Posts Tagged ‘transgender’

Schools roundup

Schools roundup

  • Microaggression: you’re outta here. Smash vintage stained glass window on purpose: welcome back to Yale family [Inside Higher Ed, John McGinnis]
  • “Florida teenager threatens to sue after failing to make cheerleading squad” [New York Daily News]
  • “Did Chicago college fire professor because of his advanced age (illegal) or because he plagiarized 10,000 words in his textbook (legal)? Seventh Circuit: The evidence points to the latter.” [John Ross, Short Circuit]
  • Federal edicts on school discipline require educators to punish innocent, refrain from punishing guilty [Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial] Racial review of school discipline policy not working out well in St. Paul, Minn. [Katherine Kersten, The Federalist] De Blasio in NYC [Bob McManus, City Journal]
  • U.K.: head of lefty National Union of Students blames privatization of education for young people’s joining Islamic State [Nicola Woolcock, The Times]
  • “Does Title IX Prohibit Sexual Harassment in College, But Require It in Locker Rooms?” [Robby Soave, Reason]
  • Free speech roundup

    • No, the “government can’t make you use ‘zhir’ or ‘ze’ in place of ‘she’ and ‘he'” [Josh Blackman, Washington Post; earlier on NYC human relations commission guidelines; Hans Bader/CEI on new D.C. rules along similar lines]
    • Matt Welch on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the “casually authoritarian” movement to harass and legally penalize climate deniers [Reason] While styled as fraud probe, AGs’ climate denial investigation is essentially a SLAPP suit meant to silence advocacy [Ronald Bailey; letter from 13 attorneys general critical of probe] As one skirmish ends, expect wider war to continue, as Virgin Islands AG withdraws widely flayed subpoena against our friends at Competitive Enterprise Institute [John Sexton] Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey now chasing “right-leaning groups that have never received a penny from Exxon” including local political foe Beacon Hill Institute [Hans Bader/CEI] We’re the ones asking questions around here: AGs dodge public record/FOIA requests on probe [Chris Horner/Fox News]
    • “N.Y. Senate passes bill banning funding for university student groups that ‘encourage’ ‘hate speech'” [Eugene Volokh]
    • Licensing and other laws often restrict what members of professions and occupations can say, a problem that deserves more and better First Amendment scrutiny than it’s gotten [Timothy Sandefur, Regulation]
    • Ninth Circuit will review ruling striking down Idaho ag-gag law [Baylen Linnekin on appellate amicus, Idaho Statesman, NPR last year]
    • Ken White on why it’s okay to loathe Gawker and its actions but still see the danger in Thiel/Hogan episode [L.A. Times, related Dan McLaughlin, earlier]

    Pronoun prescription and co-workers’ rights

    We earlier this year noted the New York City Human Rights Commission guidance directing that businesses may be fined if they do not use customers’ desired pronouns in relation to questions of gender, including preferred usages such as “ze” and “hir.” Now Eugene Volokh, who wrote about the earlier story, points out a recent Oregon settlement in which pronoun issues (the employee prefers to be called “they”) appeared to play an important part:

    The school district agreed to settle the claim for $60,000 “as compensation for actual damages, emotional distress and attorney fees,” and with the district promising to “develop official guidance documents for administrators/staff that address working with transgender staff”; the documents, to be developed together with “TransActive and the District equity team,” will address, among other things, “pronoun usage.” “[V]iolations of the guidance will be grounds for discipline.”

    But it is not at all clear, as Volokh notes, that it is respectful of co-workers’ rights to require them on pain of official discipline to employ “highly conspicuous, nonstandard usage.” Should instances of not doing so be defined as “harassment” or “discrimination,” they can bring with them serious legal consequences. Public employers such as school districts do have some legitimate managerial interests which can call for, e.g., standardizing forms of address in their workplace. On the other hand, novel pronoun coinages relating to gender are often praised as a way “to convey an idea about language and how language should be” — put more sharply, to convey particular ideological stances about issues of gender identity. We already know that under current interpretations of First Amendment law, government cannot require ordinary non-political employees on pain of dismissal to affirm propositions such as “Live Free Or Die” or the Pledge of Allegiance. A similar principle might extend — or? — to rules exacting affirmative ideological avowals of other sorts. More: Hans Bader, CEI.

    May 24 roundup

    • Not the theater’s fault, says a Colorado jury, rejecting Aurora massacre suit [ABA Journal, earlier here, here, and here, related here, etc.]
    • Senate GOP could have cut off funds for HUD’s social-engineer-the-suburbs power grab, AFFH. So why’d they arrange instead to spare it? [Paul Mirengoff/PowerLine, more, earlier] Related: federal judge Denise Cote denies motion to challenge supposed speech obligations of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino under consent decree with HUD [Center for Individual Rights; earlier here, here, etc.]
    • “Earnhardt Family Fighting Over Whether One Earnhardt Son Can Use His Own Last Name” [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
    • Freddie Gray charges, bad new laws on pay, the state’s stake in world trade, armored vehicles for cops, bar chart baselines that don’t start at zero, and more in my latest Maryland policy roundup [Free State Notes]
    • “You can be fined for not calling people ‘ze’ or ‘hir,’ if that’s the pronoun they demand that you use” [Eugene Volokh on NYC human rights commission guidance]
    • Despite potential for schadenfreude, please refrain from taxing university endowments [John McGinnis]

