Monday, June 20, 2016

823 Transgenderism and Unisex toilets - Germaine Greer backs North Carolina

Transgenderism and Unisex toilets - Germaine Greer backs North Carolina

Newsletter published on 17 April 2016

(1) Unisex, or separate Bathrooms for Men and Women?
(2) Transgenderism and Unisex toilets - Germaine Greer backs North
Carolina
(3) Ringo Starr cancels North Carolina gig over 'bathroom law'
(4) Obama threatens to withhold funding to North Carolina over Unisex
Bathrooms
(5) Gay rights advocates file a Federal lawsuit on North Carolina
Bathroom law
(6) Apple, Dow Chemical, PayPal, American Airlines attack North Carolina
law
(7) Germaine Greer says transgender women are not real women
(8) Gender Specific Toilets 'put others into uncomfortable situations'
(9) Mississippi allows businesses to refuse service to gay couples
(10) Equal Employment Opportunity Lawsuits for Gay Workers
(11) China’s "homowives"

(1) Unisex, or separate Bathrooms for Men and Women?
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 22:10:12 +0000 Subject: Bathroom Crisis In
America: The National Debate Over Gender-Neutral  Bathrooms Goes Viral

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/bathroom-crisis-in-america-the-national-debate-over-gender-neutral-bathrooms-goes-viral

Bathroom Crisis In America: The National Debate Over Gender-Neutral
Bathrooms Goes Viral

By Michael Snyder, on April 12th, 2016

Should public facilities continue to offer separate bathrooms for men
and women?  In 2016, this has become a political "hot potato" that is
causing emotions to run high on both sides of the debate.  Many liberals
consider the push for gender-neutral bathrooms to be on the cutting edge
of the civil rights movement in the United States.  Meanwhile, many
conservatives consider separate bathrooms for men and women to be a
matter of basic moral decency.  What both sides of the debate can agree
on is that this is an issue that is not going away any time soon.
Gender-neutral bathrooms are popping up in public places all over
America, and the Obama administration has even installed one in the
White House.  Unfortunately, these gender-neutral bathrooms can have
some very serious unintended consequences as you will see below.

U.S. colleges and universities are at the center of this debate.  All
over the country student groups are pushing for gender-neutral
restrooms, and many institutions of higher learning are now starting to
implement them.  The following comes from an editorial in the Harvard
Crimson that addresses the transition that is now taking place at that
university…

The need for gender-neutral restrooms is profound, and their expansion
is long overdue. Gender-neutral restrooms are critical for the safety
and well-being of BGLTQ students, and it is vital that they are
installed more widely throughout campus. While it is commendable that
some of the Houses have started to implement gender-neutral restrooms,
single-gender bathrooms are the majority, especially in residential
buildings. The process by which students can petition for gender-neutral
restrooms in their dorms remains inconsistent and opaque. Additionally,
very few gender-neutral restrooms exist in academic buildings.

Of course other institutions of higher learning are far ahead of Harvard
in this regard.  In fact, there is one university in New York City that
only has gender-neutral restrooms at this point…

The Cooper Union, a small but prestigious art and engineering university
in New York City, has taken the bold step of making every single
bathroom on campus gender-neutral.

Instead of being classified as "men’s," "women’s," or single-occupancy
restrooms, all facilities at the Cooper Union will carry descriptive
signs describing exactly what lies within. Former men’s rooms, for
instance, are now described as "urinals and stalls," while former
women’s rooms now carry the label "stalls only." Regardless of their
type, all bathrooms will be open to whomever wants to use them.
According to Inside Higher Education, Cooper Union appears to be the
first college in the country to entirely de-gender all of its bathroom
facilities.

Unfortunately, when men and women start using the same bathrooms, really
bad stuff can happen.

This is something that the University of Toronto found out the hard way…

The administration at the University of Toronto was recently enlightened
on why two separate washrooms are generally established for men and
women sharing co-ed residencies.

The University is temporarily changing its policy on gender-neutral
bathrooms after two separate incidents of "voyeurism" were reported on
campus September 15 and 19. Male students within the University’s
Whitney Hall student residence were caught holding their cellphones over
female students’ shower stalls and filming them as they showered.

Anyone with half a brain could have figured this out.

If you allow young men into areas where young women are exposing
themselves, some of those young men are going to try to look.  We are a
nation of voyeurs, and our young men have been trained by thousands of
hours of television and movies to think of women as sex objects.

As I wrote about yesterday, it has been estimated that 68 percent of all
Christian men watch pornography on a regular basis.  Considering what
our men are doing behind closed doors, do you really want them around
when women are trying to shower or use the toilet?

I don’t mean to be crude, but this is the reality of the situation.

Sadly, the University of Toronto doesn’t seem to get the message.  The
rule change at that one residence hall is only "temporary", and no
changes have been made to the rules at other residence halls…

The University concluded that while the changes were made in the
specific residence hall of the voyeurism incidents, "there has been no
change to the designation of gender-neutral washrooms in the other
University College Residences or elsewhere on campus as a result of
these incidents."

I suppose that it is "politically incorrect" to think that there will be
problems if young men and young women are using the same restrooms.  The
officials are the University of Toronto clearly believe in what they are
doing, and they don’t plan to reverse course now.

But I would suggest that it is quite naive to put men and women in the
same public bathrooms and just assume that everything will work out just
fine somehow.

And we have seen problems start to happen in non-academic settings as
well.  Just consider what recently happened at a public swimming pool in
the Seattle area…

A man claimed a right to use a women’s locker room at a public swimming
pool after his partial undressing there caused alarm.

According to Seattle Parks and Recreation, women alerted staff at Evans
Pool staff when a man wearing swim trunks entered the women’s locker
room and took off his shirt.

When staff told him to leave, the man reportedly said "the law has
changed and I have a right to be here."

Ultimately the man was not arrested, and he later returned to the
women’s locker room while young girls were changing…

No one was arrested in this case and police weren’t called, even though
the man returned a second time while young girls were changing for swim
practice.

