U.S./World: New TLDEF executive director, antibiotic resistance

Beyond the Carolinas

TLDEF names new executive director

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund has announced the appointment of Jillian T. Weiss as its new executive director.

Weiss, a nationally recognized transgender rights attorney and law professor who brings three decades of legal experience to the post, succeeds Michael Silverman, who founded the organization in 2003.

“Jillian has a powerful track record of fighting for the rights of transgender people in the workplace. Her cases have resulted in landmark settlements and rulings increasing protections for transgender employees and sending an unmistakable message that employment bias will not be tolerated,” said Alaina Kupec and Joseph A. Hall, board of directors co-chairs. “Jillian is also one of the nation’s preeminent transgender discrimination scholars who keenly understands the power of the courts and progressive government in achieving transgender equality under the law.”

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Prior to her appointment, Weiss was a tenured professor of law and society at Ramapo College of New Jersey and the founder of the Law Office of Jillian T. Weiss P.C. She has a Ph.D. in Law, Policy and Society from Northeastern University and a J.D. from Seton Hall Law School. Among her milestone cases are Jamal v. Saks & Co., an employment discrimination case against Saks Fifth Avenue, and Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, LLC, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a transgender woman may take her employment discrimination case against a Georgia auto sales company to trial.

In 2014, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chose her client’s case as the first of two to be litigated by the commission on behalf of a transgender employee. EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, PA, resulted in a six-figure settlement. The Department of Justice followed suit in March 2015, in the case of US v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which is pending in an Oklahoma federal court. In addition, Weiss and the EEOC brought a transgender employment discrimination lawsuit against Deluxe Financial Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest check-printing companies. The suit resulted in a large settlement and sweeping workplace policy changes at the company.

“I have dedicated my career to fighting for the rights of the trans community through my legal and academic work,” said Weiss. “At a time when our community faces an all-out legislative assault focused on issues like bathroom access, I am committed to ensuring that all trans people have the freedom to live authentic lives. As a transgender woman myself, I have experienced discrimination first hand. I am determined to combat systemic discrimination that inordinately burdens trans people, particularly people of color and others caught at the intersection of multiple forms of prejudice, such as race, class and gender bias. I am honored to bring the totality of my experience to bear as TLDEF’s new executive director.”

Weiss is a past board member of Lambda Legal, has been Chair of the annual Trans Law Symposium, and has consulted with private and public organizations regarding gender identity policy and employee gender transitions, including Harvard University, Boeing and New York City. She begins her new role today. Michael Silverman will assist in the leadership transition.

info: transgenderlegal.org.

Antibiotic resistance threatens gonorrhea treatment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) findings published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, there is an emergence of gonorrhea becoming resistant to azithromycin, a first-line antibiotic used to treat the sexually-transmitted disease (STD).

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The CDC currently recommends a combination gonorrhea treatment with two antibiotics — an oral dose of azithromycin and single shot of ceftriaxone. Findings show that the percentage of gonorrhea isolates with decreased susceptibility to azithromycin, an indicator of emerging resistance, increased more than 400 percent between 2013 and 2014 (from 0.6 percent to 2.5 percent of gonorrhea isolates).

The combination therapy currently recommended by CDC still works. To date, no treatment failures have been reported in the United States. But signs of emerging resistance to azithromycin suggests that this drug will be next in the long line of antibiotics to which gonorrhea bacteria have become resistant — a list that includes penicillin, tetracycline, and fluoroquinolones. Because of gonorrhea’s ability to outsmart the antibiotics used to treat it, the CDC has been closely monitoring early warning signs of resistance not only to azithromycin, but also to cephalosporins, the class of antibiotics that includes ceftriaxone.

Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs in the U.S., and the 2014 STD surveillance report indicates that gonorrhea and other reportable STDs are on the rise.

The CDC is taking action by collaborating with state and local health departments and community partner organizations to extend the reach of existing STD prevention services.

info: cdc.gov.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.