TIME movies

J.K. Rowling: Yes, There are LGBT Students at Hogwarts Too

Hogwarts is the place for diversity

On Dec. 16, J.K. Rowling finally revealed that there were Jewish students at Hogwarts. So fans started wondering: Were there LGBT students, as well?

The normally riddle-attuned Rowling provided a straightforward answer: “But of course.” While Rowling didn’t mention any names or a singular name (like in the case of Jewish wizard Anthony Goldstein), the author provided an illustration from The Youth Project, an LGBT organization from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to highlight her point.

Considering that some students of Hogwarts went on to become American law students and members of the Bling Ring, (from the movie version of Hogwarts at least), it’s safe to say that Hogwarts housed a pretty diverse group of highly gifted individuals. However, the one unrepresented group at Hogwarts? With a twist of irony, wiccans.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME language

Why It’s Best to Avoid the Word ‘Transgendered’

Laverne Cox Transgender Time Magazine Cover
Photograph by Peter Hapak for TIME

Katy Steinmetz is a TIME correspondent based in San Francisco.

With a federal LGBT non-discrimination bill in the pipeline, it's a good time to think about the words we use

Last week, Sen. Jeff Merkley announced that he will be introducing a comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination bill in the spring, which means, among other things, that a lot of lawmakers and media outlets are going to be making decisions about how they talk about LGBT people.

Reporting for TIME on transgender issues (particularly for what became the cover story “The Transgender Tipping Point”), there was one maxim that pretty much every person I interviewed seemed to agree on: there is no single story about being transgender that sums it all up, much like there’s no one story about being Hispanic or blonde or short or straight that sums that experience up. But I also came to learn that there are some good rules of thumb to follow when it comes to language.

For instance, if you meet a trans person—someone who identifies with a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth—it’s generally a good idea to ask which pronouns (he or she, him or her) they prefer and to use whatever that is. If you meet a trans person, you should not ask about the particulars of their body, much as you would likely prefer strangers not to inquire about yours. And if you meet a transgender person, you should not refer to them as “a transgender” or “transgendered.”

Referring to someone as “a transgender” can sound about as odd as saying, “Look, a gay!” It turns a descriptive adjective into a defining noun and can make the subject sound distant and foreign, like they’re something else first and a person second. This guidance is part of GLAAD’s media reference guide, under the heading “Terms to Avoid”: “Do not say, ‘Tony is a transgender,’ or ‘The parade included many transgenders.’ Instead say, ‘Tony is a transgender man,’ or ‘The parade included many transgender people.’” These key language nuances haven’t been consistently adopted by the media. For example, on Dec. 15, the Associated Press listed this story in among their “10 Things to Know For Today:”


Prosecutor says the 19-year-old American is accused of killing a transgender in a hotel room. (The story has since been updated to say a “transgender woman.”)

This is something TIME has done in the past, too.

Of course it’s hard to find a word in identity politics that goes undebated, that is universally panned or lauded as just right. Julia Serano, author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, says that older transgender people might prefer and use transgendered when speaking about themselves; in the 90s she recalls that term being de rigueur among trans activists.

But the language people use to refer to themselves, particularly minority groups, changes. Today some people prefer the abbreviated trans or trans*, and transgendered has largely fallen out of favor (though some media outlets are still using it). When I recently asked San Francisco-based attorney Christina DiEdoardo, a transgender woman, how many out of 10 trans people she knows would say they dislike the word transgendered, she quickly answered: “11.”

“The consensus now seems to be that transgender is better stylistically and grammatically,” DiEdoardo says. “In the same sense, I’m an Italian-American, not an Italianed-American.” The most common objection to the word, says Serano, is that the “ed” makes it sound like “something has been done to us,” as if they weren’t the same person all along. DiEdoardo illustrates this point, hilariously, with a faux voiceover: “One day John Jones was leading a normal, middle-class American life when suddenly he was zapped with a transgender ray!”