What is going to stop other sickos like this from putting on a dress and
demanding that they have every right to sit there and watch women change
at public swimming pools all across the nation?

In the end, the only thing that will stop it is if laws are passed, but
that is not going to be as easy as you may think.  In fact, the state of
North Carolina has created a massive national controversy because of the
law that was just passed there…

In the face of travel bans from at least five states, 10 cities and two
counties, North Carolina’s governor issued an executive order Tuesday
that he said restores some protections to gays in the state.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s order, signed in the state capital of Raleigh, does
not change North Carolina’s controversial law, which he signed March 24
and became effective immediately. It prohibits counties and
municipalities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances and requires
transgender people to use public bathrooms and locker rooms that match
their gender at birth.

(2) Transgenderism and Unisex toilets - Germaine Greer backs North Carolina
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-14/bradley-there's-a-real-arrogance-to-resisting-transgenderism/7325026

There's a real arrogance to resisting transgenderism

By Michael Bradley

Posted about 8 hours ago

The resistance to transgenderism and unisex toilets - both from Germaine
Greer here and with North Carolina lawmakers - reveals a paternalistic
arrogance and threatens to deny physical reality and human dignity,
writes Michael Bradley.

When I arrived at Sydney University in 1983 and found that the main
student union bar had unisex toilets, it pretty much blew my mind.

The concept of the two genders incidentally discovering each other's
sanitary procedures was not something I had ever contemplated. Imagine
my surprise later on when I learned that humanity is not neatly divided
into two genders at all.

That's the journey we're on, like it or not. As the language has
progressed from "gay" to LGBTQIA - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
queer, intersexual and asexual - we've all been confronted by the
challenge to our traditional understandings of what it actually means to
be human.

People respond to this challenge in infinitely varied ways, influenced
by their own life experiences, what they've been taught and what they
believe.

Obviously, if you have a problem accepting homosexuality as a valid way
of being, then you're more likely to really struggle with the less
well-understood concepts of transgender or intersex status; and more
likely to look askance at the suggestion that the male/female
bifurcation - whether in relation to identity or sexuality - is not on
solid ground.

The confusion this generates is understandable. As Q&A host Tony Jones
said to Germaine Greer this week while she was making her second attempt
to explain her position on transgenderism: "I thought you were digging
yourself out of this hole, and now I wonder if you've just shovelled it
back in." Greer's response - "I belong in this hole" - pretty much sums
it up. These questions aren't easy.

Back to the toilet block though, because it's really in the bathroom
where we confront the starkest realities of our shared existence. And
it's now provided what's become an international focal point for the
challenges of transgenderism and intersexuality.

On March 23, the General Assembly of the US State of North Carolina
passed "House Bill 2" - HB2, or the "bathroom law". In short, it kills
the unisex toilets idea dead.

HB2 follows the modern trend of clothing discriminatory laws in
anti-discriminatory language. Thus:

     It is the public policy of this State to protect and safeguard the
right and opportunity of all individuals ... to enjoy fully and equally
... places of accommodation free of discrimination because of race,
religion, color, national origin, or biological sex, provided that
designating multiple or single occupancy bathrooms or changing
facilities according to biological sex ... shall not be deemed to
constitute discrimination.

OK, so no discrimination in the bathrooms of North Carolina, but
discrimination is redefined to not include what HB2 is actually all
about. That is a legislative mandating of two things: all schools and
public buildings in the State must now provide separate bathrooms for
boys and girls; and everyone is now by law a boy or a girl (no category
for "other"). The last part is achieved by defining your "biological
sex" as the gender stated on your birth certificate.

It's an interesting thing when a legislature feels the need to make a
law stating what "is", as opposed to the more normal role of lawmaking,
which is to tell us how to behave. For example: There was a Parliament
in another country once which felt so concerned about the prospect of
gay people marrying each other that it rushed through a law redefining
"marriage".

These things never end well. It's a fact, as much as many would prefer
otherwise, that the boy/girl thing doesn't cover everyone. There are
many other variants, biologically as well as by choice. The point is not
to try to keep redefining the categories, or determine whether anyone is
right or wrong. I do not understand comments like this from Germaine Greer:

     If you're a 50-year-old truck driver who's had four children with a
wife and you decide that the whole time you've been a woman, I think
you're probably wrong!

The difference between the attitudes of Greer and the North Carolina
legislature is hard to discern; they both apparently think they have the
right to tell people what or who they are.

Putting aside that prejudice which denies uncomfortable or confronting
realities and just gets in the way, of course there is still a challenge
here. We didn't invent single sex bathrooms in the first place for no
reason.

Unisex toilets at my school would have led to poor educational outcomes,
I'm pretty sure. There is also the sad truth that, for women, the
bathroom and changing room are sanctuaries from the sexualised scrutiny
to which they are subjected in pretty much every society and away from
which no generation seems to have been able to evolve. Much as I'd kind
of like to advocate unisex toilets everywhere, I do see the problem with
that.

What if a man does decide that he's a woman, and wants to use the
ladies' toilet? There is a loud objection from those who suspect that
he's wrong about that, or that he's lying about it. Assuming we can
separate out any bigotry in that response from a rational concern (such
as that a man with voyeuristic intentions may pretend to be transgender
for the purpose of gaining access to a female changing room), then yes,
we have a real problem with which to contend.

The solution is not simple, although I do note that earlier violent
objections to the sharing of bathrooms and locker rooms with gay men
seem to have subsided with time. An understanding that difference does
not equate to perversion will make the conversation much more constructive.

Whatever the answer is, it must be founded on respect. Our ultimate
human right is the possession of our own identity. A law which says that
we cannot define that identity for ourselves necessarily infringes that
right. It is the height of paternalistic arrogance to mandate that a
person is by some legal definition male or female, as it is to tell them
that they are not really gay. We are surely capable of a more
sophisticated approach than the manufactured concept of "biological sex".

