Every once in awhile I have to scoop some news stories together because they need to be known, but they are also probably too short for analysis on their own.
I hesitated to add the first story, since any good news for transgender people is generally poorly received here, much to my consternation. But if you keep reading there is worse news to follow.
The stories come from sequentially, Nevada, the United Kingdom, and Continental Europe.
Nevada Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signed SB 139 into law yesterday. The bill adds "gender identity or expression" to the list of motivating factors interpreted as hate crimes.
The bill, sponsored by Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas), passed he Senate with only one negative vote and passed the Assembly 30-11.
Defendants will face the penalties for the actual crime committed and up to 20 additional years because of the motivation.
You probably read about yesterday's debate in the UK House of Commons about the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill. What you probably did not hear about was the withdrawal of amendments to the bill to benefit transpeople.
Equality Minister Helen Grant asked for withdrawal of the amendments, stating that the government could not support an amendment allowing for restoration of marriage to transpeople who were forced to have their marriages annulled in order undergo gender reassignment. She said that the government could not recognize the annulled marriages as "continuously valid." She did add that it would be possible to backdate a marriage to the beginning of a civil partnership.
She also refused an amendment proposing a £1000 emotional distress compensation to couples who were forced to have their marriages annulled, stating , "We have to take the law as it comes."
It is also reported that pension rights have not been equalized, so pensions for homosexual couples will be substantially less than those for heterosexual couples. I guess that is part of "taking the law as it comes."
Margot James, the first out lesbian Tory MP to be elected said the gay rights legislation necessarily "leveled the playing field," and added that she hoped that it would ensure the stoppage of "outrageous verbal aggression" which is directed at gay people.
Sir Gerald Howarth, former Conservative defence minister, responded with "outrageous verbal aggression:
I warn her, I fear the playing field is not being leveled. I believe the pendulum is swinging so far the other way, and there are plenty in the aggressive homosexual community who see this as but a stepping stone to something even further.Nobody is quite sure what those further steps would be. Probably demanding equal pension benefits.
A new map has been published by Transgender Europe (which is registered in Austria), indicating the status of transpeople on the continent.
Countries in orange (24) require sterilization before a gender change is allowed, countries in red (15) (Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia (colored orange mistakenly), FYR Macedonia, Monaco, Ireland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, San Marino, Serbia, and Slovenia) have no mechanism for recognizing gender change, and countries in blue do not require sterilization.
Countries which bar change to name and gender are effectively barring transgender people from participation in the social and economic life of the country.
The following countries mandate nondiscrimination in employment: Albania, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Montenegro, Slovakia, Spain (regionally: Basque and Navarre Country), Sweden, Switzerland, and the United KIngdom. Additionally The Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal have equality action plans.
Back in 2010, a European muckety-muck ventured the following:
Forced divorce and sterilisation – a reality for many transgender persons.Unfortunately, we have seen very little progress since then. Sweden converted from orange to blue.
--Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe