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Religious Tolerance logo

News of interest to the
transgender/transsexual community

From 2009-NOV to 2010-DEC

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Events related to the transgender/transsexual community:

  • 2009-NOV-19: FL: Tampa city council expands anti-discrimination law: A unanimous preliminary vote was held on NOV-05. The final vote was held on NOV-19. By a vote of 5 to 1, the city council voted to expand the existing ant-discrimination laws to include "gender identity or expression" as a protected class. This covers protection in housing, employment and public accommodation.

    The city had held public hearings earlier that heard from over 60 individuals. Members of several evangelical Christian groups condemned the motion; they felt that it was an assault on their religious values and were concerned that the measure would sanction sexually deviant behavior. David Caton, executive director of the Florida Family Association, said that the city had not proved that transgender discrimination existed.

    Terry Kemple, president of the Community Issues Council, expressed a concern that the measure would allow "sexual predators" to go into restrooms for the opposite sex. It would also force business owners and landlords to accept cross-dressers, even if their religious beliefs prohibited such acceptance. 1 This type of complaint is heard regularly by religious conservatives who are concerned over their religious freedom -- not their freedom to believe their religious tenets, but the religious freedom to discriminate against others -- most often women and sexual minorities.

    This measure raises to 16 the number of Florida municipalities who protect persons of different gender identities from discrimination. 1

  • 2010-JAN-05: USA: Banning employment discrimination in federal government: The Obama administration added wording to the federal jobs web site at on It bans employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity. It formalized the federal government's unstated policy that has been in place for several years.

    Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, "The largest employer in the country is doing what all the other large employers in the country are doing, so that’s really great news."

    Peter S. Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council -- a fundamentalist Christian advocacy group, said: “We at the Family Research Council oppose including gender identity as a category of protection. He said that gender identity disorder should be "... treated with therapy to help people be comfortable with their biological sex rather than affirming and celebrating and protecting those who want to deny their biological sex." He may not have been aware that there has never been a recorded instance of therapy changing a person's gender identity. (Gender Identity Disorder is now an obsolete term, having been replaced by Gender Dysphoria).

    Christopher E. Anders, senior legislative counsel for the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union said that: “This is frankly a bigger deal" than the expected change which would have been an update to the federal handbook for managers and supervisors. 2

  • 2010-FEB-03: USA: Rhiannon O'Donnabbain wins lawsuit with IRS: The U.S. Tax Court ruled that Rhiannon could claim the costs of her sex-change operation as a medical deduction. She had earlier been denied the deduction because the IRS regarded her gender reassignment surgery as merely cosmetic and not medically necessary. More info.

  • 2010-APR-10: USA: President Obama orders new rules re: hospital visiting rights: President Obama ordered his health secretary to prepare new rules for all hospitals who participate in Medicare and Medicaid. They would require hospitals to liberalize their visiting privileges so that the partner of a same-sex couple could visit in a hospital. Same-sex couples, including some transgender or transsexual partners were often denied access. More info.

  • 2010-JUL-10: OK: Brittany Novotny, a Democrat and transsgendered candidate runs for office: Brttany Novotny (D) is running for a seat in the State House against Sally Kern. Kern received national attention when she said that "the homosexual agenda is destroying this nation," that homosexuality was a greater threat than terrorism, and that "studies show no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades." The two candidates have agreed that sexual orientation and gender identity will not be campaign issues. However, The group "Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ" which has hosted "Rallies for Sally," launched a mass Email campaigh saying that: "The homosexual lobby from across America will be pouring money into this local race in an attempt to make a statement to the country by knocking out an outspoken Christian, pro-family representative."

    Ms. Novotny, 30, denied that her campaign was largely financed by gay rights groups.

    She began her gender transition in 2005 and completed it in 2007. She said:

    "To me, it’s not an issue. I fully anticipate someone will try to make it an issue. but I want to be a representative, and I don’t want to let the fact that I went through that part of my life affect that I am right for the job." 3

    In September, Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, posted an email on Novotny’s website calling Brittany "a confused it." Although this was interpreted -- an probably intended to be -- an insulting comment, it does show that the PAC is changing its attitudes towards transsexuals. Most religious and social conservatives would consider Brittany a "he." Referring to her as an "it" is one step closer to calling her a "she." The PAC stated that:

    "Some have suggested that having a sex change operation is a person’s greatest act of rebellion and hatred toward God for His making them what they were. It is truly sad to see people reject God’s love for them by being willing to mutilate themselves. If they would submit their life to God, they could find the true the joy in life that will forever elude them while on their path of rebellion. The hatred and rage toward Sally [Kern] continues unabated in the homosexual community because Sally dared to declare their political agenda for what it truly is, more dangerous to the future of America than the threat of terrorism." 4

    Sally Kern (R) won the election on 2010-NOV-02 with about 67% of the votes.

