Category Archives: Legal

Legal issues of transgender and transsexual persons.

October 2018 Trans Talk on KKFI

This month on Trans Talk, we will first interview Parker Liu who will give us some breaking news on the The Kansas City Demonstration for Transgender Rights, which will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, October 27th, at the J.C. Nichols fountain at the east side of the Country Club Plaza. See this public link for more information. Una from this very Trans Talk program will be one of the speakers at the event, so make sure you plan on attending!

Then we will have live music in the studio from the group Evil Pillows, an all trans punk rock band formed right here in Kansas City! They are going to play some songs to help give us some courage and empowerment over the airwaves, and then talk about their band, their inspirations, and their music. Bonus points out there if you guess the origin of their name without looking it up! Find out more information about the band at their Bandcamp link right here!

We will have a take on the transgender news of the month, which is going to be some of the most important news we’ve ever reported upon on Trans Talk, and then finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, October 27th at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phone.

September 2018 Trans Talk on KKFI


This month on Trans Talk, we will feature an interview with LGBT scholar and activist Brynn Tannehill. In addition to being a retired Lt. Commander in the US Navy and a researcher at a Washington think-tank, Brynn is a frequent author for many journals and news organizations, including the Huffington Post, the Advocate, USA Today, Salon, Slate, and The New Civil Rights Movement.

Recently Brynn has been analyzing the policies and politics of the Trump Administration, the Republican and Democratic Parties, and the political and social zeitgeist we inhabit in this very strange and somewhat terrifying landscape, and she will be joining us on Trans Talk to give her analysis and perspective on where we may be headed, and how bad things could be not just for my transgender siblings out there, but the LGBT community, women, and pretty much the whole doggone planet.

We will have a new take on the transgender news of the month, and finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, September 22nd at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phone.

June 2018 Trans Talk on KKFI


We have two special guests with us today. First we will be talking with a guest who has visited with us before, Professor Larry Altman, who will discuss the current status of several legal issues impacting the LGBTQIA community in Kansas and Missouri. Then at the bottom of the hour we will be discussing issues of spirituality with the Reverend Seth Sonneville, a hospital chaplain who has worked with the transgender community for some time.

We will have a new take on the transgender news of the month, and finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, June 23rd at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phone.

November 2017 Trans Talk on KKFI

On this month’s Trans Talk Edition of the Tenth Voice we’re going to have a special interview with a woman who is part of living transgender history. You’ve heard all about the issue of transgender troops in the military, well our guest, Joanna Clark, is the grandmother of that issue. After a long career in the Navy she was ousted from the service in the 70’s and then enlisted in the Army as an openly transgender woman in 1976. She was discharged again and took on the military, suing and winning in court. She went on to fight for transgender rights in the 70’s and 80’s, being instrumental in the fight to change gender markers on birth certificates and drivers licenses in California. She then started and ran the AEGIS online bulletin board, which became the largest HIV/AIDS information database in the world, for which she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

We will have a new take on the transgender news of the month, and we will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, November 25th at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phone.

P&G Transgender Advertisement Continues to Lead Debate in India

Earlier this year Proctor & Gamble released a short film sponsored by their Vicks line of products, which highlights the real-life story of Gayatri, a young Indian orphan who was adopted by Gauri Sawant, a 37-year-old Mumbai-based transgender woman and social activist. The video has gone viral, with almost 10 million views on YouTube, and is notable that no professional actors are used – both Gayatri and her mother Gauri appear as themselves in the video. Thus avoiding the nearly ubiquitous marginalization of our people via transface (artistic portrayal of transgender persons by cisgender persons).

The video tells the story of Gayatri’s life, starting with how when she was 6 years old her mother, a sex worker, died of AIDS. Gauri, her mother’s friend, decided to raise her as her own (despite the fact that she is forbidden legally from adopting the child herself). The video has spurred debate yet again regarding the rights of both transgender and third-gender, or hijra persons in the country. Statistics vary widely on the number of transgender persons in India, but it is estimated that as many as 2 million citizens are hijra, with potentially another million being transgender persons. Both communities face institutionalized class-based and caste-based discrimination in employment, housing, voting rights, and even access to basic social services.

The film composition is very well done and heartwarming, and highlights the inhumanity of denying transgender persons and their families basic human rights. It emphasizes this when Gayatri says the following:

My Civics book says that everyone is entitled to basic rights. Then why is my mom denied them? That’s why I’m not going to be a doctor, I will be a lawyer. For my mom.

