Tag: ban

Tennessee Bill Would Ban Mention of LGBTQ People in School Curriculum

Tennessee Bill Would Ban Mention of LGBTQ People in School

A bill introduced in both houses of the Tennessee Legislature would prohibit public schools from using textbooks or instructional materials “that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) issues or lifestyles.”

Tennessee flag

The House bill (PDF) says that this type of material is “inappropriate” and “offends a significant portion of students, parents, and Tennessee residents with Christian values.” It claims that “the promotion of LGBT issues and lifestyles should be subject to the same restrictions and limitations placed on the teaching of religion in public schools,” and should therefore not be permitted. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Bruce Griffey (R – District 75) and will get a hearing March 30. A similar bill in the state Senate awaits a committee hearing. Another pair of bills would require schools to notify parents or guardians before “instruction of a sexual orientation or gender identity curriculum.” I guess that’s just in case the complete ban doesn’t pass.

Fact is, at least two federal lawsuits brought in the past two years against states that had banned mention of LGBTQ people in their health curriculum led to overturning those laws (in South Carolina, by a court ruling and in Arizona by legislative repeal after the lawsuit was filed). The Tennessee bill isn’t restricted to the health curriculum, but would presumably include it.

Currently five other states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas) have similar “Don’t Say Gay” laws, according to the Movement Advancement Project. In contrast, six states require inclusion of LGBTQ people in the curriculum (California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Oregon). A similar law in the U.K., Section 28, was enacted in 1988 but fully repealed in 2003.

“Don’t Say Gay” laws get fuzzy (and ugly) really fast when, say, a kid with same-sex parents starts talking about their family vacation and another kid asks how they can have two moms or two dads. Could the teacher (or the kid) stop to explain without running afoul of the law? Could they look to LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books to help? What might the child with two parents think if the teacher just shuts down conversation? Or what if a kid brings in a book for reading time that includes LGBTQ characters? Or if a child is transgender or gender creative? Can the teacher help other children understand this or must the trans or gender creative child be the one to change who they are? There’s a fragile line between banning materials that depict certain identities and banning people with those identities.

In addition, a number of other current Tennessee bills are explicitly anti-transgender, including ones that would force transgender athletes to compete on teams of their gender assigned at birth, and several that could negatively impact gender-affirming care for trans youth. Tennessee is also one of eleven states that allows adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others in the name of religion.

Want to take action? Visit the Tennessee Equality Project to see what’s happening next week (and in the future) and what you can do about it.

Have you read about the Sapporo court in Japan that has said that the same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional? What do you think about it? : actuallesbians

Have you read about the Sapporo court in Japan that

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Britney Spears makes another bid to ban dad Jamie from personal affairs

Britney spears father dad

Britney Spears with her father in Hollywood, California in 2008. (Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage)

Britney Spears‘ lawyer plans to file another petition to give the pop star her freedom back and permanently bar her father from her personal affairs and estate.

According to Today, Samuel D Ingham III said on Wednesday (17 March) that he intends to petition the court to bring Jodi Montgomery as a permanent conservator for Britney. Montgomery was briefly in charge of Britney’s estate after her father, Jamie Spears, took a break for personal health reasons.

Britney has been embroiled in a complex court-order conservatorship since 2008 after she went through a mental health crisis. Under the terms of the arrangement, her father has maintained significant control over the pop star’s wellbeing and estate.

In 2019, Spears had to take a break from being a conservator due to his health, and Montgomery briefly stepped in to take over. Spears returned and still maintains control over Britney’s conservatorship.

Ingham argued last year that Britney would rather have Montgomery remain in control of her estate and asked the courts to remove Jamie Spears from the conservatorship. However, a judge denied Ingham’s request in November.

Britney has been fighting to be freed from the arrangement for much of the last year. In February, a judge denied Jamie Spears’ request to retain the power to delegate investment powers for Britney’s estate.

The decision means that Spears will retain equal control with the Bessemer Trust, a firm that was appointed as a co-conservator in November 2020 by the courts after Britney’s legal team said she was “afraid of her father”.

This sentiment was further confirmed by Britney’s cousin and assistant who alleged that Jamie “100 per cent” threatened her life, and she did not speak to the star after the incident as a result.

Alli Sims, who worked as Spears’ assistant in the mid-2000s, told NBC News that Jamie “100 per cent was threatening me with my life” when he demanded she cut off ties with Britney. She alleged this happened in 2008, shortly after the star entered her conservatorship.

