Month: November 2011

Transgender Law Center Hires Ilona Turner as Legal Director Turner Brings Depth of Experience in Working to Eliminate Discrimination

San Francisco – Transgender Law Center (TLC) is proud to announce the hire of Ilona Turner as Legal Director.

“Ilona has shown immense dedication and skill in working to end discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. We’re ecstatic to have her join our team,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director, “We’re thrilled that she has experience advocating for equality in the courtroom, statehouses, city halls, and also in the community.”

Turner spent several years working in California state politics, first for progressive icon Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg and then as the lobbyist for Equality California, the statewide LGBT political advocacy organization, where she helped to shepherd groundbreaking legislation that prohibited housing and employment discrimination against transgender people and dramatically expanded the rights of domestic partners in California.

During law school at the University of California at Berkeley, Turner was awarded the Mary C. Dunlap Fellowship to spend a summer working to advance transgender rights at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Years later, Turner was inspired to return to NCLR and where she has been a staff attorney since 2008. Turner’s work at NCLR has focused on a wide range of issues affecting LGBT people, frequently focusing on legal issues affecting transgender people, including school bullying, discrimination in employment and public accommodations, parenting and custody, marriage, and immigration.

“I knew when Ilona joined NCLR nearly four years ago that she would play a pivotal role advancing LGBT equality, and we couldn’t be happier that she’ll continue her commitment to the movement as the Transgender Law Center’s new Legal Director,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “Ilona is a talented attorney, and while all of us at NCLR are sad to see her go, we know her dedication to justice and her tenacity will help further the movement.”

Former Legal Director Kristina Wertz will become Director of Policy and Programs.

For more information about Turner or Transgender Law Center please contact Mark Snyder, Communications Manager, 415.865.0176 x310,

The Transgender Law Center is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. The Transgender Law Center uses direct legal services, education, community organizing and advocacy to create a world that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families. Learn more

CONTACT:  Mark Snyder, Communications Manager. Transgender Law Center  415.865.0176 ext. 310

Media Provided by the –  Gay News Media and Press Network.





(West Palm Beach, Florida)  The Palm Beach County School Board unanimously voted this evening to move forward with a policy allowing school district employees with domestic partners to take the same family and medical leave granted to opposite-sex, married employees under federal law.  Final approval is expected to occur before year’s end.The action was taken at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The Council has been the leading advocate in Florida for domestic partnership since 1992, when the City of West Palm Beach became the state’s first public employer to provide basic domestic partnership benefits.”Today’s unanimous vote demonstrates that the Palm Beach County School Board recognizes that all school district employees and their families are entitled to equal benefits,” said Council President Rand Hoch.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows opposite-sex, married employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid, job-protected leave to care for spouses with medical issues. However, FMLA does not recognize families based on domestic partnerships, civil unions or same-sex marriages.

“FMLA is clearly discriminatory,” said Hoch. “Despite America’s growing acceptance of marriage equality, domestic partnerships and civil unions, Congress is slow to enact laws recognizing that gay men and lesbians form families.”

The policy adopted by the School Board extends family and medical leave coverage to school district employees who have registered their domestic partners.

According to statistics maintained by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, approximately 125 school district employees have registered their domestic partnerships.
The school district employs more than 21,000 workers, making it Palm Beach County’s largest public employer.

The School District of Palm Beach County prohibits discrimination based on both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” and has offered domestic partner health insurance benefits since 2005.

“Perhaps one day, the state of Florida and the federal government will end their discrimination against non-traditional families,” said Hoch. “Until that day comes, it is incumbent upon local officials to take action to protect all employees and all families.”

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Inc. is dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.The Council promotes equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation, and community outreach.
Palm  Beach County Human Rights Council
Post Office Box 267
West Palm Beach, Florida 33402
(561) 804-9399     


Media Provided by the – Gay News Media and Press Network.


(Boca Raton, Florida) Following more than a decade of lobbying by faculty members, admistrators and students, the Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University voted this morning to specifically include “sexual orientation” among the classes protected from discrimination and harassment.

“This is a small step forward for FAU,” said Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local nonprofit organization founded in 1988, which is dedicated to dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

In 2005, the Council joined a longstanding coalition of gay, lesbian and allied activists at FAU who were working to have the school specifically include sexual orientation as a protected class in the university’s regulations.

