Challenge to ADA Exclusion

In a federal district court in Pennsylvania there is an ongoing challenge to the transgender exclusion in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Passed in 1990 the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of a medical or mental condition but includes the Helms Amendment, along with a portion of the original act included in hopes of enticing support from the extreme right, which some call the "moral code": the act excludes from protection "transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, and other sexual behavior disorders

Kate Lynn Blatt was hired as a seasonal stocker at Cabela’s Retail in the fall of 2006, according to allegations in the complaint. Before starting her job, she attended a two-day orientation dressed in female attire, and used the women’s employee restroom without issue. Once she started working, however, Blatt was prohibited from using the women’s restroom and was forced to wear a name tag depicting her name as “James,” even after she presented the director of human resources with documentation of her legal name change.

Blatt claims her colleagues called her “ladyboy,” “freak,” and “sinner.” Cabela’s made Blatt use the single-sex “family” restroom at the front of the store, rather than the female employee restroom closer to her work area, according to the complaint. Blatt claims she endured harassment from management and coworkers, and was abruptly terminated in March 2007.

Hellraisers Journal: Edith Wyatt on "The Chicago Clothing Strike" in Harper's Weekly, Illustrated

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age.
Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Wednesday December 15, 1915
From Harper's Weekly: Edith Wyatt on the Chicago Clothing Strike & Special Police Guards

In the December 11th edition of Harper's, Edith Wyatt offers the following account of the Chicago Garment Workers Strike, now ongoing in that city, along with news regarding police brutality, and some history on the practice of arbitration in the needle-work trades:

The Chicago Clothing Strike

Chicago Garment Workers Strike of 1915, Harpers Wkly, Dec 11.png

"THE story of civilization,” says Norman Angell in Arms and Industry, “is the story of development of ideas.”

One of the most interesting chapters of that chronicle is the narrative of the development of the idea of industrial arbitration in this country, in opposition to the idea of industrial war. Chicago is now watching intently a bitter contest between these two principles in one of her greatest industries, her trade in men’s clothing, a business truly enormous, the value of its product in this city being rated in the last census at over eighty five million dollars.

Transgender activist wins deferral of removal

Kim Watson is a 52-year-old trans woman living in the Bronx with her husband and adopted daughter. She is cofounder of an organization called Community Kinship Life (CKLife), which provides space for transgender individuals to gather and offers scholarships. Her work has been honored by Bronx elected officials and citywide LGBT groups.

She arrived in the United States on a tourist visa in 1988. When the pass expired, she remained.

The city offered her refuge from persecution she faced over her identity in her homeland, but she continued to struggle with mental illness and substance abuse.

While homeless, she was twice arrested for selling controlled substances in 1997 and 1998. Nazrali said that at the time she was going through a wrenching identity dysphoria that led to the run-ins with the law.

However, more than a decade ago, Watson said she went to rehab and started receiving counseling for PTSD and her other identity issues.

Watson earned a bachelor's degree from Pace University and began grassroots organizing over LGBT issues and HIV status.

Hellraisers Journal: Gurley Flynn's Victory at Paterson Recalls 1909 Free Speech Fight at Spokane

Never before had I come in contact with women of that type, and they were interesting.
Also, I was glad to be with them, for in a jail one is
always safer with others than alone.
-Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

Tuesday December 14, 1915
From Archives of The Workingman's Paper: Gurley Flynn on the Spokane Jail

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, on trial in Paterson, Nov 29, 1915.png

Fresh from her victorious one-woman fight for Free Speech with the city of Paterson, New Jersey (see photograph at right), Miss Elizabeth Gurley Flynn plans to continue her struggle to establish the rights of union organizers to speak to the silk workers in that city. With this struggle in mind, Hellraisers offers an article, written by Miss Flynn for the December 11, 1909, edition of The Workingman's Paper in which she described her experience in the county jail at Spokane during the I. W. W. Free Speech Fight in that city which took place during the winter of 1909 and 1910.

Miss Flynn came to Spokane as a young married woman, having married John A. Jones in Lake County, Minnesota on January 7, 1908. The newly weds arrived in Missoula, Montana, in time to play an active role in that victorious struggle for Free Speech. They then moved on to the fight for Free Speech in Spokane, Washington, where Gurley Flynn was arrested as an I. W. W. "agitator."

Miss Flynn's article gives us some idea of the special hardships endured by women when prisons and jails employ male guards rather than matrons. The male guards are often less than trustworthy to be in charge of the keys which give them unfettered access to women prisoners, day and night.

Hellraisers Journal: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Her Long Free Speech Contest with Paterson

Miss Elizabeth Gurley Flynn
Gets Chief Bimson as mad as sin;
When Chief Bimson gets mad as sin,
Sweetly smiles Miss Gurley Flynn.

Monday December 13, 1915
From The Survey: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Victorious in Long Contest with Paterson

The Survey of December 11th described the long one-woman free speech fight, a contest fought between Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the city of Paterson, New Jersey, which ended on the evening of November 30th with a victory for Miss Flynn:

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Without Sunday from Fort Wayne (IN) News of Mar 20, 1915, cropped.png

ELIZABETH GURLEY FLYNN, I. W. W. leader in the Paterson strike of 1913, was acquitted last week of the charge of inciting to riot that had been pending since the jury disagreed in her first trial in July, 1913. This is the last of the cases growing directly out of the strike of two years ago that will be tried, and the verdict sets Miss Flynn free to continue her contest over free speech with the Paterson authorities.

Chief of Police Bimson said that the trial narrowed down to a question of the veracity of the police officials and Miss Flynn’s supporters, “and evidently the police hadn't been believed.”

The calling of the case to trial at this time came as a surprise. In the summer of 1913, three strike leaders were tried following similar indictments—Patrick Quinlan, Carlo Tresca and Miss Flynn herself. Feeling in Paterson at that time was bitter against the I. W. W. and the defense believed that it would be difficult to obtain a fair trial. Nevertheless a Passaic county jury disagreed in the first trial of Quinlan. A second trial resulted in his conviction with a sentence of two to seven years in the penitentiary. Attorneys for the defense then secured an order from Supreme Court Justice Minturn directing that in the other cases pending, juries should be drawn from outside Passaic county. Tried before so-called “foreign” juries, Tresca was acquitted, and in the case of Miss Flynn the jury disagreed. No move toward a new trial was made at the time.

H.Res.561: Expressing support for support of transgender acceptance

Yesterday Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) and 19 House co-sponsors introduced House Resolution 561: Expressing Support for Support for Transgender Acceptance

The co-sponsors include all members of the recently formed Transgender Equality Task Force.

This is another much-needed step in our fight to ensure that the transgender community’s voice is represented in Congress. The transgender community faces widespread bullying, harassment, and violence, and these individuals do not yet have sufficient legal means of protection from such discrimination in many states. We cannot achieve equality without acceptance. This resolution is a step toward greater acceptance of the transgender community. We must work to address the challenges and risks that transgender individuals face on a daily basis in their places of work, education, and housing, and ensure that their individual rights are understood and respected.

--Rep. Honda

The full text of the resolution is on The Other Side: