HRC: Minnesota is ‘solidifying’ equality but lags on important issues

The Human Rights Campaign recently launched a new index rating the states on LGBT equality, and while Minnesota ranks well above many other states, the report notes some glaring inequities particularly on youth and transgender issues.According to the State Equality Index, Minnesota is rated as “solidifying equality” along with neighboring Iowa. The report notes that:“States in this category have marriage equality and nondiscrimination protections, though some lack explicit gender identity protections. They have relatively robust anti-bullying laws, but bad laws begin to crop up in this category.”Liberal bastions such as Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York are also in the category. But Minnesota is behind states rated as “innovating equality.” Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.Minnesota’s deficiencies range from a lack of equitable health care for transgender Minnesotans to a lack of solid protections in parenting laws.Relationship recognitionIn the relationship recognition category, though the state has marriage equality, Minnesota lacks an alternative to marriage. “Other states continue to allow both options for relationship recognition,” the report notes.Parenting lawsMinnesota’s parenting laws are also not as strong as other states. Continue Reading

GLBT Youth seek Safe Space

High school students often face challenges and discrimination as they work to discover and define their sexual identities. This documentary is about the LGBT community in schools and some of the problems LGBT students face. Its focus is the transgender community struggle to be recognized and respected in light of an anti-transgender advertisement run in the Star Tribune last fall.This video was directed by Luis, Yesenia and Matthew in the VOICES class of 2014-2015. VOICES stands for Values, Options, Issues and Choices Explored in Society. Students in the VOICES class create social issue documentaries with the guidance of teachers Delainia Haug and Laura Lanik and Teaching Artist/videomaker John Akre. Continue Reading

Trans Youth Support Network to close at the end of January

The Trans Youth Support Network, founded in 2004 after a series of acts of violence against young transwomen of color, announced on Tuesday that it will close at the end of the month.In an email to community members, TYSN’s youth leaders said that “we don’t have the resources that we need to sustain our organization.” The organization stated that turnover in staff and board, as well as lack of leadership development for youth leaders, contributed to the decision to close.The email ended:We celebrate TYSN for being a beacon and a new model for young trans people, and we stand fiercely behind the work we have done. Since our transition last summer we accomplished many things together! We wrapped up our strategic planning with an amazing new friend and mentor. We ran a second cohort of Leadership Academy where 5 new faces bulldozed through 26 intense weeks of leadership development. We worked hard on trying to get more funding. Continue Reading

St. Paul Public Schools poised to implement inclusive gender policy

The St. Paul Board of Education is considering a policy that would make the districts schools safer for transgender and gender noncomforming students. Board members have made clear they won’t listen to the “fear mongering and misinformation” lodged at LGBT students by Minnesota’s religious right organizations.The policy, which was first discussed at a work session on Tuesday, has four key points:1. Respect all students’ gender identity and gender expression by honoring the right of students to be identified and addressed by their preferred name and pronoun.2. Prohibit, within academic programming, the separation of students based upon gender unless it serves as a compelling pedagogical (instructional) tool.3. Continue Reading

The Column’s 2014 year in review: Winners and losers

2014 was a year marked by significant advances in equity for the LGBT community, but the news wasn’t all positive. Violence against members of the community was a significant news story in 2014, as was the rise of anti-LGBT groups who despite failing to block equity efforts, disseminated false information about LGBT people. The Column has put together the winners and the losers for 2014.

Continue Reading