Open letter to the media regarding the AG’s NC suit

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April 16, 2016
Janice Raymond, TERFs, & Insurance Policy
September 1, 2016

Open letter to the media regarding the AG’s NC suit

Dear news media:

Why is it that (almost) without exception, all news stories covering the US Attorney General’s suit against NC omits the rather significant fact that when NC took federal money tied to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Title IX, they signed a contract with the federal government explicitly agreeing to not discriminate against trans people?

Why is it that almost all news articles spin the story to make it seem as if the legal question in the DOJ’s suit is somehow ambiguous when, in fact, NC is contractually obliged to keep their side of the agreement they made with the federal government when they received  federal funding under VAWA and Title IX?

Why is it that instead of actually telling the truth about the legal issue at hand, you’re droning on about “dueling lawsuits” and focusing on the “transgender debate” trope?

At yesterday’s press conference, here’s what the AG told you :

  • “With respect to federal funding, the statutes we brought this lawsuit under do provide the opportunity to curtail federal funding under Title IX in the Violence Against Women Act.”
  • “The Violence Against Women Act specifically targets gender identity. The law and the case law around Title VII, Title IX, and the Violence Against Women Act clearly indicates HB2 is in violation of federal law.”

Here’s what Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice told you at yesterday’s press conference:

  • “We also bring a claim in the Violence Against Women Act, a more recent statute specifically designed to prevent discrimination against transgender people by entities that accept certain federal funds. As with Title IX, entities that accept federal funds under VALA, including UNS and the NCDPS, pledged that they would not discriminate against sex or gender identity. Our complaint seeks to enforce that pledge and hold those entities accountable for the kind of discrimination required by HB2.”

Since you can’t seem to bring yourself to talk about what the VAWA –an Act WITH LANGUAGE PASSED BY CONGRESS AND THE SENATE… you know, the very Act that NC received funds under– says, let me spell it out for you. Under Section 3 of VAWA, the Universal definitions and grant conditions, sub-section 18 reads:

The term underserved populations means populations who face barriers in accessing and using victim services, and includes populations underserved because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, underserved racial and ethnic populations, populations underserved because of special needs (such as language barriers, disabilities, alienage status, or age), and any other population determined to be underserved by the Attorney General or by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as appropriate.

Under the Civil Rights section, the nondiscrimination subsection reads:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (title IV of Public Law 103–322 ; 108 Stat. 1902), the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 (division B of Public Law 106–386; 114 Stat. 1491), the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (title IX of Public Law 109–162 ; 119 Stat. 3080), the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 , and any other program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds appropriated for grants, cooperative agreements, and other assistance administered by the Office on Violence Against Women.

Under Title I, subsection M(19), the VAWA states:

…developing, enlarging, or strengthening programs and projects to provide services and responses targeting male and female victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, whose ability to access traditional services and responses is affected by their sexual orientation or gender identity, as defined in section 249(c) of title 18, United States Code; and

Congress PASSED THIS LANGUAGE in 2013, 286 to 138. The Senate PASSED THIS LANGUAGE 78 to 22.

Why then, are you paying lip service to NC’s demonstrably false talking point that Congress hasn’t taken up the issue of “gender identity”?

Why won’t you report that NC is being sued because they agreed to the terms of the VAWA, received money under the VAWA, and then just declared that they’ve decided to not honor their contract with the Federal government?

Why have you REFUSED to print what the DOJ explicitly told you? Here it is again:

“We also bring a claim in the Violence Against Women Act, a more recent statute specifically designed to prevent discrimination against transgender people by entities that accept certain federal funds. As with Title IX, entities that accept federal funds under VALA, including UNS and the NCDPS, pledged that they would not discriminate against sex or gender identity. Our complaint seeks to enforce that pledge and hold those entities accountable for the kind of discrimination required by HB2.” – Vanita Gupta

The reality is that under the VAWA and Title IX, NC is contractually obliged to not discriminate against anyone based on “gender identity”. NC demanded the special right to not have to honor their contractual word. Not only that, NC then demanded that the federal government continue to fund them under a contract NC has declared they refuse to honor.

Why do you refuse to point out this simple — yet absolutely central — contractual fact?

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