What would an LGBT Discrimination Executive Order Mean

Executive Order Under Consideration by Trump Administration Would Allow Discrimination Against LGBT People

fadaPresident Trump is considering issuing an executive order that provides sweeping protections for employers and service providers that discriminate against LGBT people.  The draft of the executive order circulated on February 1, 2017, would prohibit the federal government from withholding grants, contracts, or federal benefits from entities that discriminate against LGBT employees or beneficiaries based on religious objection—a belief that being LGBT is immoral or inconsistent with religious doctrine.

Such an executive order could potentially impact thousands of same-sex couples seeking to adopt or foster children, tens of thousands of LGBT youth in foster care, and hundreds of thousands of LGBT workers employed by federal contractors and the federal government.

Same-Sex Couples Seeking to Adopt or Foster Children

The draft executive order would allow federally-funded religious organizations providing child welfare services to decline adoption and foster services to same-sex couples.  Williams Institute research shows that many same-sex couples adopt and foster children, and are more likely to do so than different-sex couples.

Same-sex couples are four times more likely to be raising adopted children, and six times more likely to be raising foster children, than different-sex couples in the U.S. An estimated 22,000 adopted children are being raised by 16,000 same-sex couples, and an estimated 3,400 children are being fostered by same-sex couples.

The draft executive order could limit opportunities for family formation among same-sex couples, and leave many children without a foster placement or permanent home.

LGBT Youth in Foster Care

The draft executive order would allow religious organizations providing child welfare services to decline to serve LGBT youth.  Williams Institute research finds that LGBT youth are greatly over-represented in the foster system. For example, in Los Angeles, LGBT youth make up 20 percent of the youth population in care, compared to only 8 percent of the general youth population.

LGBT Federal Employees and LGBT Employees of Federal Contractors

The draft order would open the door for harassment and discrimination against LGBT people who work for the federal government.  An estimated 64,000 LGBT people are federal civil service employees.

Federal Contractors employ over 20 percent of the U.S. workforce – 28 million people.  Under an executive order issued by former President Obama in 2014, federal contractors are prohibited from discriminating against their employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  President Trump’s draft order would limit the scope of the 2014 order, allowing contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees based on their religious beliefs without losing their contracts.

The draft order would potentially strip an important source of legal protections for many LGBT workers of federal contractors, including workers who are not otherwise protected from discrimination under state non-discrimination laws or corporate policies.

The Williams Institute estimated that as a result of the 2014 executive order, 11 million workers, including 400,000 LGBT employees, gained protections from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.  These 11 million employees did not have protections from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination under a corporate policy or state law before the 2014 order was issued.

Services Provided to Same-Sex Couples and Access to Health Care

The draft order would open the door for denial of services and discrimination against same-sex couples, including over 500,000 married same-sex couples in the United States.  The draft order would also limit federal regulations that protect LGBT people from discrimination in health care, including in services provided by hospitals, insurers, and other entities.  There are over 10 million LGBT adults in the United States.   In particular, 1.4 million transgender adults would be vulnerable to discrimination in health care and denial of services under the draft order.

First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) Would Be ‘Devastating’ for LGBTQ Americans

 Earlier this month, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, through his spokesperson said they plan to reintroduce an embattled bill that barely gained a House hearing in 2015. But this time around, they said, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) was likely to succeed due to a Republican-controlled House and the backing of President-Elect Donald Trump.
fadawould prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
Ironically, the language of the bill position the right to discriminate against one class of Americans as a “first amendment” right, and bans the government from taking any form of action to curb such discrimination—including withholding federal funds from institutions that discriminate. FADA allows individuals and businesses to sue the federal government for interfering in their right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and would mandate the Attorney General defend the businesses.

FADA was first filed in the House and Senate in 2015, but was met with protests from Democrats and resulted in just one House hearing amid concerns that Obama would veto the bill. It is currently co-sponsored by 171 House Republicans and just one Democrat (Daniel Lipinski of Illinois.)

State-level legislation similar to FADA has failed in recent years, usually resulting from lawsuits and nationwide boycotts. When Vice President-elect Mike Pence passed a “religious freedom” bill as governor of Indiana in March 2015, it was met with protests, financial losses from businesses that pulled operations from the state. It ultimately required an amendment issued in April to protect LGBTQ people from the bill’s discrimination.

