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Archive for the ‘activism’

Anti-Transgender Businesses in Texas – List Released

August 11, 2017 By: jaysays Category: activism, Discrimination

Bathroom discrimination - a okay!Texas Values, an organization which seems to obsess on LGBTQ people and attempts to prohibit them from freely moving in public spaces, has released a PDF of Texas Businesses supporting the so-called “bathroom bill.”  The bills (currently waiting for hearing in the House), by design, are intended to prohibit transgender people from using public restrooms of their actual gender, and requiring them to use bathrooms according to the gender assigned to them on their birth certificate.  To be sure these businesses are identified when searching for them in Google, I’ve compiled the same list in text format (instead of PDF) below.  The original is available via Texas Values‘ website (the full PDF List (Anti-Transgender Businesses) is available here as well):

  • Southwest Office Systems
  • SAGO LLC
  • G. R. Birdwell Construction
  • Circle T Ranch
  • Granberry Commercial
  • Hartman Income REIT Management, Inc.
  • KNW Oil & Gas, Inc
  • Community Toyota *Kia* Honda
  • Eagle Peak Shooting Range Garland Public Shooting Range
  • Stotler Feed, LP
  • Kaddatz Auctioneering & Farm Equipment Sales
  • Duncan Automotive
  • Bellomy Heating & Air, Inc.
  • Heritage Legacy Enterprises LLC
  • Alphamed, Inc.
  • The Von Dohlen Knuffke Financial Group, LLC
  • GilCat Solutions
  • The Von Dohlen Knuffke Financial Group, LLC
  • Hawkins Creek Ranch
  • Ranch House Meat Company, LLC
  • Williams Furniture Company
  • Rodenbaugh’s Flooring American & Appliances
  • Cathy Lloyd Music & Speech
  • Hartzheim Petri CPA
  • Gillaspia Signs & Neon, Inc.
  • Kenny Dyess Dairy
  • Robbins Business Development
  • Law Office of Cecilia M. Wood
  • The Bridge Austin
  • Haymond Homes Inc.
  • Tex Christopher Studios
  • The 483 Ranch House

Please consider this fact before doing business with any of those on the list above.  Also note that Kia, Toyota and Honda have been contacted regarding the use of their brand in support of this bill.  As of publication, a response from their corporate offices has not been received.

San Antonio School to Make Changes After Transgender Student Leads Protest

February 26, 2015 By: jaysays Category: activism

Memorial High School Transgender ProtestYesterday, we learned that Jayden Blake Castillo, a transgender student at Memorial High School in the Edgewood School District of San Antonio, Texas, had planned a protest at the school to highlight the discrimination he has faced. Through social media, Jayden recounted the problems he had been facing with the school. Many teachers, including the school Principal, Michael Rodriguez, refused to acknowledge Jayden’s correct gender and insisted on referring to him with female pronouns. The catalyst that sent Jayden into action was a recent episode on a school bus, when Jayden was forbidden from riding the “boys bus” under a newly implemented gender segregation policy.

At approximately 11:30 a.m. yesterday, Jayden, along with his parents, several supportive students and human rights activists, arrived at the school seeking action and answers. Several media outlets were also present. During the protest, Principal Michael Rodriguez, who Jayden alleges had previously been dismissive and condescending to him, greeted the protesters and invited Jayden, his parents, and transgender activist, Nikki Araguz-Lloyd to come speak with him.

Jayden emerged from the meeting with several promises from Principal Rodriguez, which if implemented properly should make the remainder of Jayden’s high school tenure more tolerable. The agreements included sensitivity training from Memorial High School staff and a promise to lobby the Edgewood Independent School District officials to do the same at all schools within its District. The Principal also promised they would stop gender segregation on the buses and would work directly with Jayden to provide him access to a bathroom, in hopes of avoiding future problems.

According to Roland Martinez, a spokesperson for Edgewood School District, the district is reviwing its policy on interaction with transgender students. The current policy is to address such students according to the gender noted on legal documents supplied to the school.

Jayden’s “victory” yesterday isn’t his alone. He’s bold action and bravery will undoubtedly impact future students at Memorial High School and how those students are treated by faculty and staff. However, there is much more work to be done to insure a safe learning environment for transgender youth. As noted earlier, Jayden experienced severe bullying at his prior school.

The Texas legislature enacted anti-bullying legislation in 2011, which provided for a formal reporting process for Texas School Districts with respect to incidents of bullying. However, the original text of House Bill 1942 and its sister legislation Senate Bill 471, were modified after concerns were had over whether the bill was passable with sexual orientation and gender identity included in the enumerated categories. To overcome this concern, the enumerated categories were removed and such enumerations were left to each school district. The end result is that each of the 1,031 School Districts in Texas will be responsible for determining how episodes of bullying are reported, making statistics gathering more difficult and addressing the underlying causes of bullying particularly challenging. Thus, district by district we must walk, to effect the change we hope to see within the education system so that students like Jayden, and every other child in our public schools, has not only equal access to education, but fair access to it.

