April 20 2014, 05:40 PM

All together now: Marriage equality is good for our health 

gaywrites:

Yet another medical journal has confirmed that legal marriage equality improves life for LGBT people in many ways - including physical and mental health.

According to an article published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine, there are multiple ways same-sex marriage can be good for us. A huge one is access to a spouse’s health care benefits, often only available after marriage. Previous studies have also found that the stigma and discrimination that result from anti-gay laws have negative health effects, and LGBT folks become noticeably healthier when laws are inclusive. 

The Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report about LGBT health indicated that LGBT people suffer greater “physical and mental health outcomes” than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts, primarily because of being a part of “a stigmatized minority group.” Because of this, access to health care is all the more imperative.

"LGBT people living in states that ban same-sex marriage, for instance," the Journal article reads, “are more likely than their counterparts in other states to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and alcohol use disorder.”

Once again, virtually none of this information is surprising, but it’s useful to know as we continue arguing for marriage equality and other LGBT-inclusive laws, and all of the ways they can help us. 

April 19 2014, 11:18 PM

How Do You Describe Your Gender Identity?

"I am a transexual woman.  I am woman.  I’m a woman in my mind and in my soul.  No one is the guarantor of womanhood.  Those people who identify themselves as women are women to me- and I love my womanhood."

April 19 2014, 09:32 PM

smith-q-and-a:

just a few of the signs we made today for our rally on april 24 starting at 8:30AM! thanks to everyone who came out. 

April 18 2014, 02:41 PM

Free the 16-year-old Trans Girl Incarcerated in Adult Prison Without Criminal Charges 

A 16 year old transgender girl in Connecticut has been incarcerated in an adult prison even though she has not been convicted or charged with any crime. She was living in a treatment home for traumatized youth under the custody of the state Department of Children and Family (DCF.) Authorities allege that the teen assaulted a staffer in the facility, but no criminal charges are pending against her.The DCF’s decision to transfer her straight into an adult prison sets a dangerous, inhumane and unjust precedent.

We must stand with this girl and ensure she receives justice. Please sign this petition, and in addition, consider doing some of the following things:

1. Contact DCF Commissioner Joette Katz and tell her that this teen should be released from prison, returned to state custody, and placed in a juvenile facility with youth of her expressed, not assigned, gender. Call her at 860-982-9600 or email commissioner.dcf@ct.gov.

2. If you are able, attend a moderated discussion with Commissioner Katz at the Yale Law School on Thursday, April 16 at 12:10pm in room 127. Here is the facebook event.

3. Share info about this with everyone you know! Public pressure in the face of these injustices goes a LONG way. 

April 18 2014, 02:36 PM

Brunei may soon allow death by stoning to punish gay sex 

gaywrites:

The Southeast Asian sovereign state of Brunei is planning to implement a law that would make sodomy punishable by stoning. Death by stoning. Seriously. 

Other offenses that could face the death penalty by capital punishment include rape, adultery, blasphemy, murder, “declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim,” “insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith,” and “extramarital relations for Muslims.” Kind of runs the gamut in terms of extremity of the crime, doesn’t it? 

The revised penal code is slated to go into effect April 22, according to Gay Asia News and other media outlets.

“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement. “We urge the Government to delay the entry into force of the revised penal code and to conduct a comprehensive review ensuring its compliance with international human rights standards,” he told a news conference in Geneva.

What is even happening here?! 

April 18 2014, 02:29 PM

Update: Connecticut Department of Children & Families continues abuse of trans girl 

We published a guest post on Monday from ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio about a crisis in Connecticut social services and imprisonment. Chase wrote about a trans girl failed by a series of institutions from childhood:

Jessica [Note: name has been changed] is a 16 year-old transgender girl. She has been in and out of the foster care and juvenile justice systems since early childhood, surviving unthinkable trauma and demonstrating resilience and strength. As a ward of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), DCF is her legal parent and guardian, responsible for her care and well-being. Jessica was also in the custody of the juvenile justice side of DCF following a delinquency adjudication; she has never been convicted of a crime or faced adult criminal charges in Connecticut. Despite this, DCF is acting directly contrary to federal law and transferring her into the adult prison system without any criminal charges or convictions. It has been 14 years since DCF last invoked this exceptional and legally questionable procedure to transfer a young person into the adult prison system without charges.

