transgender

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - Three Montgomery County high schools are making graduation robes gender-neutral with one color to respect transgender students.

Damascus, Sherwood and Walter Johnson High Schools have shifted to single-color robes this year, instead of two separate colors for males and females.

At least five others have decided to make the change next year.

Principals say student letters played a role in the decision.

The change comes amid growing awareness of the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students nationwide.

msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its 90-day legislation session at midnight Monday. Here is a look at some of the legislation that has been passed so far:

FRACKING MORATORIUM

Permits to conduct hydraulic drilling for natural gas using the process known as fracking could not be granted in Maryland until October 2017.

STORMWATER FEES

State-mandated stormwater management fees would end, but nine counties and the city of Baltimore would need to show they are paying to meet federal mandates to clean polluted stormwater.

national coalition against censorship

The National Coalition Against Censorship is weighing in on a request by a member of the Indian River School Board to remove lessons from the school curriculum.

These include the definitions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender as well as information on STD’s, HIV and pregnancy prevention instead of abstinence.

The Coalition says to deny students such information because of anyone’s religious or other personal beliefs raises serious First Amendment concerns and would compromise the public education system.

Don Rush

A meeting of the Indian River School board this week saw a number of residents get up to speak out about remarks by board member Shaun Fink who is opposed to teaching about sexual orientation.

During the session on Monday Cole Haden, a senior at Sussex Central, told the board that Fink's remarks allowed him to stand up for equality for gays, lesbians and transgenders as well as for fairness and tolerance.

He was only one of 10 people who spoke at the meeting where around 100 people were in attendance.

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The Delaware State Human Relations Commission has asked for a meeting with the Superintendent of the Cape Henlopen School District over issues related to the LGBT community.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that minutes from an August 14th meeting of the commission said it is looking into a number of issues.

These include a teacher disparaging gays in a Human Development class at Cape Henlopen High School and the decision to deny the Gay-Straight Alliance Club from wearing rainbow colored stoles at graduation.

Delaware Department of Correction

Lakisha Short is a transgender who is serving a 55 year sentence in Delaware state prison.

Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is helping her get her name changed to Kai – a request that has been denied by two courts.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that court documents says the 34-year old Short self-identifies as a male and wants to be known by the more masculine name of Kai as a first step.

Delaware state law only allows a name change for a sincerely held religious belief not for gender identification.

Indian River School District

As the Indian River School District ponders what to include in its textbooks for a new health curriculum one school board member objected to any discussion of gender identity.

The definitions in the lesson plan included heterosexual, straight, homosexual, gay, lesbian and bisexual.

But during a workshop board member Shaun Fink said he did not want any discussion of gender identity or homosexuality.

The definitions also cover transgendered people and gender roles.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - An effort to repeal a bill banning discrimination against transgender people in Maryland has fallen short.

Backers of a petition to repeal the bill conceded Sunday that they gathered about 1,000 fewer signatures than they needed to get the issue on the November ballot.

The bill would ban discrimination against transgender people on matters relating to housing, employment, credit and use of public accommodations.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley is scheduled to sign a measure aimed at stopping discrimination against people who are transgender.

O'Malley has a bill signing ceremony scheduled for Thursday in Annapolis, where he will sign other measures as well. The law will prohibit discrimination on matters relating to housing, employment, credit and use of public accommodations.

The law would take effect on Oct. 1. However, a group of opponents hopes voters will get the last say. Opponents contend the measure would allow predators into opposite sex restrooms.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Two Maryland legislators have launched a petition drive to have the state's new law barring discrimination against people who are transgendered brought to a referendum.

Republican Delegates Neil Parrott and Kathy Szeliga announced the drive on MDPetitions.com at a news conference Tuesday. Parrott is chairman of MDPetitions.com.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure to prevent discrimination against people who are transgender has cleared the Maryland General Assembly.

The House of Delegates passed the measure 82-57 on Thursday. That sends a bill already passed by the Senate to Gov. Martin O'Malley. Nina Smith, an O'Malley spokeswoman, says he will sign the measure.

