advocate.com
Maine Gov. Paul LePage Blocks Rules Protecting Trans Students
The Republican governor says a 2014 ruling in favor of a trans student's equal access requires the legislature to take action, not his administration.

Maine’s Republican governor has blocked the state’s Department of Education and Human Rights Commission from issuing legally binding rules that would guarantee transgender students equal access, reports the Associated PressInstead, schools statewide will be encouraged to abide by “guidelines” about how to treat transgender students, issued by the Human Rights Commission last month, but will not face penalties for failing to comply with these suggestions.

The formal rules were drafted by the Maine Human Rights Commission and the Department of Education in response to a 2014 ruling from Maine’s high court in the case of Nicole Maines, a transgender student who was denied access to the girls’ bathroom (after years of using that facility without incident) at her elementary school. With the support of the state’s Human Rights Commission, the rules would have established a legal standard for trans students statewide, affirming that they have the right to access the gender-segregated facilities (like bathrooms and locker rooms) and sports teams that correspond with their gender.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Paul LePage told the AP the governor has read the ruling, and believes that it requires the state legislature to take action on the issue, not the executive branch. But advocates of equal access for trans students say the governor is misinterpreting that landmark ruling, which also saw Maines awarded a $75,000 settlement for the violation of her rights by school officials.

CLICK THE HEADER LINK TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

umich.edu
"MS. MASSIE:  Judge, I don't think that Professor John Hope Franklin needs too much of an introduction."

This link was passed around on Twitter the other day: it’s a testimony given by a revered academic in a court case I’m not familiar with. The salient points are where he describes doing research in libraries and archives during segregation. I’ve just pasted a big excerpt here, but you should read the whole testimony.

5 Now, the matter of trying to do the

 6  kind of work that I undertook to do in graduate

 7  school and after, it would project my life work.

 8  Brought me into contact with the kind of life that I

 9  hadn’t imagined.

10 When I took my general examinations

11  at Harvard in the spring of 1939, I decided to do a

12  dissertation on North Carolina.  So, I went to

13  North Carolina and there I went in to see the

14  director of the state archives.

15 And I told him I wanted to do

16  research on free negroes in North Carolina from 1798

17  to 60.  And he said, well, I suppose I will have to

18  do something about that.  He said, I see no reason

19  why you wouldn’t be able to work here, he said, but

20  when we built this building we didn’t anticipate

21  that anyone of your color would work here.  And so

22  we don’t have any place for you to work.

23 He said, but if you will give me a

24  week I’ll try to arrange something.  And I remained

25  silent and I looked at him and I had my mental

 1  adding machine, I was going to have to pay the rent,

 2  board, room and all of that for a week while I

 3  twiddled my thumbs.

 4 And I just looked at him and he said,

 5  well, what about a half week.  I said, I’ll be back

 6  Thursday, this was Monday.  I went back Thursday and

 7  they prepared a place for me.

 8 They cleared out one of the exhibit

 9  rooms, the smallest exhibit room there was for the

10  archives or display of archives of materials.  And

11  they put a desk and a chair and a waste basket in

12  there.

13 And he gave me a key, he said, I’ll

14  give you a key to the stacks because I don’t think

15  we can request the white pages to deliver materials

16  to you.  So you’ll have to get your materials

17  yourself.

18 I said, all right.  He gave me his

19  key.  He said, you go through the search room that’s

20  where all the whites were sitting and doing their

21  research.  You go through the search room to the

22  stacks, and you get what you want and bring it over

23  to your room and you can work there.

24 And I did that and it turned out to

25  be the most satisfactory arrangement, because I

 1  could sort of window shop in the stacks, pull down

 2  what I wanted, things that I thought I might want.

 3 And I would come through the main

 4  reading room with my dolly and my library card,

 5  laden with materials.  And the white researchers

 6  looked at me with some disdain as well as jealousy.

 7 And two weeks later the director of

 8  the archives told me and said, I have to take your

 9  key.  And I searched my conduct and wondered what I

10  had done that was offensive.

11 I said what’s the matter, he said

12  well, the white searchers who see you coming through

13  the room with all of your materials which you have

14  selected yourself, says that this is a

15  discrimination against them and they want keys

16  themselves.

17 He said, well, I can’t give everyone

18  keys and I therefore will have to take your key.

19  And you will have to abide by the regular rules

20  which, of course, would involve your bringing one

21  request in, depositing it, then going back to your

22  room and waiting for that to be delivered to you.

