WBEZ | transgender http://www.wbez.org/tags/transgender Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en CRAP and the Gender Neutral Bathroom http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-22/crap-and-gender-neutral-bathroom-114579 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Gender Bathroom-Flickr-Daily Collegian.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>Thursday on the Morning Shift, we talked about the sensitivity training that staff and administrators at a Palatine school are going through after the district was ordered to<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/transgender-student-be-given-access-girls%E2%80%99-locker-room-114127"> make a girls locker room available to a transgender student.&nbsp;</a></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In that story, a high school locker room became a battleground in the fight over civil rights and inclusion. For transgender people, some of the issues at play in that Palatine locker room play out every day in another forum: The public restroom.</div><div><p dir="ltr">According to advocates, public restrooms can be places of stress, harassment, and even violence for the transgender community. Well, one local group, the Chicago Restroom Access Project, has an answer for how to alleviate some of those problems.</p><p dir="ltr">CRAP -- yes, that is the acronym -- is proposing gender-neutral signs for single-stall bathrooms. The group plans to offer the signs to businesses, schools, nonprofits and government offices to create a more welcoming environment for everyone. Kim Hunt of Pride Action Tank tells us all about it.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-22/crap-and-gender-neutral-bathroom-114579 Training Teaches Schools and Parents How to Talk About Transgender Issues http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-21/training-teaches-schools-and-parents-how-talk-about-transgender <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Trans Training-phs.d211.org_.png" alt="" /><p><div>This is the first week that a transgender student in Palatine will have access to the girls&rsquo; locker room. This comes after the U.S. Department of Education&#39;s Office for Civil Rights ruled the school in District 211 had violated Title IX by banning the student from the locker room.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now, the district is taking a step beyond increased access. They&rsquo;re training staff and administrators with the tools of inclusion for gender non-conforming students.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Jennifer Leininger from Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital leads this and other trainings in schools.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-21/training-teaches-schools-and-parents-how-talk-about-transgender Transgender Student to be Given Access to Girls’ Locker Room http://www.wbez.org/news/transgender-student-be-given-access-girls%E2%80%99-locker-room-114127 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/211 Trans Web Story.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A transgender student&rsquo;s desire to use the girls&rsquo; locker room at her school has<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/us-says-illinois-school-must-give-locker-room-access-transgender-student-113642" target="_blank">&nbsp;been a source of debate and division</a>&nbsp;in her northwest suburban community for weeks. Federal officials gave Palatine-based Township High School District 211 30 days to reach an access&nbsp;agreement,&nbsp;or risk losing up to $6 million in funding and face possible litigation for violating Title IX gender equality law.</p><p>The board voted 5-2 last week in favor of an&nbsp;<a href="http://adc.d211.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/D211-OCR-Agreement.pdf">agreement</a>&nbsp;that gives the student access to the locker room -- but requires her to change and shower in a separate, private area.</p><p>But questions about the scope of the agreement--whether it applied to the entire district or, just the complainant--led to more confusion and quickly threatened the compromise&rsquo;s implementation. Superintendent Dan Cates expressed anger when federal officials implied it was a district-wide policy.</p><p>In a&nbsp;statement&nbsp;he said he was, &ldquo;outraged by the mischaracterizations in the press by Catherine Lhamon of the Office for Civil Rights, and her blatant disregard for the facts of the negotiated agreement.&rdquo;</p><p>The district called for an emergency meeting Monday to consider rescinding the agreement. Hundreds showed up at Conant High School for public comments before the board met in private to vote. Before the meeting, the OCR sent a letter to the school district&rsquo;s attorneys, to clarify its position.</p><p>In the end, the board voted to uphold its agreement, saying it was the best course of action for the student while balancing the needs of all the district&rsquo;s teenage students.