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PNS Daily Newscast - September 24 


The ground rules seem to have been set concerning the sexual assault allegations against nominee Brett Kavenaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: we will take you to a state where more than 60 thousand kids are chronically absent; plus the rural digital divide a two-fold problem for Kentucky.

Daily Newscasts

Bathroom Discrimination Just the Tip of the Iceberg

LGBT advocates say no person should ever be made to feel guilty or ashamed of who they are. (Pixabay)
LGBT advocates say no person should ever be made to feel guilty or ashamed of who they are. (Pixabay)
May 11, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - While transgender "bathroom bills" make headlines, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Michiganders face discrimination in many other facets of their lives.

Ann Anglim of Fenton and her partner married in Canada, but their union was not legally recognized here until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality last year. She said it also was difficult to jointly adopt a child. While they made it through those challenges, she said that as LGBT individuals, they still can face discrimination in housing and employment.

"That still needs to change here," she said, "because we can get married one day and be showing our photographs to a coworker, and get fired the next day."

Attempts in the past decade to update the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act in Michigan to add sexual orientation to the list of protections have failed to gain traction. Some proposals didn't receive support from the LGBT community because they didn't also specify protections for those who are transgender. Without fairness under the law, said Heather Simpson, who advocates for Michigan's transgender community, some LGBT residents of the state struggle to lead the lives they want.

"When it comes to how LGBTQ people make their money and basically contribute to society," she said, "there are serious barriers that prevent people from being able to move forward. You're basically at the mercy of another person."

Simpson, who chairs Women in Learning and Leadership at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, said she believes no person should ever be made to feel guilty or ashamed of who they are. She's calling for greater understanding and compassion, particularly in light of an epidemic of transgender people being killed or taking their own lives.

"People need to start being more caring, because people are dying," she said. "If you're not being murdered, you're murdering yourself - and that's a very sad, sad way of life for trans people. It's very hard to keep your head held high."

While acceptance has grown for the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities, Simpson said misconceptions and prejudice persist about gender identity. Transgender individuals' gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth; people who identify as "gender non-conforming" don't follow traditional ideas about how they should present themselves based on their birth gender.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI