NC governor signs anti-LGBT bill into law

McCrory.Pat

Gov. Pat McCrory

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has signed an anti-LGBT bill into law that goes farther than Indiana’s reviled so-called religious freedom law. The Indiana law has already cost the state millions in business.

The new N.C. law invalidates Charlotte’s recently pass equal rights ordinance. It also requires transgender people to use the bathroom of the sex they were assigned at birth. That means men with beards will be using ladies rooms, if they obey this law.

According to the Charlotte Observer, private businesses across the state may now deny service or fire anyone who LGBT. The law also prevents cities from enacting local minimum wage laws.

North Carolina’s Democratic attorney general, Roy Cooper, has called the law discriminatory and shameful.

The bill’s Republican sponsor said Charlotte’s new ordinance prompted the statewide legislation. He said some cities have created a variety of new classes that have become burdensome on business. But cities like Dallas, that has protections now written into the city charter, have had few discrimination complaints.

The NCAA said it’s taking the law into consideration as it schedules events and may move scheduled 2017 and 2018 basketball tournaments elsewhere. American Airlines’ second largest hub is in Charlotte and representatives of the company spoke out against the law. PayPal was scheduled to announce 400 new jobs in Charlotte but that’s now on hold.

Georgia has a similar bill sitting on Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk. He hasn’t decided whether to sign or veto. In that state, the NFL has threatened to withhold consideration of a Super Bowl in Atlanta if it becomes law, and Walt Disney Company threatened to stop film production in the state if the governor signs the bill.

—  David Taffet

White House appoints first trans person as LGBT liaison

AP_raffi_freedman_gurspan_jef_150818_16x9_992The White House has appointed Raffi Freedman-Gurspan as its new LGBT liaison. Freedman-Gurspan is the first transgender person to hold the role, according to BuzzFeed.

“Raffi is a great choice,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “President Obama has said he wants his administration to look like America, and they have moved to include trans Americans. Raffi’s skills and personality make her the exact right person for this important job.”

In her new role Freedman-Gurspan will serve as the national point person for LGBT groups.

Freedman-Gurspan joined the White House last year as the outreach and recruitment director in the presidential personnel office. She made history as its first transgender official. She previously worked for the National Center for Transgender Equality, as legislative director to out gay state Rep. Carl M. Sciortino of Massachusetts and as the LGBT liaison for Somerville, Mass., according to her LinkedIn profile.

—  James Russell

Caitlyn Jenner: Hillary Clinton only cares about herself

Screen shot 2016-03-09 at 1.16.20 PMAnd here’s today’s news post from Caitlyn Jenner’s Fantasyland: The woman who just days ago was blathering on about how Ted Cruz is an intelligent, articulate man and a great constitutionalist, and she wants to be Cruz’s “ambassador” to the transgender community — is now making headlines for making sure we all know that Hillary Clinton doesn’t care about women.

According to MSNBC, Jenner got into a “heated argument” with “one of her peers” during the season premiere of her “reality show,” I Am Cait, and in that argument Jenner declared: “If we’re unfortunate enough to get Hillary as our next president, we need her on our side, [but] she won’t be. She couldn’t care less about women, she only cares about herself.”

I am pretty sure Hillary Clinton’s record on women’s issues speaks for itself. Democrats may be arguing amongst themselves about whether Sanders or Clinton is better on civil rights issues — including equality for women and for LGBT people — and about which one of them has the best policies on the economy, terrorism, world affairs, etc. But Caitlyn Jenner may very well be the ONLY person in the country who would say that Cruz is better than either Democratic on civil rights for anybody.

Let me just speak plainly: Before she transitioned, Caitlyn Jenner lived as a white man swaddled in wealth and privilege, famous for long-ago being an outstanding athlete and for currently being a part of that train wreck known as the Kardashian family. Nobody was chasing Bruce Jenner down to seek his political wisdom. Since her transition, Jenner is a white woman swaddled in wealth and privilege, famous for being a part of that train wreck known as the Kardashian family, for transitioning publicly and, now, for saying absolutely asinine things about politics and presidential candidates.

Everyone, including Caitlyn Jenner, is entitled to their opinion. But maybe if you are gonna put yourself out there as some sort of representative for a particular community or as a political pundit, you should educate yourself a little better. And I am talking about “real-world education,” not “privileged white Republican living in a bubble” education.

—  Tammye Nash

LGBT groups blast TSA for rule adversely targeting transgender travelers

TSA-logo-lr1The Transportation Security Administration’s decision to codify its use of full body scanners this week will adversely impact transgender travelers, according to a statement released by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

NCTE and other organizations blasted the agency after hearing from hundreds of transgender travelers who were asked to lift or remove clothing to reveal undergarments or prosthetics, required to undergo multiple pat-downs and questions about their bodies, and even prevented from boarding flights because of a “groin alarm.”