Moving away from the “ed”—which sounds like a past-tense, completed verb that marks a distinct time before and a time after— helps move away from some common misconceptions about what it means to be transgender.

One is that being transgender might be a choice that involves a person simply deciding to be that way or a result of something that happened to them, like sexual abuse. The majority of trans people I’ve spoken to have said they knew they had feelings of identifying as a boy (when assigned female) or girl (when assigned male) as far back as they can remember—even if they didn’t have the vocabulary or understanding to articulate what was going on—and even if they tried to change or stifle those feelings for half their lives. Imagine how it would sound if one described people as “gayed” or “femaled,” as if there was a point when that wasn’t the case.

Another misconception is that the defining part of being transgender is having surgery, as if a trans person isn’t really trans until they’ve gone under the knife and come out the other side fully “transgendered.”

“There’s a tendency in American culture for entertainment and news outlets to focus on surgery, surgery, surgery,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told TIME in a previous interview. But, she says, while surgery is very important for some trans people, others have no desire to have surgery; they might not have surgery for medical reasons, religious beliefs, financial constraints and so on. There’s an “authenticity issue that trans people face,” says Elizabeth Reis, a professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of Oregon. “People are so focused on whether or not they’ve had surgery, as if that’s the pinnacle of authenticity. Even if they haven’t had it or if they haven’t had it yet or they’re never planning on having it, they still have these feelings about their gender.” Avoiding the ed isn’t going to solve that authenticity issue, but it doesn’t hurt.

However, Keisling also says that focusing on whether the “ed” is tacked on the end of transgender can be a distraction. She believes it’s more important for everyone to be having a conversation about LGBT civil rights issues than to wag fingers at people over terminology. “I don’t ever want to say that communities or cultures can’t have language variations,” she says. “Language is very important and what people want to be called is very important. But we have to have a common language that we can bring people into. We have to have language that they can grasp.” And, she says, just as transgendered has become unpalatable, there’s no telling what will be preferred down the line.

Still, “for now,” Keisling says, “I would use the word transgender. Particularly if you are outside of the family, that’s going to be okay.” (If you have more questions about terminology, the GLAAD media guide is a great place to start.)

Katy Steinmetz is a TIME correspondent based in San Francisco. In addition to writing features for TIME and TIME.com, she pens a feature on language called Wednesday Words and organizes the occasional spelling bee. Her beat is wide but it thumps hardest in the Northwest.

Read next: Laverne Cox Talks to TIME About the Transgender Movement

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


Morning Must Reads: December 10

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

TIME’s Person of the Year: The Ebola Fighters

Doctors who wouldn’t quit even as their colleagues fell ill and died; nurses comforting patients while standing in slurries of mud, vomit and feces. The Ebola Fighters are the TIME Person of the Year

Senate Torture Report Reveals Horrors

A Senate report says the CIA’s interrogation methods of al-Qaeda suspects after 9/11 were brutal and possibly illegal, that they were poorly managed, and that the agency misrepresented it to the White House, the Justice Department and Congress

Winter Storm Hits Northeast

A winter storm brought rain, heavy winds and snow to the region, prompting hundreds of flight cancellations and flooding concerns

Prosecutors in San Francisco and Los Angeles Sue Uber

Prosecutors announced a settlement with ride-sharing company Lyft for making “false and misleading statements” to consumers about background checks for vetting drivers, but filed a similar lawsuit against Uber

Malala Wants to Be Pakistan’s Prime Minister

The young Pakistani activist who survived a brutal attack by the Taliban and won a Nobel Peace Prize said she still hopes to achieve much more and even become Prime Minister of Pakistan one day

LeBron Kind of Broke Royal Protocol With Kate

To Americans, there was nothing strange about LeBron James putting his arm around Kate to pose for a photograph. To the British, though, merely touching the Duchess of Cambridge represents a serious breach in etiquette

