can play in a category consistent with their gender identity, the association says it would allow that to happen.

In Alaska, policies are set at the school level as well, but if a school has no policy, then a student's birth certificate is used.

But what was once the domain of the state associations has been making its way to statehouses.

In addition to West Virginia, lawmakers in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi and Montana enacted laws restricting transgender athletes in 2021.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed two executive orders containing similar restrictions for transgender girls in sports at the scholastic and collegiate levels.

Those eight states joined Idaho, which was the first state to pass such a law in 2020.

Idaho's law hasn't yet gone into effect because a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction on August 17th, 2020.

Becky and Heather also won a preliminary injunction in West Virginia that allowed Becky to try out for her school's cross country team this fall.

In West Virginia, Judge Joseph Goodwin pointed to the likelihood of Pepper-Jackson and her lawyers' eventual success in arguing that HB 3293 is unconstitutional and violates her rights under Title IX. ⚧️

"At this point, I have been provided with scant evidence that this law addresses any problem at all, let alone an important problem," Goodwin wrote in the ruling.

Which raises the question, why are so many of these bills being filed, and, in some cases, becoming law?

WHEN THE REFEREE raised Mack Beggs' right arm in 2017 to signify the new Texas girls' state wrestling champion, eyebrows raised across the country.

Beggs, a transgender boy, was unable to compete in the boys division under Texas policy.  ⚧️

Then, transgender sprinters Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood finished first and second in Connecticut's 2018 outdoor and 2019 indoor girls' state track championships.  ⚧️

Next came a Title IX complaint and a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of a handful of cisgender girls in Connecticut.

While these teenagers were far from the first transgender athletes to participate in sports -- Renée Richards successfully sued the United States Tennis Association to earn the right to play in the US Open in 1977 and Kye Allums became the first openly transgender person to participate in NCAA Division I athletics in 2010 -- their successes drew national attention to transgender athletes' participation at the youth level. ⚧️

Idaho Representative Barbara Ehardt was watching.

The former women's basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton was concerned that the inclusion of transgender athletes in girls' and women's sports was unfair, so she decided to pursue legislation in Idaho.

She reached out to ADF for guidance as she worked on the bill.

"[ADF] had no legislation," Ehardt says.

"This all started with me."

HB500 was introduced in Idaho on February 13th, 2020, the day after ADF announced a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut high school association on the steps of the state's capitol.

In the 18 months since, bills with names like "Fairness in Women's Sports" and "Save Women's Sports" have popped up across the country.

"What these do is it makes sure that when it comes to the women's category in particular, that it's reserved for biological females while still enabling any student to participate on the men's division and category," says Matt Sharp, senior counsel for the ADF, an organization whose stated mission is to protect religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights and the sanctity of life.

ADF, which is categorized as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, provided guidance on many of the bills filed in 2021. ⚧️

"I don't know that we were involved in all of them, but I know several of those we had been consulted on and reached out to by the sponsor asking for our expertise and legal expertise and guidance," Sharp says.

But Karissa Niehoff, the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), isn't clear on what all the fuss is about.

"They're trying to put legislative momentum behind a problem that really doesn't exist," Niehoff says.

This year, NFHS conducted an informal survey to see how many transgender athletes were competing across the country.

"It was very, very few," she says.

There is no data available that provides an exact number of transgender students in high school, let alone transgender student-athletes. ⚧️

There are approximately 15 million high school students in the United States, and approximately 8 million of them participate in high school sports.

A CDC study published in 2019 estimated that 1.8 percent of high school students are transgender, meaning there are roughly 270,000 transgender students in U.S. high schools. ⚧️

But a report by the Human Rights Campaign found that only 14% of transgender boys and 12% of transgender girls play sports. ⚧️

Given all of those numbers, it's statistically possible that there are some 35,000 transgender student-athletes in high school, which would mean 0.44% of high school athletes are transgender. ⚧️

Even as a fraction of the athlete population, that's still considerably more transgender young people playing sports than have made headlines. ⚧️

That's because the overwhelming majority of them don't win championships.

Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) executive director Glenn Lungarini saw that phenomenon up close in his conversations with parents in the state.

"What was very telling for me was a comment by the parents who said, 'We know that there's other transgender girls running, but we don't care about them because they're not winning,'" Lungarini says. ⚧️

The Associated Press asked lawmakers who sponsored legislation focusing on transgender athletes for local examples, and they were unable to do so.

That could be because no transgender athletes were competing in their states, but it's also plausible that the athletes who were playing sports did so without incident, just like most of their peers.  ⚧️

Some lawmakers, though, did cite the Connecticut case. And in debate after debate on this legislation, Connecticut is named as the reason for needing these bills.

"But in Connecticut, what is perceived to be transgender female domination was not," Lungarini says.

