Friday, April 29, 2011

The Examiner Should Be Ashamed

You will not often hear me describe myself as "offended" by something. It usually seems to me to be a way for people to call upon some principle that they may or may not subscribe to, in order to score points in an argument. But I am offended by this one, I can't even understand why a professional newspaper would publish this trash. Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is taking a bizarre and hateful view of the Rosedale beating of Chrissy Polis.
Must America's "hate crimes" brigade rush to judgment before all the facts are in?

Apparently they must, but that's exactly what you'd expect from people who want to criminalize thoughts, not actions. And nothing illustrates the rush-to-judgment mentality more than what happened in a Baltimore-area McDonald's in mid-April.

The incident was captured on a cell phone video. It was posted on You Tube and went viral, so this isn't just a local story any longer.

The video shows two women beating a "woman" named Chrissy Polis. I put the word "woman" in quotation marks because Polis wasn't born a woman. He's what's known as "transgendered." 'Hate crime' justice is no justice at all

And someone who intentionally refers to a transgender person by the wrong pronouns is what's known as a "bigot."

There is an argument that the assault will be prosecuted, that hitting and kicking people is a crime already and there is no need to add hate-crime charges. That is a fair argument, and we can have a civil discussion about it. At this point in history, the American people do support the idea that it is a worse crime to harm someone because of their religion, race, ethnicity, and other characteristics. Maybe that will change, fine, the public can talk about it and maybe public opinion will go the other way.

But we must not allow public discourse to be hijacked by this kind of self-serving inflammatory language.

He continues.
According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, "transgender" is defined as "of, relating to or being a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person's sex at birth."

Polis has been repeatedly referred to in news stories as a "woman." Not because he was born a woman, and not because he has two x chromosomes that women have, but merely because he thinks he is.

I'm sorry, but buying into Polis' notion that he's a woman is like asking me to call my weird Uncle Herman "your highness" just because he takes a notion that he's the Emperor Napoleon. I think I'll pass on that one.

Kane has a primitive sense of gender identity. I would be pretty sure he would not be able to explain the facts that Montgomery County tenth graders learn about intersex conditions and transgender topics.

And face it, Kane doesn't know what kind of chromosomes Ms. Polis has. Gender would not be a useful concept if the only "real" criterion required a bunch of laboratory equipment. Chrissy Polis is a woman by every practical standard.

The opinion that is being expressed here in the pages of The Examiner is an example of that strange modern philosophy that sees ignorance as a sort of ideal. We should not have to learn how other people live, it is not worthwhile to consider how the world looks through another person's eyes, the world must be exactly what it appears to us at our first glance. It follows that education is a waste of time and scientific findings are suspect.
But Polis is transgendered, based on the definition of the term. Is that why the two women beat him? Well, we haven't heard from them yet.

One is only 14 and Baltimore County prosecutors haven't decided yet to charge her as an adult. Teonna Monae Brown, 18, is being held without bail and is charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault.

Oh good, if you want to know why these people beat up Ms. Polis, you should ask them -- don't watch the video, which depicts a clear and shocking act of hatred. Ask them. I'm sure their explanation after a couple of weeks in jail will be more accurate than the things they were saying while the beating took place.
All the facts about what happened and why aren't even close to being in, yet some have already raised the "hate crimes" banner.

What happened to Polis was clearly wrong, and the suspects have already been charged with assault. But for some, that simply isn't enough.

Because Polis is transgendered, he's entitled to extra protection, according to the "hate crimes" police. Had Polis, who's white, been just an actual white woman taking a beat-down because of the color of her skin, not her sexuality, we wouldn't have heard word one from anybody about filing "hate crimes" charges against Polis' assailants.

This intentional misuse of pronouns is offensive, and The Examiner should issue an apology. Chrissy Polis is a postoperative transsexual, a woman by every measure.

Here's the problem. Kane hates transgender people, he refuses to respect them, he treats their real-life dilemma as if it were a trick or something superficial. His hatred very much weakens his argument against charging these assailants with a hate crime. In fact, I'd have to say that he proves by his own example exactly why hate crimes exist and why they are necessary.
Quick, when was the last time you ever heard any of these "hate crimes" folks call for "hate crimes" charges to be lodged against so-called "people of color" whose victims were white?

President Obama's daughters will be old enough to run for president by the time you come up with an answer to that one.

The answer, for most of you, is probably never, because "hate crimes" lobbyists seldom, if ever, urge prosecutors to file "hate crimes" charges against assailants whose victims are white and heterosexual.

Now this is interesting. I did not know this. I am going to cite a publication that Gregory Kane would appreciate, the World Net Daily, from 2006:
WASHINGTON – The most likely victim of a hate crime in the U.S. is a poor, young, white, single urban dweller, according to an analysis of Justice Department statistics collected from between July 2000 and December 2003.

A November report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics detailing a study of 210,000 "hate crimes" a year during that period has gone virtually unreported by the U.S. press.

But it does contain some surprising numbers. While race is, by far, the No. 1 factor cited as the reason for hate crimes, blacks are slightly less likely to be victims and far more likely to be perpetrators, the statistics show. 'Hate crime' victims: Young, poor, white

According to the FBI, this article says, most hate crime victims are white. It doesn't break down by sexual orientation, but I will go out on a limb and say that most hate-crime victims are heterosexual and cisgendered, too.

It's interesting that Kane does not cite the statistics on this, but rather says "Quick, when was the last time you ever heard..." Again, this is the citation of ignorance as authority. If you haven't heard of it, it didn't happen. There is nothing more to know, nothing to gain by looking it up. You already know everything you need to know. The word "quick" in that sentence is important, cognitive effort is unnecessary.

This pathetic Examiner article ends this way:
For such victims, good, old regular assault, battery and/or murder charges will have to do. Here's what "hate crimes" lobbyists really believe, deep in their hearts:

When a crime happens to someone in my group, or someone in a group I deeply sympathize with, then that's a "hate crime."

When the same crime happens to anyone else, that's simply the victim's tough luck.

If that doesn't quite smack of "equal justice under the law," then that's because it isn't. It smacks of exactly what it is: unequal justice and egregiously preferential treatment.

All those who advocate that so-called "hate crimes" laws be on our books need to stand up and admit that unequal justice and preferential treatment are exactly what they want.

There is some irony here in the fact that Kane himself is black, as were the assailants of Chrissy Polis. If he acts according to his own stated belief, then this article is really just a way for him to support members of his own group. He is behaving just a like a "'hate crimes' lobbyist."