Mississippi’s HB 1523 is nearly identical to FADA. The state law, passed in 2016 but quickly blocked by a judge, allows people and businesses in the state to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on three sets of religious beliefs: “Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage, and male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

A lawsuit brought by Mississippi religious leaders alleges the state law actually violates religious freedom by determining that religious belief necessitates anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The group of ordained ministers suing the state said in the lawsuit, Barber v. Bryant, that Mississippi violates its right to freedom of religion “because persons who hold contrary religious beliefs are unprotected—the State has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others.”

Barber v. Bryant is currently at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal trial court ruled HB 1523 violates the federal Equal Protection and Establishment Clauses. Pizer said the case stands as an example of the legal explosion that would occur in reaction to FADA.

“If Congress were to pass the federal FADA as currently written, and the next president were to sign it into law, I’m confident heads would spin at how fast the constitutional challenges would fly into court,” Pizer said, adding “we’re likely to have a great many allies because these attempts to misuse religion for discrimination offend enormous numbers of Americans who cherish both religious liberty and equality for all.”

Staten Island Democratic Association takes official position on Transgender Rights

trans-symbol1Yesterday at the August meeting of the Staten Island Democratic Association the club voted unanimously to adopt a paper written by fellow club member and Social Secretary Bryan Ellicott (myself).

The paper was discussed at length at the July Monthly membership meeting. Which included speakers like New York State Senator and Co-Sponsor of GENDA (Gender Expression NonDiscrimination Act) and LGBT Liaison to Comptroller  Scott Stringer’s office Eric Holguin.

The Staten Island Democratic Association started in 1961. They are the oldest, largest and most Progressive Democratic Club in Staten Island. The paper covers the topics of Public Awareness and Advocacy, Legal and Political Action.

This was an extremely powerful moment especially because its Staten Island and the uphill battle our borough faces when it comes to the discussions on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

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TRANSGENDER RIGHTS
POSITION PAPER

 

Since the founding of The Staten Island Democratic Association in 1961, we have taken pride in being Staten Island’s oldest, largest and most Progressive Democratic Club. It has come to the attention of the Staten Island Democratic Association that we must take a stand on the rights of Transgender Americans, New Yorkers and especially Staten Islanders.

It is a time when so many Transgender people are under attack for nothing less than being who they are.

Harvey Milk (the first openly gay person elected to public office in California) once said “It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”

 

Background

 

Gender is a human social system of differentiation by sex for roles, behaviors, characteristics, appearances, and identities (e.g. “man” or “woman”). Gender maps cultural meanings and norms about both sex and gender on human bodies. Everyone has an internal sense of their “gender” and this sense is called “gender identity”.1     “Most people’s gender identity is congruent with their assigned sex, but many people experience their identity to be discordant with their natal sex (sex assigned at birth)2

“Transgender” is a broad term used to describe those whose gender identity or gender expression is in some sense different from, or transgresses social norms for, their assigned birth sex. Transgender may include those who identify as being transsexual, cross dresser, androgynous, bi-gender, no-gender or multi-gender, genderqueer, and a growing number of people who do not identify as belonging to any gender category at all. For some transgender people, individuals discomfort with a social gender role is accompanied by a profound sense of mismatch of the physical body to their internal bodily experience. This body dysphoria (known as “gender dysphoria”) causes significant distress, negatively impacts daily functioning and well-being, and requires medical services in order to realign the body with the self. There are many transgender people with medically diagnosed inter sex conditions. 3     In the absence of systematic data collection, estimates vary widely as to the number of transgender individuals in the United States, ranging from 3 million to as many as 9 million individuals 4. Prevalence of transgender identities is likely to be on the order of at least 1:100 (i.e. 1%), and transsexualism is also not rare, with prevalence now being estimated at between 1:2000 and 1:5000.5 Reports now indicate there may be roughly equal numbers of male-to-female and female-to-male transsexual people.6

Transgender people encounter difficulties in virtually every aspect of their lives, both in facing the substantial hostility that society associates with those who do not conform to gender norms and in coping with their own feelings of difference. Considerable verbal harassment and physical violence accompany the powerful social stigma faced by transgender people 7 and may be accompanied by racial and ethnic discrimination 8 .Transgender people also experience dismissal from jobs, eviction from housing, and denial of services, even by police officers, and medical emergency professionals..9 Restrooms, the most mundane of public and workplace amenities, often become sites of harassment and confrontation, with access often denied     10 ).

