We are committed to the civil rights, health, well-being and human dignity of all members of Maryland’s transgender and gender non-conforming communities. We dedicate ourselves to providing information services, educational materials, advocacy training, and lobbying for critical human rights.
To my friends who believe incrementalization is the answer.
It is NOT.
It establishes legislative intent that separate but not equal classes were the intent of the legislature in drafting the bill, preventing jurist interpretation which might otherwise provide protection not explicitly defined.
Additionally at a point when the very same House of Delegates is seeking redress to the public accommodations provision to include a private right of action well in excess of the current $500 "parking ticket" assessed by an Administrative Law Judge. That bill, HB285 FURTHER deepens the divide between the current protected classes(race, creed, age, sexual orientation, et al) and the legislatively proposed(HB235) subclass "gender identity"
No, backwards is not forwards in this case, nor is an acceptable path to the majority of transgender Marylanders who are willing to let HB235 die quietly, without publicly challenging our legislative sponsors, allowing them to save face, and report to their constituents they support LGBT rights.
There is but ONE acceptable solution to the transgender community of Maryland, short of amending HB235 to include public accommodations or letting it die. That solution is to amend HB235 to STRIKE sexual orientation from the public accommodations portion of Maryland's Annotated Code ( 20-302, 20-304, 20-401, 20-402).
With this measure, all members of the Gay Caucus and representatives of Equality Maryland must hold a joint news conference acknowledging their extreme sacrifice for the transgender community in Maryland, pledge to place themselves directly in the struggle for continued fights for FULL and EQUAL protections under the law. The transgender community of Maryland will completely engage with our legislative leaders and support their full legislative agenda, not this session, but future sessions as well.
In addition to these modifications, Equality Maryland needs to adopt a policy on diversity to include members of the community they purport to protect. This includes diversity in respect to all the current protected classes in Maryland in addition to gender identity and socio economic status. If a civil rights organization is to be seen as credible on issues, it must be of the people it seeks to protect.