Lawmaker to Propose LGBT Nondiscrimination Bill

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley will propose a broad measure aimed at preventing discrimination against LGBT Americans, not just in employment but also with regard to public accommodations, housing, jury service and financial transactions

Cuba Gooding Jr. to Play O.J. Simpson in Trial Drama

Cuba Gooding Jr. has been cast as O.J. Simpson in the first season of FX’s new series American Crime Story, which takes as its subject the 1995 murder trial of the infamous ex-footballer. Producer Ryan Murphy said the new series does not have an official premier date

Lawmakers Agree on Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

Republicans and Democrats agreed on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to avoid a government shutdown and delay a politically-charged struggle over President Barack Obama’s new immigration policy until the new year

Lena Dunham Defends Writing on Past Sexual Assault

Lena Dunham defended writing in her recent memoir about being sexually assaulted while in college. “Speaking out was never about exposing the man who assaulted me,” she said. “Rather, it was about exposing my shame, letting it dry out in the sun”

Final Countdown for Hong Kong’s Protest Camps

The 74-day occupation by pro-democracy protesters in central Hong Kong will likely end Thursday when authorities clear protest camps from several areas, but demonstrators vow that the battle for the city’s political future will continue

Panthers’ Cam Newton Fractures Back in Car Crash

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has two fractures in his lower back after a car accident in Charlotte. Newton was in fair condition and expected to remain in the hospital overnight on Tuesday

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A Comprehensive LGBT Nondiscrimination Bill Is Coming

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., defends the Senate Democrats’ vote to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 21, 2013.
Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, defends the Senate Democrats' vote to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the President's nominees for judges and other top posts, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 21, 2013 J. Scott Applewhite—AP

At an event unveiling a "landmark" report on LGBT discrimination, a lawmaker will announce his plans to subsume ENDA in a much broader bill

A bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in hiring and firing has been introduced in some form — and then failed to become law — in nearly every Congress for the past two decades. On Wednesday, a champion of that bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), will announce that rather than having another go in the upcoming session, he’ll turbocharge it instead.

Democratic Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley will propose a much broader measure aimed at preventing discrimination against LGBT Americans, not just in employment but also with regard to public accommodations, housing, jury service and financial transactions. “It can’t be right that people are thrown out of their rental housing because of their LGBT status or can be denied entry to a movie theater or to a restaurant,” Merkley tells TIME. “That simply is wrong and we need to take on this broader agenda.” He hopes to have a bill, complete with bipartisan co-sponsors, ready for introduction in four to six months.

Despite the popular conception that such protections already exist — one poll put the number at 87% — there is no federal LGBT nondiscrimination law. Twenty-one states currently prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and 18 of those, as well as the District of Columbia, also include gender identity. State lawmakers in places like Florida, Virginia and Utah are gearing up to fight for such measures in the coming session, while lawmakers in Michigan are currently in the throes of that debate.

Merkley’s announcement will coincide with the unveiling of a comprehensive report on LGBT discrimination by the D.C.-based think tank Center of American Progress (CAP). Opponents of bills like ENDA, including House Speaker John Boehner, have argued that they’re an “unnecessary” solution in search of a problem. The authors of the report, who spent four months compiling studies and research on the topic, say they hope this “landmark” study will put those objections to rest.

“The reality is that LGBT people face pervasive discrimination in all areas of life throughout the country,” says lead author Sarah McBride. “Marriage equality is an incredibly important issue … At the same time, our country shouldn’t be pacified by that progress. We shouldn’t mistake that progress for victory.” One of the report’s catchiest, most poignant arguments is that in 11 states, a same-sex couple could now get married on Saturday and then be legally fired for being gay on Monday morning.

The report, titled “We the People,” is packed with statistics to arm lawmakers in arguing for the passage of nondiscrimination laws: in the realm of employment, up to 28% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people report not getting a promotion because of their sexual orientation; and 47% of transgender workers say they’ve been fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of their gender identity. Gay men may make one-third less than heterosexual men working similar jobs, the report adds, and the rate of poverty experienced by transgender people is nearly four times that of the general population.

