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7
Jul
2011

UK: Part II: Tourism warning to Poole Stadium after transsexual’s ‘humiliation’

Found at Daily Echo

A follow-up to this article

Poole council has warned a stadium company about its tourism role after a transsexual was left ‘humiliated’ because she could not use the female toilets.
Victoria Saxe-Coburg from Springbourne, Bournemouth said she was left in floods of tears by a security guard during a Poole Pirates speedway match.
The 55-year-old, who had a gender reassignment operation more than 20 years ago, said she was told to use the disabled toilet after another spectator made a complaint.
Poole Stadium declined to comment on the matter and stuck by its decision when she complained.
However Cllr Judy Butt, cabinet member for public participation, said: “Poole Stadium is a member of the Poole Tourism Partnership.
“This is a partnership between the council and more than 200 businesses. “This year the partnership agreed its own equalities statement and for 2012 members will need to sign up to the statement in order to be a member.
“We have contacted Poole Stadium and offered various forms of support, including access to specific trans awareness training, reminding them of the commitment of partners to the partnership equalities statement, and have asked that they keep us informed.”
No one from the club was available for comment on the incident.
Poole Pirates lease the stadium and the team’s staff were not involved.
Miss Saxe-Coburg told the Echo after the incident: “There were quite a few people nearby. I felt so humiliated and angry that I felt as if I had to go to the opposite side of the stadium.”
Jane Fae, a writer and sexual rights activist who took up the case and contacted Poole council, said: “I can well understand how such incidents are difficult for small businesses to deal with.”
But she added: “Organisat- ions must learn to deal with these issues sensitively, without making life even harder than it is for a frequently abused minority.”

Found at Daily Echo

5
Jul
2011

India: A 'queer' discussion over chai

Found at Hindustan Times

With New York's recent historic judgment, the LGBT community in India seems hopeful for a change. Delhi will witness a demonstration on the 2nd of July to mark the anniversary of the decriminalization of gay sex in India by the Delhi High Court. The second gay pride parade post the landmark judgment is being planned at Jantar Mantar to spread awareness and demand further rights and acceptance for the gay community.



As a run-up to the 2nd July gathering at Jantar Mantar and an extension of Pride Month (June), the American Centre in partnership with The Kunzum Travel Café, hosted 'Charcha Chai Aur Coffee-Celebrating LGBT Pride Month', in association with the 'It Gets Better Programme'.

‘It Gets Better’ program pledge reads: “Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that ‘It Gets Better.’”

The program aims to help LTGB youth understand and deal with what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. Inspirational videos from people from all over the world like first transgender American prom queen, Hilary Clinton and Barrack Obama are available on their website (itgetsbetter.org) for support.

However, in India, how much has changed since section 377, and what is still to change? If talks at Kunzum Travel Café are anything to go by, more than early euphoria, in India there are still many battles to be won.

The event was an opportunity to share stories, discuss issues, and talk about anything and everything, from whether Kerala weather affected promiscuity to transsexual marginalization, from rural support groups to anecdotes about absurd “preventive measures” against “becoming a gay”. Judging by the packed crowd, the evening seemed to be a success.

So what’s the take on 2nd July? Oddly, New York barely featured in the conversation. What people seemed more concerned about were larger social issues, and the differences between India and the West soon came out as well.

Widening the spectrum
After much laughter and sharing of coming out stories, talk shifted to pressing issues, such as the difference in pressure and expectations on lesbians and gays, and the support groups in rural areas, small towns, and amongst lower economic groups.

Shruti, a filmmaker, shared that while she was working a student film that dealt with transsexuality, she came across the Milan Project of the Naz Foundation.

Milan works as a support group for Men Having Sex with Men (MSM) & Transgender (TG) groups, largely from lower economic backgrounds. These men also volunteered as ‘field workers’, who spread awareness amongst their communities about homosexuality. However, a large part of these men are married, with families of their own.

Another issue that came up was the question of gender differences; and whether it was different for a lesbian to come out than it was for a gay man. It was pointed out that socially, it is more acceptable to be a lesbian; the effeminate connotations that attach to gays are not translated in the same degree to lesbians. However, there is far more pressure on women to be ‘sexually appropriate’ than there is on men.

‘What about the T in LGBT?’
Transgender was another issue that came up. Most people agreed that the T of LGBT was a community that was always marginalized, despite them playing such an integral part in the earliest LGBT movements.

India’s transsexual community has a long history and an extremely intricate social structure, making the community’s dynamics more complicated than its western counterparts.

While the concept of a ‘third gender’ has been dismissed by most Western LGBT movements, India is gradually embracing the category. Tamil Nadu was the first state to legally recognize the third gender, and the rest of India is not far behind.

