Current and former students can probably agree on one thing: it's hard to get a restroom break during class

Current and former high school students can probably agree on one thing, it is hard to get a restroom break during class. For transgender teens, however, that difficulty is amplified.


Transgender Teens Remain Unprotected

By Quinton Reed


Wait Until After Class

Transgender girls are particularly vulnerable and being able to chose a bathroom that aligns with a person's identity is essential to their sense of well being

Transgender girls are particularly vulnerable

Current and former high school students can probably agree on one thing: it’s hard to get a restroom break during class. For transgender teens, however, that difficulty is amplified. Choosing a restroom that aligns with a transgender person’s identity is preferable to many trans teens as it can affirm their sense of self and – particularly for transgender girls – a sense of safety. When a school restroom choice is denied to the student, the basic and universal need to relieve one’s self becomes not only complex, but also heartbreaking and potentially dangerous.

Failure to Provide

In 2016, Donald Trump said that transgender students should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” His administration has thus far fallen short on supporting that statement. School restroom choice has, in fact, been dismissed by the Department of Education . Transgender teens asking for help from the department now have their cases indefinitely on hold or dismissed altogether. What is the justification for yet another denial of protection toward transgender teens and younger children? According to a Buzzfeed news interview with Department of Education spokesperson Liz Hill, the 1972 federal civil rights law Title IX does not include transgender students. The law, Hill says, “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”

What is Biological Sex, Anyway?

The 1972 amendment to Title IX does, in fact, fail to specify protection on the basis of gender identity, instead providing protection on the basis of “race, color, or national origin” as well as “on the basis of disability”. However, one must consider the definitions of “sex” when navigating the amendment. Time magazine’s article addresses the Trump administration’s relationship with the definition of sex; the concept of sex as binary is not only oversimplified but it is also wrong. If transgender students are not given their choice of restroom usage at school on the basis of Title IX’s exclusion, intersex people are also excluded because these individuals fail to fall within the commonly understood binary of sex.

Ignoring the DSM-5

Gender dysphoria is listed as a condition in the 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Gender dysphoria is listed as a condition in the 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Even if the definition of sex were to exclude transgender teens from protection under Title IX, the protection on the basis of disability is another angle to consider. Whether one considers a transgender person to have a mental disability or a physical disability, gender dysphoria is listed as a condition in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Again, the nature of transgenderism as a disability is a matter of debate. However, from a legal standpoint, gender dysphoria is considered a disability. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “treatment may focus primarily on affirming psychological support, understanding feelings and coping with distress, and giving children a safe space to articulate their feelings”. Affirmation can be given by granting school restroom choice; to deny treatment to those suffering with gender dysphoria can therefore be considered to be discrimination on the basis of disability.


The Education Department released a statement, saying it is “committed to defending the civil rights of all students and ensuring all students have an equal opportunity to learn in an environment free from harassment and discrimination”. Considering the amendments to Title IX, the agency has failed to protect transgender teens not only on the legal level but also on a personal one. As a result of feeling forced into using a school restroom of their assigned sex, transgender teens often suffer from emotional and physical discomfort. Faced with no choice, trans teens may fast in order to prevent the need to use the restroom, or simply wait to relieve themselves which can result in urinary tract infections and other complications.

Forceful Erasure

Department of Education under Betsy DeVos has worked with Trump to reduce protection of transgender teens.

Department of Education under Betsy DeVos has worked with Trump to cut protection of transgender teens

Speaking of the “commitment” of the Education Department, the 2017 election of Trump saw the removal of resources for transgender people, including information intended to help transgender teens and children fight for their right to choose their restrooms at school. Specifically, the resources deleted were to seven civil rights complaints and three federal court filings, including the court documents written under the Obama Administration in support of Gavin Grimm, whom – by no small coincidence – won his court case.

Moving Backwards

If the true intention of the Education Department was to give transgender students protection and assurance of equality of access opportunity, why remove resources that educate the transgender  community or their supporters? Is the Department afraid knowledge may stimulate activism? Furthermore, when the Trump administration rescinded Obama’s transgender rights directive, the rescission was based on the pressure of “significant litigation” from numerous states opposing the Obama directive.