Arguments over nondiscrimination bills often get heated when it comes to public accommodations — shorthand for the businesses and services available to the public. The proverbial scenario (based in reality) has become a gay couple who goes to a baker for a wedding cake and is turned down because a shop owner’s religious beliefs include opposition to gay marriage. Under nondiscrimination laws, such shop owners could be subject to legal penalties, and Merkley says that’s how it should be. “If you choose to be the proprietor of a restaurant, you should be expected to operate that restaurant in a fashion that does not embrace discrimination,” he says. Lawmakers in places like Kansas have disagreed with that notion and attempted to protect such business owners from liability.

The CAP report reveals that up to 27% of LGBT consumers have experienced “inappropriate treatment” or hostility in a place of public accommodation, while 6% have been denied service outright. Up to 70% of transgender people report experiencing some form of harassment when trying to use a public restroom, which is another hot-button area and has led state lawmakers to propose bills mandating that people only use the restroom that aligns with the sex on their birth certificate.

In 2013, ENDA reached a historic milestone, passing the Senate in a bipartisan vote 64-32. Though the House did not take up the bill, Merkley says it helped propel President Barack Obama to issue an executive order in June that created LGBT nondiscrimination protections for roughly 28 million federal contractors and employees. “The sky didn’t fall,” Merkley says. “This is a positive thing. It’s positive for the employers. It’s certainly positive for the individuals involved. It’s certainly positive for the overall economy.” Proponents of nondiscrimination bills argue that in order to capitalize on the best possible talent, LGBT workers need to feel welcome and protected no matter the company or state.

The CAP report details discrimination in medical care, homeless shelters, law enforcement, rental housing and myriad other fields. The authors also have to admit that there’s data lacking, in parts where discrimination is treated more as a possibility than a fact. McBride says LGBT people will only file complaints after nondiscrimination laws are in place, while many government forms and medical forms don’t ask questions about sexual orientation or gender identity that would help fill in those gaps.

Some state lawmakers are trying to do their own research. In Virginia, state delegate Marcus Simon is working with advocacy groups to test the rental market, having “same-sex” and “married” couples call and inquire about the same property. Early results, he says, show there is a difference in treatment about 30% of the time. That’s data he’ll use to bolster a LGBT nondiscrimination housing measure he plans to introduce in the coming weeks.

A federal bill like the one Merkley is proposing has several obstacles to overcome. One is finding a way for a Congress with two Republican-controlled chambers to actually take it up. Another is fighting the notion that with the scales tipping so far in favor of same-sex marriage, LGBT Americans have already achieved equal status in all spheres. Lawmakers and LGBT rights advocates argue that the legalization of marriage will lead to more people being public about their sexual orientation and therefore afford more opportunities for conflict, meaning bakers could only be posed with an order for a same-sex wedding cake if same-sex marriage is legal in the first place. “It is going to become more and more obvious who the LGBT people are, and that’s a good thing,” McBride says. “But it also is going to mean there might be more instances where people are discriminated against.”

McBride acknowledges that getting a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill passed is going to be an “uphill battle.” Advocates like Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, say there’s no “clear path” to passing ENDA or a broader measure in the next two years, but believe the votes are there if those proposing the bills can get them to the floor.

Merkley, taking a long view, seems cautiously optimistic. He worked to pass a similar measure as a state lawmaker in Oregon and ran on supporting same-sex marriage in 2008 when it was legal in only two states. “No one imagined that within this six-year span that I’ve been in the Senate, my first term in the Senate, that we would be on the verge of ending marriage discrimination across the country, yet here we are,” he says. “It’s very important to recognize how fast the world is changing, and another two years will bring additional changes as well, as people come to terms and understand this discrimination is wrong and it needs to end.”