Let's not go there. Because he's wrong. You will find that the vast majority of people who call the beating of Chrissy Polis a hate crime are not transgender. It's a stupid argument.

I do think The Examiner should apologize for this piece and meditate carefully on their role in supporting hatred and violence in our already-trouble society. This writer has the right to express an opinion about hate crime laws, and The Examiner, being a mostly-conservative publication, is expected to publish articles opposing hate crime legislation and enforcement. But this writer is over the line. He has the right to believe these things about our transgender friends and neighbors, he has the right to talk this way in his private life, but The Examiner is making a big mistake in publicizing and promoting this kind of destructive ugliness.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blogger is Bloggered

There is something wrong with Blogger today, it does not seem to be accepting comments unless you are signed in and using your Google ID. I checked Twitter and see that everybody is complaining about the same thing happening, so it's not just us. Hopefully the site administrators are aware of the problem and will get it fixed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sun: "The Entire Community Needs to Stand Together"

When you are born, a doctor holds you up and looks at your bottom, then checks "M" or "F" on a birth certificate. That's it, from that point onward you are treated as a boy or a girl, you are given a name that reflects your assigned gender, dressed in clothing appropriate to the doctor's checkmark, the toys that relatives bring you are appropriate for your assigned sex. And for most of us that's fine, the doctor is right more than ninety-nine percent of the time, they eyeball the kid and define them as male or female on the basis of external genitalia and that usually works.

But for any of dozens of reasons, some people are misidentified at birth. And at some point in their lives they realize that a mistake has been made, that they are not really the sex that the doctor initially thought.

At this point, you have a choice: go along with the program and continue to refer to yourself erroneously, or change your dress, behavior, and perhaps physical characteristics to match the correct sex. Changing is hard, especially if you have developed past puberty with the physical characteristics of the erroneous gender. Then, when you make the transition, the ambiguity may be difficult for people to interpret. Ignorant people confuse a changed gender identity with a kink or perversion or some kind of mental illness, or they confuse gender identity with sexual orientation, and they feel threatened by it -- or worse, they are morally indignant.

In Baltimore a young woman had made the transition, she had been raised as a boy but now, at the age of twenty-two, had fully transitioned to life as a woman. She had been drinking, as some twenty-two year-olds do, and stopped at a McDonalds to use the bathroom. Coming out of the ladies room she was ambushed by some belligerent customers and severely beaten.

This beating was not unusual or unique. Transgender people live with the constant threat of violence whenever they go out in public. What was different this time is that somebody captured the whole thing on video and posted it on the Internet.

The Baltimore Sun wrote:
This is a situation where the entire community needs to stand together and unequivocally condemn bigotry, hatred and violence.

To its credit, McDonald's seems to get this. The restaurant's parent company quickly issued a statement on its Web site condemning the beating, and the owner of the Rosedale franchise fired the person who shot the video. He says he may terminate additional employees if it determines they aided or abetted the attack or failed to take reasonable steps to protect the victim. And the franchise is slated to close during a vigil Monday night in a gesture of respect and support for Ms. Polis.

But Baltimore County officials were slow to understand that their community is now being held up to ridicule all over the world as a hotbed of intolerance. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was silent on the matter until Monday afternoon, when he issued a statement condemning the attack. He did, however, hit the right note: "Although this vicious attack was an isolated incident and in no way reflects upon the Rosedale or greater Baltimore County communities, it does serve as a wake-up call that we all have a role to play in establishing the norms we expect in our county. It is the conversations around our dinner tables and the casual chatter among friends that develop patterns of behavior. Each and every one of us has a responsibility in deciding what kind of a society we expect and what kind of a society we will help create."

Likewise, this incident should prompt the General Assembly to revisit its failure this year to toughen the state's anti-discrimination law to protect transgender individuals. Although Maryland law already makes it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gays and bisexuals, transgender people face unique challenges not shared by their LGB peers in finding mainstream acceptance, and too often they are the silent "T" in the LGBT struggle for equal rights. Passage of a measure aimed specifically at protecting the rights of transgender people would bring greater clarity to the law in such situations. Attack at McDonald's -- Our view: Regardless of whether it is classified a hate crime, the vicious beating of a transgender woman demands condemnation from the community

Three hundred people showed up for the rally Monday. That is impressive. McDonalds has issued statements and made some moves that indicate that they get it. A few of our state legislators have acknowledged the problem and issued statements about the importance of resubmitting and passing the bill that failed this year. It's a start. We need to stand together in stark opposition to the kind of violent bigotry we see on that horrible Internet video.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rally Tonight for Beating Victim

I think it would be appropriate for Ruth Jacobs, Theresa Rickman, and the others at the Citizens for Responsible Government to comment on the video of the beating at McDonalds in Rosedale last week. Their 2008 Montgomery County referendum campaign exploited the fear of "men in the ladies room" and they deliberately painted our transgender neighbors as dangerous predators who would harm good, law-abiding women. Does the CRG take any responsibility for this violence, or are they going to remain silent?

The Baltimore Sun interviewed the victim of the beating. Here are some snatches of that article.
"They said, 'That's a dude, that's a dude and she's in the female bathroom,' " said Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, who said she stopped at the Rosedale restaurant to use the restroom. "They spit in my face."

A worker at the restaurant taped Monday's attack and created a graphic video that went viral last week. After the video garnered hundreds of thousands of views on websites, McDonald's issued a statement condemning the incident, and on Saturday the worker who taped the incident was fired.

The video shows two females — one of them a 14-year-old girl — repeatedly kicking and punching Polis in the head as an employee and a patron try to intervene. Others can be heard laughing, and men are seen standing idly by.

Toward the end of the video, one of the suspects lands a punishing blow to the victim's head, and Polis appears to have a seizure. A man's voice tells the women to run because police are coming. Victim of McDonald's beating speaks out

Our brave Maryland legislators failed to pass a law last month that would have guaranteed the rights of transgender individuals in seeking employment, credit, and some other things. Before failing to pass it, the legislators deleted wording that would have given transgender people the right to use "public accommodations." Public accommodations would include bathrooms, and our courageous representatives in Annapolis were afraid that such a bold move, allowing people the right to pee in a public restroom, would trigger a controversy that would be too much for them.
Polis, who said she had a sex-change operation to become a woman, said this isn't the first time that she's been picked on physically because of her sexual identity. She said she's been subjected to beatings and even sexual assaults.

