As the title suggests, everything on this blog concerns violence against trans women.
The Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project is a trans feminist project addressing issues of systematic, institutional and interpersonal violence and oppression experienced by trans women (those who were coercively assigned male at birth and identify or are identified as women/female) across multiple identities (e.g., race, class, dis/ability, citizen-status, nationality, sexuality, age, HIV status, and form, status, or age of transition, etc.)
Ida Hammer is a writer and social justice communicator. She organizes the Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project. She presents workshops and trainings on cis privilege and being a trans ally. She's also involved in organizing against sexualized violence. She's a proud dyke-identified trans woman and an organizer of the New York City Dyke March.
SINGAPORE: Singapore’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is praising local bus company SBS transit after one of its drivers verbally harassed and abused a Singaporean trans woman recently.
SBS said in a statement that it would formally discipline him over his attacks against Leona Lo after he lashed out at her, calling her a slur for being effeminate and, in what Lo described on her blog, “adopted a woman’s gait as he ‘sashayed’ past me.”
Lo sent a complaint to the company demanding that action be taken.
LGBT activists in the country told Bikyamasr.com that only a few years ago, nothing would have happened, so they are positive that times are changing in the once-conservative Southeast Asian country.
“I think it shows that we as a society are coming of age with our differences and understand that we can no longer attack others we don’t like or agree with,” said lesbian Sunil.
When Fridae, an Asian LGBT website, contacted SBS Transit, a spokesperson said the bus driver “is deeply apologetic and we will be taking disciplinary action against him.”
The spokesperson added: “I would like to extend my deep regret to the complainant and to assure her that this is not something we at SBS Transit condone.”
Gay Star News reported that PR consultant Lo, who has become well-know in the media in Singapore since publishing her autobiography “From Leonard to Leona”, said that, “This is not about punishing the driver/captain. I feel no hate or rancor towards him… My message is meant for individuals struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation issues. Stand up to bullies.”
(Mariam Yuan, Bikyamasr.com)
MANHATTAN — Cops are on the hunt for a knife-wielding suspect who allegedly slashed a 22-year-old transgender patron after hurling an anti-gay slur at her for trying to use the women’s bathroom at the West 3rd Street McDonald’s, police and sources said.
The problems began shortly after 7 p.m. when two transgender women at the crime-plagued West Village eatery were accosted at the entrance to the women’s bathroom by a male patron who allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs at them.
“You’re going to the wrong bathroom,” the suspect said, according to sources. The man then threatened to “f—- them up”
The women walked outside the West 3rd Street and Sixth Avenue location to escape the attacker, who police described as 5-foot 10-inches and weighing between 300 and 350 pounds, only to have him follow them out and try to take a swing at one of them, sources said.
One of the victims returned the punch, then kneed the assailant in the groin, sending him down to the ground, sources said.
The suspect pulled out a razor blade and repeatedly slashed the victim in the elbow, face, back and neck, police said.
The suspect fled and is now wanted for assault as a hate crime, cops said.
The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital and received multiple stitches, police said.
The episode was the latest attack for that McDonald’s location, which has been a hotbed of violence to Village residents and elected officials.
In April, the fast-food restaurant was outfitted with surveillance cameras for cops to monitor after a string of assaults.
Damian Furtch was caught on surveillance being beaten by another patron who he said bombarded him with anti-gay slurs on the sidewalk outside of that McDonald’s location in March 2011.
And two patrons — Denise Darbeau and Rachel Edwards — were indicted for burglary after allegedly hopping the counter in Oct. 2011 to attack a McDonald’s worker Rayon McIntosh, who was cleared of beating them with a metal grill cleaner.
McDonald’s, meanwhile, had hired two private security officers after City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents the neighborhood, called for a boycott until the burger joint beefed up security measures.
Police are requesting anyone with information about the latest attack can call 1-800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com or by text at 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577.(Dan Rivoli, Murray Weiss - DNAinfo)
She’s asked state to rule whether bar’s exclusion policy is discrimination
Linked article includes quotes using the wrong pronouns and gender, also starts with a questionable lead.
For two years, Cassandra Lynn and her friends have held ladies’ night out at their favorite haunt. On Friday nights, the women meet up for drinks at P-Club Bar and Grill in north Portland, Ore.