“I didn’t put it past him, so I didn’t answer [Britney’s calls again],” Sims admitted.

Ingham’s current petition does not appear to remove Jamie Spears from conservatorship but requesting that Montgomery be granted a conservator, based on the statement he made in court.

The court will review the new petition and other filings in a hearing on 27 April, according to NBC News.

Ingham declined to comment to NBC News about the petition, and an attorney for Jamie Spears did not have a comment on the matter either.

Jamie Spears’ attorney Vivian L Thoreen has claimed that Britney could have asked as “any time” to end her conservatorship. The lawyer told PEOPLE: “Any time Britney wants to end her conservatorship, she can ask her lawyer to file a petition to terminate it; she has always had this right, but in 13 years has never exercised it.”

Thoreen added that Jamie Spears has “diligently and professionally carried out his duties as one of Britney’s conservators, and his love for his daughter and dedication to protecting her is clearly apparent to the court”.

Conversion therapy ban in the UK must include trans people, MPs say

Conversion therapy ban in the UK must include trans people,

Boris Johnson. (Christopher Furlong/WPA Pool /Getty)

MPs from across the UK have insisted that any ban on conversion therapy must also include trans people.

During a debate in Westminster Hall on Monday evening (8 March), MPs urged the government to ban the harmful, pseudoscientific practice.

The debate, triggered by a petition to government signed by more than 250,000 people, saw 20 MPs speak on the urgent need for parliament to introduce tough measures to curb conversion therapy in the UK.

Opening the debate, Conservative MP Elliot Colburn told the stories of three survivors of conversion therapy – two gay men and a trans woman – and said any ban must protect everyone across the LGBT+ spectrum.

He said nobody should be subjected to “these abhorrent interventions” and urged the government to lay out a timeline for the banning of the practice.

“I’d like to end by saying that as a gay man myself, and on behalf of LGBT+ people in the UK and around the world, we are here, our existence is real, our lives are valid and we cannot and do not need to be cured.”

Crispin Blunt said a conversion therapy ban would empower LGBT+ people to call out abuse when it happens to them. He said any ban “must include trans people”.

“They are by far and away the most vulnerable group amongst those in the LGBT+ community,” Blunt said.

“It must include trans people not only because they are the group that need it the most, but because since 2018, when it appeared that trans people were on a trajectory to achieve their rights and protections to live their lives as they wish, supported by the government’s comprehensive LGBT Action Plan, all of that now seems to have changed. They are a community under siege.”

Blunt criticised campaign groups whose “raison d’être” is to push for the rollback of trans rights, and criticised government ministers for listening to the likes of anti-trans pressure group LGB Alliance.

“If legislation doesn’t include the protection of trans people, it will send the unmistakable message to them that their government does not want to protect them, does not value them, and on some level it doesn’t really accept that trans is really a thing, and that awful message would inadvertently make the government party to the practice of conversion therapy itself,” he said.

Conversion therapy ‘disproportionately’ affects trans people

Angela Eagle said it is “almost medieval” to believe that LGBT+ people can have their identities changed.

She said LGBT+ people in the UK are having hitter lives and mental wellbeing “put at serious risk” every day by harmful conversion therapies.

Alicia Kearns noted that conversion therapy “disproportionately” affects trans people and said it would be wrong to exclude them.

Kearns said LGBT+ people currently have no recourse for justice if they are forced, or coerced, into conversion therapy.

She branded the practice as “fraudulent quackery” and argued that LGBT+ people cannot “freely consent” to undergoing conversion therapy because it is a form of torture.

Stephen Doughty spoke of his experience as a gay Christian and said he was lucky to have seen a therapist who was supportive of his sexuality.

It boils down to one phrase: Let’s get on with it.

Closing his speech, Doughty said he stands with the trans and non-binary community and said banning conversion therapy is a “human rights issue”.

Alyn Smith spoke of the huge numbers of trans people who have faced some form of conversion therapy, and hit out at the government for its lack of action on a ban.

“It boils down to one phrase: Let’s get on with it,” he said. “The only people speaking in defence of it are quacks, bigots and bullies.”

Charlotte Nichols said conversion therapy is a “disgusting” practice and said being LGBT+ is not a “sickness”.

She hit out at those who peddle conversion therapies and said they are perpetuating a “fraud on the public”.

Nichols spoke of her own experiences as a bisexual woman, and said queer people in the UK have waited “long enough” for the government to take action.