23 And I said, well, if that’s what you

24  think it should be, all right.  Now, it was at that

25  point that I realized the inconsistency and the

 1  remarkable ingenuity, if I may put it, of racial

 2  discrimination of those who practiced it.

 3 I had to work in three libraries.

 4  And within a radius of three blocks of each other,

 5  literally within three blocks of each other.  One of

 6  them was the archives where I described that I had

 7  used a separate room.

 8 The other was the state library on

 9  the other side of the square.  And there I could go

10  into the main reading room and work, but there was a

11  regular place in the stacks for African Americans to

12  sit.

13 And we were not supposed to go take

14  the books off the shelf or take the newspapers in

15  there.  But actually we were to make that request,

16  but we could sit there in the stacks and use the

17  materials.

18 Then on the other side of the square

19  was the Supreme Court library.  And there were no

20  restrictions at all.  We sat and did our work at the

21  same table that white people were sitting.

22 I said this is rather strange.  In

23  the radius of two or three blocks, we had three

24  practices, three practices of racial distinction or

25  discrimination or segregation.

 1 And that gave me to understand that

 2  the practice of racial segregation was sort of

 3  improvisational.  That is they made it up as they

 4  went along.

 5 They have did this on one side of the

 6  block, they did another on the other side of the

 7  block, and another on the other side of the block.

 8  Whatever seemed to pass their minds, as long as

 9  there was distinction.

10 As long as there was a mark of, as

11  old people say, a mark of distinction, a mark of

12  oppression of some kind.  The differentiation was

13  there.

14 Or another way, not only was this

15  practice at the highest levels, what I think of

16  libraries would be fairly high.  It was practiced at

17  the other extreme, that I couldn’t say which was

18  more praiseworthy or meritorious.

…….

 24    MS. MASSIE:  I have one question.

  25    THE COURT:  It’s your witness, you can have the last


   1   say.

   2     REDIRECT EXAMINATION

   3  BY MS. MASSIE:

  4   Q    Professor Franklin, you said earlier that you thought

   5  that segregation and segregation infiltrations exist in our

   6  nation have had a improvisational flare to them, do you

   7  remember saying that –

   8   A    Yes.

   9   Q    Is the attack on affirmative action the latest

  10  improvisation?

  11   A    Yeah, I think probably it is.

gayrva.com
BREAKING: House sub-committee passes bill criminalizing transgender bathroom use
We dont think this is the way to do it by exposing other children.

A proposed bill in the General Assembly that stigmatizes transgender youth and adults and forces them to use incorrect restrooms in schools and government buildings was passed in a subcommittee Thursday afternoon. The House voted to report Del. Mark Cole (R., Fredericksburg)’s HB 781 which aims to require the Director of the Department of General Services and all state school boards to implement policies for every “public building on property that is owned, leased, or controlled by the Commonwealth and every public school restroom, locker room, and shower room that is designated for use by a specific gender” to be used solely by those whose “anatomical sex matches such gender designation.”

If anyone, including students, violates this policy, they will be charged a $50 civil penalty. That money will go toward the state’s literary fund. Tickets will be issued by police officers.

Many opponents and advocates of the bill came to speak before the subcommittee including The Family Foundation, the ACLU, and transgender students from Appomattox Regional Governors School. Cole said the issue was brought to him by a group of parents in Stafford County who had a “situation at an elementary school” along with the Stafford School Board.

CLICK THE HEADER LINK TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Yesteday, Canadian news reported that three Middle Eastern men were being sought for taking pictures and video of entrances and exists at the Pacific Centre Mall in Vancouver. They had been spotted on security footage and were deemed suspicious. The story came across my Facebook and I screenshotted a few choice responses.

Today, the three men, a father, son and a friend of the father, were identified as tourists from the UK who were in town getting treatment for vision impairment. The friend takes a lot of pictures and videos because he cannot see well and is able to see where he was better later by zooming in. The father, Mohammed Sharaz, immediately called the police when he saw himself on news reports and explained the situation. The police declared the three men “completely innocent.” The three men have reportedly not been outside since they learned that their photos were going around on social media due to fears of vigilantism.

However, none of this stopped the bigotry for some people.

