ehea update

11 08 2009

The Equal Housing and Employment Act (EHEA, HB 176) would prohibit discrimination in employment and housing in the state of Ohio based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. The summer recess is in full swing for the Ohio legislature, and, though we have some rumors that the House will bring it to a vote (and likely pass in that body) when it reconvenes in the fall, it has yet to really move to the Ohio Senate. Equality Ohio and Do What’s Right, Ohio! are encouraging supportive individuals to continue to contact their state Representatives through the summer, but the bill has made a little bit of news in the last week:

  • The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, which also supported the removal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, fully supports the implementation of LGBTQ employment and housing protections in the state.
  • On Top Magazine ran a piece on August 7th about EHEA. Kim Welter of Equality Ohio, the lead group lobbying for the bill, is quoted in the piece as saying: “We [Equality Ohio] would not support a bill that did not include gender identity.” Well done.

Make sure you continue to contact your State Representative and State Senator in support of the Equal Housing and Employment Act throughout the summer.

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making safer cincinnati schools

11 08 2009

Jason Haap, candidate for Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education and editor of the Cincinnati Beacon, wants the following section to be added to the district’s policies banning harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity:

Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Harassment

Prohibited sexual orientation harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, real or perceived, and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual’s work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one’s ability to participate in or benefit from a class or an educational program or activity. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity such as slurs, nicknames implying stereotypes, epithets, and/or negative references relative to said orientations or identities.

Last night, he and local activist Kathy Laufmann attended a CPS Board meeting to publicly state their support for the addition. Though the meeting was dominated by workers who came to discuss contracts and wages, Haap reports some positive response amidst mostly surprise for the issue. No one expected it.

I believe the Bush administration termed it “shock and awe.”

Currently, CPS does include gender and sexual orientation in its Nondiscrimation and Access to Equal Educational Opportunity policy, and the district does have policies on Anti-Harassment and Bully and Other Forms of Aggressive Behavior. The former policy — 5517 — currently elucidates harassment based on race/color, religion/creed, national origin, and disability. A slew of recent school bullying related deaths has sparked a national debate on anti-bullying legislation. Passing local rules against sexual orientation/gender identity harassment is the first step in expanding such protections to other school boards and the statewide educational system.

Write your local Board of Education members (link for CPS constituents) and encourage them to include the Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Harassment policy.





cleveland a finalist city for gay games 2014

30 07 2009

Proposed Theme for Gay Games Cleveland 2014

Proposed Theme for Gay Games Cleveland 2014

Thanks to UrbanCincy.com for the heads up:

Cleveland is a finalist to host the 2014 Gay Games, along with Washington, DC and Boston. UrbanCincy notes that the event could help pump nearly $60million into the northeastern Ohio economy, bringing in visitors and sportsmen from around the world. The bid was spearheaded by the Cleveland Synergy Foundation, and their full bid book is available online here.

The Gay Games have been around since 1984. Previous host cities have included New York City, Sydney (Australia), San Francisco, Vancouver, Amsterdam, and Chicago. The 2010 Games will occur in Cologne.