She said seeing herself all over the Internet and all over the news has been "like walking out of the closet all over again." Polis is concerned that the public attention could trigger more violence — and worries it could hurt her chances of getting a job. "I want to cry, but I need to hold my head up," she said.

Her twin brother, Matty Polis, who also lives in Baltimore, said it's been painful to watch her have to endure these sorts of attacks.

"My sister has gotten this her entire life," Matty Polis said. "Being the way she is, she's always had a hard time."

Polis, who was raised by her grandmother in Dundalk and Essex, graduated from Chesapeake High and hasn't had a job or stable place to stay for the past two years, according to her mother, Angela Thomas.

Polis, who is white, believes race may have also been a factor in her attack— both the assailants were black, according to the police report.


The three-minute video clip was apparently first posted on YouTube, then taken down by administrators who said it violated the site's policies. But it popped back up on other sites and was ultimately linked from the Drudge Report, which gave it top billing for much of the day Friday.

The video begins with two women near a bathroom door kicking and hitting a woman who is lying on the ground.

An employee repeatedly tries to separate them, but the attackers continue to stomp and kick the victim in the head. People yell, "Stop! Stop!" to no avail, though others can be heard laughing. An older woman at one point also attempts to pull the attackers away and is shoved.

About halfway through the clip, the attackers drag Polis by her hair to the front door. That is where the victim is sitting before another blow to the head causes an apparent seizure.

Throughout the attack, a man is filming and does not intervene. But when the victim appears to have a seizure, he yells, "She having a seizure, yo. … Police on their way. Y'all better get out of here."

The McDonalds franchise owner says she's "shocked" etcetera.
Polis said she plans to take legal action against the restaurant.

"Anyone in my predicament should not be afraid to walk the streets," Polis said. "They should not have to go into a restaurant and get gawked at and made fun of. They shouldn't be afraid to leave the house. It's just wrong."

I think it's wrong.

Let's hear somebody from the Citizens for Responsible Government say it's wrong.

A rally is scheduled to take place outside the McDonald’s at 6315 Kenwood Ave., Rosedale, Md., at 7 p.m. tonight (Monday).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Baltimore Trans Woman Beaten, Legislature Failed to Pass Bill

This month the Maryland legislature failed to pass a bill that would have given some equal rights to transgender citizens. Before sinking it procedurally they gutted the bill, taking out a provision that would have given them equal access to "public accommodations," which means everything from going to the mall to being served in a restaurant. The problem was that "public accommodations" might include bathrooms, it might allow transgender people to use public restrooms, and that was just too controversial for our elected representatives.

It's late, so I'm not going to say much here. This video has "gone viral," as they say on the Internet. It shows some MacDonalds customers in Baltimore beating up a transgender woman who had gone into the ladies room. As you watch the video you will realize that everyone in the room approves of the beating. Nobody considers the victim's point of view, they are outraged that a transwoman needed to pee and that's that, they beat her until she falls down and has a seizure.

We don't know anything about this person, and it doesn't matter. Had she had surgery? Doesn't matter. Did she look masculine? Doesn't matter. Her voice, high or low? Doesn't matter. A person has to pee.

This happened in Rosedale on April 18th. Two people have been arrested.

Watch this video, and think about what it is like to be that woman who needed to use the bathroom.

You can read a little about the circumstances of this video at The Smoking Gun, some more HERE at the Baltimore Sun. I don't know what the story is going to turn out to be, but nobody should be treated like that. This is a hate crime, pure and simple, caught on camera. Everybody in the place allows the beating to continue, nobody thinks about the victim.

This is Ruth Jacobs' dream come true, a transgender person using a bathroom, this is the situation that the Citizens for Responsible Government rallied around, and this video shows you the result of their campaigning. This is what they were talking about, someone who identifies as a woman needs to use the bathroom, and this is what happens to them. Our Maryland state legislature had the chance, they had the bill in front of them, and they played games with it and let it slip away. This is what it was about, not whether the Senate's feelings are hurt because the House didn't pass the bill they sent them.

Watch the video. Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

PFOX Mad About Committe Recommendation

As expected, PFOX is upset about the citizens advisory committee's vote to recommend the inclusion of medical and scientific organizations' statements about sexual orientation in the Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools' sex-ed curriculum. Not quite so expected, their venom is directed personally toward David Fishback, who is not a member of the committee that proposed the wording, either this time or in 2007 when it was first approved.

PFOX posted a statement on their blog and Ruth Jacobs, president of the Citizens for Responsible Whatever, copied-and-pasted it into an email blast to her group. They don't call it the "echo chamber" for nothing.

As they always do, PFOX -- Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays -- twists the whole thing into an attack on "ex-gays" by liberals. They wrote:
On April 13, MCPS’ Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development (Committee) voted to recommend to the Board of Education (School Board) that it include five statements about homosexuality in school lessons. One statement attacks the right of individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions to seek therapy to overcome those attractions, while the other statements praise homosexuals as “successful parents” with children who “do just as well as those raised by heterosexuals,” and tell students that “homosexuals can live happy, successful lives.” Montgomery County, Maryland School Board Urged to Reject Hateful Statements about Former Homosexuals

You can scroll down this blog or CLICK HERE to read the five statements. If you do, you will notice that none of the statements advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the citizens advisory committee say anything about "former homosexuals" or "ex-gays." So it will be interesting to see how PFOX turns this around to be about themselves.
The initiative for the statements appears to come from David Fishback, the Advocacy Chair of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), which actively supports hate against the ex-gay community. Fishback is the discredited chairman of an earlier Committee which had drafted controversial lessons on homosexuality and condom use that the School Board threw out after a federal court ruling in a lawsuit brought by PFOX. The School Board’s attorneys at that time had reviewed and rejected the statements. Fishback’s illegal curriculum cost Montgomery County taxpayers over $36,000 in legal fees. Fishback has a long history of ex-gay bashing...

And then they link to two documents they and related organizations have produced, saying bad things about David Fishback.

First of all, PFLAG does not "actively support hate against the ex-gay community". PFLAG provides support for parents and friends of gays and lesbians. They don't have anything at all to do with ex-gays, and do not "support hate" for anybody.

Because really, if somebody used to be gay and now they aren't, they are straight, right? Isn't that what "ex-gay" means? And why do straight people need an advocacy group? I am pretty sure PFLAG has not taken up that cause! Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and Straights ...? No, I don't think so.

