Australians demand protection against LGBTI discrimination in schools

LGBTI supporters gather in Australia (Photo: Facebook)

Australians will gather in Melbourne on Saturday (9 February) to demand an end to discrimination of LGBTI staff and students in schools.

The Liberal Party-led ruling coalition has failed to introduce nationwide legislation that would protect LGBTI students and staff.

While some states have anti-discrimination, federal laws allow faith schools to discriminate under ‘religious freedom’ laws.

‘Many LGBTIQ Students and teachers are being forced to stay in the closet’ organizers Equality Australia wrote on Facebook.

‘Teachers and students who do come out will risk expulsion or losing their jobs’.

Worryingly, a government inquiry released last year said federal anti-discrimination law should allow religious schools to turn away LGBTI staff and students

The government launched the review to placate conservatives after Australia legalized same-sex marriage late last year.

Although Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would end discrimination of students based on sexuality, he has not committed to ending the discrimination against LGBITQ teachers, and transgender students, Equality Australia said.

Trojan Horse

Last year, Australians slammed the government’s anti-discrimination bill. The Greens called it a ‘Trojan horse’.

‘Words fail me’, Labor MP Julia Hill wrote on Twitter. ‘How bloody hard is it? Just don’t discriminate against gay kids’. It failed to pass parliament before the summer break.

Rights groups have also denounced Morrison for comments against LGBTI Australians since he took office. Last week, Anna Wintour called him out for his anti-LGBTI stance.

Within the first few days of taking office, the Pentecostal Christian made comments against support for trans and gender diverse kids in schools.

‘We do not need “gender whisperers” in our schools,’ he tweeted. ‘Let kids be kids.’ He also said LGBTI conversion therapy is ‘not an issue’ for him.

‘Morrison is attempting to window dress his government’s bigotry by claiming they are protecting multiculturalism but nothing could be further from the truth’ the group said.

Supporters will gather at 11:30am at the State Library of Victoria. Speakers include Anna Brow of Equality Australia.

Author: Rik Glauert

The post Australians demand protection against LGBTI discrimination in schools appeared first on Gay Star News.

Kansas lawmakers move to introduce further LGBTI protections

Lawmakers in Kansas have laid out a proposal which would protect LGBTI people from discrimination in the workplace, housing, and services.

The proposal has claimed the support of dozens of lawmakers, including several Republicans.

It was put forward on Monday (4 February) by Democratic representatives Brandon Woodard and Susan Ruiz.

If successful, the legislation would ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, the bill has been criticized by conservatives on the grounds that it might affect religious freedoms, The Kansas City Star reports.

‘We really want a diverse workforce’

Woodward and Ruiz, who were elected to office in November last year, are Kansas’ first openly gay lawmakers.

‘Many people don’t realize that you can be fired, denied housing or refused business for being LGBTQ, and I think that’s wrong,’ said Woodard. ‘I don’t believe that’s a Kansas value, and so we want to work to change that.’

His sentiments were echoed by his colleague.

‘I think about how in Kansas we really want to attract new businesses and we really want a diverse workforce. And one of those ways is to continue to have Kansas look like a very welcoming state,’ Ruiz said.

However, not all are as enthusiastic about the bill.

Conservatives have criticized the propusla on the grounds that it would block religious freedoms and be used to target Religious freedoms.

Brittany Jones, advocacy director for the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, said that anti-discrimination legislation ‘been used as a sword’ against people of faith.

The House bill currently has 36 co-sponsors, where it requires 63 votes to pass, and 17 co-sponsors in the Senate, where it requires 21 votes to pass.

‘Long overdue’

The bill follows on from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signing an executive order to protect the LGBTI state employees.

The order – which was introduced by Governor Kathleen Sebelius in 2007 – prohibited harassment, firing or discrimination against state workers on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, the order was revoked in 2015 by Kelly’s predecessor, Republican Governor  Sam Brownback.

If successful, the current bill would expand on Kelly’s executive order, covering businesses, housing, and public accommodations, and adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s existing non-discrimination law.

In a statement, Kelly said ‘This change is long overdue,’ and emphasized the importance of all Kansans being protected from discrimination.

Author: Calum Stuart

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More than half of US states are ‘high priority’ for lacking LGBTI equality

New York City Pride 2013

The Human Rights Campaign released their fifth annual State Equality Index on Thursday (31 January). This extensive report looks at state-level legislation and determines how all 50 states plus the District of Columbia fare regarding LGBTI equality.

The State Equality Index (SEI) is split into several sections. An overall look at the country and states’ various legislation comprises the first half of the document.

The report then breaks down each state one-by-one in the second half.

Based on the report, various states passed a total of 21 bills relating to LGBTI equality. These bills addressed different legislative areas, including hate crimes, youth laws, and more.

Overall, lawmakers introduced 210 ‘good’ bills last year. This number — and the amount passed — are both more than the ‘bad’ bills of 2018.

Per the report, a total of 110 bad bills were introduced last year and two passed.

Scores of the states

In the report, HRC evaluates each state and gives them one of four rankings.

The best is ‘working towards innovating equality’. These states ‘have a broad range of protections to ensure equality for LGBTQ people’. A total of 16 states earned this ranking: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

‘Solidifying equality’ is the ranking of states with ‘basic protections’, including anti-discrimination and bullying laws.

Four states earned this ranking: Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland and New Hampshire.

Next, two states earned the ranking of ‘building equality’, Utah and Wisconsin. Work towards LGBTI equality widely vary in these states.

Finally, more than half of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, earned the lowest ranking, ‘high priority to achieve basic equality’. These states are most likely to have anti-LGBTI legislation and a strong base of religious refusal for pro-LGBTI legislation.

These 28 states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Where states stand on certain issues

The report also looks at various types of LGBTI legislation and which states have them.

For example, these maps show legislation pertaining to HIV and AIDS, as well as hate crimes and criminal justice.

The HIV and AIDS map highlights states with laws that criminalize behaviors and activities with low or negligible rise of transmission.

Meanwhile, the hate crimes and criminal justice map shows two forms of legislation. Blue states have a law addressing to hate crimes on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Green states only have laws that address sexual orientation, while greyed out states have neither.

HRC SEI report maps

SEI report maps | Photo: HRC

Another example in the report are states with laws protecting minors from conversion therapy.

HRC SEI report map

SEI report map (pt. 2) | Photo: HRC

The report, overall, reveals the tremendous amount of work left to be done.

See also

North Dakota politicians block LGBTI anti-discrimination bill

Florida politicians introduce bills for LGBTI non-discrimination protections

New York bans LGBTI conversion therapy on minors

Author: Anya Crittenton

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