<%da = array("", "")%>
Senate to Vote on Federal Marriage Amendment
<%sechead_underline%> NCTE Strongly Opposes Writing Discrimination into Our Constitution
On June 6, the United States Senate is expected to vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. This legislation would add language to the US constitution defining marriage to one man and one woman. Not only would this deny marriage to same sex couples at the national level, it would also prevent states from passing their own laws allowing same sex marriage.
At NCTE, we condemn this attempt to write discrimination into the United States constitution. The constitution serves to guarantee rights to people in our country; it has never and should never become an avenue to deny rights. In addition, we are very concerned about the impact on transgender people and our relationships.
We believe people should have the right to marry the person of their choice, regardless of the gender of either partner.
To take action on the bill, call, write or visit your Senator’s office as soon as possible. Here are some links that can provide you with additional information and a way to take action to oppose this bill. For background information:
To take action to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment:
<%s1="targetstates"%> <%da = array("", "")%> Activism in Action
|A few of the participants on Capitol Hill|
On May 15, over 20 transgender activists and allies from eight states--from Nevada to New Jersey to California and Ohio--conducted congressional visits with House and Senate staff. In over 30 meetings, NCTE members educated policymakers about the importance of trans-inclusive Hate Crimes legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and other federal issues that impact our communities. Thank you to all who made time in their busy lives to join us in Washington, DC.
On June 16-18, NCTE will co-sponsor an important training event with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The Target States Conference will bring together a diverse core of state advocates who are and/or will be deeply involved in introducing and organizing around passage of transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination legislation on the state level.
Participants are expected from Vermont, Wisconsin, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maryland. These states currently cover "sexual orientation" but not yet "gender identity or expression" in their anti-discrimination laws. Different states are in very different places in terms of the process of passing trans-inclusive.
A key element of the training will be the opportunity for state advocates to learn from each other in sharing best practices and challenges they've encountered doing the work. Expert trainers will present on a wide range of topics over a day and a half of intensive training on the process of passing a statewide law, practical tools for achieving this goal, working with legislators, building you team, using the media, and drafting a state-wide plan.
For more information about the conference, contact Simon Aronoff at saronoff@NCTEquality.org.
<%s1="iraq"%> <%da = array("", "")%> Gay and Transgender Iraqis Targeted
Reports have surfaced which highlight the dangerous conditions faced by LGBT Iraqis. In recent months, transgender people and gay men in particular have been targeted by militia groups and executed. These groups frequently use the internet to connect and then suggest a meeting. People go to the meeting point and are not heard from again. In addition, families have been pressured to hand over transgender or gay family members or face violent retribution themselves.
More information can be found in this GayCityNews.com article click here and in this BBC news report click here.
<%s1="juneupdate"%> <%da = array("", "")%> Legislation Update
For the first time, a city in Idaho has passed protections banning discrimination based on gender identity for its employees. The Boise City Council took action in mid-May to amend the employee policy manual to include transgender people. Hewlett-Packard, one of the larger employers in the area, already includes such protections.
The Common Council of South Bend, Indiana, has held public hearings on adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their city anti-discrimination laws; a vote is expected on the measure in late June.
Sadly, Vermont Governor, Jim Douglas, vetoed the Gender Identity and Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which would have made Vermont the ninth state to include protections for transgender people. Legislators and activists alike note that this makes Douglas the first Vermont governor to veto civil rights legislation. It is very unlikely that supporters will gather sufficient votes to override the veto.
"We are very disappointed in Governor Douglas's decision," said Christopher Kaufman, executive director of the R.U.1.2? Community Center in Burlington. "This bill would have made a huge difference in the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming Vermonters in terms of the basic necessities-access to jobs, housing and services."
Governor Douglas cited concerns about what he saw as vague areas in the bill and noted that the states Human Rights Commission voted 4-1 against supporting the bill. This decision and the veto prompted Charles Kletecka, a member of the Human Rights Commission, to resign in protest.
In California, the state Senate passed a bill requiring public school materials to include the positive contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. It would also ban books and instruction that speak negatively about LGBT people. The current law provides parallel rules for schools teaching about racial/ethnic groups and women; the measure would add LGBT people to the list. The bill, authored by state Senator Sheila Kuehl, has attracted a great deal of controversy.
<%s1="signon"%> <%da = array("", "")%> NCTE Signs On to Policy Letters
One important way that NCTE works with our allies and further leverages our clout and resources is by joining our voices with others on policy issues of significance to transgender people. In recent months, NCTE has signed on to letters addressing critical policy concerns faced by our community and by others. Doing this allows us to work as an effective ally and raises transgender visibility with other organizations. Some recent efforts include:
<%s1="prom"%> <%da = array("", "")%> Student Barred from Prom
A self-identified drag queen, Kevin Logan, was forbidden to enter the prom at West Side High School in Gary, Indiana, by the school’s principal, Diane Rouse. Although the senior had been cross-dressing at school all year, Rouse would not allow Logan to attend the prom in a dress late last month. A female student attended the same prom wearing a tuxedo.
