Here's what you need to know this week for lesbian, transgender and asexual news!
Lesbian – Lesbian Pastor’s Widow Sues Church Over Refusal to Pay Pension
The widow of a Presbyterian pastor is in the middle of a legal battle with the Church to pay her pension because she is a lesbian, according to Pink News.
Letty M Russel was an author who trained at Harvard and was the pastor of Ascension, a Presbyterian Church in East Harlem, according to her widow Shannon Clarkson. She served at the church from 1959 to 1971.
After her death in 2007, Clarkson was cut off from the monthly $600 pension, even though Russel named her as her beneficiary. The couple had been together 32 years. Russel died at the age of 77.
“Had Letty Russel been a man and had she not been a lesbian, Shannon Clarkson would have received pension benefits,” said Clarkson in her lawsuit.
The Church began to recognize same-sex unions back in 2013, but has continued to deny that the pension is rightfully Clarkson’s.
“I’m not just doing it for me, I’m doing it because I think it’s the wrong decision,” Clarkson said in regards to the Church’s refusal to recognize her as Russel’s beneficiary.
Transgender – Trans Nurse Denied Shower After Being Pepper Sprayed
(EDGE) A transgender nurse working at a prison hospital was denied the right to use the male bathroom after being doused in pepper spray.
At the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women, Jesse Vroegh was completing a training exercise where staff members were covered in pepper spray.
"All staff were allowed to shower immediately afterward to remove the chemical agent," Vroegh wrote in his complaint. "Because my employer has denied me access to the men's shower facilities made available to other male employees, I could not shower to remove the chemical agent until I got home."
After, Vroegh faced painful ongoing headaches and had to seek medical treatment.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission because of this incident.
Vroegh has been working at ICIW for seven years, and he announced his transition to his employer in March 2014.
Despite attempts to encourage trans-friendly policies, nothing was done by his employer.
Later, Vroegh approached Warden Patti Wachtendorf, Medical Director Dr. Harbans Deol and Union Representative Todd Givens, to request the use of single-sex spaces.
Vroegh was denied.
"Rather than setting a good example for other Iowa employers, the state has denied me the use of gendered spaces as well as the health insurance coverage I need, simply because I am transgender," Vroegh said in a statement. "I hope my fight for fairness in the workplace will make a difference for the many other transgender people who have faced similar discrimination at work."
Asexual – ‘Bojack Horseman’ May Soon Feature Asexual Leading Character
In season three of the animated comedy series Bojack Horseman, the character Todd Chavez (voiced by Aaron Paul) may be the closest television has come to a leading asexual character.
According to Decider, when the character was asked by a female love-interest if he was gay, he responded with “I don’t know what I am. I think I might be nothing.”
The revelation of the statement “I think I might be nothing,” is being interpreted by many fans as being connotative of asexuality. In the upcoming season, many Bojack Horseman fans are hoping to see the Todd come to terms with his sexual identity.
Other potentially asexual television characters include Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, the Doctor from Doctor Who, and Sherlock Holmes from Steven Moffat’s Sherlock. However, these are based on speculation and have not been confirmed by the shows’ writers.
According to Decider, in terms of Todd and Bojack Horseman, “This time next year, we may have a leading character who identifies as asexual as well as a detailed narrative exploring the steps of this character’s sexual revelation. We have the potential to see a deeply personal story that has never appeared on television before.”