Friday, July 18, 2014

BPD's LGB Advisory Council is Largely Invisible

The recent murders of Kandy Hall and now Mia Henderson point out alarming homicide rates in Baltimore’s transgender community of color, and specifically those of trans women.  This represents the intersectionality of race, gender and economic opportunity. It highlights the single greatest need we as a gender non-conforming community have, our own personal safety. It represents the absolute need for transgender community of color to be empowered to own their own voices.
The city of Baltimore is known for its high homicide rates. The popular television show “Homicide: Life in the Streets” was set and filmed in Baltimore during this particularly difficult period in our history. However current rates are getting special attention. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake ran on a campaign slogan of “Better Schools - Safer Streets - Stronger Neighborhoods”. While the homicide rate was at a 20 year low during her first year as mayor, it has increased again above the 200 per year mark.  The Baltimore City Police Department reports that 80-85% of these homicides are “drug related”. If we break these numbers down and identify specific communities, we will be astonished.
The number of homicides in Baltimore City for 2013 was 235. The BPD claims that only 15-20% of those are “non drug-related” and if true, means the number of homicides not involving the drug trade was between 35 and 47. Using 47 for 2013, we come up with a homicide rate of 8 per 100K. When we look at the number of transgender women of color who have been murdered since February of 2011, and look at the population totals, we will find an alarming rate. Using UCLA’s Williams Institute numbers, which identify  transgender people number at 3 ½ tenths of one percent of the population, or in the city of Baltimore, that total is 2177. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city’s population of color is at 68% and Baltimore’s relationship between male and female is 53-47. A strong estimate of transgender women of color is 785.
There have been 5 murders in the last 41 months, a rate of 1.46 per year. This may not seem like a high number, yet remember, it is per 785, not 100,000. To extrapolate those totals out to the same index, one gets 186 per 100K. This rate is 23 TIMES that of the rest of Baltimore’s non-drug-related homicides. 23 times.
 While the State of Maryland just passed the Fairness for All Marylanders Act this spring, the city of Baltimore has had similar protections since 2002. Yet the marginalization and homicides in transgender communities of colors and specifically, transgender women of color continues. At a June 6, 2014 community meeting with the Baltimore Police Department, Acting Captain Eric Kowalczyk stressed that these crimes will not be solved without help from the community. However community members strongly expressed their distrust for the police, as they have been victimized for “walking while trans” and other indignities. To resolve this the city’s force created an “LGBT Advisory Council” which includes many city agencies, but not trans organizations, and most importantly, no trans community of color organizations. The LGBT Advisory Council is largely invisible to the community and thus the BPD still suffers from an extreme disconnect with those marginalized and no mechanism to repair that, save building relationships, one community member at a time. This faulty loop was brought to the attention of those in the meeting that June afternoon, only to get pushback from the acting LGBT liaison, Sgt. Avery, suggesting “You people do not know, it’s work, we ACTUALLY do work”. Sgt. Avery is no longer serving as LGBT liaison.
In light of the dire situation transgender women of color find themselves living with, with stigmatizations of being a criminal, a deceiver, a prostitute, a drug addict and worse, many find it difficult to gain meaningful employment or receive adequate health care.  Most are disenfranchised and little is offered in the way of empowerment programing at the city or state level. This is changing, albeit not fast enough.
The LGBT Advisory Council, which is not “individually” seated, yet filled with member organizations, has NO public interface. It has no means of connecting to the community, short of one or two of its member organizations posting a Facebook state update. The most recent meeting with Police Commissioner Batts, supposedly to get input from the trans community went UNANNOUNCED, but spread only by "word of mouth". 
At the bare minimum, transgender women of color MUST be part of that process. It is time for white cisgender organizations to step back and amplify trans people of color concerns, not speak for them. Acting Captain Kowalczyk, I know you are sensitive to the concerns of the community, now show us you can take swift action to rectify this situation. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Statement on Recent Murders in the Transgender Community

Today is not the day to discuss whether the police is doing enough to protect the community, or enough to solve the recent murders of trans women in Baltimore.  That conversation can be had in the not too distant future, when the efforts of Baltimore's Police Department can be viewed from a wider lens.

