No Justice: The Status of Transgender Anti-Discrimination In The United States

We’re gonna do Fetish Friday tomorrow this week, on Saturday. The reason’s real simple: I found a topic I wanted to write about that concerns some stuff that doesn’t fit the “Fetish” theme (Note: I also heard you guys on the polygamy thing, and the second part of that will not be on a Fetish Friday either. I’ll post that separately). It’s somewhat timely given a bit of shit that blew up in the Twitter-sphere, and the lovely post that came in on Wednesday from Ms. Tanner, who wrote about the harm that jokes can do to members of marginalized groups.

Today I’m going to talk about some basic legal matters and legislation that affect the transgender community. I think pretty much all transgender folks are aware of this stuff, and it’s really, really basic, but other people (including myself) don’t seem to be aware of the level of discrimination a transgender person can face, and how throughout the vast majority of this country it’s completely legal for a transgender person to be denied service, housing, or employment simply for being themselves. So, today, I’m gonna take a minute and piggy-back on Ms. Tanner’s explanation of why a joke isn’t a joke to explain why people have a right to be upset when they feel they’re being lessened to a cheap punchline. It’s because, quite frankly, we already treat them as less deserving than everyone else under law.

A couple quick caveats:

No jokes (well, maybe a couple jokes, just not at the expense of anyone), just some talk.

I’ll be frank: I have transgender friends, and I was tangentially aware of most of this before looking into things for this post, but I don’t think the unfairness of this ever hit me fully until I started on the drafts of this. I’m learning, please be a bit patient with me.

Finally, today is an introduction to these issues and a bomber’s-sight overview. It isn’t comprehensive and certainly does not address all of the issues. I’ll continue educating myself on some of these topics and digging into other matters, such as identification, estate/death matters, marriage, etc. I simply am not able to cover all of this in a single post. You should take this as a warning as to how much there is to talk about in regards to the current state of law as it relates to transgender persons: there are a lot of issues.

So, let’s get to it.

Continue reading “No Justice: The Status of Transgender Anti-Discrimination In The United States”

South Dakota Prisoners: “Siri, What’s the Appellate Standard of Review for…”

Jesus I’m barely standing up today. This week has been hell on wheels for me as I start moving a few cases closer to the mythical beast that is a civil trial, intake a few new clients, and wade through literal mountains of case citations to figure out just where we stand on a few things. Kids, if you ever say you want to be a lawyer because of some desire to be the center of attention in a courtroom or some perverse, almost obsessive, love of Sam Watterson (Oh Sammy, you can move to dismiss my affections, but you can’t object in my dreams), remember that those moments are few and far between for the civil attorney. The vast majority of cases settle long before trial, and they settle because of the huge amounts of research you put into a case as it progresses until you can make something that resembles a cogent argument.

I mean, guys, legal research is fucking complicated, even with the advent of computer searches like WestLaw, Lexis, FastCase, and, uh…those other ones. That, of course, is assuming you have access to all of those things,  because some lawyers and law offices don’t. They hate efficiency and ease of practice and prefer to sentence associates to wander the stacks of the local law library in search of some tattered copy of a state reporter to look up one case from 1890 that somehow barely touches on the issue at hand, then track the entire line of cases down with cross-references and reviews the whole damn time.

In other words, this shit, doing legal research and knowing what you’re looking for, is hard.

So that’s why South Dakota has decided inmates can just sort of…wing it.

Continue reading “South Dakota Prisoners: “Siri, What’s the Appellate Standard of Review for…””

New Milford Hates Fetishes: Politics, Optics, and Fetishes

So I was gonna spend some time today on the whole “1L Guidance” thing again, but you know when life reaches up and smacks you around a little? That happened Friday evening as I was preparing to go out and be the Amazing Dancing Badger for a group of furries in Connecticut over the last weekend. This time, the dose of reality came in the form of a link from the super-secret LawyerSlack, a place where attorneys gather…you know, like a Bar Association meeting but with less liquor and pretentiousness.  Someone posted an article about a Connecticut Councilman from the town of New Milford who “voluntarily resigned” after his participation in a certain fandom – possibly one filled with large talking animals and a love of the movie Zootopia – became even more exposed than it had been before.

And, because I’m not a goddamn fan of hypocrisy, let’s talk about this shit.

Continue reading “New Milford Hates Fetishes: Politics, Optics, and Fetishes”

The ABA Is Pointless: Boozy’s Take on the American Bar Association.