A representative from the LGBT community who did not wish to be named brought up the issue of stereotyping within the gay community. “Some gay men do not want to associate themselves with transgender individuals and issues,” he said.

Transgender movements were amongst the first LGBT movements in India as well as the West, but today, drag queens and hijras are less than welcome and are gradually being dissociated from parts of the movement.

377 and beyond
So has it got better in India? What has really changed after the landmark section 377 judgment? Homosexuality has come into prominence in media and popular culture, from Dostana to I Am, and whether all of the attention is positive or not, awareness certainly is growing, along with confidence.

Vivek, another representative form the LGBT community, spoke of the shift in mindset in recent years. "The new urban generation in particular, is far more comfortable with their sexual identity," he said. With less ambiguity and secrecy about the LGBT issue, more young people are finding it easier to be open about their sexual preferences.

Many feel that the prominence that the gay movement is receiving has only come about in recent times. Until a few years ago, there was a dearth of information available to young people who were confused about their sexual identity.

Rohan*, spoke about how when he was growing up, the only information available to him was on the internet, and it was through the internet that he understood and came to terms with what he was going through.

July 2, Jantar Mantar- What to expect
There will be singing, demonstrating, stage shows, poetry and a referendum of gay rights and demands will be distributed to people present. People are hoping not just for legal action but a change in mindset and discrimination.

In New York, it has got better and hopefully India will follow suit. At least that’s what the LGBT community is hoping for, as they assemble in full form on the July to celebrate the anniversary of a landmark step in the right direction and agitate for the legalization of same-sex marriage in India as well.

*Name changed

Found at Hindustan Times

6
Jul
2011

Puerto Rico: Pandemic In Puerto Rico: 3 LGBT Murders This Week, 18 In 18 Months

Found at The New Civil Rights Movement

At least three gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender Americans have been murdered in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico this week, bringing the tragic total to 18 in the past year and a half. While there are both local and federal hate crimes laws that would assist authorities in investigating and potentially stemming the rapid rise of these anti-​gay hate crimes, the Republican Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis G. Fortuño, has often refused to implement or access these statutes.

Luis G. Fortuño, whose term began in January, 2009, refused to classify as a hate crime the infamous decapitation murder of 19-​year old Jorge Steven López Mercado, perhaps the most-​publicized of the 18 murders. Only under threat from the federal government, was Mercado’s murder investigated as a possible hate crime. Last year, Fortuño attempted to ban same-​sex marriage in Puerto Rico permanently via a constitutional amendment.

In addition to the murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado on November 14, 2009, the following have also been classified as LGBT murders:

Michaell Galindo
Ashley Santiago
Angie González Oquendo
Fernando López de Victoria
Humberto Bonilla Rodríguez
Michelle González García
La Flaca Soto Fernández
Benjamín Acevedo Román
Charlotte Crespo
Frank Di Giovani
Ivan McDonald
Edwin Rodríguez Grajales
Ezequiel Crespo
Eugenio Alberto Rivera Ortiz
Karlota Brown
Alejandro Torres Torres
Ramón ‘Moncho’ Salgado
Tuesday, Edge On The Net National News Editor Michael K. Lavers was the first to recognize that in addition to the deaths this week of Karlota Gómez Sánchez and Alejandro Torres Torres, “Salgado is the 18th LGBT Puerto Rican who has been murdered on the island over the last year and a half.” Lavers added, “This is simply unacceptable. And people really need to begin to pay attention to this appalling situation in Puerto Rico that continues to grow worse by the day.”

Today, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued a statement “calling upon authorities to act immediately to address the ongoing anti-​lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) violence in Puerto Rico.”

Task Force Communications Manager Pedro Julio Serrano, Founder, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, added,

“The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stands in solidarity with the LGBT community in Puerto Rico and sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of Karlota Gómez Sánchez, Ramón Salgado and Alejandro Torres Torres. As someone who grew up in Puerto Rico and has been very active in its LGBT community, this is a heart-​wrenching moment. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to all of the victims’ loved ones at this difficult time. Justice must prevail. This is about members of the Puerto Rican LGBT community feeling safe in their communities and being able to take care of the ones they love. We call upon the authorities and political leaders to effectively address this epidemic of anti-​LGBT violence. This must stop now.”

On his personal blog, Serrano said the LGBT communities “are on alert to the danger that lurks and the government’s response is zero. They are killing us with impunity and the government turns a blind eye. The official response so far has been silent or complicit, shameful and immoral as is the case with Fortuño or a blatant homophobia that incites to violence as is the case of Rivera Schatz. It is time for the governor of all Puerto Ricans to recognize that there is a problem of violence against gay people, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in our country, we’re as Puerto Ricans as heterosexuals,” according to a Google translation.