Kemi Badenoch, secretary of state for equalities, spoke to MPs virtually about the government’s plans to ban the abhorrent practice.

She insisted that the government is taking plans to ban conversion therapy “very seriously”, but said it is still gathering information about what a ban should look like.

Badenoch said the government wants to ensure that they do not push conversion therapy underground by banning it. She said government officials have commissioned research to examine the experiences of conversion therapy survivors, which will help them to come up with a “comprehensive plan”.

“We are in conversations with international counterparts, both those who have introduced the variety of legislative and non-legislative actions, and those who plan to,” Badenoch said.

“While it is important to figure out what will work in a UK context, we may also look to our friend around the world to understand the effectiveness of different approaches. Honourable members have mentioned, for example, that Germany has implemented a ban on conversion therapy for minors only, or when an adult has been covered, and I understand other countries such as Malta have also taken this route.

“However, we understand that different countries will take different approaches that best suit their needs. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach.”

On 28 March, it will have been 1,000 days since the Tories first pledged to “eradicate” conversion therapy as part of its LGBT+ Action Plan.

While Boris Johnson said the practice has “no place” in a civilised society in July 2020, equalities minister Liz Truss later said the government would have to do more research before proceeding with a ban.

Conversion therapy has been widely condemned by almost every major psychiatric body, and a number of nations and states have banned the practice in acknowledgement of the trauma it inflicts upon queer people.

 

Removal of Transgender Military Ban Is a Victory for Trans People and Their Families and Children

Removal of Transgender Military Ban Is a Victory for Trans

President Biden’s executive order yesterday ending the ban on transgender people serving in the military is not only a victory for the many trans people in uniform, but also for the children and families they support.

Jennifer and Deborah Peace and their children - Credit: TransMilitary

Jennifer and Deborah Peace and their children – Credit: TransMilitary

The premise of the executive order is very simple: “All Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve.” Biden added, “The All-Volunteer Force thrives when it is composed of diverse Americans who can meet the rigorous standards for military service, and an inclusive military strengthens our national security.”

For the more than 15,000 transgender people currently serving, that’s an acknowledgment of equality. For those who are parents, it means they do not have to fear losing their jobs and being unable to feed and house their children. The U.S. military is the country’s largest employer of transgender people, according to the 2018 documentary TransMilitary. The unemployment rate for trans people is three times higher than the national average, and over one quarter (27 percent) of trans people who held or applied for a job reported being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion due to their gender identity, per the National Center for Transgender Equality‘s latest U.S. Transgender Survey. (The survey covers 2016-17, but I can’t imagine the number improved during the last four years.)

As Deborah Peace said in Transmilitary about her spouse Jennifer Peace, a captain in the U.S. Army and a trans woman, “She was the breadwinner of the family.” The Peaces have three children.

The removal of the ban will also, I imagine, positively impact service members and their spouses who are not trans themselves, but are raising transgender or gender-creative children. Consider: The Department of Defense Child Development Virtual Lab School (VLS), an online professional development system for the 33,000 child- and youth-care professionals working with children of military families on bases around the world, in 2018 launched a course on “Creating Gender Safe Spaces.” Sarah Lang, associate director of research and professional development at VLS, told me in an interview, “Part of the reason we developed this course was that people working in military childcare saw gender-expansive kids and reached out to us. We want to be supportive of children and families with gender-expansive or LGBT members, and to arm staff with tools to navigate conversations with other families.” Clearly, then, there were enough of these families that such a program was worth creating. Yet children are less likely to thrive in an environment that condemns their identities. Transgender people serving openly (and perhaps occasionally visiting on-base classrooms) may give these children important role models.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has also clarified that the new policy applies not only to transgender people currently serving, but also to those wishing to enlist. He noted, too:

The United States Armed Forces are in the business of defending our fellow citizens from our enemies, foreign and domestic. I believe we accomplish that mission more effectively when we represent all our fellow citizens. I also believe we should avail ourselves of the best possible talent in our population, regardless of gender identity. We would be rendering ourselves less fit to the task if we excluded from our ranks people who meet our standards and who have the skills and the devotion to serve in uniform.

This is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do.

Darn right.

As we move forward, however, let us not forget how we got here. TransMilitary, which profiles not only the Peace family, but also several other transgender service members, is available on several of the major streaming services. I encourage you to watch. It’s a reminder that not only did transgender service members and their families feel the negative impact of the ban, but that many put their careers on the line by sharing their stories and speaking out against it. It is in large part because of their efforts, along with research (and more research) and the work of many other advocates, that Biden put pen to paper and signed yesterday’s order, affirming transgender people’s right to serve their country on equal terms.

Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace, and Senior Airman Logan Ireland - Credit: TransMilitary

Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace, and Senior Airman Logan Ireland – Credit: TransMilitary

If reading’s more your thing, check out the 2019 NPR profile of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bree “B” Fram, her spouse Peg, and their two kids; this piece by Alli Alexander, an Army veteran, mother, and now military spouse, about her husband’s transition while in the Army; or this InStyle profile of Capt. Peace.

This executive order is personal for me—I have a friend who is a transgender man, a parent, and a serving member of the Armed Forces. I’m delighted for him and his family, and for all transgender service members. Thanks to them for their service to us all.

Home state of Mike Pence could be next to ban conversion therapy

Vice president Mike Pence

Vice president Mike Pence. (Getty/J. Scott Applewhite)

Indiana, the home-state of vice-president Mike Pence, could be next in line to ban traumatising conversion therapy for LGBT+ people in a groundbreaking move.

JD Ford and Sue Errington, two Indiana Democrats, have introduced bills that would outlaw the dangerous practice in the state.

If passed, the bills would “make anti-LGBTQ practices illegal” and “penalise businesses and Hoosiers who participate in [the] debunked conspiracy theory”, according to the Stonewall Democrats.

“Putting a stop to this harmful and detrimental practice can save the lives of countless LGBTQ Hoosiers,” Ford said, according to WRTV.

“Our state has the chance to end this harmful and detrimental practice this year. A person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not a disease that needs [to be] cured.

“In fact, every major medical and mental health organisation in our country has condemned the use of ‘conversion therapy’… there is no financial risk to our state government for approving this legislation, so why not do this?”

Meanwhile, Errington said in a press release that most people in Indiana have “never heard of conversion therapy” – but said the practice is ongoing in the state.

“I personally know some of my constituents were subjected to ‘conversion therapy’ as children and are concerned about its use on young people today,” Errington said.

“Last summer, a transgender friend of mine from Delaware County reached out to me and asked me to help end ‘conversion therapy’ in Indiana. Her plea prompted me to introduce House Bill 1213, which would end the use of this discredbied practice and protect Hoosiers who are born as LGBTQ.”

If the legislation is passed, Indiana would join 20 other states that have banned conversion therapy in some form.

Mike Pence has tried to rewrite his historic support of conversion therapy.

The news will likely come as a disappointment to the outgoing vice-president, who is famous for his connections to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.

On the archived website for Pence’s 2000 congressional campaign, he suggested that funding for HIV prevention programming should be suspended and instead diverted to organisations that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour”.

While campaigning to be vice-president, Mike Pence repeatedly declined requests to disavow the comments or clarify his point of view.

After being elected he attempted to rewrite history, claiming that he never actually supported the practise — even though his website had directly called for the therapy.

Mike Pence and Donald Trump are set to wave goodbye to their days as vice-president and president of the United States, with president-elect Joe Biden set to be inaugurated on 20 January.

 

Evangelical rages over Facebook conversion therapy advertisement ban

facebook conversion therapy ads

Christopher Doyle, a “former homosexual”, co-founded the “ex-gay” group Voice of the Voiceless. (Voice of the Silenced/ YouTube)

Evangelical anti-LGBT+ Christians are fuming after Facebook confirmed that it would ban advertising for conversion therapy on the social media platform.

Facebook confirmed on Friday, July 10, that as part of a push to expand its hate speech policies, it will take down content deemed to be promoting the traumatic practice.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also said last week that it would pull down content from the UK-based Core Issues Trust, a group that promotes debunked theories that gay people can be cured.

In a statement to CNN, Instagram’s Tara Hopkins said: “We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services.”

But anti-LGBT+ evangelicals are convinced that the ban on conversion therapy advertising is an “assault on free speech and religious liberty”.

Christopher Doyle is the executive director of the Institute for Healthy Families, which describes itself as a “non-profit therapeutic organization” which “specializes in sexual/ gender identity affirming therapy, and works with clients and families all over the world who experience sexual and/or gender identity conflicts”.

Doyle, a “former homosexual”, also co-founded the “ex-gay” group Voice of the Voiceless which says its mission it “to defend the rights of former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction, and their families”.

