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This is an open thread.

UPDATE: The Washington Blade is reporting that the Trump administration will soon rescind the Obama administration’s guidelines that had allowed transgender students to use the correct bathrooms in schools. This comes a short time after the administration claimed it fully supports LGBT people and wouldn’t rescind President Obama’s executive orders expanding LGBT rights in other respects.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer has confirmed this.

20 Comments

  • 1. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Rhode Island Lawmakers Propose Banning ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy

    Providence RI — Proposals working through Rhode Island‘s legislature would ban what’s called “conversion therapy,” a practice aimed at changing young people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Bills have been introduced by Democrats in the state Senate and House of Representatives to prohibit psychologists, social workers, and other licensed health care professionals from using practices that treat homosexuality as an illness and try to cure it in minors under 18 years old.

    The House bill had its first hearing on Wednesday, 15 February 2017, and was held by a health committee for further study. The Senate bill was also introduced on Wednesday and is awaiting its first hearing.
    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/02/rhode-island-l

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    New Hampshire Bill to Add Non-Discrimination Protections for Trans People

    Concord NH — A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to expand protections against discrimination for transgender people in New Hampshire. A bill up for a public hearing on Tuesday, 21 February 2017, adds “gender identity” to the state’s anti-discrimination statutes.

    The bill would protect people who are transgender from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The state Commission for Human Rights already bars discrimination based on age, sex, race, creed, color, marital and familial state, national origin, sexual orientation, and physical or mental disability.
    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/02/new-hampshire-

    Currently, based on Rex Wockner's list, there are 18 states, plus DC, which have across-the-board discrimination bans based on both sexual orientation and gender identity, that is, covering employment, housing, and public accommodations. Three more have across-the-board discrimination bans based on sexual orientation (but not gender identity). Those 3 are: New Hampshire, New York, and Wisconsin (although New York has an executive order prohibiting transgender discrimination in all 3 categories).
    https://wockner.blogspot.com/

  • 3. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Britain: Court Rejects Straight Couple’s Discrimination Claim over Civil Union Rejection

    London — Today, 21 February 2017, a British couple who want their relationship recognized in law without the “patriarchal baggage” of marriage lost the latest stage in their fight to be allowed a civil partnership. Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan say they and other straight couples face discrimination because only same-sex couples are eligible for civil partnerships. The High Court ruled against them last year, and today, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision by a 2-1 margin.

    Since 2005, gay couples in Britain have been able to form civil partnerships, which give them the same legal protection, adoption and inheritance rights as heterosexual married partners. Same-sex marriage became legal in 2014.

    The couple’s lawyer, Karon Monaghan, said Steinfeld and Keidan wanted “to enter into a legally regulated relationship which does not carry with it patriarchal baggage, which many consider comes with the institution of marriage.” The government says it wants to see the impact of gay marriage on civil partnerships before deciding whether to extend them to everyone, abolish them or phase them out.

    The three appeals judges agreed the situation was discriminatory, but two of the three said the government should be given more time to decide on the future of civil partnerships. Steinfeld said that although the couple lost, “all three judges agree that we are being treated differently because of our sexual orientation.” Keidan said they would appeal to the Supreme Court unless the government agrees to change the law.
    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/02/court-rejects-

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    USA: Justices Question Whether Mexican Family Can Sue Over Cross-Border Shooting

    Sergio Hernández, from Mexico, was shot to death in 2010. His family has tried to sue the US border agent who shot their son from across the border in the US, but the US government argues the family shouldn’t even be able to sue over the shooting.

    Today, 21 February 2017, the oral arguments before the US Supreme Court were heard in the case, "Hernández v. Mesa," without question, the most closely-watched case in Mexico, particularly because the Mexican government itself is a party on the plaintiff's side of the case.

    Although the justices appeared uncomfortable with the 2010 US Border Patrol shooting that left an unarmed Mexican teenager dead, it was not clear that a majority of the Supreme Court believed that boy’s family should be able to sue the agent in federal court for monetary damages. At issue is whether a Supreme Court doctrine allowing lawsuits against federal officials for violation of certain federal constitutional rights — referred to as "Bivens" actions for the case in which the doctrine was announced — can apply extraterritorially and, if so, when.