Transgender and transsexual people are often denied appropriate medical and mental health care and are uniquely at risk of adverse health care outcomes. 11 Basic services may be denied because of ignorance about or discomfort with a transgender client. To align the physical body with the experienced sense of self usually is an integral part of the social transition away from the sex assigned at birth. Transsexuals and some other individuals require medical services (for example, hormone replacement, facial electrolysis, or surgical and other procedures, as appropriate to the individual). Despite ongoing evidence that the vast majority who access these achieve congruence and well-being 12 It is important to underscore the denial of basic health care, and also the extreme race and socioeconomic status disparities: Needs assessments in major cities show that severe marginalization and barriers to transition contribute to high rates of joblessness, and disproportionately affect people of color. Lack of employment leaves many without health insurance, and because insurance carriers often deny coverage for transgender individuals other nontransition related services, transgender individuals often lack access to all ongoing basic health services, even when employed. 13

Many transgender children and youths face harassment and violence in school environments. Those who do not feel safe or valued at school cannot reach their potential and may drop out. 14   Medical protocols exist for children whose body dysphoria may lead to severe depression and suicidality, including endocrinology intervention to prevent or delay unwanted puberty.15  There are few support resources for transgender children, their parents or surrounding social institutions, leaving transgender youth particularly vulnerable to so-called “reparative” treatments. 16

Issues Statement

Transgender people experience the stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and extreme hostility known as transphobia on a daily basis. Although gender non-conforming experience can be traced across history, and the successful social and medical transition of transsexuals is well documented since the middle

of the twentieth century, it is only in recent years that this/has emerged in the public discourse. Unfortunately, most in our society have little or no understanding of the profound discomfort some may feel in trying to conform to rigid gender roles assigned to them by virtue of their physiology. Similarly, ignorance and insensitivity prevail regarding the debilitation that accompanies body dysphoria, and the damage done to those left without access to medical and social transition.

We as human beings have the responsibility to understand and appreciate the full range of differences that exist among human beings and to explore any and all prejudices that result in oppressive and unjust treatment.

 

Policy Statement

Staten Island Democratic Association (S.I.D.A.) recognizes that considerable diversity in gender expression and identity exists among our population.

S.I.D.A. believes that people of diverse gender- including those who are included under the transgender umbrella- should be afforded the same respect and rights as any other people.

S.I.D.A asserts that discrimination and prejudice directed against any individuals on the basis of gender identity or gender expression, whether real or perceived, are damaging to the social, emotional, psychological, physical, and economic well-being of the affected individuals as well as society as a whole.

S.I.D.A. reaffirms a commitment to human rights and freedom and opposes all public and private discrimination on the basis of gender identity and of gender expression, whether actual or perceived, and regardless of assigned sex at birth, including denial of access to employment, housing, education, appropriate treatment in sex-segregated facilities, appropriate medical care and health care coverage, appropriate identity documents, and civil marriage and all its attendant benefits, rights, and privileges.

S.I.D.A. encourages the repeal of discriminatory legislation and the passage of legislation protecting the rights, legal benefits, and privileges of people of all genders identities and expressions.

Public Awareness and Advocacy

S.I.D.A. supports efforts to provide safe and secure educational environments and promote an understanding and acceptance of self in which all youth including youth of all gender identities and expressions, may be free to express their genuine gender identity and obtain an education free from discrimination, harassment, violence and abuse.

S.I.D.A. supports a development of, and participation in, coalitions with other professional associations and progressive organizations to lobby on behalf of the civil rights of all people of diverse gender expression and identity.

S.I.D.A. supports collaboration with organizations and groups supportive of the transgender community to develop programs to increase public awareness of the mistreatment and discrimination experienced by transgender people and of the contributions they make to society.

S.I.D.A. encourages the development of programs, training, and information that promotes proactive efforts to eliminate psychological, social and physical harm directed toward transgender people and to portray them accurately and compassionately.

S.I.D.A. supports the development of programs within schools and other child and youth services agencies that educate students, faculty, and staff about the range of gender diversity and the needs of transgender children and youth.

S.I.D.A. supports the creation of scientific and educational resources that inform public discussion about gender identity and gender diversity, to promote public policy development and to strengthen societal and familial attitudes and behaviors that affirm the dignity and rights of all individuals, regardless of identity or gender expression.