Meet the Republican Who Lost His Election Fighting for LGBT Rights

Michigan Rep. Frank Foster (R) speaks on the floor in the Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing. Michigan House of Representatives Photographer Mike Quillinan

A young star in Michigan is spending his final days as a lawmaker working to expand the state's civil rights protections

In Michigan, a 28-year-old Republican state lawmaker is using his lame-duck session to fight for a bill that cost him his reelection in a primary this summer. Rep. Frank Foster is trying to extend the state’s civil rights act—which protects people from discrimination on the basis of age, race, religion, sex and weight—to also include sexual orientation. Even though he puts his bill at a 10% chance of passing, he says he has no regrets. “This is important, and if it’s not law in 2014, we’re still having the conversation,” Foster tells TIME. “Until it’s equal, it’s not equal.”

On Dec. 3, the commerce committee, of which Foster is the chair, was the site of a heated debate about tolerance and persecution. The public was invited to give testimony on Foster’s bill and another bill to amend the civil rights act to include both sexual orientation and gender identity. Supporters of the bills made arguments that passing them wasn’t just about protecting another class of citizens but about Michigan’s reputation and making the state feel welcoming to the broadest possible array of workers and companies.

One of those testifying in support was Allan Gilmour, a former second-in-command at Ford who made headlines when he came out as gay after his first retirement from the company in 1995. Updating the law, he said, “is necessary if Michigan is to attract and retain talent. And on an individual basis, no one should live in fear that they will lose their job or injure their careers should they live openly.”

Those opposing the bills, largely representatives from Christian groups, argued that the measures threaten to jeopardize religious freedoms, like those of Christian small-business owners who would prefer not to bake a cake or take photographs for a same-sex wedding—and might lose their business license for such a refusal under an amended civil rights law. “Why should that baker or photographer be forced against their religious beliefs and conscience to participate in that? And if they refuse to because of their religious conscience, to be put out of business?” said David Kallman, speaking on behalf of Michigan Family Forum, a conservative Christian organization. Multiple speakers also argued that there was no hard data showing that LGBT discrimination was a problem that needing solving. (There are reports on the issue and more research is being done on the topic.)

After giving his own testimony, Foster oversaw the meeting stoically, with one exception. Stacy Swimp, President of the National Christian Leadership Council, gave a speech about how he was “rather offended” that anyone would equate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to black Americans when it came to fights for civil rights. “They have never had to drink out of a LGBT water fountain,” he said, recounting that black Americans had been lynched and denied many basic rights in the past. He called any comparison “intellectually empty, dishonest” and accused the LGBT community of exploiting the struggles of black Americans.

Once he finished, Foster pulled his own microphone toward him. “Sir, I will agree with you on the fact that African Americans in this country’s short history have been discriminated against,” he said. “But if you don’t think the LGBT community has been discriminated against, been drug behind cars, been hung up by their necks til they’re dead, been denied housing, been denied commerce opportunities, then you’re just not looking very far.”

It was an impassioned speech from a native Michigander who never met a homosexual person until going to college at Grand Valley State University. Foster grew up in the tiny town of Pellston (pop. 831) in the midst of his current district, which spans the water where the state’s upper and lower peninsulas nearly meet. It’s an area known for fishing and hunting and tourism on islands like Mackinac, whose residents are also among his constituents. It’s also socially conservative.

By the time he finished his degree at Grand Valley State, Foster had been elected student body president, twice. He had organized rallies and marches against an amendment to ban affirmative action (which eventually passed by a nearly 20-point margin in 2006). He had accompanied administrators to Washington, D.C., to argue for better higher education funding. And he had worked to get gender identity added to non-discrimination policies in the student and faculty handbooks. “That was really the first time I socialized with people of different ethnic backgrounds and different races,” he says. “College was the way it was supposed to be for me.” He won his first race for a seat in the state House of Representatives in 2010, with 63% of the vote, and became one of only two freshmen to be appointed committee chairs.