    Sergio Hernández was shot to death in 2010 by a US border patrol agent. Hernández, along with a small group of other teens, was spotted in the culvert that separates El Paso, Texas, from Juárez, Mexico. The border between the two cities — the border between the US and Mexico — is an invisible line in the middle of the culvert. After the border agent, Jesus Mesa Jr., detained one of the teens on the US side, he spotted Hernández behind a pillar on the Mexican side of the culvert and shot him fatally in the head — still from the US side.
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/justices-qu

    The complete official transcript of the oral arguments is here:
    https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argum

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Ecuador: Transgender Woman Poised to Win Seat in National Assembly

    A psychologist is poised to become the first openly transgender person elected to Ecuador’s National Assembly. Diane Rodríguez is a member of Movimiento Alianza PAIS, a left-leaning political party that outgoing President Rafael Correa leads. As of this moment, about 80% of the vote has been counted.

    Rodríguez, 34, cast her ballot in the city of Guayaquil on Sunday, 19 February 2017, during the country’s elections. She and other trans Ecuadorians were able to vote for the first time using identity cards that correspond with their gender identity.

    On 21 February 2017, Ecuador’s National Electoral Counsel said Lenín Moreno, who is Movimiento Alianza PAIS’ presidential candidate, is ahead of Guillermo Lasso of Creando Oportunidades, a center-right party, by a 39.2-28.4 percent margin with 94.5 percent of the votes counted. A runoff election between Moreno and Lasso is likely to take place on 2 April because neither candidate has at least 50 percent of the vote.
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/02/21/transge

  • 6. Christian0811  |  February 21, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    It does sound like an Article 14 contravention, I'd like to see what the SCOTUK determines. If I was a judge, based on a superficial understanding from this article, I'd be inclined to declare an incompatibility in legislation in order to get parliament to actually debate the issue.

  • 7. Christian0811  |  February 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Would it be possible to add more teeth to these laws? Like, get criminal sanctions placed against those who force their children or administer this kind of abuse? I know there are first amendment concerns but I think this is something that deserves a penal prohibition attached to it.

  • 8. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Gay Boxer Yusaf Mack Beats Up Homophobic Troll at Barber Shop

    For what it's worth:

    Openly gay boxer Yusaf Mack beat up a man at the L A Clippers barber shop in Philadelphia, claiming the man had been harassing him on social media for being gay.

    TMZ Sports reports Mack, 37, attacked while the man’s head was in the sink for a wash, surrounded by customers and employees. Mack punched the victim in his head and torso before paramedics were called to the scene.

    According to TMZ Sports, Mack says he was tired of the online harassment and wanted an in-person confrontation. Since the incident, the man has continued to write homophobic statements on his Facebook page including, “I'd rather have a video of some one beating me up than a video of someone seeing me take a d**k up my a$$ any day.”
    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/02/21/gay-box

    It sounds like this guy didn't learn anything and is now looking for a real whooping. By the way, you can see the video of him, with his head neatly stuffed in the sink, getting thoroughly pulverized at the link.

  • 9. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Chick-fil-A Commercial Money to Go to Lambda Legal

    Singer-songwriter Grace Slick, lead vocalist for the iconic 1960s band Jefferson Airplane and its successor, Jefferson Starship, licensed Starship's 1987 hit "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" for the anti-LGBT company Chick-fil-A to use in a commercial — but she plans to donate all the proceeds from the commercial to Lambda Legal.

    "I am donating every dime that I make from that ad to Lambda Legal, the largest national legal organization working to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people, and everyone living with HIV," Slick wrote in a commentary published today on Forbes magazine's website. She said that instead of allowing someone else to profit from the commercial, she saw this as an opportunity to make money for pro-LGBT organizations. "I decided to spend the cash in direct opposition to Chick-fil-A’s causes — and to make a public example of them, too. We’re going to take some of their money, and pay it back," she wrote.
    http://www.advocate.com/politics/2017/2/21/chick-

  • 10. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Trump Must Include Mexico in NAFTA Talks with Canada

    Any attempt to renegotiate NAFTA will have to be a hat trick, Canadian officials said Tuesday, 21 February 2017, because all three nations need a chance to even the score. But there will be no talks with Canada unless Mexico is also involved, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, said at a conference on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement. "We very much recognize that NAFTA is a three-nation agreement and were there to be any negotiations, those would be three-way negotiations,” Freeland said.

