State Department releases annual human rights report

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The State Department’s annual human rights report released March 11 notes violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was commonplace around the world in 2019.

The report notes authorities in Chechnya continued “a campaign of violence against individuals perceived to be members of the LGBTI community.”

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Gender identity bill faces criticism at Missouri Capitol

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: The Missouri Capitol (Photo by KTrimble on Wikimedia Commons)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) | A Republican lawmaker has proposed a bill that would let Missouri parents remove their kids from classes and school events that touch on sexual orientation and gender identity, causing some parents to protest the measure at the state Capitol.

Rep. Chuck Basye said he introduced the measure after hearing concerns about posters that were given out by the student Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Gentry Middle School in Columbia. The students had posted signs describing various sexual orientations and genders.

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Chicago school district to allow unrestricted locker room access for transgender students

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Above: Locker room (Photo by Charles Kremenak on Flickr)

PALATINE, Ill. (AP) | A fight lasting more than four years for equal access to locker rooms for transgender students in a north suburban Chicago school district ended Jan. 7 when a new policy allowing them unrestricted access took effect.

The policy change in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 came after the school board voted 5-2 in favor of it in November, WLS-TV reported.

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St. Louis clothing library helps students match gender identity

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ST. LOUIS (AP) | Two St. Louis University students have founded what they call a clothing library that helps students find outfits that match their gender identity.

St. Louis Public Radio reported that the student-led Queer Closet allows transgender and gender-nonconforming people to rent or buy affordable clothing that helps them feel more comfortable.

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Conservatives decry Wisconsin school district’s gender identity policy

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) | A conservative law group is challenging a Madison School District policy that prohibits school staff from telling parents if their child is transitioning genders at school, unless they have that student’s permission.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the guidance document went into effect last school year.

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Ada County, Idaho adds LGBTQ status to anti-discrimination policy

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ABOVE: Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho. (From Wikimedia Commons)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) | Ada County has expanded its anti-discrimination policy to include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) employees.

Boise State Public Radio reports the new policy has been in the works for a couple of months now, and was recently approved by the Ada County Commissioners.

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Attorneys general weigh in on LGBTQ employment cases

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) | A coalition led by the attorneys general of Illinois and New York has filed a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring.

The brief comes ahead of oral arguments on three cases that may determine whether gays, lesbians and transgender people are protected from discrimination by existing federal civil rights laws.

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Manhattan-Ogden school board approves transgender student guidelines

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) | The Manhattan-Ogden School Board has approved guidelines for transgender students in the school district.

The board voted 6-1 on May 1 to approve the guidelines, after discussing the issue since December.

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Oklahoma man convicted of killing transgender woman

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) | An Oklahoma judge told a man to pray for salvation before sentencing him to life in prison without parole for killing a transgender woman at an Oklahoma City motel in 2017.

The Oklahoman reports that 32-year-old Brandon Michael Tyson was sentenced April 24 after pleading guilty in February to fatally shooting 31-year-old Brooklyn Stevenson. Authorities did not say Tyson killed Stevenson because of her gender identity, but the slaying alarmed Oklahoma City’s LGBTQ community.

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Meridian becomes 14th Idaho city to ban LBGTQ discrimination

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) | The city of Meridian is the latest municipality in the state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Idaho’s Legislature has so far refused to pass a bill that would add such protections to the state’s human rights act. But since 2011, 14 cities have taken action.

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Commission: Investigate LGBT complaints despite AG opinion

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LANSING, Mich. (AP)| The Michigan Civil Rights Commission on Monday directed an agency to continue investigating complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, days after the state attorney general declared the basis for the probes to be invalid because state law does not protect LGBT people from discrimination.

The board reiterated its support for a statement, which it issued in May, interpreting the word “sex” in the state’s 1976 civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, had issued an opinion Friday saying the commission overstepped.

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Leaders behind LGBTQ measure shut political action committee

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) | A group that has long pushed for Idaho lawmakers to pass legislation to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from employment and housing discrimination has shuttered its political action committee.

The PAC was terminated in June because organizers are currently working to broaden the group’s platform and change the name, said Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln, the chair of Idaho’s Add the Words.

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