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Virginia school board delays ending transgender bathroom ban

A school board in Virginia will not take any immediate action to overturn its transgender bathroom ban after some community members spoke in favor of keeping it, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The board’s announcement Feb. 21 came two days after it met some resistance at a public forum over changing the policy. A policy was proposed to allow transgender high school students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The Gloucester County School Board has considered ending the ban as a federal trial over the policy looms. Former student Gavin Grimm has been suing the district for discrimination since 2015 because the transgender teen was banned from using boys’ bathrooms.

The community appeared starkly divided at this week’s forum. Some people spoke in favor of ending the ban, but many support it.

GOP lawmakers push to ban LGBT conversion therapy in Utah

The Longview News-Journal reported that two Republican lawmakers are pushing to ban gay conversion therapy for minors in conservative Utah with a proposal that’s being hailed as a milestone by advocates and won’t be opposed by the influential Mormon Church.

Republican Rep. Dan McCay acknowledged Feb. 21 he wasn’t a typical sponsor for such a measure, but he said he wants to help support LGBT youth in a state that’s seen a recent spike in youth suicide.

The plan would prohibit any treatment aimed at changing sexual orientation or gender identity, ranging from practices like electric shock to talk therapy.

Shannon Minter with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is helping lead a national campaign to ban the practice, said there’s a history of the practice in Utah and the new proposal is a landmark step. 

SD high court rules against woman in same-sex benefits case

 South Dakota’s Supreme Court has ruled against a retired police official seeking state retirement system survivor benefits after her wife, a former police captain, died of cancer, according to “The Rapid City Journal.”

The high court said in a Feb. 20 opinion that retired Rapid City Officer Debra Anderson isn’t entitled to the benefits because she and former Capt. Deb Cady weren’t married before Cady retired in 2012 with breast cancer.

Anderson and Cady were a long-committed couple then, but weren’t married because it wasn’t legal at the time. They married in 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide. Cady died two years later.

Anderson argued the couple would have been married much earlier if not for the state’s prohibition against gay marriage. Attorney James Leach says he’s “very disappointed.”

The state argued Anderson was asking the court to create a marriage in 2012 when one didn’t exist.

Transgender deputy: Sex surgery not covered by health plan 

A transgender sheriff’s sergeant in Houston County, Georgia, said the county is discriminating against her by not electing to have gender dysphoria treatment covered by its insurance, according to “The Telegraph.”

Sgt. Anna Lange asked commissioners on Feb. 19 to allow the coverage of sex reassignment surgery, but was denied. The 12-year department veteran said she’s already spent her own money on types of gender dysphoria treatment, including hormone therapy and breast augmentation.

Houston County offers a self-funded health insurance plan through Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which allows employers to choose whether to include coverage for sex reassignment surgery. County attorney Tom Hall said the county won’t consider adding that coverage to its plan this year. Lange’s attorney, Noah Lewis, said Lange can’t wait another year for treatment. n

— compiled by Larry Nichols


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