Monday, September 12, 2011

What Fills Our Hearts

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex, but it takes a touch of genius to move in the opposite direction” – Albert Einstein

Here we are again. Our community has endured enough heartache and disappointment, however we are mobilized and unified for success.

In 2002, Then Mayor, Martin O’Malley, introduced and successfully shepherded through the City Council the Baltimore City ordinance which granted protections to all of its citizens and visitors based on their gender identity, and did so unanimously.

 Yes, every human being has a gender identity, and for many people it is in lock step with their physicality, and for some it is not. It’s just that simple.

 Baltimore’s push for such protections was based partly on the later regretted decision of Governor Parris Glendenning to exclude gender identity from the prior year’s anti-discrimination bill.  Governor Glendenning wasn’t the only one expressing regret. Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-43) expressed a similar regret about the 2001 bill after last year’s contested bill failed to convince Senate Leadership to allow its floor vote.

Yet 2002 was different. Mayor O’Malley knew an injustice took place and a remedy was in order. While most attorneys like to craft flowery pieces of legislation, the Mayor knew simplicity should rule the day.
"Gender identity or expression " means an individual 's having or being perceived as having a gender -related self - identity, self-image, appearance, expression, or behavior, whether or not those gender -related characteristics differ from those associated with the individual 's assigned sex at birth.”

In fact, this language is fairly consistent throughout the county where 43% of all Americans live in a jurisdiction which provides protections based on gender identity.  If almost half of the country has these laws on the books, then why not Maryland?


One week before the video of the beating at a Rosedale McDonald’s restaurant went viral, Senate President Mike Miller (D-27) stated HB235 (2011’s Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination bill) was “anti-family” and he was going to vote against it.  Some even suggest the Senate President killed the bill in retaliation for allowing the Senator to go on record with a vote on the Same Sex Marriage bill, only to have that bill fail embarrassingly in the House. It seemed like retribution for political ineptitude.

Governor O’Malley pledged support and stated he would sign a fully inclusive bill like 2010’s HB 1022, if such a bill which crossed his desk. The problem was no bill made it that far, or was so fashioned. So, the Governor in direct response the brutal assault on a member of the transgender community provided this vision and commitment:

“Even with Maryland's 'hate crimes' law, it is clear that more must be done to protect the rights and dignity of transgendered people. In the struggle for justice and equality for all, I'm committed to working with the Maryland General Assembly during the next legislative session to increase awareness and provide even greater protections for transgendered people.
“As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons. We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.”


The mouth speaks of what fills the heart.” – Matthew 12:34