 

Legal and Political Action

S.I.D.A. advocates for increased funding for education treatment services, and research on behalf of people of diverse gender expression and gender identity.

S.I.D.A supports the legal recognition of marriage, domestic partner, and civil unions, regardless of either the sex or gender status of the betrothed or partnered individuals.

S.I.D.A. encourages the repeal of laws and discriminatory practices that impeded individuals in their identification with, and their expression of the gender which matches their sense of themselves in all areas of the public arena, especially employment, health care, education and in a housing including in custodial settings.

S.I.D.A. encourages the adoption of laws that will prohibit discrimination against, and protect the civil rights of, and preserve the access to health care and well-being of, individuals who identify with and express their gender identities, in education, housing, inheritance, health and other types of insurance, child custody, property and other areas.

S.I.D.A. acknowledges the importance of working with groups in and around the community of Staten Island to support the transgender community’s development and help larger community organizations help overcome ignorance and fear of transgender people, and to move toward equality and justice.

S.I.D.A. supports the statements of both President of the United States Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in support of the transgender and non-conforming community across the country.

 

References

  1. Stone, 2004
  2. Lev, 2004, p. 397
  3. Xavier, 26 Honnold & Bradford, 2007
  4. Bushong 1995; Olysl*ger & Conway, 2007
  5. Olysl*ger & Conway, 2007,p.23
  6. Bullough, Bullough, & Elias, 1997; MacKenzie, 1994
  7. Clements-Notes, Marx, & Katz, 2006; Lombardi, Wilchins, Priesing, & Malouf, 2001; Wyss, 2004
  8. Jung, 2006
  9. Xavier, 2000; Xavier, Honnold, & Bradford,45 2007
  10. Transgender Law Center, 2016
  11. Dean et al., 2000; Xavier et al., 2004
  12. De Cuypere et al., 2005; Newfield, Hart, Dibble, & Kohler, 2006; Pfafflin & Junge, 1998;   Rehman, Lazer, Benet, Schaefer, & Melman, 1999; Ross & Need, 1989).
  13. Xavier et al, 2004
  14. D‘Augelli, Grossman, & Starks, 2006; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 2004; Grossman,       D‘Augelli, & Slater, 2006; Wyss, 2004
  15. Cohen-Kettenis & van Goozen, 1997; Smith, van Goozen, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2001; Spack, 2005
  16. Menvielle, Tuerk, & Perrin, 2005; PFLAG, 2004

 

 

 

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Democratic Party of Richmond County Convention

Last night the Democratic Party of Richmond held their County Convention nominated State Sen. Diane Savino, Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Assemblyman Michael Cusick, as well as three sitting Civil Court judges, Barbara Panepinto, Kim Dollard, and Philip Straniere to be on the party line for our borough.

Things that happened that WILL NOT be mentioned in our local paper the “Staten Island Advance” half of our party slate is female identified. That’s right HALF! We the Democratic Party of Staten Island are letting Female Identified people LEAD THE WAY. Starting with State Senator Diane Savino.

The party did something else last night that won’t be mentioned in the local paper. The more powerful story somehow missed  last night by the Staten Island Advance was that  for the first time in Staten Island history a transgender person Bryan John Ellicott (Yea that would be me) addressed a political convention, sadly however it was tTHE SAME NIGHT that in  BROOKLYN a TRANSPERSON was ASSAULTED!?! The same day a ciswoman was ASSAULTED in a women’s restroom for “looking like a dude.” in another state. It’s pretty clear that Transgender people are under attack.

I was asked by Assemblymember Matthew Titone to second the nomination for his re-election.

“Few people (we later found out none) like me have had this chance. I made the most of it. However, I am thankful to Chris Bauer, Michael Arvanites, Bobby Digi and the other men in the room…who understand what needed to be said. While we supportAssemblymember Matthew Titone as our voice of the vulnerable citizens of SI.”

I spoke of his continued fight for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) next to sponsor Assembly Dick Gottfried. The continued struggle of the LGBT community…and how important it is in Staten Island that we support across the borough our only LGBT elected official and one of few in Albany.

(featured photo credit: Michael Arvanites)

 

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Photo Credit: Roy Moskowitz 

 

I am NOT Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner’s notion that she can be trans ambassador to the President – to Ted Cruz of all people – sickens me. Here is a report of her interview with The Advocate:
She called Cruz a ‘great constitutionalist’ and said she would like to advise him on questions relating to her community.
“Yes, trans ambassador to the president of the United States, so we can say, ‘Ted, love what you’re doing but here’s what’s going on,’”.