But their longtime hangout spot has cast them out through a voice mail Lynn received from the bar’s owner saying she and her friends couldn’t come there anymore because they are transgender.
“Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I’m going to have to ask for you, Cass and your group, not to come back on Friday nights,” owner Chris Penner says in the voice mail, which Lynn and her friend Victoria Nolan played during an interview with Fox 12.
“People think that (a) we’re a tranny bar, or (b) that we’re a gay bar. We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don’t want to be here on a Friday night now,” Penner adds.
Penner is now under investigation by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries after Lynn filed a discrimination complaint against him last month.
Before the voice mail came out, Penner had told Fox 12 that the accusations didn’t make sense and that anyone who was respectful was welcome in the bar.
But when Fox asked to interview Penner again on Thursday, this time about the voice mail, he declined after talking to his lawyer.
The women said they never ran into any trouble from the bar before, and they dispute Penner’s claim that their presence was hurting business.
“I’ve been there since day one,” Lynn said. “And there were no more people in that bar on the first Friday we were there as the last Friday we were there.”
For now, Lynn and her friends are over their old hangout spot and are just looking for fair treatment.
“We just feel that if we go into a business, we shouldn’t be asked to leave just because we dress different,” she said.
(Lauren Jow, The Advocate)
North Portland bar P Club (formerly the Portsmouth Pizza Pub) is facing accusations of illegal discrimination and an investigation by the Bureau of Labor and Industries following a complaint filed by a transgender patron, the Willamette Week reported Wednesday.
According to the BOLI complaint, bar owner Chris Penner, left two voicemails for regular customer Cassandra Lynn, asking her to stop coming to his establishment with her group of transgender and cross-dressing friends.
“We stopped going to the ‘P’ club because the owner asked our group to not come to his establishment anymore,” says Chris Elliott, 47, who attended the weekly “T-girl” gatherings with his transgender partner. “He left a 2 voicemails with one of the members of our group stating that we were costing him business and he did not want to have his establishment known as a ‘tranny’ bar or a gay bar.”
Penner tells PQ Monthly he received the paperwork on Thursday and that his lawyer would not permit him to comment on the complaint.
“It’s kinda baffling,” he says. “As long as people, no matter who they are, have respect for the establishment, the clientele, and the staff, they’re welcome. As long as they come in and behave themselves, everybody has a good time.”
But members of the social group — which included 15 to 40 people on any given week – say they never encountered any problems at P Club.
“We had been going to the P Club about two years on Friday nights, and in that time we never had a complaint or had an issue with any of the regular customers that we knew of,” says Susan Miller, 48, who identifies as a cross-dresser. “We are not out to cause problems or draw attention to ourselves we just wanted a place to go on a night with friends and have an enjoyable evening out just like anyone else.”
The voicemails attributed to Penner (which can be heard on a YouTube video posted by Lynn) don’t accuse the group of being disrespectful, or ill-behaved. Instead, the voice in the message says the concerns are purely financial.
“I’m going to have to ask for you, Cass, and your group not to come back on Friday nights. I really don’t like having to do that but unfortunately it’s the area we’re in and its hurting business a lot,” the June 18 message says.
A second message, left on June 21, reinforces the idea that the group’s presence was bad for business.
“I’ve done some investigating why my sales are declining and there’s two things I keep hearing: People think that a) we’re a tranny bar or b) we’re a gay bar. We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don’t want to be there on a Friday night now.”
Penner insists that he does not discriminate.
“The only response I have is – how do I want to put it – we’re not an anti-gay bar,” he told PQ. “I have had gay, lesbian and transgender employees [including the current bar and kitchen managers].”
He added that the bar has had held functions for the LGBTQ community in the past, including same-sex wedding receptions and a (now defunct) weekly gay night on Wednesdays called “Fame” (aka Gay Pizza).
You can watch the video containing the voicemails allegedly sent by Penner below. (Note: The voicemail is considerably quieter than Cassandra’s voice so you may need to adjust the volume accordingly.)PQ Monthly will have more on this story in print and online on Aug. 16.
(Erin Rook, PQ Monthly)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
A north Portland bar owner is under fire after a group of patrons say he kicked them out just because they are transgender.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is launching an investigation into the claim against Chris Penner, the owner of the P-Club on North Lombard.
