Tag Archives: antidiscrimination

Local Dramatic Production – Kings of Israel, a Gay Take on the Biblical Story of David and Saul

Kings of Israel
At the Roeland Park City Council meeting last night, where the anti-discrimination ordinance was voted upon (more on that in another post), I met a young man named Schaeffer Nelson. Schaeffer came to support the anti-discrimination ordinance, and after the disastrous vote we spoke in the hallway for some time. He told me of his original play, Kings of Israel, which is premiering at Kansas City’s 10th Annual Fringe Festival this July.

The play is described as “…a Biblical story with a queer sensibility that places the young shepherd David in a series of bedroom conversations with a violent, paranoid King Saul. David must test the limits of intimacy with a king whom he is secretly charged by God to overthrow. The boundary lines of love, violence, and trust must be crossed if David is to achieve his goal.”

The play is being performed at Phosphor Studios, 1730 Broadway Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108 with performances on:

  • Friday, July 18 @ 6:00pm
  • Sunday, July 20 @ 7:30pm
  • Friday, July 25 @ 9:00pm
  • Saturday, July 26 @ 6:00pm

A synopsis follows:

Irreverently comedic and increasingly tense, Kings of Israel retells the complex and dangerous relationship between King Saul and David, the first two kings of Biblical Israel. After King Saul proves to be unstable and violent, the Prophet Samuel secretly anoints an isolated young shepherd, David, to be Saul’s usurper. But before David fulfill God’s plan and assume the throne, he is dispatched to be Saul’s private musician. Over the course of a series of bedroom conversations, the intimacy between the two men deepens. As bloody choices draw near, David questions where his loyalty to God ends and his relationship with King Saul begins. Kings of Israel takes the Biblical story in a provocative new direction.

The play contains sexual content, violence, and adult language and is for mature audiences.

More information on the play can be found here.

Schaeffer tells me that the earlier shows are sold out, but tickets are still available for the 9:00pm Friday and 6:00pm Saturday shows (July 25 and 26, respectively). If you are interested in LGBT history or LGBT religious topics, I recommend going to see it.

Obama Finally Signs Executive Order Banning LGBT Discrimination for Federal Contractors!

This is it! After many “false alarm” posts on Facebook and blogs, Obama finally put pen to a policy which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for both the Federal government and Federal contractors. As I’ve posted before, this is potentially a large number of employees in the United States – 11 to 44 million in total – and could lead to many more companies putting anti-discrimination policies in place due to the “trickle-down effect” which often impacts suppliers of government contractors.

Read more at the link below:
Obama Urges Congress to Ban Job Bias Against Gays – NYTimes.com.

University of Missouri Approves Gender Identity, Expression Policy Changes

University of MissouriThe University of Missouri Board of Curators have approved a sweeping policy which protects students, staff, and faculty from discrimination based upon their gender identity or gender expression. This policy will positively impact all 75 institutions within the University of Missouri system, and was passed on a 7-1 vote after broad student support convinced the Curators to take up the issue.

UM Board of Curators approves gender identity, expression policy changes – Columbia Missourian.

Transas City Activists Help Speak in Favor of Roeland Park Ordinance

FionaatRoelandParkTransas City Vice Chairwoman Fiona speaks to the Roeland Park City Council

I’ve previously posted about our activities helping the larger LGBT community to push for the passage of an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance in the city of Roeland Park. Last night four members of the Transas City cadre joined many others fighting for civil rights, and spoke to the Roeland Park City Council and Mayor in an open forum.

Myself, Fiona, Madeline, and Debi joined the ever-hardworking Sandra Meade, the State Chair of the Kansas Equality Coalition (and the radio host of Trans Talk on KKFI) and other good people (who I’m not naming simply because I do not know if I have permission) for a long and chilly sit in the Roeland Park Community Center. A total of 27 people spoke, most of them in favor of the ordinance, and to be honest the opposition was looking pretty meager.

The supremely ironic moment of the night was when one of the opposition attempted to castigate those in favor of the ordinance for quoting from the Bible, saying that it had no place being used in politics. One wonders if perhaps the speaker was unaware of the fact that the opposition have been using the Bible in their oppositional effort since the start of this process. The frustration of a couple of Council Members who have been opposing this ordinance from the start was apparent, and one can hardly blame any member of the Council – who have been really working on this – of having “issue fatigue.” Sandra tells me that she still has high hopes that this first landmark ordinance will pass when the vote comes up (tentatively scheduled for July 21.)