There has been a strong reaction to the North Carolina law. Numerous
corporations have publicly denounced it and are boycotting the State. As
the B Corporation movement, which represents 1500 companies worldwide
who share a charter of conducting their business "as if people and place
mattered", said when announcing that it is moving its annual conference
away from North Carolina:

     We cannot ask members of the LGBT community to travel to a state
where they do not feel safe or comfortable and may feel threatened.

There are hopeful signs that the pressure may force a repeal.

HB2 is prejudice enshrined in law. It denies both physical reality and
human dignity. It hurts already-marginalised people in the name of
protecting others, but there are better ways of properly balancing
public safety with our most precious right of all - to be who we are.

Michael Bradley is the managing partner of Sydney law firm Marque
Lawyers, and he writes a weekly column for The Drum. He tweets at
@marquelawyers.

(3) Ringo Starr cancels North Carolina gig over 'bathroom law'

http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/ringo-starr-cancels-north-carolina-gig-over-bathro/2996073/

14th Apr 2016 11:28 AM

RINGO Starr has cancelled his upcoming show in North Carolina over the
anti-gay "bathroom law".

The former Beatles' drummer has made the decision not to play his
planned gig on June 18 at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in protest over
the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which decides which
toilet a transgender person can use.

A statement on the venue's website reads: "Ringo Starr cancels his North
Carolina performance in opposition to the passing of HB2. Like Bruce
Springsteen and other fellow artists, Ringo stands with those fighting
against the bigotry of HB2.

"Ringo states, 'I'm sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need
to take a stand against this hatred. Spread peace and love.' This law
opens the door to discrimination everywhere by limiting
anti-discrimination laws against people based on their sexual
orientation or gender identity.

"Ringo adds, 'How sad that they feel that this group of people cannot be
defended.' He asks that we all support organizations that are fighting
to overturn this law in whatever way we can.

"As Canned Heat sang, 'let's work together,' and The Beatles said, 'all
you need is love (sic).'"

Ringo follows in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen who recently axed
his gig in Greensboro to show his "solidarity" in the fight against
prejudice of "LGBT citizens".

He said: "North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are
referring to as the "bathroom" law. HB2 - known officially as the Public
Facilities Privacy and Security Act - dictates which bathrooms
transgender people are permitted to use."

"The law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their
human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North
Carolinians faces such a burden. Right now, there are many groups,
businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and
overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I
feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for
those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our
dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show. Some things are
more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and
bigotry -- which is happening as I write -- is one of them. It is the
strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who
continue to push us backwards instead of forwards (sic)."

(4) Obama threatens to withhold funding to North Carolina over Unisex
Bathrooms


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/02/us/politics/north-carolina-anti-discrimination-law-obama-federal-funds.html

North Carolina Law May Risk Federal Aid

By MATT APUZZO and ALAN BLINDER

APRIL 1, 2016

Your Stories

Hear from a diverse group of transgender voices, and add your own. Share
Your Story

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is considering whether North
Carolina’s new law on gay and transgender rights makes the state
ineligible for billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways
and housing, officials said Friday.

Cutting off any federal money — or even simply threatening to do so —
would put major new pressure on North Carolina to repeal the law, which
eliminated local protections for gay and transgender people and
restricted which bathrooms transgender people can use. A loss of federal
money could send the state into a budget crisis and jeopardize services
that are central to daily life.

Although experts said such a drastic step was unlikely, at least
immediately, the administration’s review puts North Carolina on notice
that the new law could have financial consequences. Gov. Pat McCrory of
North Carolina had assured residents that the law would not jeopardize
federal money for education.

But the law also represents a test for the Obama administration, which
has declared that the fight for gay and transgender rights is a
continuation of the civil rights era. The North Carolina dispute forces
the administration to decide how aggressively to fight on that principle.

The North Carolina law created a mandatory statewide anti-discrimination
policy, but it did not include specific protections based on sexual
orientation or gender identity. The law prohibits transgender people
from using public bathrooms that do not match the sexes on their birth
certificates.

Anthony Foxx, the secretary of transportation, first raised the prospect
of a review of federal funding in public remarks on Tuesday in North
Carolina. The Department of Transportation provides roughly $1 billion a
year to North Carolina. The New York Times then asked other federal
agencies whether they were conducting similar reviews.

A Department of Education spokeswoman, Dorie Nolt, said on Friday that
her agency was also reviewing the North Carolina law "to determine any
potential impact on the state’s federal education funding." She added,
"We will not hesitate to act if students’ civil rights are being violated."

The agency said it provided $4.3 billion to North Carolina last year for
kindergarten through 12th grade as well as colleges.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development said it was doing a
similar evaluation. "We’re reviewing the effects of the law on HUD
funding allocated for North Carolina," said Cameron French, a department
spokesman.

White House officials had no comment.

Any decision on federal aid would take time, experts said. Federal
agencies have used the threat of lost money to pressure a handful of
municipal governments in California and Illinois to change their
policies and allow transgender students to use the restrooms of the
gender they identify with. There is no recent precedent for the federal
government’s applying similar pressure to address a state law that it
sees as discriminatory.

"It would be a long process of negotiation," said Jane R. Wettach, an
education law specialist at the Duke University School of Law in Durham,
N.C. "I think the federal government would be loath to do it and would
give North Carolina every possibility, every chance to change their
position, to change the law, to negotiate, to make some exceptions. I
think they’d go back and forth for a while and try to come to a
negotiated settlement."

Mr. McCrory, a Republican who is seeking re-election, and other
supporters of the law have been aware, but dismissive, of suggestions
that the measure might endanger the state’s federal largess. Mr.
McCrory’s office did not respond to messages on Friday.

Dan Forest, the Republican lieutenant governor and the president of the
State Senate, said he expected that federal aid would continue. He noted
that many states did not explicitly provide gay and transgender people
with anti-discrimination protection. Neither does federal law.

"It would be wrong — even illegal — to single out North Carolina for
unfavorable treatment," Mr. Forest said in an emailed statement. He said
the state complied with the Constitution and federal laws. "I’m
confident that we will continue to receive this federal money despite
the threats from a few in Washington, D.C."

