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LGBT Groups Shouldn’t Back Down From Transgender Bathroom Fight



Incremental Approach To Nondiscrimination Laws Leaves Part Of Community Behind

It’s 2016 and the leaders of some of the top national LGBTQ movements — and, more importantly, their funders — are arguing about whether to throw transgender people under the bus. Again. 

The conversation was reported as Part 2 of an outstanding three-part series on transgender rights in America today from Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden and Chris Geidner (Parts 1 and 3). All three parts are worth a read, but I want to focus on Part 2 here. 

To break it down to its most basic level: One group of LGBTQ leaders, including funding powerhouse the Gill Foundation, want to advance an incrementalist strategy. In other words, when it comes to enacting civil rights protections, they want to focus only on banning workplace and housing discrimination in the immediate future. They fear that going for public accommodations protections will be a losing battle because of the ongoing bathroom debate. They’re joined by a few other national groups. 

On the other side, groups like the ACLU, Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign argue that such a compromise would leave transgender Americans out in the cold, yet again (it will). 

So once again, because we’re too afraid to talk about bathrooms, we’re willing to leave trans people out of the fight for equality. The most ironic thing of this all? Bathroom access is poised to become a landmark decision at the Supreme Court this year. The conversation is happening — it’s been happening for years now — but too many of us are burying our heads in the sand because we’re afraid to talk about the reality of trans bodies and the wide spectrum of diversity. 

It’s hard for us to call ourselves allies if we’re not willing to stand up for folks’ most basic rights. I mean that literally. If we’re not willing to speak up and say that we think all people should be able to use a public bathroom, how can we call ourselves allies? It’s more than a little bit backwards for us to claim we’re there for someone’s equal rights — as long as they never have to pee. 

We’ve never shied away from a good fight as the LGBTQ community. We’ve never been afraid to go for things that seemed absurd just a few years ago. We’ve got marriage rights, we brought down Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, we fought accusations of pedophilia and attempts to keep gay men ot of the classroom, and so much more. Some fights may have taken longer than others, but we’ve never backed down and we’ve always eventually won. (And let’s not ignore that the modern push for LGBTQ rights was started by trans folks at Stonewall.)

But now, because cis folks are uncomfortable talking about the reality of trans people and their bodies, we’re backing down and trying to take the easy way out? It’s offensive, frankly. It’s one thing for the discrimination and poor treatment to come from the Radical Right. That’s to be expected. But for it to come from within the LGBTQ community? From the very groups charged with protecting every letter of our alphabet? It’s reprehensible.  

ACLU Lawyer/Superhero Chase Strangio reminds us:

Protecting transgender people from discrimination threatens the privacy and safety of no one. And it is not really about restrooms or locker rooms or nudity but about fear and disgust of trans people. It is about whether transgender people can engage in public life and exist in public space.

This fight to expel trans people from societal structures might be invigorated but it is not new. The bodies and lives of transgender people — particularly women and femmes of color — have long been targeted and criminalized through anti-crossing dressing laws, police profiling, and antiloitering laws.

Unless and until we push back against the very idea that the existence and bodies of trans people are the problem, fragmented legal gains won’t protect the most vulnerable among us.

Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBTQ activist, educator, and writer. His column appears here weekly. Follow him on Twitter: @rjmedwed

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‘I’m Broke’: One Day Before Shutdown and With No Plan McCarthy Says He Has ‘Nothing’ in His ‘Back Pocket’



Just 30 hours before his own Republican conference likely will have succeeded in shutting down the federal government of the United States, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy candidly admitted to reporters he’s run out of ideas.

Earlier Friday in an “embarrassing failure,” 21 House Republicans killed legislation from their own party, a short-term continuing resolution, that would have kept the federal government open.

Later on Friday afternoon, swarmed by reporters, McCarthy was asked if he was going to tell them what his plans are. He sarcastically replied, “No, I’m going to keep it all a secret.”

When pressed, he said he would “keep working, and make sure we solve this problem.”

“What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?” another reporter asked, pressing him for an answer.

“Nothing right now. I’m broke,” he admitted, apparently referring to options and ideas to avoid a shutdown.