The film is well worth your time to watch.

Special Alert: Child Protective Services versus Transgender Families?

Warrior mom Debi Jackson at Trans-Parenting has passed along this horrifying series of reports about transgender children being taken from their homes by Child Protective Services (CPS) in various states under the guise of “protecting” them. This is a real fear that parents of transgender children face every day of their lives, and I know parents who have to carry with them an entire packet of documents from physicians, psychologists, and attorneys at all times out of fear that a transphobic person or internet troll will lodge a false complaint of child endangerment against them.

CPS cases are judged under a strange set of legal rules, whereby one is presumed guilty until proven innocent, and there are numerous cases of parents losing their children for years, despite being found innocent of any wrongdoing. If you are a parent or relative of a transgender child, or know someone who is, please read and share this series of reports.

Can the Child Welfare System Handle Transgender Children? (Part 1)

Can the Child Welfare System Handle Transgender Children? (Part 2)

Can the Child Welfare System Handle Transgender Children? (Part 3)

February 2017 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


We have a special guest to kick our show off – Christine Burns will be joining us from the UK to discuss her decades-long work for transgender rights, as well as her work as a transgender historian. Ms Burns was instrumental in using the early internet for transgender advocacy, worked with the early political group Press for Change for transgender rights, and also helped craft the UK’s Gender Recognition Act of 2004 – for which she was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.)

We have two other special guests for the second half of our show – Grace Cox-Johnson and Johnalita White-Menscher will be joining us to talk about the first year of Transfinity KC, Kansas City’s transgender and allies chorus. We will discuss the performances of the chorus in its first year, and will talk tell us the plans for the upcoming year, as well as information on how you can join and make your voice heard.

As usual, we will share with you the transgender news and the community calendar update. We do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

January 2017 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


Hello everyone! We have two themes to our program this week. First we are going to re-open the subject of transgender prisoners, focusing on what happens afterwards and how society has placed many barriers on success for transgender persons who have served their time and are fighting to live their lives in America. We will be talking with JoAnna Ramsey, a guest we interviewed last October, to check up on her and find out how she has been doing getting her life in order. Also with us is April, a transgender woman and activist who is also trying to get a fresh start after a history of legal difficulties. In our second half we will interview Ari Copeland, a transgender man who is a senior water scientist at a global engineering firm, to talk about his life and to discuss along with Una the perils and joys of crossing the gender barrier in the corporate engineering world.

As usual, we will share with you the transgender news and the community calendar update. We do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, January 28 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

October 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

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Hello everyone! We are devoting the entire show this month to a special guest and those who are supporting her. JoAnna Ramsey is a transgender woman who experienced a harrowing time incarcerated in Kansas within the male prison population, and she will be speaking with us about herself, what she went through in prison, and her transgender activism behind the wall. Also with us will be Caroline Gibbs, founder of the Transgender Institute of Kansas City, who will discuss how the Institute worked to help JoAnna, as well as plans for a future outreach project for transgender prisoners. JoAnna is also joined by her friend Tyga McHenry, who will talk with us about JoAnna’s experience.

As usual, we will share with you the transgender news and the community calendar update. We do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, October 22 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

June 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFI

Hello everyone! We have two great topics this month on Trans Talk. First, we will be talking with attorney Larry Altman about the current status of North Carolina’s anti-transgender legislation, and how the upcoming election could impact transgender rights. Next, we will have a discussion with Nyla, Kelly, and Freddie, three transgender persons of color who are joining us to explain the specific challenges faced by their community, and to educate us on how we can be better allies to this community which is at such high risk.

Fiona Nowling will be co-hosting today’s program, and she will give us the community calendar update, while I will provide my view of some of the LGBT news this week. I do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, June 25 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

Georgia Governor Vetoes Anti-LGBT Bill, and a North Carolina Update

Georgia_Governor_Nathan_Deal
In news today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed the anti-LGBT rights bill passed by the Georgia legislature. The bill, known as House Bill 757, would have exempted anyone claiming to be a “faith-based organization” from complying with any hiring, state labor practice, public service, or other laws which cover those who serve the public. In other words, it would allow groups to discriminate against an LGBT person based upon any allegation that it violates their organized “religious belief.”

