February 27th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Complaint filed in transgender child's case

A civil rights complaint is being filed on behalf of a transgendered child barred by her Colorado school district from using girls' restrooms, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

The complaint to a Colorado civil rights agency, on behalf of 6-year-old Coy Mathis, will be the first to challenge a restriction on a transgender person's bathroom use under Colorado's anti-discrimination laws, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund told reporters in Denver.

First-grader Coy, who was born with male sex organs but identifies herself as female, had been allowed to use her school's girls' bathrooms until school officials barred her from doing so after winter break, her family says.

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Obama DOJ weighs in on marriage law
Same-sex marriage proponent Kat McGuckin of New Jersey holds a gay marriage pride flag in front of the Supreme Court last fall (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
February 22nd, 2013
09:12 PM ET

Obama DOJ weighs in on marriage law

In a preview of a major constitutional showdown at the Supreme Court over same-sex marriage, the Obama administration said Friday that a federal law denying financial benefits to legally wed gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional.

The Justice Department filed the first of a series of briefs in a pair of cases dealing with the multi-layered issue, outlining the executive branch's positions.

The high court will hear oral arguments next month on the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 congressional law that says, for federal purposes, marriage is defined only as between one man and one woman.

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February 14th, 2013
01:22 AM ET

Illinois Senate to vote on same-sex marriage bill on Valentine's Day

The Illinois Senate will vote Thursday Valentine's Day on whether to legalize same-sex marriage.

Because Democrats have supermajority control of the General Assembly, the measure is expected to be approved. After the Senate vote, the measure would be considered by the House.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has indicated he would sign the bill.

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Filed under: Gay and lesbian • Gender • U.S.
September 26th, 2012
08:16 PM ET

We asked, you answered: Are we really ready to take a look at 'real women'?

There is arguably not much shock value left in Lady Gaga’s out-there and often barely there wardrobe choices. But when the superstar singer decided to bare it all this week showing nothing but a simple bikini, her bod and a few extra pounds, the world stopped to stare – and comment - once again.

Gaga, admitting a longtime struggle with bulimia, proclaimed on her blog that she was embracing her new curves and urged her “little monsters” to do the same.

Photos: Gaga's new curves and most memorable looks

Meanwhile, fashion designer Ralph Lauren made headlines of its own by hiring Australian plus-size model Robyn Lawley. Lawley stands 6-foot-2 and wears a size 12.

The intense focus on fuller figures prompted Lesley Kinzel, associate editor at xoJane.com and the author of "Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body" to write a piece for CNN.com asking our audience "Are we really ready to take a look at 'real women'?"

The CNN community responded to the question in droves. Check out our roundup of conversations about body image happening on CNN.com.

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Filed under: Advertising • Comments • Gender • Overheard on CNN.com
August 20th, 2012
07:53 PM ET

Comments: Akin's 'legitimate rape' remark draws ire across political spectrum

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican Senate candidate from Missouri, caused a firestorm of controversy because of his remarks about "legitimate rape" and opposing abortion in rape cases. Akin has since apologized, but readers of all political persuasions seemed mostly unified in opposition to Akin's remarks; they tended to differ much more when talking about what those words actually mean politically.

Akin remarks put abortion at center of campaign debate

Mark Ivy, who describes himself as an independent who plans to vote for Mitt Romney, said he believes Akin should bow out of his senatorial race.

"We need people who can judge what is fact from fiction, no matter one's personal ideology," he said via e-mail. "We need people who can tell that if it is raining you take an umbrella when you go out."

His CNN iReport video commentary riffed off Missouri's oft-debated "Show Me State" nickname, which the Missouri Secretary of State website defines as the "stalwart, conservative, noncredulous character of Missourians." His strong stance attracted several commenters, including CKThompson, below.

k3vsdad: "While many are seeing this as a discussion on abortion, to me it is rather a question of judgment and common sense. The congressman, who is standing his ground and vowing to stay in the race, is to me a failure on two very important concerns that voters in the Show Me State should be focusing.
"Show me good judgment – Akin in his remarks fails on this.
"Show me common sense – Akin fails on this as well."