Lungarini analyzed the track performance of transgender girls in Connecticut compared to cisgender boys and cisgender girls for his doctoral research.

According to his findings, Miller and Yearwood took first or second place 35% of the time in state championship-level races.

"The perception that transgender females dominate the sprinting landscape of indoor and outdoor track in Connecticut is grossly misrepresented," Lungarini says.

"And that's also true, in my opinion, throughout the country."

So what's perception and what's real?

Not even science has the answers to that question.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on September 14, 2021, 05:59:31 am
Tuesday, 14th  September  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
Transgender Bishop Steps Into Historic Role In The Evangelical Lutheran Church
by The Associated Press


(SAN FRANCISCO, California) — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America installed its first openly transgender bishop in a service held in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral on Saturday. ⚧️

The Rev. Megan Rohrer will lead one of the church's 65 synods, overseeing nearly 200 congregations in Northern California and northern Nevada.

"My call is ... to be up to the same messy, loving things I was up to before," Rohrer told worshippers.

"But mostly, if you'll let me, and I think you will, my hope is to love you and beyond that, to love what you love." ⚧️

Rohrer was elected in May to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod after its current bishop announced his retirement.

"I step into this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in Northern California and Nevada prayerfully and thoughtfully voted to do a historic thing," Rohrer said in a statement. ⚧️

"My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward."

Rohrer, who uses the pronoun "they," previously served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and a chaplain coordinator for the city's police department, and also helped minister to the city's homeless and LGTBQ community. ⚧️

They studied religion at Augustana University in their hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, before moving to California to pursue master and doctoral degrees at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

Rohrer became one of seven LGBTQ pastors accepted by the progressive Evangelical Lutheran church in 2010 after it allowed ordination of pastors in same-sex relationships. ⚧️

Rohrer is married and has two children.

The church is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States with about 3.3 million members.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on September 16, 2021, 07:10:30 pm
Thursday, 16th September  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
BNC Set to Launch AMPLIFIED with Aisha Mills on September 20 at 7:00 PM ET




(TALLAHASSEE, Florida) /PRNewswire/ -- Black News Channel (BNC), the nation’s fastest growing news network, will premiere an all-new prime time program, AMplified with Aisha Mills, on September 20th.

Political pundit and LGBTQ+ trailblazer Aisha Mills will unmask and examine the nation’s top headlines, shining a spotlight on the personal side of the politics and policies influencing Black America.

From social justice to structural reform, voting rights to corporate accountability, Mills will educate and entertain viewers with insights on the ground game of politics and the inner workings of our legislative process.

“The social and political landscape in America can be treacherous to navigate, and our goal is to ‘AMplify’ the voices and experiences of those on the front lines of today’s most pressing issues and impactful movements,” said Mills.

“As a Black woman and a leader within the LGBTQ+ community, I have a personal connection to BNC’s mission and I am excited to explore, examine and illuminate truths that empower our audience.”

As BNC continues to strengthen and expand its offerings, AMplified will offer unique coverage and viewpoints often missing from prime time news.

Mills will conduct in-depth interviews, inspire dialogue and engage in spirited debates that unpack the fundamentals of our legislative process and amplify the stories of Black and Brown communities.

“Aisha brings an extraordinary amount of experience and perspectives to BNC,” said Vickie Burns, SVP of Content for BNC.

“AMplified will create a space for her to connect with thought leaders and policymakers on major issues that unfortunately do not receive the attention they deserve within mainstream media.”

For more than 20 years, Mills has been a nationally respected voice for progressive policy and politics.

She was recently a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics where she hosted a weekly seminar on identity politics and the demographic revolution underway in which people of color will soon be the majority of the population.

Previously, she was the first Black woman to serve as President & CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national LGBTQ+ organization that has helped elect hundreds of LGBTQ+ leaders to office.

Prior to Victory, she served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, the largest progressive think tank in the country.

Mills has also advised and helped to elect dozens of Members of Congress as Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and Regional Finance Director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

AMplified will air weeknights at 7:00 PM ET, in between The World Tonight with Kelly Wright and Nayyera Haq and Black News Tonight with Marc Lamont Hill.
Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on September 23, 2021, 06:26:40 am
Thursday, 23rd September  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
LGBTQ Vets Discharged Have New Chance For Full Benefits
by Jonathan Franklin

Thousands of LGBTQ veterans who were discharged from the military under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy have gained new access to full government benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The announcement, issued Monday on the 10th anniversary of the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, will apply to veterans who were forced from service under the policy and given "other than honorable discharges" due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.

The guidance was detailed in a blog post on the VA's website by Kayla Williams, assistant secretary for public affairs in the department's Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.

It provides LGBTQ veterans the opportunity to receive assistance, ranging from mental health care and disability benefits to college money and home loans.

