Three new toons: Trans workplace discrimination, NYPD spies & predatory credit-card lenders
This cartoon was inspired by the recent re-firing of longtime Largo, Florida City Manager Steve Stanton after Stanton announced he planned to transition to life as a woman and change his name to Susan. (I only say "he" because Stanton is, as I understand it, still using that pronoun for now.) I say "re-firing" because the Largo City Commission held a hearing after its initial discriminatory decision to fire Stanton, and made the same bad decision again despite testimony in his favor.
Stanton's firing is far from unusual, so I decided to make the cartoon about anti-transgender workplace discrimination in general, rather than focus on that case. I'm not sure how many people realize that in most places in this country, employers are legally permitted to fire transgender and gay employees on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We need a national ENDA (employment non-discrimination act) and now!
I haven't seen the new documentary "Maxed Out" yet, but I did just read a terrifying must-read investigative series in the Boston Globe, "Debtor's Hell: Preying on Red-Ink America", that takes a close look at unscrupulous debt collection practices.
Finally, it came out in the New York Times last week that the NYPD spent tons of time and money placing spies in non-violent peace groups around the country before the 2004 RNC. The cartoon was inspired by this bit:
Marco Ceglie, who performs as Monet Oliver dePlace in Billionaires for Bush, said he had suspected that the group was under surveillance by federal agents — not necessarily police officers — during weekly meetings in a downtown loft and at events around the country in the summer of 2004.
“It was a running joke that some of the new faces were 25- to 32-year-old males asking, ‘First name, last name?’ ” Mr. Ceglie said. “Some people didn’t care; it bothered me and a couple of other leaders, but we didn’t want to make a big stink because we didn’t want to look paranoid. We applied to the F.B.I. under the Freedom of Information Act to see if there’s a file, but the answer came back that ‘we cannot confirm or deny.’ ”
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