NOW President Toni Van Pelt Addresses Supreme Court Rally for LGBT Rights

Toni Van Pelt spoke this morning at a rally organized by the ACLU legal team on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: NOW President Toni Van Pelt Addresses Supreme Court Rally for LGBT Rights | National Organization for Women

Federal Appeals Court Rules Sexual Orientation Is Protected Against Workplace Discrimination by the Civil Rights Act – The New Civil Rights Movement

Source: Federal Appeals Court Rules Sexual Orientation Is Protected Against Workplace Discrimination by the Civil Rights Act – The New Civil Rights Movement

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: LGBTQ Access to Shelters

by on • 2:03 PM

A new report released this week by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that nearly half of LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence have been turned away from a shelter, usually because of their gender identity.

All-women shelters do not allow gay men or trans women to stay in their facilities, and domestic violence shelters for men are difficult to find, forcing many of them into homeless shelters that do not have the services required to treat abuse victims. For women in abusive same-sex relationships, fleeing to domestic violence shelters can be a risky endeavor, as it is often difficult to restrict their partners from entering the same single-sex shelter.

The report describes the situation of a man named Jacob, who landed in the emergency room 12 times over a six month period due to his husband’s abuse. Hospital staff never inquired as to the frequency and severity of Jacob’s visits, and when he decided to leave his abusive husband, the only shelter he could find was thousands of miles away.

There are many additional barriers LGBTQ individuals face in seeking help for cases of intimate partner violence. These include fear of being outed, a lack of respect from law enforcement, or a fear that their abuse will paint the community in a negative light, retracting from the national progress that has been made.

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 43.8 percent of lesbians, 61.1 percent of bisexual women, and 35 percent of heterosexual women, along with 26 percent of gay men, 37.3 percent of bisexual men, and 29 percent of heterosexual men report having been a victim of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

The CDC’s study is severely flawed as it completely disregards gender identity, causing many trans women to be misidentified as men who sleep with men.

There is some hopeful news for trans women though. Last month the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued the Gender Identity Rules, requiring domestic violence shelters and other facilities that receive HUD funding to admit people whose gender identity corresponds with the single-sex facility.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month, advocates and survivors come together to bring the issues surrounding domestic violence to the forefront of national conversation. We must ensure this narrative and understanding includes LGBTQ survivors of domestic abuse. Domestic violence is a LGBTQ issue, domestic violence is a feminist issue and domestic violence is a community issue that we are all responsible for stopping.

Media Resources: Vice 10/18/16; Feminist Majority Foundation 10/11/16;


Jeanne St.John   PFLAG Oregon Central Coast board member

     This is a response to Duke Rider’s recent letter, “Longing for the good old days” (June 3 edition). He says he “wants to hear from Democrats who support this nonsense.”   The “nonsense” he is referring to is President Obama’s latest executive order. Rider writes that it involves “bypassing congress with no debating and no congressional voting on this screwball bill that would never pass.”   Well, Duke, there is no bill. That is why there is no debate or voting. It is one of the areas in which our constitution gave the president authority to act unilaterally. The congress should be doing important work required by the constitution — like holding hearings on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Since it is not, why would he bother consulting them with things that don’t require congressional approval?   Furthermore, this is not an executive order, nor a change in actual law. It is a Justice Department letter summarizing the Title IX obligations of schools regarding transgender students. This guidance does not add requirements, but informs districts about their existing legal obligations under Title IX (1972) that prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities for recipients of federal funds. This prohibition encompasses discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, including transgender status. The full letter of guidance can be found at the following link: fi le/850986/download   In other words, this guidance was intended to reduce discrimination against LGBT children. I don’t see how that is dierent from protecting Irish, Catholic, African-American, Hispanic, or Jewish students from discrimination, as enlightened people have always tried to do as a matter of simple fairness, even in the “good old days.”   Mr. Rider writes: “Young adults and children are already confused. Aren’t the president and his administration supposed to be educated people? Bathroom and shower requirements should be unconstitutional.”   What nonsense. I believe children can enter a bathroom and shut the door without any help. They are not confused, Duke is.   Yes it’s true, we crazy Democrats want a country ruled by fair laws — so sue us.

Newport News Times, Letters to the Editor, June 8, 2016, Page A6

House reverses course; passes LGBT nondiscrimination amendment

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House reversed itself late Wednesday and approved a measure aimed at upholding an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors.

More than 40 Republicans helped Democrats power the gay rights measure over the opposition of GOP conservatives who dominate the chamber.

Conservatives did prevail in a separate vote designed to make sure federal funding isn’t taken away from the state of North Carolina over its controversial bathroom law fortransgender people.

Wednesday night’s 223-195 tally reverses a vote last week on the gay rights measure. Then, GOP leaders twisted arms to defeat the legislation, causing several supporters to switch their vote, leading Democrats to erupt in protest.

Openly gay New York Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney returned to attach the measure to a funding bill for the Energy Department.

This time, GOP leaders let members vote as they wished; about a dozen Republicans, including several from California, rethought their opposition and Maloney’s amendment made it through fairly easily.

It would prohibit agencies funded by the bill to award taxpayer dollars to federal contractors that violate President Barack Obama‘s executive order barringdiscrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“It says you do not take taxpayer dollars and fire people just for being gay,” Maloney said.

Maloney said last week’s vote “snatched discrimination from the jaws of equality.”

Earlier, the House voted 227-192 to block several federal agencies from retaliating against North Carolina over its law requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of their original sex.

