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Trans March on Washington set for Sept. 28

Rally at Freedom Plaza to precede march to U.S. Capitol

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National Transgender Visibility March, gay news, Washington Blade

The National Transgender Visibility March on Washington will take place Saturday, Sept. 28. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A National Transgender Visibility March on Washington originally planned for March 31 will now take place Saturday, Sept. 28, according to a statement released on Tuesday by organizers of the march and related events.

Marissa Miller, a D.C.-based transgender activist and leader organizer, said the march will begin with a 9:30 a.m. rally at Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. in which prominent transgender and LGBT rights advocates will speak.

Among those scheduled to speak at the rally will be actress, transgender rights advocate, and businesswoman Angelica Ross, who starred in the FX series “Pose,” the statement released on Tuesday says. Also confirmed as speakers are Alphonso David, the recently named president of the Human Rights Campaign; and Earline Budd, the longtime D.C. transgender rights advocate, according to Miller.

HRC’s annual national dinner is scheduled to take place Saturday evening, Sept. 28, after the march. Miller said many people coming to D.C. for the dinner were expected to join the march.

Following the Freedom Plaza rally the Trans Visibility March is scheduled to proceed to the U.S. Capitol, Miller said.

“Members of the transgender and gender non-conforming communities will take a major stand against hate and discrimination when they rally in the nation’s capital for the first-ever National Trans Visibility March on Washington,” organizers said in a January statement announcing plans for the march.

“Transgender individuals from major metropolitan cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Memphis, New York and San Francisco will come together with their allies calling for equal rights, physical safety and demanding the transgender communities be officially and federally recognized across every state department within this great nation,” the statement says.

Mark Kormann, director of fundraising for the march, said a National Trans Visibility March Benefit Concert to help fund the march is scheduled to be held Aug. 23 at The Community Church of Washington, D.C.-UCC at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23. The Seasons of Love Ensemble of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. and the Gay Men’s Chorus of New York will be among the performers at the concert, Kormann said.

Kormann said watch parties in at least 13 cities were expected to view the concert through a live streaming broadcast. Miller said the march itself will be live streamed for people unable to come to D.C.

Kormann said an opening reception for people planning to participate in the march will be held Thursday, Sept. 26, to be followed by a Friday, Sept. 27, Torch Award Ceremony in which prominent transgender and gender non-conforming leaders and activists will be honored. Both events will take place at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va.

According to Kormann, 500 transgender and gender non-conforming people will come to the march from across the country on a scholarship made possible by contributions from supporters of the march and its related events. He said some will participate in community organizing workshops on Friday afternoon, the day before the march.

“They will then go back into their communities and start to mobilize their community,” he said. “So the idea is to give them tools to go back into their communities.”

Miller said another Trans March on Washington is also being planned for 2020 to coincide with the U.S. presidential election. She said details of that march, including the date and related events, would be announced at a later time.

She said anyone who believes in equality for all is invited to join the Sept. 28 Transgender Visibility March on Washington.

“We urge you to join us Sept. 28, 2019 as we march in solidarity in support of equal rights and inclusion for our community,” a statement on the march website says. “March with us to demand justice for our siblings whose lives were taken through senseless murders,” it says.

Additional details on the Sept. 28, 2019 march can be found at transmarchondc.org.

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U.S. Appellate Court rules against anti-LGBTQ website designer

In the 2-1 ruling, the court said Colorado had a compelling interest in protecting the “dignity interests” of members of marginalized groups.

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U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Byron White Courthouse Denver Colorado (Photo Credit - Library of Congress Collections)

DENVER – A three judge panel of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled against a Lakewood, Colorado based web designer who sued to challenge the state’s anti-discrimination law, claiming that it would force her to design wedding websites for same-sex couples which violated her ‘Christian’ beliefs.

Lorie Smith, represented by anti-LGBTQ legal group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, (ADF)- listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ extremist hate group, claimed in court filings that the Colorado law violated Smith’s freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression.

In the 2-1 ruling, the panel said Colorado had a compelling interest in protecting the “dignity interests” of members of marginalized groups through its law.

The law that is being challenged by Smith and ADF is the same one that was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and decided in 2018, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et al., Petitioners v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, et al., in the case of another Lakewood business and individual, Jack Phillips.