Right now our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Mia Henderson, Kandy Hall, Kelly Long, Tracy Johnson, and Tyra Trent, all murdered in Baltimore since 2011.

This tragedy speaks to the unacceptable marginalization of segments of our community and our focus must be on assisting the Police Department in any way possible, so they may do their job and solve these murders.

We, the entirety of the transgender community, must come together and collectively seeking permanent solutions to the problems faced in those impacted communities and it must happen now.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Loser in the Beyer Campaign is the Truth

"She told the Blade that Madaleno “wasn’t supposed to introduce” Senate Bill 212 or the Fairness for All Marylanders Act because she said her organization convinced state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) to do it because he is a member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee that in 2013 struck down a similar measure."

 To quote her board chair from 2012:
 "It has come to our attention that there is confusion over the management of SB 212, the state's gender identity bill."

The Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality identified the lead sponsor, designed the legislative and grassroots/grasstops campaigns, executed those campaigns to perfection, and built the necessary relationships with high ranking leadership in Annapolis. Gender Rights Maryland chose NOT to be part of this 50+ organizational, transgender steering committee led coalition which called the shots on the bill. What Dana Beyer wanted had no bearing on the coalition as she has demonstrated being incapable of working with consensus models wherein shared decision making and resources prevail.

Beyer takes credit for those three votes....

Let's ask Ms. Beyer WHY the JPR committee vote was held on the precise day it was? A lack of being able to accurately speak to that ought to tell one something... 

Senator Stone is showing his age, so to speak, and his wife controlled him. Stone's wife would never let him vote for FAMA, even though Stone's aid was very supportive. When Senator Madaleno found out his wife was out of the office, he convinced JPR chair, Senator Frosh to hold the vote that day by special order. This was THE decisive 6th vote needs for passage. End of story. Every other YEA vote was gravy.

The pressure on Muse came from the threat of an opponent, Del. Veronica Turner, running on his potential "NO" vote on a civil rights bill. That was because of an endorsement of Turner by coalition partner Equality Maryland.

The real key to the now unnecessary 7th and 8th votes was Brochin. Muse was not going to be the only Democrat to not vote YEA in committee specifically if he will have that NO vote used against him.

So, how did Brochin move? Was it Jonathan Shurberg of GRMD? We could ask Jim Brochin the nature of his relationship with Shurberg. Maybe they have a history together.  I'll suspend that line of questioning to say, what truly moved Brochin was grassroots constituent pressure coupled with the Governor supporting a Democratic challenger to his left, and the Republican challenge to his right all working to paint Brochin into a political corner.

No amount of campaign contributions from known bigots was going to save him this session. He was in the political fight of his life. THAT heat was due in large part to the brilliant grassroots efforts organized and executed by Owen Smith and Keith Thirion. You cannot bluff in a poker game if your opponent knows you are not holding any cards of value. Gender Rights Maryland NEVER held any cards which would allow them leverage. They couldn't. They had no "threat" card wherein they could turn on constituent pressure upon legislators in an election year. They have NO organization. They have repeated said publicly they will not be doing the outreach and educating and grassroots work with constituents. That requires money, money Beyer would spend on her race to upset the true champion of FAMA, Senator Madaleno.

Beyer is spending historic amounts of money for a statewide senate race. The money she spent could fund a transgender economic empowerment initiative helping community member find gainful employment. It would fund hundreds of jobs, not just one. So much for the economic justice candidate.

