Equity & Civil Rights Issues to Watch
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Human Trafficking Issues
Updated July 24, 2014
- Gay College Presidents Organize - As their numbers increase, they are stepping up efforts to further break a glass ceiling for LGBTQ academics. There are now 48 members of the LGBTQ presidents group.
- New Politics of Partner Benefits - According to a list compiled by the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group, some 309 colleges offer same-sex domestic partner benefits. A 2013 benefits survey conducted by the College and University Professional Association-Human Resources found that 57 percent of responding institutions offered same-sex domestic partner benefits, up from just 40 percent in 2006. The same survey also found 42 percent of institutions offered health care benefits to opposite-sex partners (not spouses), up from 30 percent in 2006. But the survey doesn't differentiate between same-sex domestic partner benefits and same-sex spousal benefits, so it's unclear how many colleges and universities offer both.
- Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Are Quietly Becoming The New Thing At Colleges - "These are two gender-open bathrooms where students of any gender can go in, and use the restroom, and feel safe, regardless of gender expression or gender identity," Michelle Margulis, president of NU's Rainbow Alliance LGBT student group told CBS Chicago. The number of gender-neutral bathrooms has grown in just the past few years, in city-run facilities, workplaces and, most commonly, college campuses. There are more than 150 schools across the U.S. that have gender-neutral bathrooms, according to the University of Massachusetts Amherst's LGBTQ organization The Stonewall Center.
- Obama to Issue Order Barring Anti-Gay Bias by Contractors - President Obama plans to sign an executive order on Monday that protects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees from discrimination by companies that do federal government work, fulfilling a promise to a crucial Democratic constituency, White House officials said. But the directive will not exempt religious groups, as many of them had sought.
- Supreme Court delays benefits for Utah gay couples - More than 1,000 same-sex married couples in Utah will have to wait longer for state benefits after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that state officials don't have to recognize the marriages until their appeal is heard.
- Survey gives U.S. wide-ranging data on sexual orientation - Less than 3 percent of the population identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the CDC reported.
- Appeals Court Backs Use of Race in U. of Texas Admissions - A federal appeals court today upheld the University of Texas at Austin's consideration of race in admissions. The ruling came in a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that public colleges could consider race in admissions, but only under strict conditions.
- Faith Groups Seek Exclusion From Bias Rule - President Obama is facing mounting pressure from religious groups demanding to be excluded from an executive order that would bar discrimination against gay people by companies that do government work.
- Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows - New research shows children of same-sex couples fare better when it comes to physical health and social well-being than children in the general population.
- Gay rights group withdrawing support of ENDA - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force says the Hobby Lobby decision has unexpected implications for the bill.
- Pandora's Box Opens: Religious Groups Ask Obama for Exemptions To Discriminate Against LGBT Persons - Religious leaders say that a non-discrimination order violates their religious freedoms.
- How diverse America is, in 5 maps - More than half of the nation's 3,143 counties are more than 90 percent white, when including Hispanics.
- Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Revise the Definition of “Spouse” Under the FMLA - The Department of Labor announced a proposed regulation that would expand Family Medical Leave Act protections to same-sex couples. The proposed rule would cover all married same-sex couples, even if they do not live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages.
- FACEBOOK IS 69% MALE AND MOSTLY WHITE - Like many of its Silicon Valley peers, Facebook's workforce and management team is overwhelmingly white and male, according to the social media giant's first diversity report.
- Obama to Enhance Gay Rights In Federally Supported Workplaces - President Obama will sign an executive order prohibiting federal contracts from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the White House said on Monday. The move could affect employees at some colleges and universities that do business with the federal government. It is legal for employers in 29 states to fire someone or deny employment on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.
- Transgender Women Face Highest Risk of Violence - For the third year in a row, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified people have faced disproportionate rates of violence finds a report a published this week and named Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2013.
- The Deeply Disturbing Truth About Street Harassment in America - A new study sheds light on how public spaces are not safe spaces, especially for women. Turns out, public spaces are not safe spaces, especially for women. The number of women and men who reported having experienced street harassment is 65% and 25% respectively. A major finding of the SSH study, however, is just how much contact is being made. Fifty-seven percent of all the women surveyed reported verbal abuse, and 41% reported physical aggression and violence. 84% of women who reported street harassment said it happened to them multiple times.
- Don't Call them Mr. Mom: More Dads at home with kids because they want to be - The number of stay-at-home Dads has doubled in the last 25 years, reaching a peak of 2.2 million in 2010, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. And although the Great Recession contributed to a sharp uptick, by far, the fastest growing segment of at-home Dads say they're home taking care of the kids because they want to be. And they don't want to be called Mr. Mom anymore. In fact, the growing At-Home Dad's Network has been leading a campaign to get the term banished from the English language.
- 1 in 10 still support discrimination against African-Americans on religious grounds - A survey released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that strong majorities of Americans reject the idea that businesses should be legally allowed to refuse to serve either African-American, Jewish, gays and lesbians, or atheists, but a small portion of the country still believes you should be able to.