So back in 1878, 75 lawyers from all across the country had a collective seizure and somehow found themselves in Saratoga Springs, New York. While for many people, that many lawyers in one place at the same time would be the basis for a really good joke, for lawyers it of course meant that they needed to all meet and form an organization. This organization was the American Bar Association, and we’ve been desperately trying to free ourselves from the yoke of association ever since.

Of course, it immediately fucking transformed itself into the Evil Empire of the legal profession, insinuating its way pointlessly into the day-to-day life of the lawyer and somehow gaining the reins of power over entry into the fucking legal profession itself, despite having no real authority to oversee the practice of law fucking anywhere.

Yeah, this is one of those posts.  Enjoy the ride.

Continue reading “The ABA Is Pointless: Boozy’s Take on the American Bar Association.”

A Porpoise’s Take on the Executive Order

I wondered if perhaps the administration was trolling us when it decided to issue an Executive Order (EO) restricting entry to the United States to (a) citizens and (B) visa holders from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and Sudan.  This is your new axis of evil.  A combined 218 million people who, when they aren’t struggling to survive each day despite disease and war, are obviously bloodthirsty terrorists just waiting to cause the destruction of the United States.

Look, the world is a really scary place, but it’s a really fucking scary place if you’re a person without a state or one who is wanted dead by the State.  We, as humans, do this not infrequently when the shit gets rough.  We blame groups of people, saying that we lost our jobs or our spouses or our savings or our lives because they took them; because they ­exist.  Japanese internment camps; the turning away of Jewish refugees from Europe; the Chinese under Pres. Arthur;  the Irish and the Italians, to all varying degrees they’ve been ostracized or rejected because we thought that they would bring us (or commit against us) unspeakable harm.  For the past 15 years it’s been Muslims.  Nary a day goes by since 2001 that Muslims are on the lips of someone talking about destruction and violence.  About how they’re bloodthirsty savages or how the religion’s existence is an existential threat to us all.

Now, the President has significant authority to set immigration policy when it comes to the borders, I won’t dispute that.  And I agree that, if you can identify individuals that pose a threat to the US, you should keep them out.  Let’s assume that the ban on these 7 groups of nationals is totally constitutional, I just don’t think it will work.  ISIS is not in the invasion-of-the-West business; they just simply do not have the manpower or the desire to do so.  It is far more effective to instill hate and fear in people and let their own prejudices and fears do the rest.  Will some of those people be willing to attempt entry into the US? Sure, of course they will, but it’s just as likely that this hypothetical guy or gal is coming from Belgium, France, the UK, Russia or one of the former Soviet Union members, so this policy really does nothing to secure anything.

I keep hearing that this isn’t a Muslim ban, that countries with the most Muslims aren’t banned. If tomorrow I was able to issue an EO which said “no one from Israel is allowed a visa to enter the US” what the fuck do you think would happen? You would call me an anti-Semite for putting up a ban of Jewish entry to the US, despite the Jewish diaspora’s enormity.  It doesn’t matter if there are more Muslims in Indonesia that in one of those seven nations.  If anything, that turns the ban into an ethnic ban, rather than a religious one.  We can have that fight too, if you want.

Can someone tell me what happens when a Kurd from Iraq seeks entry?  The President added in his comments on the EO that the exception for persecuted religious minorities is intended to help Christians.  If that doesn’t put a fine enough point on this being a religious preference or test, then let’s meet back here after DHS denies a Kurd, Yazidi or Zoroastrian, because it will most certainly happen.

I need to end this here and ask if this whole exercise of being afraid and angry is exhausting to anyone else?  I mean, I’m not even one of those with a venomous tongue and I’m so fucking tired.  I have to imagine others are too; I have to imagine that we could have put all this effort into something more useful.  But I think it’s convenient and easy to hate on groups and restrict their rights than it is to enhance rights of everyone, to make your own situation better.  It’s sloth that brings us to this state, not hate.  Were we not lazy, we’d look into the numbers and realize that Donald Trump’s assets are conveniently unaffected by the ban.  We’d realize that ISIS is taking every contextless tweet of Donald’s and live-streaming under the narrative of the US hunting down Muslims.  It used to be that they had to twist our words and actions, lie to their prisoners (that’s what they are, those living under ISIS control), they had to spin our conduct to look like we hated Muslims.  Now, they just need to retweet our President.  Honestly, I think the ISIS marketing department is probably going to be let go because there isn’t any fucking work left, just tell your followers to follow @realDonaldTrump.

-Habeas Porpoise