After Foster was reelected in 2012, a Democratic colleague approached him about helping to support a non-discrimination bill. Like many people—one poll put the number at 87%—Foster assumed it was already illegal to fire someone for their sexual orientation, though there is no federal protection and only 21 states have passed such a law (18 of those, and D.C.’s, also include gender identity). Eventually, Foster and his colleague decided it would be more powerful if the Republican didn’t just co-sponsor the bill but introduced it. “I had no idea we did not have those folks included in Michigan’s civil rights act. When I found that out, it became a passion of mine,” he says, adding that he thought “as a young Republican, I could communicate to my colleagues and the party where we needed to go.”

Before Foster got around to actually introducing a bill, word got out that he planned to and he did interviews that confirmed people’s suspicions. In late 2013, Foster also called for the resignation of his Republican colleague Dave Agema, who caused an uproar after posting an article on Facebook that decried the “filthy” homosexual lifestyle. Agema was among those who encouraged a teacher at a Christian academy—who was considering running for Foster’s seat when he hit his term limit in 2016—to run against Foster in 2014 instead. Foster says his opponent, Lee Chatfield, gave him a deadline to publicly come out against legislation that would amend the civil rights act. “I wasn’t able to make that deadline, didn’t want to make that deadline,” says Foster. “So he filed in January and made this the center point of the campaign.” Foster lost by less than 1,000 votes in the primary against Chatfield, who had support from the Tea Party.

That loss not only cost Foster his job, but hurt his chances of getting the bill passed. The prospects had been looking good. He and other supporters of the bill had been rallying support among his fellow Republicans and gained the backing of the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition, a group with big-name members like Chrysler, Delta Airlines, Google and Kellogg that formed to support the legislation. “After my election, they slowly faded away,” Foster says of his GOP colleagues. “It was a pretty successful, religious-mounted campaign that beat me, and if that can happen in my community, that can happen anywhere.”

Foster says he’d like to see a bill pass that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity but had limited his to the former thinking that it would have a better chance of passing. When Michigan’s civil rights act was proposed in the 1970s—named Elliott-Larsen for the lawmakers who championed it—the inclusion of sexual orientation threatened to kill the bill, so it was removed. “Forty years later, here we are still trying to add sexual orientation, and it’s the transgender piece that was slowing the bill down,” Foster says. He also knows that by compromising, he may lose the support of Democrats. “Democrats are not going to vote for anything less than fully inclusive, and Republicans will not vote for fully inclusive,” he says. “So, in my mind, we’re sort of stuck.”

After winning his reelection, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, sat down with the Detroit Free Press and its editorial board reported that “he will encourage the Legislature to take up an expansion of the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to also include the LGBT community, prohibiting discrimination in hiring and housing decisions.” Foster is somewhat hanging his hopes on that report. “He can add some muscle to the argument and help me get this thing across the line,” Foster says. For now, both bills remain in the commerce committee. After potentially being voted out, a bill still has to win a floor vote in the House before repeating the process in the Senate.

Regardless of what happens, Foster is going home at the end of the session. He’ll work full time at Rehabitat Systems, a company which provides long-term care to people with traumatic brain and spinal-cord injuries, where he’s currently an executive officer. Right now, he’s frustrated with where the two-party system has gotten him. “I don’t want to necessarily be in the box anymore, where if I’m Republican it means I’m x, y and z,” he says. “The rest of my demographic, the 20-somethings, don’t think that way.”

But he says he’d like to have another go at being a Republican politician down the line, especially because their fiscal policies resonate so strongly with him. “There needs to be some more time,” Foster says. “My party has to change some of its social stances. And if that can happen, I think I’ll become more appealing to the party and vice versa.”

TIME Apple

Alabama to Vote on ‘Tim Cook’ Bill Barring Discrimination Against Gay Employees

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., Oct. 27, 2014.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., Oct. 27, 2014. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Apple CEO Tim Cook "honored" to lend his name to the bill

Alabama lawmakers plan to name an anti-discrimination bill after Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook, who disclosed in a magazine essay last October that he was gay.

