Bookworm BobSo since it’s Wednesday, here’s what Bookworm Bob (my cartoon friend) and I have been reading in the webosphere this week:

New York TimesSenate Democrats Attach Hate Crimes Law to Defense Bill:

Senate Democrats said on Monday that they would seek to broaden the federal hate crimes law to protect victims of attacks based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disabilities.

To lift the chances of passage, Democrats said the legislation, known as the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, would be attached as an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill – a must-pass measure.

The proposal is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was tied to a fence, beaten and left to die in 1998.

The Senate approved the legislation last year, also as part of the military authorization bill, but it was never reconciled with a similar House-passed bill.

Didn’t we try this last session (2007/2008)? The House Democrats wanted a stand alone bill, while the Senate Democrats connected the bill to the Defense Appropriation Act. Nothing ever made it to President Bush’s desk.

If the same scenario plays out in the 2009/2010 version of the Matthew Shepard Act, how does the Democratic Party believe the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community would respond to not getting federal hate crimes legislation to President Obama’s desk? — A president who would sign such a bill?

To quote the musical The Music Man:

“Ya’ got trouble,

    my friend,

         right here,

              I say,

Trouble right here

    in River City.”

No Or Both Gender Male Female Restroom Sign - Gender Neutral Restroom Bathroom SignDistrict of Colombia’s Trans Coalition‘s press release DC Trans Coalition and Office of Human Rights Launch Bathroom Access and Safety Campaign:

Even with the District’s comprehensive Human Rights Act, which includes protections for gender identity or expression, trans and gender non-conforming people continue to experience verbal and physical harassment ranging from being attacked and thrown out to even being arrested for simply trying to use the bathroom in the District.  In fact, according to a recent citywide survey for transgender and gender non-conforming people, 70 percent of respondents indicated that they had experienced problems accessing or using gender segregated bathrooms.

Press Release: DC Trans Coalition and Office of Human Rights Launch Bathroom Access and Safety Campaign“Since its founding in 2005, the DCTC has organized community members to fight for the human rights of and equal access for trans and gender non-conforming people living in the District of Columbia.  The Bathroom Access and Safety Campaign carries on this commitment, ensuring that the District’s laws are appropriately enforced, making certain that trans and gender non-conforming residents have equal access and appropriate safety when using restroom facilities along with other public accommodations,” said Sadie Baker, a member of the DCTC.

Regulations accompanying the Human Rights Act clarify that all residents have the right to use a bathroom consistent with their gender identity or expression, regardless of real or perceived assigned sex or gender expression.  The regulations also specify that all single occupancy restrooms (i.e., any restroom intended for use by one person at a time) in any public or commercial space, like a restaurant, should use gender neutral signage only.  For example, signs reading “Men” and “Women” must be replaced with signs that read “Restroom,” or another non-gendered label.  

“Despite these regulations, many businesses all over DC are not in compliance with the law, which is why we created this campaign.  We are developing a list of all non-compliant businesses throughout DC so that we can inform the Office of Human Rights.  OHR Director Velasquez has agreed to help by sending all the businesses we identify a letter informing them of the Human Rights Act and what they need to do in order to be compliant.  The businesses will then have 30 days to change their signs, at which point we will check back.  It is our hope that all business will comply with OHR’s request.  If they do not, we will report them to city officials who will initiate a discrimination complaint,” said Jody Herman, a member of the DCTC.

Basically, The District of Colombia’s Trans Coalition (DCTC) and the District of Colombia’s Office Of Human Rights (OHR) have asked that community members help by identifying restaurants, cafes or any other public or commercial spaces that are not in compliance with the law — If you live in DC, please take a read at the Presser and consider helping in this undertaking.