GLAAD today told The New Civil Rights Movement via email they are calling on “local and national media to keep shining an all-​important spotlight on the terrible violence being faced by the gay and transgender people in Puerto Rico. We will continue monitoring media and reaching out to journalists to ensure they have the resources they need to do this in ways that are fair, accurate and inclusive.”

HRC on Wednesday “called upon federal and local government officials and law enforcement authorities to strengthen their efforts to implement a long-​term strategy to address violence against LGBT individuals in Puerto Rico.”

“The alarming rate of violence against LGBT Puerto Rican’s cannot be tolerated,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese in a statement. “Puerto Rican government officials and law enforcement, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, must ensure that LGBT people have the protection they need to survive. When a community has to live in constant fear of violence and even death for who they are, everyone suffers.”

Found at The New Civil Rights Movement

Spain: Warning of rise in homophobic attacks in Malaga

Found at Euro Weekly News

LESBIAN, gay, bisexual and transsexual organizations Ojala and Colega have reported a rise in physical and verbal abuse towards the collective in Malaga. Coinciding with Gay Pride day, both groups remarked how important it was to continue to work on improving tolerance.

The President of Ojala, Teresa Pineda, says they are overwhelmed with problems including physical violence, police targeting gay bars, insults, parents who don’t accept their children’s homosexuality, and other problems.

Meanwhile, Colega President, Santiago Rubio, believes it is important to continue working at high schools to instill respect and tolerance.

Found at Euro Weekly News

Thailand: Thailand's Transsexual 'Ladyboys' Confuse Election Officials, Feel Marginalized

Found at: Huffpost World

Thai election officials manning voting booths were ordered on Friday not to laugh at "ladyboys" who this week said they were being marginalized in Sunday's poll because of confusion over their ID card pictures.

It was the latest in a series of complaints by members of the Trans-Female Association of Thailand, which groups transgenders and transsexuals, known collectively as "katoeys" or "ladyboys".

Their ID cards, renewable every seven years, may show a woman's face marked "mister", or a boy's face when the ID card holder looks like a woman.

"In case of any problem in ascertaining the identity of voters, officials have a clear instruction to be polite in making inquiries and they must try their best to refrain from laughing," Election Commission secretary Suthipol Thaweechaikarn said.

He said card holders who had undergone cosmetic surgery or a major facelift should carry a number of identity cards bearing pictures of their various stages of appearance.

Everyone in Thailand has to carry a national ID card at all times from the age of 15.

Transgenders and transsexuals are accepted in Thailand more readily than in most other countries, with one new airline hiring only ladyboys as cabin crew. They are especially common in cosmetics shops and health stores and in bars in some ofBangkok's racier entertainment districts.

But Yollada Suanyoc, president of the 2,500-strong Trans-Female Association, said the government had been slow to accept them and accused society of grouping transgenders, transsexuals and homosexuals as one and the same when each group had its own issues.

Bangkok is a world centre for people seeking sex changes, or sex "reassignments", but the Tourism Authority of Thailand said it did not have exact figures on how many people visited the city for such operations.

Found at: Huffpost World

UK: Transsexual humiliated in stadium toilet row

Found at Daily Echo

A Transsexual speedway fan said she broke down in floods of tears after being told she was not allowed to use the ladies’ toilets at Poole stadium.

Victoria Saxe-Coburg said she was told by security in front of other spectators there had been a complaint about her from another spectator.

The 55-year-old from Bournemouth, who had a gender reassignment operation more than 20 years ago, said she was told to use the disabled toilet.

Stadium manager Shaun Spencer-Perkins declined to comment on the incident.

Ms Saxe-Coburg was watching Poole Pirates’ speedway victory over Wolverhampton Wolves on the evening of June 8.

She is a speedway fan of more than 40 years standing and has been watching Poole since moving to Dorset four years ago.

“It was said within earshot of everybody,” said Victoria, of Springbourne.

“They asked me to use the disabled toilets and I turned round and quite catgeorically said ‘no’.

“I’ve never had any complaints before whatsoever.

“I have been a model fan. There’s been no problems.

“I felt humiliated. There were quite a few people nearby. I always stand in exactly the same place. I felt so humiliated and angry that I felt as if I had to go to the opposite side of the stadium.

“I was in floods of tears. I saw the stadium manager afterwards, who said things were not handled well.”

Ms Saxe-Coburg got a letter from her GP confirming the operation and met stadium staff again on Wednesday night during the Pirates 54-40 victory over Eastbourne.

She said she “did not get very far” with her complaint and staff were “not happy” with her using the ladies’ toilet.

She did not use the toilets during the match. “I very much doubt I will go again,” she said.

A Poole Pirates spokesman said the club only leases the stadium. They said the incident involved a member of the stadium staff, not an employee of the club.