The announcement clarifies the existing rules in place but does not represent a specific legal change, officials said.

"At VA, we continuously work not only to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ Veterans, but also to address ongoing issues that LGBTQ+ Veterans face as a result of the military's decades-long official policy of homophobia and transphobia," Williams wrote.

The VA will begin to review case files and start to reinstate benefits to those eligible unless there were issues such as a criminal record, Williams said.

Don't ask, don't tell, which was put into place by then-President Bill Clinton on February 28th, 1994, prevented openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members from serving in the military.

In 2010, then-President Barack Obama signed the repeal of the policy into law, which went into effect on September 20th, 2011.

Before the repeal, openly gay service members who were given an "other than honorable" discharge from the military were effectively blocked from the many services and benefits provided to veterans in the U.S., including access to medical care, financial compensation, pensions or a debt-free college education.

Additionally, those discharged were not allowed to reenlist in the military.

Williams, who is openly bisexual, said she chose to "present as straight" during the push to repeal don't ask, don't tell.

"It made sense at the time that there was a more pressing need for me as a woman married to a man to say, 'No one in my unit cared if anyone was gay while we were in Iraq,' " she said.

Williams said it took many years for her to let go of the "toxic legacy" of having served under the policy to "come back out of the closet."

Over the last 70 years, an estimated 100,000 military veterans either left or were kicked out of the service for their sexual orientation, and under don't ask, don't tell, many ultimately lost out on the opportunity for full VA benefits.

Lindsay Church, a Navy veteran who co-founded Minority Veterans of America, a nonprofit designed to focus on belonging and equity for underrepresented veterans, was involved when it came to pushing for service members discharged because of their sexuality to receive VA benefits.

"Even to overturn the policy wasn't enough to undo the harm and the damage that was done," Church said in an interview on NPR's All Things Considered.

"And so this moment is life-changing for so many people."

Williams says that while the trauma caused by the military's policy of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community can't be erased, elected officials are taking appropriate steps to begin "addressing the pain" the policies built.

"LGBTQ+ Veterans are not any less worthy of the care and services that all Veterans earn through their service, and VA is committed to making sure that they have equal access to those services," she said.

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Title: Re: Real male or Real female?
Post by: Battle on December 27, 2021, 06:18:25 pm
Monday, 27th  December  ~Two Thousand & Twenty One
Idaho State track and field athlete who lost to transgender competitors five times speaks up
by Christina Coulter


A female Idaho State University track athlete who went to court after losing to transgender runners has urged rivals of controversial Pennsylvania trans swimmer Lia Thomas to speak out about the disadvantage they face in competing against 'biological males.' ⚧️

Madison Kenyon filed a motion in Idaho State Court last year along with teammate Mary Kate Marshall to intervene in a legal challenge to the state's Fairness in Women's Sports Act, the first legislation in the nation to bar transgender competitors assigned male at birth from competing in women's sports. ⚧️

Kenyon described the experience of losing to 'biological males' on the field as 'extremely deflating' in a Wednesday morning interview.

'The fact that that's still happening, that women are still losing to biological males in their own sport, shows why we need more female athletes to speak up about this,' she said.

'I just want to say to the female athletes in Pennsylvania, don't let anyone silence you. Speak up, tell the NCAA, your athletic directors and your coaches that you want fair competition, because speaking up about this is nowhere near as scary as it seems, and the amount of support is overwhelming.'

Thus far, the University of Pennsylvania swimmers and several parents have expressed their frustration at Thomas's presence on the Ivy League team but have done so without providing their names.   


Lia Thomas, who was a swimmer on the men's team for two years before transitioning, broke two national records when she competed in the women's events at the Zippy Invitational this month. ⚧️

In the 1,650-yard freestyle, Thomas beat teammate Anna Sofia Kalandadze by 38 seconds and gained automatic entry to compete at the national championships in Atlanta in March.

In the week after the Zippy Invitational, two of Thomas's female UPenn teammates anonymously spoke out about their frustrations of having a transgender teammate, despite the entire team being 'strongly advised' not to speak to the media.

One of the swimmers told sports website OutKick that UPenn swimmers were upset and crying as they knew their times were going to be obliterated by her. 

In Idaho, Kenyon and Marshall decided to intervene in the challenge to House Bill 500 several months after their teammate lost against a transgender runner, June Eastwood of University of Montana, at the Big Sky Indoor Championships of Pocatello in January of last year. 

Eastwood, who finished four seconds ahead of the second-place runner in that race, had competed on the men's team for her first three years in school.

Kenyon and Marshall's teammate, they said, finished fourth.

'It's definitely frustrating but I feel most of those feelings come out after the race when you see the podium and you see that there's a biological male on the podium and I'm not up there but that's where I want to be one day,' Kenyon said. 

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