“The credit today goes to the hard work which the LGBT and allied community at FAU has done over the years. Special recognition goes out to the efforts of student leader Boris Bastidas, who did an amazing job mobilizing students at the university this semester,” said Hoch.

The Council had hoped that the Trustees would also include “gender identity and expression” as a protected class.

“It is disappointing that they did not do so,” said Hoch.

While transgender and gender-variant employees on the FAU campuses in Palm Beach and Broward Counties are protected under local equal employment ordinances, those individuals working outside the two counties have no job protection.

“The tragedy is that despite today’s action by the Board of Trustees, transgender and gender-variant students have no legal protection on any the FAU campuses,” Hoch explained. “Hopefully LGBT activists and their allies at the university will be able to persuade the Trustees to protect the entire student body from harassment and discrimination in the very near future.”

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Inc. is dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

The Council promotes equality through education, advocacy, direct action, impact litigation, and community outreach.

Palm Beach County Human Rights Council

Post Office Box 267

West Palm Beach, Florida 33402

(561) 804-9399


Media Provided by the – Gay News Media and Press Network.



Lesbian Torture Clinics In Ecuador

As Reported by, Paola Ziritti is unthinkably brave to speak publicly about the “clinic.” She endured physical assault, sexual abuse, and a constant battery of insults. Guards would even throw buckets of cold water and urine on her. For two years, this was Paola’s waking nightmare… because she’s a lesbian. The “doctors” and guards at the clinic were trying to “cure” her.

Paola lives in Ecuador, where these so-called clinics are terrifyingly common — although the government shut down 27 this year, 180 clinics remain open, and most of the prisoners there are women. (Some gay men and transgendered people are in the clinics as well, but far fewer.)

Paola’s parents knew they were sending her to a forced confinement clinic, but they had no idea how awful it would be. Once Paola’s mother realized what she’d done, she tried to get her daughter back, but the clinic said no. The process to free Paola took a year.

A few incredibly courageous Ecuadorian women are fighting back — they call themselves Fundacion Causana. The women of Fundacion Causana started a petition on demanding that Ecuadoran Minister of Public Health Dr. David Chiriboga Allnut investigate and shut down all 180 remaining clinics that torture women to “cure” them. Please sign the petition right now.

Fundacion Causana does direct-service work on the ground to save women from the clinics, but they say it’s not enough. They need the unbridled support of the Ecuadoran government to get all of the clinics shut down.

So far, the government has only shut down a small cluster of clinics in one region of the country. Ecuador’s government officials need to know that we are watching and will not stand idly by while women are imprisoned and tortured.

Please sign Fundacion Causana’s petition demanding that the Ecuadoran Minister of Public Health investigate and shut down every “clinic” that tortures members of Ecuador’s LGBT community:

Thanks for being a change-maker,

– Weldon and the team

P.S. More than 5,000 campaigns are started every month by members. Here are some of the top petitions that need your support right now:

Media Provided by the – Gay News Media and Press Network.

Michigan’s “License To Bully” Bill

As Reported by, When Katy Butler was in junior high, bullies who called her a “dyke” slammed a locker door on her hand. Katy never reported the assault because she was afraid her school wouldn’t do anything to help.

If the Michigan state Senate has its way, Katy’s school won’t have to help students bullied in the future, either.

Last week, the Michigan state Senate passed an anti-bullying bill. But minutes before they voted, Republican lawmakers inserted special language into the bill to create a huge loophole: Bullying done because of a “sincerely held religious or moral conviction” isn’t covered by the law.

Rather than protecting students, the new law actually provides a road map that teaches kids how to bully — and how to get away with it.

Katy and her friend Carson Borbely know what it’s like to be bullied for who they are. They started a petition demanding that the state legislature enact a strong anti-bullying law with no exceptions. Click here to sign their petition.

The Michigan House of Representatives will consider the Senate’s weak anti-bullying bill soon. Katy and Carson want them to strengthen the bill and eliminate the religious exemption inserted by the state Senate, and members are rallying around their demand.

Some legislators are wavering in the face of public outrage, and Republican Speaker of the House Jase Bolger is now said to be considering a stronger, more comprehensive version of the bill. But Katy and Carson need your help to keep up the pressure.

Please sign Katy and Carson’s petition demanding the Michigan House of Representatives pass an anti-bullying law that will actually protect students: 

Media Provided by – Gay News Media and Press Network.


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