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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Human Rights Campaign gives Tucson perfect score for LGBTQ treatment

Individuals+light+candles+for+the+268+transgendered+people+who+were+murdered+in+2014+due+to+their+gender+and+place+them+in+Old+Main+Fountain+on+Thursday.+Tucson+was+rated+with+a+perfect+score+for+LGBTQ+treatment+in+a+list+released+by+the+Human+Rights+Campaign%2C+but+some+LGBTQ+groups+on+campus+disagree+with+the+rating.
Rebecca Noble

Individuals light candles for the 268 transgendered people who were murdered in 2014 due to their gender and place them in Old Main Fountain on Thursday. Tucson was rated with a perfect score for LGBTQ treatment in a list released by the Human Rights Campaign, but some LGBTQ groups on campus disagree with the rating.

The Human Rights Campaign released an annual list scoring cities around the country on how they treat their LGBTQ residents, and three Arizona cities scored a 100 percent.

The HRC releases this list based on data from its Municipal Equality Index, which lays out how a city can and how cities do support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning people who work and live there, even outside of the state or federal government, according to the HRC website.

Tempe, Tucson and Phoenix all received a perfect score based on the HRC’s criteria, which included relationship recognition, municipality as employer and other factors that place each city with a score on the list.

These scores are particularly interesting for many Arizona residents due to a high jump for two of them in a one-year time span, with Tempe only scoring 72 percent, and Tucson receiving a score of 90 percent in 2013.

This quick jump is exciting for Arizona residents who believe in equality, but also brings up questions on the validity and criteria of the HRC.
Kat Hermanson, the lead desk assistant for the LGBTQ Resource Center and a sophomore studying gender and women’s studies, said she questions the HRC and feels that the scores are imbalanced.

“I think there’s a lot of problems with the HRC both historically and currently,” Hermanson said. “One thing that I would say [is] that [with] the very essence of the society we live in that’s very cis-sexist and hetero-normative, it is unfair to give any city 100 percent on a rating.”
Hermanson said she knows of transgender women who have been assaulted in Tucson, which isn’t portrayed through this new rating by the HRC.

“Even though I love Tucson and I think we are very progressive in a lot of ways, giving a 100 percent rating to any city is kind of turning a blind eye to a lot of the violence that is still happening,” Hermanson said.

Other individuals associated with ASUA Pride Alliance also said they feel the rankings may not be an accurate representation.
Greg Daniels, co-director of Pride Alliance, said he was surprised to find Phoenix on the list.

“I wasn’t surprised that Tucson got an ‘A,’ but Phoenix, I was like, wait a minute,” Daniels said. “Their city was the one that came up with the bathroom bill. That was a really transphobic piece, [and] Maricopa County is where the largest concentration of social conservatives are. I was very surprised that Phoenix was a part of that list.”

The bathroom bill made it a crime for transgender individuals to use the bathroom they identified with, and they were only allowed to use the bathroom that corresponded to the gender they were assigned at birth.

Localized to the UA, Tucson may also have contributing factors that show the score is a “cop-out.” Chris Sogge, graduate assistant with LGBTQ Affairs, said that the UA has resources for transgender students that are not offered to faculty, which is unfair and not worth a 100 percent rating.

“There is gender-confirming healthcare for students, which includes if you do inpatient hormone treatments, so you have to go to Campus Health [Service] and they will give you the injections,” Sogge said. “… But for faculty and staff, there is nothing, which sucks.”

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Follow Benny Sisson on Twitter.

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