Friday, March 11, 2011

In-Equality Maryland Censors & Bans Numerous Advocates For Asking "May Transsexual & Transgender Americans Have Some Human Rights Too, Pretty Please?"

"‎"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.

Today I joined the long list of many transsexual and transgender advocates who have either had their comments deleted on Equality Maryland's Facebook page, or who have actually been BANNED from commenting, for simply asking the gays and lesbians who dominate the LGB”T” movement in Maryland via Equality Maryland, "Excuse me sir, may us poor, 'bottom of the LGBT food chain' tra**ys have some human rights too, pretty please?"

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.
Because Zoe Ellen’s comment exposed the ugly truth behind Equality Maryland’s compromising behavior that has and will continue to negatively affect the TS/TG communities, it was promptly deleted by the moderator.

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!
The 2nd comment I made today was in response to Equality Maryland’s page saying “transgendered”, problematically adding the “ed” after transgender, which media advocacy groups educate against.
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
Though I was upset my voice was censored, in a way, I am honored to make the list of so many transsexual and transgender advocates who have also been banned or censored on Equality Maryland's page for simply asking "What about the 'T'?" I couldn't’t ask for a more honest group of transsexual, transgender (and/or intersex) people to be associated with! Thanks Equality Maryland, this acknowledgement means a lot to me, it means I refuse to be a token trans tom [aka Autumn Sandeen] and compromise! I will wear your rejection with pride! ;)

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
Kat Rose, a popular legal historian of transsexual and transgender issues (who is an attorney) and is the author of the blog ‘', elaborates on how Equality Maryland has done this many times before, like when they threw us under the bus in 2001:

"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."

And it gets worse; Equality Maryland is using the mother of a trans child to support a bill that will actually allow discrimination against her child. Kelly Busy of wrote an open letter to the mother, Cathy Hyde, to explain why the community is upset with Equality Maryland’s anti-TS/TG behavior:

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]

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."
Donna S. Plamondon, a woman of transsexual medical history, who lives in Maryland, went to the Public Hearing on the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Bill on March 9th, and testified against the problematic bill. Today she reflected back to me,
"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".
Here is a part of Donna’s testimony from the hearing:
"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, 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 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:

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"
Dana, many others, including myself, agree with you :)


  1. great article. thanks for posting this.

    have you checked out the Equality Maryland page recently? it seems to be exploding a bit. XD

    also, I sent messages about this to some of the article contributors of the Gay Rights section at so hopefully, they'll cover this. my messages said:

    "Dear ___ (changed the name depending on who I was sending this to),

    If you and any other article writers could all talk about this and write an article or two on this, I would really appreciate it. Thanks. :]

    I was wondering if you could write an article about the gay marriage bill issue in Maryland and also the HB 235 bill in Maryland and how both are linked to the failures of Equality Maryland (the largest LGBTQetc. advocacy/rights group in Maryland) and how Equality Maryland is becoming a mini-HRC.

    Please see:

    Equality Maryland is having quite a few failures, but I think the biggest is their censorship of trans people, trans advocates, and trans allies.

    Also, maybe articles on HRC's ineffectiveness (caring only about salaries and cocktail parties and willing to shut out and censor people who don't neatly fit into their expectations of of a gay person, including those who are not as rich, not cisgendered, etc.) and how Get Equal is getting too close to HRC in its methods.

    Thank you. :]



    I'd like to encourage everyone to write to anyone and everyone they can connected to media/news websites that would be willing to write articles on this.

    and thanks again for writing this article. :D keep up the good work!!

  2. Well done for standing up to this sort of behaviour. I'm so tired of LGB groups sticking the T on the end to appear inclusive and then selling us out the minute things become difficult.

    Unfortunately, organisations such as InEquality Maryland and Britain's Stonewall become the legitimate voices for the whole spectrum of people because they claim to be fully LGBTTIQ focussed. Then when the cis and straight legislators look for who to work with they choose organisations such as this, not knowing that they only actively support a part of the spectrum. Claiming they support transsexual, transgender and intersex people and not actually doing so is very dangerous for our rights and a cynical means of increasing their importance.

    We've had some success in the UK with getting legislators to see that trans issues should not be led by Stonewall. I hope you have the same success in Maryland.

  3. Although I'm from Philly, I try to keep up with LGBT rights issues around the US and this is disheartening to hear. It's especially upsetting that they are deleting messages instead of dialoguing, even around language like the transgender/ed issue. I'm a little confused by what their website says about the bill vs. what's being said here - it seems that maybe they are only highlighting the positive aspects of HB 235 while not mentioning what it fails to cover? Or has it been amended in ways that aren't yet reflected on their site? Specifically, here:

    Also, to be a stickler about history, insisting the MLK Jr wouldn't have downplayed an even smaller and/or more controversial minority aside to advance his primary cause, I have two words: Bayard Rustin. I'm not saying this to tarnish MLK Jr's legacy, which is honorable and invaluable to our country, but I think it offers some insight, especially with regard to history repeating itself.

    In any event, thank you for bringing this to light. I'll continue checking back with EQMD's page and see what people are saying there about HB235. It looks like right now, only one comment has been left up, although there were so many posts about marriage recently that it's hard to look through more than a day's worth.

  4. is there any evidence Equality Md is bisexual-friendly? I'm just asking if it's accurate to lump the bis in w/the gays and lesbians in this case in term of who's getting represented by whom for what purposes and not ...

  5. Loraine: No EQMD and others like them are not bi OR pansexual friendly, in my opinion. We have to overlook the gay/lesbian language all the time and assume that we exist somewhere in there. The B is in name-only, the language used doesn't reflect us. To say things like "gay and lesbian families deserve to get married ...." excludes me. I am not in a lesbian or gay family, I'm bi/pan and that doesn't change no matter who my partner(s) are.

    that said, i think the B invisibility is not my top priority because a lot of what is done on behalf of the G and L benefits cisgender bi/pan folks (even if it's not as deliberate).

  6. If we all push this stronger, they may feel pressured to sumbit to true equality and put puplic accomadations back into the bill