So next time you make the mistake of thinking that Canada is some perfect anti-racist paradise, please think again. The paranoia is creeping in and is doing exactly what Daesh wants it to do.
-V

salon.com
My daughter is not Tashfeen Malik
By Aliya Saeed

My teenage daughter’s headscarf, or hijab as she calls it, announces her religious identity as a Muslim. She has had plenty of harassment by strangers because of her Muslim appearance, but has not experienced physical harm, unlike the sixth grade student in New York city’s PS 89 school who was physically attacked by three boys who called her “ISIS,” or the London teen whose video of being brutally attacked from behind as she walked on a sidewalk was posted on the Internet. But my daughter is getting ready to leave for college soon, and I am afraid for her.In today’s America, TV shows like “Homeland” propagate wildly popular caricatures of Muslims as lurking threats, and well-funded Islamophobic “think tanks” abound. Right-wing politicians have made Muslim bashing a competitive spectator sport. As made clear through various polls, islamophobic statements carry little political price within the conservative base, so their leadership has done away with the use of code. 

Their standard mass shooting public messages of “thoughts and prayers” quickly gave way to declarations of war on Islam when the identity of the San Bernardino shooters was revealed, even before the couple’s religious extremism came to light. And presidential hopefuls are not alone. Jerry Falwell Jr. encouraged the graduates of his Liberty College to carry concealed guns as means of ending “those Muslims before they walked in.” Even President Obama in his Oval office address after the San Bernardino massacre called on Muslim communities to do more to root out extremism, as if the couple’s intentions were known to their community and it was the community’s inaction that caused the carnage. It is, then, no surprise that there has been a surge in hate incidents against Muslim women in hijab who are easily identified because of that telltale piece of cloth on their heads.

I don’t know what is right for each individual Muslim woman in America; I only know I want my daughter to be safe

nowtoronto.com
Toronto’s stonewall
Thirty-five years after the police bathhouse raids that galvanized T.O.’s struggle for gay rights, the question remains: who gave the order?

It was Toronto’s Stonewall, a brutal police raid that brought the many divided elements of the gay community together on the streets to protest in large numbers for the first time. On February 5, 1981, 150 Toronto police officers armed with crowbars, billy clubs and sledgehammers carried out violent raids on four gay bathhouses.

The cops roughed up and arrested 289 mostly gay men on prostitution and indecency charges or as “found-ins at a common bawdy house.” Twenty more, including owners and staff at the bathhouses, were charged with being “keepers of a common bawdy house.” Except for the roundup of suspected dissidents during the imposition of the War Measures Act in Quebec in 1970, the raids were the largest police action to that point in Canada.

CLICK THE HEADER LINK TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

What a bigot is:

  • Someone who is hostile toward people with differing opinions

What a bigot is NOT:

  • Every random person who doesn’t agree with you
  • Someone who won’t change their opinion
  • Only Christians and Republicans

If you think people shouldn’t have a right to disagree with you, demand people change their opinions, morals, and values by force, or think you are exempt from terms that show you’re a horrible person because you’re part of a certain demographic, You are a Bigot.

Unfriendly reminder to problematic trash individuals

“Flipping” an argument made by someone who is part of a marginalized or oppressed group of people will never work in your favor.

I promise you.

Example: If a trans individual makes a comment like “Cis people are disgusting”, you claiming that they wouldn’t like if someone reversed the statement onto them is not only insulting, but asinine.

People out there are ALREADY saying shit like “Trans people are disgusting”, which is why the murder rates for trans individuals is so much higher than the murder rates of cis folks JUST FOR BEING TRANS.

A statement of anger against normalized bigotry itself is NOT THE SAME as a statement of anger against a group already suffering from normalized bigotry.

TA-DA!

advocate.com
Trump: Expect More 'Heart,' LGBT Rights Progress During My Presidency
Donald Trump wants to “bring people together.”

This is what he said this week to Sue O'Connell, a lesbian reporter who asked the Republican candidate if he would advance LGBT rights during his presidency.

“When President Trump is in office, can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?” the NECN reporter inquired in a video interview posted Thursday. Preceding the question, O’Connell identified herself as a lesbian to Trump and noted the recent “great progress for the gay and lesbian community.”

“Well, you can,” Trump responded. “We’re going to bring people together, and that’s your thing, and other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together, and if we don’t we’re not going to have a country anymore. It’s gonna be a total mess. It’s a mess right now. It’s going to be worse.”

Trump’s remarks, which were made in advance of the New Hampshire primaries, contradict a statement he made to Fox News last weekend. He told the conservative media outlet Sunday that as president, he would be “putting certain judges on the bench that maybe could change things,” regarding last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

CLICK THE HEADER LINK TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE.