Issue of December 30, 2016
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Cristina Thomas, and Maria Patterson
This week's issues:
|Malaysia Primary School Girls|
|By Jessica Mink, AAS CSWA+SGMA|
I have long believed that education is a state and local function. Policies regarding the security and privacy of students in our schools should be in the hands of Hoosier parents and local schools, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC. The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature. I am confident that parents, teachers and administrators will continue to resolve these matters without federal mandates and in a manner that reflects the common sense and compassion of our state.Many of my transgender friends are worrying that our Federal protections will disappear. Those protections have been mostly instituted by regulation and court interpretation since Congress has failed to pass an explicitly inclusive anti-discrimination law. Possible changes in regulators and judges could change our available rights. We are hurrying to correct the gender in our Social Security records and to get passports with the correct gender, things which have been made possible by changes in regulations during the Obama administration. Those of us who work for the Federal government or its contractors fear the loss of coverage of gender corrective medical care in our health insurance plans, which has only recently been required.
"Sex stereotyping" or "gender stereotyping" is something some federal agencies are using for some nuanced reasons having to do with the Justice Department's equivocal position on whether federal sex discrimination laws cover sexual orientation. So, you often see it used in this way: "race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and gender stereotyping), sexual orientation, or disability." It's a somewhat confusing legal term and we don't recommend it as a substitute for gender expression. Similarly, "perceived gender" is not the same as gender expression. We believe nondiscrimination policies always cover a perception of someone's characteristics (like if your boss harasses you based on assuming you're Muslim but you're not actually Muslim), and that if "actual or perceived" language is used it should be applies to all covered characteristics.
For private businesses and state and local policies, we still recommend "gender identity and expression" or "gender identity and gender expression."10 out of 14 compliant employers is a good start, and we'll be fortunate if we can hold on to the partial protection of the two federal installations in the survey. We still have to work to move every institution toward the simple standard of forbidding discrimination based on either gender identity or gender expression. Then we'll be on to insurance coverage, the details of which are much harder to ferret out unless the institution is in a state which requires coverage of transgender-related services.