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April 2006 Newsletter
31% of Americans Now Covered by Transgender
A number of municipalities have recently passed anti-discrimination measures which include gender identity and expression. The City Councils of Cincinnati (Ohio), Lansdowne (Pennsylvania), Swarthmore (Pennsylvania), King County (Washington State) and Washington (District of Columbia) have all approved bills in March. In addition, the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut legislature voted in favor of an anti-discrimination bill with a vote of 28-8, sending it on for further consideration.
The passage of these new laws mean that for the first time, 31% of Americans now live in areas that ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression. This is a major milestone to celebrate. “These victories show that communities large and small can pass legislation that gives equal protection under the law to all of their residents,” commented Steve Glassman, chair of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and a member of NCTE’s Board of Directors. “When people recognize that it’s the right thing to do, they do it. We’re very encouraged by this string of victories.” Glassman has been a driving force behind the Pennsylvania legislation.
The Cincinnati City Council approved its new law by a vote of 8-1 in late March. The city had previously had a ban on gay-rights laws for more than a decade until it was overturned in 2004, which hindered efforts to amend the human-rights ordinance. Now, however, all LGBT people are clearly protected by the law that will go into effect next month.
On March 14 and 16, the cities of Swarthmore and Lansdowne (respectively) passed legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations. In both cities, the action was taken by the Borough Council with assistance from local LGBT groups and from the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission. Eleven municipalities in the state now have similar laws.
In Washington state, King County, which includes the city of Seattle, also passed a measure that extends protections for transgender people. The law bans discrimination based on “gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression” in housing, employment and public accommodations. The vote was 5-4.
Countdown to Lobby Days 2006
NCTE’s annual Lobby Days are right around the corner. Join fellow advocates from around the country May 14-15 in Washington, DC for two days of training and lobbying during one of the most critical Congressional sessions for transgender equality. To learn more about NCTE's Lobby Days, please click here.
NCTE Board of Advisors Member Launches Column on
On March 30, Joanne A. Herman, a member of NCTE’s national Board of Advisors, became the newest guest columnist at the Advocate.com. The popular news site will run Joanne’s exclusive new series devoted to transgender issues every two weeks. The series is aimed at educating our non-transgender lesbian, gay and bisexual allies about issues facing the transgender community. To read the first installment in Joanne’s series, please visit www.advocate.com
Get a T-Shirt!
Warm weather is on the way and what is the fashionable trans person wearing? An NCTE t-shirt, of course. In addition to this fabulous green, we have light pink, royal blue, bright yellow and an organic cotton natural. Shirts are only $10, plus shipping and handling. Call 202-903-0112 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get yours today!
Art Controversy in Michigan
Last fall, officials at the University of Michigan-Flint ordered that a piece of artwork be removed from the campus’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center. The art in question is a charcoal drawing entitled, “Hermaphrodite” and depicts an unclothed angel with breasts and an erect penis. A staff member at the school had complained to the administration that the picture was a form of sexual harassment and so the Center was told to take it down.
For a while, the picture was on display at a local coffee shop. Students and others at the campus raised questions about censorship and the historical role of nudity in art. The school has held public forums and discussions about the controversy. In March, the work was allowed to return to display at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center where it continues to raise awareness and questions about gender, sexuality and art.
Fund Equality. Become a Member. Renew Your Commitment
Thank you for your ongoing support in the fight to end discrimination and violence against transgender people. With your help, the movement for transgender equality has advanced tremendously over the past few years. Together, we can build on that momentum to further educate the public and policymakers. NCTE needs your support to ensure that transgender voices will be heard in Washington, DC and around the country. To make an online donation to NCTE, please visit https://secondary.lfchosting.com/tgcrossroads/nctequality/donate.asp