The high court in the Masterpiece Bakeshop case narrowly ruled in a 7–2 decision, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not acted employing religious neutrality. In the decision Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court majority on Monday, said it is “unexceptional” that Colorado law “can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions that are offered to other members of the public,” but at the same time, “the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”

The high court however did not rule on the broader intersection of anti-discrimination laws, free exercise of religion, and freedom of speech, and whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to LGBTQ people.

In a statement the ADF’s senior counsel, John Bursch noted that the group would appeal Monday’s ruling. “The government should never force creative professionals to promote a message or cause with which they disagree. That is quintessential free speech and artistic freedom,” Bursch said.

“This really isn’t about cake or websites or flowers,” Lambda Legal senior counsel Jennifer C. Pizer said in a statement. “It’s about protecting LGBTQ people and their families from being subjected to slammed doors, service refusals and public humiliation in countless places – from fertility clinics to funeral homes and everywhere in between.”

Lambda Legal, is a legal group that fights for the civil rights of LGBTQ people and had submitted a brief supporting the state’s anti-discrimination law in the case.

Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson questioned whether Smith should even be allowed to challenge the law since she had not started offering wedding websites yet, the Associated Press reported.

But if she did, Olson said, her argument would mean she would refuse to create a website for a hypothetical same-sex couple named Alex and Taylor but agree to make the same one for an opposite-sex couple with the same names. He said that would be discrimination under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Judge Mark Beck Briscoe wrote in Monday’s majority opinion (303 Creative, et al. v. Elenis, et al.) that “we must also consider the grave harms caused when public accommodations discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Combatting such discrimination is, like individual autonomy, `essential’ to our democratic ideals.”

In his dissent, Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich wrote that “this case illustrates exactly why we have a First Amendment. Properly applied, the Constitution protects Ms. Smith from the government telling her what to say or do.”

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More Americans personally know someone who’s transgender, non-binary

Half of Americans say they would be either very or somewhat comfortable using a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to someone if asked to do so

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Teen Trans activist Landon Richie speaking at a rally for Trans rights in Austin, Texas in April 2021 (Blade file photo)

WASHINGTON – More Americans personally know a transgender person or someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, according to new data from the non-partisan Pew Research Center.

A survey found 42 percent of Americans know someone who’s transgender, who is up from 37 percent who said so in 2017. Although most Americans, 57 percent, still say they don’t know anyone who’s transgender, that’s down from 63 percent five years ago.

Similarly, 26 percent of Americans say they know someone who uses non-binary gender pronouns compared to the 18 percent in 2018 who said they knew someone uses pronouns such as “they” as opposed to “he” or “she.”

At the same time, comfort levels with using gender-neutral pronouns – as well as their opinions on whether someone’s gender can differ from the sex they were assigned at birth – has remained about the same. Half of Americans say they would be either very or somewhat comfortable using a gender-neutral pronoun to refer to someone if asked to do so, compared to 48 percent who say they would not be comfortable. The numbers, according to Pew Research, are basically unchanged since 2018.

The survey found profound differences by age, party, and education in knowing a transgender person or someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, although in both parties growing shares of Americans report knowing a person who’s transgender.

For Americans under age 30, some 53 percent say they know a transgender person, which is up from 44 percent in 2017. In the same age group, 46 percent of younger U.S. adults know someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns, compared to 32 percent in 2018.

The Pew Research Center conducted the survey of 10,606 U.S. adults between June 14 and June 17. The survey is weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and other categories, according to Pew Research.

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Louisiana lawmakers fail to overturn Edwards veto of Trans sports bill

Edwards further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.”

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Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards (Photo Credit: Official state portrait)

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana lawmakers failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto last month of a bill that would have barred trans girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools.

The measure, Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell titled the ‘the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ in the Governor’s eyes, “was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” Edwards said in his veto statement;

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue. 

The Republican majority state House chamber failed to override the Governor’s veto after voting 68-30 to override it, according to the state legislature’s website.

The vote narrowly missed the 70-vote threshold needed in the lower chamber to override the veto.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate must vote to override a governor’s veto, according to the local Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate.

The Governor reacted to the news that his veto withstood Republican efforts to overturn it in a press conference Wednesday.

Edwards noted that in his view he had “rejected a play” that had no place in Louisiana. 

“I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best. We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state, I mean go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here,” Edwards said.

He further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets “the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.” 

“We have to be better than that,” Edwards said. “We have to be better than that.” 

 

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