CKThompson: "There is no defending his statement in this case ... it was completely absurd. But to eliminate him as a viable candidate because of an absurd statement is, in itself, absurd. As I said on another iReport, if we eliminated every politician who said something stupid during a campaign, every capitol and statehouse would be empty."

But then we found Ivy becoming the commenter on another video commentary iReport from Egberto Willies of Kingwood, Texas. Willies said he believes many evangelicals are "comfortable with" Akin's views, and added that he also sees a "war against women" welling up in portions of the Republican Party.

"Akin's comments were backward, offensive, and showed a complete disregard for women," Willies said. That got a response from several commenters, including Ivy. FULL POST

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Filed under: Abortion • Comments • Gender • Missouri • Politics • U.S.
May 20th, 2012
06:39 AM ET

Transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant falls short of title

Jenna Talackova, the 23-year-old woman who forced Donald Trump and his Miss Universe Canada pageant to end its ban on transgender contestants, fell short of the national title Saturday night at the pageant in Toronto.

The crown went to Sahar Biniaz, an Indian-born, Iranian-raised actress from Vancouver. Biniaz, 26, will represent Canada at the Miss Universe pageant in December, according to the Miss Universe Canada website.

Talackova didn't walk away from the pageant empty-handed. In addition to finishing among the top 12 semi-finalists, Talackova tied with three other contestants for the title of Miss Congeniality.

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Filed under: Canada • Gender • Showbiz • World
D.C. moves to adjust divorce law for same-sex marriages
Same-sex marriages are recognized in only a handful of jurisdictions nationwide.
January 11th, 2012
12:31 PM ET

D.C. moves to adjust divorce law for same-sex marriages

The Washington City Council is on track to make it easier for same-sex couples who got married in the District of Columbia to get divorced.

D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson proposed the legislation after hearing reports that same-sex couples who wed in the District were being denied divorces after moving to jurisdictions that don't recognize same-sex marriages. The District of Columbia began allowing same-sex marriages in 2010. But those marriages are recognized in only a handful of places, meaning divorce proceedings can't be started in many places that haven't recognized the marriages in the first place.

"I received a number of reports from couples or attorneys about this impossible situation," Mendelson told the Washington Examiner.

Mendelson's bill removes a six-month waiting period during which someone seeking a divorce must reside in the District, provided the marriage occurred in the District in the first place.

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington has applauded Mendelson's bill.

"This bill fills a gap in the law created by our being ahead of the historical curve. None of us celebrates the dissolution of a marriage, but equality under the law must extend to every contingency. The lack of a clear legal mechanism for divorce can make an unhappy situation much worse for all involved," Rick Rosendall, the alliance's vice president for political affairs, said in a statement.

The bill was co-sponsored by seven other members of the 13-member council, meaning final passage is likely.

Approval by the mayor or an override of a veto is required, as is a 30-day congressional review period, before the measure can become law.

Australian passports now offer gender option 'X' for intersex people
September 15th, 2011
10:32 AM ET

Australian passports now offer gender option 'X' for intersex people

In a move the Australian government hopes will help remove discrimination against intersex or transgender people, the country's passports will now offer three options: male, female and indeterminate, the government said Thursday.

"This initiative is in line with the Australian Government’s commitment to remove discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or sex and gender identity," according to the Australian Passport Office. "The policy removes unnecessary obstacles to recording a person’s preferred gender in their passport."

Those who do not identify themselves as male or female will no longer be required to check off the "M" or "F" box under gender, but instead will have the option of checking "X," according to the new passport rules.

“This amendment makes life easier and significantly reduces the administrative burden for sex and gender diverse people who want a passport that reflects their gender and physical appearance," Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said.

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