Lambda Legal poised to unionize amid staff discontent

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Employees at Lambda Legal are seeking to unionize amid discontent under the leadership of Rachel Tiven. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key

Employees at Lambda Legal have launched a unionization effort amid frustration over cuts to benefits and concerns over the leadership style of CEO Rachel Tiven, the Washington Blade has learned.

A petition was filed on Nov. 21 before the National Labor Relations Board, which supervises elections for labor union representation, as noted on the U.S. agency’s website. Ballots for the election were set for distribution to employees on Wednesday and counting will take place Dec. 29.

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Opponents in LGBT case agree: It’s not about wedding cake

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In a legal case with profound implications for LGBT rights and religion’s place in public life, the opposing sides agree on this: It’s not about the cake.

At its core, the case that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments on Dec. 5 is a showdown between a gay couple from Colorado and a Denver-area baker who in 2012 cited his Christian faith in refusing to make a cake for their wedding celebration.

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Murder case raises question: Do LGBT hate crime laws work?

By : Wire Report
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Each year, for the past three years, LGBT advocacy groups have tallied the killings of more than 20 transgender people in the U.S. Yet state or federal hate crime laws are rarely used to prosecute the slayings.

Now many LGBT-rights groups are questioning the effectiveness of the laws, saying they sometimes focus too tightly on individual acts without addressing underlying bias or wider violence. The volatile issue was back in the spotlight this week as Missouri authorities investigated the killing of a transgender teen who was stabbed in the genitals and had her eyes gouged out.

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‘Matilda’ star Mara Wilson says she regrets coming out after Pulse tragedy

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“Matilda” star Mara Wilson came out as bisexual in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016 but says she now regrets the timing of her announcement.

Wilson, 30, spoke with Lambda Legal about how she received backlash for coming out after the tragedy.

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Lawsuit seeking gay protections under Title VII reaches Supreme Court

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The question of whether lesbian, gay and bisexual people are covered under current federal civil rights law has reached the U.S. Supreme Court — where a nationwide ruling would clarify anti-gay workplace discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In a 30-page filing, the LGBT group Lambda Legal makes the case the high court should take up to clarify the nationwide prohibition on sex discrimination in the workplace under Title VII applies to cases of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

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Federal court urged to strike down Puerto Rico birth certificate policy

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lambda Legal has urged a federal court to strike down a Puerto Rico policy that does not allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

The group made the request in a brief it filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico on June 26.

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Report: States lack protections for transgender youth

By : Wire Report
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Most states lack anti-discrimination policies and staff training needed to protect transgender youth in foster care, juvenile detention facilities and homeless shelters, according to a new report.

There are clear federal standards for the treatment of such youth, but states and communities don’t always follow such rules, said Currey Cook of the civil rights organization Lambda Legal, which helped write the report.

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LGBT rights group appeals denial of transgender name change

By : Wire Report
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ATLANTA (AP) – An LGBT rights group is asking an appeals court to step in after a Georgia judge declined a legal name change for a second transgender man.

Lambda Legal says it filed an appeal Sept. 8 of a June order by Columbia County Superior Court Judge J. David Roper rejecting a petition from the 21-year-old transgender man seeking to legally change his name to Andrew Baumert.

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Missouri transgender inmate latest to push for hormone treatment

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – A transgender inmate is suing the Missouri prison system for refusing to provide hormone therapy as she transitions to a woman, adding her voice to those of prisoners in other states who argue that denying such treatment amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit in federal court in St. Louis last week on behalf of Jessica Hicklin, a 37-year old inmate serving life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder at age 16, when she went by her birth name, James. She is challenging a state Department of Corrections policy that bars hormone therapy for inmates who weren’t receiving it before being incarcerated.

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Bathrooms become battlegrounds in anti-discrimination debate

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – As bathrooms become battlegrounds in the national debate over anti-discrimination laws, a city council’s decision to protect the restroom choices of transgender people in Charlotte, North Carolina, was cheered Feb. 23 by rights advocates as a courageous move. But it may not stand for very long.

Gov. Pat McCrory told The Associated Press that the bathroom provision denies privacy rights for people who expect to share restrooms or locker rooms only with people born with the same anatomy.

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Puerto Rican nominee would be first openly gay chief justice in the United States

By : Wire Report
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San Juan (AP) – Puerto Rican judge Maite Oronoz Rodriguez has been nominated to head the U.S. territory’s Supreme Court as the first openly gay chief justice in the United States.

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced the nomination Feb. 12 calling it a “new time” for Puerto Rico’s judicial branch. At 39, Oronoz Rodriguez is also the youngest member of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court.

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Texan inmates can now start hormone therapy

By : Wire Report
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Austin, Texas (AP) – A change in Texas prison system policy means transgender inmates who hadn’t started hormone therapy before incarceration can do so behind bars if they go through a thorough process to confirm the diagnosis.

Previously, Texas Department of Criminal Justice policy said only transgender inmates who were already taking hormones when they entered the system could continue to do so, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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