California Senate Bill Set to Improve Equality of Education for LGBT Youth
The state of California is one step closer to achieving equity in education for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, after a bill introduced to the state legislature by openly gay state Senator Sheila Kuehl was passed by the Senate. Current anti-discrimination laws include protections for students based on race, sex, disability, and religion. California State Senate Bill 1437 (SB 1437) would amend the law to include categories of sexual orientation and gender to existing criteria used to create courses of study designed to promote diversity in the public school curriculum. In addition, SB 1437 would prohibit the inclusion of official teaching materials that reflect adversely on people because of their sexual orientation or gender.
Research by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Net demonstrates that harassment based on sexual orientation causes an increase in suicide rates and truancy in LGBT students. Kuehl’s office notes that most perpetrators of hate crimes believe they are not breaking any social norms by attacking those they perceive to be lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual. Inclusion of LGBT contributions to the larger curriculum can then create a safer environment for students by increasing awareness of issues among peers: A study by the National Center for Lesbian Rights found that 67 percent of students in a study who were taught LGBT issues in the curriculum felt safer at school.
If the bill passes, curriculum may include such items as the 1978 assassination of San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk or the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York. Initially introduced on February 22, the bill passed in the Senate earlier this month and currently awaits a hearing in the State Assembly in the coming weeks, followed by consideration by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times, 5/12/06, 5/13/06; New York Times, 5/14/06
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .