transgender

white house
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White House and federal officials met with LGBT advocates in Metro Detroit on Thursday, as part of a summit focused on creating safe schools and improving health for transgender youth.

The Department of Education has said for more than a year now that under Title IX, schools are legally required to treat transgender kids "consistent with their gender identity in all aspects" – including letting students use the bathroom that fits their gender identity.

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Republican lawmakers are sending a message to the Michigan State Board of Education: "Remember who holds the purse strings."

That's from Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, who's sponsoring a resolution to replace the board with a Department of Education run by a governor-appointed director.

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It was a tense, emotional afternoon at the Michigan Board of Education.

In the two months since the board put out a draft proposal for how schools could choose to support LGBT kids, it’s become a major controversy.

https://www.svsu.edu/visit/

“Your entire life is just one big lie,” Charin Davenport’s former supervisor allegedly told her, according to a lawsuit filed today.  

“You disgust me!" the lawsuit alleges Davenport was told, when she announced to her supervisor that she planned to dress and present as a woman. "I can’t even stand to look at you! This is not about your so-called ‘gender identity.’ This is about you being a liar.”

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  At Bedford Public Schools in Monroe County, transgender students are only allowed to use the gender-neutral bathrooms.

That's even if they've asked to use the bathrooms matching their gender identity.

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about Republican pushback on the State Board of Education's new LGBT guidelines, an alleged bribery and kickback scheme now plaguing Detroit's struggling school district, and State Sen. Virgil Smith's jail sentence.  


Tony Webster

  State Senator Tom Casperson, a Republican from the UP, says he’ll introduce a bill requiring Michigan students to “only use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their birth” sex, unless they have “written consent from a parent or guardian.”

Even then, transgender student would be barred from locker rooms or bathrooms “of the opposite sex … if those facilities are in use or could be in use,” according to a release from Casperson’s office Tuesday.

LGBT flag
antiochla.edu / Antioch University

By Friday afternoon, more than 3,000 people had submitted online comments about the State Board of Education’s new recommendations for how schools should support LGBT kids.

These are just draft recommendations, and they’re purely optional.

Here’s a sampling of what the board is suggesting schools do to create a safer space for transgender students:

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan has revised its policy for changing a person’s gender on a state driver’s license or identification. 

Until last week, the Secretary of State’s Office required an amended birth certificate. Now Michigan will also accept a U.S. passport or a court order.

According to Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the change makes it easier for transgender people – but doesn’t go far enough.

Courtesy of Gidget Groendyk

A woman from a small town outside of Grand Rapids hopes to bring improved protections for the LGBTQ community to her hometown.

Gidget Groendyk is running for township supervisor of Sparta, north of Grand Rapids. Focusing mostly on discrimination issues against LGBTQ people, she is currently the only candidate listed as running. 

Groendyk is the first openly transgender person to run for office in Sparta, according to the township. She said she hopes both her candidacy and revised local laws will encourage others to feel safe living freely in her area. 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Ahya Simone doesn’t particularly like the word transition when she describes being a transgender woman.

Simone was born and raised in Detroit. From an early age she was drawn to the performing arts, singing in church choir and, eventually, while attending Cass Technical High School in Detroit, learning to play the harp.

But it wasn’t until she was in college at Wayne State University that Simone decided it was time to get real, and start living her truth.

Here's a video of Ahya Simone performing with her harp. 

dream hampton

On October 23, 2011 a 19-year-old Detroiter named Shelly Hilliard was murdered and dismembered.

It happened just three days after she cooperated with suburban police, according to a civil suit filed by her family against the Madison Heights Police Department.

Kate Wells

The ACLU of Michigan is suing Ruth Johnson, the Secretary of State, for making it difficult – and sometimes impossible – for transgender people to get a license that accurately reflects their gender.

The policy essentially requires proof of a surgical sex change

If a transgender person wants to change the gender listed on their license or state ID, Johnson’s policy requires them to first amend the gender listed on their birth certificate.

  WYANDOTTE, Mich. (AP) - The federal government is supporting a Detroit-area teenager who accuses several schools of discriminating against him because he's transgender.

In a court filing last week, the U.S. Justice Department urged a judge to deny a request to dismiss the lawsuit at an early stage. The government says the boy so far has stated a "plausible claim" under federal law.

There are more than 70 virtual currencies in the marketplace.

You may have heard of the biggest players: Bitcoin, Ripples, and Litecoin, which are taking out the middleman and reinventing the meaning of money. The idea is gaining momentum among college students. Today, we heard how virtual money is opening doors for young Michigan entrepreneurs.

Then, school districts around the nation and right here in Michigan are talking about ways to accommodate transgender students. The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) is already working on model policies.

And we spoke with some talented Michigan musicians about how their EP (extended play recording) reached No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts with virtually no promotion.

Blue Ocean Faith is an all-inclusive Christian community in Ann Arbor
user Marlith / Flickr

How far should a school go to accommodate its transgender students? What federal or state laws and ordinances might impact policies for transgender students?

School districts around the nation are wrestling with these questions, even as parents and civil rights groups mount court challenges against districts whose policies are not supportive of transgender student rights.

The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Project is now crafting a comprehensive model policy for transgender students – a policy that could be adopted by local school districts. Jay Kaplan is a staff attorney who is part of this effort, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Part of the LGBT community is confusing to a lot of straight people and, really, some gay and lesbian people. The "T" in LGBT. Transgender people.

This piece includes the stories of two transgender women. Because their gender can cause confusion, Renee Knipe and Joanna Smith have struggled with things many people don't think about.

Knipe has been barred from using women's restrooms. Joanna Smith, who was once John Smith, is a father. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Department of Civil Rights is studying how current laws and policies regarding gay and transgender people affect people’s lives, jobs, communities and businesses. Though state laws ban discrimination in housing and employment based on some factors – people who are gay or transgender are not included.

The department will hold a public hearing in Holland Tuesday.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

An Ottawa County judge is considering whether to dismiss a case against a minister who has stood up for gay rights in the City of Holland.

Nancy Gallardo / Until Love Is Equal

The City of Muskegon seems likely to pass local laws protecting gay and transgender people from discrimination in housing and employment.

The state and federal government do not offer this protection, but almost 20 Michigan cities do.

Roberta King lives in Muskegon. She was "pleasantly surprised" no one opposed the local law when she asked city commission to consider it this week.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A group of young people marched through Holland Wednesday night to protest a vote city council made in June against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination 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 in Holland has not died with that vote.

About 150 people marched as part of an ongoing effort to demand Holland City Council change its decision. The march was organized to show young people in Holland support the effort.

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.

Students at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon will no longer vote for a prom king or queen.

Instead, they’ll vote for a gender-neutral prom court.

The change is the result of pressure from the ACLU of Michigan and Mona Shores students after a popular transgender student was elected homecoming king.

The school denied the student, Oak Reed, his crown because school records list him as a female.

Oak Reed sitting on fence
Photo courtesy of Oak Reed

Oak Reed ran for Homecoming King at Mona Shores High School in Muskegon, but school officials tossed out Reed's ballots because, anatomically, Reed is not a male. That set off a national debate over transgender rights: