Democrats in Wisconsin have introduced a bill to add gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination laws, the Associated Press reports:
Democratic lawmakers want to protect transgender people in Wisconsin from being discriminated against when they look for housing or apply for a job.
Reps. Mark Spreitzer and JoCasta Zamarripa and Sen. Tim Carpenter on Thursday introduced a measure that would make Wisconsin the 20th state to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.
“Some people face discrimination because they’re perceived as not fitting into a narrow norm of how someone else thinks that a man or a woman should look, dress or act,” Spreitzer said. “This bill rests on the simple concept that members of the transgender community are people.”
State law already protects people from discrimination in employment, housing and the use of public places based on sex and sexual orientation. Spreitzer said recent legal battles — including a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling this week in favor of a transgender Kenosha high school student who wanted the right to use the boys’ bathroom — highlight the need for explicit protections in the law for gender identity.
John and Annette Grunseth said they were shocked when their adult daughter came out a few years ago as transgender. But they say she’s a much happier person since deciding to live as a woman. Now they worry about her safety and whether she’ll be fired from a job simply for being herself.
The Wisconsin Gazette profiled a trans pioneer:
From an early age, Lou Sullivan was drawn to masculine activities and clothing, despite being born female. His parents supported their “tomboy.” For his fourth birthday, they got him a coveted Davy Crockett hat.
But by his teenage years, Sullivan knew his boyishness was more than a phase. He began dressing as a male and felt a growing disconnect between his innermost self and the female body in which he lived. He wrote: “I hate being a girl, really. I have to be sheltered, I can’t walk in the dark, I have to be meek and humble. I hate that. I wish I were a boy. … They can walk down a dark street like they were its king. … They have freedom and know what life is really like.”
This seems like the beginning of a female-to-male trans story, which was shocking enough in 1950s Wauwatosa, where Sullivan was born into a Catholic family. But his story has a twist that challenged — and ultimately shattered — long-held beliefs about the intersection of gender and sexual orientation.
Sullivan’s masculine ideal was not a brawny guy’s guy, but rather an androgynous gay male. He was attracted to men, which led “experts” to dismiss him as heterosexual because of his female body. But he was not attracted to men in the same way that cisgender women are. His earliest sexual fantasies were of having sex with men as a man.
By 1975, Sullivan began to understand that “she” was actually a gay “he.”
In the newly released biography Lou Sullivan: Daring to be a Man Among Men (Transgress Press), Milwaukee author and scholar Brice D. Smith chronicles Sullivan’s struggle for acceptance at a time when trans men were not only missing from the radar of the world at large but largely shunned by the gay community that he longed to join.
A Kenosha student has won a lawsuit against his school after the school engaged in anti-transgender discrimination, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
A 17-year-old transgender Kenosha high school student can continue using the boys’ restroom, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, rejecting school district arguments against the practice.
In September, U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper granted Ashton Whitaker, a senior at Kenosha Tremper, permission to use the boys’ bathroom. Kenosha Unified School District appealed the ruling, arguing that the harm to other students, particularly boys using the bathroom, outweighs any harm to Whitaker.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed with the district. Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote, “The harms identified by the school district are all speculative and based upon conjecture, whereas the harms to Ash are well‐documented and supported by the record. As a consequence, we affirm the grant of preliminary injunctive relief.”
The 7th Circuit covers Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.
“I am thrilled that the Seventh Circuit recognized my right to be treated as the boy that I am at school,” Whitaker said in a statement released by the Transgender Law Center, which helped bring his case.
Winnipeg’s Pride organization is contemplating law enforcement’s place at LGBTQ events, the CBC reports:
The president of Pride Winnipeg says the organization is looking towards education to help build more bridges between police and the LGBT community.
Pride president Jonathan Niemczak said a new policy announced in May, asking police officers marching in the parade not to wear their uniforms, wasn’t universally popular but it made vulnerable members of the LGBT community feel safer.
The move came after 10 months of consultation with LGBT community members and groups about police participation in the Pride festival, including an online survey that found a third of the 600 respondents had had negative experiences with police.
A similar conversation has been happening in Pride organizations across the country, with parades in Toronto and Vancouver bringing in the same uniform ban as Winnipeg.
Police welcome in Pride Winnipeg parade, asked not to wear uniforms
“I would say the majority of the community was accepting of our statement, of our position on police involvement in Pride,” Niemczak said.
“Obviously the folks that were impacted the most did appreciate the fact that we did listen and we did follow through with making Pride a safer space for them.”
There was one arrest at Winnipeg Pride, the CBC reports:
A 22-year-old Winnipegger who identifies as transgender was arrested after filming police during a clash between opposing protest groups ahead of the city’s first march in support of transgender people.
The arrest happened around noon across the street from the legislative grounds, where the Trans March was set to begin at 2 p.m. as part of Winnipeg’s Pride festival. A video circulating on social media captured the arrest, and shows a police officer forcing an activist onto the hood of a police cruiser in the process.
At the time, around a dozen people not aligned with the Trans March were at the grounds protesting Motion 103, a federal motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination.
The group was opposed by members of several Winnipeg anti-fascism groups who went to the grounds to counter-protest and support the Trans March, including Fascist-Free Treaty One, the American Indian Movement, the Urban Warrior Alliance and the Crazy Indian Brotherhood. Among them was the 22-year-old activist who got arrested.