transgender issues

Sources: Trump executive order allowing anti-LGBTQ discrimination is coming soon
Jeff Taylor, LGBT Nation, Jan 30 2017

An executive order from President Donald Trump opening up discrimination against the LGBTQ community on the basis of religious belief is expected sometime this week, possibly as soon as today. Several sources have told us that the order will allow for discrimination in a number of areas, including employment, social services, business, and adoption. From what we’ve heard, the executive order could be far-reaching, and could include: making taxpayer funds available for discrimination against LGBTQ people in social services; allow federally funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ parents; eliminate non-discrimination protections in order to make it possible to fire federal employers and contractors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; and allow federal employees to refuse to serve people based on the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that gender is an immutable characteristic set at birth, which would impact a broad range of federal benefits. The order is expected to come in the packaging of so-called “religious freedom,” which argues that someone’s religious beliefs should be enough to prevent them from having to provide goods and services to members of the LGBTQ community if doing so would conflict with said beliefs. Vice President Mike Pence gained widespread notoriety for his Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed during his time as the governor of Indiana. He later backpedaled and signed an executive order removing language allowing for discrimination against the LGBTQ individuals. HRC told LGBTQ Nation in an emailed statement:

The rumors of an anti-LGBTQ executive action by President Trump are deeply troubling. We already know that he is willing to target and marginalize at-risk communities for his perceived political gain. As the President and his team plan their next steps, we want to make one thing clear: we won’t give one inch when it comes to defending equality, whether it is a full-on frontal assault or an attack under the guise of religion. Mike Pence should know that better than anyone given his track record in Indiana. The Human Rights Campaign will stand with those who have already been targeted by this Administration and are prepared to fight tooth and nail against every effort to discriminate.

North Carolina has been on the receiving end of its own boycott over its decision to allow for discriminate with House Bill 2 (HB2), which, in part, nullified non-discrimination ordinances passed by cities and municipalities throughout the state after Charlotte passed an expanded ordinance providing protections for LGBTQ people. Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently said he did not know if Trump would overturn Obama‘s executive order banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination among federal contractors. Trump has signaled support for anti-LGBTQ legislation in the form of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), pledging on his website to sign it into law. FADA would allow for businesses and individuals citing a religious belief to discriminate against the LGBTQ community and prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against them for doing so. Members of the House and Senate recently confirmed with BuzzFeed News‘ Dominic Holden that they plan to refile FADA.

Trump’s pick for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, also recently defended the proposed legislation. Update 1: Press Secretary Spicer was asked at today’s press conference about the rumored religious freedom executive order, as well as HRC‘s statement on it, and he refused to answer the question. Update 2A White House spokesperson has said that an anti-LGBTQ executive order isn’t the plan at this time.

Transgender woman stopped from seeing children
Dina Rickman, Siobhan Fenton, Independent (UK), Jan 30 2017

An erstwhile father, now a transgender woman, has been blocked from seeing his/her five children after a family court ruled it was not compatible with his/her ex-wife’s haredi Jewish beliefs. The landmark ruling was issued by Justice Peter Jackson at the family court in Manchester after 12 months of the ex-father asking for access to his/her five children. Barristers acting for the mother argued that the ex-father should not be allowed direct access to his/her children after leaving the ultra-orthodox Jewish community because it would lead to the children being ostracised by their community and unable to live normal lives, due to their association with a transgender parent. Justice Jackson ruled as follows:

Weighing up the profound consequences for the children’s welfare of ordering or not ordering direct contact with their father, I have reached the unwelcome conclusion that the likelihood of the children and their mother being marginalised or excluded by the ultra-orthodox community is so real, and the consequences so great, that this one factor, despite its many disadvantages, must prevail over the many advantages of contact. I therefore conclude with real regret, knowing the pain that it must cause, that the father’s application for direct contact must be refused.

The ex-father is instead allowed to indirectly contact his/her children four times a year, via letters on festivals and on their birthdays. The ex-father had claimed she was subject to domestic abuse by his/her ex-wife, but that had been denied. The British Humanist Association told the Independent:

At a time when society is progressing towards having much more inclusive attitudes towards trans people and their fundamental rights, it is extremely sad that a religious community can hold such discriminatory attitudes, and threaten to ostracise children over a parent’s gender identity, that we might even end up with a family court judge entertaining a ruling like this one.

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