Identification and Assignment

If true choice in bathroom access is to be achieved perhaps we should do some research on the effects of having people use the bathroom based on birth identification and assignment rather than identity choice. Research should be a priority. In order to accurately research the matter of transgender rights, it would make sense to pool research from the party affected most: transgender people. Yet, the removal of resources on the Education Department website suggests there is little concern with transgender rights; and such conduct by the department shows little interest in providing protection to a group in great need.

Slaps on the Wrist

Multiple cases have been brought against the Dept of Ed to protect transgender teens.

Multiple cases have been brought against the Dept of Education to protect transgender teens.

Even with the removal of resources, the few transgender students that have managed to make their cases known to the Department of Education have steadily had their cases dismissed. During an investigation conducted by Politico, five of the six complaints regarding trans students’ bathroom rights were dismissed; that’s over 80 percent. Furthermore, the language of one dismissal letter, given to Texas high school student Alex Howe by the Title IX compliance officer for his school’s district, is not only insensitive but also incorrect. The school district’s “investigation” concluded Howe was “provided with equal access to all school facilities as there was a plan in place for (him) to use a particular restroom which was gender neutral,” according to compliance officer Valerie Little.

Separate But Not Equal

Which is by its nature not equal. Alex Howe identifies as male, not as “gender neutral”. No other students were required to use the gender neutral bathroom. This designation of a “gender neutral” bathroom versus the binaric “male/female” restrooms used by Howe’s peers is the problem. The “gender neutral” designation invalidates Howe’s identity as male, reducing him to “none of the above”. Quite simply unless all bathrooms are gender neutral, such designation is an act of segregation.  The policy designates a space where a transgender student is “expected” to be and where a transgender student is “not allowed”.

Federal Courts Know Better

Trans teens are forced into using a school restroom of their assigned gender

Trans teens are forced into using a school restroom of their assigned birth gender

While the Department of Education continues to attest to a lack of clarity in Title IX as being grounds for exclusion, federal appeals courts in the 6th and 7th circuit have already ruled that Title IX does indeed allow transgender students the right to choose the restroom matching their gender identity. As highlighted in the 7th circuit court case Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, a three-judge panel came to the conclusion that “policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX.”

It’s Even Worse

Current and former high school students are not being protected by Trump administration

The Trump administration is not protecting transgender teens.

The fact that the Education Department under DeVos ignores this ruling is bad enough, but to then dismiss all possibility of further ruling, after such a ruling, is wrong.  Refusal to accept the court mandate is to act in favor of prejudice. The agency presents itself as the protector of children, but under the Trump administration, it has not only under performed but intentionally regressed. To refuse a child’s right to feel comfortable when they are extremely vulnerable is cruel and unconscionable. These kids are human beings and our human physiology requires defecation and elimination. Such actions by both federal and local school authorities is inexcusable and indefensible, regardless of the “definition” of “biological sex”.


Animal Cruelty Linked to Human Rights

Animal Cruelty Linked to Human Rights 

by Michael Leonard Douglas

Animal cruelty a world-wide issue

The goal is a balanced ecosystem. This means man needs to find ways to coexist with the multiple life forms that occupy the planet

Balance in the ecosystem is the goal. This means that we need to find ways to coexist.  

The goal should be a balance in the ecosystem for all living things to thrive.  There is no justification for the barbaric cruelty that takes place daily on every continent. It does not matter whether a human is involved or an animal.  Animal-human right’s activists advocate for treating all animals humanely. Can you imagine the outrage if human beings were held in cages and tortured regularly or were hunted down by wealthy adventurers seeking nothing more than a photo-op with a corpse, or a trophy for their wall?  It is time that humanity finds the resolve to develop a plan that promotes co-existence with the rest of the animal kingdom. Where balance of land and resources put an end to animal cruelty.

Basic needs

Scientifically, human beings are animals. Therefore, when we talk about human rights, there is no real conflict with animal rights. Those most basic rights (needs) for all creatures are to live freely, have access to food and water, a comfortable shelter/habitat; and lastly, security from unwarranted threat and mistreatment. Animal cruelty is denial of any of these basic needs. When any one of these basic rights is infringed upon repeatedly the entire ecosystem is thrown out of balance.

