""EQUALITY" Maryland wants to create the illusion of a unified front. They are silencing TS/TG/I voices as well as LGBQ people who dont agree with their tactics." writes LGBTTIQ advocate Christopher Leonard as he sums up Equality Maryland's muzzling of the transsexual and transgender people who oppose their compromising actions.
The controversy in Maryland right now is that the state’s LGB “t” equality group, Equality Maryland, is supporting a bill, HB235, which is inaccurately being called an “anti-discrimination” bill; however, it actually allows the discrimination against transsexual and transgender people in public accommodations, whereas gays and lesbians already ensured their own protections in public accommodation a decade ago.
In a comment posted on Equality Maryland’s Facebook page, Zoe Ellen Brian explains why this compromise is appalling:
"HB235 specifically excludes trans people from the same protections that gays have had since 2001. It gives them a limited subset, while legitimizing discrimination against them in many areas – such as lunch counters, or being allowed to ride a bus, enter a restaurant, or be given medical care at a hospital. In other words, “public accommodations”.
It legitimizes inequality, in an attempt to give them at least some minimal rights in credit applications, employment, and housing. A “pragmatic compromise” that strengthens the rights of all other minorities regarding public accommodations, while denying trans people any protection whatsoever. Deliberate, legally sanctioned Inequality.
Here are the two comments I posted that had me censored, and then banned:
Today Maryland's marriage bill is sent back 2 committee 4 discussion. No vote until 2012 probably. To all the Maryland gays & lesbians: The way you are feeling right now is how the transsexual & transgender community felt when you didn’t protect them in Marylands discrimination bill this week. See how that works? Its called karma. Sorry to be frank, yet u should be sorry 4 abandoning the TS/TG part of the coalition!
Excuse me, why is there an "ed" after transgender? Transgender people are not "adverbs". Are you serious? Please educate yourself before you proceed to (mis)represent transgender and transsexual people. Thanks
Another thing, if I hear Equality Maryland quote Martin Luther King one more time, I may scream! King would NEVER condone how Equality Maryland is sacrificing transsexual and transgender Americans, and using them as a political bargaining chip. King would never say "Let’s get light skinned blacks and biracial blacks their rights first, and then come back for the rest". How dare they misappropriate his cause!
Something ironic happened yesterday. The same exact day that the Maryland ‘Gay & Lesbian caucus’ sacrificed transsexual & transgender people in a discrimination bill hearing, the House decides to do the same thing to gay marriage via defending DOMA! Perhaps the moral is that gays shouldn't mimic our oppressors and abandon TS/TG folk? Karma is timely like that, & she will make us learn our lesson one way or another...
Patrick Peace Tree, who has also been censored on their page, disclosed,
I've been censored so many times over there, I've just given up. It makes me furious to watch them use MLK quotes and talk about inequality while they preach segregation with HB 235
"Trans people in Maryland today are dying because of what Liz Seaton, Cathy Brennan and Shannon Avery got away with a decade ago. Their form of fake history creation was simply doing their evil and slithering away into highly-paid jobs that no trans people (or, in Seaton’s case, no trans women) are ever considered for and letting the amnesia of the damned do their historical work for them. Don’t let it happen again. Challenge ‘Equality’ Maryland’s lying-by-sanitizing online
Technically, the dirty deed happened in 1999 when certain gay-primacy activists began pushing an empty theory that trans people were already covered under Maryland law - which gave legislators cover to delete trans people from that year's bill. Liz Seaton, then head of what is now 'Equality' Maryland but then called Free State Justice (more accurately referred to as 'Free State Just Us') and soon to move up to a position with the Human Rights Campaign, sat silent before legislators when asked if there was any problem with removing trans people from the bill.
This series of events gave license to the legislature to forever after move forward with gay-only bills - which was done again in 2001. Again, gays who wanted their gay-only bill without concern for the long-term harm to trans people - the most vocally obnoxious of whom was Cathy Brennan - pushed the theory that trans people were already covered under Maryland law so trans people had nothing to complain about. Moreover, Brennan openly declared that the gay people in Maryland who supported trans inclusion and, as such, opposed the gay-only bill, were "anti-gay."
Through all of this, the implication was that once Maryland gays got their gay-only statute, they would go back and make the trans protections explicit. Instead, of course, they discovered gay marriage, so there has never been any legitimate effort - including the insulting HB 235 of this year - by Maryland's gays to make good on their 'incremental progress' promises to trans people."
Jenna Fischetti , a woman who lives in Maryland and TS/TG activist, wrote in a thread concerning this controversy,
“The difficult part of your proposition is the assertion that EQMD has the capacity to be good and thus through its sacrificing the TS/TG people, they were wrong. If its not in their nature to be for the full and immediate equality of TS/TG ...Marylanders, then they are NOT wrong in sacrificing them, they are only consistent.
