Trump Administration Refuses To Sign Court Ruling Supporting Marriage Equality & Trans Rights

In January, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an advisory opinion reiterating that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes under the American Convention on Human Rights.

That’s great, right?

Except, all member countries didn’t sign the statement showing support of the court’s opinion.

Seven countries signed the statement. Those were Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay.

Who’s missing from that list?

Mmm, that would be the United States.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, the Trump administration chose not to support the opinion.

Even Chile, which doesn’t yet have marriage equality, signed its support.

But Trump says he’s “better for the gays” than Hillary.

Yeah…

Podcast: America’s 1st Out Winter Olympian, Possible Once-A-Week HIV Pill On The Horizon, Bette Midler Says “So Long” To Hello, Dolly!

In this week’s Randy Report podcast:

• America has it’s first openly gay Winter Olympian – figure skater Adam Rippon

• The Human Rights Campaign released its annual report ranking state LGBT rights and protections

• A possible once a week pill for HIV patients looks promising in testing studies

• A Wisconsin school district is dropping its challenge to a transgender student’s lawsuit for bathroom privileges

• Woofy out Olympic freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy stars in a new Head & Shoulders commercial touting all kinds of pride

• Bette Midler says “So long, dearie” to Hello, Dolly! on Broadway

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

Texas’ “Bathroom Bill” Looking Less Likely As Special Session Nears End

With only a few days left in the special session of the Texas legislature called by Gov. Greg Abbott, Senate Bill 6, the anti-transgender “bathroom bill,” hasn’t even had a committee hearing placed on the schedule in the state House.

And according to the chairman of the committee that would handle the bill, a hearing any time soon looks unlikely.

From The Advocate:

Rep. Byron Cook, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, said this week he had no plans to hold a hearing on the bill, which must pass his committee before going to the full House.

“Quite candidly, at this point, I don’t know what a hearing would add when we already had hearings” during the regular session, he told Austin TV station KXAN. In that session, the bill passed the Senate but stalled in the House. Some supporters are still holding out hope that it could be attached to other legislation, but that seems unlikely as well.

The testimony during the regular session was heavily against SB 6, which would require students, staff, and visitors in public schools to use the restrooms and other single-sex facilities matching the gender on their birth certificate or an ID issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and would put the same restriction on those using facilities in buildings overseen by local governments. It would also override portions of city ordinances that allow trans people to use the restrooms of their choice.

“Corporate America is stepping forward, speaking loudly about the fact that this will have a chilling effect on business opportunity in this state,” Cook recently told The New York Times. “I’m hearing from many major corporations about this bill and the effect it will have.”

Companies that have stated their opposition include IBM, Amazon, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, Capital One, Ben & Jerry’s, Facebook, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. The overall list of opponents encompasses more than 650 businesses, chambers of commerce, and convention and visitors’ bureaus, according to the Texas Association of Business, which has organized a campaign against the bill with a coalition called Keep Texas Open for Business.

The bill passed the state Senate two weeks ago, but the moderate Republican Speaker of the House Joe Straus is no fan of the legislation, and has indicated he may not even bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

Transgender Woman Brilliantly Trolls Texas Governor On Proposed “Bathroom Bill”

(via Instagram)

Ashley Smith, a transgender Texas woman, brilliantly trolled Gov. Greg Abbott with this pic posted to Instagram.

Posing with the governor after the announcement of his re-election campaign, Smith shared the photo on Instagram after tagging #BATHROOMBUDDY across the top.

Along with the pic, Smith captioned the post saying, “How will the Potty Police know I’m transgender if the Governor doesn’t?”

The Texas Legislature begins a special session called by the governor where a big focus will be on passing an anti-trans “bathroom bill” which would require trans people to use public restrooms which correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

I should note, however, that even states that actually provide public accommodation protections for trans people can’t ensure they will be treated with respect.

Here in Las Vegas, a transgender woman visiting from San Francisco was recently barred from using the ladies room at the New York-New York Hotel. Nevada state law expressly says gender identity is a protected class against discrimination in the state.

This is why we need The Equality Act passed in Congress which would address LGBT protections on a federal level.

Of course, that’s not going to happen with the current Republican controlled Congress.

Las Vegas: Transgender Woman Denied Entrance To Ladies Restroom At New York-New York Hotel

Katie Charm (via Instagram)

A transgender woman from San Francisco, visiting Las Vegas this past week, was blocked from using a women’s bathroom at New York-New York Hotel.