Cassandra Lynn filed the complaint last month.
She and other transgender women have gotten together at the P-Club on Friday nights for the past two years, and Lynn says they’ve never had a problem.
“In two years, we didn’t have a bathroom issue, a fight, an argument - no one in our group even raised their voice,” said Lynn.
That’s why when Lynn received a voicemail message from Penner, she was totally caught off guard.
Lynn and her friend Victoria Nolan met with FOX 12 Thursday.
Lynn played Penner’s message on her phone:
“Hello, my name is Chris. I’m the owner of the P-Club Bar and Grill. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I’m going to have to ask for you, Cass and your group, not to come back on Friday nights.”
Nolan calls it blatant discrimination.
“It’s not like we had drawn attention to cause fights or we had any issues,” said Nolan. “We were asked not to return and we were asked not to return because we’re transgender.”
The Bureau of Labor and Industries has launched an investigation, but on Wednesday, Penner said it doesn’t make sense.
“We are a north Portland community bar that’s open to everybody who wants to come in and have a good time and has respect for my employees and has respect for the place,” said Penner.
But on Lynn’s voicemail, Penner claims her group was hurting business:
“People think that A.) we’re a tranny bar, or B.) that we’re a gay bar. We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don’t want to be here on a Friday night now.”
Lynn disputes that.
“I’ve been there since day one,” said Lynn. “And there were no more people in that bar on the first Friday we were there as the last Friday we were there.”
Lynn and Nolan don’t care about ever being invited back to the P-Club.
Now, they say this is all about civil rights.
“We just feel that if we go into a business, we shouldn’t be asked to leave just because we dress different.”
FOX 12 contacted Penner to set up a new interview Thursday regarding the voicemails.
But after speaking with his lawyer, he declined.(FOX 12 Staff, KPTV)
A transgender student from the University of Arkansas at Ft. Smith is now allowed to use the school’s women’s bathrooms after the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to the college telling officials to revise their policy, Campus Reform reported.
Jennifer Braly, 38, a transgender woman, filed a complaint with the DOJ because the university’s officials told her that she could not use the women’s bathrooms on the school’s campus. They did, however, insist that she could use the “gender-neutral bathrooms.”
“Some saw me using the women’s public restrooms and complained,” Braly said. “[O]ne problem to this is there are not unisex bathrooms in every building. Especially the two main buildings where most of my classes are, so I have to go to a completely different building to use the restroom.”
Staff members of the university’s administration, however, claim that they tried to work with Braly. “We tried to make reasonable accommodation and to find a common ground, converting the number of bathrooms on campus to gender-neutral,” Mark Horn the vice president of university relations, said.
The university backed down after the DOJ sent a letter to the school, demanding that they review their policies and allow Braly to use the women’s restroom.
“[T]he office of civil rights basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction,” said Horn. “[T]he DOJ complaint caused revisiting of our thinking. [T]he office of civil rights basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction,” he added. “[T]he DOJ complaint caused revisiting of our thinking.”
Allowing transgender people to use the bathroom has been a controversial subject. In January, Tennessee conservative lawmakers introduced a bill called the “Bathroom Harassment Act,” which would fine a transgender person $50 for using a public bathroom or dressing room.
State Rep. Richard Floyd strongly supported the act and even said he would physically assault a transgender person.
“I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry,” Floyd said.
“Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts.”
But the Chattanooga Times Press ran an online poll asking readers if “transgender people should be required to use the bathroom of their birth gender.” Nearly 90 percent of voters said “no.”
Although Braly can now use the women’s bathroom, some female students are not pleased with the school’s decision, the article on the conservative blog notes.
“I disagree with allowing a male to use the female restrooms,” Amanda Shook, a senior at the university, told Campus Reform. “Even if they are a transgendered person, they are still a man, and should have to use the men’s restroom.”
When the ultra-conservative website Free Republic posted the article, many readers also agreed with the female student’s position.
“Whoever approved this ’person’ for admittance to the university should be severely disciplined,” one person wrote. “They’re going to have to add a urinal to the ladies’ room then,” another said.
This isn’t the first time the 36-year-old has been surrounded in controversy.