Mr. Forest is correct that federal anti-discrimination laws do not
explicitly mention gay and transgender people: the Obama administration
has repeatedly called on Congress to pass a law banning discrimination
against them in employment decisions. On several occasions, however, the
administration has also said that gay, lesbian and transgender people
are already covered by laws banning sex discrimination.

Last year, a federal judge in Virginia rejected that notion, ruling that
restricting the bathroom choices for transgender students did not
violate federal law. The Obama administration had argued otherwise and
the case is on appeal.

The Obama administration would not need to go to court to withhold grant
money, but doing so would surely lead to a court fight, especially since
the law is unsettled.

Advocacy groups have praised the Obama administration for its broad view
of civil rights laws. During the past seven years, "the fight for
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality has reached an
incredible crescendo," Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said last year.

James D. Esseks, who works on gender and sexual orientation issues for
the American Civil Liberties Union, said the North Carolina law
represented a chance for the Obama administration to stand behind those
views. He called on the federal government to say: "Hey folks, we’re
serious here. We’re not going to give you all this federal money if
you’re requiring discrimination in every corner of the state."

North Carolina has faced criticism from businesses including Bank of
America, which has its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.; Apple; and
Facebook. The National Basketball Association suggested that it might
move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte. The White House called the
law "meanspirited."

In a video message on Tuesday, Mr. McCrory complained about "a vicious,
nationwide smear campaign," and he lashed out at critics in his state,
including Attorney General Roy Cooper, and beyond North Carolina.
Lawmakers had said that they were trying to prevent men from dressing as
women to enter bathrooms and commit assaults. Critics said there was no
evidence that had happened.

"Disregarding the facts, other politicians — from the White House to
mayors to state capitals and City Council members and even our attorney
general — have initiated and promoted conflict to advance their
political agenda and tear down our state, even if it means defying the
Constitution and their oath of office," Mr. McCrory said.

Matt Apuzzo reported from Washington, and Alan Blinder from Atlanta.
Michael D. Shear contributed reporting from Washington.

Follow The New York Times’s politics and Washington coverage on Facebook
and Twitter, and sign up for the First Draft politics newsletter.

A version of this article appears in print on April 2, 2016, on page A1
of the New York edition with the headline: North Carolina May Risk Aid
With Bias Law.

(5) Gay rights advocates file a Federal lawsuit on North Carolina
Bathroom law


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/29/us/north-carolina-anti-discrimination-lawsuit.html?_r=0

Suit Challenges North Carolina Law Overturning Anti-Discrimination Measures

By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

MARCH 28, 2016

Gay rights advocates in North Carolina filed a federal lawsuit on
Monday, challenging a new state law that overturns local protections for
gay and transgender people, and bars transgender people from using
public bathrooms that do not match the sexes stated on their birth
certificates.

The plaintiffs, a coalition of individuals and civil liberties groups,
charged that the bill approved on Wednesday by the Republican majorities
in the General Assembly, and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican,
violated the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination laws.

"Let’s be clear: The legislature and Governor McCrory have done nothing
less than encourage discrimination," said Chris Brook, legal director of
the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina.

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, a gay rights
group, said, "Our national partners have told us that this is the most
sweeping and the most dangerous anti-L.G.B.T. bill they’ve seen at least
this session, and in quite a while."

Several large companies and business groups have protested the law, and
opponents have predicted an economic backlash against the state.

The state General Assembly called a special session to take up the bill,
at a cost of $42,000, held no hearings, allowed little debate and passed
the measure hours after it was introduced. Republicans supported it
unanimously, while many Democrats walked out in protest. Mr. McCrory,
who is running for re-election this year, quickly signed it.

Republicans said the bill was prompted in part by a city ordinance
passed in Charlotte last month allowing people to use public restrooms
that correspond to the sexes they identify with, not necessarily their
sex at birth.

Some conservatives complained that the ordinance would endanger women
and girls by allowing people who are anatomically male to use their
restrooms, an argument that has been used elsewhere. Transgender
advocates dismiss that as nonsense, saying that transgender people have
been using their chosen bathrooms for years without incident.

The new state law overturns any such local protections, saying that
people may use only public locker rooms or restrooms that correspond to
the sexes on their birth certificates. North Carolina law allows a
transgender person to change the sex indicated on a birth certificate,
but only after gender reassignment surgery, which most transgender
people do not undergo.

But the law also goes far beyond the question of bathrooms, superseding
any ordinance that offers any kind of anti-discrimination protection for
gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people. It also prohibits cities
from setting local minimum wages higher than the statewide minimum of
$7.25 an hour.

(6) Apple, Dow Chemical, PayPal, American Airlines attack North Carolina law

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/us/north-carolina-law-antidiscrimination-pat-mccrory.html

North Carolina Gay Bias Law Draws a Sharp Backlash

By MOTOKO RICH

MARCH 24, 2016

A day after Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed a sweeping law
eliminating anti-discrimination protections for all lesbians, gays and
bisexuals and barring transgender people from using bathrooms that do
not match the gender they were born with, the battle lines were clear in
a bitterly divided state.

On social media and in public rallies, civil rights groups, businesses
and politicians expressed dismay at the law, which was passed by the
Republican-controlled legislature and signed by the governor within just
12 hours during a hasty special session on Wednesday.

American Airlines, which employs 14,000 people in the state and has its
second largest hub in Charlotte, along with other companies with
operations in the state, including Apple, Dow Chemical, PayPal, Red Hat
and Biogen, all issued statements critical of the new law.

Biogen opposes #NCGA attempt to undermine equality in NC via #HB2. We
support advancing the power of difference https://t.co/RlxgLt3JBC
Biogen (@biogen) March 23, 2016

At #RedHat we strongly value diversity: https://t.co/XDfUVzC1OL. HB#2 is
a clear step backwards. Sad day. #WeAreNotThis — Jim Whitehurst
(@JWhitehurst) March 23, 2016

"Our future as Americans should be focused on inclusion and prosperity,
and not discrimination and division," Apple said in a statement. "We
were disappointed to see Governor McCrory sign this legislation."

