Tag: LGBT rights

North Carolina works to make odious transphobic law into a “Papers, please” law for transgender people

North Carolina works to make odious transphobic law into a “Papers, please” law for transgender people

In late March, the North Carolina legislature convened a one-day special session where they steamrolled through legislation making it illegal to use a public restroom not corresponding to your gender at birth. It was quickly signed into law later that night and the state has faced an unprecedented firestorm ever since. The NBA is talking about moving the 2017 All-Star Game scheduled in Charlotte next February to another state. Businesses are refusing to expand into North Carolina. Musicians and other artists are refusing to perform there. The list goes on and on.

Facing this backlash and the economic toll it’s taking on the state, North Carolina lawmakers are back at the drawing board, hoping to pass new legislation that will mollify their detractors.…

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GUEST POST: House ‘bathroom inspection’ bill targets local LGBT ordinances, exposes Republicans’ hypocrisy

GUEST POST: House ‘bathroom inspection’ bill targets local LGBT ordinances, exposes Republicans’ hypocrisy

The following guest post was written by my friend Jen Eyer, Vice President of Vanguard Public Affairs. Jen has spent many years in the world of journalism and most recently managed the newsroom for The Ann Arbor News, part of the MLive Media Group. You can read her full bio HERE. This piece was first published at the Vanguard Public Affairs site HERE.

Enjoy.

One year ago, House Republicans boasted about protecting local anti-discrimination ordinances while passing the “Death Star” bill.

Now that seems so quaint. Now, certain Republicans have embarked on a new campaign to mobilize their base by targeting perhaps the most marginalized group of all: transgender kids.…

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Michigan AG Bill Schuette on the wrong side of the issues again (and again)

Michigan AG Bill Schuette on the wrong side of the issues again (and again)

Michigan Attorney General has a long history of being on the wrong side of issues that matter most to the citizens of our state, something I have documented extensively here at Eclectablog (HERE and HERE, for example.) This week, he’s back in the news with more of his hypocrisy and wrong-headedness.

First, Schuette issued a press release saying that he’s going after the people running the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans where scandalous treatment of aged veterans made news last year:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today encouraged people who have resided in the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans during the last several years, or who may have otherwise been witness to patient mistreatment, to come forward with information that could help his ongoing investigation into the treatment of patients in the facility.…

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Tom Casperson, Republican pandering bigot, introduces transgender bathroom bill he knows will never become law

Tom Casperson, Republican pandering bigot, introduces transgender bathroom bill he knows will never become law

Early this month, in a piece about Republican attacks on State Board of Education President John Austin, I noted that State Senator Tom Casperson was moving forward with introducing one of his own here in Michigan. Sure enough, as he promised, today that bill was introduced as Senate Bill 993.

In that piece, I also said this:

Sen. Casperson’s yet-to-be-introduced “bathroom bill” will cause the same type economic hardship for the Michigan as it has for North Carolina and will very likely result in a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s also being spit on by the leaders of a number of major Michigan corporations.…

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TRUTH: So-called “Bathroom Bills” are bigoted transference of fear of straight male sexual predators onto trans women

TRUTH: So-called “Bathroom Bills” are bigoted transference of fear of straight male sexual predators onto trans women

The national discussion of “bathroom bills” like North Carolina’s H.B. 2 is everywhere. Every time you turn on a news program or open the newspaper, it’s there. The discussion mainly focuses on how it aimed at transgender Americans, which it is, in part. But what’s often missing in the discussion is how this isn’t based on any facts related to crimes by trans people. That would be nearly impossible because there are so few of them. It’s based on the fear that straight men will dress like women in order to sexually assault people in women’s restrooms.

It’s just one more example of bigots using people’s fears against one of the most vulnerable groups in our country, a group with virtually no history of violence – sexual or otherwise – to advance their agenda.…

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Obama administration releases historic guidance to educators on making schools safe & welcoming for transgender students

Obama administration releases historic guidance to educators on making schools safe & welcoming for transgender students

Today, The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released a joint guidance to help provide educators the information they need to provide all students, including transgender students, a school environment that is safe and welcoming. The guidance is not legally binding but it makes clear that the Obama administration sees anti-transgender rules, regulations, and laws in violation of federal law including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Here are some of the comments from members of the Obama administration connected to this historic letter:

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.:

No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus.