Animal right's advocates protest for the voiceless animals

Animal Rights advocates protest for the voiceless animals

View from the top

Since human beings are at the top of the chain and dominate every activity on the planet it is difficult to convince the global human population that we are equals with lesser animals. The term, “animal rights” was coined to give a voice to the millions of animals that face cruelty and slaughter every single day. There is no animal that is more intelligent than the human species and no species better able to launch and give voice to an appeal against animal cruelty than that carried on by its own species.

Links to animal cruelty and  family abuse

The link between animal cruelty and human rights is clear when we are willing to look at the evidence. Domestic abuse is not usually just an attack on one household member. The abusers target animals too. Most domestic animals that are mistreated are part of a paradigm of abuse. A study by the Animal Welfare Institute confirmed there is a connection between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic abuse.

Studies show a close connection between animal cruelty, child abuse and non-ending domestic violence

Studies are showing a close connection between animal cruelty, child abuse and non-ending domestic violence

Statistics are eye-opening

The Animal Welfare Institute study measured a strong connection between animal cruelty, child abuse, and non-ending domestic violence. According to their study, up to 72% of abused women reported a similar, if not brutal, abuse of their pets by their spouse or partner. The study shows that not only were the animals abused, but often killed in the process. In a similar study conducted nationwide, a staggering 84% of the people who reported domestic abuse also claimed that their pets were abused or brutally injured.

Animal Welfare Institute

Statistically there is a direct link between domestic violence and animal cruelty. The connection of these women (occasionally men) to their pets was found to be so strong that up to 49% of those reporting abuses chose to stay in the environment to protect their pets. These are shocking numbers and should be of great social concern. But is knowledge enough to turn social concern into social policy that safeguards both animal and human rights? A question not answered by the study was, is the cruelty toward the animals a characteristic trait of the abuser, or is it related to the human target of abuse and their relationship with the abused animal?

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Sexual Assault Is On Everyone’s Mind

How do we explain the last half of 2017? It is as if a huge segment of America’s women stood up in unison and screamed, “enough,” drawing a line in the sand. Sexual harassment will no longer be endured silently. No longer will abusers operate unrestrained.

Women Are Lining Up And Demanding That Sexual Harassment Come To A Stop

There seems to be a recent rejection of men dominating the decision making centers of business and government. Have we come to a time and place in our history where the accuser’s story will be believed and the accuser will not be re-victimized by people who pick through their lives like hyena’s in search of red meat.

In the United States the accused remains innocent until proven guilty. With that in mind, the onus seems to be shifting to those who have been accused of heinous acts, by people with nothing to gain but to bring some sense of personal retribution and public justice.

The court of public opinion has been convened. Beware of moral flattening, where years of predatory behavior requires the same punishment as a poor choice of words, or a thoroughly vetted news article is given the same weight as a Twitter comment.

The hand of public opinion is severing the heads of many people we admire for their art, athletic prowess, government policy, and leadership. But recent events are showing that rich and famous people can no longer hide their bad behavior. They are going to be made accountable.

The toppling of Harvey Weinstein has become a watershed moment in this movement toward equality. Harvey’s fall brought out a tsunami of charges against a series of powerful men including, Kevin Spacey, John Conyers, Al Franken, Louis CK, Charlie Rose, Mark Halerin, former presidents George H.W.Bush and Bill Clinton. And just this morning, Matt Lauer was fired after sexual harassment charges made against him were made public.

Powerful TV Anchor Matt Lauer Was Fired By NBC Over Sexual Allegations

Politics does seem to be at work, as we have all arrived simultaneously at the crossroads in our evolution as a society. Trump’s victory, despite his deeply problematic relationships with women, and the released ‘Access Hollywood’ tapes where the future president of the United States brags about sexual assault seems to have fed a slow burning fire. Charlotte Alter writing for Time magazine described the Trump victory this way, “the 2016 election was a referendum on what women could achieve and what men could get away with.”

But before Trump’s election, for the last couple years, beginning in the television and movie industry there has emerged a trend toward demanding recourse from powerful men. The first big show business name that comes to my mind is Bill Cosby, who’s criminal behavior began coming to light in 2014. Following Cosby came Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, both at Fox News. Fox News is currently under federal investigation for encouraging a “culture” of sexual harassment.