Second, David Fishback is not a "discredited" anything. He chaired a citizens advisory committee that developed a comprehensive sex-ed curriculum for our county. The school district in the end decided not to adopt the curriculum as part of a legal deal to prevent a lawsuit, and also reformed the committee with all new members, including its chair, in accordance with the same settlement agreement. The curriculum was not "illegal" in any sense whatsoever. PFOX and other nutty groups won a temporary restraining order against implementation of the curriculum, and the school district bargained with them to prevent a lawsuit, so they could move forward improving the curriculum.

Third, it is ludicrous for PFOX to say that Fishback cost the county $36,000 in legal fees, when they themselves were the suers.

Fishback's groundbreaking work on the sex-ed curriculum allowed the school district to develop another new curriculum which was even more progressive and approached issues of sexual orientation and gender identity squarely and fairly -- and PFOX wasted the county's money trying to block that curriculum too!

The PFOX blog goes on to say:
Peter Sprigg, a PFOX Board member who has represented PFOX on the Committee since 2005, responded with peer-reviewed academic research confirming that some people have changed from homosexual to heterosexual, including a well-known study by Dr. Robert Spitzer, a pro-gay psychiatrist who was instrumental in removing homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders in 1973. Yet the Committee refused to retract the statement attacking the right of individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions to seek therapy, although it eliminated the implication that people can never change their sexual orientation.

Said Sprigg:
“PFOX will continue to defend the rights and dignity of ex-gays and oppose efforts to mislead students into the false belief that sexual orientation is fixed and immutable. It is disgraceful for pediatricians to make bigoted statements against the ex-gay community. If Montgomery County Public Schools seek to protect the rights and interests of sexual minorities, those protections should be extended to ex-gays as well. This attack proves that ex-gays must be included in the schools’ tolerance curriculum and we urge the Board of Education to do so immediately.”

The current citizens committee does not have representatives of organizations on it. Peter Sprigg is there as an individual. Sprigg is actually a high-ranking official with the hate group Family Research Council, and it is not clear why the Montgomery County Public School District has put him on the committee at all.

Research has not found that people can change their sexual orientation through therapy, prayer, or choice, and the statements recommended by the citizens advisory committee reflect these findings, as they are expressed by official policy statements by the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, and other mainstream professional organizations. The research results contradict the perverse ideology of groups like PFOX and the Family Research Council, and so they oppose including it in school materials. I expect there will be more here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Advisory Committee Supports Change to Sex-Ed Curriculum

Last night the MCPS Citizens Advisory Committee for Family Life and Human Development voted to make some minor changes to the sex-ed curriculum. These changes were actually recommended by a previous citizens advisory committee and rejected by the district in 2007, and now a new committee has asked the Superintendent again to recommend to the Board that they modify the curriculum.

Last year the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics sent a letter to the Montogmery County Public Schools noting that some statements that had been recommended for inclusion in the curriculum were rejected, and urged the Board of Education to consider adding the material. The letter was partly a reaction to an anti-gay fake pediatric group contacting the school district. The statements are:
  • Homosexuality is not a disease or a mental illness (teachers currently can only say this in response to a question)
  • Sexual orientation is not a choice and the American Medical Association opposes "therapies" that seek to change sexual orienation that are premised on the assumption that people can or should change their sexual orientation
  • Children raised by same-sex couples do just as well as those raised by heterosexuals, and are no more likely to be homosexual
  • Children who have fleeting same-sex attractions may assume incorrectly that they are gay or lesbian. Mere fleeting attraction does not prove orientation.
  • Homosexuals can live happy, successful lives; they can be successful parents

The citizens advisory committee voted 9 to 3 yesterday to add these recommendations to the curriculum, removing the words "can or" from the second item.

Several things have changed since the wording was first proposed more than four years ago. The membership of the committee is almost entirely different. The make-up of the school board is very different. And most importantly, the county has had a chance to see that the new sex-ed curriculum is not controversial or harmful in any way. It's what the people here wanted, and since implementation it has not created any uproar or complaining, nor has it adversely affected any students.

This past week we saw the conclusion of a state legislative session where two bills that were important to establishing fair treatment of LGBT citizens were rejected by politicians who were afraid of controversy. Montgomery County is the bluest of the blue, the people who live here are fair-minded and progressive and proud of our school district, which consistently places in the top rankings of schools nationwide. MCPS weathered an onslaught by national anti-gay groups and moved forward to implement a curriculum that was strong and forward-looking, but balked at inclusion of statements by major medical and scientific organizations. It is time to correct that error.

We are talking about statements by the big professional organizations of doctors, psychologists, and researchers: the AMA, AAP, APA. These are people who have ridden the educational system to its ultimate endpoint, and there should be nothing controversial about quoting them in a schoolroom.

I expect that the Citizens for Responsible Whatever will send out newsletters with huge, red, bolded fonts, rallying the troops to fight against this liberal conspiracy to turn all our kids gay. But really, it's only some standard wording that doctors and scientists put out, there is nothing controversial, political, religious, or ideological here. They have done the research, they have come to their conclusions, and it is the responsibility of the school district to properly educate our county's children by delivering to them the highest quality of information that is available. There's nothing to argue about here.

Extry, Extry, Boy Wears Pink Nail Polish

Baltimore Sun:
“This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a Health column about the ad.

Media Research Center’s Erin Brown agreed, calling the ad “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”

“Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna's indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future,” Brown wrote in an opinion piece Friday. "J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.” ...quoted in A boy, pink nail polish and oh my?

I'm not going to say anything here, I think the obvious speaks for itself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"We Won!!!"

Thought you might like to see the text of the email blast sent out this morning by Ruth Jacobs, president of the Citizens for Responsible Government. This message was formatted with gigantic red and blue fonts, which I am not replicating here, this is just the text.


Congratulations! With your help, HB235, the Maryland gender identity bill, was recommitted to the Judicial Proceedings Committee at the second reading. The vote was 27 to 20 in favor of recommitting it.

What does this mean? It means that "gender identity" will NOT be added to the anti-discrimination code in Maryland!! The Maryland General Assembly session ended Monday at midnight, and the "gender identity" bill died in Committee.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your calls, prayers and e-mails!!!!!
They were instrumental in defeating the bill this year.