Not that long ago, Braly was scheduled to give a lecture on gender and sexuality at the school but moments before she was to speak, the event was cancelled, according to the blog the Guerilla Angel Report. Braly received an email from Dr. Rita Barrett - the school’s associate professor of psychology and department chair.
“All of my faculty are now diligently preparing for the closure of the semester. They must be in compliance with their syllabi, grading, final exams, graduation exercises, etc. and it is impossible to afford more class time to accommodate an additional speaker at one week before finals,” the email said. “Therefore, your scheduled speaking engagements in any course in my department (PSYC, CJ, SOCI, ANTH) have been cancelled. This includes the two scheduled for tomorrow Friday April 20th in Dr. Laura King’s classes.”
But the student claims that the lecture was cancelled because she is a transgender person. There is a petition on Change.org asking people to allow Braly to “speak freely about gender and sexuality.” Nearly 700 people have signed the online petition.
(Jason St. Amand, EDGE Boston)
The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith is changing its policy regarding restroom use by transgender people after a student complained to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jennifer Braly, a 38-year-old UAFS junior who is a transgender woman, was upset after being instructed to use only gender-neutral restrooms on campus. Braly had used women’s restrooms and gender-neutral restrooms until another student complained.
Braly is again allowed to use women’s restrooms, said R. Mark Horn, a vice chancellor. He said that the decision was made this spring after the Justice Department sent a letter to the university system’s lawyers. The university wouldn’t make that letter available, citing federal privacy laws. Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa confirmed that a letter had been sent informing the university of the complaint, but Hinojosa said the letter did not direct the university to take any specific action. Hinojosa wouldn’t say whether an investigation is ongoing. A conservative blog, the first national outlet to report on the issue, accused the Obama administration of forcing the issue.
Born a man,Braly is raising money for gender reassignment surgery. Braly secured a name change, is undergoing hormone therapy and is now recognized as a woman on her Arkansas driver’s license.
Horn said Arkansas-Fort Smith is trying its best to accommodate transgender students. The issue simply hadn’t come up until recently, Horn said, at which point the college created several gender-neutral restrooms. “We did what we thought was reasonable accommodation,” Horn said. “We were trying to be fair on both sides to students who are not transgendered as well as to this student.”
Braly enrolled at Fort Smith in 2010
as a man. In early 2011, after changing her name and winning a court petition to switch her legal gender, Braly started attending classes as a woman. That’s when the college created the gender-neutral bathrooms, which Braly said administrators instructed her to use exclusively.
As her hormone therapy progressed and Braly became more comfortable living as a woman, she said she occasionally used women’s restrooms. That was never a problem until Braly started lecturing to classes, at the invitation of several psychology professors, about gender identity disorder.
At that point, Braly said, at least one student complained that she wasn’t comfortable sharing a bathroom with a transgender person. Administrators then asked Braly again to use only gender-neutral restrooms, an arrangement that wasn’t satisfactory to her in part because many buildings she frequented had no such facilities. When the college followed that request with a decision that she would live in a single dorm room next fall instead of with roommates, she contacted the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The lack of a policy about transgender accommodations underscores a larger problem in higher ed, said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride.
Colleges should be proactive in establishing clear policies and gender-neutral facilities, said Windmeyer, whose organization advocates for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. While many transgender people prefer gender-neutral restrooms, also called family restrooms, Windmeyer said individuals should also be able to use a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. In failing to allow that, Windmeyer said Arkansas-Fort Smith erred.
“It sounds like the campus has not done a good job taking responsibility for creating a welcoming, safe space for trans-identified students,” Windmeyer said. “It is unrealistic to ask anyone to go across campus in between classes to be able to use the restroom.”
Horn said the university is still finalizing a formal policy on transgender accommodations. Administrators are likely to consider such a policy this summer, a decision Braly appreciates.
“Frankly, this is new turf for us,” Horn said. “We welcome all students. The issue of accommodating transgender student needs has been a threshold that we had never had to go up to before. It’s been a learning curve for us, both in terms of the law and what gender identity disorder is in the first place.”
That lack of understanding of transgender issues is too common, Windmeyer said, even as acceptance of gay and lesbian issues grows on campuses. Transgender students consistently report feeling less safe at college than their gay peers. Braly said she knows of at least four other transgender students at Fort Smith, though most prefer not to advertise their sex change.
“Any campus needs to have active dialogue around trans-identified people,” Windmeyer said. “The ‘T’ of LGBT is largely forgotten or invisible on most campuses today.”
Even though Braly said her time at Fort Smith has been largely positive, the resistance she’s encountered in gaining access to women’s restrooms and housing makes her feel that more needs to be done.
“I have an ‘F’ on my driver’s license. I dress as a female. I live as a female. I do everything as a female,” she said. “Treat me as a female. They’re treating me as a leper — like I have some icky disease.”(Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed)
On Thursday the Municipality of Miraflores announced it would temporarily shut down Gotica, a nightclub in Larcomar, for discriminating against Godfrey Arbulu, a transgender woman.
According to Andina, Arbulu tried to enter Gotica last April 27, and was told by security personnel that she could only enter if she paid 200 soles - far above the normal rate – even though she was on the guest list. The incident was caught on video by Arbulu’s friend.
The Municipality ordered the nightclub to close for 7 days, and pay a 1,825 soles fine, after it evaluated Arbulu’s video, and testimony.
According to El Comercio, the country’s Ombudsman’s Office also criticized Gotica’s practices.
This is the second time one of Larcomar’s facilities is temporarily closed due to charges of discrimination. Last December the Municipality of Miraflores closed the UVK movie theater for seven days, for engaging in discriminatory practices.
Police cited a transgender woman for disorderly conduct on April 25 for using a women’s restroom at Parkland hospital.
An officer with the hospital’s police force wrote the citation for a class-C misdemeanor after a complaint was lodged by someone who saw the transgender woman, Paula Witherspoon, leaving the bathroom.
Witherspoon said she was at the hospital with her husband, who had a follow-up appointment after suffering a heart attack.
“I live full time as a woman,” Witherspoon said.
She said hospital police told her they weren’t there to decide whether she was guilty.
“Then they wrote me a ticket,” she said.
The ticket lists Witherspoon as a man and her name as Paul. But Witherspoon provided a copy of a letter from her clinical psychologist at the Dallas VA Medical Center, Gloria J. Emmert.
“As a frequent visitor to the Dallas VA Hospital, she is expected to use facilities consistent with her external presentation, which is female,” Emmert wrote. “Please assist this Veteran by supporting the application of this ethical approach in all Dallas settings.”
Ken Upton, a supervising attorney in the Dallas office of Lambda Legal, said lewd conduct is the closest thing he could find in Section 4201 of the Texas Penal Code, the statute listed on the ticket.
For that portion of the code to apply, Upton said, Witherspoon would have had to have acted “intentionally or knowingly for a lewd purpose.” But since she went into a private stall, that’s unlikely, he said.
Witherspoon said she didn’t even know whether there was anyone else in the restroom.
“I went in, did my business, washed my hands and left,” she said.
And the letter from the psychologist indicates she was following doctor’s orders rather than acting out of lewd intent. Upton said Parkland will have trouble defending the case.
“The officer doesn’t know if anyone else was in there,” Upton said, so his testimony would be hearsay. And if the complainant wasn’t in the restroom, that person was not a witness to any lewd behavior.
Upton said the officer probably figures Witherspoon will either pay the fine or it’ll be dismissed.
“And he doesn’t care,” Upton said, adding that the officer couldn’t have written a ticket for simply using the wrong bathroom.
“That’s not a crime in Dallas,” he said.
Officials at Parkland, Dallas County’s public hospital, are looking into the incident.
“We have verified that on April, 25, 2012, Parkland Police responded to a complaint from a concerned female patient regarding her allegation that there was a male in the female restroom,” Parkland spokeswoman Charise Thomason wrote. “Because of the complexity of the issue, the incident is currently under review. Parkland strives to treat patients, visitors and staff with dignity and respect, as well as provide a safe environment at all times.”
Roberto de la Cruz, an openly gay member of Parkland’s Board of Managers, said he plans to meet with Witherspoon on Wednesday at her home. He said his concern is that transgender people are welcome at Parkland and will be treated with dignity.
Mayor Vincent Gray has nominated transgender activists Earline Budd and Alexandra Beninda for seats on the D.C. Commission on Human Rights.
If the two are confirmed by the City Council, as expected, they would become the first transgender persons to serve on the 15-member commission, which rules on discrimination complaints brought under the comprehensive D.C. Human Rights Act.