    Mexico’s foreign minister Luis Videgaray had the same message as Freeland when he spoke to reporters at Toronto’s trade conference. “NAFTA is a three-party agreement and any conversation we have regarding that … will be a three-party conversation; it has to be,” Videgaray said, according to Reuters.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-in

  • 11. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Nine People Barely Escape US Border Patrol to Seek Asylum in Canada

    Nine asylum-seekers, including four children and a pregnant woman (apparently from Sudan, but resident in Delaware), in a very dramatic escape, barely made it across the Canadian border on Friday, 17 February 2017, as a US border patrol officer tried to stop them and a Reuters photographer captured the entire scene.

    As a US Customs and Border Protection officer seized their passports and questioned a man in the front passenger seat of a taxi that had pulled up to the border in Champlain NY/Hemmingford PQ, four adults and four young children fled the cab and ran to Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the other side. One by one they scrambled across the snowy gully separating the two countries. RCMP officers watching from the other side helped them up, lifting the younger children and asking a woman, who leaned on her fellow passenger as she walked, if she needed medical care.

    The children looked back from where they had come as the US officer held the first man, saying his papers needed to be verified. The man turned to a pile of belongings and heaved pieces of luggage two at a time into the gully — enormous wheeled suitcases, plastic shopping bags, a black backpack. The man then appeared to grab their passports from the US officer before making a run for the border. The officer yelled and gave chase but stopped at the border marker. Canadian police took hold of the man's arm as he crossed.

    Officers on both sides momentarily eyed the luggage strewn in the snow before the US officer took it, and a walker left on the road, to the border line. The RCMP carried the articles to their vehicles, and the people piled in to be driven to a nearby border office to be interviewed by police and to make a refugee claim.

    People seeking refugee status have been pouring over the Canada-US border as the United States looks to tighten its policies on refugees and illegal immigrants. Asylum-seekers sneak across because even if they are caught, they can make a claim in Canada; if they make a claim at a border crossing, they are turned away.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/people-f

    The entire episode reminded me of the border between Hungary and Austria, just at that moment when the "Iron Curtain" was coming down, and people poured into the west,– except now, they're pouring north, before the curtain closes.

  • 12. VIRick  |  February 21, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Asylum Seekers at US-Manitoba Border

    Emerson, Manitoba — Datelined, 19 February 2017, Canadian police intercepted 22 people overnight near Emerson, Manitoba, for illegally crossing the border, according to police. The small town of Emerson has become a hotspot for asylum seekers, despite the sub-zero temperatures, all seeking refuge in Canada since the election of Trump, who has made reducing illegal immigration and decreasing the number of refugees entering the US a central part of his platform.

    The border town of 671 has been galvanized to help asylum seekers, as the issue has brought an influx of media attention from across the globe, according to the CBC. Greg Janzen, an official who heads the town, told CTV, a Canadian network, that he’s witnessed a definitive shift in the number of asylum seekers coming across the border since Trump took office.
    http://kneb.com/abc_world/canadian-police-interce

    Emerson, Manitoba, sits directly on both the US border and the Red River, meaning that the town also shares a border with both Minnesota and North Dakota, with the official border entry point being on the North Dakota side (where I-29 becomes Canada 75, to continue on to Winnipeg), despite the fact that the town of Noyes, Minnesota, sits right up against it. Thus, unofficially, one can cross directly between the two small towns, which, seemingly, is what most asylum seekers escaping the USA are doing.

  • 13. JayJonson  |  February 22, 2017 at 5:22 am

    The vile Yiannapoulos has received far too much attention on this site, but I can't resist linking to Frank Bruni's excellent column on him in the NYT this morning. He writes, among other insights, "Together [Milo] and Trump have exposed what a cynical, corruptible vessel modern conservatism is.

