In another step forward for transgender rights, the ability to play on sports teams matching their gender is spreading across school districts. Recently in Minnesota a school voted in a landslide victory to let their athletes play on their gender team. This is something that increasingly is being done, but in this particular case, a little more spotlight was shed on the issue thanks to the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton. Governor Dayton chose to address not only this issue, but people who voted against the measure. He had seen an advertisement printed by the Minnesota Child Protection League in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The advertisements contained not only false claims about what exactly the measure meant, and who it would impact, but used an overly emotional argument to influence people’s opinions before the vote. The Governor addressed the ad by saying
“I think some of the hate-mongering that was going on was just despicable…I can’t comprehend how some people in this state can want to spend their time on something that’s that destructive to other people’s lives and misstate it in such a way that is really appalling.”
The more that we see people who have a public audience stand up and express their support for not only transgender rights, but LGBTQ rights and human rights in general, the more exposure and gravity these movements gain. Every speech, blog, conversation, and comment helps.
With all the discussion happening regarding Universities and Colleges [mis]handlings of on-campus rape cases, many people have never stopped to consider an important question.
Why is that their responsibility? Why isn’t it taken to the police?
It’s a fair concern. After all, rape and sexual assault are serious charges. This article by Politico details not only why, but how it came to be that campus assaults became handled this way. It’s an incredibly informative piece.
Well folks, Kansas is finally getting there. County by county, they’re beginning to issue same-sex marriage licenses. I am happy to announce that Olathe, Kansas began officially issuing same-sex marriage licenses after several stop-start decisions because of legal holds and petitions. I was fortunate enough to talk with one of the couples that initially applied for a license on October 9, 2014. They even had an informal ceremony performed by a minister offering his services to couples on the courthouse stairs. Soon after, the Kansas Attorney General put a hold on all same-sex marriage licenses, although applications were still being accepted. Kaci Campbell and Kim Garner filled out an application on October 9th, but by October 10th the Kansas Attorney General had already blocked any licenses from being issued. Kaci said after the first delay that the attorney general “…thinks that the judge that allowed us to get marriage license is not qualified to make that kind of decision…If not for activist judges, women would have no rights, right? Slavery would not have been abolished, right? Thank you, Judge, for standing up for ALL individuals’ rights.” Kaci and Kim were finally able to receive an actual license recently, on November 19. She contacted me the night before and said “They lifted the ban today in Johnson County, so tomorrow I will finally go get license and be married by the end of the day. The news called and interviewed us tonight, on channel 9 tonight…” She and Kim still plan “to have another ceremony because the last one wasn’t technically legal.” I’m so excited for them to have the most fun, creative, and LEGAL ceremony they possibly can! They are both beautiful, unique people, and I wish them all the best.
Now, while this is certainly great news, it’s not the end of the battle (even in Kansas). The state of Kansas is still appealing the rights to same-sex marriage. Although this probably won’t amount to any changes, it’s still something to be concerned about. Until same-sex marriage is at the very least respected by everyone, it won’t be an easy world for any of us to live in. Why is it so hard for people to just see love instead of gender and sex and all of the other things that should be secondary?
I think that with a new republican majority, it’s expected that there will be a lot of new legislation reflecting more conservative ideas. One of the big topics I am concerned about it birth control and abortion. This article does a good job of explaining what exactly could begin happening.
In yet more drama in the college sexual assault front, Donald Eastman III, president of Eckerd College released a statement advising students on how to not get raped. Needless to say, it was unhelpful, especially because it didn’t address the rapists…
Lucky for us (and their entire school), the student newspaper was having none of his bigoted statement. They issued an incredible respond, which you can read for yourself here. Part of this changing means the students getting involved.
I would like to point out that if you read the title out loud, it kind of rhymes. I’m pretty proud of that.
I had no idea that electroshock therapy was still a prevalent conversion therapy technique. Apparently, however, in China it’s still considered a viable method of “curing” homosexuality. I won’t bother to point out all of the evidence pointing to conversion/reparative therapy being ineffective, and the antiquated nature of viewing homosexuality as a mental illness. I’ll let you read that for yourself. The article from alternet.com states that China didn’t decriminalize homosexuality until 1997, and didn’t remove it from lists of mental illnesses until 2001. The timeline is sort of amazing, but the fact that they are already considering banning reparative therapy is really quite a quick jump. However, apparently the district court essentially ignored the case. I would love to see this move forward, but again. It’s pretty soon for a ruling like that considering they’ve only recently decided that homosexuality is something they’ll “allow.”
It’s always good to see schools preemptively adapt to their students. A school district in Clifton Park, New York has started the process to officially allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. This is the first case that I’ve seen where a school began putting policies like this up for a vote without any legal pressure or public pressure related to a current student. They will require the students to have some sort of “documentation” (presumably a doctor’s note or some other medical personnel’s diagnosis with gender identity disorder, or something similar), as well as permission from high-ranking school officials. I would guess that these restrictions were put into place to help quell some adult concerns about sexual assaults and boys sneaking into the women’s room. In my opinion, it would be incredibly difficult for a teenage boy to truly, passably, fake being transgender, but apparently not everyone agrees with that. The school makes a point to specify the “gender identity that the student exclusively and consistently asserts at school,” which is, again, a smart way to clarify that this is meant for students well into their transition.