The immediate trigger for the legislature’s action was the passage of an
anti-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte last month that would permit
transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond with their
gender identity, rather than their gender at birth. But the law passed
by the legislature on Wednesday night, which prohibits municipalities
from passing their own ordinances allowing such bathroom use, also
prevents cities from protecting gays and bisexual people against
discrimination generally.

Conservative groups, using the hashtag #keepncsafe, were quick to praise
the legislature and thanked the governor for signing a bill they said
would protect women and children from unwanted advances from biological
males in bathrooms.

Thank you Governor @PatMcCroryNC ! #KeepNCSafe #ncpol #ncga
https://t.co/vCUKmHI5bo — Civitas Institute (@NCCivitas) March 24, 2016

With the November election approaching, political observers said the
law, signed by Mr. McCrory, a Republican who is running for re-election,
was clearly aimed at galvanizing the party’s conservative base in a
state where it controls the legislature and most offices elected
statewide. "This is not a state that you spend a lot of time trying to
sway swing voters," said Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on
Public Life, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "You really
try to get your voters to the polls and you maximize the vote among your
constituents."

Mr. McCrory had originally run as a moderate but has often gone along
with the conservative legislature. This year, there is added pressure to
do that, Mr. Guillory said. "Everything has to do with the heated
political temperature of the moment," he said. "It’s an indication of
how the national debate, with Trump and Cruz being the two leading
candidates on the Republican side, has ripple effects into state politics."

Critics of the law, which also prohibits local governments from setting
minimum wages above the state level and strips veterans of
anti-discrimination protections, vowed to fight back in the court of
public opinion as well as investigate legal remedies. On Twitter, Mr.
McCrory’s Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Attorney General
Roy Cooper, posted a video and joined numerous critics who voiced their
anger under the hashtag #WeAreNotThis.

Retweet if you agree: #WeAreNotThis pic.twitter.com/cUSGLxDgmd — Roy
Cooper (@RoyCooperNC) March 24, 2016

Just as strong as the political backlash was outspoken reaction from the
business community. Mitchell Gold, chairman of Mitchell Gold and Bob
Williams Home Furnishings, one of a dwindling number of companies still
manufacturing furniture in the state, said the new law was "outrageous."

"It’s so un-American, and it’s so shortsighted," said Mr. Gold, who is
gay. "The folks that want this passed — when you look at who are these
people, they are the people who are using their outdated, misguided
ill-informed religious teachings to discriminate."

The law could lead to some economic fallout for the state. The N.C.A.A.,
which is planning to hold tournament events in North Carolina in 2017
and 2018, said in a statement that it would "continue to monitor current
events, which include issues surrounding diversity, in all cities
bidding on N.C.A.A. championships and events, as well as cities that
have already been named as future host sites."

And on Twitter, a new account calling for a boycott of the state emerged
in response to the law. Chris Sacca, a Silicon Valley investor, implied
he would no longer invest in businesses in the state.

Headed to NC in May to discuss how we could invest more in the state.
Now the key words will be "could've invested." https://t.co/kTMLo3lB0U
Chris Sacca (@sacca) March 23, 2016

In Charlotte, Mayor Jennifer Roberts said she was "appalled at the speed
of the law being passed" without consideration of the ramifications for
the business community. "The fallout is just starting," she said,
adding, "We are very concerned about the ripple effects and I do believe
that discrimination is not good for business."

Some political observers noted that the state legislation, which
deprives local municipalities of control over their own laws, seemed
antithetical to conservative values. "This doesn’t seem conservative to
me," said Mac McCorkle, a former Democratic consultant and an associate
professor of public policy at Duke University. "This seems authoritarian."

Correction: March 28, 2016

An article on Friday about the criticism of a North Carolina law that
eliminates anti-discrimination protections misstated the surname of the
mayor of Charlotte, who opposed the measure. She is Jennifer Roberts,
not Rogers.

Katie Benner contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on March 25, 2016, on page
A13 of the New York edition with the headline: North Carolina Law
Barring Anti-Discrimination Measures Draws Sharp Backlash.

(7) Germaine Greer says transgender women are not real women
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-11/q&a-germaine-greer-weighs-in-sexuality-transgender/7318024

Q&A: Germaine Greer revives an old controversy about what constitutes a
real woman

Germaine Greer, the influential Australian academic and author, is used
to courting controversy — from the publication of The Female Eunuch, her
1970 feminist treatise, to posing nude in photo shoots.

But she may not have expected, on an appearance on the ABC's Q&A program
last night, to have an old controversy dredged up on live television.

Last year, students at Cardiff University accused the famous feminist of
sprouting hateful and marginalising views of transgender people and
putting forward the "problematic" view that post-operative transgender
men are not real women.

A petition circulated calling on her to abandon a public address in
Wales, something she refused to do.

On Monday night, audience member Steph D'Souza — clearly a fan of the
author's influential work — confronted her about it.

     "I find really confusing views you've expressed that transgender
women are not real women. Why do you believe there is such a thing as a
real woman? Isn't that the kind of essentialism that you and I are
trying to resist and escape?"

Greer's immediate response was: "This is so difficult." The 10-odd
minutes of in-depth discussion that followed, about what constitutes
sexual identity, seemed to bear that out.

Greer: "I agree that when I first was thinking about what is a woman, I
fell for the usual view that women were people with two Xs and men were
people with an X and a Y ... and I now realise ... that this was wrong."

"But the interesting thing to me is this: That if you decide, because
you're uncomfortable in the masculine system — which turns boys into
men, often at great cost to themselves — if you're unhappy with that, it
doesn't mean that you belong at the other end of the spectrum."

Host Tony Jones asked: What if you know you've been born the wrong sex?

"You can't know," Greer replied, to which Labor Senator Lisa Singh, also
on the panel, responded: "How can you say that?"

     Greer: "You don't know what the other sex is like."