The ‘Tim Cook’ bill will bar discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender state employees, including school teachers, Reuters reports.

Alabama’s only openly gay state lawmaker, Patricia Todd, told Reuters that she originally posed the name in jest, but it gained traction in the media and eventually reached Apple’s executive suite. A statement from Apple confirmed that Cook was “honored” to have his name attached to the bill.

The statement came after a company official reportedly called Todd to express reservations, a position that was later reversed by Apple’s general counsel.

“I never in a million years would have expected it,” Todd said.

Read more at Reuters.

TIME Media

The Time Lily Tomlin Rejected the Cover of TIME

Mar. 28, 1977, cover of TIME
The Mar. 28, 1977, cover of TIME TIME

The actress will be celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors gala on Sunday

On Sunday, Lily Tomlin will be celebrated as one of this year’s recipients of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors — and she’ll be, as The Advocate reports, the first out lesbian to be given the prize.

Tomlin wed her long-time partner Jane Wagner last year, but she wasn’t always public about her sexuality. As Tomlin put it, while speaking to the Washington Post for an in-depth profile, she resisted going public about her sexual orientation for a long time though she “never did not come out.” And, she added, TIME offered to put her on the cover in 1975 if she would come out — an offer she rejected. “I wanted to be acknowledged for my work,” she told the Post, “I didn’t want to be that gay person who does comedy.”

As Fishbowl NY has noted, Tomlin did appear on the cover of TIME two years after that — and as it that happened, she got her wish. The cover proclaimed her the New Queen of Comedy, and the story inside focused on her career and its development, not her personal life. There’s a brief aside about her decision to study medicine after high school, when other girls where getting married, but no space is devoted to her romantic life. She is, as she had hoped to be, a comedian — with no qualifiers.

That’s true even though the story does read quite differently in retrospect, in at least one respect. Jane Wagner, now Tomlin’s wife, is quoted as a “friend and collaborator” (Wagner has written and/or produced some of Tomlin’s best-known work); it’s also noted that they live together in Los Angeles.

Though perhaps it would not have been the case in 1975, Tomlin now manages to be both out and a no-qualifiers-needed comedian, one who’ll appear next year in Netflix’s new series Grace and Frankie. And, on the other side of the story, TIME got its wish too: two decades after the Tomlin story ran, Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out made the cover of the magazine.

Read the full story, here in the TIME Vault: Lily Tomlin, New Queen of Comedy

TIME Education

Feds Say Transgender Students’ Gender Identity Must Be Respected

New government guidance has LGBT rights advocates "thrilled"

In one short paragraph of a 34-page memo released on Dec. 1, the Department of Education articulated a clear stance on gender identity, saying transgender students in public schools should be enrolled in single-sex classes that align with how they live their lives day-to-day.

“We’re thrilled,” says Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “It’s so critical to the health and well-being of those students, and it’s going to be so helpful to have that guidance in writing so that schools understand what their obligations are.”

The memo is explicit that federal law protects students’ decisions made in accordance with their gender identity. “Under Title IX,” it reads, a school “must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes.”

MORE: The Transgender Tipping Point

While previous resolution agreements between school districts and the education department have articulated a similar stance, advocates hope the new guidance will clarify the rights of transgender students across the U.S.

“Up to this point, we have known that this is their view of the law,” Ilona Turner, legal director at the Transgender Law Center, says of the language in the memo. “But the problem has been that their interpretation has not gotten out more broadly to school districts across the country that are still grappling with how to treat transgender students fairly and make sure that they’re included.”

Investigations into school districts’ treatment of transgender students have already set a precedent that they are protected under Title IX, which prohibits gender-based discrimination.

