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January 2007 Newsletter
There are many exciting things happening at NCTE already this year as we gear up for an important year to come. We look forward to working with you as together we take more steps towards transgender equality in 2007.
NCTE Launches Blog
With the New Year comes a new way for NCTE to communicate: a blog. This format gives us the opportunity to share important information about what is happening in Washington and around the country in the movement for transgender equality on a real-time basis. Already, you can find exciting information about state initiatives, federal legislation and upcoming events on the blog.
You can read 10 or 15 Reasons Why I am excited about 2007. by Mara Keisling, our Executive Director, and get an idea of what is ahead of us in the year to come.
Here is some information from Mara both about why we have a blog and what you might expect:
It's about time. NCTE finally has a Blog. We hope that you find it both useful and enjoyable. Before we begin, just a few guidelines about how things work here.
In Johnson County, Iowa, the Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 in favor of new legislation to ban discrimination based on a variety of categories, including gender identity, in housing, education, employment, credit transactions, and public services. The measure extends only to those in unincorporated areas of Johnson County. Johnson County now joins Decorah, Iowa in offering protections; advocates hope that other cities will follow.
The City Council of Lansing, Michigan unanimously approved a measure on December 18 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The new law applies to public accommodation, housing and employment, with specific exceptions for religious organizations. A similar law was, in the past, overturned by a voter referendum and religious groups have stated their intention to attempt this again.
A number of new laws went into effect on January 1 in California, including the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act, which prevents the use of the so-called "panic defense" by those accused of violent crimes.
In Vermont, transgender advocates, members of the state's Human Rights Commission and legislators are working to redraft a bill to ban discrimination based on gender identity. Last year's bill passed the legislature but was vetoed by the governor.
New York City, NY's health department rejected the proposal that would have allowed transgender people to switch the gender on their birth certificates without gender reassignment surgery. Officials rescinded the proposal before it was due for a vote by the board of health.
The health department cited "broader societal ramifications" for killing the proposal, stating that they believe hospitals, schools and jails still must classify people by gender.
King County, WA, which includes Seattle, will implement a new policy regarding transgender inmates. The policy will prohibit strip searches that are used simply to determine an inmate's sex. It requires staff to address transgender-identified inmates by their last names and refrain from using Mr. or Ms. It also permits inmates to wear clothing consistent with the gender with which they identify, and labels as harassment any discussions about gender identity within earshot of a transgender inmate.
The policy also requires inmates to have access to all necessary medical and mental-health care. Those placed in protective custody for safety are to have access to the same services and programs available to the general population.
This policy does not address gender segregation in housing but transgender individuals who express concern for their safety, or those whose transition has progressed so far that they no longer appear as their biological sex, could be placed in administrative segregation.
NCTE Co-Sponsors Religious Leaders' Summit
Working in partnership with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, NCTE will sponsor a summit of religious leaders later this month in Berkeley, California. The focus of the meeting will be on policies-both within communities of faith and in the wider public sphere. Leaders from a number of different faith traditions will be present and leading the programming to provide opportunities for networking and dialogue about effective strategies. "If there is opposition to transgender-inclusive legislation, it very often comes from a religious perspective," notes NCTE Program Manager, Justin Tanis. "But this doesn't have to be the case. Many progressive people of faith want to expand transgender rights within our religious traditions and to counter the transphobia in public policy, so this meeting will give us an opportunity to work together on that." The summit will include people from a variety of religious backgrounds, coming from the United States and Canada. If you would like more information about the summit, being held January 19-21, please contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCTE Welcomes New Board Members
NCTE is proud to welcome Amanda Simpson and Meredith Bacon as new members of our Board of Directors. While they are new to our Board, they are not new to NCTE or to the transgender movement; both are experienced and knowledgeable leaders and we welcome their expertise.
Amanda Simpson is a 23 year employee with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ. Currently she is Program Manager of the Wide Area Search Synthetic Aperture Radar (WASSAR) program but is also an active pilot for the company's manned and unmanned test aircraft. Amanda transitioned her gender during 2000 and remained in the same managerial position through what was a very public event as her assignment interfaced with a large percentage of the site's 12,000 employees. Working with upper management her transition has been used as a model for transitioning professional employees across the country.
