The public and costly process for transgender people to legally change the name and gender on their California birth certificate will be streamlined under a law Gov. Jerry Brown signed this week, reports SF Gate.
“Equality California Executive Director John O’Connor said the legislation is “a huge victory for making the world a more inclusive place for transgender people.” It follows several other key bills supported by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community that were signed by Brown this year. The governor has until Sunday to act on 206 remaining bills on his desk.
“AB1121 by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, allows a transgender person to change the name on their birth certificate without a hearing in open court or publishing their request in a newspaper. Court-ordered name changes are a prerequisite for changing other documents, such as driver’s licenses.
“The process for changing a gender marker on a birth certificate will be an administrative process requiring a doctor’s note indicating the person has undergone a gender transition. Ilona Turner, legal director for the Transgender Law Center, said Atkins’ bill was formed out of concerns from transgender people who were “honestly very nervous about being outed” publicly during the name- or gender-change process. The Transgender Law Center co-sponsored the bill with Equality California.
“A bill to increase access for gay and lesbian couples seeking infertility treatments was also signed Tuesday. AB460 by Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, adds nondiscrimination language to fertility coverage provided under some health plans. While nondiscrimination laws already exist, Ammiano said they are not being followed because of traditional definitions of family planning.” To be classified as infertile under many health plans, a heterosexual married couple must have sex regularly for a year without contraception and without a baby to show for it, Turner said. That definition leaves gay, lesbian or single women unable to use infertility coverage when it’s offered under their health insurance plans.
Continue reading “Transgender name changes to be easier in California”
With shorter stories and scarce coverage of politics and government, local television newscasts in the United States, like local newspapers before them, are suffering from “shrinking pains,” according to the Pew Research Center.
The diagnosis comes in the center’s 10th annual State of the News Media report, which will be published on Monday. The New York Times reports that “the report, covering 2012, describes cutbacks in the reporting ranks of newspapers and television networks and a surge in efforts by politicians, corporations and others to tell their own stories.
“This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands,” the report’s main author, Amy Mitchell, wrote in an introduction. Continue reading “Local news going the way of print”
The number of anti-government “patriot” groups, including paramilitary hate organizations, reached an all-time high in 2012, fanned by President Barack Obama’s reelection and talk of gun control following the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center amd reported upon by Huffington Post: Continue reading “Hate groups on the rise”
Lots of people get into trouble with the law, casually or seriously, at some point in their lives. But not everyone knows how much that changes their prospects, especially when it comes to future job hunting.
While it’s generally illegal for employers to indiscriminately deny all applicants with criminal records, many still do. A quick look at New York job postings on Craigslist, for example, reveals common caveats: ‘absolutely no felony convictions’ or ‘must have clean criminal record.’
“’This is blatantly illegal hiring practice,’says Sally Friedman, a lawyer at the Legal Action Center. It’s not that it’s against the law to consider a job applicant’s past convictions. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite. The no-criminal-records-allowed policy rule, Friedman explains, may lead employers to throw out solid candidates. Continue reading “Job hunting not easy with an arrest record”
It’s no big secret that what people think has a lot to do with what they watch and read. While ideologies and other belief systems also underlie public opinion, there is no denying the role of “news” in shaping contemporary worldviews – sometimes in direct opposition to empirical data.
For example, while many parents now fear sending junior off to school each morning, the odds of a child being shot in Sandy Hook fashion stand at less than one in a million, as it has for decades. If anything, schools recently have been getting safer.
After reaching a high of 63 deaths in the 2006-2007 school year, the number of people killed in “school-associated” incidents dropped to 33 in 2009-2010 – the lowest in two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Continue reading “What made the news”