The act bans discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other areas based on an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as well as other categories such as race, religion, national origin, and ethnicity.
“To be getting one transgender person on the commission would be great, but to be getting two is fantastic,” said Beninda, a systems analyst for a software company and member and former treasurer of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to serving,” said Budd while attending Saturday’s LGBT Youth Pride festival in Dupont Circle. “This is important for the entire community.”
Budd released to the Blade an email she received last week informing her of the appointment.
“I am pleased to inform you that Mayor Vincent C. Gray has transmitted your nomination to the Council of the District of Columbia, where it is pending Council consideration,” said Davida L. Crockett, an official with the city’s Office of Boards and Commissions, in the April 26 email to Budd.
“The Office of Boards and Commissions appreciated your willingness to serve the District, and is confident that you will bring a strong and dedicated commitment and leadership to this public service,” Crockett told Budd in the email.
Beninda said she received a similar email informing her of her nomination to serve on the commission.
Pedro Ribeiro, director of the Mayor’ Office of Communications, released to the Blade on Monday a letter from Gray to City Council Chair Kwame Brown (D-At-Large) dated April 26 that places Budd’s and Beninda’s names in nomination for the Human Rights Commission appointments. Gray’s letter also places in nomination eleven other people he has designated as appointees to the commission.
Budd currently serves as a treatment and healing specialist for Transgender Health Empowerment (THE), a D.C. based transgender advocacy and services organization that she helped found in 1996.
Budd has been credited with playing a key role in transgender advocacy efforts and HIV prevention efforts targeting the transgender and LGBT youth communities in D.C. for over 20 years. Among her duties at THE is to provide training for D.C. government and private sector employees, including employees at the city’s Department of Corrections, on transgender related issues.
In addition to her association with the Stein Club, Beninda is a member of the board of the D.C. LGBT Community Center and serves as treasurer of the D.C. based All Souls Unitarian Church. She says she’s also an active volunteer with D.C. Democracy, a group that advocates for D.C. voting representation in Congress and greater home rule autonomy for the city.
The Commission on Human Rights is an independent agency within the D.C. Office of Human Rights. The OHR investigates discrimination complaints and sends them to the commission for a ruling if the office finds probable cause that discrimination might have taken place. Commissioners are appointed to three-year terms and don’t receive compensation.
Budd’s and Beninda’s appointments come at a time when the Commission on Human Rights has been operating with just three members, with 12 of its 15 seats vacant since January, according to Garrett King, director of the City Council’s Committee on Aging and Community Affairs, which has jurisdiction over the commission.
On Tuesday April 24th Morgan Murphy was called to the office of the executive director, Judith Cronin who told her that she was banned from taking her daughter to the kids locker room for her swimming lessons! Though she is legally listed as FEMALE on her Massachusetts state issued license, Morgan was told that “your gender ambiguity has raised concerns with other parents” AND even more offensive, that “you may be looking at the kids with MALE eyes and not the safe space of FEMALE eyes” and that she was “confusing for 10-13 year olds”!
The year is 2012, when people have the right NOT to be discriminated against or have their civil rights violated. “Civil rights include the protection from discrimination on grounds such as physical or mental disability, gender, religion, race, national origin, age, status as a member of the uniformed services, sexual orientation, or GENDER IDENTITY;” By telling Morgan she could no longer use the locker room because of her “gender ambiguity” the YMCA has, in fact, violated her civil rights.
It is imperative that the Beverly, Massachusetts YMCA issues a public apology to Ms. Murphy on behalf of that organization and Ms. Cronin personally. The organization would also benefit from training and education regarding the GLBTQQI community. The YMCA has oftentimes proven through the years to be the center of communities, and in 2012 no person should be excluded from membership for the invalid and salacious manner in which the YMCA has approached Ms. Murphy. The organization could certainly exclude felons, child molesters, drug dealers and the like, but someone whose gender you don’t understand should not be lumped in with these types of people.
The YMCA website claims: “The Y brings people together. We connect people of all ages and backgrounds to bridge the gaps in community needs.” - the policies of the Beverly Y contradict this statement.
Remember that misconception and miseducation breed ignorance and hatred and by not engaging Ms. Murphy in discussion regarding her gender identity and trying to learn from her, the YMCA is perpetuating this hatred. Let’s work on making this community center a place of love and the community it is intended to be!