    Deirdre McCloskey on the bathroom battle

    I was hoping/waiting to hear what eminent economist Deirdre McCloskey, born Donald, would have to say about the transgender bathroom flap. Wish granted, thanks to Warren Coats and his blog:

    Before I “passed” (surgery, working at it) I was frightened to go into a ladies’ room, but I could hardly go into a men’s room in a dress. You can imagine how dangerous that would be! I was allowed to put Female on my driver’s license in tolerant Iowa in 1995. But you are right that it is unwise in such matters if nothing much is going wrong to stir things up. I’ll bet now that Iowa has rules from the state. Then it was left to Iowans’ ample common sense. My passport F was tougher—I wept to the woman at the New Hampshire passport office, and she relented and sent my passport the day before I was boarding a flight to go to Holland to teach for a year, in January 1996. So the State Department unofficially was cool. A year later I tried to get Harvard to change my degree from Harvard College class of ’64 to the women’s college, Radcliffe. The male dean I spoke to thought not. I whined, “But the State Department had no problem giving me an F passport.” With a smile in his voice he replies, “But Harvard is older than the State Department!”

    “There’s more on all this in my memoir of my transition, Crossing: A Memoir (1999 University of Chicago Press).

    “The bathroom “issue” is entirely phony. It has never been a problem. Anyway, if men wanted to sneak in (they don’t), they could always have done so, with or without North Carolina’s law. How is it to be enforced? DNA testing by the TSA at every bathroom door? Anyway, your house has a unisex bathroom, I presume, and in Europe they are not entirely uncommon—after all, the stalls have doors. Etc, etc. On both sides it is just a club to beat up the other side in the silly Cultural Wars, and to make people hate and disdain each other. Adam Smith would not have approved.”

    Meanwhile, Hans Bader argues that the Obama administration stands on very shaky ground both legally and prudentially in trying to impose a single nationwide set of practices by way of Title IX and funding cutoffs, aside from whether that set of practices is in fact the right one. More: Richard Epstein/Hoover, Roger Pilon/Cato, Robby Soave/Reason, Neal McCluskey (no relation)/Daily Caller, and earlier here and here on the North Carolina law.

    More state battles on religion, sex, and discrimination law

    Enough already with the bans on so-called inessential travel: short of an impending civil war, boycotts, sanctions, and embargos against U.S. states by the governments of other U.S. states and cities are a truly bad idea [Nathan Christensen, Washington Post]

    Relatedly, Gillian White quotes me in the Atlantic on North Carolina’s HB 2 controversy, the latest in a series of battles over discrimination law, religion, business, and LGBT persons, at this point almost entirely symbolic to large publics on both sides, with the considerable differences between particular enactments (Georgia, Mississippi, Indiana, etc.) seeming to matter relatively little. Finding accurate reporting on what the employment provisions of North Carolina’s HB 2 would do is not easy, as Robin Shea discovered [Employment and Labor Insider]

    Finally, I’ve got a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal responding to an opinion piece the paper had run by Georgia state senator William Ligon:

    Sen. Ligon misstates the scope of North Carolina’s new law when he writes that “the new law simply prevents local governments from forcing business owners to adopt” policies on transgender bathroom use. As a libertarian, I would be fine with the new law if that were all it did, but in fact Sen. Ligon is describing only Part III of the bill. Part I of the bill imposes affirmative, uniform new duties of exclusion on North Carolina government entities such as schools, town halls, courthouses, state agencies and the state university system, taking away what had generally been at local discretion. This not only will inflict needless burdens on a small and vulnerable sector of the public, but presumes to micromanage local governments and districts in an area where they had not been shown to be misusing their discretion. Whatever the merits of the rest of the bill, the provisions on state-furnished bathrooms are a good example of how legislation in haste from the top down can create new problems of its own.

    Walter Olson
    Cato Institute

    Labor and employment roundup

    • “Lying to Doctors for Fitness for Duty Exam Can Still Get You Fired …But Only If You’re a Police Officer” [Connecticut cop smashed into two cars during epileptic seizure; Daniel Schwartz]
    • “Emotional labor”: is having to be cheerful to customers a form of capitalist slavery? [Tim Noah v. Andrew Sullivan]
    • CalPERS: “The pension fund that ate California” [Steve Malanga, City Journal]
    • Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), other “worker centers” on the rise: “Will ‘alt-labor’ replace unions?” [Salon; critical anti-ROC site via Matt Patterson/CEI]
    • Without benefit of an act of Congress, EEOC is interpreting the law to prohibit transgender bias [Workplace Prof]
    • “The Nation: Government-Mandated Lunch Breaks are Somehow Libertarians’ Fault” [Shackford, Reason]
    • Historian challenges received account of Haymarket Affair [Ron Radosh]