The reason for the veto was money, pure and simple – an unprecedented number of companies, sports teams, and professional organizations came out against this bill, threatening to take their business elsewhere, or even move their entire company out of state. Sources close to the Governor are alleging (with no confirmation, mind you), that the most worrisome threat was that from the National Football League, which threatened to disallow Atlanta from hosting a future Super Bowl should the law be passed (one wishes that they had said the same about North Carolina’s bill, but then that bill was ram-rodded through their legislature in an unprecedented 3 hours from start to finish).

Republicans have threatened a special session to over-ride the Governor’s veto, and there is no information at this time as to how serious or possible such an attempt may be.

In related news, two transgender men, a lesbian woman, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, and Equality North Carolina have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, seeking to overturn the state’s disastrous anti-transgender legislation which was passed last Thursday. In response to the lawsuit, North Carolina Republicans are doubling down, releasing a “frequently asked questions” about the new law which has been proven to be deceptive and misleading – a scary thing, coming from the Governor’s office – claiming that the entire purpose of the law was to prevent men from using women’s facilities.

This lawsuit has significant potential to impact the transgender community nationwide. It is very likely that unless one side relents, the case will reach the United States Supreme Court, where at this time it is uncertain whether it would be upheld or thrown out – and on what possible grounds. The Supreme Court has never ruled on the subject matter of whether transgender discrimination is sex discrimination, and transgender-rights observers are nervous about what sort of precedent could be set should a “conservative flu” be contracted by the Court on this issue.

There are some nail-biting times ahead, folks.

March 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFI

Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month the topic is legislative assaults upon the transgender community, and we’re going to focusing on two subjects in particular. First we will talk with someone fighting back against transgender discrimination – Stephanie Mott, who is the Executive Director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, or KSTEP. She is courageously suing the state of Kansas for the right to change the gender marker on her birth certificate, and will be discussing her effort and how Kansas put itself in the position of denying valid records changes to transgender persons.

Next we will discuss the recent legislative efforts in Kansas to pass additional anti-transgender legislation, and we will compare these efforts with activities in other states as well. Sandra Meade will be our guest for that segment, and frequent listeners of this program will remember that not only is Sandra the former chair of Equality Kansas, she was the former hostess of this very show.

I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and we will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, March 26 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

North Carolina Enshrines Transgender Toilet Terror Bill Into Law

Torched_Rainbow_Flag
Well, they’ve done it.

In response to the city of Charlotte passing an ordinance protecting LGBT rights, Republicans in the North Carolina legislature have ram-rodded a comprehensive anti-LGBT rights bill through to the governor’s office, where it was signed with incredible speed not shown towards any other legislative measure in that state in recent history. A mere three hours of debate and 20 minutes of public comment were allowed before the bill was passed, and Governor Pat McCrory – who I’ve reported on before due to his many anti-transgender statements regarding children – signed it without any hesitation. Claiming it was to “keep our children safe.”

Why did this happen? One primary, driving issue: Republican lawmakers were horrified that transgender women might be using the same toilet as cisgender women.

That’s it. The economy, crime, jobs, civil rights, the environment – all of these issues paled to the Republicans, compared to the thought that a transgender person might need to pee in a place where they can do so without fear of harassment or assault. While widely advertised as a ban to protect kids in schools, the hateful piece of legislation actually extends to “all public facilities” as defined in the state, with no age range mentioned. Furthermore, the hateful piece of legislation also mandates that your sex is defined solely by what is listed on your birth certificate.

Mercifully, North Carolina is one of few states which will allow transgender persons to change their birth certificates – provided you have surgery. At least until Republicans figure out that we “decepticons,” as one North Carolina Republican lawmaker referred to us, can change our birth certificates. Most likely, they’ll use the same excuse used by New Jersey Republican governor Christie, who claimed he rejected a bill allowing transgender persons to change their gender marker on their birth certificate due to “security concerns.”

You can read the full text of the bill at this link, and information for this article came from this source as well: North Carolina Governor To Sign Anti-LGBT Law Into Effect

The Subtle Threat of “Religious Exemptions” – Barber Refuses to Cut Transgender Army Veteran’s Hair

Kendall Oliver identifies as mostly male and wears masculine clothing. But the barber declined to serve Oliver, saying he doesn’t do women’s haircuts.