Found at Daily Echo

9
Jan
2010

India:Transsexuals try Internet dating

Found at Tech Hot Spot

It's worked for thousands of singletons the world over and now India's transsexuals are hoping Internet dating can help their marginalised community find love.

A new site offers to help people born as men but living as women find husbands in a country where marriage remains the bedrock of society and gender and sexuality are still conservatively defined.

"Many men are attracted to transgender women, but when it comes to commitment they don't want to do it," the founder of the website, Kalki, who uses one name, explained to AFP.

"The types of grooms that our girls are looking for are men who would respect them as an equal human being, who would treat them with dignity and would introduce them to friends and family as a girlfriend or wife."

Transgenders and eunuchs -- men who have been castrated -- live on the extreme fringes of Indian society, often resorting to prostitution, begging or menial jobs that leave them mired in poverty.

Their numbers are difficult to estimate. Kalki says there are about 20,000 in her adopted state of Tamil Nadu, the most socially progressive area in the country with a total population of about 60 million.

"Because of the discrimination in India, 95 percent of transgenders live below the poverty line," says Kalki, who decided to start thirunangai.net after two of her transssexual friends were rejected by regular dating sites.

Poorly educated, often abused and tarred by the social stigma of their blurred gender, it is unsurprising that many in the community struggle to find the love and steady relationship they crave.

"We feel love and passion like anyone else and we want to have a family and a husband, even though we can't bear children. We'd like to adopt children," says Kalki.

The site, available in English and Tamil, features six women, most of whom have had full sex change operations and are looking for "ordinary" men for a long-term relationship and even marriage.

One of them is Sowmiya, a 23-year-old former sex worker who ran away from home aged 15 and is now a campaigner at Kalki's Sahodari Foundation, a non-government organisation that fights for the rights of transgenders.

"I put my profile on the site because I want to get married to a nice man and I want a baby," she told AFP from her home in Chennai. "I don't mind if he is not too educated, but he must be faithful to me and have a kind character."

She said she had received responses already "but I haven't accepted as the respondents were older, far older, than what I am looking for."

Another lonely heart, Deepika, writes on her profile that she is looking for a man with a decent job, a modern outlook and a good dress sense.

"Preferred age group 25-30, with a moustache," says the profile.

Kalki says she had about 200 responses from men in India, Europe, the United States and Middle East, including doctors, engineers, journalists, scientists, teachers and businessmen.

She has high hopes of selecting someone suitable for the women after a "very serious" screening process.

"Out of the six girls, if one person gets married I'll be totally happy," she adds. "The first wedding may be on Valentines Day or on Women's Day on March 8 next year."

The role of transsexuals and eunuchs, like many things in India, can appear contradictory to the outsider, as they are at once spurned and discriminated against, yet in some ways accepted as part of life.

They are common in Bollywood films where they frequently play comic roles and they often appear at weddings or at the homes of newly-born children where they are paid as a defence against bad luck.

Often they extract money at such occasions by threatening to strip or resort to violence unless they are given a financial inducement to leave.

The idea of transsexuals or "otherness" has a long history in India and eunuchs are mentioned in the earliest Hindu texts, the Vedas, believed to have been written in the second millennium BC.

Being a transsexual or castrated is seen as curse in traditional Hindu culture, but the idea has historically been more widely tolerated and even venerated in India's minority Muslim population.

Many eunuchs rose to powerful positions in the Islamic Mughal regime that ruled the subcontinent for hundreds of years after an invasion in 1526.

Kalki says the outlook is changing for them in contemporary India.

"Slowly we are getting recognised and feel good. we are beginning to feel we are part of society," she said.

In November, the community claimed victory in a long-standing campaign to be listed as "others," distinct from males and females, on electoral rolls and voter identity cards.

In the past, many eunuchs and transsexuals had abstained in elections because they were unwilling to identify their gender on voter forms.

They could write "E" for eunuch on passports and on certain government forms, but had failed in their campaign for acceptance at the ballot box.

Earlier in December, a eunuch called Kamla Jaan was elected mayor in a district in the central state of Madya Pradesh, where another eunuch has electoral success in 2000.

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UK: Row over transsexual woman searched by male Holyrood guard

Found at News.Scotsman.com

The Scottish Parliament has apologised after a transgender visitor complained about being searched by a male security guard.
An investigation was launched after the visitor, who was born a man and now lives as a woman, asked to be searched by a female security guard at the public entrance at Holyrood.

However, the female security guards on duty refused, as they understood the visitor was a man, and a male security guard carried out a search.

The visitor raised a complaint after being upset by the treatment she received.

She was visiting an event at the parliament organised by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group LGBT Scotland.

The group lodged a formal complaint with the Scottish Parliament authorities on behalf of their guest and asked for procedures to be put in place to avoid a repeat incident.

The parliament has now apologised to the visitor and to LGBT Scotland.

Mhairi Logan, head of policy at LGBT Youth Scotland, said: "The complaint is under way and was made by ourselves on behalf of the person involved.

"The parliament have been very understanding and we are pleased with how they are treating the matter. We have received an initial letter of apology and we expect the issue to be resolved soon."

Ms Logan added: "There is a lot of ignorance about transgender people, not necessarily through badness, but just lack of knowledge. A lot of organisations don't have any guidelines in place, but things are changing. The police and prison service, for example, now have specific policies for searching transgender people."

After the complaint was made, parliament managers launched an inquiry, pulling in security guards who were present to question them about the incident.

It is also understood that clear directives on the searching of transgender visitors have been issued to security staff. A Holyrood insider said: "It was an unfortunate incident, but nobody in the security team believes they did anything wrong.

"The visitor was a man as far as the security staff could tell. In those circumstances, it was felt it was fine for a male security guard to search him before he came in.

"However, the visitor was adamant he wanted to be searched by a woman. The women on duty at the time refused, as they are not supposed to carry out body searches on male visitors.

"It created a bit of a stand-off, but nobody on duty knew exactly what they should do."

All visitors to the parliament are patted down by security staff if they set off an archway metal detector at the public entrance.

The incident took place during a visit to Holyrood by the National Youth Council of LGBT Scotland on 26 November.

A parliament spokesman said they could not discuss the complaint. He said: "While we cannot comment upon or confirm individual cases, we take issues of equality extremely seriously."

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8
Jan
2010

USA: President Obama Names Transgender Appointee to Commerce Department

Found at abcnews

President Obama recently named Amanda Simpson to be a Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department.

In a statement, Simpson, a member of the National Center for Transgender Equality's board of directors, said that "as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others."

While Simpson is clearly one of the first transgender presidential appointees, Democratic officials say they're unsure if she is the very first one.

The White House had no comment on her appointment.

A 2004 YWCA "Woman on the Move," Simpson recently served as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona.

At Raytheon, Simpson -- a former test pilot who had worked for the company for more than a generation -- transitioned from male to female and was instrumental in convincing the military contractor to add gender identity and expression to its equal employment opportunity policy.

She later ran unsuccessfully for the Arizona House of Representatives and was a delegate for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Found at abcnews

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Pakistan:New rights for trans people in Pakistan

Found at pinknews



The Pakistan Supreme Court has ordered the government to allow trans people the right to a distinct gender.

The court said that trans people, known as hijras, should be able to get national identity cards showing their gender as hijras.

Pakistani hijras, especially those from poor families, are often subject to oppression and harassment and are forced to earn a living through begging and prostitution.

They are often thrown out of their homes by fathers and brothers and face problems when their identity cards show female photos but male genders.

While those from wealthy families can access education and jobs, those from poorer backgrounds say they are abused by society, police and criminal gangs.

Almas Bobby, the president of a hijra association, told Reuters: "It's a major step toward giving us respect and identity in society. We are slowly getting respect in society. Now people recognise that we are also human beings."

In July, the Supreme Court ordered that hijras should receive equal protection and support from the government.

The three judges, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, said that financial support must be given to hijras through Bait-ul-Maal (a worldwide relief and development organisation) or income support programmes.

The Interior Ministry was directed to ensure police provide protection to them from criminal elements.

Found at pinknews

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Italy:Transsexual commits suicide in detention centre

Found at Everyone

At about 3 p.m. on Christmas Day a 34-year-old transexual of Brazilian origin committed suicide by hanging herself with a sheet in the Via Corelli CIE in Milan, where she had recently been detained. Another detainee sounded the alarm half an hour later, but it was too late, and medics were unable to save her. “The umpteenth victim of the measures dictated by the Italian Northern League and the “security package” say Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of Everyone Group, the human rights association.

“We are talking about a cruel law that has introduced the crime of “illegal entry”, which means that immigrants without a permit to remain in Italy are in danger of being arrested at any moment, after which they face a stay in the CIE detention centres for up to six months (undergoing inhuman treatment) and then deportation.

When tragedies like these happen, it becomes necessary to reflect on the reality of these detention centres which are authentic prisons in which every human right is violated. So much so, that during a recent press conference in L’Aquila with the European Commissioner Jacques Barrot, the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi himself defined them as “similar to concentration camps”.

We wish to point out that Italy also holds the European “record” for the number of cases of discrimination, murder and violence against transexuals: a terrible situation which leaves transexual and transgender people vulnerable and excluded”, continue the representatives of EveryOne. “The press, authorities and institutions treat them with prejudice and reserve for them a treatment that is damaging to their human dignity. And as if this weren’t enough to arouse the indignation of civil people, we will point out that Italy also holds the record for the number of suicides, violence and rape cases in its prisons”.