Democrat Senators (301-970-5000) to thank are:

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (Calvert & Prince George's Co.)
John C. Astle (Anne Arundel)
Joanne Benson (Prince George's)
Ulysses Currie (Prince George's)
James E. DeGrange (Anne Arundel)
Roy Dyson (Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's)
Edward Kasemeyer (Baltimore and Howard Co.)
Katherine Klausmeier (Baltimore Co.)
James Mathias (Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester)
Nathaniel McFadden (Baltimore City)
Thomas Middleton (Charles)
C. Anthony Muse (Prince George's),
Douglas Peters (Prince George's)
James Robey (Howard)
Norman Stone (Baltimore Co.)
Robert Zirkin (Baltimore Co.)

Republican Senators (301-970-5000) to thank are:

David Brinkley, (Carroll & Frederick Co.)
Richard Colburn,(Caroline, Dorch., Talbot & Wic.Co.)
George Edwards, (Allegany& Garrett & parts of Wash.)
Joseph Getty, (Baltimore County & Carroll Co.)
Barry Glassman, (Harford Co.)
Nancy Jacobs (Cecil & Harford Co.)
J. B. Jennings, (Baltimore & Harford Co.)
E. J. Pipkin,(Caroline Cecil Kent & Queen Anne's Co)
Edward Reilly, (Anne Arundel Co.)
Christopher Shank (Washington Co.)
Bryan Simonaire (Anne Arundel Co.)

Sen. Allan Kittleman (Carroll and Howard) was the ONLY Republican in the Senate who voted against sending the bill back to committee.

We know that this bill will probably be back next year. However, if need be, we are committed to working even harder next year, especially as we continue to find more and more information which uncovers the extreme and unexpected consequences of "gender identity" legislation.

For example, at the hearing, Senator Muse asked whether HB 235 would force the Boy Scouts to hire a transgender person. The answer was "YES" -- HB 235 would force Boy Scouts to hire a transgender person. As we have stated before, NO ONE has studied what this would do to the gender identity of these impressionable youth.

Below are two radical quotes and a New York Times article, dated April 10, 2011, about the confusion these activists want to impose on our society. This information is hot off the press:

"...gender is the new frontier: the place to rebel, to create new individuality and uniqueness, to defy old, tired, outdated social norms, and, occasionally drive their parents and sundry other authority figures crazy." Riki Wilchins in Genderqueer p. 13

"...gender is primarily a system of symbols and meanings - and the rules, privileges, and punishments pertaining to their use - for power and sexuality ... it will be about the rights of some of us not to be men or women." Genderqueer, p.14

A Lawsuit's Unusual Question: Who Is a Man?
Published: April 10, 2011
What is a man? For El'Jai Devoureau, this is not a rhetorical question.
Mr. Devoureau, who was born physically female, is a man at the Motor Vehicle Commission, at the Social Security office, at home, at job interviews. But what about at the urinal?
In a case with a truly unusual set of factors, Mr. Devoureau filed a discrimination lawsuit on Friday that could break new ground in New Jersey and across the country, turning on the question of who is or is not a man. An employer fired Mr. Devoureau because it said only a man was allowed to do his job: watching men urinate into plastic cups at a drug treatment center.
Mr. Devoureau, 39, says he has identified himself as a man all his life. In 2006, after he began taking male hormones and had sex-change surgery, he adopted the name El'Jai (pronounced like L. J.). A new birth certificate issued by the State of Georgia identifies him as male, as does his New Jersey driver's license, and the Social Security Administration made the change in its records.
"As long as I've been a person, I've lived as a man," he said in an interview. "At age 5, I did everything a boy did: I climbed trees, I played football, I played with trucks. Most of the people in my life, all they know is I'm male."
Last June, Urban Treatment Associates in Camden hired Mr. Devoureau as a part-time urine monitor; his job was to make sure that people recovering from addiction did not substitute someone else's urine for their own during regular drug testing. On his second day, he said, his boss said she had heard he was transgender.
"I said I was male, and she asked if I had any surgeries," he said. "I said that was private and I didn't have to answer, and I was fired."
Calls to Urban Treatment were not returned. But after Mr. Devoureau made a complaint to the state's Division on Civil Rights, the treatment center filed a response in January saying that Mr. Devoureau's dismissal "was not motivated by, nor related in any way to, any discriminatory intention."
Civil rights laws and court decisions allow limited cases of favoring one group over another, like giving preference to women for jobs as nurses in maternity wards. In its January filing, Urban Treatment said that firing Mr. Devoureau was legitimate, "since the sex of the employee engaged in that particular job position is a bona fide occupational qualification" - implying that Mr. Devoureau was not really a man.
Mr. Devoureau's suit, filed in Superior Court in Camden , is not the first job discrimination case brought by a transgender person, though those remain rare. But Michael D. Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund , said it was the first employment case in the country to take on the question of a transgender person's sex.
Mr. Silverman's group and the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher are representing Mr. Devoureau.
New Jersey laws ban job discrimination based on a long list of criteria like age, religion, sex and race; in 2006, the state added "gender identity or expression" to that list. But five years later, Mr. Silverman said, no cases using the gender identity passage have been brought to a verdict, though others might have reached settlements.
New Jerseyis one of 12 states that ban discrimination based on transgender status; New York State does not, but New York City does.
Mr. Devoureau now has another part-time job, as a package handler for a shipping company. Although his $10-an-hour post at the treatment center would hardly strike most people as a dream job, he wants it back. He says he needs the additional income to support himself and his 18-year-old son, and in a weak economy, he will take what work he can find.
Mr. Devoureau guards his privacy, refusing to discuss precisely what changes have been made to his body, or to say what name he was originally given, and he knows that his case could force such things into the open.
"They were judging me for who I am, not for the job I was being asked to do, and that's wrong, and I was hurt," he said. "I'm doing this so everyone knows it's wrong, so it doesn't happen to anyone else."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Disappointment: MD Gender Identity Bill Dies in the Senate

From The Post:
The Maryland Senate has killed a measure that sought to extend anti-discrimination protections to transgender people.

On a vote of 27 to 20, the Senate sent a bill back to committee that would have offered protections in housing, employment and lending. With fewer than 12 hours remaining in the 90-day legislative session, the move effectively derailed the bill.