While attending a performance of the Cirque du Soleil production Zumanity, which ironically celebrates diversity, Katie Charm used the women’s restroom before the show began.

But later, when she returned to use the same restroom during the performance,  New York-New York staff blocked her from entering the restroom again.

Unicorn Booty interviewed Charm and shares her story:

“They formed a literal barrier in the hallway blocking me from using it,” she tells us. “The first manager was unbelievable. He was like, ‘Well, look at you, look at what you’re wearing.’ I was wearing a woman’s baby doll tee and shorts, by the way. I was like, ‘I’m a trans woman! I have boobs even.’ I asked to speak to his manager.”

“I asked for a refund and the manager was like,’Why in the world would we give you a refund?’ I had to leave because I became too emotional. We missed the end of the show.”

Charm explains the fear and self-doubt she has had to overcome since transitioning.

“I don’t know if you understand how scary it is for a newly transitioning person to use a women’s room,” she explains. “So afraid at any second to be called out and harassed for not belonging. So scared of those macho assholes waiting outside to hurt you for daring to use the bathroom next to their wife.”

“The titanic mountains of self-doubt you have to overcome just to feel OK being there. Months and months of fighting thoughts, “Do I really belong here? Am I a bad person for just wanting to pee in peace. The crippling self-doubt versus the absolute terror of going to the men’s room. After a few months of transition, you begin smelling like a girl, and people give you scary looks in the men’s room. It was a nightmare for all [the beginning] of 2017. It was a nightmare I finally felt like I had conquered.”

Charm shared with Unicorn Booty that she has been taking hormones for seven months, and says, “I know I don’t pass, that I’m a thousand miles from ever ‘passing,’ even though I’ve been on hormones seven months now. But just because I’m an ugly woman doesn’t mean I should be subject to ID search to use the bathroom. I shouldn’t need to ‘pass’ or be pretty to be treated as a valid female.”

Charm added that she felt she was “confronted” in at least 50% of the restrooms she used in Las Vegas.

It’s important to note that in 2011, the Nevada legislature passed, and Gov. Sandoval signed into law, SB 331 which outlawed discrimination based on gender identity and expression regarding public accommodations.

According to reports, those who denied Charm entrance to the bathroom were New York-New York employees, not Cirque du Soleil employees.

MGM Resorts posted this statement on Katie’s Instagram:

MGM Resorts International strives to create a safe and inclusive environment for our LGBTQ guests. Under our policy, guests who are transgender may use the restroom of the gender they associate with. If you were not allowed access to the restroom of your choice, we would very much like an opportunity to address this matter with you directly. Inclusion is a bedrock value of MGM Resorts and we welcome the opportunity to make this right.

I’m not aware of any other public statement by MGM Resorts on the incident.

I would like to know whether the employees were addressed regarding how they mishandled the incident considering the company’s policy is to allow trans people to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

Unicorn Booty reports that since the incident MGM Resorts have issued an apology to Charm and offered her a refund.

Cirque du Soleil issued this statement:

We regret the incident experienced by one of our audience members on July 11 at New York-New York. Diversity and equality for every individual are foundational values of Cirque du Soleil, and our show Zumanity specifically celebrates diversity and love in all forms.

Podcast: Malta Approves Marriage Equality; Broadway’s “Falsettos” In Movie Theaters; New Music From Superfruit

In this episode of The Randy Report podcast:

• The island nation of Malta approves marriage equality with a huge lop-sided Parliament vote

• An attempt to block health care for transgender military service members fails in Congress

• The filmed version of the recent Broadway revival of “Falsettos,” currently being shown in movie theaters across the country, will be extended

• Pop duo Superfruit drops a new music video for their latest – “Worth It (Perfect)”

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report.

For past episodes, or to subscribe to the podcast for free, click here.

And, by the way, please feel free to share The Randy Report podcast with friends. It’s a great way to catch up on the week’s LGBT political, pop culture and entertainment headlines in about 15 minutes 🙂

Washington: Anti-Trans Haters Fail To Bring ANY Signatures To Put Transgender Rights On November Ballot

Anti-trans bathroom measure, I-1552, will not qualify for the 2017 ballot in Washington State.

From Washington Won’t Discriminate:

Pop the champagne bottles: We just defeated I-1552!

Backers of this dangerous initiative needed to submit 260,000 valid petition signatures to the Secretary of State by 3PM today to qualify for the ballot. They didn’t even show up to hand over their petitions.

