Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Introducing SB449

January 29, 2012 – Annapolis  Senators Madaleno and Raskin introduced the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 today. Twenty one (21) of their colleagues signed onto Senate Bill 449 as co-sponsors to this important bill that stands for the notion that every single person in our state deserves an equal opportunity to make a life for themselves, free from discrimination.

Every person in our state deserves an equal opportunity to make a life for him or herself free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.

In Maryland, transgender people are not included in state laws prohibiting discrimination. Only Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard  County and Montgomery County have  civil rights ordinances covering gender identity and expression. When unchecked, discrimination can lead to chronic unemployment and homelessness, and in turn can render its victims more vulnerable to violence. When discrimination prevents or hinders a person from gaining or keeping employment, many other problems develop. Rent doesn’t get paid, which leads to eviction. Transgender individuals may be denied access to social services like shelters or rape crisis centers; refused treatment, ridiculed, or denied recognition of their gender identity by health care professionals; or refused service at restaurants or stores.

The  National Transgender Discrimination Survey found alarming rates of discrimination experienced by Marylanders based on their gender identity or expression. In the workplace 18% had lost a job and 42% had experienced an adverse job action.  In housing 17% reported being denied a home or apartment. In places of public accommodation, 54% of transgender Marylanders reported being harassed  (in places  such as restaurants ,stores and movie theaters).

Sixteen states and more than 145 cities and counties have laws that protect transgender individuals, including: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. The total number of people now living in a jurisdiction with a transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination law in the United States is more than 120 million.

57% of Fortune 500 companies include protections for transgender employees in their non-discrimination policies. Maryland companies that have a non-discrimination policy that covers gender identity include Goucher College, the John Hopkins University, Marriott, Sodexho Inc. and the University of Baltimore.

This legislation would prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, credit and public accommodations.

Similar bills in other states have passed by large margins. According to a Gonzales poll taken in August 2006, more than half of Maryland voters favor making it illegal in Maryland to discriminate against transgender people.

No comments:

Post a Comment