 Instead Beyer fashioned herself a 'lobbyist". No "relationship" GRMD thinks they built could have any impact without the threat of the work that MCTE was doing.  They sought to usurp the efforts of MCTE by co opting the months of tremendous planning for dozens of contingencies in MCTEs legislative plan.
What gave Brochin cover to vote YEA, in the face of his past objections was Elaine McDermott, opponent of the bill, telling him, in response to his question of where are transgender people supposed to use the bathroom, " I don't care! That's their problem! They choose to be this way!"

Beyer is far afield from the truth. There are scores of advocates in and out of Annapolis, who actually participated in the successful legislative campaign who can speak truth to fantasy.

Beyer chose NOT to invest in the legitimate campaign to pass the bill, but merely take credit for it and instead invest in a campaign to defeat the champion of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. Meanwhile the trans community still struggles with homicides, homelessness, unemployment and under-representation in organizations.
Beyer has usurped upon, bullied, co opted
, and harassed our communities long enough. Come June 25th when she loses, she should do the right thing, leave Maryland politics and trans advocacy to those capable of empowering and elevating others for the good of us all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Leader Empowers, Not Disenfranchises

"A leader sees greatness in other people. He nor she can be much of a leader if all she sees is herself."  -Dr Maya Angelou

     In my time as an active member in a community of my peers, I have always felt the strong need to elevate and empower others, to create equal and level playing fields and honor the universal dignity we all share. To that extent I have volunteered as facilitator of peer support groups, building community and in the process building individual strength in our community.  These efforts saw a 600% explosion in attendance at those meetings over the years of 2006-2011. Since 2011 I have dedicated my time to being part of the coalition that came together to ensure Maryland was the next state to expand legal protections to the trans community. This spring the Fairness for All Marylanders Act was signed into law by Governor O’Malley. I know, I was there. I am also honored to have received the pen he used to ink that bill. I cherish that as a reminder of a struggle so many fellow Marylanders have endured for decades to see this day. I hold that as a reminder of the tremendous sacrifice offered by many of our community members to steadfastly assert their authenticity, even to the point of grave peril to their life, allowing others the freedom and ease of doing the same. Our heroes, our champions in and out of the community come not from access or wealth, or personal assertion of such statuses, but from the tireless dedication to educate themselves on the issues, elevating and empowering voices of impacted communities and taking strong action on such. We, the TransMaryland community have such a leader, a champion of interests and well-being, in Senator Rich Madaleno.

     Senator Madaleno will be the first to admit he continues to seek growth in his understanding and advocacy of and for the transgender community. He respects and values the dignity and rights of our fellows. Since he was elected to the Senate in 2006, he has been introducing legislation to provide protections for the trans community. In 2011, he was asked not to introduce legislation in the Senate in favor of a House only approach. This legislation was met to criticism by the transgender community for excluding public accommodations. It was at this time I first met the senator. On the streets of Annapolis, during a break, he was walking to get lunch. Hurrying over to him, I asked if he could speak with me and other advocates about amending the bill when it reached the senate. He invited us to walk with him and listened to our concerns. You see, just days before, he released a statement, affirming his commitment to a fully comprehensive bill, and called on the amending of that bill to include public accommodations. No other legislator offered such a commitment. Even his current opponent in his District 18 senate run, Dana Beyer, refused to call for the bill’s amendment to include protections in places of public accommodations. 
     Senator Madaleno met with the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality, the statewide transgender led coalition of over 50 organizations, who, for the last two legislative sessions, have been the sole party responsible for managing the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. At the end of the 2013 legislative session he sat as transgender steering committee members of MCTE expressed their concerns that their legislative game plan was being tampered with by outside interests, interests which demonstrated their inability to work with others. Those interests were Dana Beyer and Gender Rights Maryland.

     Senator Madaleno took those concerns and reinvigorated his commitment to this bill, and as a result, we had 25 cosponsors in the senate where only 24 YEA votes are needed for floor passage. There is no one currently in the senate, nor running for senate that has the experience, compassion, and willingness to empower and elevate communities for success, like my friend, Rich Madaleno.

