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gender identity

Screenshot of Wolverine Access, the university's website for students and faculty, showing the gender identity tab.
University of Michigan

Let's say you were given a male name at birth, but you don't identify as a male. Well, the University of Michigan will now let you choose your preferred pronoun.

Those pronouns will appear on class rosters beside students' names.

Students can choose the pronoun he, she, or they ... or fill in their own.

"This was a proposal brought forward by a group of students working through our Spectrum office on campus," said university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

When you go to vote this fall, you'll have a chance to weigh in on education.

Amidst mounting calls for the state to do a better job educating its students, state Board of Education candidates are up for election, as well as trustees and governors of Michigan's major universities. 

Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry joined us today to talk about the myriad issues at stake in the upcoming education races. 

flickr user amboo who? / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Gender identity has become a big issue in the public discourse over the last few years. There has been a heated debate over legislation involving so-called "bathroom bills" and others involving the fight for legal protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom are saying that Britain has a long way to go before transgender people achieve equality. Some MPs are seeking to follow the Republic of Ireland's lead and pass laws that would allow people to declare which gender they are, regardless of what doctors or anyone else says.

Watch Holland City Council candidates weigh in on everything from human rights, to public utilities to public safety at a League of Women Voters forum that took place earlier this month at city hall.

A municipal election in the City of Holland is rekindling a debate over laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.

In June 2011, Holland City Council voted 5-4 against a proposal that would have made it illegal for landlords and employers to discriminate based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“City council may not have dealt with this in any kind of public way in the last two and half years, but in the community it has never gone away,” Donald Martin said of the issue.

Martin is the first openly gay candidate running for Holland City Council. He’s lived in the city for ten years.

The guidelines have been controversial, but the board president expects them to pass this month
user Marlith / Flickr

Tonight Kalamazoo Township’s board of trustees will consider an ordinance that would protect people from discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, among a number of other factors, including:

“..The actual or perceived race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, height, weight, marital status, familial status, citizenship, physical or mental ability, gender identity, sexual orientation or genetic information of another person."

State law already protects from discrimination based on factors like a person’s sex, age, race or religion.

Flickr user Amy the Nurse

It’s not uncommon for newborn babies to have an unclear gender. About one in 300 infants have a disorder of sex development (or DSD). That means babies have atypical sex chromosomes, atypical gonads, or atypical genitals.

For some parents, the experience can be overwhelming and in the past, shame and secrecy have been associated with the disorder.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Last month Reverend Bill Freeman was arrested for refusing to leave city hall. He was protesting Holland City Council’s decision in June 2011 against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination laws. The proposed changes would have given homosexual and transgender persons protection from discrimination by employers and landlords.

Flickr/go mustangs

Adrian College has agreed to changes after federal investigators found the small, liberal arts school has discriminated against female student athletes. The Detroit Free Press reports Saturday that the U.S. Department of Education cited the southern Michigan school for 11 violations of gender-equity rules.

Among the changes the school must make: add at least one more women's sport, build a women's locker room in its multipurpose stadium and increase pay for coaches of women's sports.

School spokeswoman Jennifer Compton says the school "has maintained the highest commitment to equality and respect for gender equity" during its 152-year history. She says the college believes it offers "a quality higher educational experience to all students."

The agreement caps a three-year investigation into Title IX violations at the school.

Tyrone Warner / Creative Commons

Last month Holland City Council voted against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their local anti-discrimination laws. But the fight over gay rights continues in the generally conservative town.

The debate surrounds the City of Holland adopting local laws. These laws would protect people from getting fired or kicked out of their houses because they are gay or transgender. Federal and state laws protect people from discrimination – but not based on a person’s sexuality or gender identity.

The debate is not technically about the morality of homosexuality. But in a community known for having a church on almost every corner – for many people in Holland that is definitely part of the conversation.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Gender identity and sexual orientation are a hot topic right now in the city of Holland. That’s because Holland city council is considering adding local laws that protect people against discrimination for being gay or transgender. The ordinance would give them protection from discrimination by employers and landlords. The issue is extremely divisive in the generally conservative city.

Reverend Ralph Houston reads passages from the bible to city council at an informal meeting last night. He says passing the ordinance would lead to moral chaos.

Residents packed Holland City Hall for the Human Relation Commission meeting Thu
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

An advisory board voted unanimously to recommend city council pass the measure Thursday night.

The board has been studying the issue for months. They took it up at the request of Reverend Bill Freeman. The Holland pastor says those who spoke against expanding protections to those groups embody why it's needed. "I mean to be homosexual, or to be a lesbian or gay person in Holland - it would seem to be problematic. Because there are so many people who oppose them - oppose their existence," Freeman said.