The Dane County Board of Supervisors banned county employees from official travel to states that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Sun Prairie Star reports:
Dane County government employees are banned from traveling for work to states that discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
Modeled after a recent California anti-LGBT law, the ordinance amendment approved by Dane County supervisors last Thursday would send a message to state and national leaders, advocates say.
“We need to do what we can to stem the anti-LGBT discrimination that is growing in our country, and as I see what is happening in the world, I think we can do a small part here,” Supervisor Richard Kilmer said at the May 4 board meeting.
Travel exceptions would be made for the Dane County Sheriff’s Department and juveniles that require residential treatment in other states.
While the California law specifically bans travel to Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee, the Dane County ordinance is open ended to allow for future law changes in the state laws.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that in 2017 there have been over 100 anti-LGBT bills introduced in states. That includes legislation that prohibits local anti-LGBT protections, invokes religious freedom or allows transgender discrimination.
Last year Dane County Executive Joe Parisi urged Wisconsin lawmakers to promise they would not pass anti-LGBT laws, similar to the North Carolina law that prohibits a city from passing non-discriminatory laws based on gender identity and mandates school students use the bathroom of their born gender.
A controversial Milwaukee County sheriff claims he’ll be joining the Trump Administration, and as LGBTQ Nation notes, he has a transphobic history:
Sheriff David Clarke, a controversial figure currently embroiled in scandal over questions of inmate safety in the jail he oversees in Milwaukee, is joining the Trump administration as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.
Clarke announced he would be accepting the appointment to the federal position on Wednesday, during an interview with radio show WISN-AM.
Clarke has called transgender people mentally ill and said they lead a “freakish lifestyle, and called for “pitchforks and torches” in response to the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage.
Clarke said he was “both honored and humbled to be appointed to this position by Secretary (John F.) Kelly, working for the Trump administration.” Clarke shared that he would be working in the Office of Partnership and Engagement, as a liaison with state, local, and tribal law enforcement, starting sometime next month.
The Neenah School District is considering adopting transgender-inclusive school policies, Fox 11 reports:
It’s an issue that’s affecting some children and families: the question of who can use which school bathrooms and locker rooms.
A newly proposed policy was the subject of a Neenah School Board meeting Tuesday night. The plan includes the idea that students potentially would be able to use the restroom or locker room that matches their choice of gender rather than the gender of their birth.
But the idea is concerning to some parents and advocates. They say the policy would threaten the privacy of the larger student body.
“Our transgender students at our school right now, feel a serious lack of attention to their protection, and this is a serious concern for their safety,” Kaylee Jepson, president of the district’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, said.
A group of students, teachers, and school officials brought a proposal to the school district’s board to include transgender and gender non-conforming students in the district’s anti-discrimination policy.
Natalie Shae, a school counselor, helped write the plan.
“We want to work together within our buildings and with our students and families to come up with solutions to support them,” she said.
The Neenah School District is considering transgender inclusive policies, the Post Crescent reports:
The Neenah School Board will consider a policy addendum at its Tuesday meeting that would prohibit discriminating against transgender or gender nonconforming students.
The proposed policy addendum will consider restroom and locker room accommodations on a case-by-case basis. That could mean a student who feels most comfortable changing in a separate area for physical education class would have a separate area to change. It could also mean students ask to use the restroom or locker room of the gender they identify with, said Jim Strick, communications manager.
Transgender people identify with a different gender than the one their biological sex assigned them at birth. Gender nonconforming people express their gender in ways that differ from prevailing social expectations.
Restroom and locker room access has been a point of contention among critics of transgender nondiscrimination measures.
Des Moines Register columnist Rehka Basu recaps the lawsuit that vindicated a University of Iowa coach’s claims of anti-LGBTQ discrimination:
When you challenge a powerful institution where you once shared space with other employees, you learn who your friends are. For Jane Meyer, the worst part about her sex discrimination lawsuit against the University of Iowa was hearing people she’d considered allies testify against her.