READ MORE: ‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert

But another reporter asked Speaker McCarthy the main question: Would he partner with House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to put the Senate’s bill before the House.

He refused to answer.

Just before 5 PM CNN’s Manu Raju reported on the ongoing House Republicans’ closed-door meeting with the Speaker, a meeting where the 21 Republicans who will likely be effectively responsible for the shutdown reportedly did not attend.

“McCarthy is telling [Republicans] now there aren’t many options to avoid a shutdown, according to sources in room. He says they can approve GOP’s stop-gap plan that failed, accept Senate plan, put a ‘clean’ stop-gap on floor to dare Democrats to block it — or shut down the government.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

He adds, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) largely responsible for the impending likely shutdown and the impending possible ouster of McCarthy said: “We will not pass a continuing resolution on terms that continue America’s decline.”

At midnight Saturday Republicans will likely have succeeded in furloughing 3.5 million million federal workers – two million of them service members in the U.S. Armed Forces – and countless contractors, while financially harming untold thousands of businesses that rely on income from all those workers to keep running – unless Speaker McCarthy puts a bipartisan continuing resolution approved by at least 75 U.S. Senators on the floor, legislation every House Democrat is likely to vote for.

Should he do so, many believe he will have also signed his own pink slip.

But whether or not the government shuts down, and whether or not McCarthy puts the Senate’s CR on the floor, according to The Washington Post the far right extremists in his party are already moving to oust him “as early as next week.”

The Biden campaign is making certain Americans realize the blame for the impending shutdown sits at McCarthy’s feet.

At 6:23 PM Friday evening, Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman wrote on social media: “HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PLAN TO KEEP GOVERNMENT OPEN.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert



The first of 19 co-defendants in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ RICO and election interference case against Donald Trump has pleaded guilty in what is being described as a “plea deal.”

“Under the terms of an agreement with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office, Hall pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy, and conspiracy to defraud the state,” NBC News reports. “Under the terms of the deal, he’s being sentenced to five years probation.”

CNN previously reported “Hall, a bail bondsman and pro-Trump poll-watcher in Atlanta, spent hours inside a restricted area of the Coffee County elections office when voting systems were breached in January 2021. The breach was connected to efforts by pro-Trump conspiracy theorists to find voter fraud. Hall was captured on surveillance video at the office, on the day of the breach. He testified before the grand jury in Fulton County case and acknowledged that he gained access to a voting machine.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a professor of law and frequent MSNBC contributor, says Hall “was in the thick of things with Sidney Powell on Jan 7 for the Coffee County scheme involving voting machines. If he’s cooperating, it’s a bad sign for her.”

Hall’s plea deal “spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell,” says former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU Law professor of law. Goodman posted a graphic showing the overlap in charges against Hall and Powell, which he called “alleged joint actions.”

See the graphic above or at this link.


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Far-Right Republicans Kill GOP Bill to Keep Government Running in ‘Embarrassing Failure’ for McCarthy: Report



With a shutdown less than 36 hours away, far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon voted against their party’s own legislation to kept the federal government running. Democrats opposed the content of the bill and voted against it. Just 21 far-right members of the GOP conference were able to effectively force what appears to be an all but inevitable shutdown at midnight on Saturday.

“HARDLINE HOUSE RS take down stopgap funding bill. 21 GOP no votes. 232-198,” reported Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman just before 2 PM Friday.

NBC News reported that a “band of conservative rebels on Friday revolted and blocked House Republicans’ short-term funding bill to keep the government open, delivering a political blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and likely cementing the chances of a painful government shutdown that is less than 48 hours away.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

“Twenty-one rebels, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a conservative bomb-thrower and a top Donald Trump ally, voted Friday afternoon to scuttle the 30-day funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, leaving Republicans without a game plan to avert a shutdown. The vote failed,” NBC added. “The embarrassing failure of the GOP measure once again highlights the dilemma for McCarthy as his hard-liners strongly oppose a short-term bill even if it includes conservative priorities. It leaves Congress on a path to a shutdown, with no apparent offramp to avoiding it — or to quickly reopen the government.”

A bipartisan group of at least 75 U.S. Senators has passed two bills this week that would keep the government running. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has refused to allow it to come to the floor for a vote.




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