No signatures = automatic disqualification.

I-1552 will NOT be on Washington’s November ballot. And our state’s long-standing non-discrimination laws will continue to provide protections against discrimination for ALL Washingtonians—including our transgender family members, neighbors, coworkers, and friends.

And the HRC celebrates:

“Anti-equality activists spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to pass a shameful ballot measure aimed at discriminating against LGBTQ people, but thanks to the fair-minded people of Washington State, they have failed,” said Marty Rouse, HRC National Field Director.

“For months, our opponents attempted to garner enough signatures to put the fundamental civil rights of transgender people on the ballot.

“Their failure is a victory for equality and validation of Washington’s non-discrimination laws that ensure fair and equal treatment for LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Podcast: Where The Bears Are, SCOTUS U-Turns On Trans Rights, LOGO’s “Fire Island”

In this episode of The Randy Report podcast:

• Hunky Ian Parks of Where The Bears Are chats on the upcoming 6th season of the popular web series.

Where the Bears Are is a comedy/mystery web series that has accumulated over 23 MILLION VIEWS over five seasons and won the “BEST GAY WEB SERIES” award from several LGBT media outlets.

The show – described as a cross between The Golden Girls and Murder She Wrote – features four Bears living in the hills of Silverlake forever finding themselves in the middle of a murder mystery. There’s constant tongue in cheek humor and big, hairy men thrown in for eye candy.

The show has a world-wide fan base and the creators/stars have been flown to Europe, Australia, and Mexico.

The Bears promise Season 6 to be one of their most ambitious yet featuring a spy plot line, a murder AND the return of one of their most notorious villains!

Hit the play button below to listen to Ian talk on the new season – click here for more info about Where The Bears Are.

Plus:

• A new reality show from LOGO, “Fire Island,” focuses on beach life on Fire Island.

• The Supreme Court u-turns on hearing an important case regarding transgender rights.

• South Dakota earns the dubious distinction of passing the first anti-LGBT law in this legislative session.

Gavin Grimm: The Fight For Transgender Rights Is Bigger Than Me

Transgender high school student Gavin Grimm pens an incredibly mature and clear-eyed essay for the New York Times chronicling his two year struggle to be accepted, and the “crazy, stressful, busy, breathtaking, rewarding, beautiful, fantastic” road he’s traveled since challenging the discrimination perpetrated by his school board.

Grimm sums up the journey thusly:

This case will not be resolved until after I graduate. But this fight is bigger than me. I came to realize that very early on, and it is truer now than it ever has been. This fight is for other trans youth in my high school. It is for other trans youth in Virginia. It is for all trans youth who are in school or one day will be. It is for the friends and loved ones of these youth, who want these children to be happy and healthy, rather than at risk and in danger as so many trans people are.

I am often asked if I regret my actions, or if I would do anything differently if I had the chance. When people ask that, I immediately think about the hundreds of parents who have reached out to thank me on behalf of their children. I think of the hundreds of young people who have thanked me themselves. I think of the countless #StandWithGavin messages on social media, and the countless hugs and handshakes at school and on the sidewalks of my town. I think of people I’ve gotten to meet and grown to love. I think of how honored I am to carry the voice, in some way, of a community so rich and so colorful and so important. I think of how I’ve grown from that 15-year-old child, sitting in fear as he waits to hear what his future will be, into the young man who stands hand in hand with a huge community as we all prepare to take the next step in this fight. I think of my parents, unwavering and strong as pillars in my success and growth. And I say, “Absolutely not.”

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it will not hear Gavin’s case this term, sending the case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in the wake of the Trump Administration’s revocation of school guidance ensuring the protection and dignity of transgender students.

#NotTheEnd

High School Wrestling Champ Mack Beggs On Challenges Of Being Transgender

Mack Beggs, a 17-year-old transgender high school wrestler in Texas who is transitioning to male, talks with ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” about the challenges he has faced in his controversial run to a girls’ wrestling state title.

For all the folks who have accused Beggs of “cheating” because he is on testosterone, the high schooler acknowledges he told his doctor he only wants to take the smallest dose he can and still transition. By staying under a 6 to 1 ratio with his testosterone, the state of Texas technically doesn’t view his medications as “steroids.”

Beggs also shares some of his darker moments like in 7th grade when he was referred to as “fag” or “it” in school.

I think Beggs is terrifically mature and thoughtful here. Very good interview for folks to see when it comes to the realities of trans youth.