A Polk County jury recently found in Meyer’s favor, awarding her $1.43 million in damages. The suit alleged she was punished for being gay, and retaliated against for complaining of unequal treatment in the athletics department.
In a phone interview last week from the office of her lawyer, Jill Zwagerman, Meyer talked about the loss of her job, the verdict and the hurt “when you have your colleagues you’ve worked with for 10 to 14 years get up and say things you’ve never heard before … and you thought you were working side by side.”
From 2001 to 2014, Meyer had been the most senior female employee in the university’s athletics department, and the No. 2 under Director Gary Barta. But, on Dec. 4, 2014, she handed her boss a letter outlining what she saw as discrimination against her and other lesbians, gays and women in the department. She also expressed concern about retaliation.
The next day she was placed on administrative leave, and five days later reassigned to a position in facilities management. After moving around, she was let go last September when a subsequent position ended.
There was more to the case and Iowa announced last week it would settle with Meyer and Griesbaum for $6.5 million the Associated Press reports:
The University of Iowa will pay $6.5 million to settle discrimination lawsuits filed by former athletic administrator Jane Meyer and her partner, former women’s field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum, according to settlements their attorneys called historic Friday.
Iowa will pay $2.33 million to Meyer and $1.49 million to Griesbaum to cover lost wages and emotional distress damages. The school will also pay $2.68 million to Newkirk Zwagerman, the Des Moines law firm that represented both women. In exchange, Meyer and Griesbaum will drop their lawsuits and requests for reinstatement.
The deals end litigation that has prompted criticism of Athletic Director Gary Barta’s management. Meyer had served as Iowa’s senior associate athletic director for 13 years, while Griesbaum had led the largely successful field hockey program for 14 seasons.
Polk County jurors earlier this month found that Iowa illegally discriminated against Meyer based on her gender and sexual orientation, retaliated against her for speaking out and paid her less than deputy athletic director Gene Taylor, awarding $1.45 million in damages.
Winnipeg is working to increase LGBTQ membership on its boards and commissions, the CBC reports:
The City of Winnipeg is poised to take a small step toward improving the diversity of its various boards and commissions.
Right now, city appointees to 22 municipal bodies — including the Winnipeg Police Board, the Winnipeg Arts Council and the Board of Adjustment — fill out a voluntary declaration that asks whether they’re male or female, Indigenous, a visible minority or disabled.
The city collects this information to see whether the diversity of its boards matches up to the diversity of the city overall and, if necessary, take measures to attract a broader pool of applicants.
On Wednesday, council’s executive policy committee will consider a replacement survey that broadens out the gender categories to female, male and other, and also asks appointees if they identify as LGBT or as an immigrant or refugee.
There is a push in Ontario Province to allow gender neutral birth certificates, the Toronto Sun reports:
Joshua M. Ferguson’s Ontario birth certificate says male but that could soon change.
According to an op-ed titled, ‘Why I’m Applying for a Non-Binary Sex Designation on my Canadian Birth Certificate’ in Out Magazine, the 34-year-old writer who currently lives in Vancouver lays out the reasoning behind the decision to have the birth certificate amended.
“I was assigned male at birth, but I never felt like a boy growing up and I didn’t feel like a girl either. In my adult life, I’m forced to constantly choose between one or the other,” writes Ferguson. “So now I’ve decided to fight and challenge systems that have only aided in erasing me and to hopefully become one of the first Canadians to have ‘non-binary’ sex/gender listed on my birth certificate—a fight that is on the rise across the globe.”
There have been recent steps by federal and provincial jurisdictions to allow other options on many official documents. Last year, Ontario passed a law allowing a gender-neutral option on driver’s licences and health cards. Meanwhile, last week Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould told a Senate committee that Passport Canada is looking at including a third box or an ability to mark something other than male or female, the CBC reported.