Tampa Transwoman Shot, Shooter Faces Attempted Murder Charge

Bay News 9 reports a transwoman was shot in the 5000 block of Winnie Street N. on the morning of April 9.  A Tampa teen is being charged with attempted murder in the shooting.  Tavares Spencer, 16, is facing charges of attempted murder, robbery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The charges carry enhanced penalties because officials are considering this a hate crime.  Spencer was already in jail on previous charges when he was informed of his arrest for the shooting.

Full details can be found on the Bay News 9 website here.

Take Action! Push The ENDA Executive Order Letter!

It’s time to take action!  As reported on Bilerico, President Obama is being urged by LGBT advocates and allies to sign an Executive Order to prohibit job discrimination by federal contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  They are pushing the issue because despite the White House stating they are not currently supporting an ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) Policy, then Senator Barak Obama made it one of his election promises to the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

Bilerico has posted the full content of the Executive order, as well as information on how to contact your U.S. Representative (and those who are LGBT supportive), to make your voice heard.  Standd up for the ENDA and contact them today!

You can view the full content of the Bilerico article here.

Mexican Trans Advocate Found Murdered

Mexican transgender advvocate, Agnes Torres was found murdered, showing evidence of torture, after disappearing on Friday.

As reported on Queerty, 28 year old Agnes Torres’ body was discovered in a ditch, with burn marks on her body and a slashed throat.  On Monday, close to 2,000 people congregated outside Puebla’s civic plaza, seeking justice and demanding the murder be classified as a hate crime.

The full article can be viewed on Queerty here.

Tennessee Withdraws Bathroom Bill from Senate

As we previously reported, the Tennessee General Assembly was pushing a bathroom bill through the Senate that states that bathrooms would only be accessible to people based on the gender on their birth certificates, essentially barring transgender people access to their appropriately gendered facilities.  The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the bill has been withdrawn.

“I understand Rep. Floyd’s passion about the issue, but we have more pressing issues before us that we need to focus our attention on and we don’t need to get sidetracked,” Watson said.

Floyd introduced the bill after reading a news article about a Texas woman who said she was fired from Macy’s after stopping “a male teen dressed as a woman” from using a dressing room.

“It could happen here,” Floyd said. “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.

“Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk,” he said. “We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts. Now if somebody thinks he’s a woman and he’s a man and wants to try on women’s clothes, let them him take them into the men’s bathroom or dressing room.”

There would be a fifty dollar fine for the offender, as a misdemeanor.

This would have further complicated matters, since the state does not allow the changing of gender on birth certificates on residents born in Tennessee, even after having surgical gender reassignment.

The full article can be viewed on the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Tennessee General Assembly Pushing Foward With Bathroom Bill

Recently posted in Huffington Post, the Tennessee General Assembly is filing a new “bathroom bill”, which would only consider your sex as it appears on your birth certificate to decide which bathroom you’re going to use – male or female – completely disallowing for intersex, gender non-conforming or transgender people.  Using what they consider to be the “wrong bathroom” is punishable with a fine of $50.00.

The text of the bill, which can be viewed here, contains the following:

HOUSE BILL 2279
By Floyd

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 68,
Chapter 15, Part 3, relative to public restrooms
and dressing rooms.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:
SECTION 1 Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 68 , Chapter 15, Part 3, is amended by
adding the following language as a new section:
68-15-304
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Sex” means and refers only to the designation of an
individual person as male or female as indicated on the individual’s birth
certificate
;

It continues with:

2) “Public building” means a building owned or leased by the
state, any agency or instrumentality of the state or any political
subdivision of the state;
(3) “Restroom” means a room maintained within or on the
premises of any public building and made available to the public,
containing toilet facilities for use by employees or the public;
(5) “Dressing room” means a room maintained within or on the
premises of any public building, used primarily for changing clothes.
(b) Except as provided in § 68-15-303, where a restroom or dressing
room in a public building is designated for use by members of one particular sex,
only members of that particular sex shall be permitted to use that restroom or
dressing room.

There are exceptions to the bill, such as:

8-15-303. Restroom Access Act.

(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Restroom Access Act.
(b) As used in this section:
(1) Customer means an individual who is lawfully on the premises of a retail establishment;
(2) Eligible medical condition means Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, any other inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or any other medical condition that requires immediate access to a toilet facility; and
(3) Retail establishment means a place of business open to the general public for the sale of goods or services.

(c) A retail establishment that has a toilet facility for its employees shall allow a customer to use that facility during normal business hours if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The customer requesting the use of the employee toilet facility suffers from an eligible medical condition or utilizes an ostomy device;
(2) Three (3) or more employees of the retail establishment are working at the time the customer requests use of the employee toilet facility;
(3) The retail establishment does not normally make a restroom available to the public;
(4) The employee toilet facility is not located in an area where providing access would create an obvious health or safety risk to the customer or an obvious security risk to the retail establishment; and
(5) A public restroom is not immediately accessible to the customer.

(d) A retail establishment or an employee of a retail establishment is not civilly liable for any act or omission in allowing a customer to use an employee toilet facility that is not a public restroom if the act or omission meets all of the following:
(1) It is not willful or grossly negligent;
(2) It occurs in an area of the retail establishment that is not accessible to the public; and
(3) It results in an injury to or death of the customer or any individual other than an employee accompanying the customer.