</p><p>A spokesperson for the OCR, Dorie Nolt said, &ldquo;We are pleased that the district has chosen to live up to the binding agreement it made and to its obligations under federal civil rights law.&rdquo;</p><p>But while the governing bodies involved in the matter have come to terms, many still have concerns about how it will be implemented, and or enforced; and its impact on the student and her community.</p><p><strong>&lsquo;Student A&rsquo;</strong></p><p>At the center of this story is a young transgender woman.</p><p>Though, she&rsquo;s only been heard from through her representation at the<a href="http://www.aclu-il.org/">&nbsp;American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois</a>. She is referred to, in various statements and documents, as &ldquo;Student A,&rdquo; and her exact high school has not been identified in order to protect her privacy. The student was born male but has identified, and lived, as a female for several years.</p><p>District 211 has five high schools with over 11,000 students. Student A&rsquo;s parents said that their daughter was, at times, inconsolable when she was denied access&nbsp;and therefore&nbsp;treated differently than other girls.</p><p>In mid-November, they anonymously posted a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aclu-il.org/our-child-is-a-girl/">letter</a>&nbsp;to the ACLU&rsquo;s website, titled, &ldquo;Our child is a girl.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>They explained that they too struggled to understand that gender identity is different from one&rsquo;s sexual orientation.</p><p>&ldquo;If she was segregated, forced to use separate facilities, it would signal to others that it was acceptable to treat her differently,&ldquo; they wrote.</p><p>The family says it went to great lengths to ensure Student A would not be discriminated against: They legally changed her name and obtained a passport which identified her gender as female and documented medical treatments for gender dysphoria.</p><p>Her parents said that some of the opinions and comments on their daughter&rsquo;s case have been &ldquo;hurtful and difficult to read&rdquo; but are, overall, pleased that the issue was in the public discourse.</p><p>&ldquo;We are hopeful that those with open minds and hearts will come to a place of acceptance,&rdquo; her parents wrote.</p><p><strong>Community Response</strong></p><p>Parents like Hannah Garst have found their community at the center of a controversial and,&nbsp;at-times&nbsp;hostile discussion. Garst lives in Palatine, and her two children will go to the district&rsquo;s high schools.</p><p>Garst said she supports the transgender student.</p><p>&ldquo;Separate is not equal,&rdquo; Garst said. &ldquo;As a parent and as a member of the community, I think that when we discriminate against any one of our students or any one of our citizens, it has a negative effect on all of us.&rdquo;</p><p>She also thinks the school could have handled the situation differently.</p><p>&ldquo;I really hope that the school takes the opportunity to educate all the students and to help them understand what does transgender mean,&rdquo; Garst said. &ldquo;As educators, no one&rsquo;s in a better position to engage and educate both the public and these students about trans issues.&rdquo;</p><p>But not everyone agrees with Garst. One of the most vocal groups at the meetings was one called Parents for Privacy.</p><p>On its<a href="http://d211parentsforprivacy.weebly.com/">&nbsp;website</a>, the group states, &ldquo;Any access, even so-called &lsquo;restricted access&rsquo; with the condition of using privacy curtains, still does not protect the basic privacy rights of minor girls in the locker room...Allowing students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms seriously endangers students&rsquo; privacy and safety, undermines parental authority, and violates other students&rsquo; free exercise rights.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Moving Forward</strong></p><p>The school district has until January 15,&nbsp;2016&nbsp;to provide the student access to the locker room. Additionally, District 211 must consult with a third-party expert in gender identity within 30 days. The agreement also states that the district does not admit any violation of federal law.</p><p>The ACLU&rsquo;s John Knight represents the student&rsquo;s interests in the matter.</p><p>&ldquo;We are thrilled that this agreement has stayed in place, (but) we are not at all happy with the district&rsquo;s handling of this matter and their public statements about my client,&rdquo; Knight said.</p><p>And if the student changes her mind about using the privacy curtains, Knight said he feels confident that the OCR defend her wishes.</p><p>&ldquo;At the moment, no other transgender student has come forward and said, &lsquo;I&nbsp;want&nbsp;access,&rsquo;&rdquo; Knight said. &ldquo;If that happens, then I would expect OCR would demand equal treatment for those students.&rdquo;</p><p>The school district will be monitored until June 30, 2017.</p><p>Ultimately, Knight said, &ldquo;we just need to see how this plays out.