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University Cancels LGBTQ Art Show Following Criticism

“Rainbow in Reverse: Queer Kansas History” sparked concern and condemnation from the community.

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A Catholic college in Kansas has reacted to mounting criticism of its decision to host an art exhibition called “Rainbow in Reverse: Queer Kansas History.”

Newman University, located in Wichita, announced earlier this week they were canceling the exhibit, citing “community concerns” over the content, according to the Wichita Eagle.

In a statement, Newman Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly McDowall Long said that the university “understands that diverse perspectives, in an atmosphere in which the human dignity of each person is respected, are key to learning,” but still opted to cancel the show.

The exhibit was to showcase the lives of LGBTQ Kansans through sculptures, photography and installation art. The exhibit, curated by artist Genevieve Waller, is now planned for a small gallery in Wichita.

Newman University is a Catholic college sponsored by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ religious order. It has a LGBTQ student club.

Education

Feds Say They Will No Longer Investigate Transgender Bathroom Complaints

Trump: putting the “T” in LGBT discrimination.

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The Education Department confirmed on Monday that it will no longer be investigating complaints from transgender students who are banned from school bathrooms. This move comes as the latest of the Trump administration’s various moves to undermine LGBT rights and protections.

“Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill said to The Washington Post. “Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. In the case of bathrooms, however, longstanding regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”

Trump’s cabinet in March 2017 during their first meeting. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Obama administration in 2016 had directed public schools to allow students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity, even if that conflicted with the gender on their birth certificates. The administration concluded that barring transgender students from public school bathrooms was a form of sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX.

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the guidance, arguing that Title IX did not obligate schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

DeVos also said states and individual school districts should be able to determine how to accommodate transgender students. a move that was widely decried by civil rights groups who said it could endanger the welfare of transgender students. 

The move was heavily criticized by civil rights groups who said it could endanger the welfare of transgender students.

Previously, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had also withdrawn a policy protecting transgender workers, even going as far as to argue that anti-gay discrimination was permissible in employment under federal law.

Sessions had also argued religious business owners can refuse service to gay customers, even when anti-gay discrimination is banned by state law, and Trump has attempted to ban transgender people from all military service, according to Buzzfeed.

Catherine Lhamon, who headed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights under President Barack Obama, called the department’s statement “appalling and deeply dangerous.”

“The federal courts have multiple times made clear that Title IX protects transgender students,” Lhamon said to The Washington Post. “They just don’t have the option to say, ‘We just don’t apply the law here.’”

Last year after ending the Obama-era protections, DeVos had written that the withdrawal of these guidance documents did not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying or harassment.

However, advocates worry that the administration’s position will send a message to schools without clear policies that they should bar transgender students from bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

“The vast number of schools in our country are schools led by teachers and principals and administrators who want to do the best for children but this will just be confusing,” said Vanessa Ford, the mother of a transgender girl in the first grade who attends school in the Boston area to The Washington Post. “They hear this and think, ‘Wait, am I no longer allowed to support trans kids at our school?’ ”

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Entertainment

Rose McGowan Cancels Book Tour After Altercation With Transgender Person

Fightin’ words.

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Rose McGowan has cancelled the remainder of her book tour dates following a heated altercation with transgender woman Andy Dier. McGowan and Dier argued before security pulled Dier out of the event at Barnes & Noble in Union Square, New York City on Jan. 31.

McGowan, an actress and celebrity figure, has recently come out about her own experiences with sexual assault in Hollywood. McGowan has been sharing her experiences and reaching out to other woman on her new E! show, Citizen Rose. The show is a part of the #MeToo movement, as is her book that she has been touring with, BRAVE.

While answering audience questions, Dier stood up and accused McGowan of doing nothing for transgender rights, according to the Washington Blade. “I have a suggestion. Talk about what you said on RuPaul. Trans Women are dying and you say that we, as trans women, are not like regular women. We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often,” said Dier.

McGowan responded to Dier’s comments by saying, “So am I. We are the same. My point was, we are the same. There’s an entire show called ID channel, a network dedicated to women getting abused, murdered, sexualized, violate — and you’re a part of that too, sister. It’s the same.”

McGowan and Dier continued to go back and forth until Dier was removed by security officials at the Barnes & Noble. McGowan, still upset by the incident, vented and talked with the remaining audience members before continuing with her reading of BRAVE. Here is the exchange:

On Feb. 2, McGowan took to Twitter with the following statement:

McGowan also called out those present that day, including the Union Square Barnes & Noble:

It is unclear if McGowan will name more dates in the future, or if this is the end of her book tour for good.

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LGBT

Feminist Internship Looking to Build Community that Fights Heterosexism

FORCE at University of Arizona aims to resist heterosexism, but it doesn’t come cheap.

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A feminist internship program is accepting recruits to “to build a community that acknowledges and supports resistance to racism, classism, sexism, ableism and heterosexism.”

The Women’s Resource Center at the University of Arizona (UA) is an on-campus student center that provides programming, education, internships, and resources to the student community. Its mission is to serve as a hub for, “programming, collaborations, and advocacy on issues of gender equity, feminism, and masculinity.”

Among the services the WRC provides is an internship with FORCE: Feminists Organized to Resist, Create, and Empower.

According to the internship application, FORCE considers itself to be a part of a, “broader social movement that dismantles oppressive structures and unifies people.” FORCE achieves this through weekly meetings, hosting events, and working in collaboration with other on-campus groups such as Cultural Centers, LGBTQ Affairs, and Pride Alliance.

FORCE is also responsible for hosting the annual SlutWalk. The SlutWalk is a protest movement that aims to end rape culture and slut shaming originating in Toronto in 2011 after a Toronto police officer suggested women should, “Avoid dressing like sluts.”

Last year’s protesters at the FORCE hosted event included a wide range of attendees of various races, genders, and ages, including children. An attendee stated that she brought her children to teach them that, “No means no,” and that their choice of clothing will not have an impact on their safety.

While this internship is unpaid, it does not come without a cost.

Students looking to pursue this internship for academic credit must pay for internship credit at the same rate as other courses, according to the Internship Policies and Guidelines of UA.

The FORCE internship offers three credits, which would come to about $2629.05 for in-state students or $4,588.05 for non-resident students, based on the current rates for tuition. However, students may waive the cost by opting for the non-credit option when applying for the internship.

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