Gender Beat: US Judge Halts Transgender Protections in Obamacare; UK Gender Pay Gap Down to 5%

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality.

India’s first transgender principal resumes work after government refuses to accept resignation

Manabi Bandopadhyay, the country’s first transgender college principal, had resigned on December 23 after about one-and-a-half years at West Bengal’s Krishnagar Women’s College alleging non-cooperation from a section of teachers and students at the institution. However, she re-joined the college on Tuesday after her resignation was rejected by the education department.

According to a PTI report, Bandopadhyay claimed that she had begun facing non-cooperation soon after she took over as the principal of the college in June 2015.

A group of teachers, on the other hand, alleged that the principal misbehaved with them, Hindustan Times reported.

A four-member team led by R. P. Bhattacharjee, the joint director of public instructions, was formed to look into the matter when Bandopadhyay – who alleged that she faced opposition whenever she wanted to fill the vacant posts in college – submitted her resignation.

Bandyopadhyay, whose earlier was Somnath, had undergone a series of surgeries in 2003 and 2004 to turn into a woman.

When asked whether she was victimised because she was a transgender, Bandyopadhyay told Hindustan Times, “I faced the humiliation because I wanted to bring in discipline. Women principals in this college before me also had a tough time. However, gender is always an issue. I always highlighted myself as a transgender.”

In an opinion piece in Hindustan TimesAasheesh Sharma had asserted how the resignation of Bandopadhyay – who published the country’s first transgender magazine, Ob-Manab – had reinforced the prejudices against transgenders in India.

Gender pay gap down to 5% for UK women in their 20s, study says

A report by Resolution Foundation claims that even though the discrepancy in pay between men and women in the UK has declined to 5% for women in their 20s, the gap widens after they hit 30.

According to The Guardian, the think tank compared the typical hourly pay of different generations of men and women and thus highlighted the fact that women would earn significantly less than their male counterparts over the course of their careers.


Gender pay gap for British women in their 20s is down to 5%. Credit: Reuters

For millennials in their 20s – those born in the last two decades of the 20th century – the gender pay gap, according to Business Insider, now stands at 5%. For Generation X on the other hand – those born between 1966 and 1980 – the gap was 9% when they were at the same age and was 16% among baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1965.

The shrinking gap, according to Resolution Foundation’s report, can be attributed to the increased participation of women in higher education and improved maternity rights and equality laws.

Laura Gardiner, a senior policy analyst at the think tank, said, “While many millennial women haven’t experienced much of a pay gap yet, most probably will once they reach their 30s when they start having children.”

The discrepancy between pay for millennials, the report claims, rises to 9% when they reach their 30s which, according to The Guardian, puts them on course to face a deficit of nearly 30% by the time they are in their mid-40s.

Transgender, abortion-related Obamacare protections blocked by US judge

One day before they were due to go into effect, a federal judge in Texas issued a court order halting the enforcement of Obama administration protections for transgender and abortion-related healthcare services on Saturday.

According to a Reuters report, the order, that sides with Texas and a handful of other states and some religiously affiliated non-profit medical groups, challenges a regulation found in the Affordable Care Act that defines sex bias to include “discrimination on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy.”

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Obama administration protections for transgender and abortion-related healthcare services were blocked by a federal judge in the US. Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

According to Buzzfeed, states and the non-profits opposing the regulation in the healthcare lawsuit alleged that it violates the Administrative Procedure Act – which sets the rules for federal government rule-making – and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“Today’s decision is a setback, but hopefully a temporary one, since all Americans – regardless of their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation – should have access to quality, affordable health care free from discrimination,” White House spokeswoman Katie Hill told Reuters.

Obamacare was passed in 2010 with an anti-discrimination section incorporated to obstruct insurers from charging customers unfairly or them denying coverage based on age, race, national origin, disability or gender.

In China, transgender man wins wrongful dismissal case

A transgender man, who was born female but identifies himself as a man, was working at a health centre in Guiyang in Southwest China when he was fired. According to The Guardian, Chen won a landmark legal challenge against wrongful dismissal when the court ruled that he was illegally fired after just a week on the job.

The court, however, also said that there was not enough evidence to establish that he had been fired due to discrimination against him being transgender, BBC reported.

Chen told BBC that he had received a lot of support from the country’s LGBT community, however, he added that finding a job as a transgender person in China was difficult.

“Within the LGBT community, many people have experienced this after they revealed their sexual orientation,” he said. “So you either hide it, and wear their uniforms, or you get rejected.”

Although Chen claimed that he was satisfied with the ruling, he has said that he would continue legal challenges to force an apology.

“A lot of people face workplace discrimination but they don’t dare step forward,” The Guardian quoted Chen as saying. “I felt like it was my responsibility to speak up.”

According to The Guardian, the country remains conservative when it comes to gender and sexuality. Being gay was only decriminalised in China in 1997 and until 2011, it was still considered a mental illness by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry.


That’s it for this week! If you liked what you read, please consider subscribing to this weekly newsletter.

If you have any comments or suggestions on what could be carried in this column, write to me at [email protected]