EveryOne Group, along with the Radical Party and the anti-racist network, has been monitoring the CIEs throughout Italy since February 2009 and has noticed that the number of suicides (either attempted or successful), and particularly among transexual or transgender immigrants, are on the steady increase. This is all taking place within the confines of the Italian CIESs, resulting in a humanitarian crisis.

“The health and sanitary conditions inside these centres are a disgrace, they are often without running water and access to decent toilets and showers - not to mention the violence and humiliation detainees suffer, which have often been documented by our group: cruelty taking place between the walls of the CIEs, with threats, beatings, punishments and brutal treatment. We have approached, “say Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau, “the offices of the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva and those of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (with which EveryOne works in close collaboration) asking that the serious violations of fundamental human rights being carried out in the prison system and the Italian anti-immigrant policies be brought to the attention of the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations”.

Found at Everyone

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UK: Paper guilty of transsexual slur

Found at BBC

A Belfast newspaper has been found guilty of breaching the press code of practice for describing a transsexual as 'a tranny.'
The Sunday Life was reported to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) by a male-to-female transsexual who had worked as a rape counsellor in Belfast.
The paper had raised concerns about her suitability for the role and described her as a 'tranny.'

The PCC said the use of the word was pejorative and upheld the complaint.
The newspaper had said that no offence had been intended in the use of the word which it considered to be "widely used" in articles about transsexuals and transvestites.

The complainant, Keira McCormack from Warrington, said that there was a significant difference between transvestites and transsexuals, arguing that the term tended to be used by the former and not the latter.

The PCC ruled that while the newspaper was entitled to publish a story about people's concerns over the suitability of Ms McCormack's employment, her gender identity should not have been open to ridicule.

Taking into account the full context of the story, the PCC considered that the use of the word was pejorative, breaching the discrimination clause of the editors' Code of Practice.
Ms McCormick made a number of other complaints about accuracy, privacy and harassment, but none of these were upheld.

Found at BBC

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25
Dez
2009

India: First-ever transsexual beauty pageant

Found at examiner.com

India held its first-ever transsexual beauty pageant on December 19, according to Yahoo! News. Apparently, the contest was called the Miss India Transgender Pageant, and it was organized by the local trans community in an effort break down barriers between India’s transgender and transsexual population and the country’s mainstream society.

In addition to the overall title of Miss India, the pageant presented awards in subcategories such as Miss Beautiful Hair, Miss Beautiful Eyes, and Miss Beautiful Skin.

The article states that the event was unique in a country where transsexuals live on the fringes of society.

Transsexuals live on the fringes of society here in the United States, as well, but perhaps not in the same way. Our two cultures are very different. And it is unlikely that there will be a nationally sanctioned Miss Transsexual USA or a Miss Transsexual America pageant anytime soon.

But that is probably not a goal for most transsexual women in the United States, anyway. While beauty pageants are becoming less popular in this country, if a U.S. trans woman was interested in competing in one, it is likely that she would want to compete in a standard pageant rather than a pageant specifically created for transsexual women.

Found at examiner.com

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24
Dez
2009

USA: Columbia University Moves Toward Gender-Neutral Housing

Found at Northattan

New policy would give undergraduate students option to live with opposite sex

Columbia University students could soon have more options when it comes to selecting roommates. Under pressure from gay, lesbian, and transsexual students, Columbia is edging closer to a gender-neutral housing policy, similar to existing rules at most other Ivy League colleges.

The current policy requires undergraduate students living in campus housing to live room with a student of the same sex. Girls with girls. Boys with boys. But this makes many gay and transgender students uneasy.

“It’s important to make sure every student has the opportunity to have a living space in which they feel comfortable,” said Sarah Weiss, vice president of policy for Columbia’s Student Council. “We felt that a gender-neutral option would make that possible for a greater number of students.”

Found at Northattan

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22
Dez
2009

USA: Transgender teen files discrimination complaint against Orlando McDonald’s

Found at Edge Boston

When 17-year-old Zikerria Bellamy arrived for a job interview at an Orlando McDonald’s in July, she said her reception was far from welcoming. And when managers at the fast-food giant learned she is transgender, she received a voice mail message from one who stated: "We do not hire faggots."

The incident took place after Bellamy filled out an online application for employment at the fast food outlet on July 10. Bellamy did not complete the section that asks applicants about their gender, reports a Dec. 7 article at ClickOrlando.com. Although the online application assures viewers that there is no onus associated with leaving that field blank, Bellamy says that when she spoke with a manager in person on July 28, he insisted that she fill in the section. Bellamy checked off the "male" option and, the teenager told Orlando’s Local 6 News, "He was upset. I seen the anger, you know, like you can tell when someone gets upset."