- Medicare could pay for sex-change surgeries under decision by federal board - The decision on whether Medicare pays for sex-change operations is now in the hands of regional administrators, thanks to a decision Friday by a federal board that overturned a national policy of not covering such surgeries.
- Google ends silence on workforce diversity, confirms that it is largely white and male - "We've always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google," the world's biggest search-advertising company said in a blog post. "We now realize we were wrong, and that it's time to be candid about the issues." The disclosure that Mountain View-based Google is 70 percent male and 61 percent white comes after the discussion about gender diversity in Silicon Valley technology hit a boil last year. Google said it felt it had to disclose its numbers to nurture solutions to the imbalances.
- OpEd: Leadership on Transgender Civil Rights - With less than a month remaining before the legislative session in Albany is scheduled to end, on June 19, it is time for state lawmakers to approve long-stalled legislation - the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act - to outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The measure would close a gap in civil rights protections. The New York statute that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, credit and public accommodations does not explicitly cover transgender people.
- FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN OREGON'S SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN - A federal judge struck down Oregon's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage Monday.
- Rochester to cover gender reassignment for transgender city workers - Officials in Rochester, N.Y., say their city will extend transition-related health coverage to transgender and gender non-conforming municipal employees. Mayor Lovely Warren and City Councilmember-at-Large Matt Haag announced the decision Saturday in Rochester at the Empire State Pride Agenda's Spring Dinner.
- Hooray, the New York State Senate does not discriminate … between types of yogurt - Last week, Maryland became the 18th state to protect transgender individuals in employment and housing. When will NY join these 18 states and the District of Columbia in protecting transgender individuals against legal discrimination?
- Judge Strikes Down Idaho's Same-Sex Marriage Ban - Although the judge ordered that same-sex marriages be allowed to occur as soon as Friday, Governor Butch Otter was granted a stay by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pending an appeal of the ruling. Meanwhile, Arkansas began issuing same-sex marriage licenses over the weekend after its ban was overturned by courts.
- O'Malley signs Md. trans rights bill - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Thursday signed into law a bill that bans discrimination against transgender Marylanders.
- Compromise on Gays Pleases No One, Boy Scouts Are Learning - After long, anxious debate, the Boy Scouts' national board voted a year ago to allow openly gay youths to participate in scouting, while continuing to exclude gay leaders age 18 and over. It was promoted as a compromise intended to offer the organization time to figure out how to proceed. It has brought the Scouts only more ire from all directions and produced a house divided.
- NINTENDO APOLOGIZES FOR GAMES' SAME-SEX SLIGHT - Nintendo on Friday apologized to gamers for leaving same-sex couples out of an upcoming "life simulation" game that lets players, flirt, date, marry and have children.
- Protests at Smith on Transgender Admissions Policy - Three dozen students picketed the admissions office at Smith College Thursday to demand a change in the institution's policy with regard to transgender students, The Republican reported. Smith does not discriminate against transgender students once they are enrolled, but the college only admits women. The protest called for Smith to admit those who may be listed as male on their high school transcripts but have been living as women. Here is how Smith explains its admissions policy with regard to transgender applicants: "An application from a transgender student is treated no differently from other applications: every application Smith receives is considered on a case-by-case basis. Like most women's colleges, Smith expects that, to be eligible for review, a student's application and supporting documentation (transcripts, recommendations, etc.) will reflect her status as a woman."
Education Department: Federal Law Protects Transgender Students From Discrimination - Sex discrimination under Title IX extends to claims based on gender identity and failure to conform to stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, the U.S. Department of Education formalized Tuesday in guidance relating to sexual violence in schools. "Our federal civil rights laws demand that all students - women and men; gay and straight; transgender or not; citizens and foreign students - be allowed to learn and participate in all parts of college life without sexual assault and harassment limiting their opportunities," said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, in a statement. "The Office for Civil Rights stands ready to enforce this core principle to ensure all students' safety in schools."
- In the News: High Court Upholds Michigan Affirmative Action Ban - The Supreme Court has ruled that a Michigan ballot initiative to ban racial preferences in college admissions is constitutional, overturning a lower court decision. In a 6-2 decision Tuesday, the justices said the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong to set aside the voter-approved ban as discriminatory.
- In the News: Right to Gender-Neutral Spaces - Graduate student workers in the U. California System say they've agreed on contract language establishing gender-neutral bathrooms and lactation stations as rights. Because graduate student workers can be found throughout the university system, the agreement would effectively provide access to such facilities for other students, faculty members and employees, not just graduate students.
- In the News: SUNY Oneonta: When Diversity Doesn't Come Easy - The institution, like many universities with relatively few professors of color, is attempting to diversify its faculty. But doing so can be a stiff challenge, says Nancy Kleniewski, the university's president.
- In the News: Debate at George Fox on Transgender Student Housing - George Fox University, a Christian institution, is being criticized for denying a transgender student's request to live in male student housing, which he says is consistent with his gender identity. The university has also indicated that it is considering a policy for students, which will require that all housing be based on 'biological birth sex.