Thursday, May 15, 2014



Annapolis- Today, Governor Martin O'Malley capped off an over 18 year struggle to finally add gender identity as a protected class in Title XX of the Code of Maryland Regulation. At a bill signing held this morning, the governor executed the Fairness for All Marylanders Act into law. The law will go into effect and become enforceable on October 1, 2014. Cleveland Horton, Executive Director of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights has already pledged to fully and with vigor process all claims to ensure complete compliance statewide.

This particular bill, The Fairness for All Marylanders Act was first introduced in 2013. However, the current lead sponsor of SB212, Senator Rich Madaleno, first sponsored a senate bill quite similar as early at 2007, his first year in the senate. 

Prior to that,and starting in 1996 with House Bill 325, there were three legislative sessions, 1996, 1999, and 2000 in which a bill was introduced each session to protect trans Marylanders. It was in 2001 that gender identity was dropped from the language(while retaining the then unprotected class of sexual orientation) as a result of misleading understanding of case law, and on the false assertion that transgender Marylanders were already covered.

TransMaryland is a founding steering committee member of the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality, the statewide transgender lead coalition which planned and implemented the extensive legislative campaign to pass the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. We are extremely honored to have worked in conjunction with over 50 affiliated organizations as part of that large coalition.

The Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality launched the #StandForFairness campaign in early April, just after SB212 passed the House of Delegates, its last legislative hurdle before today's signing. After a particularly offensive campaign to distort the truth about SB212, MCTE set out to educate the public on the facts. Shortly there after,, a conservative right wing group formed to circumvent the established petition signature collecting process, announced their efforts to recall SB212. What remains a largely online process, they must collect over 18,000 validated signatures before June 1 in order to trigger and additional 30 days to collect the remaining approximately 37,000 validated signature.

Unlike past petition drives, like the one for the DREAM Act in 2012, 71% of Marylanders support the Fairness for All Marylanders Act according to a recent Goucher poll. TransMaryland is confident that the current education campaign, intended to set up the successful implementation of this law, will assist community members in delivering the facts about the law, and assure less folks would be likely to be misinformed by

TransMaryland expects near complete compliance from employers, providers of public accommodations, and those offering housing to the public. We understand there may yet be a few "bad apples" that this law will provide redress for those aggrieved.

As the deadline for signature submissions passes, expect to hear more in your part of the state on what this law means for you, and how to assert your rights, should a "bad apple" act improperly.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Please Don't Feed The Meme

Nondiscrimination laws are established to mitigate the excessive hardship and suffering segments of our society can experience. My sense of morality based on my religious convictions stress the need to provide for social justice. Pope Francis expressed “Inequality is the root of social evil”. In the words of Vice President Biden, transgender discrimination is “the civil rights issue of our time”. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking claims of transgender discrimination to investigate and administratively adjudicate when warranted.  However there is opposition to providing anti-discrimination protection to transgender individuals because of misconceptions about gender and gender non-conformity, and over safety concerns in sex segregated spaces.  Yet because of prevalent and systemic discrimination, transgender and gender non-forming Marylanders have solid basis for why statewide protections in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations are required and should be codified into state law and thus any petition drive be rejected.

Currently seventeen states, with Maryland soon to become the eighteenth, and the District of Columbia provide for protections to transgender individuals representing 47% of the country. In Maryland, four jurisdictions, Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Howard County and Baltimore County previously established laws to provide protections for transgender individuals.These jurisdictions represent 47% of the state’s population. 

Injustice at Every Turn
, the 2011 survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in conjunction with the National Center of Transgender Equality, found that 71% of Maryland participants reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job, while 42% experienced an adverse job action, such as being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion. Additionally 12% of respondents had a household income of $10,000 or less, compared to 4% of the general population. 
These are clear, persistent and overwhelming examples of discrimination against transgender Marylanders which deny them the opportunity to fully participate in public life, a life other Marylanders receive. The non-establishment of codified protections in the State of Maryland for individuals based on their gender identity and/ or expression will leave some Marylanders without full and equal protection which are afforded most other Marylanders.

