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USA: Virginia just became the 12th state to officially ban gay and trans panic defences

USA: Virginia just became the 12th state to officially ban gay and trans panic defences

Virginia has become the 12th state to ban the gay and trans “panic” defence, with governor Ralph Northam signing the bill into law on Wednesday (31 March).

USA: Arkansas Senate approves bill banning gender-affirming care for trans minors

USA: Arkansas Senate approves bill banning gender-affirming care for trans minors

The Arkansas Senate on Monday approved a bill that would ban access to gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

Titled the “Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act,” the legislation specifically prohibits “gender transition procedures for minors.” The bill would make it unlawful for any physician or other healthcare professional to “provide [or refer] gender transition procedures to any individual under eighteen (18) years of age.” The bill states that any provision or referral constitutes unprofessional conduct “subject to discipline by the appropriate licensing entity or disciplinary review board.”

The bill also establishes a private cause of action in which an individual may “assert an actual or threatened violation of this subchapter as a claim in a judicial or administrative proceeding and obtain compensatory damages, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, or any other appropriate relief.”

With other bills like this gaining traction throughout the country, this could be the first domino to fall in a series of legislation that will seriously curb progress made by the trans community over the last two decades. In a statement released last Friday, Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & HIV Project, implored supporters to call on Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson stating “the consequences of this bill [becoming law] would be catastrophic.”

The bill will now go to Hutchinson for approval. Just in the past week Hutchinson has signed into law bills that ban transgender athletes from women’s sports and allow medical workers to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients due to religious or moral objections.

The post Arkansas Senate approves bill banning gender-affirming care for trans minors appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

USA: Federal appeals court rules professors do not to have to respect student pronouns

USA: Federal appeals court rules professors do not to have to respect student pronouns

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held Friday that public universities cannot compel professors to respect student pronoun preferences. Per the court, such speech is protected under the First Amendment, particularly if pronoun preferences go against a professor’s religious or philosophical beliefs.

The case stemmed out of a dispute between Professor Nicholas Meriwether and a transgender student at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. Meriwether teaches philosophy courses in the “Socratic” style, using formal, gendered titles in classes to encourage debate (Mr., Ms.). Jane Doe, the unnamed transgender student in the lawsuit, was a student of Meriwether’s. She requested that Meriwether use she/her pronouns, but Meriwether refused, stating that doing so would go against his religious beliefs.

In the following months, Shawnee State University officials finally reached a temporary compromise where Meriwether would refer to Doe by her last name only. But the compromise soon fell through, when Shawnee State’s Title IX office recommended disciplinary charges against Meriwether for discrimination. Meriwether then brought suit in federal district court, where it was dismissed.

Upon appeal, arguments were heard in November and the Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s dismissal.

In its opinion, the court states that academic freedom in colleges is of paramount importance, and exposing students to contrarian views is an essential part of a college education. The opinion further states that supporting transgender students’ pronoun preferences is an ideological task, and sends a message that professors can disagree with: “People can have a gender identity inconsistent with their sex at birth.”

The opinion further states:

If professors lacked free-speech protections when teaching, a university would wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity. A university president could require a pacifist to declare that war is just, a civil rights icon to condemn the Freedom Riders, a believer to deny the existence of God, or a Soviet émigré to address his students as “comrades.”

This decision comes amidst a wave of transgender-rights cases currently ongoing across the US. Alabama is on track to pass a bill that would make providing any gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth a felony. Several states are also considering or have recently passed bills that would prohibit transgender youth from playing school sports on teams that align with their gender identity.

The post Federal appeals court rules professors do not to have to respect student pronouns appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

EU sanctions Russia officials over LGBTQ rights abuses in Chechnya

EU sanctions Russia officials over LGBTQ rights abuses in Chechnya

The EU sanctioned two Russian individuals Monday for their alleged human rights abuses including persecuting, detaining and torturing LGBTQ individuals in the Chechen Republic.

Officials from the Chechen government have been repeatedly accused by international governments and human rights groups, like Human Rights Watch, of detaining, torturing and extrajudicially executing members of the Chechen LGBTQ community. In February leaked Chechen government documents obtained by Novaya Gazeta confirmed suspicions that Chechen police were involved with the disappearance of twenty-seven gay men in 2017.

The EU said that many LGBTQ individuals were detained under the pretense of opposing Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been sanctioned by the US for human rights abuses. The sanctions listed in the EU Official Journal blacklisted Aiub Vakhaevich Kataev, Head of Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the city of Argun, and Abuzaid Dzhandarovich Vismuradov, who is the commander of the Special Rapid-Response Unit Team “Terek,” a Russian National Guard unit known to have been an active part of the systemic persecution of LGBTQ individuals since at least 2017.

The EU Journal accuses Kataev of “oversee[ing] the activities of local state security and police agencies … directed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons,” and says that he is “responsible for serious human rights violations in Russia, in particular torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as arbitrary arrests and detentions and extrajudicial or arbitrary executions and killings.” The Journal also accuses Vismuradov of the same human rights violations as Kataev, but also states that “Vismuradov personally supervised and took part in torturing detainees.”

The EU’s latest sanctions come approximately three weeks after it sanctioned four other Russian individuals involved with arbitrary arrests and repression of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The EU reiterated the importance of condemning international human rights violations, saying, “Respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights are fundamental values of the Union and its Common Foreign and Security Policy.”

The post EU sanctions Russia officials over LGBTQ rights abuses in Chechnya appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

USA: Arkansas House approves bill banning transgender athletes from women’s sports

USA: Arkansas House approves bill banning transgender athletes from women’s sports

The Arkansas House of Representatives on Monday approved a bill that prevents transgender women from competing in women’s sports at all levels of education.

Titled the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” the legislation applies to “a public elementary school or secondary school; an open enrollment public charter school; and a public two-year or four-year institution of higher education.” For the purposes of the act, “School” also applies to include “any private educational institution whose interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports compete against a public school.”

The bill requires any team or sport sponsored by a school to be expressly designated by biological sex as follows: male, men’s, or boys; female, women’s, or girls. “An interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic team or sport that is expressly designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.”

The legislation also gives students a private cause of action for injunctive relief, damages, or any other relief available against any school which allows a transgender athlete to participate in female sports. A similar remedy is available to any school that suffers direct or indirect harm due to the participation of a transgender athlete in a female designated sport.

Having passed the Arkansas Senate earlier this month, the bill will now go to Governor Asa Hutchinson for approval. Hutchinson has not stated whether he supports the bill. South Dakota, Utah, Mississippi and Tennessee state legislatures have advanced similar bills this year.

The post Arkansas House approves bill banning transgender athletes from women’s sports appeared first on JURIST – News – Legal News & Commentary.

From the Margins: Global Perspectives on LGBTQ+ Experiences, Virtual Symposium and Workshop, April 8 and 9 2021

From the Margins: Global Perspectives on LGBTQ+ Experiences, Virtual Symposium and Workshop, April 8 and 9 2021

Maynooth University Department of Law, in association with the MU Sexualities and Genders Network, is organising a virtual Symposium and Workshop entitled “From the Margins: Global Perspectives on LGBTQ+ Experiences”. This takes place on April 8 and 9 2021. 


The Thursday symposium features presentations from international speakers, both academic and activist, on experiences of being LGBTQ+ in different parts of the globe. The Friday workshop focusses on the politics of voice and listening, with a particular emphasis on non-binary gender identities. Both events take place on Zoom.
Attendance at the events is free, but those wishing to attend are asked to register. Further details on registration are available here: 

These events are very kindly sponsored and supported by the Maynooth University Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, and Interculturalism (EDI) Project Fund.