Transgender Student Seeks Action and Answers for Discrimination at Texas School

February 25, 2015 By: jaysays Category: activism

A student at Memorial High School in San Antonio Texas is taking a stand for gender equality. Jayden Blake Castillo has experienced discrimination first hand during his tenure at the San Antonio school. Now a senior Jayden has issued a rallying cry to gender activists around the state in hopes of bringing attention to the issues faced by our youth in our public school system.

For the majority of Americans, sitting in a classroom based upon your sex never causes a problem. However, for transgender students like Jayden, such a small request as sitting boy and girl can result in an unnecessary classroom disruption. In spite of Jayden’s numerous requests to his teachers, school administration, and staff, many of them continue to mis-gender Jayden by referring to him with improper pronouns and insisting that he sit with the girls. According to Jayden, the principal of the school, Michael Rodriguez, has also refused to refer to Jayden by the proper pronouns.

… as picture day neared, I talked to the principal (his name is Michael Rodriguez), about how we were taking ‘girl’ pictures and ‘boy’ pictures. I told him I was trans and that I wanted to take pictures with the boys. He treated me condescendingly, said it didn’t matter, I would take pictures with the girls anyway, called me by girl pronouns even after I told him I was trans.

Most recently, this unnecessary demand came to a head when the school began segregating the buses by gender. When Jayden attempted to board the bus designated for “boys,” he was told to remove himself and board the bus for girls.

We take a bus in the middle of the day from Memorial to the Fine Arts Academy. Our buses were at first normal, then boys on one side, girls on the other, and then yesterday they were a “boy” bus and a “girl” bus. I got on the boy bus, and the bus driver started giving me a dirty look. She told me to get off the bus, and I told her I was a boy, but she wouldn’t listen. She contacted some other bus driver, said “some girl won’t get off the bus”, and I kept correcting her I was a boy. Then, some school cops came. They got on the bus and asked for my information (name, ID number, grade, etc.) They didn’t even care when I told them the bus lady was discriminating me. I had called my mom to pick me up and take me to the Academy, and when she came, the cops also took her information (name, phone number, address, license, etc.) I was the one in trouble.

The state of the law in protecting transgender students from this very type of indifference and harassment is complicated and most efforts Jayden could undertake will take years in Court to resolve.  By that time, Jayden will have graduated and there would be little impact for future students of the school.  Historically, Texas law has treated “gender” as that sex which one was assigned at birth, making many claims under any Texas law difficult.  However, Federal Law has been much more inclusive of transgender people.  Under Title IX, a school district generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of “single-sex classes.”  The U.S. Department of Education issued guidelines designed to protect transgender students in these single-sex classes on December 1, 2014.  Those guidelines instruct school districts on the proper justifications behind “single-sex classes.”  According to the memorandum, to comply with Title IX, it is only appropriate to use single-sex class environments in the following categories: (1) Contact sports in physical education classes; (2) classes or portions of classes in elementary and secondary schools that deal primarily with human sexuality; and (3) nonvocational classes and extracurricular activities within a coeducational, nonvocational elementary or secondary school if certain criteria are met.  Vocational classes may never be offered on a single-sex basis.

Further, in September, 2014, the mother of a 14 year old transgender student in Michigan filed a federal lawsuit against against Wyandotte, Van Buren and Dearborn Heights school districts, as well as a Michigan charter school, for continued discrimination and harassment of her son .  The lawsuit alleges that the districts not only failed to protect the student from bullying by his peers, but also outed him to peers and their parents as transgender without consent.  The district attorneys sought to dismiss the lawsuit early on.  However, just this week, the U.S. Justice Department urged the federal judge to deny the request to dismiss the lawsuit indicating that the boy has so far stated “plausible claims.”

While there are many provisions in the Texas Education Code intended to protect students and others against gender discrimination, a narrowed definition of gender used by Texas courts would likely exclude Jayden from protection under state law.  Historically, Courts in Texas have considered only the birth-assigned sex when ruling on a person’s sex for purposes of deciding on the validity of his or her marriage.  These complexities in the law and scattered resources make it difficult to navigate the proper course of action for people like Jayden, who are simply trying to obtain an education.

Throughout the country transgender students are often faced with choosing between their identity and the gender bestowed upon them by authority figures.  The reality is that the struggles the transgender community face are in almost every facet of their lives.  From bathrooms to buses, gender equity is threatened.  Jayden has chosen to take action via social media and through a demonstration to be held at the school today to protest Jayden’s removal from the “boy’s bus” and the harassment he’s received from school administration. You can find the event on Facebook.