In Macy v. Holder, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handed down a ruling in favor of Mia Macy, a transsexual woman denied a position the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives after disclosure in a background check showed Ms. Macy was transitioning from male to female. She was prior to discovery of that fact,  been promised the position over the phone pending the background check. The EEOC stated
 “[T]he Commission hereby clarifies that claims of discrimination based on transgender status, also referred to as claims of discrimination based on gender identity, are cognizable under Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibition….”

The scope of the EEOC ruling providing protections to workers is limited. It is also an administrative ruling and as such subject to change. It is but a tool to seek a remedy. Real protections happen when statutory law is implemented fully including the enforcement vehicle. In Maryland, that vehicle is the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. Having spoken to MCCR’s General Counsel, Glendora Hughes concerning MCCR pursuing claims after the Macy decision, she assured me until gender identity is added to the Annotated Code of Maryland, her office will not take claims based on gender identity discrimination. I have also spoken to the Executive Director of MCCR, Cleveland Horton specifically about the implementation of the Fairness for all Marylanders Act, and they are prepared to take a lead role in that charge.

Opponents to codifying protections into law have stated as their primary oppositional claim that such laws will open sex segregated spaces up to predators and cause increases in rapes and assaults by men against women. In Maryland the first jurisdiction to pass protections for transgender residents was Baltimore City in 2002. There was no opposition as this City ordinance passed without any attention from opponents. However, by the time Montgomery County passed a bill to provide protections in 2007, opposition had formed and their narrative had been developed.  The claim presented by opponents to gender identity protections in Maryland, state that men will be allowed in the lockers and restrooms with women. Furthermore that such encounter will produce increases in sexual assaults. Dr. Jacob claims assaults by strangers in bath rooms will rise.

In 2012, Dr Jacobs while testifying in opposition to the Baltimore County ordinance, continued with her claim that 4 sexual assaults were committed in Montgomery County since the successful passage of their non-discrimination ordinance.  Fortunately, Montgomery County Police Chief, J. Thomas Manger, provided a letter to the County Council in which he stated
“I am writing to clarify information that has been brought to my attention regarding alleged sexual assaults in Montgomery County. It was brought to my attention that there is an allegation stating that since the Transgender Law was passed in our county we have experienced four (4) rapes by men dressing as women and lying in wait for their victims in ladies restrooms.

The Transgender Bill was passed by the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday, November 13,2007, and it became law shortly thereafter. Since this law has been in effect, we have had no reported rapes committed in restrooms by men dressed in women's clothing.”

How prevalent should the “predator” claim be, if what is being alleged is true?

According to the US Bureau of Justice statistics the percent of sexual assault committed by a stranger was 26%. In 2010 the total reported cases of rape/sexual assault were 188,380. This means approximately 49,000 sexual assaults were the sort which Dr. Jacobs claims. However, remembering back to the statistics in reference to how much of the country is currently covered by laws protections people based on gender identity, only 47% of the county is covered. So Dr. Jacob’s claim could only have weight on approximately 23,000 of these reported cases.

Statistics suggest that with approximately 23,000 sexual assaults potentially happening in 47% of the country where gender identity laws exist; there will be examples of assaults specifically attributed to any alleged “loop hole” or "flaw" in such bills. To date, no true cases can be cited. If there was just a one-tenth of one percent spike because the claim might be true, we could find 23 cases per year. These laws have been on the books since 1975. There should be literally hundreds of incidents. We wouldn't even be having this conversation if there were. The lack of verifiable evidence and no strong argument for making claims that gender identity laws will threaten the security of women and girls in sex segregated spaces demands we reject this false claim, once and for all.

Don’t give into the fear and the misinformation, don’t sign that petition.

