Check out this week's latest news from around the world!
National – Philly Schools Adopt Transgender Policy
(PGN) Following a trend this spring that saw five suburban schools adopt transgender-affirming student policies, the School District of Philadelphia adopted its own policy at a June 16 meeting.
“We have worked closely with students and members of the LGBTQ community to develop these guidelines,” Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite said in a prepared remark. “Every student deserves to know their rights will be recognized and upheld at school. This policy provides clear guidance and will help to ensure that our schools remain welcoming to all of our students.”
Philadelphia schools’ policy, called the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students Policy, addresses names and pronouns, privacy rights, dress code, physical education and sports teams, and restroom and locker room access that correspond to gender identity.
It also stipulates that the school should use gender-neutral language in communication with all students and families, regardless of a student’s gender identity.
Jason Landau Goodman, founding executive director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, said his organization, along with The Attic Youth Center, first approached Philadelphia schools in 2014 about instituting a trans policy. Since then, the policy has developed with input from students and parents.
“Yes this is a good start to center the needs of transgender students,” Landau Goodman said. “But the work is not done in terms of the training and implementation of the policy. We urge further development in articulating the policy’s scope.”
Politics – GOP Blocks Another LGBT-Protections Bill
(OFO) Even after the world stepped up in support of LGBT citizens in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting, here in America, LGBT denizens are still fighting for protection.
Democratic Congressman Sean Maloney has, for the third time, reintroduced a bill that would prohibit federal contractors from working with agencies that still discriminate against employees based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
And, for the third time, the House Republicans have blocked it.
It was first introduced on May 19 of this year. When it was voted down, House Democrats chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” to the committee that stonewalled it. The following day, it was introduced again on the floor, but Paul Ryan’s band of merry men once again ruined its hopes of passing.
On June 15, we saw the same gavel come down on the bill, thwarting it yet again.
“We need to write discrimination out of our law right away,” Maloney said. “There can be no better tribute to these innocent victims in Florida than to say we as a country are going to make ourselves more perfect as a union by ending LGBT discrimination.”
More as the story develops.
International – Prince William Appears on Cover of Gay Magazine, Talks About Bullying
The gay U.K. magazine, “Attitude,” featured Prince William on its cover as he spoke out against bullying people based on sexuality, according to LGBTQ Nation.
William is the first of the royal family to appear on the cover of any gay publication. The prince used the space to encourage young people being bullied for their sexuality to seek out help.
“No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives,” the prince told the magazine.
Politics – Rep. Honda Introduces Bill to Loosen Gay Blood Ban
According to the Washington Blade, Democratic Rep. Mike Honda of California has introduced a two-page bill in Congress that would require the Department of Health & Human Services to “provide increased flexibility” in the blood donor supply at times of national or local need.
“It was a horrific irony that gay and bisexual men could not donate in a time of local need,” Honda said. “This is not a problem of science; it is a problem of morality.”
LGBT advocates have called to replace the one-year deferral with a policy that evaluates potential blood donors on an individual risk basis that does not take sexual orientation into account.
Honda’s proposal falls short of this ideal, instead loosening regulations such as the required year of celibacy from gay sex during times of “local and national need” that result in blood shortage.
Politics – Hillary Has One-Word Tweet in Response to Trump Being a ‘Friend’ to ‘The Gays’
Presidential candidate Donald Trump had an open-ended plea featured on Twitter, which read: “You tell me: who is better for the gay community and who is better for women than Donald Trump.”
His opponent, Hillary Clinton, had a single response via tweet: “Hi.”
When it comes to the LGBT community, Hillary is pining for an advocate position, directly attacking Trump on his claims of LGBT support.
“Donald Trump says he’s the ‘real friend’ of the LGBT community,” another Clinton tweet read. “Yeah, no.”
Social – For Pride Month, Social Media Film Site Publishes Pronoun Guidelines
(EDGE) In honor of Pride Month, officials from the social media website Letterboxd, where people rate, review and discuss films, recently published guidelines that aim to help its users "improve readability" when it comes to using correct pronouns.
In a message pinned to the top of the platform's website, Letterboxd writes, "...to embrace the diversity of our community we've added the ability for you to select a preferred pronoun. Read our news post then go to Settings and personalize your Letterboxd a little more."
By going to profile settings, users can select from a number of pronouns, including he/his, she/her, they/their, xe/xyr, ze/hir, ze/zir, it/its. In a blog post, Letterboxd officials discussed the update.
"After consulting with some beloved Letterboxd members well-versed in the landscape of non-binary pronouns, we have introduced these additional options: she/her, he/his, xe/xyr, ze/hir and ze/zir," the blog reads "And we've included it/its for accounts that represent an organization, e.g. a podcast, film society or film festival."