Trans law student claims tutor said he ‘couldn’t stand gay people’, sues school

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A transgender student is suing is her law school in California after alleged harassment and discrimination due to her gender identity.

Shiloh Betancourt began attending California Western School of Law in San Diego in the fall of 2016. She is now suing for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by administrators, including assistant dean for Student and Diversity Services, Susan Finster.

According to her lawsuit, filed 7 January with the San Diego Superior Court, the harassment began only days into the January 2017 semester.

Around this time, Betancourt met with one of her professors. He allegedly asked her what her name was before transitioning.

This is what’s known as ‘deadnaming’ — referring to or bringing up a trans person’s name prior to their transition. It invalidates a trans person’s identity.

Betancourt explains in the lawsuit she began to fill ‘dismissed’ by the school and its various figures.

She went to the school’s Diversity Services Office for help regarding gender dysphoria. They reportedly told her, however, that they do not have resources for transgender students.

Figures of power and their words

Betancourt singled out two people in her lawsuit.

One of the first was a tutor she had at the school. According to the lawsuit, ‘Betancourt observed how [the tutor] was very engaged and focused while helping other students but disinterested and detached to Betancourt.’

She also alleges that the tutor once said he ‘cannot stand the sight of gay people’.

Betancourt filed a complaint, but said the treatment continued from other authority figures as well as students.

Another incident alleged in the lawsuit took place in February 2018. Betancourt was wearing a sweater and skirt to school. When Finster saw her, she reportedly commented: ‘I know how you stay warm because my son also stays warm because he has a lot of testosterone.’

Consequences and response

Though Betancourt finished in the top 13% of her class after her first year, she said she dropped out due to health reasons from the discrimination.

She now attends Arizona State University Law School.

‘It was my understanding that lawyers had a more sophisticated sense of respect for diversity and inclusion,’ she told NBC 7. ‘But I was shocked to experience otherwise.’

Marilyn Jordan, a spokesperson for the law school, released the following statement:

California Western denies the allegations made in the civil complaint filed by former student Shiloh Bentacourt. The law school will defend its good name vigorously in response to her complaint and is confident that the evidence will show that it did not violate Ms. Bentacourt’s rights.

See also

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Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Trans law student claims tutor said he ‘couldn’t stand gay people’, sues school appeared first on Gay Star News.

3 in 10 California youth have been mocked by family for being LGBTI

A sign at a protest celebrating trans youth in 2017

As studies and reports focused on LGBTI youth around the world continue, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and University of Connecticut released a new one on Thursday (10 January) specifically focusing on California youth.

The California LGBTQ Youth Report looks at various aspects of LGBTI youth life in the state, from school to home.

HRC partnered with nine civil rights and education organizations in preparation of this report.

They collected data from 1,700 California youth ranging in age from 13-17 who participated in HRC’s 2017 LGBTQ Teen Survey.

‘This groundbreaking data reveals that the cards remain stacked against LGBTQ youth in California — and especially so for LGBTQ youth of color and transgender and gender-expansive youth,’ said Ellen Kahn, HRC Foundation Director of the Children, Youth & Families Program.

The report’s findings

2 in 10 California LGBTI youth are out to all of their parents. 36%, however, find the idea of coming out to their parents ‘extremely stressful’.

One reason could be that parents and other family members say negative things about LGBTI people.

45% of these youth say family members make negative remarks about LGBTI people in general, while 29% say they’ve been taunted or mocked by family members for being LGBTI

At school, meanwhile, only 10% say all of their school staff is supportive of LGBTI students. In a GLSEN report about LGBTI students’ experiences at school state-by-state, more than half of California students reported having a supportive administration and more than 6 faculty members. The key difference could be the inclusion of the world ‘all’ in the HRC report.

They also experience harassment and discrimination at school.

28% say they’ve been physically threatened at least once due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, perceived or otherwise. Another half have been teased or bullied for the same reasons.

Intersectional LGBTI youth

As other studies have shown, trans and LGBTI youth of color face different struggles than their cis and white peers.

Only 40% of trans and non-binary California students say people use their true names at school. 21%, meanwhile, say people use the correct pronouns at school.

The simple act of using a person’s true name or pronouns can help their mental health, which is important for LGBTI youth.

Further, a majority of LGBTI youth of color (82%) say they’ve experienced racism and racial prejudice. Another 60% say they think about race every day and that the US regards their race negatively.

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The post 3 in 10 California youth have been mocked by family for being LGBTI appeared first on Gay Star News.

Majority of United States schools are unsafe for LGBTI students

A school bus flies the rainbow flag in support of LGBT students

A new report from GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) reveals that a majority of schools in the United States have unsafe environments for LGBTI students.

Their State Snapshots looks at 41 states and Puerto Rico, collecting and analyzing data about various forms of discrimination in schools.

The information comes from past reports GLSEN has conducted, such as the 2017 National School Climate Survey.

In this new gathering of data, GLSEN looked at every state plus Puerto Rico, except for Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

They looked at things like harassment and assault on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity, as well as certain restrictions.

The report also looks at available resources and offers recommendations.

How did most states fare?

A majority of LGBTI students in every state assessed reported hearing anti-LGBTI remarks made by other students. This includes slurs and negative comments about gender identity and transgender individuals.

A majority of LGBTI students in all states also reported being verbally harassed for their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender. Only a handful of states had less than half of all LGBTI students reporting verbal harassment based on gender.

Puerto Rico was the only state where less than half of all LGBTI students (35%) reported hearing negative comments about trans people.

This is in line with other reports, such as HRC and the University of Connecticut’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report.

Restrictions and resources

LGBTI students also report facing numerous restrictions at their schools.

In Alabamba, for example, 37% osaid school officials prevented them from wearing clothing considered ‘inappropriate for their gender’.

Nearly half (49%) in Mississippi said school figures prevented them from showing any form of PDA (physical displays of affection).

These numbers are smaller in more liberally-perceived states.

In California, only 15% said they were prevented from wearing certain types of clothing. Meanwhile, 19% in New York said they couldn’t show PDA.

These disparities are also present in LGBTI resources.

In California and New York, more than half of all LGBTI students report having a supportive administration. They also report having six or more supportive educators and a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance).

Around a quarter or less of LGBTI students in Mississippi and Alabama report having these support networks.

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Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Majority of United States schools are unsafe for LGBTI students appeared first on Gay Star News.