June 25th, 2013


Transgender First-Grader Wins Right to Use Girls' Bathroom

TW: transphobia in the comments.

A landmark ruling from the Colorado Division of Civil Rights is the first in the nation to decide in favor of transgender youth using the facility that corresponds with their gender identity.

A transgender first-grader must be allowed to use the girls' bathroom at her Colorado elementary school, the state's Civil Rights Division ruled in a decision published Sunday. Advocates say the landmark decision is the first of its kind to rule in favor of transgender youth using the restroom facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

Coy Mathis was a first-grader enrolled at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, a suburb of Colorado Springs, last school year. Although Coy was assigned as male at birth, she has identified as female since she was 18 months old. Coy dresses in girls’ clothing, and teachers, classmates, and her family use female pronouns to refer to her.

But last December school officials told the Mathis family that Coy would no longer be allowed to use the girls' bathroom at school, instead requiring her to use the boys' bathroom, the staff bathroom, or a single-stall, gender-neutral facility on campus. As a result, the Mathises homeschooled Coy for the rest of the school year.

The Fountain-Fort Carson school district contended that because Coy has presumably male genitalia and is listed as male on her birth certificate, she should be legally required to use the boys' restroom. But the Colorado Division of Civil Rights flatly denied that argument, calling the school's treatment of Mathis discriminatory.

"Given the evolving research into the development of transgender persons, compartmentalizing a child as a boy or a girl solely based on their visible anatomy is a simplistic approach to a difficult and complex issue," reads the lengthy decision. "The [school district], moreover, ignores federal and legal documents — more current than the Charging Party’s birth certificate — which undeniably state the Charging Party’s sex as female. The evidence, as such, is sufficient to demonstrate that the Charging Party is a girl and identifies as a girl."

GLAAD heralded the announcement as a victory and noted that this decision is the first ruling in the nation mandating that schools allow transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

"Schools should not discriminate against their students, and we are thrilled that Coy can return to school and put this behind her," Kathryn Mathis, Coy’s mother, told GLAAD. "All we ever wanted was for Coy’s school to treat her the same as other little girls. We are extremely happy that she now will be treated equally."

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which joined GLAAD and the Mathis family in filing the complaint with the state's civil rights division, also lauded the decision.

"This ruling sends a loud and clear message that transgender students may not be targeted for discrimination and that they must be treated equally in school,” said the fund’s executive director, Michael Silverman. "It is a victory for Coy and a triumph for fairness."


This is pretty awesome and sets a great precedent for this to be allowed elsewhere. Couldn't figure out what to bold, as pretty much everything in here is important.

(Edited for borked HTML)

Good cop news for a change

Hero Baltimore Cop Saves Dog, Gains New Best Friend

BALTIMORE (CBSDC) — A funny thing happened in Baltimore recently. Officer Dan Waskiewicz responded to a call for a vicious dog and wound up with a new best friend.

When officer Waskiewicz arrived at the scene he found the pitbull was being chased by children that were throwing glass bottles at him. The officer called the dog who quickly came over, tucked his tail between his legs and sat down next to him. The kisses soon followed.

Waskiewicz determined the dog posed no threat and placed him in his squad car.

“Because of Officer Waskiewicz’s astute response, he saved the life of an innocent animal and avoided what could have been a situation with a tragic ending,” Baltimore Humane Society Executive Director Jen Swanson said.

During the ride to the animal shelter the dog continued to kiss the officer before curling up next to him and going to sleep.

A few days later the officer returned to the animal shelter and learned the dog was not yet claimed. He then adopted the dog, whom he named Bo, and took him home.

Their story went viral thanks to a post by the dog rescue group Concrete Angels.

“So often we hear stories where law enforcement officers rush to judgment with violent action,” Swanson said. “But when Dan Waskiewicz answered the call he first observed the situation calmly before he acted. We believe he deserves high praise and is truly an asset to the animals and citizens of the city he serves.”

Waskiewicz will by honored by the Baltimore Humane Society on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. The ceremony will be held at the Baltimore Humane Society located at 1601 Nicodemus Road in Reisterstown. The public is invited to attend.

Source has an adorable photo.