Before this transfer Jessica had been “punished” for acting out by a placement in a boys’ facility — even though, as Chase wrote, “DCF had previously agreed that as a girl it would not be safe to house her with boys under any circumstance.” Now she is in isolation 23 hours a day and advocates worry the Department of Corrections (DOC) may transfer her to an adult men’s prison. Legal representatives have filed a civil rights complaint in the District Court of Connecticut. The complaint seeks protections and monetary damages for Jessica as well as structural changes, like new programming for trans youth, to ensure that others in the state don’t face a similar nightmare.

In a brutal, heartbreaking statement to the Connecticut district court, Jessica wrote, “I can feel myself growing more and more isolated, frustrated, and feeling alone in my current isolation… I don’t think being placed in isolation or in a male facility would be in my best interest or prepare me to re-enter the community. I need to be given treatment and services specific to my needs. I need to deal with the trauma I’ve experienced in my life. This prison cannot do that for me.

Importantly, this isn’t a story of prison abuse in a vacuum. Both Jessica and Chase point out the intimate ties between the failure of Connecticut’s DCF and DOC. Jessica begins her court statement with a reminder that we have to look outside prison walls to understand incarceration: “While in DCF custody I have suffered immensely. I feel that DCF has failed to protect me from harm and I am now thrown into prison because they have refused to help me.”

You can support Jessica and trans youth in Connecticut by emailing the DCF commissioner and signing this petition.

April 18 2014, 12:18 PM
hi there, I see you posting stuff that has an academic feel about it in relation to transgender activism and rights and I was wondering of you knew of some starting texts for me to read because I'm doing an essay on new social movements and I thought the transgender rights movement might be a good one to write about. If you're busy it's totally okay, but if you know anything I should be reading that would be super cool.

um sure okay

the theorists i’ve read the most are jack halberstam (in a queer time and place is really good), susan stryker, eva hayward, beatriz preciado - ugh, and i’m sure there are more but i’m totally drawing a blank. some of my trans girl friends swear by julia serano and others think her analysis is too white-centric. definitely check out janet mock’s redefining realness and the ongoing project on her tumblr, janetmock.

if you’re looking for resources centered more around trans advocacy history than theory, check out the sylvia rivera law project and the transgender legal defense and education fund.

if y’all have any other ideas feel free to reply to this <3

April 17 2014, 06:49 PM

Transphobia can be just as great a problem as homophobia in social skills programs. There’s something seriously creepy about passing off gendered behavior instructions as autism therapy. “I was taught that there was a certain way for girls to behave, and a certain way for boys to behave,” says Maggie of her teen social skills classes’ content. “For example, I was told that I shouldn’t be direct and ask a boy out, I should compliment him and touch my hair and wait for him to ask me out.” These tips weren’t useful to Maggie, a sexually-fluid “proud feminist” who says she doesn’t “put a lot of stock into gender roles.”

April 17 2014, 06:31 PM

Structural Barriers to Sexual Autonomy for Disabled People 

April 16 2014, 02:48 PM

Louisiana House votes to uphold ban on sodomy 

gaywrites:

The Louisiana House yesterday voted to uphold an unconstitutional state ban on sodomy — essentially political jargon for gay sex — as part of its “crimes against nature” law. 

In Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that sodomy bans are unconstitutional. But a handful of states, including Louisiana, refuse to change their anti-sodomy laws. While the statute technically can’t be used as a basis to arrest people, Louisiana deputies have reportedly made sodomy-related arrests recently, inciting a lawmaker to try to repeal it. 

Against all logic or reason, on Tuesday, the state House voted 66-27 to keep the anti-sodomy law in place. 

In a letter urging Louisiana lawmakers to reject the proposal, the influential Christian lobbying organization wrote, “Louisiana’s anti-sodomy statute is consistent with the values of Louisiana residents who consider this behavior to be dangerous, unhealthy, and immoral.”

In a hearing earlier this month, Bill Smith, a member of the Louisiana Family Forum, told committee members that anti-sodomy laws save the lives of gay people by decreasing their exposure to HIV.

"I have homosexuals in my family. I’m here out of love and concern for the health of these people," Smith said in April. “The fact is this opens up ways for them to really kill themselves.”

I want to scream and cry and throw things.