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Friday, November 28, 2008

Call for Volunteer Researchers: Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Laws and Public Lavatory Climate

As a professor of Law and Society at a liberal-arts institution, one of my major functions, in addition to teaching, is to conduct research on questions of major importance in my field.

One of these questions is regarding the effect of gender identity non-discrimination laws on the climate of safety in women's bathrooms. An effective tool of opponents of such laws is the argument that, because gender identity and expression are essentially self-defined, it allows men to enter women's dressing rooms and harass or assault women with impunity. I am conducting research on the question of what is the incidence of this type of incident, and whether it is related to gender identity non-discrimination laws.

I'm asking for volunteers to help in this research. Obtaining grants for such research can take years of effort, and few organizations really care enough about this question to fund it. In addition, my school has money for student-faculty research and I was able to get a bright student to help me do this. The volunteer-driven research model has been used successfully before, notably in the AIDS crisis. If you or someone you know is willing to spend an hour in web training, and put in about two to five hours a week for a month, then please contact me at jweiss@ramapo.edu, with "Research" in the subject line. I will forward details.


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