To the deleting numerous comments please follow the link: [Wikipedia’s article on Stalinism] http://goo.gl/rGdCA
Now, I will say that last bit was intended as tongue in cheek. However, whoever has administrator rights or control of their Facebook page or directed the control of the message on the page needs to seriously consider how ridiculous it made them look. They could have turned off comments completely so they could have controlled their message like Brezhnev."
"I NEVER thought I would ever testify AGAINST a bill to (supposedly) give us protection. It sucked being the ONLY transsexual sitting with the likes of Peter Spriggs speaking in opposition to HB235 at the house committee hearing. EqMd is NOT happy with me telling the legislature "Thanks But No Thanks for HB235 as written".
"I and many other members of Maryland’s transsexual and intersex communities feel slighted and offended by the omission of public accommodations to HB235. Not to be disrespectful to the efforts of our allies, our legislators, Equality Maryland, the NGLTF, the NCTE and transgender community, but no one seems to acknowledge that there is a difference between being transsexual/intersex and being transgender and no one seems to want it addressed.
TRANSGENDER persons in general IDENTIFY with their birth sex, neither sex, or both sexes. They typically EXPRESS their gender opposite their birth sex in an inconsistent manner for various reasons. Some are crossdressers, some are transvestites, and some are drag queens and kings. Some choose an androgynous EXPRESSION.
...TRANSEXUALS and INTERSEX persons typically IDENTIFY with the sex opposite their sex assigned at birth and EXPRESS that IDENTITY in a consistent manner every day of their lives
…TRANSEXUALS people are recognized as being a medical condition by both the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association as evidenced by their individual resolutions supporting the legal recognition of their IDENTIFIED and EXPRESSED gender
…. persons should be protected by a public accommodation amendment and recognized as to have taken the responsible approach of seeking help from psychiatric and medical professionals to resolve a medical condition. We deserve all the dignity, respect and protections, both civil and legal, to which a citizen is entitled under the laws of the State of Maryland, Title 7 of the Civil Rights act of 1964 and the United States of America."
Marti Abernathey of Transadvocate.com, warns us about the danger of a domino effect if this bill passes without full protections in her article 'Gay Media: Maryland Trans Community, Love The Crumbs We Give You' :
"If HB235 passes without public accommodations in Maryland, this will reverberate across the country. You only get one chance at this. It’s hard enough to “go back” for gender identity protections (New York, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, etc.). But going back for public accommodations that cover gender identity will be next to impossible.
In light of HB285 ( a bill that gives legal teeth to public accommodations protections for those already covered), the genesis of this “half a loaf” becomes clear. Maryland’s “advocacy coalition” isn’t prepared to fight for full equality for the entire community. We’re supposed to be happy with their crumbs."
Marti also warns about the sneaky way the gay and lesbian media are (mis)reporting this, writing. "As much as trans people seem to want to believe it, gay (GayINC) media is not their friend/advocate/ally". She goes on to expose the unsatisfactory way Metro Weekly, Washington Blade and Pam's House Blend (via Autumn Sandeen) are reporting this story.
Perhaps I was provocative by saying it was “karma” in Maryland that postponed the marriage rights of the same gays and lesbians who are denying TS/TG people their full protections in the discrimination bill. But I am just one person who noticed an interesting parallel and commented on it. What I said is not anywhere as impactful or inappropriate as the gay and lesbian decision makers who work for, or who are on the board of, Equality Maryland, which has made the choice (repeatedly) to compromise the basic human rights of TS/TG people, the same rights that gays and lesbians in Maryland have already secured for themselves.
Equality Maryland has the right to ban people off their page, it’s their page, but is it the proper behavior for a “civil rights group”? The good news is that they can’t delete any of my comments off Blogspot.com. If Equality Maryland wants to continue to throw transsexual and transgender people under the bus, then their two options that make sense in my eyes are:
---1) Change their name to ‘Inequality’ Maryland
---2) Call themselves a LGB group instead of a LGB.”t” one
So which will it be Equality Maryland? Choice #1 or choice #2? Or, you could surprise us all and do choice number #3:
---3) Demand that public accommodation protections for TS/TG people be put pack into the bill.
Dana LaRocca resides in Maryland, and is a woman of transsexual experience. She has been very vocal and uncompromising in her opposition to the bill, and against Equality Maryland for supporting it. So, of course, she had to be silenced and Equality Maryland's Facebook page banned her as well. Dana's response to being on the ever growing "banned list" is:[It's a] "Badge of honor"