(e) A retail establishment is not required to make any physical changes to an employee toilet facility under this section.

(f) A retail establishment or an employee of a retail establishment that violates subsection (c) commits a Class C misdemeanor and is only subject to a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00).

(g) When requesting access to an employee toilet facility, a customer shall present to an employee of the retail establishment proof of an eligible medical condition. The proof shall take the form of a document issued by a licensed physician or the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America identifying the presenter of the document and citing the appropriate statutory authority.

So with appropriately considered medical conditions, the law would not apply. Being transgender is not one of those conditions it seems.  Again, violating the law is punishable with a fine of $50.

Everyone should tell the TN General Assembly what they think about this bill. Here is how to contact them:

House members

Senate members

The full Huffington Post article can be viewed here.

Transgender Day Of Remembrance 2011

Today marks the 13th Annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance.  Please take a moment to remember those of us who have faced violence, hate and discrimination just for being the beautiful people that we are, and those who we have lost in the battle to violence or suicide.  No one deserves the isolation that being transgender can sometimes bring, from family, friends and community.  No one should have to walk their personal path to gender freedom on their own.  No one should have to die to live in truth.

Take a moment to stop by the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website to see if there are any events or vigils occurring in your area.  In the Tampa area there will be a candlelight vigil held at the University of Tampa Sykes Chapel Main Hall on Monday, November 21st at 8pm.  Please see their Facebook page for more information.

Massachussetts Approves Transgender Equal Rights Bill

As recently reported in the Huffington Post:

Massachusetts will become the 16th state to treat transgender citizens as a protected class after legislature passed the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, which not only adds protections to the state’s civil rights laws against employment, education, housing and credit discrimination, but also adds gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crimes law.

After it receives final approval votes in both branches, the bill will move forward to Governor Deval Patrick, who told The Boston Globe yesterday that he plans to sign it. “I think we have hate crimes on the books today,” he said. “They, in the case of transgender people, don’t go far enough.”

This story can be read on the Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the Associated Press/Boston Herald.

Transgender Student Suspended Over Bathroom Use

It always seems to come back to the right to pee without issue.  The Advocate reports about a 16 year old high school student recently suspended for three days for using the bathroom appropriate for her gender identity:

Two transgender high school students in Fort Collins, Colo., say they have been forbidden to use student restrooms, and one of them, 16-year-old Dionne Malikowski, just got suspended for doing so. Malikowski, a trans girl, and her friend Kurt Peters, also 16 and a trans guy, say they have been told to use the staff bathrooms at Fort Collins High School. But, Malikowski told reporters, “There’s not staff bathrooms all over the school, so when you really got to pee, you got to pee.

That’s what she says happened about a month ago when she used the women’s restroom, reports W9 News in Colorado. And then she was suspended for three days.

W9 News in Colorado also reports:

“I feel like the school doesn’t really understand what it’s like to be in our situation,” Malikowski said.

“It kind of makes us feel like we’re not welcome,”

The Poudre School District says there is not an across-the-board policy for bathroom use by transgender students.

The Colorado Association of School Boards says there really is no case law on this in Colorado and the association hasn’t provided any guidance to school districts.

They say this issue is an emerging legal one and schools are still working their way through it.

While Safe2Pee.org stated that there are six “transgender safe” bathrooms in the Fort Collins area, none are accessible to students who are on campus.

Hunting Trans Prostitutes Isn’t “Heinous Enough” For D.A.

A San Francisco District Attorney has decided that not only is hunting down transgender women to assault, rape and murder isn’t a hate crime, it’s also not “heinous enough” to warrant the death penalty.

This isn’t the first time Donzell Francis is in trouble with the law in regards to transgender women:

Donzell Francis, 42, allegedly raped and killed Ruby Rodriguez, also known as Ruby Ordenana, whose body was found on a Potrero Hill sidewalk on March 16, 2007.

Francis was convicted last year of sexually assaulting, beating and robbing a transgender prostitute in the Tenderloin in September 2007. He was sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison, and three months later, prosecutors charged him with similar attacks on two other transgender prostitutes including the rape and strangling of Ordenana.  – San Francisco Examiner

D.A. George Gascón, despite being a supporter of the death penalty, has stated that he will only pursue it in “very heinous” cases.  At the time of this post, both the death penalty and a hate crime implication are off the table.  Apparently going around attacking trans people isn’t “hateful” or “heinous” enough.

Read the full articles at the San Francisco Examiner and NBC Bay Area.

University of Texas To Phase In Gender Neutral Restrooms

After recently reporting that University of South Florida will be incorporating gender neutral housing options for its students, it’s good to see another major university providing gender neutral accommodations as well:

Linda Millstone, the associate vice president for the Office of Institutional Equity and Workforce Diversity, is leading the effort to ensure each campus building has at least one gender-neutral restroom for every five floors. Millstone said she went to the Building Advisory Committee with the idea to include gender-neutral restrooms in the blueprints of all new campus buildings, and they agreed. She said Pat Clubb, vice president for University Operations, agreed to fund the installation of gender-neutral restrooms in all existing campus buildings as well.

The full article can be read in The Daily Texan.

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