Gender Identity Wrap Up

The objective of this Gender Identity Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 1.36.43 PMControversy blog was to bring awareness to the issues those in the LGBTQ community face. Many people feel uncomfortable discussing these topics because they are likely to lead to public disagreement. It is important to bring attention to this topic so that everyone is informed. We believe that people in the LBGT community should be welcomed in any situation. Transgender people should have the same rights as those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.  We believe that transgender people deserve equality in schools, the workplace and religion. We also think that the Federal Government should control laws regarding gender identity because then they will be the same everywhere, as opposed to being different based off what state you reside in.

Throughout our research, we have found some scholars who disagree with our views. These scholars have often held conservative beliefs such as government members of the Republican party and church officials.  However, in our evolving society is important that all individuals are given the same rights and freedoms, even if the individual is a part of the LGBT community. No one should be discriminated against based on their gender identity. At the end of the day, people are people. Someone’s gender identity or sexual preference should not influence how they are treated by society.

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We also interacted with the public regarding gender identity through our Twitter account. We created a handle and followed numerous other accounts that spoke about LGBT rights. Engaging with other users on Twitter helped us to learn what the public opinion was on our issue. It also let us see what people on both sides of the spectrum thought about gender identity.

We hope that by reading our blog you were able to learn about gender identity as an issue. If you or anyone you know is questioning their identity or need help coming out to friends and family, direct them here for guidance.

Gender Identity and the Christian Church: An Affirmative View

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As today’s society continues to progress in terms of understanding and accepting those of the LGBTQ community, it is safe to say that there are still a number of steps to be taken until equality is reached. Among the many groups that remain passionate in their arguments against transgender people is the Christian Church, which preaches that such individuals have a psychological disorder and should be either changed or rejected. As a group, we feel that these ideals are not only wrong but also unjust. Just as religion is a freedom in America, gender identity should be one within that as well.

Not all Christians, however, are in agreement with such values. There are even a number of transgender people who themselves identify as Christian. Caitlyn Jenner, a well known television personality who recently transitioned from male to female, is both a follower of the Christian religion as well as a frequent church goer.

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In his online blogging site, John Pavlovitz uses Christianity as a prominent theme in his posts. As a heterosexual Christian male, he argues against members of the Church who oppose transgender people. The writer addresses that the Bible does not at all mention gender identity, and that those who refuse to be accepting are essentially going against the real, underlying focus of the religion, which is love, acceptance, and kindness.

We believe that no one should feel unsafe entering any religious temple or church at all, let alone one of their one religion. Religion and the members of the community should be there in times of struggle and difficulty. People who do not identify with their biological sex should be able to find comfort in the arms of their religious peers, leaders, and God. It is a shame that many are unable to distinguish between the difference of “sex” and “gender,” and that they use the Bible as an excuse to openly shame people who are just trying to be themselves.

Hopefully time will allow for the Christian Church, and all religions for that matter, to participate in equality of all people, gender, etc. In the meantime, it is important that people such as Caitlyn Jenner and John Pavlovitz continue to speak their truths and impact the lives of others.

Christian Views on Gender Identity

The following article and video is about Pope Francis’ views on gender identity.  He believes that teaching about gender identity in schools is wrong since it gives children the impression that they can choose whatever gender they want to be.  He further explains that he voluntarily spends time with transgender people in order to try to “lead them closer to God.”

Many people within the Christian community believe that it is unnatural for anyone to identify as a different gender than the one assigned at birth.  The following link needs to be made well aware so that people understand the difficulties that many individuals face due to their religion and gender identity.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/02/world/pope-transgender-comments/

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Transgender man has private audience with Pope Francis

 

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The article attached talks about a transgender man named Diego Neria Lejárraga who had been denied access to his local church in Spain after his transition. After leaving a letter for Pope Francis describing the situation, Pope Francis welcomed him by meeting with him and his fiancée. Although Pope Francis has had mixed views regarding gender identity in the past, we believe that the Pope has come to recognize the importance of this issue and is taking the steps to bring equality for all identities in the Catholic church. We are hopeful that churches will see the Pope’s actions as an example, and that they will be more accepting in the future.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/01/25/transgender-man-private-audience-pope-francis/

 

Gender Identity Discrimination in the Workplace: A Refutation

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Discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community is an extremely prevalent issue within workplace environments across the country. Many instances in which people were denied jobs, fired, harassed, and more simply because of their sexuality or gender identity unfortunately continue to occur in America today.

