A transgender student who was discriminated against by the Kenosha Unified School District has won a $800,000 settlement from the school, Kenosha News reports:
The Kenosha Unified School Board has settled a lawsuit with a transgender former student who said the district discriminated against him, including monitoring trips to the boys restroom.
The board voted 5-2 Tuesday night on the $800,000 settlement in the case of Ash Whitaker, a former Tremper High School student who graduated in June.
Whitaker, born a female, identifies as a male. He filed the suit alleging staff had monitored him, making him wear wristbands singling him out from other students.
Voting in favor of the settlement were School Board President Tamarra Coleman and board members Mary Snyder, Daniel Wade, Rebecca Stevens and Mike Falkofske. Casting dissenting votes were board members Gary Kunich and Tony Garcia.
In August, the district filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that it overturn a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in May, which had upheld U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Pepper’s injunction allowing Whitaker to use male-only restrooms at Tremper. While he was attending the school, the injunction allowed him to use boys restrooms throughout his senior year.
The settlement withdraws the district’s petition to the Supreme Court.
The Transgender Law Center released a statement about the settlement that includes this quote from Whitaker:
“I am deeply relieved that this long, traumatic part of my life is finally over and I can focus on my future and simply being a college student,” said Ash, who is currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he plans to major in biomedical engineering. “Winning this case was so empowering and made me feel like I can actually do something to help other trans youth live authentically. My message to other trans kids is to respect themselves and accept themselves and love themselves. If someone’s telling you that you don’t deserve that, prove them wrong.”
A new grant will help train Milwaukee County employees to better serve transgender and nonbinary survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse, the Wisconsin Gazette reports:
Cream City Foundation announced Jan. 8 a grant awarded to support assessment, training, technical assistance and consultation efforts between FORGE and Milwaukee County Community Access to Recovery Services (CARS). The program specifically supports a year-long, thorough assessment and training effort that will enable and empower CARS providers to feel confident in their ability to reach out to and serve trans and non-binary individuals.
“FORGE is a national leader in providing dynamic trainings for providers who work with transgender survivors and loved ones who have experienced sexual and domestic violence,” said Cream City Foundation president and CEO Brett Blomme. “This grant allows FORGE to bring this assessment and training expertise to southeastern Wisconsin. A special thank you to the Milwaukee Gay Sports Network for helping to underwrite this partnership grant.”
“We, at FORGE, are excited about the opportunity to more intensively work with CARS to support their network of providers to better serve trans/non-binary individuals and loved ones in the Milwaukee area,” said Michael Munson, FORGE’s executive director. “Trans community members in Milwaukee have limited options for culturally competent and cost-accessible mental health/substance abuse services.”
A Christian student group is suing the University of Iowa after the university revoked its registration after the group discriminated against a gay student, the Associated Press reports:
The University of Iowa is caught up in a legal fight with a conservative Christian student group that denied a leadership position to a student who is gay.
The case pits a university policy barring discrimination based on sexual orientation against the religious beliefs of a 10-member group called Business Leaders in Christ. The group sued after the state’s flagship university in Iowa City revoked its campus registration in November.
The group says its membership is open to everyone, but that its leaders must affirm a statement of faith that rejects homosexuality. The university says it respects the right of students, faculty and staff to practice the religion of their choice but does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.
The group, founded in the spring of 2015 by students at the university’s Tippie College of Business, met weekly for Bible study, to conduct service projects and to mentor students on “how to continually keep Christ first in the fast-paced business world.” The group’s loss of registration as an on-campus student organization means it can no longer reserve campus meeting space, participate in student recruitment fairs, access funds from student activity fees or use university-wide communication services.
Manitoba’s decision not to register gay couple’s marriage in 1974 was not discrimination, the Human Rights Commission ruled last week, the CBC reports:
A Manitoba human rights adjudicator says the province’s vital statistics bureau was not discriminatory for continuing to refuse to register the marriage of a same-sex couple in the 1970s.
Chris Vogel and Richard North got married in a Unitarian church in 1974. When they went to register the marriage at what is now the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency, they were denied based on the fact they were both men.
The pair fought the decision in court, but the judge at the time declared the law had not “intended to recognize the capacity of two persons of the same sex to marry.” The judge then declared Vogel and North’s ceremony as a “nullity.”
The couple took the case to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission in December 2015 for review.
In his decision dated Jan. 8, 2018, adjudicator Robert Dawson said being a human rights adjudicator, he has no right to overturn the judge’s decision from 1974.
“I adopt the [Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency]’s submission that the sexual orientation of the complainant was not, and is not, a factor in its rejection of [North’s] application for registration. In other words, the respondent has refused to register a marriage that a court has ruled to be a nullity.”
Even though the laws have evolved since 1974 to allow same-sex marriage, Dawson said he does not have the power to overturn the judge’s original decision. He then urged North and Vogel to take further action.