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Meredith Francis is a news desk intern. Follow her</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="https://twitter.com/mmlfrancis" target="_blank">@MMLFrancis</a></em></p></p> Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/transgender-student-be-given-access-girls%E2%80%99-locker-room-114127 Facial Feminization Surgery: What Makes A Face Feminine? http://www.wbez.org/news/facial-feminization-surgery-what-makes-face-feminine-113831 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1117_renee-baker-624x351.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96262"><img alt="Renee Baker before facial feminization surgery. (Photo courtesy of Renee Baker)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1117_renee-baker-624x351.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Renee Baker is pictured before facial feminization surgery. (Photo courtesy of Renee Baker)" /><p>Have you ever thought about what makes a face feminine?&nbsp;</p><p>According to one of the surgeons who pioneered facial feminization surgery,&nbsp;what makes a face feminine isn&rsquo;t easy to define.</p></div><p>&ldquo;We hear beauty is only skin deep; it&rsquo;s not,&rdquo; Spiegel says. &ldquo;It has to do a lot with the bones. When we change the face, I need to change the bones. And then the skin is almost like clothing. If a woman puts on a man&rsquo;s shirt it still looks like a woman&hellip;. so the skin, if it sits on the right way on the facial structures, we start to get the right cues.&rdquo;</p><p>As&nbsp;Lauren Silverman&nbsp;from&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/17/facial-feminization-surgery" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now</em></a>&nbsp;member station KERA in Dallas reports, that can make it tricky for people in the transgender community thinking about having surgery. She speaks with Spiegel and Renee Baker, a transgender woman who traveled from Dallas to Boston to receive the surgery.</p></p> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 15:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/facial-feminization-surgery-what-makes-face-feminine-113831 More universities move to include gender-neutral pronouns http://www.wbez.org/news/more-universities-move-include-gender-neutral-pronouns-113727 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/singleladies-v51_custom-19073c33d1984553dd36b19809b05054156d030e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455204334" previewtitle="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/08/singleladies-v51_custom-19073c33d1984553dd36b19809b05054156d030e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; Harvard and other colleges are introducing gender-neutral pronouns like &quot;ze&quot; into their registrars. (LA Johnson/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>More and more colleges and universities are allowing students to choose their own gender pronouns, meaning instead of just &quot;he&quot; and &quot;she,&quot; the options now include pronouns like &quot;ze,&quot; which are intended to be gender neutral.</p></div></div></div><p>Harvard is one of the universities that made the change official this year. Now, undergraduate students have a variety of pronouns to choose from when they register.</p><p>Van Bailey, the director of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Queer student life at Harvard College talks with NPR&#39;s Michel Martin about how Harvard is implementing and reacting to the changes.</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong>On what led to the change</strong></p><p>Students. We have a very dynamic and diverse student body. There were a group of students who were able to reach out to our campus partners and the registrar&#39;s office and a number of other campus constituents to really talk about their needs, particularly as transgender and non-binary students.</p><p>And we wanted to figure out a way where our students didn&#39;t have to &mdash; in their first introductions to their professor &mdash; feel like have to go into a huge paragraph about their identity, but rather have some options and control to express themselves that reflected their identity. That was a series of conversations that we had over four or five years actually.</p><p><strong>On how the change works on campus and choices</strong></p><p>[As] people who work on campuses, we have access to student information ... we wanted to be able to have everything that a person needed to respond to a student that reflects their identity. This is showing up on advising records, this is showing up on rosters.</p><p>We offer several options. &quot;He&quot; and &quot;his,&quot; &quot;she&quot; and &quot;hers,&quot; &quot;they&quot; and &quot;theirs,&quot; we have options for &quot;ze.&quot; We have options for folks who say, &quot;Call me these sets of pronouns,&quot; for instance, I use sets of both &quot;he&quot; and &quot;they.