    To hop aboard the triumphant Trump train, no small number of conservatives have mortgaged their belief in free markets, re-evaluated their attachment to free trade, muffled their professed concern for “family values” and basic decency, and put their wariness toward Russia on a shelf."

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/21/opinion/milo-i

  • 14. 1grod  |  February 22, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Rick – While only indirectly [if at all] related to LGBT Equality matters, your comments above do not reference or provide context to the Safe Third Country Agreement (2005) .
    The Canadian (federal) Conservative party is reminding the governing Liberals of a coming challenge resulting from ignoring the Agreement. While groups including Amnesty International, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, L’association québécoise des avocats et avocates en droit de l’immigration, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian Council for Refugees, as well as a group of 200 law professors from Canadian universities are calling on the federal government to suspend the Agreement as the USA can no longer be viewed as a ‘safe' country, how does doing so address our country's willingness and ability to absorb unregulated admissions., In comparison, Canada has admitted over 40,000 Syrian refugees since Dec 2015. They were screened to USA's standards. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada–Unit….. http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/a-crisi

  • 15. JayJonson  |  February 22, 2017 at 11:36 am

    There is a wonderful article at Outsports about a transgender boy who has won the Texas Girls High School Wrestling Championship. He had to compete as a girl because Texas law says you have to compete according to what it says on your birth certificate. Of course, now the transphobes are whining about how unfair it is that this boy won the girls' championship. Karma is a bitch.
    http://www.outsports.com/2017/2/20/14670616/trans

  • 16. Samiscat1  |  February 22, 2017 at 11:56 am

    If Trump does rescind Obama's guidelines on transgender students, what does this do to the Gavin Grimm Case? Didn't the circuit court just uphold the letter and Title IX, not get to the equal protection issues?

  • 17. VIRick  |  February 22, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Good for him!! Indeed, karma is a bitch.

  • 18. VIRick  |  February 22, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Utah: Federal Challenge to Ban on Positive LGBT Speech in Schools

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 22 February 2017, in "Equality Utah v. Utah State Bd of Ed," the federal case in which Equality Utah and 3 students are challenging state laws that ban positive speech about LGBT people in Utah public schools, Judge Benson has granted the parties' joint request to put this case on hold pending the Utah State Legislature’s consideration of SB 196, which would repeal the law at issue.

    The Order Granting Joint Motion for Stay of Proceedings is here:
    http://files.eqcf.org/cases/216-cv-01081-49/

  • 19. VIRick  |  February 22, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Although not specifically noted, but rather, based on the law of averages, one can infer that the LGBT community would be represented (but generally hidden) within the broader grouping of asylum seekers, but perhaps even in a higher proportion than what one might otherwise expect, given the extra difficulties faced by LGBTs in their actual countries of origin. LGBTs facing deportation back to any number of countries in and around the Middle East would certainly have an extra incentive to flee to Canada.

    Since I am less-than-familiar with the specifics of Canadian law, any additional input you are able to provide from that direction is greatly appreciated. I also have no idea what Canada's refugee/asylum seeker absorption rate might happen to be (even for a temporary period, until after the USA regurgitates the current idiocy), but I am already viewing Canada as "our last great hope."

    The vast bulk of "illegals" currently in the USA, and who are not from Mexico/Central America, are people who entered legally on temporary visas. They may have arrived on student visas, work visas, even visitor's visas. But rather than return to their country of origin at the expiration of said visa, and unable to renew it, they simply remained. They have already been vetted/approved for the original purpose of their entry, and thus, are not totally unknown quantities.

    Quite encouragingly, Canada appears to be in total alignment with Mexico (as I knew it would be) with regard to any possible re-negotiation of the tripartite terms of NAFTA, a point which should put a serious damper on Trump's ability to re-negotiate anything whatsoever.

  • 20. scream4ever  |  February 22, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    The question regarding the scope of a federal executive order is effectively moot, but the issue at hand regarding bathroom/gender usage is still active.

    Honestly I expected the question regarding EOs to be shot down (that's why the lower court ruling was stayed IMO), however I expect a positive ruling regarding the second question.

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