Boy Scouts Contradict Their Own Handbook in Defending Anti-Gay Policy

Boy Scouts 3 cents stamp

In a post last month, I explored the absurdity of the Boy Scouts of America’s frequent claim that “the topic of sexual orientation” does not have a “role” in Scouting, pointing out how frequently the BSA discusses−and celebrates−heterosexuality.

This follow-up post looks at how the organization’s attempts to restrict Scouts’ LGBT-supportive expression stand in conflict with the official Boy Scout Handbook and other BSA materials. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.

California’s New Transgender Equality Law & the Effort to Repeal It: Frequently Asked Questions (Updated February 2014)

California Drawn on a Blackboard

[I will soon be updating this post to reflect an exciting development: The California Secretary of State has determined that opponents of California’s new law failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a statewide vote to repeal it. The battle to preserve the law is not over yet, but the recent news represents an important victory. – MK (February 27, 2014)]

Original post as updated February 12:

LGBT equality advocates across the country are bracing for the results of a full signature count in California that will determine whether the state’s new transgender student equality law, often called AB 1266, will face a repeal vote in the November 2014 election. Opponents of AB 1266 submitted 619,244 signatures in support of their repeal effort; 504,760 of these must be deemed valid for the repeal question to go to voters.

In the face of misleading talking points from the law’s opponents, plus some less-than-stellar media coverage of the issues, this post aims to clarify some of the confusion surrounding the new law.

This post is (and will continue to be) a work in progress; that is, I’ll start today with some of the basics, and I’ll periodically add new questions and answers, as well as links to new sources and other materials. (Latest update: February 12; see below.) If you’d like to suggest something for the post, or have other ideas, objections or concerns, leave a comment below or send a private note via the Youth Allies contact form.

Click here on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.

How Do School Policies in Your Area Score in HRC’s MEI?
Check Out Our Table of 170+ Municipalities

Blue Phoenix Skyline

The Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) offers a treasure trove of data on city and county policies, including policies affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and their allies. The report, issued annually, “examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities and rates them on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT people.”

The 2013 MEI, released late last month, rates 291 cities and counties from every state. Twenty-five municipalities received a perfect score of 100—though, as explained below, a perfect overall score does not necessarily mean the municipality scored perfectly on youth-related policies.
Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post and to see a table of over 170 cities.

Texas Teen’s Fight Serves As Important Reminder:
Federal Law Protects Trans Youth

Tuxedo image
[November 15 Update: Jeydon has prevailed, and will appear in a tuxedo in the yearbook. My original 11/14 post about Jeydon and the SPLC continues below. – MK]

A dispute unfolding in Texas serves as another important reminder that the federal Constitution and federal civil rights statutes, if properly applied and enforced, protect public school students from anti-transgender discrimination regardless of what state and local laws might provide.

Yesterday, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent a demand letter to the school board in La Feria, Texas, on behalf of a transgender student, Jeydon Loredo, who was denied permission to wear a tuxedo in a yearbook photograph. The district’s superintendent, Rey Villarreal, told Loredo’s mother that the yearbook would include her son’s picture only if he wore traditionally feminine clothing, like a “blouse or drape.”

The SPLC’s letter says the organization will take legal action if the district doesn’t change course.
Click here or on Read More to read the full post and to see the video.