Not in my America!


The Republicans just spent a week trying to build a winning hand, but proved that the only card they have left to play is Trump-ed up fear


Haberman-Hardy-I admit it. I watched the Republican National Convention.

It left me very confused, because speech after speech by second-tier GOP luminaries played the only card left in the Republican hand: fear.

We should be afraid of the crime wave sweeping America! We should be afraid of all the criminal illegal Mexicans pouring across our borders! We should be afraid of the terrorists that are slaughtering more people now in America than ever! We should be afraid of the economic disaster the Obama presidency has wrought on America! We should be afraid of the weakened state of defense! We should be afraid of Obamacare! We should be afraid of transgender people invading our son’s and daughter’s bathrooms! We should be afraid of the massive unemployment that this administration has caused and even more fearful of Hillary Clinton continuing on the same trajectory! We should be afraid of the elitism! We are a country in a crisis!

I think I ran out of exclamation points.

What amazes me is that every speaker — with the possible exception of Mrs. Trump — gave the same speech.

More amazing is the country these people are describing. It is an America largely based on fiction, an America that exists only on Fox News and in the minds of the huddled “preppers” who sit in their shelters awaiting the end times.

It is a completely different America than the one in which I live.

In my America, crime statistics show a steady decline in violent crime. In fact, a report from the Brookings Institute shows violent crime has fallen 51 percent since 1991, and is at one of the lowest rates since 1970.

In my America, the rate of illegal immigration has stabilized not increased, and in the case of Mexican immigrants it is actually declining.

And by the way, those illegal immigrants pay taxes. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, in 2013 they paid $7 billion in sales taxes, $1.1 billion in income taxes and $3.6 billion in property taxes.

And as far as their “criminal” behavior — well, of the 14,196 murders committed in 2013, a frightening total of eight were committed by illegal immigrants.

In my America, the economic disaster is the one we are still recovering from — and it started during the Bush administration. Stocks are at all-time highs, and the last report shows unemployment has fallen from close to 10 percent when Obama took office in 2008 to the current rate of 4.9 percent.

Sounds like an economic recovery to me.

In my America, our military spending is higher than the next six countries’ spending combined, including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and India. If anything, we need to cut back on that spending.

In my America, the Affordable Care Act has resulted in fewer people being uninsured. The number dropped from 41.8 million uninsured in 2013 to 33.0 million 2014 (last year available so far). Not everyone, but a pretty good success in a short time, and this in spite of the fact that many states declined to expand Medicaid to help their citizens afford insurance.

In my America, transgender people just want to use the toilet when they go to a public restroom, just like everyone else. In fact, the number of transgender people lurking in bathrooms to prey on unsuspecting people is exactly ZERO. The alleged “cases” that have been reported have all proven to be hoaxes generated by right-wing blogs.

In my America, the elitism I see is a presidential candidate giving interviews sitting in a golden chair in a penthouse apartment of a building with his name emblazoned in gold on the side. That qualifies as elite in my book, as does his private jet and helicopter.

In my America, I am not as afraid of terrorists sneaking into the country as I am of home-grown terrorists staging standoffs with government agents and bombing abortion clinics and shooting up gay nightclubs. And statistically, I am more likely to be killed by my own furniture falling on me than a terrorist.

So all this fear-mongering about our country in crisis? Well, the crisis I see is the very real possibility that the fearmongers will gain the White House. And that would be a big problem in my book.

Take a look at the GOP platform and if you are anyone but a straight, white Protestant you will find something to give you shivers.

The week-long fear fest of the Republican National Convention comes down to one thing: They offer our country a single item. They have come to the end of their deck and all they have left is their “Trump” card: It’s called Fear.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and board member for the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at

—  Tammye Nash

Rabbi Paley: Notes from the memorial for fallen officers


Rabbi Andrew Paley, right, speaking at the Meyerson

Rabbi Andrew Paley, senior rabbi at Temple Shalom in North Dallas, described the experience of participating in the memorial at the Meyerson Symphony Center to the five police officers killed in an ambush on July 7, as “powerful, exciting, overwhelming.”

Paley was one of three clergy who offered a prayer during the tribute, and he sat on stage directly behind First Lady Michelle Obama.

The dignitaries on the stage whispered to one another several times throughout the event. But it seems what the audience most noticed was when former President George W. Bush whispered some comment to the First Lady and her reaction to him.

Micki Rawlings leaned over to say something to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price commented to DART Police Chief James Spiller. The Bidens interacted. But the current first lady and former president were cutting up like old friends.