The bill aims to stop discrimination on matters relating to housing, employment, credit and use of public accommodations.

Passage came after long debate.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has passed a bill to prevent discrimination against people who are transgender.

The Senate voted 32-15 on Tuesday for the measure.

It aims to stop discrimination on matters relating to housing, employment, credit and use of public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants.

There were 31 Democrats who voted for the bill and one Republican. There were 11 Republicans who opposed the bill, and four Democrats.

The measure now goes to the House of Delegates

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's Senate is set to vote on a bill to protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and other areas.

The bill's third reading is scheduled for Friday morning's Senate session.

Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat, filed the bill. Twenty-four other Senators are also sponsoring it.

A parallel bill filed in the House by Del. Luke Clippinger is awaiting a committee hearing on March 5.

U.S. MIlitary

A transgender activist, who testified in the trial of Bradley Manning who faces 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents, says she is not surprised that Manning want to be known as a woman.

Maryland News Connection reporter Allison Burns reports that the activist who has exchanged personal online message with Manning says she has undergone the therapy herself.

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House Approves Bill

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has approved a Senate bill outlawing discrimination against transgender people in Delaware.

The bill was approved on a 24-17 vote Tuesday and now goes back to the Senate for consideration of a House amendment

The legislation adds gender identity to the list of protected nondiscrimination categories, including race, age, religion and sexual orientation. It also allows for enhanced penalties under Delaware's hate crimes law for targeting someone based on his or her gender identity.

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Legislation

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House is set to vote on a bill aimed at protecting transgender people in Delaware by outlawing discrimination based on gender identity.

Tuesday's scheduled House vote could be the final legislative hurdle for the bill, which was approved by the Senate earlier this month.

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With the Delaware state legislature considering a law that would prohibit discrimination against transgender men and women, we reprise the AP award winning series by Jamyl Krempel. In part one, what is it like to discover that your sexual identity is not what most people might think.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A bill aimed at protecting transgender people in Delaware by outlawing discrimination based on gender identity has cleared a House committee.

The committee released the bill following a public hearing on Wednesday. It is scheduled for a House vote Tuesday.

The legislation, approved by the Senate last week, adds gender identity to the existing list of protected nondiscrimination categories, including race, age, religion and sexual orientation.

gay rights symbol

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate has approved a bill to protect transgender people in Delaware by outlawing discrimination based on gender identity.

The bill was approved on an 11-7 vote Thursday. It now goes to the House.

The legislation adds gender identity to the existing list of protected nondiscrimination categories, including race, age and sexual orientation.

It also allows for enhanced penalties under Delaware's hate crimes law for targeting someone based on his or her gender identity.

gay rights symbol

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate could soon vote on a bill aimed at protecting transgender people in Delaware by outlawing discrimination based on gender identity.

After a public hearing Wednesday, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee said the bill could be ready for a floor vote as early as Thursday.

The legislation defines gender identity as "a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of the person's assigned sex at birth."

With a number of states now legalizing same sex marriage and the end of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military public opinion has clearly shifted toward this community.

In the mid-1990’s only 27 percent of Americans approved of same sex marriage.

Now the figure is 53 percent.

But while attitudes toward gays and lesbians have changed for those in the transgender community it can be a different story.

In the final part of our series Delmarva Public Radio’s Jamyla Krempel looks at their treatment by society, which can sometimes turn violent.

With eight states legalizing same-sex marriage and the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule that barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military a dramatic shift in public opinion has occurred over the last 15 years.

In the state of Maryland there has even been a shift in the polls over a measure on the November ballot that would legalize same sex marriage in the state.

In Delaware the state legislature approved a measure that recognized same sex civil unions.

This month Barney Frank wed his long time partner Jim Ready to become the first sitting congressman in a same-sex marriage.

Nationally, there are now eight states that have legalized same-sex marriage with a similar number recognizing same sex civil unions -- including Delaware.

In November, Marylanders will go to the polls to vote on whether to legalize same sex marriage.

Just this year, President Obama improved its chances for passage by his endorsement of same sex marriage.