New Kennesaw State president defends anti-LGBT positions as AG
A new study estimates that due to strict voter ID laws, over 11,000 transgender Georgia voters could be disenfranchised in the 2016 election. The number represents 39 percent of the 29,000 trans people in Georgia who are eligible to vote.
The study, authored by Williams Institute Scholar Jody L. Herman, Ph.D., shows that many trans people who have transitioned do not have identification that accurately reflects their correct gender. Transgender people of color, youth, students, people with low income, and people with disabilities are the most likely to be disenfranchised.
Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham weighed in on the study, telling the Georgia Voice, “We’re certainly very concerned about the ability of trans folks to vote in Georgia. That’s exactly why four years ago we did create a resource guide for trans voters so they know their rights in Georgia.”
Graham recommended voting absentee, saying, “If individuals are already registered, that’s an option for them to ensure that they’re able to vote without any sort of harassment. Absentee ballots can be requested from the state of Georgia between now and the end of October. When voting absentee, it has to be mailed by Oct. 29 to be collected in time for the Nov. 8 election.”
Georgia Equality’s Transgender Voter ID Toolkit is available at their website. Former Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens gave his first interview since being named president of Kennesaw State University.
Olens spoke about the backlash from the school’s LGBT students and faculty at the news of his candidacy and hiring, telling the AJC of his fighting marriage equality, “So they weren’t my positions, they were the state’s positions. I took an oath of office to defend the laws of the state and that’s what I did … So it’s not a personal issue. It was my legal responsibility. I have a meeting set with leading members of the LGBTQ community at Kennesaw already.”
When asked about fighting transgender equality while attorney general, Olens responded, “I represented the state. There’s millions of dollars involved from the state. I had clients from the state that were very interested in that.”
Olens added that he will take the lead from the Board of Regents on issues like transgender individuals being allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, saying “My job as KSU president … is to make sure there is a safe and creative environment for all students on that campus … It’s a totally different position. It’s a totally different set of responsibilities.