“It is completely unacceptable to require Americans to discuss their genitals with uniformed government officials in order to travel by air,” said NCTE executive director Mara Keisling. “But that’s exactly what the body scanner program means for many transgender people. TSA has ignored the public’s very real concerns about the efficacy and the real harms of this technology. TSA is spending billions on security theater that seems to do little but erode all travelers’ privacy and dignity.”

The program will continue despite recent controversy related to the full body scanners.

The agency head was recently ousted following an audit in which scanners and pat-downs failed to catch weapons or mock explosives in 95 percent of “secret shopper” tests.

Agency officials additionally admitted that the scanners routinely trigger alarms based solely on transgender people’s body parts, leading to widely-publicized incidents where travelers were forced to discuss their genitalia with officers.

In 2011 a federal appeals court declared the agency’s use of the machines unlawful because the agency acted without formal rules or public comment. The court allowed the program to continue in part because the agency promised travelers could always opt for a thorough pat-down instead – a position the agency reversed in December.

Despite numerous court petitions by organizations including NCTE, and comments from thousands of air travelers, TSA took five more years to adopt this court-ordered rule, which makes no changes in the current program.

“We urge President Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to take action to finally restore balance to airport security,” said NCTE policy director Harper Jean Tobin. “Today’s system exacts a high cost in dollars and personal privacy, with no proof that it is working. These scanners can’t even tell the difference between a bomb and a traveler’s own body. The American people deserve better.”

—  James Russell

GALLERY: Photos from Monica Loera vigil in Austin

The Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism held a rally and vigil honoring murdered trans woman Monica Loera last night, Feb. 12, at Alamo Park, 2100 Alamo St. in Austin.

Loera was shot to death Jan. 22 outside her North Austin home by a man she had been arguing with, according to police reports. JonCasey William Rowell, 29, was arrested and charged with first degree murder in connection with her death.

Loera is the first transgender person murdered since the start of 2016.

News of Loera’s murder was not publicized in the LGBT community for several days because police and Austin media initially misgendered Loera, referring to her by her pre-transition name, and circulating a driver’s license photo of her also taken before she transitioned.

Drew Stanley of Austin was on the scene for the Dallas Voice. Stanley’s photos are below.

—  James Russell

Missing: Police ask for help in locating Nino Jackson

Nino Jackson

Nino Jackson

Rowlett Police have asked for the community’s help in locating Nino Jackson, 26, who has been missing since Jan. 19.

According to police, Jackson was last seen the morning of Friday, Jan. 19, in the area of 911 W. Wheatland Road, in the southwest part of Dallas. His vehicle, a cream-colored Pontiac Firebird, was found by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, abandoned on the southbound side of the President George Bush Turnpike — aka Hwy. 190/George Bush Tollway — at the westbound I-30 ramp over Lake Ray Hubbard.

Jackson is about 5-feet, 8-inches tall and weighs about 198 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue button-down shirt and khaki pants.

Anyone with information regarding Jackson or his whereabouts is asked to call 9-11 or to call the Rowlett Police Department at 972-412-6200.

Oliver Blumer, a friend of Jackson’s, said that people from the LGBT community and from the North Texas River Rafters organization have stepped forward to help in searching the area where Jackson’s vehicle was found. He said the Rowlett PD is small with limited resources, so volunteer searchers are appreciated.

—  Tammye Nash

‘Creating drama’

Longtime trans activist angry over interrupted panel discussion at Creating Change

drama

Monica Roberts

DAVID TAFFET    |  Senior Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

A panel discussion featuring trans-attracted men was shut down by protesters at the Jan. 20-23 Creating Change conference in Chicago, the same conference at which protesters shouting anti-Semitic slurs and chants disrupted a reception for Jerusalem Open House.

Monica Roberts, a longtime trans activist from Houston, was at the panel discussion when a group of about 20 people entered the room and disrupted the event. She said this year’s conference should have been called ‘Creating drama.’

Roberts said a group of younger transgender attendees at this year’s conference — and at other recent conferences she’s attended — “think direct action protest is the only way to go,” and that they’ve forgotten Martin Luther King’s model. While protests were going on in the civil rights movement, Roberts pointed out, so was discussion and behind-the-scenes work needed to pass laws.

The panel discussion, put together by the National Black Justice Coalition, featured men discussing pressures and difficulties they face because they are attracted to trans women.

Roberts noted that if you look on Craigslist, one of the most popular categories is men looking for pre-operative trans women.

Because many of the murders of trans women have been a result of intimate partner violence, Roberts said, she hoped to hear a discussion about how to remain safe during the panel. “But we didn’t get to have that conversation,” she said.