The measure passed the House earlier in the session, and it initially appeared that it would get no consideration in the Senate. But after heavy lobbying by gay leaders, the Senate agreed to hear the bill. It was sent to the floor on a 7 to 4 vote of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Md. Senate derails transgender anti-discrimination bill

Those watching the vote were very disappointed to see which supposed allies let this get away, including Joanne Benson, Kathy Klausmeier, Ed Kasemeyer, Nat McFadden, Mac Middleton, Jim Robey and Bobby Zirkin. (h/t Jonathan)

Defector: There Is No Grassroots Opposition to Marriage Equality

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is sort of the nut de la nut of anti-gay hysteria. Their mission is to define marriage as something only heterosexual people can have, and they will go to any lengths to make sure gay people can't marry. Their history reads like a kind of a series of failures, they went on the road and drew low-double-digit crowds (of supporters, opponents turned out in droves) in most places. It is a group that seems to have no support, but they keep coming up with funding, and they keep getting their mugs on TV and in the papers.

In our little suburban Maryland county, the anti-gay, anti-transgender Citizens for Responsible Government sent out emails earlier this year linking to the domain. CRG president Ruth Jacobs called it "our new Maryland for Marriage website." This domain was shown to be registered to The National Organization for Marriage.

Thick as thieves, they are.

One of NOM's top people defected last week, and has given some useful insights into the organization. Louis Marinelli was NOM's tour organizer, Facebook page founder and blogger, and now says he supports marriage equality.

Good As You has a summary of Marinelli's career and role in NOM, and an email interview with him. Marinelli has not become "pro-gay" by any means, but he admits he was wrong about a lot of things, he sees bigots such as Paul Cameron and Peter LaBarbera in a clearer light, and he is coming around to a view that even if you don't "agree with" homosexuality, it is not right to deny people the ability to marry someone they love:
On multiple occasions I have said something to the effect of “homosexuality is wrong”. And in my opinion it is. My transition from an opponent of same-sex marriage to a supporter does not mean I suddenly think homosexuality is a good thing.

I personally disagree with it. The same way I disagree with many other things other people do with their lives. That doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to prevent homosexuals from being homosexuals or to take away their constitutionally protected civil rights as American citizens.

The guy's eyes are opening. You don't have to like everything other people do, but sometimes it's just none of your business..

Marinelli wrote on his blog over the weekend about NOM and what a sham it is. Let me quote a few bits from there.
Last week, I resigned from the National Organization and publicly declared my support for same-sex civil marriage. I also apologized and recanted the offensive and hurtful comments I’ve ever made against gay and lesbian citizens in this country. For many my actions have been a source of hope for the future of marriage equality. I wanted to take this opportunity to reinforce that hope.

Tax records show that the vast majority of the National Organization for Marriage’s financial support comes from a handful of donors. This information is public and the Human Rights Campaign exposed it quite a while ago.

In my work with the National Organization for Marriage, I, like you have seen on multiple occasions how fundraisers, which are matched dollar for dollar by an undisclosed source pulling the strings from behind the shadows, have met their goals. I shared the suspicion many did when gaps of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations were suddenly closed in the final hours running up to the deadline.

I can’t explain these fundraising miracles, only NOM’s inner circle could. The illusion that makes up NOM’s base of support

The picture he paints is of a very small core group backed by shadowy fat-cat donors.
The summer tour rallies were met with counter-protesters at every stop and with the exception of a couple of instances, NOM’s supporters were greatly outnumbered and their enthusiasm was bested by the gays and lesbians who came out to meet us in the streets to stand up against injustice and intolerance. Completely understandable. The lives of gay and lesbian Americans were on the line, they were being oppressed by a group seeking for force its religious doctrine on our society. If they weren’t fired up about that, what would that say about them?

That same enthusiasm gap, support gap, involvement gap, call it what you want, exists for NOM in the online world as much as it does in the real world. This is where I came into the picture over the past six months or so. It was clear that NOM needed a plan to activate what supporters they had, to mobilize them to respond to events to create a grassroots-like illusion of support.

We have seen this in our county. Our school district was beseiged by a tiny cell of extremists who were able to get in front of TV cameras and talk to reporters to create the illusion that they represented the views of a large number of people. But they never did. This is Montgomery County, Maryland, possibly the bluest county in the United States, of course we've got our weirdos but most of the people who live here are tolerant, objective, and respectful.

In the same way, NOM showed up everywhere, the same two or three people speaking up on television, writing letters to the editor, tweeting and blogging and social networking to create the illusion that there were a lot of them.
I am sharing this with you because I want you to realize that NOM is a small group of devoutly religious Catholics supported by a couple of undisclosed sources. NOM is essentially made up of Brian Brown, it’s President, Maggie Gallagher, the CEO, a handful of other Board members (who are scattered across the country involved in other matters), a couple of advisors to Mr. Brown and a small and largely incompetent office staff.

Their social media management isn’t operated by NOM – they’re not big enough for that nor do they understand social media! As Jeremy Hooper detailed, Opus Fidelis manages NOM’s social media and websites.

That is all that is standing between you and the freedom to marry. There is no grassroots opposition. While they have proven to be quite successful over the past couple years, I think it’s time to put NOM’s size into perspective. Are you going to let a handful of fringe Catholics (with whom many Catholics disagree on marriage) stand between you and the freedom to marry?

It's fascinating to get reports from the soft underbelly of an organization like NOM, and I hope Marinelli will continue to explain some of the otherwise inexplicable things that that group has done.

He doesn't seem to have any idea where the money comes from, but there's a lot of it. Wouldn't you like to know?

And I think it is worth pointing out the value of Marinelli's new perspective. He does not approve of homosexuality, he still seems to believe a lot of the stereotypes. But he has turned a crucial corner, he now realizes it's not his place to tell other people how to live. Sometimes that's the best you can hope for. An ordinary person can't be expected to learn about the special issues involving each subpopulation in their society, it's just too much. But at some point you have to trust that other people can be responsible and good, even if you don't understand them, even if they are doing something that you yourself can't imagine doing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

State Gender Identity Bill Moves Toward Senate Vote

The Maryland state gender identity nondiscrimination bill has made it through the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and is now headed for debate and vote on the floor. This poor bill has been gutted, stalled, and sidetracked on its way to becoming law -- if it passes in the state Senate it will still have to go back to the House of Delegates, which already voted to pass it, for approval of some wording changes.

Here's how The Blade put it.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Judicial Proceedings Committee of the Maryland State Senate voted 7-4 on Saturday to approve legislation that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders in the area of employment, housing and credit.

The vote to approve the bill and send it to the Senate floor came after 90 minutes of debate and after the panel defeated three hostile amendments that supporters said would have killed the bill had they passed.

