A circuit court judge in Virginia, who originally ruled in October
that a woman could not take the last name of her lesbian partner,
reversed that decision, ruling that her name change could go
forward. Advocate.com: Daily News
So, the candidates for Chairman of the Republican National Committee were asked, during their debate, about their favorite books, which include The Reagan Diaries, George W. Bush's recent masterpiece, and, well, a stiff gin martini after work (I'll let her explain).
But the kicker is when current Chairman Michael Steele clucks out War and Peace and then quotes from it, only to quote the first two lines of A Tale of Two Cities.
"When I was younger I used to refer to myself as a 'non-op transexual,'" writes the singer-songwriter Justin Bond, "meaning I was a transexual who didn’t need to have surgery to assert what I was. But I was wrong because without assertions people can only make assumptions and I no longer wish to indulge or refute the assumptions or labels other people choose to place on me, I simply want to inhabit my very clear vision of myself." Which means Bond, in addition to beginning a hormone regimen, is adding the name "Vivian" and assuming the prefix "Mx." And so: Mx. Justin Vivian Bond is neither male nor female, but transgender, and you may refer to Bond as neither a he nor a she, but a v. [photo: Amos Mac, via]
In the White House's latest attempt to control the Don't Ask Don't tell propaganda machine, it has released this EXCLUSIVE BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEOS of last week's Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal signing. It's almost enough to distract you from the fact that Don't Ask Don't Tell, uh, has not been repealed. 12/12/10: Never forget.
Letting gays to serve openly in the military will bring America "toward the end of [its] existence as a great nation," Rep. Louie Gohmert claimed on the House floor yesterday. He might have a point: Letting gays serve openly in Congress has, evidently, opened the doors to guys like Gohmert also holding office and being constitutionally permitted to speak on the House floor. Barney Frank's been serving since 1981; Gohmert got there in 2003. INEVITABLE COURSE OF EVENTS, PEOPLE.
The Marine Corp's Toys For Tots program has realized, after more than 25 years, the annual gay-organized toy drive held in New York City has the exact same name of its holiday charity event started in 1947. So after raising hell about the gays' use of the name and the confusion it creates, the Marines got the gay one to change its name. Robby Browne, the fabulously wealthy real estate executive (who sold Lance Bass his new condo), started the Chelsea Piers event in 1985 and says he "just pulled the name out of a hat" when first coming up with the event. Brown (pictured with Dorris Roberts at last year's event) seems to have done the same in the renaming: Toys For Tots will now be known as "Holiday Gifts for Children and Seniors." Definitely not as catchy. Why not "Gays Give Good Gift" or "Homo For The Holidays Toy Drive"? [photo via]
TRANS FRIENDLY? | Judge Lynn Cherry, right, is shown alongside drag performer Chanel during Stonewall Democrats’ 2008 holiday party at the Round-Up Saloon. A few months later, Cherry ruled against a transgender DART employee and overturned a gender-marker change. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)
DART stands accused of bigotry and transphobia after attorneys for the local transit agency intervened in family court last year to challenge a gender-marker change granted to an employee.
According to court records, a transgender DART employee obtained a court order in February 2009 directing all state agencies to correct their records by changing her gender-marker from male to female, including on her birth certificate.
As Dallas Voice reported last week, many Dallas County judges have been routinely granting gender-marker changes to transgender people who meet set criteria — including documentation from licensed medical personnel — since the Democratic sweep of 2006.
The DART employee, who’s name is being withheld to protect her anonymity, later presented the court order to the transit agency’s human resources department and requested that her personnel records be changed to reflect her new gender.
But DART’s attorneys objected to the gender-marker change and responded by filing a motion seeking a rehearing in court. DART’s objections prompted 301st Family District Court Judge Lynn Cherry to reverse her order granting the gender-marker change.
“Where does this stop when an employer can start interfering with your personal life and family law decisions?” said longtime local transgender activist Pamela Curry, a friend of the DART employee who brought the case to the attention of Dallas Voice. “She was devastated. This should be a serious concern to a lot of people — everybody — and I just think this story needs to be told.”
Judge Cherry, who received Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ Pink Pump Award for her support of the group last year, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment this week.
Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, noted that Cherry reversed her order before the agency actually filed its motion for a rehearing. However, Curry alleges that DART’s attorneys met with Cherry privately and pressured her into reversing the order.
As is common with gender-marker changes, the case file has been sealed, but Dallas Voice obtained copies of some of the court documents from Curry.
In their motion for a rehearing, DART attorneys Harold R. McKeever and Hyattye Simmons argued that Texas law grants registrars, not judges, the authority to amend birth certificates. They also argued that birth certificates could be amended only if they were inaccurate at the time of birth.
“It’s not a DART issue, it’s a point of law,” Lyons told Dallas Voice this week, in response to the allegations of bigotry. “The lawyers concluded that the birth certificate could not be altered by law, unless there was a mistake made when the birth certificate was completed, and again, the judge changed the order before we even wound up going into court with it.”
Asked about DART’s LGBT-related employment policies, Lyons said the agency’s nondiscrimination policy includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression. The agency, which is governed by representatives from Dallas and numerous suburbs, also doesn’t offer benefits to the domestic partners of employees.
Lyons didn’t respond to other allegations made by Curry, including that the agency has fought the employee’s transition from male to female at every step of the way.
Curry, who helped the employee file her pro se petition for a gender-marker change, said the employee has worked for DART for more than 20 years and has an outstanding performance record.
The employee began to come out as transgender in 2003 and had gender reassignment surgery more than three years ago, Curry said. Curry said DART supervisors have at various times told the employee that she couldn’t have long hair, couldn’t wear skirts to work and couldn’t use women’s restrooms at work.
The employee has responded by showing up at work in her uniform so she doesn’t have to change and using public restrooms on her bus route, Curry said.
Supervisors have also told the employee she can’t talk to the media and can’t join political groups, such as Stonewall Democrats, Curry said.
“She’s intimidated and she’s scared,” Curry said. “One supervisor even suggested to her that if she doesn’t lay off it, they will mess up her retirement.”
Elaine Mosher, a Dallas attorney who’s familiar with the case, also questioned why DART intervened. Mosher didn’t represent the employee in the case but has handled gender-marker changes for other clients.
Mosher said the employee’s gender doesn’t have any bearing on her ability to do her job at DART.
“My argument in any gender marker matter is, the birth certificate was wrong, that’s why they had to go through the transition surgery, in essence to put them in the correct gender,” Mosher said. “All I can tell you is that it seems strange to me that DART would care one way or another what the gender marker of anybody that works for them is.”
Moster added that she believes someone at DART may have been “freaked out” by the employee’s transition from male to female and developed a “vendetta” against her.
“I wish I had a good explanation for why [DART got involved] other than the fact that I know there are people out there who are utterly blind and prejudiced for no other reason than they are,” Mosher said. “I compare it to some of the nonsense African-Americans had to live through in the ’60s.”
Mosher also said she’s “very surprised” that Cherry reversed the order granting the gender marker change.
Erin Moore, president of Stonewall Democrats, said she’s heard “bits and pieces” of the story but isn’t sure of all the facts.
Moore said in response to her questions about the case, Cherry told her she couldn’t talk about it because it’s still within the timeframe for a possible appeal.
“Lynn is a longtime supporter of Stonewall and I would think she would be fair in the case,” Moore said. “I’m confident she’s an ally to this community.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.