• Joanne Mariner’s FindLaw piece The CIA’s Bad Apples:

FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner comments upon Newsweek’s recent report that Attorney General Holder is considering appointing a prosecutor to look into Bush Administration interrogation abuses. Mariner argues that Holder should make the appointment, which she says would send the strongest possible message to the world that the U.S. does not employ, endorse, or condone torture. However, she also expresses concern about the reported scope of the potential prosecutorial task, which is said to be limited to investigating only interrogation tactics that went beyond those authorized by lawyers. Mariner contends that opting for such a narrow scope would validate the erroneous legal opinions of attorneys who were simply Bush Administration ideologues providing easy rubber-stamps; and would mischaracterize the facts, styling Bush Administration torture as the work of a few rogues, not the officially-validated policy it actually was. Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Los Angeles Times‘ writer Geoff Boucher in the piece Doctor Who in the house: David Tennant at Comic-Con and the rumors are flying:

Is David Tennant coming to Comic-Con International to say goodbye … or to announce the start of something big? The time traveler is on the clock when it comes to his signature role – the announced plan is that he will leave the character behind after a series of specials that will air on the BBC next year – but there has been speculation across the Atlantic that he is coming to San Diego to announce a Doctor Who feature film. Could it be true? It seems unlikely to me, but (ahem) time will tell…

This is Dr. Who — Stranger things have happened in that franchise’s plot lines. No Or Both Gender Male Female Restroom Sign - Gender Neutral Restroom Bathroom SignThe Republican‘s Mass. transgender equity bill fuels bathroom fight:

…The bill would add “gender identity and expression” to the state’s discrimination and hate crime laws.

Supporters say the goal is to give transgender people legal protections at work, in public accommodations and in housing.

Opponents said the bill would lead to a breakdown in privacy in rest rooms, locker rooms and other single-sex facilities and would open women’s bathrooms to sexual predators.

Supporters said the bill wouldn’t diminish existing laws barring criminal conduct in bathrooms…

Dear opponents,

Let me again ask you to cite specific examples of crossdressed male predators going to women’s public restrooms to engage in criminal behavior against women and children. If you can’t cite significant numbers of cases where this has happened within the last generation — y’all don’t even seem able to cite one case! — please shut the heck up with this meme…just stop using it. It implies general behavior by trans people that is a distortion; your “bathroom argument” severely overstates any bathroom related predatory behavior by crossdressed/trans people when we all know that your meme isn’t the truth about what happens when trans people of any sort use public women’s restrooms.



Minneapolis Star-Tribune‘s Franken’s staff holds open houses statewide; As the new senator works on establishing temporary and then permanent offices in Minnesota, his staff will hold dozens of listening sessions around the state during the next three weeks.:

…Aides for newly-confirmed Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., will be holding open office hours throughout the state in lieu of a permanent office.

During the next three weeks, Franken staffers will be doing lots of traveling to meet with constituents at 66 locations around the state to hear their thoughts and concerns.

Franken’s staff is working with the Senate to approve both temporary and permanent office locations in Minnesota, said Franken Press Secretary Jess McIntosh. She estimates that the temporary office will be running in a couple of weeks…

Well! Nice to see he’s on the job for his constituents!

Endocrine Society‘s Endocrine Society released guidelines for treatment of transsexuals; Guidelines include recommendations for hormone therapy, surgery and long-term care for all ages.:

New guidelines from the Endocrine Society call for close and continued collaboration between endocrinologists and mental health professionals for the treatment of transsexual people.

The twentieth century marked the beginning of a social awakening for men and women whose bodies imprisoned them in the wrong gender,” a task force of Endocrine Society-appointed experts wrote.

The guidelines include recommendations for safe and effective hormone regiments, genital sex reassignment surgery and long-term care for adolescents to adults.

The evidence-based guidelines were developed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). The quality of evidence was generally low or very low.

“Prior to 1975, few peer reviewed articles were publishing concerning endocrine treatment of transsexual persons. Since that time, more than 800 articles about various aspects of transsexual care have appeared,” the task force wrote…

Hmm. Just hmm.

So…It’s an open thread! What are you reading or thinking about today?

Oh — and pleeeeease feel free to blogwhore!


Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen