11-14-2011 Transgender Day of Remembrance at UConn Rainbow Center

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Monday, November 14, 2011

Come join us at the Rainbow Center (Rm 403 of the Student Union) to celebrate Trans-awareness and honor those who have been lost to violence aimed at the Transgender community.

12:00-1:30PM Trans People’s Perspectives Panel (Pizza and Salad lunch served)

The transgender community is often a target of violence and hate crimes because of society’s prejudicial views. Over the years, many have been lost to the prejudiced violence surrounding the transgender community. Transgender Day of Remembrance allows us to honor those who have been killed and raise awareness of the prevalence of this targeted violence. In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance at UConn, a panel of transgender people will offer their perspective on current issues and aspects of their personal lives.

2:00-3:30PM : Clocked Film Showing (Light refreshments served)

Clocked is a film that tells the story of transgender activism based on personal stories and reflections. There will be a brief discussion following the movie, in which we will talk about the messages the movie conveys as well as what we can do as a community to be allies to the transgender community and help to stop injustice.

Sponsored by the Rainbow Center, Health Education & Women’s Center


Dr. Eve Shapiro to speak at UConn Rainbow Center 2/2/2011

Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Time: 12pm – 1:30pm

Place: UConn Storrs Campus, Rainbow Center @ Student Union, SU 403

Admission Fee: Free and open to the public

The Rainbow Center’s Out to Lunch Lecture Series continues the semester with a presentation by Eve Shapiro entitled, “Gender Circuits: Bodies and Identities in a Technological Age”.

Dr. Shapiro book cover "Gender Circuits"

This talk, based on Eve’s new book Gender Circuits, explores the impact of new technologies on the gendered lives of individuals.  Examining the complex intersections between gender ideologies, social scripts, information and biomedical technologies, and embodied identities, Eve will explore whether and how new technologies are reshaping what it means to be a gendered person in contemporary society.

“This smart, provocative, and readable book explores how the stuff of science fiction has become normalized in our contemporary society. The book’s accessibility is enhanced by the author’s willingness to lead the reader through her own personal and political explorations of these themes, while bringing in the latest gender and biotechnology scholarship.”—Meika Loe, Sociology and Women’s Studies, Colgate University

Dr. Eve Shapiro is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts.  Her current research elaborates the dynamic relationships between identity and community, including how new information and biomedical technologies are changing the gendered lives of cisgender and transgender people.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunches.

For more about Dr. Shapiro, see her homepage at: http://www.wsc.ma.edu/sociology/Shapiro/

More information on the lecture series is available at: http://www.rainbowcenter.uconn.edu/Programs/otl.html


More on parental rights in surrogacy cases (Raftopol)

This decision has some pretty far reaching implications.  In the article quoted below from the Connecticut Law Tribune, there is a great statement:

The court applied the rule that the legislature is presumed not to draft statutes creating absurd results.

In this situation, the surrogacy contract plainly stated that the birth mother would relinquish all parental rights to the child(ren) but the law still stated that the biological parents must be listed on the birth certificate. This, of course, goes against the contract. That has now, or is in the process of, being corrected.

Here’s a bit more explication:

That’s the ruling in Raftopol v. Ramey, a watershed decision that creates a new fourth way to legally become a parent, in addition to conception, adoption or artificial insemination. Victoria Ferrara, the Fairfield surrogacy lawyer who represented the fathers in this case, said: “It’s a tremendous benefit to any couple who have to use donated genetic material – egg donor or sperm donor. So whether it’s a gay male couple or a straight couple, that couple can now establish legal parental rights ahead of the birth of the child, so the child is then born with two legal parents. That’s crucial. It’s crucial to the child, and it’s crucial to the couple having the baby.”

Attorney Karen Loewy filed an amicus curiae brief for Boston-based Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)

“This is really a wonderful precedent,” she said. “When you have a couple who has entered into this agreement, they are the parents. The importance is honoring the intentions of the family, and [legally] protecting the children from the moment of their birth.”

The Jan. 5 decision legally made a father of Shawn Hargon, who is married to Anthony Raftopol. The two men entered into a gestational surrogacy agreement with Karma A. Ramey, of Connecticut. She was then implanted with donated eggs that had been fertilized by Raftopol in vitro and frozen. Ramey carried the fertilized eggs to term, producing twins. In the contract, she agreed to relinquish any parental claims and to support adoption by Hargon.

However, Connecticut’s artificial insemination law, as read by the state Supreme Court, suggests that only “biological or adoptive parents have parental rights with respect to the subject children.”

This meant, that if Raftopol had died before their birth, the twins might have arrived legally parentless, and not entitled to inherit from their biological father, a New York business lawyer who works in Europe. The Raftopol-Hargon family lives in Holland.

In addition, Hargon would have had to go through a time-consuming adoption process to attain parentage of the twins, even though all parties to the agreement already viewed the baby boys as his own. Karma Ramey, who would appear on the original birth certificate as mother, had contractually disclaimed parental rights. Nevertheless, without Raftopol, she might be pressed by the state to act as the boys’ mother, Raftopol explained in an interview with The Law Tribune. “Nobody wanted any of these things to happen,” he said.

The whole article — well worth reading — is at the link below


Lambda Legal: Raftopol, et al. v. Ramey, et al.

I’m proud of Connecticut’s Supreme Court! Bravo for fighting for same sex parents whose child is born via a surrogate. Both fathers’ names will be placed on the birth certificate as parents. It’s about the child and love.  Feeling great about my state at this moment. Thanks.

Lambda Legal: Raftopol, et al. v. Ramey, et al..


Shawn Hargon and Anthony Raftopol have been together for 16 years. With a gestational surrogate—a surrogate who carries a child to whom she is not genetically related—who gave birth in April 2008, they added twin sons to their family, which already include. d their daughter. Shortly thereafter, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health refused to issue birth certificates for the boys listing the names of both fathers. After the trial court ruled in favor of the fathers and ordered the Department to issue corrected birth certificates, the Department appealed, which was transferred to the Supreme Court of Connecticut. Lambda Legal and co-counsel filed an amicus brief on behalf of a group of professional organizations involved with reproductive medicine that argues that the Court can and should confirm the legal relationships between these children and both of their intended parents by issuing pre-birth orders of parentage and by directing the Department of Public Health to issue birth certificates that reflect the joint parentage of these children.


  • March 2010 Our motion to file a brief on behalf of the amici was granted and the Connecticut Supreme Court heard oral argument.
  • January 2011 Supreme Court of Connecticut issued a decision affirming the trial court’s declaration that Raftopol and Hargon are the legal intended parents of the children, and affirming the order directing the Department of Public Health to issue replacement birth certificates listing both fathers as the parents.

Margaret Breen’s new book — Narratives of queer desire : deserts of the heart

Margaret Sonser Breen has a new published work

Narratives of queer desire : deserts of the heart

Book Description
An interdisciplinary project that uses literary analysis, along with personal testimony and the applications of gender theory, as a means for identifying and exploring LGBTQ stories, the book considers queer yearnings for stories other than those conventionally available, that engage and resist norms in literature as well as culture and politics.

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Our copy is on order and will be available soon.

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