Michelle Obama seems to be trying not to laugh at a comment former President George Bush made to her while their spouses look on.

Paley said the comments he heard were mostly innocuous. Commenting on one soloist from the interfaith choir that performed, Bush leaned over and said, “Man, can she sing.”

But other comments got more of a reaction when Bush said something to the first lady and both his wife and her husband laughed at Michelle’s response.

Paley said the Bushes arrived at the Meyerson about 40 minutes before the Obamas and Bidens, who had been visiting injured officers at Parkland Hospital before the service. He said while they were waiting backstage, Bush put everyone at ease, asking, “How’s it going everybody?” as he walked in.

“I understood why people like him,” Paley said.

Paley described Mrs. Bush as “classy, composed and refined,” but as they waited for the Obamas, the other memorial participants sat in a circle talking.

“Bush tried to connect with everyone,” Paley said. He didn’t want any formality. “You know, I’m not the president,” Bush told them and sat in the circle with them. To make those participating on the world stage for the first time, along with others who were old hands at it, the former president told some stories as they waited backstage for what would be a very solemn and moving event.

Bush told the group about meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin. When Putin came to the White House, he met Bush’s Scottish terrier Barney. When Bush was in Moscow, he visited Putin’s residence. The Russian leader brought out his dog, Konni, a black Labrador retriever, and said, “My dog’s bigger.”

As they waited for the Obamas and Bidens, the choir sang on stage, but backstage, the group chatted. Paley asked Bush if he was still painting. “Like a madman,” Bush said. Paley told the former president he had seen his series of portraits of world leaders at the Bush Library. “Not my finest work,” Bush told him.

Before going on stage, Paley asked Bush if he’d ever been to Temple Shalom. “Not yet,” Bush told him. Paley invited him, saying, “We’d love to have you.” Bush said jokingly, “I don’t get that far north.” Temple Shalom is just north of LBJ Freeway on Hillcrest at Alpha Road.

Paley described Vice President Joe Biden as very likable. “He’s just like on TV — warm and approachable.”

As they lined up to go on stage, Biden was behind Paley. The rabbi said something about being ahead of the Vice President and Biden joked, “I’m Catholic, but I’d follow the Jews anywhere.”

He called the President and First Lady “genuinely nice people,” and said he left feeling the Obamas were “real humans who were really heartbroken” after all efforts to do anything about gun violence had been thwarted. After the memorial, Paley said, Obama spent about an hour with the families of the slain officers.

—  David Taffet

Obama, Bush address DPD officers at Meyerson event


President Barack Obama addresses Dallas Police officers at the Meyerson (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke to Dallas police officers and the families of the victims of the ambush that took place on July 7 at the Meyerson Symphony Center this afternoon (Tuesday, July 12).

The Arlington Police Department filled in for Dallas police to provide security around the Meyerson to allow DPD officers to attend.

The Dallas Police Choir was joined on stage by choirs from six church choirs from around the city. They began with a powerful rendition of “Love is Stronger than Hate.”

In addition to state and local officials, governors Jay Nixon of Missouri and Suzanna Martinez of New Mexico attended. Mayors from New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Lewisville and Columbia also flew in for the event.

Mayor Mike Rawlings welcomed the crowd and said they were there to comfort the families of the victims and “to honor those who were wounded, not only in body but soul,” acknowledging how hurt everyone on the police force is.

Police Chief David Brown said earlier today he may require his officers to go through counseling, so that they don’t have to request it.

The Rev. Sheron Patterson of the United Methodist Church of North Texas, Rabbi Andrew Paley of Temple Shalom and Imam Omar Suleiman on Valley Ranch Islamic Center offered a prayer for unity, healing and peace.

Sen. John Cornyn thanked Rawlings and Brown for the strength they’ve shown since the ambush, calling them men of uncommon courage.

He said Dallas police officers ran toward the bullets, shielded citizens and sacrificed their own lives.

“They put the people of Dallas before themselves,” Cornyn said.

After receiving a standing ovation, Bush said, “Today our nation grieves. Those of us who call Dallas home lost five members of our family.”

He said the Dallas Police Department has been an inspiration for the rest of the country.

“We are grief stricken, heartbroken and forever grateful,” Bush said.

Rawlings introduced DART police chief James Spiller saying, “Leadership is hard. Great leadership is unique. We experienced that leadership from James Spiller.”

As he introduced Brown, whom he called “a rock” and “my friend,” police gave an ovation with whistles and cheers.

When the president stood at the podium, he began with a tribute to each of the officers. Before the event, he met with the wounded and he talked about the son of Shetamia Taylor, who brought her children to the demonstration. Her 12-year-old son told the president he wants to become a Dallas police officer.