Megyn Kelly Was Awarded Multi-million Dollar Sex Harassment Settlement With Fox News

A majority of Americans will no longer stand by the results of that national election, and want immediate action to remedy the situation. On January 21, 2017 2.6 million concerned citizens took to the streets with the Women’s March. A new pressure, a mounting pushback seemed to be coalescing around Trump’s election.

The movement isn’t just about sexual harassment and assault. It is about a fair society in which all viewpoints are weighed and considered, and women are not held down when they resist sexual advances by bosses and clients of power.

Our houses of congress are obvious bastions of male dominance. That truth is witnessed every night on our television screens as the old white men trudge into focus. There is little semblance of equality. Women are organizing, speaking up and demanding that sexual harassment come to a halt, now.

Old, White Men Are In Control Of Policy Making In Washington DC And That Is A Major Stumbling Block For Equality

It is important that women seize this moment and demand access to the seats of power. Women must run for office. The gender break down of the current US congress is 19% women 81% men. This poor representation in Washington, DC comes at a great cost, policy wise. Women if they want equality, must take a larger role in government. Women’s issues will not be seriously addressed until women take their rightful and equal place in our government. Women should represent their gender needs in government at the same proportion as on Main Street.

Run baby, run.

Let’s make 2018 the Year of Women. Vote Blue. Stand up for your mom, your sister, your niece, your wife, your friend. Women know women’s issues. Let’s stop the abuse, let’s make our voices heard.

Calamity Politics is a progressive on-line political news magazine bringing the action of our government into your living room. Join the Resistance.


Time To Plug-In

Calamity Politics had a “plug-in failure” Sunday night.  The failure involved temporary loss of multiple features on the blog.  This failure was extremely aggravating, and it wasn’t resolved until Jane worked her magic.  However, she hasn’t been able to fix everything, yet. But, she is on it, and I’m sure all of our features will be available again, soon.

The reason I’m even mentioning our Calamity Politics catastrophe is because it demonstrates a life truth: shit happens. And when that shit happens to concern health care, there are several subsistence safety net programs for Americans. The big three are,  Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

My anger has grown steadily as the Republicans prepare to destroy American health care. Just  watching Mitch McConnell smirk into the camera surrounded by the Republican caucus sends me into a rage.   They are all looking tail-wagging happy with themselves.  Is that the way you are supposed to look when you are throwing millions of people’s lives  into chaos?

Last Week Police Pulled Disabled People From Wheelchairs, zip-tied And Arrested Them For Protesting Repeal Of ObamaCare

Last week in the Capitol of the United States of America handicapped individuals, protesting the proposed draconian cuts to Medicaid, were pulled from wheel chairs, zip-tied, and arrested.  It was one of the most disturbing and disgusting sights, I believe I have ever seen.

I believe the next 2 days are vital if we are to have any chance of stonewalling this legislation. Call Republican Senators and tell them to put conscience above party. Phone calls are very effective. Please call and demand they “vote no” on the Senate Repeal and Replace ACA bill.  Stop TrumpCare.

Call Republicans And Demand They Vote NO On Repealing ObamaCare

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White Supremacist Kills Two And Wounds Third

Ricky John Best Dead At 53

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Mechi Dead At 23

It was a sunny 80 degrees in Portland, Oregon on May 26, 2017 and three heroes emerged from the many on the Max Green Line that afternoon. It was 4:30 pm and the Line #3 train was headed East from downtown, crowded with homeward bound passengers. These people were just riding a train home and without warning, they were caught up in an American tragedy.

Two teenagers, one black girl, and one Muslim girl who was wearing the traditional head covering hijab became the target of a man using abusive language. A witness, identified as Evelin Hernandez 38, reported that the man became quite agitated and began yelling racial slurs at the two young women. According to Hernandez, the two young women tried to move to the back of the train, while the man continued his rant of insults.

As the teenagers moved away, the insults became more virulent and the situation appeared to quickly escalate. It was at this point, according to witnesses that two men, Best and Namkai-Mechi attempted to intervene and quiet the rowdy man. The agitator continued yelling “hate speech” at the retreating teens. In the midst of the man’s ranting and raving he pulled a knife, turned on the Good Samaritans and viciously stabbed and slashed the two men, slicing each of their necks. A third young man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher stepped in and attempted to stop the carnage, at which time the assailant turned his rage on Fletcher, who was also stabbed, and his throat slashed.