&quot;</p><p><strong>On allowing gender fluidity at the expense of pronoun clarity</strong></p><p>The singular &quot;they&quot; is something that we do in society all the time. We might not want to officially say that but we definitely do and we&#39;re not particular about a person&#39;s gender. You know, often times we&#39;ll say &quot;they are doing this&quot; if we don&#39;t really understand what their gender is or we don&#39;t have that information before then. As well as, I think that language is evolving and is connected to our identities, so I think, you know, this is really about inclusion, it&#39;s about respect. And at the end of the day I think we need to definitely begin to evolve as we understand how people are identifying.</p><p><strong>On how people on campus are responding</strong></p><p>It&#39;s an exciting time. We&#39;re having folks reach out to people like myself to do trainings and education with them if they&#39;re saying, &quot;OK I&#39;m trying to understand how this works in real time,&quot; and we&#39;re happy to do that. The students are excited about it. They&#39;re excited to have the control and the options. They&#39;re excited that that doesn&#39;t have to be a barrier to their classroom experience. You know, because that can be a really kind of chilling experience for a student ... we want to be able to create as many opportunities for students to feel as safe as possible in our classrooms and included as possible and for our classrooms to welcome our diverse student body that we have here.</p></p> Sun, 08 Nov 2015 13:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-universities-move-include-gender-neutral-pronouns-113727 Transgender rights movement: a week of wins and losses http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-06/transgender-rights-movement-week-wins-and-losses-113681 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95663"><img alt="In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston. On Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, voters statewide can give themselves tax breaks, pump billions of dollars into roads and make hunting and fishing constitutional rights by supporting seven amendments to the Texas Constitution on Tuesday's ballot. And Houston will choose a new mayor and decide whether to extend nondiscrimination protections to its gay and transgender residents in a referendum being watched nationally. (Pat Sullivan/AP)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1106_transgender-houston-e1446822147828-624x410.jpg" style="height: 407px; width: 620px;" title="In this Oct. 21, 2015 photo, a man urges people to vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance outside an early voting center in Houston. (Pat Sullivan/AP)" /><p>It was two steps forward and one step back this week for transgender rights advocates. The<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633" target="_blank"> repeal of Houston&rsquo;s Equal Rights Ordinance</a> was a major setback for the movement. The opponents of the ordinance argued it would open the door for transgender men to attack women in bathrooms.</p></div><p>There was also good news for transgender advocates. Yesterday, the Reform Judaism movement issued a broad transgender rights policy, the strongest of any religious group.</p><p>And on Monday, the U.S. Department of Education ordered an Illinois high school to find a solution in the case of a transgender female student who was not allowed to participate in girls&rsquo; sports or shower in the girls&rsquo; locker room with other students.</p><p>Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, joinsHere &amp; Now&rsquo;s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the defeat in Houston and the strategy going&nbsp;forward.</p><p><em><strong>Report:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.transequality.org/issues/resources/national-transgender-discrimination-survey-full-report" target="_blank">Discrimination and violence faced by transgender people</a></strong></em></p></p> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 12:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-06/transgender-rights-movement-week-wins-and-losses-113681 U.S. says Illinois school must give locker room access to transgender student http://www.wbez.org/news/us-says-illinois-school-must-give-locker-room-access-transgender-student-113642 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3111086451_91879a4b16_o_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A suburban high school in Chicago is the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-04/battle-brewing-over-use-high-school-locker-room-transgender" target="_blank"> center of a debate</a> about how to accommodate transgender students without singling them out. At issue is whether a student who identifies as female can use the girls locker room in the same fashion as other female peers do.</p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 15:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-says-illinois-school-must-give-locker-room-access-transgender-student-113642 In Houston, voters reject a closely watched equal rights ordinance http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law._0.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res454538477" previewtitle="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/04/gettyimages-455944188_custom-264b297cc0f8983448b18a4f5e239ec92e9da1c0-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Houston Mayor Annise Parker lost a big fight with the conservatives, when voters rejected an anti-discrimination law. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>Voters in Houston soundly rejected a closely watched ordinance that prohibited discrimination in city contracting, business services, housing and employment.</p></div></div></div><p><a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2015/11/03/houston-anti-discrimination-ordinance-early-voting/">As the Texas Tribune reports</a>, the measure became a flashpoint in a confrontation between the city&#39;s lesbian mayor and the city&#39;s conservatives.</p><p>Ultimately, opponents of the ordinance, which is<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-02/houston-residents-vote-anti-discrimination-ordinance-tomorrow" target="_blank"> known as HERO</a>, prevailed by a large margin. As the&nbsp;Tribune&nbsp;explains, opponents framed this issue as the &quot;bathroom ordinance,&quot; arguing that the &quot;ordinance&#39;s gender identity protection would allow sexual predators to enter women&#39;s bathrooms.&quot;</p><p>The&nbsp;Tribune&nbsp;adds:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;Ahead of Tuesday&#39;s vote, Republican state leaders, including Gov.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/greg-abbott/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/greg-abbott/">Greg Abbott</a>&nbsp;and Lt. Gov.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/dan-patrick/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/dan-patrick/">Dan Patrick</a>, cited the bathroom arguments in lending their political muscle to the campaign opposing the ordinance. On Tuesday, Patrick attributed the defeat of the &#39;misguided&#39; ordinance to voters standing up to &#39;pandering to political correctness.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;&#39;The voters clearly understand that this proposition was never about equality &ndash; that is already the law,&#39; Patrick said. &#39;It was about allowing men to enter women&#39;s restrooms and locker rooms &mdash; defying common sense and common decency.&#39;</em></p><p><em>&quot;Supporters of the ordinance called the strategy fear-mongering and hoped for a win even after early voting figures showed the ordinance behind by a wide margin.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/us/houston-voters-repeal-anti-bias-measure.html?_r=0">The New York Times reports</a>&nbsp;that the ordinance is actually very similar to anti-discrimination laws passed in 200 other cities.</p><p>The ACLU&#39;s National Political Director Karin Johanson said Houston was the only major American city that had not passed a law &quot;protecting its residents from discrimination.&quot;</p><p>Of course,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/03/454249137/election-day-what-were-watching">many other states and cities held elections</a>, yesterday. Here are a couple of other headlines:</p><p>&mdash; Ohio voters overwhelmingly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/public/2015/election/ohio-state-issues-2-and-3-marijuana.html">rejected plans to legalize pot</a>&nbsp;for recreational and medical use.</p><p>&mdash; In Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/11/03/republican-matt-bevin-elected-governor-kentucky-2nd-republican-governor-in-4/">won the governor&#39;s race</a>. Lt. Gov.-elect Jenean Hampton will become the first black person to hold statewide office in Kentucky.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/04/454525766/in-houston-voters-reject-a-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance?ft=nprml&amp;f=" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/houston-voters-reject-closely-watched-equal-rights-ordinance-113633 Houston residents vote on anti-discrimination ordinance tomorrow http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-02/houston-residents-vote-anti-discrimination-ordinance-tomorrow <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3111086451_91879a4b16_o.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_95333"><img alt="A anti-discrimination ordinance is up for a vote in Houston. Because it prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, critics have come out loudly against it, saying it will let trans people use bathrooms of their choosing. (Ted Eytan/Flickr)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1102_gender-neutral-e1446478215978-624x444.jpg" style="height: 441px; width: 620px;" title="A anti-discrimination ordinance is up for a vote in Houston. Because it prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, critics have come out loudly against it, saying it will let trans people use bathrooms of their choosing. (Ted Eytan/Flickr)" /><p>Voters in Houston, Texas, are divided over a ballot question aimed at preventing any discrimination in areas such as housing and employment.</p></div><p>But the bill has caused an uproar because critics say it would&nbsp;let transgender people use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.</p><p>The bill includes language prohibiting any discrimination in the use of public accommodations.</p><p>Houston&rsquo;s mayor, who backs the bill, and conservative pastors have been fighting over the anti-discrimination ordinance in court since the city council passed it last year.</p><p>As a result, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO,&nbsp;will be put before voters to decide.</p><p>Houston Public Media reporter&nbsp;<a href="http://@Florian_News887" target="_blank">Florian Martin</a>&nbsp;joins&nbsp;<em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/" target="_blank">Here &amp; Now&rsquo;</a>s</em> Jeremy Hobson to discuss the impending vote.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/02/houston-anti-discrimination-bill" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 14:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-02/houston-residents-vote-anti-discrimination-ordinance-tomorrow New protections for transgender patients are coming http://www.wbez.org/news/new-protections-transgender-patients-are-coming-113584 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/A poster from a 2013 rally in Washington, D.C. supporting equal health and livelihood of trans people..jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" id="1" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/8604815836_71ec0d624a_z.jpg?itok=afd2pRX-" style="height: 362px; width: 620px;" title="A poster from a 2013 rally in Washington, D.C. supporting equal health and livelihood of trans people. Friday marks the deadline for the Obama administration to finalize rules that will include protections for transgender patients. (flickr/Ted Eytan)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div><div><div>For years, transgender adults have faced discrimination in healthcare so hostile it&rsquo;s almost laughable. Almost.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>&ldquo;A trans-woman broke her arm playing softball,&rdquo; said Mara Keisling, executive director the National Center for Transgender Equality. &ldquo;The insurance company refused to pay for it because if she hadn&rsquo;t been transgender she wouldn&rsquo;t have been playing softball. There&rsquo;s just a million stories like that.&rdquo;</p><p>The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing specific provisions of a rule under the Affordable Care Act that broadens civil rights protection.</p><p>This is the first federal law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in healthcare, which means hospitals, nursing homes, health insurers and doctors are barred from discriminating against transgender Americans&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;as well as others based on sex.</p><p>This new rule puts the entire industry on notice. It&rsquo;s now illegal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, just like it&rsquo;s been illegal to deny care to people based on age, religion or race.&nbsp;Friday is the deadline for the Obama Administration to finalize new rules.</p><p>HHS&rsquo;s Jocelyn Samuels said that means insurers can no longer categorically deny services. For example, take gender transition care.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If an insurer said, &#39;we will not cover any services related to gender transition, we will treat that as a denial of access to coverage&#39;&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;that is prohibited by the ACA,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Once the final rule is in place, University of Michigan Law Professor Sam Bagenstos, a former assistant attorney general for civil rights under the Obama Administration, said he can imagine scenarios where an insurer covers some services, but gender transition remains expensive.</p><p>&ldquo;It gets gray pretty quickly,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I think the real question is how much is HHS going to feel willing to say in the abstract about these questions.&rdquo;</p><p>While this likely opens the doors to more lawsuits, Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality noted this gives people legal standing for the first time.</p><p>&ldquo;When they go to the doctor and the doctor says, &#39;I don&rsquo;t feel comfortable,&#39; they know they have the ability to say, &#39;I am a human being and you have to treat me. I have a legal right to get medical care,&#39;&rdquo; Keisling said.</p><p>Keisling estimates there are some 1 million transgender Americans, some of whom have stopped seeking medical care due to bad experiences in the past.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/health-care/new-protections-transgender-patients-are-coming" target="_blank"><em>via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 09:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-protections-transgender-patients-are-coming-113584