     Singh: "But to a transgender person, they know that. They feel that
within their own identity."

The back-and-forth continued.

Greer later said the difficulty for her was that women were constantly
being told they were "not satisfactory as women", and that the crowning
of Caitlyn Jenner as Glamour Magazine's woman of the year "makes the
rest of the female population of the world feel slightly wry".

She summed up her position fairly succinctly.

"If you're a 50-year-old truck driver who's had four children with a
wife and you've decided the whole time you've been a woman, I think
you're probably wrong."

Another panellist, Joseph Tawadros, ARIA award-winning oud virtuoso and
owner of the best facial hair on the Q&A set, was forced to respond.

"As a very ugly woman I totally disagree with you," he said, fulfilling
his role as the night's comedic relief.

On a serious note, he added: "Society is moving very quickly. There's
still lot of people that don't understand transgender. I don't
understand all the aspects of transgender people but I just have to
respect that."

(8) Gender Specific Toilets 'put others into uncomfortable situations'

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/pizza-shops-unisex-bathroom-goes-viral-2016-1?r=US&IR=T

This pizza restaurant's bathroom sign is receiving national attention

Kate Taylor Jan 15, 2016, 5:33 AM

Pure Pizza of Charlotte, North Carolina, is generating buzz for an
unexpected reason: a note hanging inside of its unisex bathroom.

"We have a UniSex bathroom because sometimes gender specific toilets put
others into uncomfortable situations," the note reads.

Juli Ghazi, the owner of Pure Pizza, goes on to write that she added a
unisex bathroom option because she wanted to "provide a place" for
single dads with daughters, single mums with sons, parents with disabled
children, members of the LGBTQ community, and adults with ageing parents
who may be disabled.

A photo of the note was posted to a neighbourhood Facebook group this
weekend, and has since been shared more than 1,000 times, and liked by
more than 2,800 people. Pure Pizza noteLarken Egleston

The pizza shop lacks a men’s room altogether, with one gender-neutral
restroom and one reserved for women, reports local LGBT-centric
journalist and blogger Matt Comer.

Ghazi was partially inspired to designate a gender-neutral restroom
after the Charlotte City Council failed to pass several LGBT-inclusive
non-discrimination ordinances, writes Comer. The rejected legislature
would have expanded laws to include sexual orientation and gender
identity as protected categories.

Gendered bathrooms have recently been the target of a number of recent
proposals and laws. A new bill was recently proposed in Virginia that
would require public facilities to designate restrooms for use "by a
specific gender to solely be used by individuals whose anatomical sex
matches such gender designation." Meanwhile, cities such as Seattle,
Philadelphia, and Austin, Texas have passed laws that require public
institutions to provide visitors with gender-neutral bathroom options.

(9) Mississippi allows businesses to refuse service to gay couples

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-mississippi-law-service-denial-gays-20160405-story.html

Mississippi governor signs law that allows businesses to refuse service
to gay couples

A Human Rights Campaign equality flag is planted at the edge of the
grounds of the governor's mansion in Jackson, Miss. (Rogelio V. Solis /
Associated Press) Jenny Jarvie

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a controversial bill into law on
Tuesday that could allow businesses and government workers to deny
services to lesbian and gay couples.

Bryant said in a statement that he was signing HB 1523 "to protect
sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals,
organizations and private associations from discriminatory action by
state government or its political subdivisions."

The law, dubbed the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government
Discrimination Act, has met with sustained opposition from LGBT groups,
businesses and the Mississippi Economic Council. They say the law
sanctions discrimination against lesbians and gays.

One gay rights advocacy group, Freedom for All Americans, dubbed the new
Mississippi law "the nation’s worst piece of anti-LGBT legislation."

"Indiana and North Carolina’s anti-LGBT laws were horrendous, but Gov.
Bryant’s bill goes even further in denying critical protections and
enabling discrimination against LGBT individuals," Matt McTighe,
executive director of Freedom for All Americans, said in a statement.

Authored by Republican Philip Gunn, speaker of the Mississippi House,
the law claims to provide protections to people who believe marriage is
the union of one man and one woman, that sexual relations should only
take place inside such marriages, and that the terms "male" or "female"
refer to individuals’ "immutable biological sex." Get ready for more
state-level showdowns over LGBT rights Get ready for more state-level
showdowns over LGBT rights

It prevents state government from taking discriminatory action against
any churches, religious charities and private businesses that decline
services to people violating their religious beliefs.

In a statement, Bryant said the law was an attempt to prevent government
interference in people’s lives, one that "merely reinforces the rights
which currently exist to the exercise of religious freedom as stated in
the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

"This bill does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or
actions of any citizen of this state under federal or state laws," he
said. "It does not attempt to challenge federal laws, even those which
are in conflict with the Mississippi Constitution, as the Legislature
recognizes the prominence of federal law

Last week, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that
would have allowed businesses and individuals to cite their religious
beliefs as a reason for denying services to same-sex couples. Not only
would the law allow discrimination in the name of religious freedom,
McAuliffe said in a statement, but it would have been bad for business.

"We should be pursuing policies to make Virginia a more vibrant and
welcoming place to live, work and raise a family," McAuliffe said.

On Tuesday morning, PayPal announced it would abandon a planned
expansion into North Carolina because of the new anti-LGBT law. Dan
Schulman, PayPal’s president and chief executive, said in a statement
that the law "perpetuates discrimination" and "violates the values and
principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture."

The San Jose-based company’s new global operations center in Charlotte
would have employed more than 400 people.

Other companies that have spoken out against North Carolina’s new law
include American Airlines, Apple, Bank of America, Facebook, Google,
IBM, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

The Mississippi law would allow government employees to refuse to issue
marriage licenses or perform marriage ceremonies. It would also allow
businesses and faith-based groups to deny housing, jobs and adoption and
foster care services to people based on their sexual orientation or
gender identity.