Visit to get the FACTS about the Fairness For All Marylanders Act.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stand For Fairness

TransMarylanders celebrated a big victory when the Fairnessfor All Marylanders Act passed the General Assembly, there's no denying our opponents made it ugly at times. Now they're considering an attempt to roll back the progress we've made.

Weknow the majority of Marylanders support fairness for transgender people, but misinformation is confusing even some our friends. As coalition partners we are working with the MarylandCoalition for Transgender Equality to launch a public education campaign called "Stand for Fairness."

Showthat YOU Stand for Fairness: Pledge to stand with transgender Marylanders andsupport the Fairness for All Marylanders Act.
Stand for Fairness is a multi-media campaign aimed at demonstrating the broad support for fairness for transgender Marylanders and clearing up misconceptions about the bill. With FAQs, videos highlighting transgender Marylanders and their allies, and YOUR support, we'll spread the word that Maryland stands for fairness for our entire community.

Showthat YOU Stand for Fairness: Pledge to stand with transgender Marylanders and support the Fairness for All Marylanders Act.

This is just the first step. We have work to do to uphold fairness for ALL Marylanders. 
Thousands of calls, emails, meetings with legislators and postcards from constituents made the difference during this year's legislative session. Together we can keep up the drumbeat and ensure that everyone is able to work for a living, have a roof over their head, and eat lunch at a restaurant without being denied basic rights just for being transgender.

Keep an eye out for more Stand for Fairness actions, and let us know you stand for fairness by signingthe pledge today. Then help spreadthe word on social media to engage your friends and community.

Thursday, March 27, 2014



Carrie Evans, Executive Director

443-514-4999 or

Keith Thirion, Director of Advocacy & Programs

ANNAPOLIS- In a big win for transgender equality in Maryland, today the Maryland House of Delegates passed SB 212: Fairness for All Marylanders Act with a vote of XX-XX. The bill, previously passed by the Senate in an overwhelming 32-15 vote, updates Maryland’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender people. This ensures that everyone is free to work for a living, secure housing, and get served lunch at a restaurant regardless of gender identity.

The Maryland Coalition for Transgender Equality, a coalition of more than 50 organizations and individuals working to advance civil rights for transgender Marylanders, hailed the victory as the culmination of many years of work by the transgender community and allies. The Coalition praised bill sponsors Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegate Luke Clippinger for their hard work and thanked them for their leadership.

“I am proud of my 81 colleagues who voted in support of fairness for transgender Marylanders today. Allowing people to earn a living and live without fear of discrimination is the right thing to do,” said House sponsor Delegate Luke Clippinger.

Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Equality Maryland, the state’s civil rights organization for LGBT Marylanders comments on Senate Bill 212’s passage, “This is the culmination of a very long and sustained effort by Equality Maryland to ensure transgender Marylanders are included in our state’s anti-discrimination laws. Today’s win is the result of so many people and organizations – transgender individuals and their families showing up and telling their stories year after year, elected officials like Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegates Luke Clippinger, Bonnie Cullison and Joseline Peña-Melynk , many years of dedicated and committed Equality Maryland Board and staff, amazing coalition partners like the Human Rights Campaign and so many more people and organizations that we will highlight in the coming months.”

SB 212 now goes to Governor O’Malley, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

"After more than 15 years of advocacy for trans Marylanders, the tremendous work by all of our legislative champions, and the solid support of the leadership in Annapolis, history was made today. The House of Delegates sent the same loud and clear message the Maryland Senate did: Every Marylander deserves equal rights under the law. We welcome the Governor’s promised signature and the full and successful implementation of this bill," said Jenna Fischetti of TransMaryland, an MCTE coalition member.

“Today the Maryland legislature lived up to its reputation as a fair and just body and rightly recognized that everyone should be treated equally, including transgender Marylanders,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Being free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression is what makes America work.”