Logan’s friends went out to the parking lot to pose for pictures with the 18-year-old, but the group dispersed after police were called. Donnetta Logan, the teen’s mother, has been supportive of her child’s cross-dressing and attempts to attend the prom. The two went together to get a refund for the $85 prom ticket and are considering legal action against the school.
The story has received a fair amount of press coverage and a number of letters to the editor have appeared on the subject in local papers. You can read a recent story by clicking here: click here
<%s1="print"%> <%da = array("", "")%> Trans In Print
Transgender/GenderQueer Literature Recognized
The Lambda Literary Foundation, an organization dedicated to LGBT literature, held its annual awards ceremony, on May 18 in Washington, DC.
Charlie Anders won the Transgender/GenderQueer category for her book Choir Boy, published by Soft Skull Press. The book tells the story of a young choir boy who takes testosterone blocking drugs in an attempt to delay puberty and remain with his beloved choir. As a result he has some interesting adventures across gender lines. You can get more information from the publisher’s website at click here
The other nominees in the Transgender/GenderQueer category were:
NCTE program Manager Justin Tanis was a previous nominee in this category in for his book Transgendered: Ministry, Theology and Communities of Faith (Pilgrim Press, 2003) click here.
In the Advocate
Andy Marra, the Chair of NCTE’s Board of Directors, will be featured in an upcoming issue of The Advocate. The article, which hits newsstands on June 8, profiles future leaders of the LGBT movement.
In addition, Joanne Herman, a member of NCTE’s Board of Advisors, has a column on “living stealth,” part of a series on transgender lives. You can read it at click here.
Transgender Library in Portland
Outside In, a Portland organization which provides services for homeless teens and adults, has established a transgender resource center and library with over 400 titles. The library was funded by a grant and is overseen by a board of staff, librarians, activists and others. It is believed to be the largest single collection of transgender related books and materials. You can read about it here: click here
<%s1="sf"%> <%da = array("", "")%> SF Recognizes Transgender, Drag Contributions
The city of San Francisco passed a resolution marking the anniversary of the Compton Cafeteria riots and officially christened “José Sarria Court” last month, honoring Sarria, also known as “The Widow Norton,” the founder of the Imperial Court System.
The Compton Cafeteria riots took place in 1966, three years before the better known Stonewall riots in New York City. They were the response to police harassment of transgender prostitutes in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. In May, the city passed a resolution noting that the riots marked a critical moment in history when the transgender community publicly stood up for its rights. This was also a pivotal time in the history of the city and the movement for GLBT freedom.
Victor Silverman, Susan Stryker and Jack Walsh produced a documentary, Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, which won an award at the 35th Annual Northern California Emmy Awards ceremony, of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science. The documentary will be shown nationally on PBS in June. Check with your local station for details.
One of the events marking the 40th anniversary of the riots will take place on June 22 in San Francisco. NCTE Executive Director, Mara Keisling, will be a featured speaker. For more information, go to click here.
The city re-named a street to honor José Sarria, who came to San Francisco in the 1940s after serving in the Second World War, and flamboyantly and courageously encouraged others in facing the then-prevalent police harassment. He worked as a bartender, ending the evenings singing, “God Save Us Nelly Queens.” In 1961, he was the first openly gay candidate for city office in San Francisco; although he didn’t win, the number of votes he did receive reflected the growing political power of the city’s gay community.
In the mid-1960s, Sarria worked with the Tavern Guild, a group of gay and lesbian bar owners, to put on the first public drag ball. At the event, Sarria was crowned queen. This evolved into the Imperial Court system, which has over 66 chapters that hold drag events and raise funds for charity. Known for dressing in black gowns, The Widow Norton has been a San Francisco, and international, celebrity ever since.
<%s1="missmanners"%> <%da = array("", "")%> Miss Manners Addresses Trans Etiquette
On May 28, Miss Manners published an answer to a reader question about trans etiquette. A woman wrote in asking about the appropriate way to include her ex-husband, who has transitioned to female, at their daughter’s upcoming wedding. Miss Manners suggests a dignified and gentle course of action, as is her way, to ensure that everyone can be present and enjoy the festivities. You can read the column here: click here
A Girl Like Me Premieres
A Lifetime Original Movie tells the story of Sylvia Guerrero, Gwen Araujo’s mother, as she comes to accept her daughter and must deal with the horrific murder of her child. Gwen Araujo was just 17 when she was killed. The movie will premiere on Monday, June 19.
Araujo was murdered in the fall of 2002 by four young men whom she had befriended. They killed her when they discovered that she was transgender. Two of the young men were found guilty and two accepted a plea-bargain. One of them, Jaron Nabors, will be sentenced in August; this will mark the last sentencing in the case.
Meet Our Intern: Jaya Kalra
Support Transgender Equality
Having a strong voice for transgender civil rights in the nation's capital and around the country is possible because of the ongoing support of members like you. Your donations make NCTE and its programs stronger and more effective. Please consider building trans equality by making a donation online click here.