  • 2010-JUL-28: Indonesia: Islamic authority bans sex-change surgery: The Indonesian Ulema Council, the highest Islamic authority in the country, has barred Muslims from having sex-change operations. They also banned them from viewing gossip shows on TV which the Council described as immoral and a threat to society. Earlier they banned interfaith marriages, smoking, and the practice of yoga. 5

  • 2010-OCT-13: CA: Woman sues L.P.G.A. over exclusion: Lana Lawless, 57, has sued the Ladies Professional Golf Association (L.P.G.A.), Long Drivers of America and two corporate sponsors because of the L.P.G.A. and Long Drivers' policy of admitting only those competitors who are "female at birth." She claims that this violates California civil rights law.

    Many other sports bodies have changed their rules to accomodate transsexuals to compete. They include the International Olympic Committee, the United States Golf Association, the Ladies Golf Union in Britain and the Ladies European Golf Tour. Kristina Wertz, the legal director of the Transgender Law Center said: “I think the L.P.G.A. is really out of step with other professional sports organizations of its size, and it’s a wake-up call to other entities that we’re not going to tolerate discrimination based on gender identity." Before the rule change, she placed third in 2007 and won the title in 2008 in the same tournament. She claims that she had no competitive advantage over cisgendered female athletes because her homones and muscle strength are comparable with genetic females. 6 L.P.G.A. players voted in late 2010-NOV to allow transsexual athletes to compete. 7

  • 2010-OCT-13: NY: Appeal to everyone for an end to violence: There were reports of gay bashing in New York City during early 2010-OCT. Attacks ocurred at the Stonewall Inn where the gay liberation movement was triggered in 1969, and in the Chelsea neighborhood.

    Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York Anti-Violence Project and coordinator of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs wrote a letter to the New York Times that was published:

    " This violence happens every day and in all places. Every day lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people endure violence from strangers, neighbors, families, co-workers and classmates. We face judgment simply because of who we are. We remain second-class citizens.

    While policy makers and presidents have much work to do to ensure the equality of all of their citizens, the real power to prevent this violence does not sit in Congress or the White House — it is with every person in this country.

    This is not a gay issue; this is everyone’s issue. What we need to do is simple and can happen right now: We need to challenge ourselves to understand that our casual dismissal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, like the phrase 'that’s so gay,' fuels a culture of violence and that the impact is real — we are beaten up, even in 'safe' places like Chelsea and the Stonewall Inn.

    But if every one of us were to commit right now to respecting people and demanding that respect for everyone, then we would end this culture of violence.

    'How could this happen?' you ask. Because we let it happen. Don’t let it happen again." 8

  • 2010-NOV-04: CA: First transsexual trial judge in the U.S. elected: The New York Times reported that:

    "Voters in the San Francisco Bay Area elected the first transgender trial judge in the country on Tuesday. Victoria Kolakowski, a lawyer who underwent gender reassignment surgery more than two decades ago, won the race for Superior Court judge in Alameda County with more than 50 percent of the vote." 9

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Christian Wade, "Tampa council approves transgender protection," Tampa Bay Online, 2009-NOV-19, at:
  2. Brian Knowlton, "U.S. Job Site Bans Bias Over Gender Identity," New York Times, 2010-JAN-05, at:
  3. Hailey Branson, "A gay campaign? Both sides demur," New York Times, 2010-JUL-19, at:
  4. "Group backing Sally Kern calls her transgender opponent Brittany Novotny 'a confused it'," Dallas Voice, 2010-SEP-09, at:
  5. "Edict Aims at TV and Sex Changes," Agence France Presse, 2010-JUL-28, at:
  6. Katie Thomas, "Transgender Woman Sues L.P.G.A. Over Policy," New York Times, 2010-OCT-12, at:
  7.  Katie Thomas, "L.P.G.A. will allow trnasgender players to compete," New York Times, 2010-DEC-01, at:
  8. Sharon Stapel, "Violence against gays: An issue for everyone," Letter to the editor, 2010-OCT-07, at:
  9. Malia Wollan, "California: Transgender Candidate Is New Judge," New York Times, 2010-NOV-04, at:

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Copyright © 2009 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2009-NOV-22
Latest update: 2014-JUN-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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