The University of Pittsburgh has instituted a new policy forcing transgender students from using gendered facilities (restrooms, locker rooms, etc.) consistent with their gender identity and presentation. The resolution triggering the policy was passed unanimously.
On Tuesday an unidentified Pitt spokesperson stated that students must use the gendered facilities that correspond with gender on their birth certificate, not how they currently present.
That’s problematic on several levels. Pennsylvania is one of the states that only allows birth certificate changes if the person in question undergoes SRS. That’s an out of the question expense for many trans college students. It also doesn’t take into account some states like Tennessee will not allow or offer new or amended birth certificates under any circumstances.
Pitt’s transphobic policy is also in conflict with the recently adopted NCAA competition policies for trans student athletes, the non-discrimination laws in the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and could open trans students to anti-trans violence if forced to use a gender facility that doesn’t correspond with their gender presentation.
And as trans Pitt student Alice Haas pointed out, ““I find it absolutely barbaric and appalling that the University of Pittsburgh requires forced castration in order for me to be considered female, especially when my driver’s license and passport both state otherwise,” Haas said. “It is in no way just or appropriate to force me to provide information on my genitals or my birth certificate.”
Full disclosure, I grew up in western Pennsylvania not that far from Pittsburgh, and, yeah, this is pretty much par for the course.
Since joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2003, Emilia Lombardi has never had to worry much about which bathroom facilities she should use on the Oakland campus. The choice was simple: As a transgender person who identifies as a woman, it’s always made sense for her to use the ladies’ room.
“I have never had any issue using any [women-only] bathroom or changing facility,” Lombardi says. “I can’t see myself using the men’s room.”
Now she might have to.
On March 20, a university official informed Pitt’s Anti-Discriminatory Policies Committee that transgender students and faculty must use bathroom facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate rather than the gender with which they identify. Since news of the controversial policy broke in the Pitt News student newspaper, critics have condemned it as a potentially harmful move that violates the university’s anti-discrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination “on the basis of … gender identity and expression.”
“A lot of people were really shocked that they had taken such a harsh position,” says Jane Feuer, who chairs the ADPC, which advises the University Senate on issues regarding discrimination. “It was just dropped on us like a bomb.”
Before the announcement, Feuer says, the university never had a formal bathroom policy. Instead, she says, Pitt officials dealt with concerns about the use of restrooms on a case-by-case basis.
That’s what happened late last year at the Pitt-Johnstown branch campus, where a transgender student who identifies as male was expelled for using the men’s locker room.
The ADPC unanimously passed a resolution in February charging that the expulsion violated Pitt’s anti-discrimination policy. The committee also stated that students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match the gender with which they identify, and asked for a specific policy regarding bathroom usage for transgender people.
It got that policy during a March 20 ADPC meeting, when a university official representing Pitt’s HR and legal departments informed the committee of it. Transgender people, the official said, are prohibited from using bathroom facilities of the gender they identify with, unless they furnish a birth certificate matching that sex.
University officials have not been eager to discuss the policy. Even the official who disclosed it to the ADPC, for example, has not been identified; ADPC members say the person requested to remain anonymous. Robert Hill, Pitt’s vice chancellor of public affairs, declined to directly respond to an emailed list of questions about the policy. Instead, he emailed a statement that Pitt’s non-discrimination policy, as applied to restrooms, means that a student or faculty member can use the bathroom of “his or her declared gender identity after he or she has obtained a birth certificate designating the declared gender.”
“This does not represent a change in policy,” the email continues. “Rather, it is an articulation of a longstanding University practice.”
Rayden Sorock, a local advocate for transgender rights, says the policy is problematic for several reasons. For starters, changing the gender on a birth certificate requires sex-reassignment surgery, which is very costly and not always desired by transgendered people.
“[The policy] assumes that people want to change their bodies, and that they can afford to,” says Sorock.
Feuer says the University Senate is forming a committee to look into Pitt’s bathroom policy. In the meantime, she says, the ADPC is still trying to discuss the matter with university officials.
As for Lombardi, she has no plans of using the men’s bathroom.
“For my own safety,” she says, “I have to continue to use the same facilities.”