An Ithaca high school senior who says he was harassed for being transgender filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. In response, Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan M. Schaefer issued the following statement calling for the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA):
Kaleb Carthen was trying to get a head start on his higher education when he became a victim of continuous harassment and discrimination from staff at his program and his internship. Thankfully for him, he lives in Tompkins County, one of the nine localities in New York State that have local ordinances protecting residents from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. Had he lived in another part of New York, he may not have had such protections.
This underscores the shameful lack of a statewide law protecting the rights of transgender people. If Kaleb had attended classes at programs in neighboring counties he would have had little recourse.
We commend Kaleb for standing up for his rights, and the rights of all transgender people. His experience points both to the real necessity for non-discrimination laws that protect transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers, as well as to their effectiveness.
It is clear that this patchwork of protections does not work. We call on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to act now and pass GENDA this session. No New Yorker should fear getting evicted from their home or fired from their job because of who they are.
18 other states, plus the District of Colombia and Puerto Rico – more than a third of the states in the union – have already passed protections for transgender residents. Legislators on both sides of the aisle in New York have also publicly expressed support for the passage of GENDA.
On Tuesday, April 29, hundreds of New Yorkers from across the state will gather at the Capitol in Albany for the Empire State Pride Agenda’s annual Equality & Justice Day to advocate for the passage of GENDA and other legislative priorities.
Heritage of Pride, organizers of NYC Pride and the annual New York City Pride March, has revealed the Grand Marshals for 2014′s New York City Pride March are trans activist and Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox, Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Broadway, film, and television and Broadway actor Jonathan Groff.
Said March Director David Studinski: “Our 2014 marshals are leaders in brilliant forms of activism through which LGBT people and their allies engage. Individually, they represent the diversity within the LGBT community and the various struggles our community members have and continue to face. Collectively, their stories reinforce that no voice is too small nor weak to make change in our world – and it starts with being yourself.”
2014′s March will honor the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with the theme “We Have Won When We’re One.”
The two-mile march begins in Midtown Manhattan at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and proceeds down Fifth Avenue to the Village. It begins at noon on Sunday, June 29. Registration for interested groups is open through June 7, subject to availability.
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/#ixzz2zcWWGUql
Today Lambda Legal will file Georgia’s first marriage equality suit. Via the Georgia Voice:
April 10 was not your usual Thursday at Fulton County Probate Court. Because at one point during the day, Midtown couple Shane Thomas and Michael Bishop strolled in and applied for a marriage license. “Everyone there was friendly, but they still said no,” Bishop tells GA Voice.
In 2004, Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as well as recognizing same-sex unions from other states. But since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year striking down a major portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in the renowned Windsor case, judge after judge after judge in states across the country are ruling that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
With that marriage license denial to Bishop and Thomas this month, in coordination with the actions of two other same-sex couples and one widowed lesbian, a chain reaction started which will lead to the April 22 filing of a massive class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Northern Georgia. The plaintiffs will enter this fight with the backing of Lambda Legal and the law firms of Bryan Cave and White & Case.
The only remaining states which do not have any form of marriage and are not involved in litigation are Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.