News Round-Up: May 17, 2021

Guillermo Flores, dancer/choreographer and member of Drag Race Espana's Pit Crew
Guillermo Flores, dancer/choreographer and member of Drag Race Espana's Pit Crew
Guillermo Flores, dancer/choreographer and member of Drag Race Espana’s Pit Crew

Some news items you might have missed:

OUT: Police in Brazil announced the arrests of three suspects in the brutal murder of gay activist teacher, Professor Lindolfo Kosmaski. The body of the 25-year-old was found bullet-ridden in a burned car on the side of a highway in the municipality of São João do Triunfo on April 30.

CNN: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a controversial bathroom bill into law Friday that will deny transgender students access to the bathroom and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. Lee also signed a transgender sports bill into law in March that requires students to prove their sex at birth in order to play middle and high school sports.

Instinct Magazine: For the inaugural season of Drag Race España, the Pit Crew has been supersized with twelve brand new members.  That’s Pit Crew member Guillermo Flores up top. #woof

BosGuy: The longtime Boston-based blogger reminds us in his weekly ‘Men In Kilts’ feature that wool kilts can be itchy. His ‘Monday Morning Mancandy‘ is worth a peek as well.

Huffpost: Universal Pictures is postponing the international distribution of Promising Young Woman amid outrage that male actors were hired to dub Laverne Cox’s voice in European editions of the movie.

Mediaite: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed this week that a Democrat-backed bill would “automatically register” millions of illegal immigrants to vote. CNN fact checker Daniel Dale wasn’t having it, bluntly responding to a video clip of Cruz by saying, “None of what you just heard is correct.” Here’s the fact check:

High School Officials Break Into Bathroom Stall Being Used By Transgender Student

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A video posted to social media appears to show school officials breaking into a bathroom stall as a transgender high school student is using the bathroom.

According to The Daily Dot, the student originally posted the video to their social media but it has since gone viral. Her name isn’t being used as she’s apparently a minor.

The one-minute video, shot from the student’s perspective inside the stall, shows a crowbar or broomstick being used to reach over the door of the stall and unlatch it.

As this is happening the student says, “I’m using the bathroom, and look at them; I’m using the bathroom and they just violated me!”

“I am so scared and violated right now. They just walked in the bathroom while I was using the bathroom for no reason.”

The video was shared on Twitter by activist Kenidra Woods. Watch below.

You know, most of the people who oppose trans folks using a bathroom say their concern is about being harassed in a stall. And here are folks doing exactly that to a trans student…?

“I’m not personally in touch with the student, but in her video, she asked for people to share it far and wide,” Woods told the Daily Dot. “So, I made it my priority to share it because it infuriated me to my core. No one should be treated in the manner she was treated.”

While it’s possible there’s more to the story, it is difficult to believe that prying open a bathroom stall door on a student is the best possible approach to this situation. The officials or hall monitors couldn’t wait until the student exited the stall?

The issue of bathroom use by transgender students has been in the news frequently in recent years, especially since the Trump administration reversed an Obama-era policies that recommended transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom that aligned with their gender identity.

The student apparently posted follow-up videos to Facebook which appeared to identify the school as Osseo Senior High School in Osseo, Minnesota.

According to The Daily Dot, school officials have not commented on the video.

The story becomes more complicated as LGBTQNation reports someone who claims to be the sister of the student took to her Facebook to criticize the trans student’s actions.

In the sister’s post, misgendering the trans student throughout, the sister says the trans student has “a bathroom of [their] own to use whenever [they] wants to use it because [they] doesn’t feel comfortable using a men’s bathroom[…] because other girls won’t feel comfortable.” She also says her sibling had been in the bathroom for “like, an hour.”

The sister later posted a message from their mother consistently referring to the trans student with male pronouns while claiming to fully support the student being transgender.

The mother goes on to write that the trans student “doesn’t realize is that [she’s] not the only one who has been effected by all [she] has done in the last 24hrs and the rollercoaster [she] brought us on.”

North Carolina Legislature Pushes Fake “Repeal” Of Anti-Transgender Law HB2

UPDATE: The legislation passed in the House 70-48. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Whether this actually satisfies the NCAA remains to be seen.

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In a race to meet an NCAA deadline for consideration to host championship sporting events through 2022, the North Carolina legislature is ramming through a fake “repeal” of the state’s hateful anti-LGBT law, HB2. The “compromise” was concocted in a middle of the night/backroom deal between Phil Berger, the Senate leader, Tim Moore, the House speaker, and the new Democratic governor, Roy Cooper.

While being touted as a repeal, the new bill – HB142 – bans local municipalities from passing any non-discrimination ordinances through 2020.

Additionally, HB142 bans protections for transgender individuals in restrooms and other single-sex spaces forever.

“This law does not repeal HB2, it doubles down on discrimination,” said Cathryn Oakley HRC Senior Legislative Counsel at a press conference in Raleigh Thursday morning.

“If you vote for this bill you are not a friend of the LGBTQ community,” said Chris Sgro, Equality NC Executive Director.

What is particularly galling is newly installed Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who campaigned on repealing the so-called “Bathroom bill,” is supporting this effort even as he admits it’s not “a perfect deal.”

The new bill passed the state Senate today by a vote of 32 to 16.

The legislation now moves to the state House.

LGBT advocacy groups are rightfully angry.

From Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign:

From Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD:

From the national office of the ACLU:

Businesses in the state have begun chiming in as well. From Levi Strauss:

AP: North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill” Will Cost State Economy $3.7 Billion Over 12 Years

Adding more details to what we already knew, the Associated Press is reporting on the huge losses to the North Carolina economy thanks to passing it’s now infamous “bathroom bill,” HB2.

Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” isn’t hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state’s economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town’s amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. The blows have landed in the state’s biggest cities as well as towns surrounding its flagship university, and from the mountains to the coast.

North Carolina could lose hundreds of millions more because the NCAA is avoiding the state, usually a favored host. The group is set to announce sites for various championships through 2022, and North Carolina won’t be among them as long as the law is on the books. The NAACP also has initiated a national economic boycott.

Still, AP’s tally is likely an underestimation of the law’s true costs. The count includes only data obtained from businesses and state or local officials regarding projects that canceled or relocated because of HB2. A business project was counted only if AP determined through public records or interviews that HB2 was why it pulled out.

Matt Baume On Exactly WHO So-Called “Bathroom Bills” Actually Protect

Matt Baume

Super-smart guy Matt Baume has looked at the data, and he concluded: so-called “bathroom bills” do protect people – just not the ones they say.

What’s the REAL reason for “bathroom bans”? Those are laws that prevent transgender people from using the bathroom unless it matches their birth certificate. The politicians pushing them claim that they just want to protect people. And they’re right — stopping trans people from using the bathroom will protect people. But not the people they say.

Watch Baume break down the stats for you below:

White House On Transgender Protections: “This Is A States’ Rights Issue”

Yesterday, I posted about a possible change in direction from the Federal government regarding the rights of transgender students to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Today, The Washington Blade’s White House correspondent, Chris Johnson, asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer if the Trump administration would rescind Obama era guidance on the issue.

Spicer told reporters, “The president has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue, and not one for the federal government.”

So, somehow, whether or not you can use the bathroom you identify with depends on what state you live in?

Spicer also said there would be weighing in further with new guidance on the issue as well as “the case that’s in front of the Supreme Court,” referring to transgender Virginia student, Gavin Grimm.

Commercial Highlights Transgender Stress Using Public Bathrooms

This simple but effective deodorant commercial explains the stress most transgender women experience every time they use a public bathroom.

Kudos to Secret for getting this right.

Most conversations about “bathroom rights” center on innocent young girls encountering a trans woman in a bathroom and not knowing how they’ll respond.

This spot gives us a peek from the other side of the encounter.


Federal Judge Bars University Of North Carolina From Enforcing State’s “Bathroom Bill”

Small victory for transgender rights in North Carolina today as a federal judge has ruled that the University of North Carolina may not enforce HB2, the so-called “bathroom bill,” in regards to two students and a university employee.

From Buzzfeed‘s Chris Geidner:

In the ruling U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder noted, “Ultimately, the record reflects what counsel for Governor [Pat] McCrory candidly speculates was the status quo ante in North Carolina in recent years: some transgender individuals have been quietly using bathrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity, without public awareness or incident.”

The case was brought by the ACLU on behalf of several North Carolina residents, including professors and students at UNC schools.

After reviewing the record in the case and relevant case law, Schroeder concluded a preliminary injunction of part of the law was appropriate. Specifically, he pointed to a case (G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board) in which the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — from which appeals from North Carolina are heard — held that the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX’s sex discrimination provision as including anti-transgender discrimination was permitted.

“Part I’s wholesale ban on access to facilities is inconsistent with DOE’s guidance on Title IX compliance under G.G.,” Schroeder concluded.

“Accordingly, the court will enjoin UNC from enforcing Part I against the individual transgender Plaintiffs until the court reaches a final decision on the merits in this case,” Schroeder concluded.

Texas Judge Blocks Federal Guidance Allowing Trans Students To Use Bathrooms Consistent With Gender Identity

A federal judge has blocked President Obama’s guidelines which would allow transgender students to use the bathrooms which align with their gender identity.

From Buzzfeed:

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth issued the order sought by Texas and 10 other states on Sunday. The states sued the Obama administration in May over its guidelines regarding accommodating transgender students in restrooms and facilities at public schools.

The 11 states had asked O’Connor to suspend Obama’s policies — largely an interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 — in a hearing held on Aug. 12.

In his 38-page order, O’Connor ruled that the states had standing to bring their lawsuit because the administration’s “Guidelines are clearly designed to target [their] conduct.”

The court found that the Obama administration’s actions likely violate the Administrative Procedure Act for failing to follow proper notice and comment procedures under the law because, the court found, the policies are “legislative and substantive.” Additionally, the court found that, under the text of the law, the Obama administration’s interpretation is incorrect — a ruling that contradicts an earlier decision from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in a related case challenging a Virginia school district’s policies.

In granting the states’ request, O’Connor issued a nationwide injunction of the guidance, writing that “while this injunction remains in place, [the Obama administration is] enjoined from initiating, continuing, or concluding any investigation based on [its] interpretation that the definition of sex includes gender identity in Title IX’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex.”

The Human Rights Campaign issued this statement:

“Judge O’Connor’s decision to bar the Department of Justice from enforcing this important guidance puts thousands of transgender students at even greater risk of marginalization, harassment, and discrimination as they return to school this fall,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

“All students, regardless of their gender identity, deserve to be able to learn in an environment free from discrimination. Despite this judge’s decision, schools are not barred from following the federal guidance, and school administrators still have a responsibility to ensure that the civil rights of all students are respected and that transgender students have access to facilities consistent with their gender identity.

“As lawsuits on the scope of Title IX proceed, we believe that justice will prevail as courts continue to recognize that discrimination against transgender students is a form of sex discrimination.”

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Virginia School To Continue Transgender Discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court struck a blow to transgender rights today as the high court voted 5-3 to allow a Virginia school to continue to block trans students from using the public bathroom the students gender identity aligned with while the case itself is being appealed.

The Court was responding to request from a Virginia school board to stay a lower court’s ruling which found its transgender bathroom ban to be discriminatory and illegal.