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations on Monday on Bellamy’s behalf. Michael Silverman, executive director of the New York-based TLDEF, said McDonald’s violated the Florida Civil Rights Act. He added he feels the complaint should serve as a "wake-up call" on employment discrimination against trans people. It is currently legal in Florida and 37 other states to fire or not hire an employee because of their gender identity.

"It is legal to fire someone in these states just because they are transgender no matter how hard they’re willing to work or how qualified for a job they are," Silverman said. "There is a tremendous amount of discrimination that continues to happen against the transgender community."

After Bellamy first applied online, a manager asked her to come in for an in-person interview. When Bellamy met the manager and he realized she is trans, he no longer wanted to interview her. Determined, Bellamy visited a second manager in the restaurant on July 28. This manager reportedly told her "didn’t have time for this." He followed up his comments with a voice mail message to Bellamy a few hours later:

"It doesn’t matter how many times you go down there, you will not get hired," the manager said. "We do not hire faggots. You lied to me. You told me you was a woman. And then you lied to me and told me you were 17. I can’t believe you. You were a lying brother. How could you lie to me? We will never--" (Complete voicemail message below.)

Bellamy said her treatment had made her "very upset," but she added she hopes others don’t share her experience. She said she hopes McDonald’s will amend its employment policies to protect its trans applicants and/or employees. Bellamy added she hopes the company will also train its employees on how to appropriately deal with LGBT issues.

"Times are hard and if you have a job opening, you shouldn’t select based on gender or who someone is," Bellamy told EDGE. "I just wanted to go in and make an honest living and provide for myself. Something like this doesn’t need to happen. I don’t want McDonald’s to get away with this."

Florida’s employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination policies currently do not include explicit protections on the basis of either sexual orientation or gender identity, though administrative agencies have ruled in the past trans people are protected under the Florida Civil Rights Act’s sex and disability discrimination prohibitions.

The Competitive Workforce Bill, filed last month by state Rep. Kelly Skidmore, would clearly prohibit employment discrimination toward LGBT Floridians. The proposed measure, however, faces strong opposition from the House’s Republican majority. And the trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act remains stalled in Congress.

A survey the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force commissioned earlier this year found nearly half--47 percent--of trans people have been fired or denied a job or promotion because of their gender identity.

"We can’t have people losing their jobs because they’re transgender or gay, in addition to those losing their jobs because of the economy - this is an economic issue, not a social one," Silverman said. "Transgender and gay employees who just want to support themselves and their families deserve the opportunity to do so and should be protected from this kind of discrimination."

An ’All Too Common’ Story
"Zikerria’s story is all too common," the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund site reads "Transgender people face tremendous discrimination in the workplace."

According to a recent survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 47% of transgender people report being fired, or denied a job or promotion, just because of who they are.

"Few protections exist for transgender people who experience employment discrimination," the text continues. "In 38 states, there is no law protecting transgender people from being fired because of who they are. Federal law similarly offers no job protection for transgender people.

"In Florida, while no law explicitly addresses discrimination based on gender identity," the text adds, "administrative agencies in Florida have ruled that transgender people are protected by the Florida Human Rights Act’s prohibitions on sex and disability discrimination. The Competitive Workforce Bill, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Florida Civil Rights Act, was introduced in the Florida legislature on November 20."

The complaint has been filed even as Orlando municipal officials consider adding protections for trans residents to the city’s ordinances. The measure is being promoted by openly lesbian Commissioner Patty Sheehand, who proposed the change to Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer, who indicated he would back the measure, saying, "I support eradicating all forms of discrimination, and I think my record has been 100 percent on that."

If adopted, the measure is expected to provide protections to transgendered individuals, including those who have undergone gender reassignment surgery as well as those who have not physically transitioned, but who live and dress as the other gender. Transgendered people are born with the physical anatomy of one gender, but deeply and persistently identify as the other gender. Often, the identification with the other gender begins very early in childhood. Some transgendered individuals opt for surgery and other measures to change their physical characteristics to those of the other gender, but many trans people do not make the change, preferring simply to dress and live as the gender with which they identify.

The general public often confuses transgendered people with gays. However, transgenderism is more complex than that: for example, it is not unusual for transwomen--men who identify as female--to prefer the romantic and sexual company of women.

Fifteen cities around Florida, and municipalities around the country, have begun to extend anti-discrimination protections to trans individuals. Last month, the city of Fort Worth, Texas, approved an expansion to local protections that would cover trans people. Fort Worth activist Tory Van Fleet recounted how trans people she knew had been targeted for employment discrimination before the ordinance passed, saying, "I have a friend who was fired from her job at an airport owned by the city of Fort Worth. She and another transgender person were the only ones fired, and it was pretty obvious that it was because they were transgender."