In 2011, the Departments of Education and Justice responded to a complaint against the Arcadia Unified School District in California. It stated that a transgender boy began attending an Arcadia middle school after starting his transition, appearing as a male with a court-ordered name-change. Administrators said he could not use the boys’ restroom but needed to visit a nurse’s office to use the bathroom or change for gym class. He was similarly isolated on an overnight school field trip in seventh grade; rather than staying with peers like other students, he was kept in a separate room with a parent.

In 2013, the investigation concluded that such treatment amounted to sex discrimination. The school district agreed to a resolution that required them to treat the student as male for all purposes and revise its policies for the treatment of transgender students in the future.

In October, the education department reached a similar agreement with another California school district. A transgender girl had reported that school officials failed to respond to other students verbally harassing her, and that teachers disciplined her for wearing makeup and suggested she transfer to another school. Federal civil rights laws should ensure that “transgender students and students who do not conform to stereotyped notions of masculinity or femininity can learn in a safe, educational environment,” said assistant secretary Catherine E. Lhamon in a statement about the decision.

In both cases, the school districts entered into voluntary agreements. Had they not, Turner says, they might have faced a bigger penalty that would also loom over any schools that defied the new guidance: the loss of federal funding.

The new memo comes at a time when many questions regarding transgender students are still being answered — like how admissions offices at women’s colleges should treat transgender applicants. Though state legislatures and athletic associations have tackled the issue, the memo does not address athletics, which are covered under a different portion of Title IX than single-sex schooling.

But Turner says the new language clarifies the department’s basic sentiment about issues affecting transgender students in public schools. “The overall principle says that schools cannot discriminate based on sex,” she adds. “And it’s clear … that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on transgender status.”

TIME justice

Transgender Teen Awarded $75,000 in School Restroom Lawsuit

Jonas Maines,  Nicole Maines, Wayne Maines
In this file photo, transgender student Nicole Maines, center, speaks to reporters as her father Wayne Maines, left, and brother Jonas, look on outside the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty — AP

Case was brought when a Maine school district forced the student to use a staff restroom

A court in Maine awarded the family of a transgender teenager $75,000 in a discrimination lawsuit against a school district that forced the student to use a staff restroom rather than a facility reserved for pupils, reports the Associated Press.

Nicole Maines, 17, had won her lawsuit against the Orono school district earlier this year in front of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled that the school district had violated the state’s Human Rights Act.

The case marked the first time a state’s highest court ruled that a transgender person has the right to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.

In the wake of the court’s decision, a lower court awarded the financial settlement to the Maines family and the activist organization, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defender, on Nov. 25. In accordance with the order, the Orono school district is prohibited from refusing transgender students access “to school restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity.”

The case stemmed from an incident in 2007 when the grandfather of a fellow fifth grade classmate complained to school administrators that Maines was allowed to use the girls’ restroom. In the wake of the protest, the Orono school district began forcing Maines to use a staff facility — a decision that her parents argued was discriminatory.



D.C. Bans Conversion Therapy for Gay Teenagers

D.C. Bans Gay Conversion Therapy
A supporter of same-sex marriage wears a rainbow flag in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on March 26, 2013. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Washington, D.C. joins California and New Jersey as the only places in America to outlaw the practice

Washington, D.C.’s city council voted Tuesday to ban a controversial therapy practice that aims to convert gay teens into heterosexuals.

The bill, which passed unanimously, forbids licensed mental health professionals from influencing minors with “efforts to change behaviors, gender identity or expression, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same sex or gender.” Only California and New Jersey have similar bans in place, the Washington Post reports. The move adds another victory for gay rights as federal judges continued to strike down several states’ same-sex marriage bans this year.

While the ban has garnered praise from human rights groups, the bill has been met with opposition by some religious groups, including the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian organization. Mixed opinions have similarly surrounded efforts to ban gay conversion therapy: in March, a similar bill was withdrawn in Maryland, while in June, the Supreme Court declined to hear cases opposing California’s ban.

[Washington Post]

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