Thursday, July 25, 2013

U.S. Department of Justice Discrimination Agreement

The U.S. Department of Justice reached a landmark agreement this week about discrimination against transgender students. We here at CTAC receive a number of complaints against schools in Connecticut that refuse to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity and require them to use a staff bathroom or a gender neutral bathroom. The CT law is vague about sex-segregated facilities, the CHRO takes the position that ex-segregated facilities are covered under the law but some school districts point out that there has never been any court ruling to back-up their opinion.

Now the U.S. Department of Justice has reached an agreement with a California school systems.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
United States Reaches Agreement with Arcadia, California, School District to Resolve Sex Discrimination Allegations

The United States entered into a settlement agreement with the Arcadia Unified School District in Arcadia, Calif., to resolve an investigation into allegations of discrimination against a transgender student based on the student’s sex.  Under the agreement, approved by the district’s school board unanimously last night, the school district will take a number of steps to ensure that the student, whose gender identity is male and who has consistently and uniformly presented as a boy at school and in all other aspects of his life for several years, will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district.

The agreement, joined by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which participated in the investigation, resolves a complaint filed in October 2011.  The complaint alleged that the district had prohibited the student from accessing facilities consistent with his male gender identity, including restrooms and locker rooms at school, as well as sex-specific overnight accommodations at a school-sponsored trip, because he is transgender.  The United States investigated this complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Both Title IX and Title IV prohibit discrimination against students based on sex.

Under the settlement agreement, the district will:
  •           work with a consultant to support and assist the district in creating a safe, nondiscriminatory learning environment for students who are transgender or do not conform to gender stereotypes;
  •           amend its policies and procedures to reflect that gender-based discrimination, including discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, transgender status, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is a form of discrimination based on sex; and
  •           train administrators and faculty on preventing gender-based discrimination and creating a nondiscriminatory school environment for transgender students.
Additionally, the district will take a number of steps to treat the student like all other male students in the education programs and activities offered by the district.  The district-wide provisions of the agreement will be in place until the end of the 2015-2016 school year.  The student-specific provisions of the agreement will be in place as long as the student is enrolled in the district.

“All students, including transgender students, have the right to attend school free from discrimination based on their sex,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “We commend the district for taking affirmative steps to ensure that this student and his peers can continue to learn and thrive in a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.”

“Our commitment to civil rights enforcement runs deep and nowhere is that commitment more meaningful than in our schools,” said AndrĂ© Birotte, Jr., United States Attorney for the Central District of California. “This agreement helps ensure continued advancement towards equal rights under the law for all students.”

In recent years, the Justice Department and the Department of Education resolved a number of cases involving gender-based harassment in public schools.  In 2012, the departments entered into a consent decree addressing harassment against students who do not conform to gender stereotypes in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minn.  In 2011, the departments entered into an agreement with the Tehachapi Unified School District, Calif., to resolve a similar complaint of harassment against a gay student who did not conform to gender stereotypes.

 Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 each prohibit harassment based on sex.  The enforcement of Title IV and Title IX are top priorities of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at .
Politico had this to say about why the agreement is so unique,
The Education and Justice departments have forced districts to change policies and practices to better protect students who are transgender, including in Minnesota and elsewhere in California. But those protections, primarily intended to prevent bullying and harassment, have been part of agreements to protect all students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
While the agreement is only between the district and federal agencies, it sets a precedent, said Asaf Orr, a staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which filed the complaint on behalf of the Arcadia student.

“This sends a clear message to school districts around the country saying ‘This is what the federal government is going to be expecting of you,’” Orr [Staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights] said.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Imperial Sovereign Court of CT Fundraiser For CTAC July 27

Saturday July 27th - White Party.  Dowager Emperor Nick and Dowager Empress Electra along with the Entire Imperial Sovereign Court of ALL CT invite you all to the WHITE PARTY, $10.00 cover at the door, $1.00 Jello Shots, Show Times 11PM and 12 Midnight.  All proceeds to Benefit Aids Project New Haven, Connecticut Health Initiative, Connecticut Transadvocacy, and St. Philips House.  Facebook event page (

Monday, July 15, 2013

Eighth Annual Trans Health & Law Conference

Save the date for our Eighth Annual Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law Conference that will be held on April 26, 2014 at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Ct.

Our conference is about relationships - relationships with ourselves and relationships with those who interact with us. It is about re-defining these relationship through knowledge and understanding and by helping to erase those misconceptions that have disempowered so many for so long. Our conference is also about community - and not just trans and gender non-conforming people but also our allies who support us, the professionals who work with
us, our families who care for us, and most-especially you.

Our primary theme “Intersection of Health and Law” seeks to raise awareness of the interconnectivity and interdependence of two critical areas to the lives of the trans and gender non-conforming individual.

Each year the attendance and outreach for this conference has grown substantially, now making it the major Transgender Health and Law Conference in the Northeast. Our success is a directly attributed to attendees finding the conference to be informative, relevant, and positive. One of our goals for this conference is that you find your experience to be informative and positive. We hope to provide new information to you and to provide old information in a new way that provides you with new or renewed perspective. As always, we invite you to share your thoughts and suggestions for future conferences.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

US Senate Committee on HELP: Passes ENDA

On a 15-7 vote in the committee the bill is passed with three amendments on ENDA to be considered 1) shared facilities 2) define the word "transition" 3) no action to be taken against employer who fires an employee for legitimate reason.
ENDA advances with bipartisan backing
By Steve Benen
Wed Jul 10, 2013

Following up on an item from late yesterday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (better known as the HELP Committee) easily approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (better known as ENDA) this morning. The final vote count, by way of my colleague Tricia McKinney, was 15 to 7.

The two-to-one margin matters. If the legislation is going to have any chance of overcoming a Republican filibuster on the Senate floor, ENDA is going to need several GOP votes to side with the Democratic majority. With this in mind, this morning's vote was heartening -- all 12 Democrats on the committee backed the law, and they were joined by Republican Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and most importantly, Orrin Hatch (Utah).
You can read the whole story here.

Video of the committee hearing... Executive Session - S. 815, Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013