Friday, September 21, 2007

Duchy, Valerie, Marc: Thank You

The marriage ruling this week was a setback, but I believe those who promise to work twice as hard in the coming year, and as we can see everywhere we look, the tide is turning, no doubt.

This was in The Sentinel this week -- it's behind a firewall, so I'll just put the whole thing out here:
Legislation proposed to help transgender people

By Sarah Barr
Montgomery Sentinel Staff Writer

New legislation would create a protected class for transgender people by adding gender identity to the County's non-discrimination laws and could also help bolster awareness and support for the rights of transgender people.

Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg (D-At large) described the legislation as "not radical" at its introduction to the County Council last week, noting that 13 states, the District of Columbia and 91 local jurisdictions have adopted similar nondiscrimination legislation, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The bill would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in the workplace, housing, public accommodations, cable television service and taxicab service.

She's right, this isn't a radical idea. For one thing, this feeling that their subjective gender is different from their physical sex not something transgender people feel now and then, or something they made up -- just think what it'd be like with everybody thinking you are whatever it is you aren't, like they're talking to somebody else but looking at you. This is a real, persistent, distressful experience for many people every day.

The other thing, there is no question that this is a group of people who are discriminated against.

I wonder if anybody we know would have anything to say on this topic?
"Passing a law like this sends a message that you don't have to be afraid," said Dana Beyer, a senior advisor to Trachtenberg who also serves on the board of the National Center for Transgender Equality and Equality Maryland, which advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Beyer, a transgender woman herself and whose 2006 campaign for a Maryland delegate seat was one of the first by an openly transgender person, said that the law is a step against the "overt discrimination" that has been perpetrated against members of the transgender community in some cases.

"I know too many people who have been afraid," she said.

When discrimination does happen, it can lead to unemployment and homelessness for transgender people, making them prone to be victims of violence and experience other difficulties, according to Beyer.

The legislation is also a way to increase awareness and consciousness among Montgomery residents about transgender issues, thus spreading knowledge and acceptance throughout society. "This is just one more part of the conversation," said Beyer.

According to the staff report submitted with the legislation, it is unclear whether current County antidiscrimination law would cover gender identity discrimination; the new legislation would make it explicit.

In the current language of the proposed law, gender identity is defined as "an individual's actual or perceived gender, including a person's gender-related appearance, expression, image, identity, or behavior, whether or not those gender-related characteristics differ from the characteristics customarily associated with the person's assigned sex at birth."

The language is similar to the definition included in the Baltimore City Code, the only Maryland jurisdiction with a non-discrimination law that protects people on the basis of gender-identity. An attempt to pass a similar measure in the Maryland legislature was voted down in committee this spring.

The Montgomery bill is cosponsored by Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-5) and Councilman Marc Elrich (D-At large). A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Oct. 2.

Once again, somebody doing the right thing. Let's keep this ball rolling, Montgomery County isn't a place that wants to discriminate against people for the way they feel.

8 Comments:

Anonymous ziggy stardust said...

"Once again, somebody doing the right thing."

It isn't Duchy, Valerie and Marc. (you sure that fellow knows how to spell his own name- sounds like someone who goes to the ball with a guy dressed as Cleopatra)

Discrimination laws are temporary measures to correct some type of gross injustice in society. We can't, as a society, afford to tie up our courts with every grievance of people who believe they are treated unfairly because of some aspect of their appearance.

Since TTF has maintained that Monkey County is so enlightened and loving toward all its "sexual minorities" (except, or course, those afflicted with that nasty "nuclear family fetish"), and since TTF claims that only a small handful of ignorant miscreants have any aversion to open and rampant homosexuality in our community, what would be the justification for such legislation? Does anyone really think Michelle Turner and John Garza are controlling all the taxi and cable service in the area? Does anyone really think Comcast is going to refuse to take money from guys that dress in geisha outfits? Come on.

"Let's keep this ball rolling,"

Is this like heads rolling? It's too easy.

"Montgomery County isn't a place that wants to discriminate against people for the way they feel."

No. But sometimes we'd appreciate it if they'd keep the way they feel to themselves.

Has anyone seen that guy that hops up and down Connecticut Ave? I stopped and asked him what he was doing and he said he feels like a kangaroo. He says he has a terrible time hailing a taxi. People think he's nuts.

I told him, "Maybe you should just hop around in your own backyard. People think you're strange."

I was biking in the park this weekend and a taxi whizzed by me with that guy in it.

I bet that cab driver had no idea he was driving around a trans-species.

September 21, 2007 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Record that ^ user's IP. It's time to enforce some law and order.

David Bowie ZIGGY STARDUST song lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. In compliance with the DMCA.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law which implements two 1996 WIPO treaties. It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services that are used to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as DRM) and criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, even when there is no infringement of copyright itself. It also heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on October 8, 1998 by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended title 17 of the U.S. Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of Online Providers from copyright infringement by their users.

September 21, 2007 10:13 AM  
Anonymous al jolson said...

Well, I've quoted larger part of several other songs. I believe it falls under the fair use doctrine.

Just to avoid any confusion, I'm not and never have been David Bowie.

September 21, 2007 11:00 AM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

"Ziggy stardust" said "... sometimes we'd appreciate it if they'd keep the way they feel to themselves.".

You first. Don't ever talk about having a girlfriend, or a wife, never express attraction or apppreciation for someone of the opposite sex, never talk about any opposite sex relationship you've ever had, guard your every word and action so no one becomes aware that you are attracted to the opposite sex, when you're out in public with your partner, never hold her hand, touch her, or refer to her with a term of endearment, guard all your mannerisms so no one suspects you might be straight, and then we'll talk.

You hypocrite, people like you make your orientation known all the time, you take for granted that you can be open about it and announce it in myriad different ways every day and yet you whine when gays even remotely begin to do the same sorts of things as you. Get yourself into the closet before you ask anyone else to go there.

September 21, 2007 1:15 PM  
Anonymous rye guy said...

Randi, it's in everyone's best interest if heterosexuality is considered the ideal.

September 21, 2007 1:27 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Rye guy, sure, ideal for those who are opposite sex attracted, most definitely not ideal for those who are same sex attracted.

September 21, 2007 2:24 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 21, 2007 2:25 PM  
Anonymous MCPS Mom said...

A BIG THANK YOU to Duchy, Valerie and Marc for their work to bring equality and fairness to ALL residents of Montgomery County. They told us they supported equal civil rights for LGBT people at the candidate forum TTF and EMCQ cohosted last year. Now that they are in office, they are proving that they haven't forgotten their campaign promises.

September 21, 2007 5:34 PM  

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