Physicians and other medical professionals could deny sex reassignment
or "psychological, counseling, or fertility services" on the basis of
their religious beliefs. Government would be prevented from taking
action against a person who established "sex-specific standards or
policies" concerning "employee or student dress or grooming" or access
to restrooms, locker rooms, or dressing rooms.

"This is a sad day for the state of Mississippi and for the thousands of
Mississippians who can now be turned away from businesses, refused
marriage licenses or denied housing, essential services and needed care
based on who they are," Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of
the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, said in a statement.

"This bill flies in the face of the basic American principles of
fairness, justice and equality and will not protect anyone’s religious
liberty," she said. "Far from protecting anyone from ‘government
discrimination’ as the bill claims, it is an attack on the citizens of
our state, and it will serve as the Magnolia State’s badge of shame."

Jarvie is a special correspondent.

(10) Equal Employment Opportunity Lawsuits for Gay Workers
http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/gay-workers-discrimination-lawsuits_us_56d5e0a8e4b0bf0dab3387a2?section=australia

'Groundbreaking' Discrimination Lawsuits Brought On Behalf Of Gay Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is arguing that the Civil
Rights Act covers workers' sexual orientation.

03/01/2016 02:16 pm ET

The federal agency that enforces civil rights in the workplace is
pursuing its first lawsuits ever based upon a worker's sexual orientation.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Tuesday that it
has filed two cases it described as "groundbreaking" -- one on behalf of
a gay male employee of a Pennsylvania medical center, another on behalf
of a lesbian employee of a Maryland pallet manufacturer.

A supervisor at Scott Medical Health Center, in Pittsburgh, subjected
the worker to "various anti-gay epithets" and "highly offensive comments
about his sexuality and sex life," leading him to eventually quit his
job, according to the EEOC. A supervisor at IFCO Systems, the Maryland
employer, taunted the employee there over her sexual orientation and
fired her after she complained about the harassment to management, the
agency said.

The EEOC is responsible for protecting workers' rights under the Civil
Rights Act, which bars employers from discriminating based upon race,
religion, sex or national origin. The cases announced Tuesday are
notable because a worker's sexual orientation is not explicitly
protected under that landmark law, and the EEOC has never before filed
such a suit on behalf of a gay worker (though it has on behalf of
transgender workers).

But in a case last year, the EEOC determined that discrimination based
upon sexual orientation is inherently discrimination based upon sex.
(For the commission's full rationale, check out that decision here.)
That determination suggested the commission was likely to bring lawsuits
based upon sexual orientation, and Commissioner Chai Feldblum said just
a week ago that such a suit would be "coming soon."

In an amicus brief it filed in a separate case last month, the EEOC
argued that "sexual orientation discrimination necessarily involves sex
stereotyping." In such cases, the agency wrote, workers are treated
differently "because their orientation does not conform to
heterosexually defined gender norms."

"With the filing of these two suits, EEOC is continuing to solidify its
commitment to ensuring that individuals are not discriminated against in
workplaces because of their sexual orientation," David Lopez, the
commission's general counsel, said in a statement. "While some federal
courts have begun to recognize this right under Title VII, it is
critical that all courts do so."

The EEOC has been inviting workers to submit charges claiming
discrimination over sexual orientation since 2013, as Bloomberg BNA
explained. No federal appeals court has ruled yet that the Civil Rights
Act covers a worker's sexual orientation, making it likely any ruling in
favor of the EEOC would be challenged.

The EEOC said Tuesday that it tried to settle both cases before filing
lawsuits against the two employers.

(11) China’s "homowives"

http://qz.com/329575/chinas-homowives-are-becoming-unlikely-champions-for-gay-rights/

China’s "homowives" are becoming unlikely champions for gay rights

Zheping Huang

March 02, 2015

After her marriage was over, just looking at a wedding photo would make
Qiu Xuan feel awful. The 29-year-old, a video editor at a communications
company in Guangzhou, could tell by the picture that she wasn’t half of
a happy couple that day, even though she was the one wearing a white veil.

The photo shows the bride and groom with their best man, who was
standing in between them, hanging one arm over the groom’s shoulder, and
leaning his head towards him. Qiu said her yearlong sexless and loveless
marriage can be explained in that one image—her husband was in love with
his best man, not her. Qiu’s wedding day photo.(From Qiu's personal
photos, used with permission.)

The term "beard" to describe a woman who is used, knowingly or
unknowingly, to disguise her partner’s homosexuality has been used as
slang in the United States for many decades.

But acknowledgement that such marriages even happen is a recent
phenomena in China. In China, a "beard" is known straightforwardly as a
??(Tongqi), or ""homowife"—the abbreviation of "the wife of a
homosexual" in Chinese.

There are millions of gay men married to women in China, academics
believe. According to an estimate by Zhang Beichuan, one of the first
Chinese scholars to study sexuality, China has 20 million male
homosexuals of marriageable age—and 80% of them will marry a woman. In
contrast, according to a 2010 Economist report, 15 to 20% of gay men in
America have married heterosexual women.

The women in these marriages are quietly becoming an unlikely force in
China’s nascent gay-rights movement. If men are free to openly have
relationships with other men, sham marriages like theirs will no longer
happen, they say. Being "homosexual is not wrong," said Qiu in an
interview. "What’s wrong is to marry a heterosexual to make a tragedy."

Liu Jie, a 25-year-old homosexual interior decorator from Shantou,
Guangdong Province, has thought of entering into a gay-straight
marriage, because, like many Chinese of marrying age, he’s under a lot
of pressure from his parents. "They said they would have nothing to
worry about in their lives once I got married. How can I come out of the
closet to them?" Liu said to Quartz.

"Among three ways of being an unfilial son, the most serious is to have
no heir," argued Mencius, an ancient Confucian philosopher. The idea is
still ingrained in modern China; men are under social pressure to marry
and produce a male heir to carry on the family line. Though new
generations are more open-minded, many still believe that to marry and
have children are the two most important things in life, whether they
are gay or straight.

For women who unknowingly marry gay men, a divorce can be difficult to
obtain, and can leave them much worse off financially. Qiu, the video
editor, got a divorce and custody of her 9-month-old daughter after
court mediation. Her husband agreed to pay alimony of 700 yuan, or $114,
per month, which, according to Qiu, accounts for less than 20% of his
monthly income. Qiu only agreed to the terms, she said, because her
husband’s family refused to let her see her daughter otherwise.

Qiu said the court had rejected her appeal for further compensation,
because she could not prove her husband had an extramarital affair. "He
has never admitted he is gay, although everyone knows about that," Qiu said.

"A person who has a spouse but cohabits with another person" is one of
the circumstances listed in China’s marriage law that allows a husband
or wife to file for divorce, and demand compensation from the other
party, but in its judicial interpretation, the "another person" only
refers to "the opposite sex."

"If a man and a woman get a room [in the hotel], we can say it’s an
extramarital affair; but if it is two men, we can say nothing," said
Liu, 35, a judge from Shenzhen who agreed to speak on the matter if he
was identified only by his surname.

Some women in China unknowingly married to a gay man are openly choosing
to maintain a nominal marriage to give their children a stable family.
Jiang Xinyi, a 24-year-old software engineer from Shanghai, who has been
counseling women married to gay men since 2009, said this was a common
alternative to divorce and separation. "They draw three ground rules for
their husbands: Have sex [with their wives], take care of the family,
and look after the child."

Other arrangements are springing up as well—like the "cooperative
marriage" or "xinghun," in which a lesbian woman and gay man agree to
marry to appease their parents.

Jiang first learned there were other women in similar marriages from
China’s first homowives meeting in 2009. Then a university student, she
found the women who had attended the meeting online and joined their
chat group on QQ, a popular Chinese instant messaging software.

After watching other women share their ordeals and comfort each other in
the chat group, Jiang volunteered to establish and operate new groups
for newcomers.

Now Jiang runs three QQ chat groups, which have over 200 members in
total, and a social media account on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like
microblog site. She also helps these women get legal advice and speak
out to the public. She named the volunteer organization Hibiscus Flower,
which she said stands for tenacity and vitality.

"Homowives" and their supporters are getting more vocal about their own
situations, and the need for China to become more accepting of
homosexuality. Zhang Ziwei, a 27-year-old corporate secretary from
Nanchang, southeast China’s Jiangxi Province, who dated a gay man three
years ago, now manages a QQ chat group on the topic with more than one
hundred members. She is translating two books—My Husband Is Gay and When
Your Spouse Comes Out, written by Carol Grever, an American woman who
married a gay man—into Chinese. After she finishes, she plans to send
them to other women in her situation, because there are no such books in
China.

One woman who was formerly married to a gay man, who calls herself
"Little Delan," dressed in a bridal gown to seek marriage at the Qixi
Festival, China’s Valentines’ Day, in August, 2014 on the the streets of
Quanzhou, the largest city in southeastern Fujian Province. She told
Chinese media that, besides finding the right man, she wanted to raise
awareness about homowives, and the need for China to offer homosexuals
equal rights and legalize gay marriage.

A 51-year-old retired worker from Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan
Province, who only wants to be identified by her online nickname, Aunt
Moon, has been volunteering at Hibiscus Flower since she helped her
niece get out of a gay-straight marriage four years ago.

"I don’t have a high literacy level, but I am gentle, and willing to
talk," said Aunt Moon, who has had volunteer experience at the Red Cross
Society of China.

Among the thousands who attended Hong Kong’s annual gay rights parade in
November, Aunt Moon and the three women she was with became a peculiar
scene with their different identities and pursuits from the gay
marchers. During the march, they held up placards that read: "My husband
is gay. I am in pain." Aunt Moon (second from the right) and other
marchers at Hong Kong’s gay pride parade in November 2014.(Photo from
Weibo, used with permission.)

Aunt Moon said she thought it may have been the first time that women
married to gay men in China took part in a gay rights demonstration. She
said the parade was a chance for them to increase people’s awareness
about their fate. She wishes the gay rights movements to succeed as
well: "the more prosperous the better," she said. Little Delan also
appeared at the Hong Kong parade, again in a bridal gown.

Yet a tune of discord hung over the event. A group of gay participants
from Hong Kong drew people’s attention by holding a red flag, like the
ones that police use during protests to tell demonstrators to halt, that
read: "Stop discriminating or we will marry a woman and hehe [be gay] in
the dark."

"The threatening slogan helps nothing. It will only harm their image,"
Aunt Moon said. "If they want to achieve marital rights, they must face
up to homowives."

Three women married to gay men attended the last annual PFLAG China
meeting, the gay support group’s co-founder told Quartz. Their
involvement isn’t without controversy. "Ideally we should stand in the
same trench to fight against biases from the society," co-founder Aqiang
said. But being a "homowife is only a transitional identity—after they
find a heterosexual man and get married, they are no longer homowives."
Aqiang said, "I don’t expect them to do much."

"What they want is to solve their own problems," he added. "They are
often emotional, critical and angry. We can’t hear the husbands’ voices
in their cases."

Same-sex marriage is now legally recognized in 16 countries, and 33
states in America. China is not on the list. Li Yinhe, a sociologist and
sexologist who has been trying to legalize homosexual marriage since
2000, has failed each time. Li, who has been in a relationship with a
transgender man for many years, said she has been unable to get the 30
cosponsors necessary for the idea to be discussed at the Chinese
People’s Political Consultative Conference, which advises the government
on issues that should become law.

The government, Li said, thinks it is an idea that is ahead of its time.

"Homosexual marriage had been brought up when the marriage law was
revised in the 1980s," Yang Lixin, a law professor at Renmin University
of China, told Quartz, "but the society was deemed not prepared." Yang
said next time the marriage law is revised, homosexual marriage might be
legalized, but when that will occur, "only the heads of the legislature
know."

Until then, expect millions more unhappy couples to tie the knot.

The author is a master’s student at The University of Hong Kong’s
Journalism and Media Studies Center, and an intern with Quartz. You can
follow him on Twitter at @pingroma.



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