She also said she had hoped to learn “what goes on in the mind of folks who claim to love us” and that it would be nice to hear men say publicly, “I love trans women.”

The protest was instigated by a trans woman who claimed one of the panelists was an abuser. That man doesn’t have any such charges pending against him, and he is about to file a suit for defamation.

Roberts said the divide was not just between older and younger trans activists. Many hoping to attend the panel live in cities without protections in place based on gender identity and expression. Protesters, she said, came from places with laws protecting the trans community from discrimination.

While Creating Change is about diverse LGBT groups coming together to discuss how to work together, Roberts said one protester summed it up: When the executive director of NBJC tried to say something, a protester simply demanded, “Sit down and shut up.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 29, 2016.

—  David Taffet

Jeremy Clarkson can now add ‘transphobe’ to ‘homophobe’ and ‘racist’ on his resume

Jeremy CLarkson

Jeremy Clarkson was probably referring to a car or a costar with the “L for Loser” on his forehead. But a quick scan of his history shows he is the real loser.

Most Americans who know who Jeremy Clarkson is know him because they watched Top Gear on BBC. I enjoyed watching the show to see the cool cars, but was never an ardent fan. So last March, when the show was initially suspended and then canceled after Clarkson was fired for reportedly trying to punch a producer, it was no big deal to me.

Now, however, I realize I should have been calling for Clarkson to get sacked long before he actually did.

Huffington Post has reported that in his most recent column for London’s The Sunday Times, Clarkson has taken very offensive aim at transgender people.

The column begins:

“Now that women can vote and homosexual couples can marry, you might imagine that the world’s student activists, trade union leaders and environmentalists would pat themselves on the back and break open a bottle of sustainable elderflower juice to congratulate themselves on a job well done.

“But no. They have decided that we must now all turn our attention to the plight of people who want to change their name from Stan to Loretta, and fight for the right for men to have babies.”

Clarkson goes on to say that as far as he was concerned, “men who want to be women were only really to be found on the Internet or in the seedier bits of Bangkok. They were called ladyboys, and in my mind they were nothing more than the punch line in a stag night anecdote.”

And it gets better. He went on to say that parents that support their transgender children are “poisoning” their children’s minds. “[Children] dream impossible dreams,” Clarkson wrote. “You don’t actually take them seriously. You don’t take them to a hospital when they’re 10 and say, ‘He wants to be a girl, so can you lop his todger off?’”

And if that’s not enough to make you realize what a “todger” Clarkson is, a quick Internet search shows that he is an equal opportunity bigot. (First two are from Wikipedia, and the rest are from Jalopnik.com.)

• December 2006: BBC upheld complaints from four different viewers angry over Clarkson’s description of the Daihatsu Copen as “a bit gay.” He also described the vehicle as “ginger beer,” which is apparently British rhyming slang for “queer.”

• December 2009: A gay couple was reportedly denied tickets to watch Top Gear being filmed. That led a BBC spokesperson to vehemently deny the claim, saying, “We do not — absolutely do not — discriminate against same sex couples … . The whole implication that Top Gear is in any way homophobic is completely wrong.” (Maybe Top Gear wasn’t homophobic, but it sure seems like Clarkson is.)

• June 2006: Clarkson pisses off members of the UK’s Transports and General Workers Union by saying in a newspaper column that any truck driver who doesn’t yield right of way to a car is an “inconsiderate jumped-up little Hitler bastard” who should be “shot in the middle of his face.”

• March and May 2007: Clarkson’s Top Gear co-star Richard Hammond suffered brain damage in a 280 mph crash during a Top Gear shoot in 2006. When he returned to work, in March 2007, Clarkson asked him if he was “a mental” now. A couple months later in May, Clarkson asked Hammond if he “dribbled.” Needless to say, advocates for the mentally disabled and those with brain injuries were not amused.

• In 2009, Clarkson and his costar James May made spoof ads for Volkswagen, once of which said the Scirocco TDI could make it from Berlin to Warsaw in one tank, and another that included an on-screen “suicide.”

• November 2009: Clarkson pissed offed Romania by calling it “Borat Country,” making jokes about communism and saying that Gypsies “can be violent if they don’t like the look of you.”

• February 2011: Clarkson and Hammond made jokes about Mexicans. Hammond referred to the Mexican-made Mastretta sports car as “lazy,” “feckless” and “flatulent,” then said, “I’m sorry, but just imagine waking up and remembering you’re Mexican.” Clarkson responded, “It’d be brilliant because you could just go straight back to sleep again!”

• November 2011: Clarkson called for the public execution of striking workers in Britain.

• July 2013: MG car company was originally British-owned but is now Chinese-owned. In a review of the company’s MG6, Clarkson managed to piss off officials in Britain and China as well as the carmaker when he said the car was “as Chinese as a chopstick.”

