Thursday, March 05, 2009

State Transgender Nondiscrimination Bill Working Through Committees

The state of Maryland is inching toward implementation of a statewide gender-identity nondiscrimination law. House bill 474 has 68 co-sponsors and needs 71 votes to pass. Senate bill 566 has 14 co-sponsors and will need 24 votes.

Yesterday the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee listened to testimony on the bill. I wasn't there but received a report on the hearing. The Citizens for Responsible Whatever were out in full force. Ruth Jacobs carried a bouquet of roses for the poor women and children who will suffer if discrimination against transgender individuals is prohibited. I am told that Peter Sprigg testified that discrimination is a good thing, except for racial discrimination. Someone testified that they saw a man in a ladies room in Tyson's Corner once in 2001 and have been afraid to go into a public restroom ever since. I don't think there was any explanation about how that relates to gender identity discrimination.

Oh, hey, I want to look into this. Last year a man in a dress went into the ladies shower-room at the Rio Sport and Health Club in Gaithersburg. A Citizens for Responsible Government officer happened to be there and called the news media. Channel Seven responded. The shower-nuts are now saying that the gym lost eighty customers over this incident. That sounds like a lot to me. Why would somebody quit the gym over that? Would it be because they're afraid it will happen again? A guy in a dress ran in the front door, ran into the ladies locker-room, turned around and left again -- and eighty people quit. I don't get that. How would eighty people even know it happened?

Fourteen people presented personal experiences of discrimination to the committee.

A couple of interesting things. The Maryland Retailers Association had worked with legislators to craft wording regarding restrooms and shower-rooms, and now is willing to support the bill. The wording gives proprietors the right to control access to their public restrooms. They can refuse to let anyone they find unacceptable use the restroom but if they deny access they may have to give a good reason in a hearing. They are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide accommodations that ensure the privacy of transgender individuals. A curtain might do it.

Also, Governor Martin O'Malley has submitted a letter supporting the bill and is expected to campaign in support of it if majorities are in question.

The bill is working its way through committees now, and will probably be out of committee by the thirteenth. It will go for a vote on the floor sometime in the next four weeks, the date is not set yet and is susceptible to the usual dynamics of scheduling.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Robert said...

No one's commented on this thread. For myself, my thoughts are with the hopes and prayers of my transgender brothers and sisters in Maryland, and all our aspirations for their equality.

rrjr

March 06, 2009 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shut up, Robert

March 07, 2009 12:36 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Drinking again last night, Anon?

I'm with Robert and with Martin Luther King Jr., who warned us:

When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

I'm proud to live in the great state of Maryland where this gender identity anti-discrimination bill is being considered by the State House in Annapolis. One of the reasons that arc of the moral universe takes so long to bring justice for all people is because:

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.

Dana has offered numerous times to sit down with CRWhatever leaders so they might get to know each other and communicate with each other, but they have steadfastly refused her kind offers.

And now we have Anon's sad commentary from late last night, like the countless nameless Anons who can only sit alone at their computers and hurl their hatred at everyone who is not just exactly like them. How pathetic.

March 07, 2009 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

March 07, 2009 11:53 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, if all you can say is "shut up" then you are not welcome here.

JimK

March 07, 2009 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

March 07, 2009 1:26 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

It's like I said before, my city of Columbia, SC passed a transgender inclusive non-discrimination ordinance over a year ago and we have not had any problems of men invading women's restrooms and locker rooms. I hope your bill passes.

March 07, 2009 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

down in Columbia, transgenders don't make a spectacle of themselves

it's DADT, which works out best for everyone

March 08, 2009 12:18 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon complained:

“down in Columbia, transgenders don't make a spectacle of themselves
it's DADT, which works out best for everyone”

I was quite happy to live my quiet little life, going to work, hanging out with friends, and going to some good restaurants every once in a while. I basically lived a “DADT” life until I got word of some (I’ll omit the words I’d really like to use) people started going around Montgomery County saying trans people were “mentally ill,” “sexual deviants,” and undeserving of some basic rights to keep a job. These same people then went on to make up their own misconstrued legal interpretations of the new law and presented them as “facts” to scare people into signing a petition to get the law rescinded.

