LGBT discrimination

Chapel Hill passes non-discrimination ordinance

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Equality is not just a slogan:

Tonight the Town Council of Chapel Hill, North Carolina voted to pass an ordinance broadly protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. The ruling comes in the same week that Hillsborough and Carrboro passed similar ordinances. Municipalities regained the freedom to pass such measures on Dec. 1, 2020, following the expiration of a key prong of HB142.

Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina, says that it was past time for the vote. "North Carolina has lagged behind the rest of the nation when it comes to protecting LGBTQ folks and creating a culture where our most vulnerable can thrive. The tides are changing, and we hope other cities and towns across our state will be encouraged by these victories and do the right thing for their own citizens in the weeks ahead."

Just gonna throw this out here and see if it sticks: Charlotte has been battling an image problem for some time now, with overzealous policing and support for Trump's RNC debacle. Now would be the perfect time to set an example for the entire Southeast by enacting another NDO to protect all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation. If the Queen City fails to do this, the ghost of HB2 will be running the show and making the City Council appear ineffectual and timid. Like this kinda does:

Bigot-In-Chief: Trump tries to roll back Civil Rights protections

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Allowing government contracts to those who would discriminate:

The Trump administration has embarked on an 11th-hour bid to undo some civil rights protections for minority groups, which could have a ripple effect on women, people with disabilities and L.G.B.T. people, according to a draft document, in a change that would mark one of the most significant shifts in civil rights enforcement in generations.

The Justice Department has submitted for White House approval a change to how it enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits recipients of federal funding from discriminating based on race, color or national origin. The regulation covers housing programs, employers, schools, hospitals, and other organizations and programs.

And every damn Republican who votes today to keep this jackass in office needs to be painted with that bigoted brush. This needs to be part of the arguments today, on the Congressional Record, so it will be abundantly clear what these seditious conspirators are actually supporting with their antics. And before you say it, no, Biden won't be able to easily fix this problem:

Historic SCOTUS ruling: LGBT employment discrimination illegal

The Supreme Court has ruled this morning that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates the Civil Rights Act.

The decision said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation. It upheld rulings from lower courts that said sexual orientation discrimination was a form of sex discrimination.

If you're reading a Nicholas Sparks novel, you might want to burn it

That message in a bottle is likely to be tainted with hate:

Sparks reportedly wrote in a November 2013 email that “we’ve spent way, way too much time … talking about ‘tolerance, diversity, non-discrimination, and LGBT’ in these first twelve weeks.” Benjamin also claims in the lawsuit that Sparks told him “black students are too poor and can’t do the academic work” asked of the school’s students, A separate November 2013 email from Sparks obtained by The Daily Beast appears to support that claim, with the writer saying the school’s lack of diversity “has nothing to do with racism” but rather “money” and “culture.”

According to Benjamin’s 2014 complaint, Sparks supported a group of students who bullied the school’s LGBTQ students. The former headmaster also alleged that Sparks referred to a school club for LGBTQ students as “the Gay Club” and that two bisexual instructors were threatened with termination when they came forward to support the LGBTQ students.

It's been years, but I've read several of his books, and moderately enjoyed them. Had I known at the time that the money I spent on said books would partially fund such a school, I would have been furious. It's direct connections like this that demonstrate how important it is to be aware of what and who you are funding with your commerce. The days of not caring are over.

Mental Health Protection Act: It's (long past) time to ban Conversion Therapy

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These children don't need to be "fixed," they need to be loved for who they are:

The bill (HB 516/SB 426) would protect young people in North Carolina from the discredited practice of “conversion therapy,” which purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Techniques can be extreme and barbaric, including institutionalizing young people against their will, using electroshock treatment and encouraging young people to feel shame about a central part of themselves. The emotional and psychological trauma inflicted on LGBTQ minors often follows them for the rest of their lives.

It's hard to believe we're still having this discussion in 2019, but here we are. I don't have a problem with "religious freedom," until it crosses the line into abuse. And that includes "blasting," where a bunch of zealots stand around a young person yelling in their ears. Don't take my word for it, listen to the survivors:

Trump wants to define transgenderism out of existence

We're back to the whole birth certificate thing again:

The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”

“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

And just like that, another freedom is arrogantly stripped away. In other contexts, we might say a "definition" is merely a mundane classification, with no real-world consequences. But in the context of the Trump administration, where putting toddlers in concentration camps is considered "sound" policy, that definition becomes a lot more sinister. How far away from the further step: "You don't meet our definition of a human being, so human rights are no longer applicable" could we be? Not far enough, that's for sure. And we can now put to rest the presumption that right-wing think tanks are relatively harmless:

Counterpoint: LGBTQ-friendly companies should *not* boycott states like North Carolina

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Locating here might be just what the doctor ordered:

In my late 20s, I followed a Sapphic North Star to Seattle, one of the nation’s most progressive cities. There, I met my wife at a coffee shop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where we would later share our first home together. We were represented by a gay mayor and two gay state legislators, while benefiting from robust statewide nondiscrimination protections—a lucky situation we only occasionally thought about.