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Michigan GOP using anti-LGBTQ bigotry & fear as smokescreen for destroying Democratic control of state Board of Education

Michigan GOP using anti-LGBTQ bigotry & fear as smokescreen for destroying Democratic control of state Board of Education


State Board of Education President John Austin, photo by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog

In December of last year, Rick Joseph, the 2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year and self-described “former homophobe”, approached State Board of Education president John Austin asking if he’d be interested in developing guidelines for Michigan school administrators when it comes to making the school environment safe and welcoming for LGBTQ students. That’s currently not the case in far too many places as the facts show:

  • 8.4% of Michigan students report as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • 12% of LGB students did not go to school in the past year, because they felt unsafe-twice the rate of heterosexual students
  • 46% of LGB students had grades that consisted mostly of C’s, D’s and F’s-twice the rate of heterosexual students
  • 29% have attempted suicide in the last year-4.5 times the rate of non-LGB students

For transgender students, it’s even worse and they face levels of violence and intimidation that surpass any other group.…

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GUEST POST – Michigan: Say NO to discrimination and stand up for small businesses

GUEST POST – Michigan: Say NO to discrimination and stand up for small businesses

The following guest post was written by my friend Chris Armstrong, Partnerships and Government Affairs Director for Small Business Majority. Chris was the former student body president of University of Michigan and experienced first hand the corrosive impacts of anti-gay bigotry at the hands of former state Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell who stalked and harassed him during his time at U of M. Armstrong sued Shirvell and ended up winning a $4.5 million judgment against him.

You can learn more about Small Business Majority HERE.

Enjoy.
Around the country, we’re seeing a troubling trend of states passing laws that effectively legalize discrimination against LGBT people, sometimes known as religious exemption or religious freedom laws.…

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Fair Michigan ends effort to put LGBTQ civil rights to a vote in Michigan

Fair Michigan ends effort to put LGBTQ civil rights to a vote in Michigan

Citing a lack of adequate funding, Fair Michigan, a coalition of groups and individuals headed up by civil rights attorney Dana Nessel and that included noted Republicans like Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Gov. Snyder’s former press secretary Sara Wurfel, and Lansing attorney and political mover-and-shaker Richard McClellan, has ended its attempt to put the civil rights of LGBTQ people to a vote in Michigan. Nessel revealed the news during a taping of Tim Skubik’s “Off The Record” program this morning:

The proposal to add civil rights for LGBT people to Michigan’s constitution will no longer aim for the 2016 ballots, its organizer announced during a taping of public television show Off The Record Friday morning.…
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GUEST POST: “I stopped calling myself an LGBT ally. I became an accomplice.”

GUEST POST: “I stopped calling myself an LGBT ally. I became an accomplice.”

The guest post was written by Sommer Foster, the Political Director for Equality Michigan and a long time political activist. You can follow her on Twitter at @SNFoster.
I used to be a self-proclaimed ally. I had a gay best friend. I had gay and lesbian family members. I voted against the gay marriage ban. I pushed back against homophobic comments written on social media. I had an HRC Equal Sign sticker on my computer. I was progressive. I was enlightened. And I rightly believed that LGBTQ people deserve the same rights as everyone else. I was proud to claim my ally-ship as my identity.…

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LGBT Forum shocker: Proven voter model shows support for civil rights ballot initiative in Michigan at only 42%

LGBT Forum shocker: Proven voter model shows support for civil rights ballot initiative in Michigan at only 42%

[NOTE: This piece has been edited to correct a claim that Wayne State University Law School Dean Jocelyn Benson had helped draft the ballot language. This statement, based on civil rights attorney Dana Nessel’s opening remarks, was, apparently, inaccurate. I have corrected this post and issued a correction with audio HERE.]

Last night, the Jim Toy LGBT Community Center sponsored a “community conversation” about the Fair Michigan ballot initiative to expand civil rights protections to encompass gender identity and sexual orientation. The event was very well attended with around 200 people making up a standing-room-only crowd on the campus of Washtenaw Community College.…

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