Is California Failing Lesbian Couples?

White and Videckis have been fighting Pepperdine on a discrimination charge since 2014. Just this month, they lost the case.

There’s an old myth about lesbians and Victorian England that you’ve probably heard about one way or another–you might even have thought it was true at one point. Although homosexuality was famously criminalized during Queen Victoria’s reign, any specific reference to lesbian sex acts was left out, according to the fact that (they say) Victoria refused to believe lesbians existed.

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While the anecdote is most likely untrue, it’s important to think about. Although our era may feel less primitive than Queen Victoria’s in certain ways, in many others, oppressive remnants of the Victorian age live on.

  Throughout history, a feigned ignorance about (or pure denial of) lesbian individuals and partnerships has lead to two things: An ability to fly beneath the radar of certain restrictive lifestyle-based laws, and a total and utter lack of representation.

Today, this lack of representation, both in the media and in politics, is harming lesbians more than ever. Two cases in California this week show just how underserved the lesbian population is, despite the progress we’ve made in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. In the eyes of too many companies, politicians, and state laws, lesbians relationships are still viewed as invalid.

Take Judith Dominguez and her wife Patricia Martinez. The two women live in Alhambra and have been together for 29 years, having tied the knot officially in 2013 when the Supreme Court finally legalized gay marriage on a federal level. For years the women have enjoyed coverage from the joint health care Dominguez received from her job. That is, until this January, when Dominguez re-enrolled only to be told her 29-year-long relationship did not meet her insurance’s “one man, one woman” criteria for spousal benefits. Dominguez filed a suit and was met with a vicious counter-suit by the insurance company. But not before they made sure her health plan was retroactively canceled, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in debt for services already performed and cleared by insurance.

    It doesn’t seem like something that could happen in California, or anywhere across the anti-Trump oasis of the West Coast. But cases like Dominguez’s are becoming more common in the wake of Trump’s election. Dominguez’s attorney Dan Stormer has been able to see the change first hand, in civil rights court cases across the state. “It is absolutely clear to us that once Trump was elected, these people saw their opportunity to carry out their bigotry,” Stormer told the Los Angeles Times, “[and] that without the election of Trump, the [federal] Civil Rights Division would clearly have moved on them, would clearly have determined that their actions were unlawful.”

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, another years-long fight was coming to a close.

White and Videckis have been fighting Pepperdine on a discrimination charge since 2014. Just this month, they lost the case.

Back in 2014, two college basketball players filed a lawsuit for discriminating against them because they were in a relationship with each other. Plaintiffs Layana White and Haley Videckis claimed that their coach at Pepperdine University had harassed them for their sexual orientation and blamed them (specifically their relationship) for losing games. Not only did Videckis and White claim that they were discriminated by their coach but also by the university, which failed to process White’s NCAA appeal to become eligible to play for the 2014-15 season after her transfer to Pepperdine.

Pepperdine University is a private Christian university that “Niche” ranks as the 9th most conservative college in California and one of the more conservative universities in the United States. It is located in Malibu and is undoubtedly, as the plaintiffs’ lawyer described, “not a great university to be gay in,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The former players of the university’s basketball league stated the multiple times that the staff tried to pry into their relationship with questions about sleeping arrangements to gynecology records. The university even tried to argue that Title IX, which protects athletes in schools from gender discrimination, does not extend to protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The case was closed in early August, with the jury coming down on the side of University on the basis of a lack of evidence. The case still remains a landmark suit by being the first to go to trial under the Title IX law. When the case was ruled by a federal judge to fall under Title IX, it propelled it to trial and ultimately told the American people that LGBTQ discrimination is inextricably linked to discrimination based on gender.

The case not only gave LGBTQ athletes representation and courage to pursue legal action against discrimination in an academic setting but also marked the first of its kind under the Title IX law, further proving its importance. If another academic institution tries to create a loophole through denying LGBTQ+ protection from discrimination in Title IX, the 2015 case ruling by the federal judge who allowed Videckis and White Vs. Pepperdine University to go trial will remain a starting point for fighting against it. That landmark 2015 ruling by a California Federal judge opened up the Title IX anti-discrimination measure (first instituted in 1972) to apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation as well, giving Layana White and Haley Videckis their well-deserved spot in history.

But what good is a spot in history when the current legal system keeps failing you? Just this May, the two women underwent psychological evaluations to measure the extent of the stress caused by the lawsuit as well as their exclusion from the team. The moral of the case, if there is one, is that lesbian and queer-identified women continue to suffer from not being considered, heard, or taken seriously in our society at large.

These cases can be taken as examples of Trump’s presidency has already started a wave of unpleasant changes in our court systems. They can also, however, be seen as progress. As women continue to be ignored and ill-treated by the government, they learn to push back harder every time.

Comments

179 COMMENTS

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  49. There are also the Ashkenazi religious extremists who discriminate in education. This is the reason why Shas was founded to begin with, and there are every once in a while busts of discrimination in schools like with the Slonim Hassidim who refused girls because they were Sephardis even though their schools are state-funded.

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  61. When I first started as a Stampin Up demonstrator my favorite colours were Rich Regals. Now however, I find most of the cards I do are Earth Elements and I have to remember that there are 3 other colour families, lol! I love this card. Thanks for the demonstration.

  62. Hi I am a TL in a Queensland School, Australia and we are an IB World School.Your Essential Agreements as you say are'behaviours and expectations of both parties who will be agreeing to what ever it is essentially they will be involved i', but they are formulated using the Learner Profile and Attitudes. I also use the Skills as a what to organis them. They are also created collaboratively with the parties involved (classes, teachers etc..)Please email me if you would like to see some of the ones we have done or if you would like any other support.Julia Boultonjuliab@standrewslutheran.qld.edu.au

  63. Hej Jacob,Du skal sikre dig, at siderne WooCommerce referere til, rent faktisk eksistere, ellers vil du fÃ¥ fejlmeddelelsen 404.NÃ¥r du har lagt sprogfilerne ind, kan du forsøge at gÃ¥ ind i dit kontrolpanel–>WooCommerce–>Indstillinger–>Sider.Her kan du opsætte de sider, som WooCommerce anvender.Hvis det ikke virker, vil jeg anbefale dig, at tage backup af dine produkter og indstillinger, herefter slette din WooCommerce-installation. Dernæst skal du definere (‘WPLANG’, ‘da_DK’); og sÃ¥ installere WooCommerce igen.Venlig hilsenFrederik

  64. “…that novel was written because I couldn’t help myself.”“How was I going to get the images in my mind, seemingly so clear, down on the page when the link between my brain and my fingers often felt ephemeral?”It is these two quotes that make me feel that, in some universe, I may presume to call myself a writer. Even though I will never be published (I am fairly certain of that, I just don’t have the physical and emotional energy, at least not right now, to even think about querying,) I have felt these exact things.Thank you.Like? 0

  65. Morning, Viola! What a great post!LOL On putting words into kids mouths! My 3 y.o picks the most awk times to rattle off things- ie. Church! And my child hasn’t a volume control. Sheesh!! Nothing like having the priest talking and your kid announce she just tooted. Yes, that was a wonderful morning! LOLI love the way you compared raising kids to raising characters. I hadn’t looked at it like that before. When it comes to my H/H, I try to fashion them after the type of characters I’m drawn to. Maybe even the kind of person I aspire to be. )

  66. Wenn man sich manche Blogs über "Betty" ansieht, dann sieht es so aus, als bekämen wir demnächst Pretty Woman mit ihr statt dieser Großmund-Schauspielerin und Wulff als Richard Geere.Ich distanziere mich ausdrücklich von diesen Gerüchten. Einen Blogger hat er ja schon verklagt, der Wulff. Ist mir auch egal das Gerücht, wenn wahr, könnte sich das ganze zur Mega-Seifenoper entwicklen, die uns noch Jahre vefolgt. Inklusive Kinofilm, gacker.

  67. Apesar de todos os comentários em que nós falamos que o uso do paetê durante o dia é um pouco inviável, é possível usar peças de roupas com brilho durante o dia. Emily, para usar paetê durante o dia é necessário associar outras peças que harmonizem o look. Não adianta ser meio fosco ou quase apagado, apertados, soltos e leve como os vestidos românticos, tem paetê vai chamar atenção. Sim os acessórios não estão errados, mas junto com paetê a noite já fica bem evidente e de dia vai brilhar demais.

  68. Yet along with its popularity came out the actual rumors concerning the adverse reactions. The theory is actually a little something is beneficial, after that you need to have a thing within the ingredient that may bring the exact opposite kind of reaction. This might be one of the ideas that this not-so-convinced customers are considering.

  69. Based on my study, after a in foreclosure home is offered at an auction, it is common for that borrower to still have any remaining unpaid debt on the loan. There are many lenders who attempt to have all rates and liens repaid by the next buyer. However, depending on a number of programs, regulations, and state legal guidelines there may be quite a few loans that aren’t easily sorted out through the exchange of loans. Therefore, the duty still falls on the debtor that has obtained his or her property in foreclosure. Thanks for sharing your opinions on this weblog.

  70. Heck yes! I have yet to actually eat arancini but I’m hoping to try some soon on my trip to Orlando. Do you ever feel like you need to taste/feel the texture of a certain type of dish before you make it? I always feel like just reading a description of it online won’t justify me making something because I have no idea if what I just made even compares to the real deal.

  71. Chỉ có điên mới đưa ra một cái chính phủ kỳ cục như thế, toàn là những tên ngu dốt về chính trị và không có một tý hiểu biết hoặc kinh nghiệm nào về lãnh đạo quốc gia. Cái chính phủ ngu ấy chỉ có thể đưa Việt Nam trở lại thời kỳ đồ đá mà trước Mỹ muốn làm mà làm không được.

  72. disse:Chico AMX, qualquer um pode entrar aqui com outro e-mail fake e escrever fingindo que é outra pessoa, alterando o estilo.O e-mail do Ouragan é fake (nós testamos) e a expressão usada por ele no comentário que ficou barrado ( “mas enfim, segue o enterro…” ) denunciam a autoria do sujeito.Ele pode voltar a comentar usando outro nick, mas Ouragan e Hornet estão banidos, até que ele se retrate.

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