Now the CRG is saying that HB474/SB566 “Creates a new public policy essentially legalizing Gender Identity Theft.” Yeah, riiiight.

I could not sit idly by and let that kind of misinformed bigotry against me, my friends, and people like us go unchallenged.

I have been battling this fear and ignorance for over a year now, either through this blog or meeting with some of the petition collectors in person. I have made my medical history public knowledge because I believe the best way to counter this irrational fear is to show people what real transsexuals are like, rather than leave it up to the imaginations of people who stumble across CRG’s anti-trans propaganda.

If you consider that making “a spectacle of” myself, so be it. I will continue to use my wit, charm, and intelligence to battle their defamatory accusations for as long as they continue to denigrate people like me. Who knows, one day they may even apologize to me and my friends for the rancor they have stirred up.

Have a nice day,

Cynthia

March 08, 2009 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was quite happy to live my quiet little life....I basically lived a “DADT” life until I got word of some (I’ll omit the words I’d really like to use) people started going around Montgomery County saying trans people were “mentally ill,” “sexual deviants,” and undeserving of some basic rights to keep a job."

CRG didn't start that, Cynthia. Dana lost an election to the state legislature so the Dr took a job with some nutjob called Duchy and decided to make an issue of it.

I said all along what you are saying. There was no need for this law. Transgenders, like yourself, were perfectly free to live their quiet lives without any governmental intervention.

March 08, 2009 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

live their quiet lives without any governmental intervention.

This law gives trans people governmental protection from discrimination.

CRG didn't start that, Cynthia. Dana lost an election to the state legislature so the Dr took a job with some nutjob called Duchy and decided to make an issue of it.

The entire County Council voted unanimously to extend Montgomery County's non-discrimination bill to include gender identity. Then CRW went nuts, spreading fear of trans women by saying "No longer will women and girls be able to feel completely safe in the most private and personal bathroom and locker facilities..." on their home page and on literature they distributed to the public.

If you think it was OK for Cynthia to use the ladies room before this law was expanded, why do you think ensuring Cynthia has that right by codifying it into law was "making an issue of it?"

Oh, and if we took a poll, I'm sure most people would agree the term "nutcase" would apply to more to a hateful Anonymous commenter than a Social Worker who won election to the serve the public on the County Council.

March 08, 2009 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This law gives trans people governmental protection from discrimination."

You don't make laws to protect against imaginary threats. Transgenders faced no obstacle to quietly living their life as they pleased in MC.

Duchy is a nutcase, manipulated by an enchilada.

March 08, 2009 11:03 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon asserted:

“You don't make laws to protect against imaginary threats. Transgenders faced no obstacle to quietly living their life as they pleased in MC.”

My own personal situation is not representative of the entire trans community in MC. You apparently didn’t hear Maryanne’s testimony at the County Council meetings. Nor are you aware of the trans people I know desperately trying to keep their medical history private so they can remain quietly in their job. In at least one case this has meant one of my friends not being able to get her spouse covered with her company’s insurance – there are just too many uncomfortable questions that come up when a woman’s spouse has a woman’s name (no, they were not lesbians when the got married). This has cost them tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected medical bills.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I managed to get a job after transition. Many of my friends have found themselves in far less fortuitous situations. Even with the new law, few of them are in any financial position to mount a legal case. It helps, but it’s no panacea. And, even with the law, there are places where some of my ex-coworkers currently work where I would never be able to get a job. They wouldn’t be so stupid and blatant as to say “you can’t hire her because she’s a transsexual,” but they’d find other ways to undermine my application. There are far more transsexuals in MC than me, Maryanne, and Dana, but only a few of us had an employment (or unemployment) situation where we could afford risking being out in public battling CRG propaganda.

As for imaginary threats, the biggest ones have been those posited by the CRG; namely that now with the new gender identity bill, sex offenders were suddenly going to start putting on women’s clothes and invading women’s privacy in the restrooms and showers. So far the closest thing to that happening has been a foreign language speaking guy with a baby in his stroller giving style advice to his wife in the changing room. I wonder if they ever even heard of 23-07.

Have a nice day,

Cynthia

March 08, 2009 11:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home