He said that he founded the group “simply because of the invasion of homosexual activism within the secular American society”.

He strongly objects to Facebook and Instagram’s ban on conversion therapy advertising, and told the Christian Post: “While the company claims they are taking this action to prevent discrimination towards the LGBT community, the real people they are hurting are those who experience unwanted sexual and gender identity conflicts and are seeking options for healing and ethical, licensed therapy.

“Everyone should have the right to seek help for unwanted attractions or sexual/gender conflicts without interference, and public companies should not be able to discriminate the views of some they may disagree with for political purposes.”

Conversion therapy is often compared to torture and has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide, and drug addiction.

A UK survey conducted last year found that one in five people who had been through conversion therapy later attempted suicide.

Democrats demand end to Donald Trump’s abhorrent trans military ban once and for all in wake of historic Supreme Court ruling

Democrats demand end to Donald Trump's abhorrent trans military ban

Army Sergeant Shane Ortega laces up boots before posing for a portrait at home at Wheeler Army Airfield on March 26, 2015 in Wahiawa, Hawaii. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers have pressed for an end to Donald Trump ‘s ban on transgender people serving in the military, in wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on LGBT+ civil rights protections.

In its ruling last month, the Supreme Court made clear that anti-discrimination protections enshrined in the 1964 Civil Rights Act also protect people from discrimination in employment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

LGBT+ activists are hopeful that the ruling means that days are numbered for the ban on trans people serving in the armed forces, which was imposed in the wake of an infamous Trump tweet-storm in 2017.

Trump administration warned of ‘certain defeat’ over trans military ban

In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr published Wednesday, Democrats in the House of Representatives urged the Trump administration to “immediately” eliminate the ban and cease resisting court action on the issue in the face of “almost certain defeat.”

The letter states: “This policy denies transgender people the ability to enlist in the military and puts transgender troops at risk of being discharged for living openly and authentically.

“The Bostock decision unambiguously clarified that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex includes protections for LGBTQ workers.

“Justice Gorsuch wrote ‘[t]he statute’s message for our cases is equally simple and momentous: An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.’”

Noting the four ongoing lawsuits challenging the ban working their way through the court system, the letter adds: “The US Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock will provide significant weight to those already substantial claims: the principle announced— that gender-identity discrimination is discrimination ‘because of sex’—applies equally to claims under the Constitution.

“Prolonging the litigation in the face of almost certain defeat, and thereby prolonging the existing policy, will continue to inflict serious harm on transgender people seeking to serve our country and on those already serving while living in the shadows, enduring the dignitary harm of being told they’re a burden.

“This policy is an attack on transgender service members who are risking their lives to serve our country and it should be reversed immediately.”

Democratic lawmakers joined activists to rally against the transgender military service ban.
Democratic lawmakers joined activists to rally against the transgender military service ban. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The White House declined to comment on the letter, according to forces outlet Stars and Stripes.

The letter, spearheaded by Washington Democrat Suzan DelBene, is signed by 113 Democratic members of Congress, including every single out LGB House lawmaker – David Cicilline, Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Sean Patrick Maloney, Chris Pappas, Mark Pocan and Mark Takano. There are no out transgender people elected to the House of Representatives.

Joe Biden has already vowed to immediately scrap trans ban

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has already pledged to scrap the ban if elected in November.

Former Vice President Joe Biden
Joe Biden has vowed to strike down the trans military ban (Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

His policy plan makes clear: “Every American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to do so—regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and without having to hide who they are.

“Biden will direct the US Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly, receive needed medical treatment, and be free from discrimination.”

Trump asks Supreme Court to make it legal to ban same-sex couples from adopting

Trump asks Supreme Court to make it legal to ban

Photo via Proud Parenting Family Photo Gallery

The Trump Administration has filed a new law brief with the Supreme Court. In it, the administration argues that adoption agencies should have a right to refuse to home children with same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.

The debate rose out of the City of Philadelphia, where the city itself had a contract with Catholic Social Services to help place needy children in foster and adoptive care. The city terminated its contract with CSS in 2018 when the agency refused to place any of its children with same-sex couples, citing a city law that requires nondiscrimination by all agencies contracting with the city government. CSS claimed it would not abide by the regulation, citing religious exemption.

The Trump administration continues to claim that Donald Trump is the most pro-LGBTQ president in historyAn assessment of actions by the administration, however, reveals that Trump is actually the most anti-LGBTQ president in American history.

via Queerty