Micah David-Cole Fletcher
Recovering In A Portland Hospital

During the assault several passengers called 911 and police were dispatched to the scene. After the attack the perpetrator attempted to flee the scene. After running from the Hollywood Transit Station where the train had stopped, he was apprehended in a neighborhood close to Providence Medical Center, said Portland Police spokesman, Sgt Pete Simpson.

Proclaimed White Supremacist Alleged Killer of Two

In a prepared statement Simpson identified the alleged killer as Jeremy Joseph Christian, a 35 year old professed white supremacist with a long history of criminal activity, including felony robbery, kidnapping and weapons conviction. Christian served eight years in prison related to the armed robbery of a convenience store when he was 20. During that robbery Jeremy Christian was shot in the face by a Portland police officer during that arrest.

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The Trump War Against People Of Color

First Must Come Trust

“White is something, just like black is something.  Everybody born on this earth is something, and nobody, no matter what color, is better than anybody else.”  Mildred DeLois Taylor, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976)

The ‘Muslim ban’, ‘the wall’, ‘make America great again,” are all part of Trump and Bannon’s war against people of color.  If it’s just about terrorists getting into the country we should be screaming about that continent long border to the north.  If it is really about illegal immigration why hasn’t the president called for a sweep to pick up of all the Irish visitors who have overstayed their visa. 

Most Illegals Fly In And Overstay Visa

Statistics show that most of the illegal immigrants are here after overstaying legally obtained visas. These folks flew into the country, they didn’t walk across our southern desert.

This White House has been infiltrated by Russian sympathizers and white supremacists.  The public needs to continue a forceful push back against this rogue administration.  We are a country of laws.  We must guard civil rights, human rights  We cannot be bystanders to injustice and bigotry.  In 1939 it was the Eastern European Jews, in 1942 it was Japanese Americans, now in 2017 it is Latin Americans.

From leaked documents, it appears that Homeland Security has plans for the incarceration of as many as 20,000 immigrants for a period of time in “for profit prisons.”  Furthermore, Trump is considering a “catch and separate at the border,” whereby parents will separated from their children.  I can only imagine the horror and trauma such activities will have on these families.  I’m already crying.

How did this man get elected to the presidency? U.S. immigration policy needs to be fixed, so let’s do it. I believe we’re been talking about immigration policy for at least the last thirty years. But, I still have hope that we will protect the “dreamers” and come up with an immigration policy that takes into account all the lives his deportation operation is negatively effecting.

Fences Between Neighbors

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The Perils of Indifference

Elie Wiesel, teacher, writer, philosopher and Auschwitz death camp survivor, said in a speech before the US Congress in 1999, “indifference can be tempting-more than that, seductive.  It is much easier to look away from victims.  It is after all, awkward and troublesome to be involved in another person’s pain and despair.”

Three Types Of People, The Perpetrator, The Victim, The Bystander

Furthermore, “to be indifferent to that suffering makes the human being, inhuman.  Indifference is always the friend of the enemy, for it benefits the aggressor-never the victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten.  The political prisoner, the starving children, the homeless refugees-not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory.  And in denying their humanity, we betray our own.  Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.  Where I came from, society was composed of three simple categories: the killers, the victims, and the bystanders.”

The Guilt Of Doing Nothing

Today’s “bystanders,” want to look away from the victims, to look anywhere but in the direction of the suffering.

“I’m a good person,” President Trump said last week during a news conference.   A man with a heart, he tells us.  Why then Mr. President do you ignore the plight of the Syrian refugees?   The plight of these children is horrific.  We have all seen television clips of bloodied, crying and even dead Syrian children.  I have seen their pain.  I have heard their pleas.

Preisent Trump, are you listening, are you seeing, or are you just another bystander?

We are the wealthiest country on earth and home of the most generous people on earth and our basic instinct is to help, not turn away.  The American people want to help the world absorb the displaced refugees of Syria. 

Refugees Escape Syrian Holacaust

Give hope to those 1200 refugees currently housed by Australia.  Come on President Trump, don’t continue to look away, show your heart, show that “goodness” you were bragging about.

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