LGBT Civil Rights Laws

Seth Goldstein (TC)'s picture

A few months ago, a testimony was given to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in an effort to get the group to reinterpret the Michigan Civil rights Act to include protections for the LGBT community. The group that brought this to the attention of the Michigan Commissioin was, Equality Michigan, a LGBT advocate group. In specific, the group "asked the civil rights commission to clarify the state's Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in hiring and housing based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status and maritial status. The group's main agrument is that the definition of sex discrimination should include sexual orientation and gender identity. Unfortunately, the commission did not reinterpret the current law. 

But, this topic brings up an abudance of issues that are plaguing the transgender and LGBT community. One of the biggest topics of discussions is gender neutral bathrooms in schools. Recently, there was a case for a transgender student in Jenison High School brought up by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. The case was brought up because the student complained that he was not given the right to use the bathroom that corresponded with his gender identity. Instead, the school said that the student could choose between a bathroom corresponding with the gender they were assigned at birth, one of three unisex staff bathroom or a gender neutral one, but not the one that the student identified with.

This circumstance leads to a lot of questions that could be answered:

  1. What do you think about the Michigan Civil Rights Commission not reinterpreting the civil rights law to protect the LGBT community?
  2. Do you believe it is up to the school or the state to decide on matters such as gender neutral bathrooms?
  3. Do you believe what Jenison High School did for the transgender student was sufficient or should the student be allowed to use the bathroom he identifies with?
  4. Do schools need to go beyond just allowing students to use gender neutral or unisex bathroom?