One called for removing from the bill the provision banning job discrimination against transgender people and another would have removed the bill’s lanaguage protecting transgender Marylanders from housing discrimination.

Another would have stricken a provision allowing people seeking redress under the law to take private legal action against against an employer, landlord and other parties accused of engaging in discriminatory practices prohibited under the law.

The committee voted unanimously to approve what supporters called a friendly, nonsubstantive amendment that modifies the bill’s definition of gender identity. Md. trans bill clears crucial committee vote

There is some controversy surrounding this bill. First, the shower-nuts are of course up in arms about the idea that it would be illegal to discriminate against transgender people. We have heard that the president of the Citizens for Responsible Government was shouting during the Committee debate and had to be told by a committee member to be quiet.

The second controversy is more serious. The "public accommodations" wording was ripped out of the bill in the House, reducing it to a miniscule fraction of what it started out to be. While transgender people are protected from discrimination in employment, housing, and some other special situations, they are not protected from discrimination in visiting public places and partaking of accommodations offered to the rest of the public. This includes bathrooms, which is why our Brave Leaders were intimidated into removing the term, but it includes a whole lot of other situations that most of us take for granted. Though it is a big deal to offer some protection in certain formal situations, the bill really does not address the kinds of daily discrimination that transgender people encounter every day. There is disagreement within the LGBT activist community about whether the bill is worth passing at all with this wording removed. While some say it is better than nothing, comprises an important step forward, and can be modified later, others see it as a gutless and empty bill that leaves individuals with non-mainstream gender identities helpless. Further, the cowardice of our state politicians in caving to the demands of shower-nuts is seen by some as deplorable.

I don't see it in any news story, but was able to obtain the new wording that has been added to the bill. The Senate has defined gender identity as:
a persistent bona fide gender-related identity and the manifestation of that identity in gender-related appearance regardless of the individual's assigned sex at birth.

One criticism of the bill was that gender identity is such a vague concept that the law could not be applied reasonably, but this definition seems to nail it down.

The Blade has more details.
Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, the statewide LGBT group leading efforts to pass the trans bill, said House leaders would expedite a vote to accept the amendment. She said the biggest hurdle left for the bill is its debate and vote on the Senate floor, expected to begin Monday on the final day of the legislature’s 2011 session.

Opponents were expected to offer amendments along the lines of those defeated by the committee, she said, and any substantive amendment approved by the Senate would result in the death of the bill. There would be no time left for the House to go back and vote on such an amendment, Meneses-Sheets and others familiar with the legislature said.

The bill could come up before the Senate as early as Monday morning but might be brought up as late as Monday night.

The bill is not guaranteed to pass in the Senate. The new wording was developed in order to persuade some fence-sitters to vote for it. It sounds like we'll know tomorrow. If it passes in the Senate it will go back to the House with the new definition, where it is almost sure to pass again.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Shower-Nuts Complain About Ethics Commission

We call them the "showernuts," because a few years ago they tried to convince Montgomery County, Maryland, residents that a bill preventing discrimination on the basis of gender identity would allow men to lurk in women's showers and restrooms, leering at the women and molesting and raping them. Oh, and killing them, one guy said there would be dead bodies of women and girls all over the county if the law went into effect. The law, which added the term "gender identity" to the already-existing law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, and so on, has been in effect since September 2008 and has not -- of course -- resulted in a single case of any man doing anything in any ladies room while claiming to be a woman, claiming to be transgender, or even claiming to know that the law exists.

After the law was passed, the showernuts tried to stage a referendum, but they failed to get enough signatures, even standing outside supermarkets saying, "Would you like to sign a petition to keep men out of women's bathrooms?" After that failure, the president of the anti-gay, anti-transgender Citizens for Responsible Government, Ruth Jacobs, filed an ethics complaint against transgender activist Dana Beyer, saying that Dana had harassed CRG members while they were trying to collect signatures. Dana was on the staff of a County Council member at the time, and the charge was that she had misused her official position to intimidate individuals who were gathering signatures for the referendum. All but one of the charges were thrown out after a year-long investigation that included a secret search of Beyer's office computer, and after a recent hearing the last charge was dropped.

This morning Ms. Jacobs sent out a CRG newsletter with the subject line: "Marylanders Punished For Using "Wrong" Pronouns."
Rockville, MD- April 7, 2011/The Montgomery County, Maryland Ethics Commission has rejected the testimony of two Marylanders for not addressing a transgender woman with feminine pronouns.

In dismissing a complaint brought by Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government (MCRG) against Dana Beyer, a former man known as Wayne Beyer, the Commission deemed the testimony of MCRG's witnesses to be biased and not credible because they did not use preferred pronouns as determined by the Commission.

"The Commission refused to consider our evidence," said Dr. Ruth Jacobs, President of MCRG. "Instead, they focused on our witnesses' use of pronouns."

The Montgomery County Ethics Commission listened to a parade of witnesses, including myself, who were present when some members of our group interacted with members of their group who were trying to get signatures. Everyone's behavior was legal, they had the right to try to get signatures "to keep men out of the ladies room" and we had the right to be there and tell potential signers what the law really said. Dana and I talked to the manager of the Giant where the CRG people were, and we talked to the people who were getting signatures. Dana never mentioned her official position, never intimidated anyone, and the Ethics Commission came to that correct conclusion after hearing everyone's reports.

The Commission was not convinced by the testimony of the CRG's witnesses. Partly this was because some of the witnesses were obviously prejudiced against transgender people. One of the CRG's witnesses, Steven Schall (who is not a Maryland resident), was quoted in the Ethics Commission's report:
“He gave me his name and told me that he was a woman and that he had a license that proved he was a woman.” Nonetheless, throughout his testimony Mr. Schall repeatedly referred to Dr. Beyer with the male pronouns “he” or “him.” He testified, “I have no idea what Dr. Beyer is.” But he denied holding any personal animus toward transgendered individuals.

Another witness, Giant manager Verlon Mason (who also resides outside the state), referred to Dana Beyer as "the shim," which is a derogatory term (and not a pronoun), in his taped testimony. So two of the CRG's witnesses used disparaging terms to describe Dana Beyers, and not necessarily pronouns.

In fact, let me say something here. Sometimes it is hard to use the right pronouns when you are referring to a person whose gender is ambiguous. When you're talking at full speed you don't keep track and sometimes you might say "him" instead of "her" or vice versa. It is easy enough to apologize quickly and keep on, it is surely a kind of faux pas that transgender people are familiar with. It may be awkward or embarrassing but it doesn't mean you hate anybody or that you are a bigot. Using the wrong pronoun intentionally and repeatedly is rude and does signal prejudice (e.g., see HERE).