Previous update on the Roeland Park anti-discrimination efforts.

Obama Drafting Executive Order On LGBT Job Discrimination

I realize I’m a day late in posting this, but I do know many folks still haven’t heard the news, and it’s important to make certain this is disseminated.

As I reported in February, President Obama has the ability to use an Executive Order to mandate that all government contractors must have non-discrimination policies in place to protect transgender, lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees. There are many estimates of how many Americans this would actually protect – the Huffington Post is reporting about 16 million (link below), but my analysis indicates that depending upon how broadly one considers a company to be a “Federal contractor,” such a move could cover more than 40 million workers. What’s more, supplier agreements could have trickle-down effects which would result in even more workers being covered.

Well it appears that President Obama is indeed about ready to sign such an order into law, with the smart money giving next Monday as “the” date. Congress can override such an Executive Order, but given the composition of the Senate it is almost impossible to do so. Some are wondering if this is a sign that the Democratic Party expects to lose their margin in the Senate after the mid-year elections, or even lose their majority status, and thus President Obama is trying to get this in place to build precedent before a Republican Senate would be sworn in next January. Honestly, no one knows.

Obama Drafting Executive Order On LGBT Job Discrimination.

Una, Fiona, and a Transmom Speak to the Roeland Park City Council

Roeland Park 2014 06 02

The city of Roeland Park, Kansas, is currently considering an ordinance to protect gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation in terms of business practices, public accommodations, renting housing, etc. Tonight was a discussion of the ordinance and there was a time reserved for public comment. Sandra Meade, the State Chair of the Kansas Equality Coalition (and the radio host of Trans Talk on KKFI) enlisted us and others to speak in favor of the ordinance, and so the two of us and Debi (who posts on this forum) answered the call to speak for the transgender community.

The meeting was lengthy but polite, and the gender equality ordinance discussion was the final item on the agenda. After nearly 3 hours of waiting it was time to speak – one Roeland Park resident spoke in favor of the ordinance, then Fiona was up to bat and gave what I felt was the best speech of the night – powerful, with lots of emotion. Then I spoke, and Debi, and a few other folks in favor of the ordinance. Then opposing persons spoke, and they mainly objected for religious reasons, claiming that because Girl Scouts sold cookies in the vestibule that churches would suddenly fall under the ordinance. It was madness and obfuscation, and the speaker kept claiming an unnamed lawyer told her that it would impact churches – but she refused to name the lawyer, nor present their legal opinion.

After the speeches one of the City Council Members said she had done some research into the expected costs of the ordinance, but didn’t want to present the financial breakdown because she claimed to have received “threatening and nasty e-mails” over the ordinance. When the meeting adjourned I went up and talked to her, and said that it was dishonorable and upsetting that she was receiving harassment, and I apologized for anything mean which had been said to her. She seemed a bit surprised and thanked me, and seemed very conciliatory. I don’t know why I did it other than my own sense of honor just said I had to speak out and say that harassment was wrong, no matter who was doing it.

Overall it was a great experience, and after the meeting adjourned several council members came down and thanked us for speaking and called us brave. Several supporters of the ordinance met with us and expressed thanks, and overall it turned out to be a really positive effort. A reported from the Kansas City Star was there, so we may be featured in the paper tomorrow…

Good News – USDA Committed to Protecting Transgender Persons

USDA-RespectThis is really encouraging news and another sign of how progressive this current Administration really is. Let me summarize the article – it is a report of an interview with Dr. Joe Leonard, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Office of Civil Rights at the USDA. As the article notes, while we think of the USDA as being just the folks who stamp approval of our steaks, they also manage a large network of rural loans for homes and farms.

Quoting Dr. Leonard:

“The USDA is implementing historic protections for gender identity. In other words, we are making sure that if a person comes in and applies for a loan they cannot be turned away for gender identity issues.”

“If there is a person whose destiny is to become a farmer, I want them to stay in Texas and farm that land. Alvin Ailey was from Rogers, Texas. He had to go to New York City to fulfill his destiny. But there are some destinies you don’t need to leave your home to fulfill. I’d say, ‘Trans people: we are here to support you in home ownership. We want the trans family to have what every other family in America can have.’”

By the way, I made the graphic myself…feel free to borrow it.

Creating Change: USDA Protects Gender ID: Saturday at the conference: Dr. Joe Leonard, Jr. – The Gay Place – The Austin Chronicle.