In 2014, a few steps were taken towards finding a solution when former president Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited the federal government from contracting with any firms that discriminated against their workers, customers, or clients for reasons such as their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ten days after, he signed an additional order which stated that all firms doing business with the federal government were required to prove their adherence to federal laws and executive orders. This enforced his initial executive order by having all workplaces demonstrate that they are completely fair as well as respectful towards LBGTQ employees.

Years later, in 2017, our country has unfortunately regressed in terms of this matter under the presidency of Donald Trump. Despite his assurance at the beginning of his term that not only did he intend to protect the LGBTQ community but also that he would not rescind the executive order concerning their rights within the workplace, he later proved that he was not on the side of those who are gay, transgender, etc.

On Monday, March 27, President Trump annulled Obama’s second executive order on the issue. By doing so, he took away the requirements for firms having to confirm their compliance to the order regarding discrimination against LGBTQ workers. While that order may still be in place, there is now nothing that is there to back it up and ensure that employers are not violating the law. Not only does this give firms the opportunity to discriminate against those within the LGBTQ community essentially without facing any consequences, but it sends the message to the people that the government does not care whether or not you break the law, which makes doing so ok.

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It is upsetting that this order has been rescinded, as well as it is upsetting that no additional action has been taken towards improving the lives and opportunities of those who identify as LGBTQ in work environments. Everybody should be treated equally and with respect despite their sexual orientation or gender identity. The fact that President Trump voided Obama’s order lets the public believe that it isn’t important to respect people who may be different from you and that they do not deserve the same equal rights as everyone else.

Everyone, no matter what sexuality, gender, or gender identity, should be granted the same freedoms as everybody else. It is unfortunate that this may no longer be demonstrated within workplaces following President Trump’s recent decision, but hopefully further action towards putting a stop to LGBTQ discrimination will be made in the near future.

Workplace Tolerance: An Affirmative View

UnknownGender is something that follows people everywhere they go, including in the workplace. Transgender employees are constantly being discriminated against at their jobs. 21 percent of LGBTQ employees have reported being discriminated against regarding hiring, promotions and pay. As a group, we believe this is not fair. All people, no matter what their gender identity is, deserve equal rights.

One company in particular that has shown great growth with workplace acceptance and tolerance of LGBTQ employees is Starbucks. Starbucks is committed to including and accepting all. In May 2016, Lucy Helm, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, released a letter to all Starbucks employees. The letter reinforced Starbucks’ Global Human Rights Statement which reads, “Starbucks is committed to support and uphold the provision of basic human rights and to eliminate discriminatory practices.” They support their employees through everything and do not stand for inequality.

In the past, Starbucks has offered health insurance coverage to their employees who are lesbian and gay and has also supported employees that are transgender or considering transitioning. The company has expanded their health care coverage to include gender reassignment surgeries. This creates a company environment that is respectful and welcoming.

zR9ap6dk-7360-4912This is an image of the Starbucks headquarters raising a Gay Pride flag, recognizing the LGBTQ community.

The work environment at Starbucks has positively impacted many employees. One in particular is Shawn Orchowski. Orchowski had a difficult time coming out as transgender to his family but found “unconditional acceptance” at Starbucks because of the open and inclusive setting.

This sense of inclusion runs deep through their entire company. Each worker fully believes in the company’s goals, including Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. At an annual meeting of shareholders, one stockholder stated that Starbucks lost customers because of its support of the LGBTQ community and gay marriage. Schultz responded by explaining that not every decision a company makes is based on finances. His decision to support the LGBTQ community was made “through the lens of the people [employees and clients].”

Other companies should follow in Starbucks’ footsteps. The company strives to make everyone feel accepted and to create a space where employees and customers are not afraid to be their true selves.url

“Dear Colleague” letter

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The link below contains a “Dear Colleague” letter that was addressed to all school districts and colleges that receive funding from the federal government.

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2017/images/02/22/colleague-201605-title-ix-transgender.pdf

This letter was created by the former Obama administration in an effort to prevent gender identity discrimination in schools. In a nutshell, this letter said that federal funding will be revoked from schools that are not accepting of transgender students.

Despite this positive intentions of this letter, some schools refused to cooperate with its guidelines. By doing this, these districts have hindered the growth of students both academically and morally. These students are being taught that discrimination based on gender identity is acceptable. It is baffling to see that some schools would rather lose funding than allow for students to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Note: This letter is no longer active. The Trump administration has decided that this issue is to be addressed at the state level.