“Despite the fact police conduct was the subject of the protest, the men and women of the Dallas Police Department did their jobs,” Obama said.

They posted photos of themselves with demonstrators on social media, he said.

Throughout his speech, the president expressed frustration that he “hugged too many families.”

But he praised the Dallas police who “didn’t flinch and didn’t act recklessly,” and because of their actions, “saved more lives than we will ever know.”

He praised Brown for being at the forefront of improving relations between police and the city and called DPD a national model for the way a police department should be run. But he enumerated the shortcomings.

“We ask police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves,” Obama said, echoing frustrations Brown expressed yesterday.

“We refuse to fund drug treatment,” he said. “We flood communities with guns.”

The event closed with the choirs singing “Glory Hallelujah.” When Michelle Obama took Bush’s hand and both began singing along with the choir, the others on stage held hands. That included Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, in whose district the shooting took place, who held hands with Sen. Ted Cruz. Then the entire audience stood, held hands and joined the singing.

Outside, we encountered one protester, a white woman, whose scribbled sign read, “Obama’s a racist.” We weren’t sure if she actually knows what the word means.

More details in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  David Taffet

President Obama officially endorses Hillary Clinton for president

Screen shot 2016-06-09 at 1.30.46 PM

In a video released today by the Clinton campaign, President Barack Obama endorses Hillary Clinton for president.

President Barack Obama today (Thursday, June 9) issued a ringing endorsement, via video released by the Clinton campaign, of former Secretary of State (former Senator, former First Lady) Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency. He also added praise for her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and called on voters to take a stand for “the values that make America great” and “win a brighter future for this country that we love.”

“Look, I know how hard this job can be. That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it,” Obama said in the video. “In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office. She’s got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get the job done.

“I’m with her,” the president continued, echoing Clinton supporters’ “I’m With Hillary” slogan. “I’m fired up, and I cannot wait to get out there and campaign for Hillary.”

Obama praised Sanders for waging a hard-fought campaign, for bringing to light important issues like economic justice and for bringing thousands of young people into the democratic process. Both Clinton and Sanders, he said “are patriots who love this country.”

Watch the complete video below.

—  Tammye Nash

Obama issues LGBT Pride Month declaration


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 31, 2016


– – – – – – –



President Barack ObamaSince our founding, America has advanced on an unending path toward becoming a more perfect Union. This journey, led by forward-thinking individuals who have set their sights on reaching for a brighter tomorrow, has never been easy or smooth. The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society. They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment — under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics. This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines. For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.

LGBT individuals deserve to know their country stands beside them. That is why my Administration is striving to better understand the needs of LGBT adults and to provide affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to aging LGBT Americans. It is also why we oppose subjecting minors to the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and why we are continuing to promote equality and foster safe and supportive learning environments for all students. We remain committed to addressing health disparities in the LGBT community — gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk for HIV, and we have worked to strengthen our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are. I signed an Executive Order in 2014 that prohibits discrimination against Federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation that builds upon the progress we have made, because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love. And our commitment to combatting discrimination against the LGBT community does not stop at our borders: Advancing the fair


treatment of all people has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and we have made defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals a priority in our engagement across the globe. In line with America’s commitment to the notion that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, champions of this cause at home and abroad are upholding the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.

There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, as Americans wave their flags of pride high and march boldly forward in parades and demonstrations, let us celebrate how far we have come and reaffirm our steadfast belief in the equal dignity of all Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.


# # #

—  David Taffet

Administration commits nearly half a billion dollars to PEPFAR

Susan E. Rice

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on Saturday, Sept. 26, announced that the Obama Administration is investing “nearly half a billion dollars to support an AIDS-free future for adolescent girls and young women,” through the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

In a statement released Saturday, Rice said that both new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are both down by more than 40 percent since the peak of the epidemic, adding that the Obama Administration has “invested nearly $50 billion” through PEPFAR to “achieve an AIDS-free generation, building on the initiative and $15 billion provided by President Bush.”

She continued, “Working with partner countries around the globe, we are now supporting life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 7.7 million men, women and children worldwide; enabled more than one million babies to be born HIV-free; and tested and counseled more than 14 million pregnant women last year alone.

“Today we are setting a bold new course by announcing ambitious PEPFAR prevention and treatment targets for 2016 and 2017.”