Safeguards like these are far too rare for far too many. Only 44 percent of all LGBTQ people nationwide have these same guarantees today, and none of them live in the South—where we now live, in North Carolina. Here, we and all LGBTQ people are keenly aware of the potential vulnerabilities we face in the eyes of employers, landlords, and others. With the differing experiences of Washington and North Carolina in mind, it’s clear what is and is not useful in advancing equality nationwide—and ill-considered corporate relocation boycotts are definitely in the latter category.

I recently got into a pointless argument with somebody who basically said, "If you're a straight white male you should STFU and let marginalized people lead the discussion." And I get most of that. But I also know if I don't speak out in certain venues and media (like this one), the issues won't be addressed at all, or at best very infrequently. With that said, the opinion expressed above has been on my mind for some time also. The thing about boycotts is, they "isolate." The intention to isolate a state as punishment for discriminatory practices, in order to generate a loss of commerce, seems like a valid approach. Hurt 'em in their wallets, as it were. But that isolation comes at a cost to the LGBTQ folks who could have found employment and solidarity working at these companies. And those opportunities are desperately needed here in the South:

Asshat of the Week: Kelly Hastings

Apparently there wasn't enough hate circulating around, so it's time for a rerun:

As many will remember, in the General Assembly of North Carolina, we had to nullify a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed, for example, men claiming to be women to indecently expose themselves in front of little girls in public showers and changing facilities. The ordinance basically forced these policies on businesses too. To ensure peace of mind and privacy, we passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB2).

Since you brought it up, let's take a look at what else this pile 'o crap legislation did: It blocked municipalities from setting new minimum wage standards, which sure as hell didn't help those little girls you seem to be worried about. And speaking of those little girls, this legislation also blocked municipalities from refining child labor laws within their jurisdictions. So apparently it's okay for those little girls to be exploited economically, but not okay in some imaginary scenario where (for some reason) a transgender woman and a little girl would hop into a shower together. Oh, and we can't forget the part of HB2 that took away a worker's ability to sue his or her employer for discriminatory treatment. That was a real jewel. So take your dog-whistle bigotry and stick it where the sun don't shine, pal.

Bigoted, uninformed, and irredeemable: The demagogue Dan Forest

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He makes Tami Fitzgerald seem reasonable in comparison:

Governor Cooper's Executive Order once again opens the bathroom stall for those who would seek to do women and children harm while falsely claiming they are transgender. While I take at face value the Governor's intent to help transgender people use the bathroom of their identity, his order creates a legal loophole that will be exploited by non-transgender pedophiles, stalkers and perverts. All bathrooms at state rest areas, parks and museums will now be fertile ground for sexual deviants who will falsely claim to be transgender to gain protected access to our women and children.

This is from his official page, not his personal or campaign stuff. In other words, you and I are paying for this hyperbolic nonsense, this monster-under-the-bed immature fear-mongering. James is right, we need to do everything in our power to bring this bible-thumping televangelist down on his knees and out the door.

US DOJ argues LGBT employees can be fired for having sex when off work

Republicans sticking their noses into bedrooms, again:

Why does President Donald Trump care about what gay people do in the bedroom? The question came up this week, when a lawyer for Trump's Department of Justice argued that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect LGBTQ Americans from being fired because of their sexual orientation—a complete reversal of the government's position on such matters under previous presidents.

The agency inserted itself, even though the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had already sided with Zarda, arguing that LGBTQ employees are protected by Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights law.

Bolding mine, because that is a critical aspect of this issue. The DOJ should be defending the rights of citizens treated unfairly, or prosecuting those who violate Statutes designed to protect those citizens. But instead, the DOJ is acting like a private defense lawyer for a company who engaged in workplace discrimination. Exactly the opposite of what they should be doing. And even worse, this is not just an isolated incident, it's part of a pattern of legal assaults on LGBT rights:

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