Amanda is currently a Commissioner on the City of Tucson Commission on GLBT Issues and in 2004 won the Democratic Nomination for the Arizona House of Representative for District 26. An elected Precinct Committee Person, she is the Political Advisor to the Democrats of Oro Valley. She has shared her expertise during her board service with the Arizona Human Rights Fund, the Wingspan GLBT Community Center, TGNet Arizona, the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, and the Tucson Corporate LGBT Coalition. Within Raytheon she has served on the boards of the Raytheon Women's Network, GLBTA Alliance and on Raytheon's Diversity Council. She is a nationally renowned speaker and has presented at corporations, conferences and colleges around the country on gender and diversity. Amanda was the 2001 recipient of the Raytheon Woman on the Move award, the 2005 Tucson YWCA Woman on the Move, 2005 Arizona Human Rights Fund Individual Award and the 2006 Raytheon Missile Systems Team Excellence Award. She was honored as the Grand Marshall of the 2005 Tucson Pride Parade.
Holding an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with server type specific ratings as well as being a Certified Flight Instructor fuses with her passion for the outdoors to create grand experiences. Her technical understanding is supplemented with advanced degrees in Physics, Engineering and Business which does her little good in the raising of her extremely bright and precocious eleven year old son.
W Meredith Bacon, PhD is Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she has taught for thirty-one years. In 2006 she was recognized with the University Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award. Although her original scholarly interests and training were in East European politics and economics, since 2003 she and a colleague have concentrated on a survey-based project entitled The Politics of Transgender Identity which has gathered the largest database on transgender people ever assembled. She has presented her findings at all the major national transgender events.
Aside from her many publications on Eastern Europe, Dr. Bacon has consulted for state and national government agencies. She was Ecumenical Officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska for twenty years and co-chaired the National Conference on Christian Unity in 2004. Her spouse of thirty-eight years, Lynne, is an ordained Episcopalian clergyperson.
In 2000 she was a founding member of Rainbow Celebrations of Nebraska, the organization which organizes both Pride and National Coming Out Day observances; she served two terms as Board of Directors Vice President. She is a faculty advisor for ABC Soup, the university's LGBT student group for which she received the Faculty Advisor of the Year Award in 2004. She is currently the Facilitator for (President of) the River City Gender Alliance, the Eastern Nebraska/Western Iowa transgender organization, which, for the first time in many years, is in the black and enjoys a growing membership. She has addressed virtually every LGBT group, as well as many civic organizations and church groups, in Eastern Nebraska on transgender issues. She is a member of the NCTE National Board of Advisors.
She and her spouse have appeared in national magazines and on television speaking honestly and proudly about Dr. Bacon's transition (2005). She is Vice President of the Community Board of the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, one of the last free Shakespeare festivals in North America with an annual budget of $400,000, all raised through donations. She is a former Kellogg National (leadership) Fellow and has written successful grants for over two million dollars from both public and private funders. Her current interests focus on finishing her book on transgender politics and working on changing the public image of transgender people.
Interns at NCTE
We welcomed our winter/spring intern Harry Nagendra to the NCTE team this month. Harry will be working with us through April supporting our operations and programmatic work. Harry is a strong progressive advocate who is committed to LGBT equality, and it shows! Since graduating from the University of San Francisco in May 2005, Harry has volunteered with Equality California, Family Pride Coalition, Gender PAC, Human Rights Campaign, and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Harry is currently researching trans-inclusive employment best practices for NCTE's workplace training resource.
NCTE Highlights Human Rights
Throughout 2007, NCTE will be highlighting vital human rights issues and exploring how those issues are important to transgender people. Each month, you'll be able to download a free calendar that has information about a principle of human rights. Click here for your free January Calendar.
52 Things You Can Do Locally for Transgender Equality
During the past year, we've explored more than 50 actions that people can take for transgender equality. All of the ideas are drawn from the work of real people in real communities. It was our goal to share effective ideas that will take both large and small steps to transform our world. As the year ends, this week's idea is to make a New Year's resolution to advance transgender equality. To view the complete 52 Things page, plus download a free poster, click here.
Your financial support will keep our work going and help us build a bigger and stronger NCTE. Together, we'll make transgender equality a reality. With your help, we'll get there sooner than anyone ever imagined!
Contribute online, or make checks payable to NCTE, mailed to us at 1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005. Your contributions to NCTE are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.
To view NCTE's past newsletters, view our Archives.
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Washington, D.C. 20005 +
Phone: (202) 903-0112 +
Fax: (202) 393-2241 +