The goal is that by the end of 2017, PEPFAR will support antiretroviral treatment for 12.9 million people, pay for 13 million male circumcisions to help prevent HIV transmission and reduce HIV infections by 40 percent among adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries, Rice said. Every year, Rice noted, 380,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV. That’s 7,300 every week, or more than 1,000 every day.

“This must change,” Rice said.

The new effort includes $300 million in additional HIV prevention investments with the PEPFAR-led DREAMS partnership, building on the $210 million that PEPFAR and private partners committed to DREAMS on World AIDS Day last year.

DREAMS stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe women.

“Over the last 15 years, we have seen remarkable results as we have worked together toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” Rice said. “PEPFAR’s new targets and investments come at a critical time as we transition from the Millennium Development Goals to meet the challenge before us in the new Sustainable Development Goals: to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

“We believe if we all — governments, private sector, civil society including faith-based organizations — bring our collective will and energy together, we can achieve an AIDS-free generation and bring this epidemic to a halt,” she conclluded.

—  Tammye Nash

See? You can be a more embarrassingly stupid governor than Rick Perry


Greg Abbott pandering in front of the 11 Commandments monument at the state Capitol

The U.S. military is conducting regular military exercises in South Texas. That, of course, led to the conspiracy theorists gathering at town hall meetings and worrying that Obama was invading Texas and confiscating our guns. The exercise is dubbed “Jade Helm 15.”

Rather than ignore the people wearing tin foil hats, Gov. Greg Abbott is making a name for himself nationally by addressing the controversy and protecting the state from being overrun by putting the Texas State Guard on standby.

Progress Texas ran five headlines, including a plea from the newspaper that endorsed him, The Dallas Morning News: “Please don’t feed the conspiracy theorists, Gov. Abbott.”

Well, since Progress Texas ran its piece, the story has caught on across the country.

“U.S. military says it isn’t invading Texas, but Gov. Greg Abbott isn’t taking any chances,” reads the headline in The Birmingham News. Embarrassing when an Alabama newspaper is making fun of Texas.

Wait, it gets better. By the time Abbott gets through with his term, we won’t be able to proudly proclaim, “Thank God for Mississippi.”

Here’s a quote I got from Abbott about how he’s protecting the state (It’s embarrassingly from the Biloxi Sun-Herald. Yes, even Mississippi is in on the fun, but who can blame them?):

“It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott wrote. “By monitoring the Operation on a continual basis, the State Guard will facilitate communications between my office and the commanders of the Operation to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect Texans.”

Daily Beast headline: Texas Guv Surrenders to Conspiracy Nuts

Salon: Right-wing lunatics think the military is planning to invade Texas

Dallas Morning News: Ex-GOP lawmaker blisters Abbott for ‘pandering to idiots’ over military exercise

Wait, you endorsed him, right?

Well, Abbott has set the tone. It should be a fun four years covering him and his antics. You ever think you’d be saying these words? “Remember the good old days when Rick Perry was governor?”

—  David Taffet

Obama: SCOTUS ‘about to make a shift’ on marriage equality

President Obama

President Barack Obama

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Monday, Feb. 9, that seven of his eight colleages on the nation’s highest court erred on Monday when they chose not to extend the stay on a trial court ruling striking down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage, since the Supreme Court has yet to rule on four marriage equality cases it has agreed to hear. Justice Thomas also indicated that in refusing to extend the stay, the justices gave a pretty clear indication just how they rule in those cases when the time comes.

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, President Barack Obama told BuzzFeed News that he, too, believes the Supreme Court’s direction on marriage equality is pretty obvious.

“My sense is that the Supreme Court is about to make a shift, one that I welcome, which is to recognize that — having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage — it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system,” Obama told BuzzFeed. “It’s time to recognize that under the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else.”

Alabama state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has basically told probate judges (the ones in Alabama who issue marriage licenses) not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because they don’t have to listen to the U.S. Supreme Court because he is against marriage equality.

But President Obama noted that Moore is just going to have to face facts and get out of the way. “When federal law is in conflict with state law, federal law wins out,” the president said.

The president also took the opportunity of the BuzzFeed  interview to suggest that his former advisor, David Axelrod, is “mixing up” his personal feelings with his position on the issue of same-sex marriage in Axelrod’s recently published book, in which Axelrod says that Obama supported same-sex marriage long before making his support public in May 2012, just before he was elected to his second term, but that Obama lied about his feelings on marriage equality due to political concerns.

Obama told BuzzFeed, “I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there. So my thinking at the time was that civil unions — which I always supported — was a sufficient way of squaring the circle.”