- In the News: Attack after same-sex marriage shines light on Michigan hate crime law - Nine days after her same-sex wedding, a 28-year-old Michigan woman was set upon on her way home from work, knocked unconscious by three men who kicked and punched her while shouting anti-gay epithets. In many states, hate crime charges could be brought in such cases, but Michigan is one of 19 states that do not include sexual orientation in their hate crime laws, according to Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director for the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group.
- In the News: MOZILLA CEO RESIGNS OVER ANTI-SAME-SEX-MARRIAGE CONTROVERSY - Just ten days after taking the job, Brendan Eich has resigned as CEO of Mozilla after sparking outrage over his donation to an anti-same-sex marriage campaign.
- In the News: Questioned for Being Transgender? - Central Piedmont student says her rights were violated when security questioned her and escorted her off campus for using the women's bathroom.
- In the News: Dropping the Ball on Disabilities - Students with disabilities say the ignorance of faculty and staff members makes it difficult to get the help they need -- and in some cases, makes them less willing to disclose their condition.
- In the News: Interns Are Now Protected Against Sexual Harassment in NYC - Sexual harassment protection, the latest of these developments, comes thanks to a bill passed Wednesday by the New York City Council. The bill was drafted in response to a federal judge's decision last October to dismiss an unpaid intern's sexual harassment claim against her boss.
- In the News: Gay marriage ban ending in England and Wales on Saturday - The change is largely being taken in stride, with little rancor from opponents and a sense from supporters that same-sex marriage was long overdue. Britain had already allowed gay couples to adopt children, and gay service members are permitted to serve openly in the military.
- In the News: Maryland transgender rights bill receives final approval - A bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders received final approval in the Maryland House of Delegates.
- AAUW Blog: Why LGBT Rights Matter for Gender Equity - AAUW strongly supports LGBT equality because women's rights and LGBT rights are deeply intertwined.
- In the News: Democrats Call for EO Prohibiting LGBT Workplace Discrimination - On Tuesday, Congressional Democrats signed a letter calling on President Obama to sign an executive order that would prohibit workplace LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. In all, 47 Senators and 148 representatives, signed the letter.
- In the News: School Data Finds Pattern of Inequality Along Racial Lines - Racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, according to comprehensive data released Friday by the data released Friday by the Department of Education's Office for Civil RightsDepartment of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
- In the News: New Insurance Rights for Same-Sex Couples - The Obama administration announced that health insurers who provide coverage for heterosexual couples must also provide coverage to married same-sex couples. This announcement followed complaints that insurers were excluding married same-sex couples from benefits.
- In the News: St. Patrick's Day parade boycotts: 'A watershed moment' - Three big beer companies dropped their support of St. Patrick's Day parades over policies that prohibit gay and lesbian groups from marching.
- In the News: METHODISTS DROP CHURCH CHARGES AGAINST MINISTER WHO CONDUCTED GAY WEDDING - The United Methodist Church announced Monday it is dropping its denominational case against a New York clergyman who officiated his son's same-sex wedding.
- In the News: Beyond Bullying: How Hostile School Climate Perpetuates the School-to-Prison Pipeline for LGBT Youth - The Center for American Progress released a report last week detailing the disparate impact that harsh school discipline policies and poor school climate have on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. These youth are funneled into the "school-to-prison pipeline" at significantly higher rates than non-LGBT youth.
- In the News: TRANSGENDER ATHLETE SUES CROSSFIT FOR BANNING HER FROM COMPETING AS FEMALE - A transgender woman prohibited from competing in a strength competition as a female is suing the fitness company sponsoring the competition, seeking $2.5 million in damages.
- In the News: Judge strikes down Tex. same-sex marriage ban, paving way for shift in conservative state - A federal district judge struck down the Texas ban on same-sex marriage. The ban will remain in effect, however, pending a state appeal of the ruling.
- In the News: REPORT: U.S. HATE GROUPS DECREASING IN NUMBER - Far-right extremist groups had been on the rise, particularly in reaction to President Obama's election in 2008 and the financial crisis around the same time. But now, hate group prevalence is taking a downward turn, according to a report.
- In the News: The Courage of Transgender Soldiers - Why does the U.S. military still define gender nonconformity as a disorder? Nine percent of transgender people who have served in the American military report being discharged because of being transgender or gender nonconforming. Almost all of the rest stay quiet for fear of harassment or abuse.
- In the News: ARIZONA LAWMAKERS PASS CONTROVERSIAL ANTI-GAY BILL - Arizona's Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.
- In the News: NFL a Case-Study in Why America Requires A Major Civil Rights Overhaul - Pro football is just a microcosm of larger societal ills that need to change.
- In the News: Justice Department to Fully Recognize Same-Sex Marriages - The Department of Justice said it will give equal recognition to same-sex marriages in every program it administers, including prison visits, spousal privilege in testimony, and compensation to spouses of deceased law enforcement officers. This announcement is part of the federal government’s efforts to provide equal rights to same-sex marriages following the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act. In other news, federal judges this week struck down state bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky and Virginia as unconstitutional.
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