I have supported Caitlyn’s right to tell her story and did so with her coming out with ABC last year in an interview with a CBS affiliate in Washington DC, with Debra Alfarone – even though her views are different from mine. I had hoped by now she would have understood her community and realized her experience is not ALL of our experiences.
Jenner says that she considers her greatest asset her mental rather than her physical ability. Well, I’m sorry. Olympian she may be, but she has proven repeatedly in recent comments that intellectual decathlete she is not. The things that come out of her mouth stun me:

      On the Ellen Show:

“When the whole gay marriage issue came up, at first, I was not for it. … I’m a traditionalist. I kinda like tradition. It’s always been a man and a woman.”

      On I am Cait, she argued that transgender people do not need social welfare services:

“they can make more not working with social programs than they actually can with an entry-level job”.

      To Time Magazine:

“I want to dress well. I want to look good. When I go out, as Kim says, you’ve got to rock it because the paparazzi will be there.”

For the record (according to Injustice at Every Turn):

  • 15% of transgender people live in extreme poverty (less than $10,000 a year) – four times the rate in the general population.
  • 41% report having attempted suicide.
  • 78% report being harassed in grades K-12.
  • 90% report exerperiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination at work. 26% report that they lost a job owing to their gender variance.
  • 19% reported having been refused a home or apartment.
  • 19% were refused medical care for failing to conform to gender norms.

These rates are typically 2 to 4 times higher for transgender people of color.

These are NOT lifestyle choices. To even imply that they are is ignorant. Here are some lifestyle choices transgender people have made:

  • 89% are registered to vote – compared to 71% for the general population
  • 20% say that they are or have served in the military – twice the rate for the general population
  • 47% have college and/or graduate degrees, compared with 27% of the general population.

These are admirable citizens. Especially when you consider their educational accomplishment in light of the harassment they have faced. Especially when you consider that the military has treated them like dogs. We need more brave, educated patriots like these. Olympic gold is nothing compared to what these people have braved their entire life. I wish that Caitlyn would spend more time on this and less on her wardrobe.

Please:

  • Make your support of marriage equality clear to all.
  • Don’t support “I am Cait”. Some publicity just isn’t worth it.

 

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The Family Foundation announced the intention to embark on a 40 day hunger strike against Marriage Equality

The Family Foundation has announced that it intends to embark on a hunger strike against marriage equality from Aug. 27 through Oct. 5, that is 40 days of a hunger strike. 

The Virginia-based conservative Christian organization is calling the fast “40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance for Marriage.” 

According to a statement released on the group’s website:

Our state and nation are mired in a morass of confusion and post-modern thinking that does not believe in absolutes nor that any truth can even be known. Nowhere is this more evident than in the current debate raging about what constitutes marriage. Pagan philosophies, a secular humanist education establishment and an entertainment industry that is absolutely determined in pushing the envelope on decency and morality have all combined to turn this great land into a country that our forefathers could not even begin to recognize.

On April 11, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring stated his belief that same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as interracial couples, and gave his support to uphold a Federal court ruling that declared Virginia’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. 

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the arguments on May 13. On that same day, The Family Foundation intends to conduct a “Stand & Pray” outside the Richmond Courthouse, according to its website.

 

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Judge rules Oaxaca, Mexico ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Oaxaca state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying to be unconstitutional on Tuesday and also found it to be in violation of Article 143 of the country’s Civil Code.

The action was brought by 39 gay and lesbian Mexicans, and their lawyers successfully argued that the state’s law violated Article 1 of the Mexican Constitution, which amongst other things protects sexual minorities from discrimination in law.

Oaxaca’s Office of Vital Records has said it will abide by the court’s decision and urged lawmakers to act in line with the court’s verdict to provide a legal framework by which same-sex couples may marry.

‘It is time to modernize our laws and our institutions have to adapt to changing times and conditions, because we are being overtaken in the new circumstances,’ Oaxaca director of Vital Records Clarivel Rivera said according to e-consulta.com.

Same-sex marriages are performed by the federal district of Mexico City and the state of Quintana Roo.

Other Mexican states have introduced civil union schemes for gay couples but all must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere even if they do not perform them themselves since August of 2010.