Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Around The Nation

Governing body of high school athletics and activities to let transgender students decide gender play themselves
RENO, NV -- The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, (NIAA) is considering granting transgender students the right to decide for themselves whether to play on either male or female sports school teams. NIAA's legal counsel, Paul Anderson, told Nevada media outlets Monday,
"Issues with respect to high school athletics has become somewhat of a larger and open issue on a national basis." 
He noted that Transgender students are a small but growing group across the nation, and Nevada plans to stay ahead of the curve. 
"We don't have the policy out there and those types of students may not know that they have the ability to come to us to seek eligibility," Anderson said adding, 
"From choosing the sport they want to play to the locker room they want to use, the policy will give transgender students the right to choose. At least we have something to reference at this point. It may not be officially adopted but we have a working document that we can use should this situation arise at this point."
High school athletics in the United States are principally gender-exclusive which tends to not make allowances for transgender players particularly who identify with the opposite sex. However, nearly 7 states including Washington and California have adopted the policies to allow transgender students to compete on teams of their choosing.
Students will have to provide medical documentation and a statement from both the student and the parents on their gender identity.
"There are some concerns that some student athletes may abuse the policy from the standpoint of participation rules or for other reasons," Anderson said. 
"The policy will be written in a way that will weed through those situations and the only cases that might be considered under the policy would be true situations of transgender student athletes."
A revised draft of the policy with specifications will presented to the board in January to be finalized.

Anti-gay San Antonio councilwoman resigns to run for Texas state senate seat
San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan
SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio City Councilwoman who made national headlines this past summer after a secret recording of one of her staff meeting was leaked on which she was heard calling gays “disgusting,” resigned Monday and announced her intent to run for a Texas State Senate seat.
During a discussion of the city’s then proposed ordinance, councilwoman Elisa Chan is heard discussing why homosexuality is “so disgusting” and “against nature.”
The May 21 meeting with Chan and her staff was intended to chart policy strategy and response for the city’s plan to update its non-discrimination ordinance to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
But instead of focusing on the policy itself and how it’s going to affect the city, Chan steered the conversation to a discussion of “how disgusting homosexuality is,” according to James Stevens, the former staffer who leaked the recording earlier this week.
“I think it’s just disgusting just to even think about,” Chan is heard telling aides. “This is politically incorrect. I don’t think homosexual people should do adoption. They should be banned by adoption. You’re going to confuse those kids. They should be banned,” she said. 
“If you wanted to choose that lifestyle, we don’t want to discriminate you, but you shouldn't affect the young people,” she continued. “How terrible … They’re going to be confused. You see two men go into a bedroom. You see two women kissing. Is that not confusing? It’s confusing.”
The ordinance later passed without her support.
Chan resigned Monday in order to campaign for a state senate seat in a challenge to Republican incumbent Donna Campbell.
In her resignation letter, Chan said she was proud of her work on the council.
“I have done my best to represent the conservative values of these fine people,” she wrote. “The people of this district take an active role in deciding policy, giving their input, volunteering their time and listening to the views of their neighbors.”
Chan had also faced an ethics complaint filed by a city resident accusing her of violating city policies by using city staff, time and property for a “partisan political purpose,” as a result of the public release of the recording of the meeting.  The complaint was later dismissed late last month.
Chan's last day in office is next Friday, October 18.

Same-sex couples to receive fertility insurance coverage
SACRAMENTO -- Under a new law signed Tuesday by California Governor Jerry Brown, unmarried and same-sex couples will be given access to insurance coverage for fertility treatments mirroring regulations already in place for the state's heterosexual couples. The law known as AB 460 clarifies the non-discrimination provision of existing California law which requires health plans to cover fertility treatments, excluding In Vitro Fertilisation.
The bill's author and chief sponsor, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), said in a statement,
“Reproductive medicine is for everybody’s benefit. To restrict fertility coverage solely to heterosexual married couples violates California’s non-discrimination laws. I wrote this bill to correct that.”
At issue for same-sex gay couples has been that insurance coverage of fertility treatments typically does not kick in until couples have tried to conceive naturally for 12 months, the Associated Press reports. This has left some gay couples facing fertility treatments costing up to tens of thousands of dollars.
The California Association of Health Plans, which represents insurers, said its initial concerns with the bill were addressed and it took no position on the final version, CBS reports.
Judy Appel, executive director of Our Family Coalition, a San Francisco-based group that advocates for same-sex couples, said to the AP that the new law lifts a huge emotional and financial burden for gay couples.
"We have the right to marry now and this is further support for us to be able to create families," she said.