What the Deens reveal about racists' rationalizations

[One of the better break downs I've seen of this whole fuckery; TW for racist language (N Word)]

What Paula Deen And Her Sons Tells Us About The Four Ways Racists Defend Themselves

SOURCE = THINK PROGRESS: Alyssa Rosenberg on Jun 25, 2013 at 10:32 am

When the news first broke that former Food Network star Paula Deen was defending herself in court against allegations that she’d used the word “nigger” and fantasized about a plantation wedding that would employ an all-black waitstaff to serve white guests, one of the things I was struck by in her deposition was Deen’s sense that she was the real victim. She suggested that the media would misinterpret her plans for the wedding. She said she couldn’t possibly
know what kinds of racial humor might offend people who were the target of it. It was a series of statements that suggested that Deen felt she had a right to be read in the most charitable light possible–but absolutely no responsibility to think about the feelings of others, or to consider how her words and actions might reasonably be interpreted.
That air of victimization hung over an interview her adult sons Bobby and Jamie Deen gave to CNN’s Chris Cuomo this morning. Bobby Deen explained that growing up, he had worshipped the baseball player Hank Aaron, and that his parents had not only encouraged his enthusiasm, but discussed racial barriers Aaron had faced to play in the major leagues.
“The important thing is for people to know that is not her heart. it is certainly not the home that we were raised in. we were raised in a family with love and of faith and i house where god lived and neither one of our parents ever taught us to be bigoted towards any other person for any reason,” he said “And this is so saddening to me because our mother is one of the most compassionate, good-hearted empathetic people that you’d ever meet and these accusations are very hurtful to her and it’s very sad and frankly i’m disgusted by the entire thing because it began as extortion and it’s become character assassination and our mother is not the picture of this being painted of her.”
It’s a statement that’s worth parsing on a number of levels, because it’s an example of two of the four most common arguments people who are defending themselves against allegations of racism use to try to change the conversation.
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  • sfrlz

Texas Senate - Davis continues filibuster to stop abortion bill

Before a packed chamber and gallery, state Sen. Wendy Davis began a dramatic filibuster Tuesday morning designed to block passage of a controversial and politically charged anti-abortion bill.

Because the special legislative session will end at midnight, the Fort Worth Democrat could succeed if she continues talking on Senate Bill 5 without interruption.

Leaders in the GOP-controlled Senate who want the bill to pass said early in the afternoon they had decided against invoking a little-used rule to end the filibuster with a vote, and planned to let Davis talk the day out — as long as she stays within the rules for such speeches, with no leaning on her desk or no pausing or straying off the subject.

Davis said she intended to talk until midnight.

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You can watch the livestream, linked to at the source.

Supreme Court strikes down section 4 of Voting Rights Act

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, ruling that Congress had not provided adequate justification for subjecting nine states, mostly in the South, to federal oversight.

Wade Henderson, president and C.E.O. of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, criticized the decision on Tuesday.

“In 1965, the states could be divided into two groups: those with a recent history of voting tests and low voter registration and turnout, and those without those characteristics,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “Congress based its coverage formula on that distinction. Today the nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.”

The court divided along ideological lines, and the two sides drew sharply different lessons from the history of the civil rights movement and gave very different accounts of whether racial minorities continue to face discrimination in voting.

President Obama, whose election as the nation’s first black president was cited by critics of the law as evidence that it was no longer needed, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling. “Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent,” he said.

The decision will have immediate practical consequences. Changes in voting procedures that had required advance federal approval, including voter identification laws and restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation.

“With today’s decision,” said Greg Abbott, Texas’ attorney general, “the state’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.”

Chief Justice Roberts said that Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk, but must do so based on contemporary data. When the law was last renewed, in 2006, Congress relied on data from decades before to decide which states and localities were covered. The chances that the current Congress could reach agreement on where federal oversight is required are small, most analysts say.

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Adam glasses

In Debate Over Military Sexual Assault, Men Are Overlooked Victims

Sexual assault has emerged as one of the defining issues for the military this year. Reports of assaults are up, as are questions about whether commanders have taken the problem seriously. Bills to toughen penalties and prosecution have been introduced in Congress.

But in a debate that has focused largely on women, this fact is often overlooked: the majority of service members who are sexually assaulted each year are men.

In its latest report on sexual assault, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010. Of those cases, the Pentagon says, 53 percent involved attacks on men, mostly by other men.

“It’s easy for some people to single out women and say: ‘There’s a small percentage of the force having this problem,’ ” said First Lt. Adam Cohen, who said he was raped by a superior officer. “No one wants to admit this problem affects everyone. Both genders, of all ranks. It’s a cultural problem.”

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