Added Van Fleet, "We’re not saying you can’t fire someone for not doing their job or that you have to hire someone who isn’t qualified. We just don’t want people to be fired just because they are transgender. This is not about special rights for a few. This is about the same rights for all."

Often, opponents of such measures zero in on the question of restroom use, arguing that pedophiles or voyeurs might abuse such protections, with men entering women’s lavatories under the guise of being transgendered.

Such was the case in Tampa, where trans protections were added to local anti-discrimination laws last month. Fears about sexual predators exploiting the measure were raised by anti-gay groups such as the American Family Association (AFA), which put out a statement recalling an incident involving a sex offender who had illegally been in a women’s area of a Tampa fitness center.

"Tampa Police arrested Robert Johnson in February 2008 for hanging out in the locker room-restroom area at Lifestyle Fitness and watching women in an undressed state," the AFA statement said. "The City of Tampa’s ’gender identity’ ordinance could provide a legal defense to future cases like this if the accused claims that his gender is female."

"This ordinance will give lawful protection to cross-dressing males to patronize women’s restrooms," warned a statement from another anti-gay group, the Florida Family Association. "And men dressed as women or women who perceive themselves as men can also use men’s restrooms."

Charges of anti-Christian persecution quickly followed. "We’re trying to mobilize people to stand in opposition to what is a bad law [that] discriminates against Christians and provides special privileges for people based on sexually aberrant behavior," claimed the president of the Community Issues Council, Terry Kemple, in speaking about the Tampa ordinance.

"This is intended to address people who are dealing with gender identity," said Chip Fletcher, Tampa’s city attorney. As such, the law applies to individuals who are transitioning to the other gender anatomically, so their bodies come into alignment with their personal perceptions of their own genders.

But the president of the anti-gay AFA, Tim Wildmon, gave the story a different spin, claiming that school children would be affected by the inclusion of trans individuals under the ordinance. "The gender identity ordinance also provides legal protection for transgenders to teach schoolchildren one day as a man and another day as a woman," asserted Wildmon in an email. "Unfortunately, the ordinance does not attempt to qualify who really is a transgender and who is not. That is left up to the individual to determine what his ’gender identity’ is that day."

Kemple cast the issue as one in which religious political clout must be used in order to prevent the erosion of religious freedoms: "If the city council hears a loud voice from the church they’ll think twice and we may actually defeat this proposal," declared Kemple. "If they don’t hear from us be ready to lose a few more of the religious freedoms our country was established to protect."

Across the country, over a dozen states and a number of large companies--well over three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies--have also acted to provide trans protections. Without protections in place for trans individuals, noted Nadine Smith, Equality Florida’s executive director, trans citizens could face loss of employment, be denied housing, and find themselves ejected from restaurants and other public places. Smith called Tampa’s inclusion of trans citizens under the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance "long overdue," adding, "This is what big cities do to protect their citizens."

Anti-gay groups have employed what equality advocated dub "scare tactics" in other areas of the country as progress for trans protections has continued. In Colorado, as in Tampa, rhetoric around denying trans individuals protections centered on restroom usage. James Dobson, the head of the anti-gay organization Focus on the Family, which is headquartered in Boulder, issued a warning that predicted dire consequences. "Henceforth, every woman and little girl will have to fear that a predator, bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual or heterosexual male might walk in and relieve himself in their presence," Dobson declared.

Responded Colorado State Senator Jennifer Veiga, "[Equality opponents] can point to absolutely no example that this happened in Colorado" or any of the 16 states where trans people are included in anti-discrimination protections.

A lack of precedent has not deterred opponents from carrying their fight against trans equality to the federal level. The Obama Administration is working with lawmakers to pass a trans-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The bill has strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, according to a Nov. 6 article at Workforce Management. Senate supporter Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, vowed that an ENDA bill would be on President Obama’s desk in 2010.

"The Obama administration believes that ENDA must be the next step in the unfinished business of America, which is civil rights," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Tom Perez of the trans-inclusive legislation.

The issue of trans equality and anti-discrimination measures extending to the trans community has taken strides forward in the last year or so. Shockwaves went through the GLBT community in 2008 when a version of ENDA that had been stripped of any protections for trans individuals was submitted to Congress; in the wake of that attempt, the GLBT community has rallied around trans equality issues.

Similarly, the proposed amendment to Orlando’s anti-discrimination ordinance is meant to correct the current law’s shortcomings, which came about when city officials removed trans-inclusive language from the original draft, in 2002, in order to make the law more palatable. Even without trans protections, the ordinance drew impassioned opposition in which anti-gay activists made claims about gays spreading disease and endangering children.

Bellamy told Local 6 News that she was "angry" and "hurt" at having been berated. "You shouldn’t judge someone based on who they are," the teen added.

Found at Edge Boston

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