Let me say something else. The county's gender identity nondiscrimination law doesn't care what you call anybody. It is not a language bill or a thought-crimes bill. Nobody gets "punished" for using offensive language. In a hearing such as this one, however, it is possible that the Commission will take into account the obvious fact that a witness is an unapologetic bigot when they try to determine the truth about what actually happened in the situation being investigated.

Ms. Jacobs' newsletter says,
"The free speech rights of Marylanders are being infringed," said Jacobs. "The County Council must rescind this controversial 'gender identity' law and prevent Montgomery County taxpayers from facing millions of dollars in lawsuits."

"We urge the Maryland Senate to vote against the statewide transgender bill now before it. As shown in Montgomery County, these dangerous gender identity bills harm Marylanders and infringe on our Constitutional rights as Americans."

MCRG has requested that the Ethics Commission reconsider its dismissal of their complaint.

The Ethics Commission may choose not to take the testimony of ignorant bigots seriously. To Ms. Jacobs this is a serious infringement of free speech rights.

Here's what the Ethics Commission said about their decision to clear Dana Beyers' name:
The ethics law is not an unbounded general code of civil conduct for county employees. Rather, the ethics law is concerned with the way employees conduct County business; the law addresses employees’ private conduct only where the conduct intersects with their public employment. Accordingly, inherent in § 19A-14(e)’s proscription against a public employee’s intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any person for the purpose of interfering with that person’s freedom to engage in political activity is a nexus with County employment. In order for § 19A-14(e) to be violated, the employee’s conduct must be on the job, include self-identification as a public employee, or otherwise entail the prestige of office. Assuming that Dr. Beyer did confront MCRG volunteers, Giant Food managers, and patrons, there is no credible evidence that she invoked her County position while doing so. The Commission found Mr. Schall’s testimony, as well as Verlon Mason’s audiotape and affidavit, unpersuasive. Mr. Mason’s use of the derogatory term “shim” when referring to Dr. Beyer, evidences a bias against transgendered individuals. Similarly, Mr. Schall displayed a palpable and unapologetic disdain for transgendered individuals which, in the Commission’s judgment, makes his testimony not credible.

On the other hand, the disinterested witnesses do not support the charge. Montgomery County Police Sergeant Douglas Cobb did not testify to any confrontation, let alone conduct that might violate § 19A-14(e). And while Giant manager Aaron Williams testified that there was a “confrontation,” “shouting,” and “loud talking back and forth,” he would not identify what, if any, role Dr. Beyer played in this confrontation. It is apparent to the Commission that MCRG and Teach the Facts have very political agendas and this is reflected in their support or opposition to the Bill. There may, in fact, have been harsh words exchanged at the Arliss/Piney Branch on the day in question. But it was not proved that Dr.Beyer violated § 19A-14(e) by intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any person’s freedom to engage in political activity as a function of being on the job, self-identifying as a public employee, or entailing the prestige of office.

The Ethics Commission, in other words, found that Dana Beyer did not invoke her official status as a county staffer in interacting with the petition handlers. This was based on testimony by a number of credible witnesses, including a non-bigoted Giant manager and a cop who was on the scene, among others.

How can Ms. Jacobs say that "Marylanders were punished for using 'wrong' pronouns?" She can do it by lying, pure and simple. No one was punished. Neither of the people who used prejudiced terms to describe Dana Beyer were Marylanders, their prejudice extended beyond the misuse of pronouns, and no negative consequence of any kind of delivered to either of them. The Ethics Commission took their testimony, considered it, and decided correctly that they were bigots. The Commission did not rule in their favor, is that "punishment?"

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Good One -- Incorporate Your Uterus

The ACLU has a pretty good idea here. MSNBC has it:
MIAMI — The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has a message for women who want complete control over their reproductive health: Incorporate your uterus.

To help women who want to do this, the organization launched the website on Tuesday, which will issue a declaration of incorporation for women who would like one.

Head of ACLU of Florida Howard Simon says "The Florida Legislature - and extreme social conservatives across the country - are taking rules and regulation off of businesses and adding them to uteruses."

Simon says that telling lawmakers that your body is a business "is really the best way to get them to leave it alone."

The website will produce a printable document and shortly, men will be allowed to incorporate an honorary uterus. Florida ACLU launches 'Incorporate My Uterus' website

Breaking News: The Bill Is Out of Committee

Metro Weekly has surprising news about the Maryland state gender identity nondiscrimination bill. It had been thought that the Rules Committee was a graveyard for this bill, but the committee has passed it on to the next stop along the way to a floor vote.
Maryland Senator Katherine A. Klausmeier's (D-Baltimore County) office confirmed on Tuesday, April 5, that the Senate's Rules Committee is about to meet. The Rules Committee, according to multiple sources, is expected to take action today on House Bill 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act.

[UPDATE @ 1:10 PM: According to Equality Maryland executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets [and later confirmed by Klausmeier's staff], the gender identity nondiscrimination bill has made it out of the Rules Committee.

"It got sent out of the Rules Committee, so it will go to the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Certainly the leadership and the support of the LGBT caucus members has absolutely made a difference this entire week that we've been working on this," she says, "and we certainly are very thankful that they made that public statement." Gender Identity Bill Makes it Out of Maryland Senate Rules Committee

Monday, April 04, 2011

This is Too Perfect

This could not have gone any better. Our Leaders in Annapolis have decided it's time for explicit standards for power companies that have frequent outages.

The Baltimore Sun:
BGE delivered up the perfect prop for a Senate press conference today announcing reliability standards for electricity companies: a power outage.

Sen. Brian Frosh, who helped secure higher penalties for companies that have repeated outages, says people at the press conference at first assumed the afternoon blackout was a joke -- or maybe part of the plan.

It wasn't. Generators at the State House kicked on right away, but businesses on nearby Main Street were left in the dark for a while.

The reliability standards legislation was directed more at Pepco, which controls power in the suburbs around the District of Columbia. Perhaps BGE was signaling that it doesn't want to be left out.

Both the Senate and House of Delegates have given final approval to Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to penalize electric companies for repeated outages. The Senate version, which the House is now considering, takes effect sooner and has higher fees for violations. Power reliability press conference features outage

The wind was blowing. You can't expect to have electricity when the wind blows.