The passage of SB 212 will give transgender Marylanders legal recourse for discrimination experienced in employment, housing and public places like restaurants and movie theaters.

“Today is a historic day for the great state of Maryland. While the discrimination against people based on their gender identity has certainly not seen its last day, we now have the tool we need in Maryland, to fight back against discrimination when it occurs,” said Aaron Merki, Executive Director of FreeState Legal Project

"It is clear that community and legislators are aligned in providing protections for all Marylanders including those who are transgender. Passing SB 212 will help ensure that transgender people have the same opportunities in employment, housing, and safe public spaces,” said Vann Michael of Black Transmen, Inc. "Passing SB 212 is naturally the next step for Maryland's legislators to demonstrate their commitment to all residents of the state and be a national leader for legislative bodies on how to equally support the full transgender community."

A recent Goucher poll found that 71% of Marylanders supported updating Maryland’s anti-discrimination law to include transgender people. A broad array of organizations and individuals have shown support for transgender rights in Maryland, from faith communities to feminist organizations and civil rights groups.

“The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland has joined with the other members of Maryland Coalition for Transgender Equality to work for passage of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act in support of our transgender members, friends and family throughout the state,” said Reverend Diane Teichert.

When SB 212 is signed into law, Maryland will join 17 states and the District of Columbia in enacting anti-discrimination protections for transgender people.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Queer Eye for the Relatively Straight Forward Anti-Discrimination Bill

In his post entitled " FAIRNESS FOR ALL MARYLANDERS ACT PASSES SENATE",  David Lublin, former mayor of Chevy Chase, and former board member of Equality Maryland duing the HB 235 debackle  writes in response to the overwhelmingly large margin of passage for SB 212:

The passage of marriage equality and then the referendum vote by the people of Maryland in favor of it seems to have taken the sting out of LGBT legislation. There is a lot lest angst about voting for this relatively straightforward anti-discrimination bill now that the tide has turned on the LGBT issue which attracts the most press.

Interesting the analysis being offered.

I would counter his suggestion that CMPA and its referendum, took "the sting out of LGBT legislation."

It is more likely, based on consistent polling, that the state supports these protections more than they did SSM. In fact, most Marylanders believed these protections already existed. (I will not get into the bill of goods the trans community was "sold" in 2001)

I beleive Mr. Lublin is forgetting the Fairness for All Marylanders Act passed the Senate 32-15. Civil Marriage Protection Act only passed 25-22.

Unfortunately Mr Lublin assigns value to inorganic legislative initititaves such as the heavily financed SSM campaign as being the reason "relatively straight-forward anti-discrimination bill"s can now gain traction. No, Mr Lublin, myopic thought borne of privilege, blinds one from the truth. Yes, money makes the world go round, but "straight-forward" get's the votes all the time, when they are allowed to see the light of day.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Laverne Cox Respectfully Redirects to the Real Lived Experiences of Trans People

Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera made appearances on Katie Couric's talk show on Monday.

When Katie posed a problematic question, Ms. Cox decided to use this opportunity to bring up issues of trans justice in an incredibly respectful,  redirecting way.

Ms. Couric had tried to bring up the question of surgery with Carmen, who deflected. Katie Couric then tried to ask a similar question of Laverne, and this was her response:

"I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t actually get to talk about those things."

The Orange is the New Black star then addressed the recent murder of Islan Nettle last August, in which the NYPD said a man used anti-gay slurs while beating Nettles so severely, Nettles went into a coma, never to regain consciousness.  Cox adeptly rattled off compelling statistic after statistic, of violence and oppression against trans Americans. She continued with:

"By focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination."

Ms. Cox is currently working on a documentary Free CECE in order to bring that story to a greater audience. CeCe McDonald was the victim of a hate based attack, and in her self defense, her attacker was killed. It has been reported that Ms. McDonald will be released on January 13, 2014. If accurate, she will have served 19 months of a 41 month sentence.