—  Tammye Nash

Obama budget includes Social Security for same-sex married couples


President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama unveiled his fiscal year 2016 budget today (Monday, Feb. 2), and it includes a proposal allowing legally married same-sex couples to receive Social Security benefits, even if they live in a state where there marriage is not legally recognized, according to numerous reports including this one at

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in the U.S. v Windsor decision in June 2013. Last June, a number of regulatory changes were announced that made most of the federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex married couples also available to legally-married same-sex couples. But not Social Security or veterans benefits.

Government officials  said small number of provisions in federal law explicitly prohibit the government from providing benefits to same-sex couples when it comes to the Social Security agency and the Veterans Affairs Department. President Obama can’t extend those benefits through regulatory changes; those changes will have to come through a vote in Congress.

Given that the Republicans control Congress right now, it’s not likely we’ll see the necessary changes made any time soon. But having the president include those changes in his budget proposal and call on Congress to make the necessary changes is some progress at least.

And of course, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality this spring, it might not make any difference anyway, since same-sex marriage will be legal in every state then.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said Monday that Obama’s proposal “would fix a crucial gap in federal protections for same-sex couples. President Obama’s leadership in helping bring the freedom to marry to all Americans will be a shining part of [his] legacy.”

Not being eligible for Social Security survivor benefits “can mean a significant drop in benefits after the death of spouse, a hardship that non-gay married couples do not face,” Wolfson said, pointing to the case of Arlene Goldberg, a Florida woman who was forced to leave her home after her wife died. As of Jan. 5, however, same-sex marriage is legally recognized in Florida.

—  Tammye Nash

‘A landmark moment’ for trans Americans, but there’s so far left to go

Screen shot 2015-01-21 at 1.00.32 PM

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama made history Tuesday night (Jan. 20), when he actually said the words “lesbian,” “bisexual” and “transgender” during the his State of the Union speech. It was the first time those words had ever been uttered in a SOTU address.

President Obama said: “As Americans, we respect human dignity. … That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We do these things not only because they are the right thing to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer.”

It was, I think, an especially sweet moment for the thousands and thousands of transgender Americans. We are making progress toward full equality every day, but still, our trans brothers and sisters are the ones still being left behind. So hearing the president of the United States truly acknowledge them had to be a great moment.

The press releases and written statements I found flooding my email inbox this morning reinforced what I already believed:

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said: “What President Obama said about trans people last night … he actually said it. …. His mention of us [last night] let’s us know that whenever he’s spoken of children, he has meant transgender children too. Or when he’s spoken out about immigrants, he’s meant transgender immigrants too. And when he’s talked about service members and veterans, he meant transgender service members too.”

A statement from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund called the mention “a landmark moment,” adding: “This is a moment of promise for transgender people, who before now, had never been mentioned in a State of the Union address. We are grateful to President Obama for including our entire community in his speech, and for highlighting and condemning the persecution of LGBT people. Through his stirring and heartfelt words, the president has again demonstrated his commitment to creating a world where people are treated equally regardless of who we are or who we love.”

As uplifting and empowering as that moment was, though, my email inbox also provided ample proof that we still have a very long way to go, especially in protecting transgender Americans — their rights, their freedoms and their very lives.

A press release from the National Center for Lesbian Rights notes that NCLR and the Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday filed a joint friend of the court brief in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, supporting a former Saks Fifth Avenue employee, Leyth Jamal, who says the company discriminated against her because she is trans.

Saks attorneys have asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect transgender workers.

I also had an email from a group called Care2, “a community of 27 million standing together for good,” taking to task InTouch Weekly for its horrendous cover story speculating on the gender identity of Olympic champion Bruce Jenner.

I saw that cover while standing in the check-out line at the grocery store; it made me sick, and it made me angry. It depicts a heavily altered photo of Jenner to show what he would look like as a woman. I didn’t read the article — although Care2’s statement says it was full of speculation and nothing else. Us Magazine reports Jenner himself is “upset” with the cover and story.

According to the press release, there is a new Care2 petition by Julie Mastrine demanding that “David Perel, editorial director of InTouch Weekly, be more sensitive to the struggles that actual transgender people face and refrain from gossipy speculation about someone’s gender identity.”

Mastrine said: “Publicly speculating as to whether or not someone will be coming out as transgender illustrates a flippant lack of empathy toward people who actually struggle with making a gender transition. It robs Jenner of his right to identify as he wishes.”

BuzzFeed says the magazine likely imposed Jenner’s face over British actress Stephanie Beacham’s body, and even comedian/actor Russell Brand condemned InTouch, calling it “bullying.”


—  Tammye Nash