LGBT

UPDATE: The bill's sponsor, state Sen. C.B. Embry tells Kentucky Public Radio the Senate will vote Friday on Senate Bill 76. The Fairness Campaign previously indicated the vote would be Thursday.

Director of Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign Chris Hartman says he anticipates the Republican-controlled Senate will pass a bill requiring students to use school bathrooms corresponding with their biological sex, but that it will stall in the Democrat-held state House of Representatives.

Credit Jessica Dockery, Lead Reporter for the The Madisonville Messenger newspaper

The fight for transgender rights continues at Madisonville-North Hopkins High School. Fifteen to 20 students and community members rallied Saturday on the old courthouse lawn in downtown Madisonville. 

Organizers currently have more than 300 signatures on a petition circulating the school. The petition requests teachers call students by their preferred pronouns and to allow students to use bathrooms for the gender of their choosing.  Currently transgender students are asked to use handicap/unisex restrooms. The Madisonville Messenger’s Lead Reporter Jessica Dockery covered the weekend rally.

“The students did have a lot of support it seemed by folks driving by, honking their horns hollering positive things outside of the windows,” said Dockery.  “I didn’t really see any negative reactions from the community while I was there. “

Dockery says the protestors weren’t just from MNHHS. Students from Hopkins County Central High School and some home-schooled students also attended the Saturday rally.

Dockery said the organizers of the rally are trying to promote awareness.

Ted Eytan/taedc / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

A Madisonville North Hopkins County High School transgender student is working on a petition to allow him to use the bathroom he chooses instead of the handicap one made available for those who identify as transgender.

School officials haven’t yet received the petition, but say they’ll seek legal guidance although they aren’t aware of any laws regulating bathroom use.

Meanwhile State Senator C.B. Embry filed a bill this month requiring students use the restroom corresponding to their anatomical gender.

Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman says the bill comes after a Louisville high school allowed a transgender girl to use the women’s restroom and locker room, which he says is the best option.

“When we force a trans student to use a private restroom, a handicap facility, what that does is it says you are so different that we don’t know how to accommodate you other than to isolate you and force you to use this restroom that’s all yours,” Hartman said.

Embry filed the bill after the Kentucky Family Foundation approached him with a draft of it.

 

Hopkinsville High School has refused to run three students’ senior yearbook quotes that reference their LGBT lifestyles, and one of them has filed a petition against the school board saying its discrimination.

A group of parents has appealed a decision by a Louisville high school to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sexual identities.

The Courier-Journal reports the Atherton High School site-based decision-making council will meet next week to discuss the appeal, which was filed by Louisville attorney Clinton Elliott, who is with the Christian-based legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.

The council voted last month to amend its policy after school Principal Thomas Aberli decided to allow a transgender student to use the girls' restroom and locker room. The student was born male but identifies as female.

The appeal says the school panel's decision was "inconsistent with state and federal law, inconsistent with concerns for safety and inconsistent with concerns for liability."

Kentucky LRC

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has cosponsored a bill that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees from workplace discrimination.

Stumbo is one of 18 cosponsors backing the proposed legislation filed by Louisville Rep. Mary Lou Marzian.

The House Speaker says that his support for fairness coincides with his duty to uphold the constitution.

“I’ve never stood by and allowed people’s rights to be trampled in that manner. I don’t believe in it. I believe the constitution is exactly what it is: It requires that everybody be treated the same way regardless of your creed, color, national origin or sexual preference.”

Stumbo says that he thinks there’s increased support in his chamber for the bill compared to previous years.

A new report measuring the level of equality given to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Kentuckians shows some signs of improvement.

The Human Rights Campaign released its second annual Municipal Equality Index, which examined laws and policies that foster LGBT equality in nearly 300 American cities.

Four Kentucky cities were included in the report—Bowling Green, Frankfort, Louisville and Lexington. Although the cities scored below the national average, Fairness Campaign executive director Chris Hartman says the numbers show a substantial improvement over last year.

“Lexington made a big splash; Louisville improved its score by a number of points; and Frankfort went from zero points the previous year, one of I think only three cities that achieved a zero score in 2012, to making it on the map in 2013," said Hartman.

Hartman acknowledges there’s room for improvement, but says a recent law passed by the General Assembly undermining local fairness ordinances has not hurt his group’s efforts.