That amendment, by Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., came in response to warnings from the Obama administration that it may take federal funding away from North Carolina in response to the state law that blocks certain protections for gay people.

“The President and his emissaries have stated … that funds should not be dispensed to North Carolina until North Carolina is coerced into complying with the legal beliefs of the President, and his political views,” Pittenger said. “This is an egregious abuse of executive power.”

The North Carolina law was passed after Charlotte passed an ordinance allowing transgender people to use restrooms of their chosen gender identity. The state law went further to take away federal protections for gays, putting the state at risk of losing a variety of federal funds.

Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California blasted Republicans as favoring discrimination against gays.

“Republicans overwhelmingly voted to support … the hateful and discriminatory state law in North Carolina, and to enable anti-LGBT bigotry across our country,” Pelosi said in a statement. “History will not look kindly on the votes Republicans proudly took to target Americans because of whom they are or whom they love.”

Maloney’s proposal had appeared on track to pass last week, peaking at 217-206 as an amendment to a veterans’ spending bill.

But GOP leaders prevailed on seven Republicans to switch their votes, including California GOP Reps. Jeff Denham, Darrell Issa, Mimi Walters and David Valadao. Swing-district freshmen David Young, R-Iowa, and Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, also switched positions on last week’s vote. Each of them switched back Wednesday, joined by several other Republicans who opposed Maloney’s plan last week.

The energy and water projects bill is the second spending bill for the upcoming budget year to come to the House floor.

© 2016, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.

Dear Creepy Heterosexual Men Guarding Our Bathrooms

05/23/2016 03:50 pm ET

Kasey Rose-Hodge

Target Backlash

FILE – This Monday, Aug. 11, 2015, file photo, shows a Target store in Miami. Consumer backlash is growing against Target’s stance on what type of bathrooms its transgender customers and employees can use. In April 2016, the Minneapolis-based discounter issued a statement that said customers and employees can use the restroom or fitting room that “corresponds to their gender identity.” The move made Target the first major retailer to take such a prominent position on the issue, and won praise from supporters of transgender rights. But Target’s position also sparked criticism on social media that hasn’t let up. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

My entire life, I’ve been told to fear you in one way or another. I’ve been told to cover my body as to not distract you in school, to cover my body to help avoid unwanted advances or comments, to cover my body as to not tempt you to sexually assault me, to reject your unwanted advances politely as to not anger you. I’ve been taught to never walk alone at night, to hold my keys in my fist while walking in parking lots, to check the backseat of my car, to not drink too much because you might take advantage of me. I’ve been told what I should and shouldn’t do with my body as to not jeopardize my relationships with you.

I’ve been warned not to emasculate you, to let “boys be boys,” to protect your fragile ego and to not tread on your even more fragile masculinity. I’ve been taught to keep my emotions in check, to let you be the unit of measure for how much emotion is appropriate and to adjust my emotions accordingly. I’ve been taught that you’re allowed to categorize women into mothers/sisters/girlfriends/wives/daughters but any woman outside of your protected categories is fair game.


So to those of you who think you’re being helpful by “protecting” me and my fellow women, you’re like a shark sitting in the lifeguard chair. I wasn’t uncomfortable until you showed up at the pool and the only potential predator I see is you.


Your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and daughters don’t need you to walk them to the bathroom for safety. Your fathers, brothers, friends and sons need to walk themselves away from their own double standards. Women are sexually harassed and sexually assaulted on school campuses, on the street, at their jobs, on the Internet, in their own homes, in ANY public place. And it has been excused or ignored for so long because of what you and I are taught from the first years of our interactions with each other: You, as a male, are not accountable for your own actions. It’s MY responsibility, as a female, to not “provoke” you. But then you get to knight-in-shining-armor your way through life for those in your protected categories and I am expected to applaud you. Why the outrage now over bathrooms? Why aren’t you outraged every single day?


If you’re telling me that there are high volumes of boys and men out there, in schools or in general, who are just waiting for a “loop-hole” to sexually assault girls and women, we have bigger problems on our hands than bathrooms. The first problem would be your apparent lack of knowledge of how often it happens OUTSIDE of bathrooms, with no “loop holes” needed. This isn’t about transgender bathroom access. This is about you not trusting the boys and men in your communities and/or fearing that they’re all secretly predators. Why do you have this fear? How many fathers have panicked when their daughters started dating because they “know how teenage boys can be because they used to be one”? How many times have girls been warned “boys are only after one thing”? A mother can bring her young son into the women’s restroom and that’s fine but a father bringing his young daughter into the men’s restroom is disturbing because men are assumed to be predators and “little girls” shouldn’t be exposed to that.


So instead of picking up your sword and heading to Target or the girls’ locker room to defend our “rights,” why don’t you start somewhere that could actually make a difference? Challenge your children’s schools to end sexist dress codes and dress codes that sexualize girls as young as age 5. Advocate for proper (or any) sex education classes in all public schools by a certain grade level. Focus more on teaching your sons not to rape vs teaching your daughters how to avoid being raped. Stop asking “How would you feel if that was your mother or sister?” It shouldn’t take the comparison to clue you in to what’s right or wrong. Question why you’re more worried about your daughter being around men than your son being around women in bathrooms and dressing rooms. Stop walking by Victoria’s Secret with no problem but covering your son’s eyes if a woman is breastfeeding in public. Stop treating your daughter’s body as some fortress you’re sworn to protect as if that’s all she’s got to offer the world.