First PTA for Gay Students Approved in Long Island
For the first time in history, a parent teacher association (PTA) chapter will be dedicated exclusively to the needs of LGBT students. WNYC News reports that the chapter, which is officially recognized by the National PTA, will serve all of Long Island, N.Y.'s 127 schools beginning next year.
In addition to proposing curriculum changes to include information about the LGBT civil rights movement and its leaders, the new PTA chapter will work to educate teachers and administrators on the importance of faculty awareness and competency when dealing with the needs of LGBT students and their families.
Transgender Voters Disproportionately Impacted by Voter ID Laws
New voter ID laws may be problematic for nearly 25,000 transgender voters this November. According to a new study by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, a think tank at UCLA School of Law, nine states are proposing strict requirements that may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for transgender people. Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin have passed strict photo ID laws and could have them in place for the November election.
Transgender voters face unique challenges to obtaining accurate government-issued identification. According to the new Williams Institute report, 41 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported not having an updated driver's license and 74 percent did not have an updated U.S. passport. Moreover, 27 percent of transgender citizens who have transitioned reported that they had no identity documents or records that list their current gender.
Small Victory for Transgender Woman in Alaska
While it appears that a measure to add protections for LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, and access to business serving the public has been rejected by Alaskan voters, the transgender community has won a small victory.
Beginning in 2011, the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles stopped changing the sex designation on any transgender person's licenses unless they could present proof of gender reassignment surgery. On March 12, a court ruled in the case K.L. v. State of Alaska that the practice unconstitutional.
According to John Knight, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project, the K.L. decision is the only in country where a U.S. court recognized a transgender person's constitutionally protected privacy interests in having the sex designation on their driver's license match their "lived gender expression of identity."
President Delays Executive Order
President Obama has decided not to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discrimination against LGBT workers "at this time." In explaining the decision, administration officials have indicated that they are pursuing legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) because they view it as a more permanent solution.
"There is a well-established record documenting employment discrimination against LGBT Americans based on their sexual orientation or gender identity," said Ian Thompson, said on behalf of the ACLU. "[We] continue to view this executive order as the single most important step President Obama could take this year to eradicate LGBT discrimination from our country's workplaces [and] it is extremely disappointing that the administration has apparently decided to delay doing so."
North Carolina Gov. Speaks Out Against Anti-LGBT Legislation
Bev Perdue, governor of North Carolina, posted a video speaking out against Amendment One, which would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. In the video, Perdue says, "Whatever your personal, moral or religious views might be, writing discrimination into North Carolina's constitution is just plain wrong…. The amendment I believe is dangerous for women. There is a real risk that some laws we have on the books now to protect the victims of domestic violence may no longer apply to many women in the state."