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View Article  Good Legislative Stuff Happens in PA, too

It is hard to keep up with the good stuff, but I'm sure you want to know about it ....

Anti-Discrimination

HB 300 sponsored by Representative Dan Frankel

SB 910 sponsored by Senator Lawrence Farnese

These bills will expand the Human Relations Act to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as protected classes.

Hate Crimes   

HB 1372 sponsored by Representative Josh Shapiro

SB 586 sponsored by Senator Jim Ferlo

These bills will expand hate crime definitions and protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Anti-Bullying

SB 191 sponsored by Senator LeAnne Washington

Sexual Education

HB 416 sponsored by Representative Chelsa Wagner

Civil Unions

HB 708 sponsored by Rep Mark Cohen      

Marriage Equality

SB 461 sponsored by Senator Daylin Leach                 

View Article  Update on pro-equality legislation in Pennsylvania

State Representive Cohen has introduced a measure that would expand existing law to recognize civil unions.   HB708 has several familiar cosponsors, including Dan Frankel, Jake Wheatley, Chelsa Wagner, Dom Costa, Paul Costa, Mark Gergely.  41 sponsors in total. This legislation has been referred to the Judiciary Committee as of February 12, 2011. Several cosponsors sit in the Judiciary Committee.

State Senator Daylin Leach introduced a similarly timed bill to extend marriage to same sex couples.  SB 461 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 9, 2011. More on why Senator is ardent on this issue.

In addition, State Representative Josh Shapiro is poised to introduce legislation which would amend the Hate Crimes statute to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. 

Also, Representative Dan Frankel from right here in Pittsburgh plans to reintroduce legislation that expands protected class to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  This would provide protectsion in housing, public accomadation and in the workplace. 

Interesting situation to have 4 critical pieces of legislation in a state controlled by Republicans.  I'm sure there's a strategy.  I'll keep you informed on any momentum these pick up as well as the potential reintroduction of marriage discrimination legislation to put a DOMA referendum before the voters. 

 

View Article  ENDA national day of action
Don't get fired -- get fired up! Join Pride at Work in a national day of action, Tuesday May 18th. If you've ever made a phone call, written a letter or attended a lobby day in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), if you have ever stood up for fair treatment for all workers, LGBT workers need you to make one more phone call today.

Please urge your representatives: "Pass ENDA now."

In a majority of states, workers can be legally fired simply because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Employment discrimination for any reason is wrong, and it's that simple.

Please call your Representative by dialing the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and asking to be connected to their office. When you reach the office or their voice mail:

* Tell them you support inclusive ENDA, HR 3017;
* Urge them to pass it now, without amendments; and
* Ask your member of Congress to call their leadership to bring ENDA up for a vote.

Solidarity,

Peggy Shorey, Executive Director
View Article  Fayette County prison guard gender stereotyping suit settled

We first discussed this back in December 2009 when the Tribune Review reported on a federal lawsuit filed by a state prison guard in Fayette County.  He claimed he was being harassed because he did not conform to gender expectations, including being too effeminate on the radio.  (What does that even mean, asks the female former radio host?)

The suit has been settled by mediation. No one is talking about what that actually means, but it doesn't mean a court ruling on the matter.

This man is a state employee who enjoys no state protections from being harassed on his sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation (remember, gay men act like women and acting like a woman is bad).  He worked in Fayette County which does not have county protections for sexual orientation. 

He was harassed because people thought he was gay.  He had to go to the federal courts to get help.  We don't know if he is gay. 

This could be you.  You could be the woman who dresses in trousers and has manly gestures.  You could be the man with the effeminate voice.  You could be a heterosexual person who is perceived as gay.  And you could be fired. 

Support ENDA and HB 300.  It is about our jobs.

View Article  North Side man alleges workplace gay bashing

Good for Thomas Hutter for stepping forward and standing up to discrimination and harassment.

It takes courage to file a complaint, much less go public with your story.  Everyone who worked to pass this ordinance should feel good that your work paid off for Mr. Hutter and others. 

This also reinforces the need to keep working for similar protections across Pennsylvania (HB 300) and the nation (ENDA).

I urge you to click through and read the whole story.  Sad experiences.

sdf

View Article  Washinton Time ENDA EDITORIAL: Discrimination is necessary Subjecting kids to weirdos undermines standards of decency

Here's the link to the usual transphobic stupidity, although this headline is pretty awful.

First-graders should not be forced into the classrooms of teachers undergoing sex changes. Religious broadcasters and faith-based summer camps should not be forced to hire cross-dressers. Women should not be forced to share bathrooms with people with male body parts who say they want to be females. Yet those are some of the likely results if Congress passes H.R. 3017, the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which is due for a vote this week by the House Education and Labor Committee.

Do you see the theme ... transpeople are "weirdos" and ENDA is going to protect their dysfunctional identity, rather than simply protect our community's right to our jobs. When the media (such as this past week's episode of Accidentally on Purpose) are saturated with caricatures of the stereotypical crossdressing man (ugly man in dress) for the cheap laugh -- people laugh, but they also clutch their children a little closer because they continue to wallow in fear and misunderstanding.

Similar problems abound in this bill, which treats a conscious decision to choose a new or different sexual identity as if it were an inherent, unavoidable condition. But it's not. It's actually a psychological disorder, officially listed as such by the current American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Our children and our co-workers should not be forced by law to be held hostage to such disorders, nor should employers be forced to have psychologically troubled persons as the public face of their businesses.

Yes, Gender Identity Disorder is still classified in the DSM, including the soon to be published version 5.  However, there are very good reasons for this based on meeting the psychological needs of individuals. A very good explanation can be found at the Transgender Workplace Diversity blog.

Those of us who have transgender friends, acquaintances, coworkers and neighbors recognize this as a distraction tactic to get the focus off the economic development aspect of the legislation by tapping into the "bathroom/dressing room" fears of those who do not know any better.  This galvanizes them to advocacy and backs down the legislators wavering on a "jobs" bill.  Sigh.

Are you disgusted/angered/disappointed?  A few things you can do.

Call or email Jason Altmire's staff person TODAY.  Politely ask him to support the legislation - inclusive ENDA. You can email at this link. Ideally, use your free cell phone long distance to call at 202-225-2565

 

Bloggers and media can contact Tess Mullen can be reached at 202-225-2565 and [email protected]   It would be appropriate to mention the Washington Times article to Tess and explain why we need positive support in the media from our elected officials. 

Politely remind Congressman Altmire that workplace protections in Pittsburgh and Erie have not generated any of these situations.  It is fear based ammunition not grounded in fact.  His district is buffered by these protections so he knows this as do his constituents. This is not risky. This *is* essential for our community. 

Remember, Jason has been an ally.  He voted for ENDA in 2007.  He voted for Hate Crimes Protections in 2009.  He's attended LGBTQ events, even before running for office.  Yes, there's health care which even more reason we should invite him back to the equal rights table. 


Updated: Regarding the Washington Times, Editorial Page Editor Brett Decker, Tel: 202/636-4814; Fax: 202/715-0037, or submit a letter to the editor: [email protected].

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