• March 2014: Referring to a bridge in Burma, as a construction worker was crossing it, Clarkson said, “That is a proud moment. But there’s a slope on it.” (“Slope,” in case you don’t know, is a racial slur for Asians.) That landed BBC with a lawsuit filed by an Indian-born British actress.

• May 2014: Clarkson apparently used the N-word while chanting the eeney-meeney-miney-mo nursery rhyme during unaired rehearsal footage.

There’s more, but my fingers are getting tired. Besides, surely by now you get the picture.

BBC has already dumped Clarkson and Top Gear. But you could always send The Sunday Times a note asking why they are publishing such drivel from such an absolute asshole.

—  Tammye Nash

UNT needs bisexual and/or transgender research participants

UNTThe University of North Texas Center for Psychosocial Health Research will soon complete its research study investigating quality of life and wellbeing among LGBT folks over 50.

The study is intended to advance research on health, social support and emotional happiness of the aging LGBT community (50+ years), an under-represented group in current research. Bisexual and/or transgender participants are needed. They already reached their goal for gay and lesbian participants.

The UNT research team seeks to identify needs for the community in the areas of mental health, healthcare, social services and legislation. All information collected is kept strictly confidential, and the results of the study are only published/presented in aggregate.

Participants in the study meet with research assistants from UNT’s Center for Psychosocial Health Research in public places appropriate for the task that are geographically convenient to participants.

You don’t have to go up to Denton to participate. Resource Center is providing use of their meeting rooms to conduct surveys, but researchers will are happy to meet you anywhere in the metroplex. Surveys are conducted in person on a laptop (provided), which usually takes about 2 hours complete. All participants receive a $25 cash incentive for their participation.

If you would like to help advance this important research, please contact: Center for Psychosocial Health Research, University of North Texas by email or call 214-699-7146.

—  David Taffet

No longer a fan of the Dame

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Dame Edna, aka Barry Humphries

Way back in the day, I remember being so thrilled to see “Dame Edna” on TV. It was always like getting a little glimpse to a different world that I knew, somehow, I belonged in. No, Dame Edna wasn’t a lesbian. And yes, I know that Barry Humphries, the Australian man who created and personifies her, is not a gay man. Still, he was a man in a dress, pretending to be a woman, and that was — at the time — close enough for me.

Dame Edna has, of course, always drawn a gay audience. And why not? This is, basically, a drag queen elevated to mega-stardom before RuPaul got his own reality competition TV show. But as of today, I can tell you this is one gay person (me) who is no longer a fan of the Dame. Not after hearing what Humphries had to say about Caitlyn Jenner and transgender women in general.

According to an article by Bil Browning in The Advocate, in an interview published Jan. 4 in The Telegraph, a British newspaper, Humphries called Jenner “a publcity-seeking ratbag” as part of his vigorous defense of his friend and fellow Australian, feminist Germaine Greer. It’s not that I am a big Caitlyn Jenner fan. It’s what Humphries said about trans people in general that pisses me off.

Last month, Greer attacked Jenner, accusing her of “stealing the limelight” from her notorious family, the Kardashians, and doubled down on her condemnation of transgender women in general, saying, as Browning notes, that trans women are not actually women and that they don’t “look like, sound like or behave like” women. And earlier, in a written statement she issued after canceling a scheduled appearance at Cardiff University after trans advocates protested, Greer declared: “Just because you lop off your dick and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a fucking woman. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that won’t turn me into a fucking cocker spaniel… A man who gets his dick chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself.”

That right there is enough to convince me to never ever support or endorse in any way anything Germaine Greer might have to say. And Humphries, as far as I am concerned, joined Greer on my blacklist when he defended her in The Telegraph.

“I agree with Germaine!,” he told the newspaper. “You’re a mutilated man, that’s all. Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner – what a publicity-seeking ratbag. It’s all given the stamp – not of respectability, but authenticity or something. If you criticise anything you’re racist or sexist or homophobic.”

He went on say that even though he isn’t particularly conservative, he is disgusted by the increasing level of political correctness in college students and feminists. He told The Telegraph, “I don’t know anything about politics. But the far left is so conservative, paradoxically, inflexible, doctrinaire and humorless. You can’t describe the world as it is any more. You get jumped on. I’m happy to say I do. I give offense therefore I am. Not too much offense, though.”

Not too much offense, Mr. Humphries? Enough, I’d say. Enough to lose this former fan.

According to Wikipedia, Humprhies said in March 2012 that he would be retiring Dame Edna at the end of his then-current tour. In 2013, however, he announced he had decided to bring her back. Too bad, if you ask me. Some old dinosaurs should stay extinct.

—  Tammye Nash