Source: Barber refuses to cut transgender Army veteran’s hair, citing religious views – The Washington Post

Across this nation, many conservatives pushing for laws to discriminate against LGBT persons are mostly focused on events and products related to weddings. Such as the notorious “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” case, where not only did the owners refuse to cater for a lesbian couple, but they were fined $135,000 for repeatedly deriding the couple in the media. But few people truly understand just how many nutty prohibitions exist in religious books (such as the Bible chapter Deuteronomy) – and moreover, how a person who hates LGBT people can simply point to one of many explicit or implied prohibitions in virtually any religious text to justify their discrimination.

What’s more, there is literally no legal standard preventing someone from simply inventing a belief or entire belief system of their own, provided they claim to honestly hold it. This weekend, for example, I became an ordained Minister in the Universal Life Church – something which takes no more than answering a couple of questions and clicking “Get Ordained Now.” And yet, I now can legally perform weddings and officiate at funerals in Kansas and Missouri. Given that sort of legal backing, it’s a small stretch for me to say “I refuse to serve (someone) because it offends my religious beliefs.” It really is just that easy, folks.

As a result, these so-called “religious freedom protections” are no less than ways in which to roll back civil rights for virtually anyone who is hated by anyone else. What if the barber in this case which is highlighted refused to serve African-American customers? Or Jewish ones? Or Armenians? Every single time a person backs or supports the “right” of a public business to discriminate against someone for being transgender, they also are supporting the “right” of segregation, injustice, and ghettoization. And they are supporting the right to perpetuate and spread ignorance, fear, and hate.

Discriminating against a transgender person at a place of business is fundamentally no different than discriminating against them for being black – people do not choose their gender, nor do they choose their race. And before there is a rebuttal that the Bible does not preach discrimination against other races, one has to look no further than the works of pro-slavery supporters in the 1800’s. Josiah Priest, for example, published a work in 1852 wherein African Americans were equated with “the race of Ham,” and the numerous instances of slavery and human bondage employed by the Israelites was called out as an example to follow.

And here’s something that those backing the “religious rights” of business owners are not getting. When a person operates a business in the public eye, they are utilizing shared services, incentives, and protections granted to the community as a whole in order to foster business. Deductions for business expenses, property tax incentives, tax-increment financing, special business development loans and grants, zoning protections, enhanced police and fire protection, assignment of inspectors for health and safety – businesses enjoy a wealth of considerations, incentives, or protections to help them thrive. And as a result of these considerations, businesses have a duty to serve and provide for the public in general.

If a business does not want to serve the public in general, then they need to remove themselves from the public arena, and work out of their home, place of worship, or somewhere else – and not take money and protections intended for the public as a whole.

In this case which was highlighted in the linked article, a transgender man couldn’t get a haircut at one shop. Some may argue “big deal, it’s not the end of the world. Go down the street to another barber.”

Sure. And I suppose it’s better at the back of the bus too, isn’t it?

Australian Transgender Assault Victim Stunned by Assailant’s Sentencing


Elizabeth Andersen (a fellow hostess of “The Tenth Voice” on 90.1 KKFI) passed this news on to me: when transgender woman Stephanie McCarthy was beaten by two men in a case of anti-transgender violence, she lost the hearing in her left ear, has damaged eye sight in one eye, and has lost feeling in the top part of her face – in addition to suffering an untold emotional toll. Nonetheless, she stood brave and proud, and faced her assailants in court, where they were found guilty.

What she didn’t expect was to be victimized by the court system in Sydney, Australia, as the primary assailant was sentenced to 150 hours of community service and an 18-month good behavior bond. In short, pretty much no punishment. The other assailant remains to be sentenced, but will likely receive a lesser sentence. Even worse, McCarthy was not told of the sentencing date by the prosecutor or the court, and thus was denied her right to make a Victim Impact Statement.

From the article:

“I asked the leading investigator (Detective Nick Kenny) when the sentencing date would be and he told me sometime early next year,” she said.

“I waited five months for that day in court and giving the Victim Impact Statement would’ve been important for me.

“And I think it would’ve made a difference in the sentence.”

The emotional toll of the assault has also been significant as the once outgoing punk rocker and trans woman feels her life will never be the same again.

“I’m well known in [Sydney’s] inner-west and most people are very nice,” she said.

“But I’ve been spat on, bottles thrown at me and had bottles thrown at me from passing cars.

“My life will never be the same.”

Source: Assault victim Stephanie McCarthy devastated at assailant’s sentencing | Star Observer