5, 4, 3, 2, 1….the bill is dead.
Today the Maryland Senate sent the Gender Identity “Anti-Discrimination” H.B. 235 bill back to the committee, making it dead until next year. Great work to everyone who oppossed the bill without the public accomodation protections inclusion ammendment, and worked hard to educate why this compromise is problematic and unacceptable. Now we have a chance to add it on to next year's bill.
I feel compelled to put quotes around the word “anti-discrimination” because I cannot in good conscious call this bill an anti-discrimination bill for many reasons:
- 1) In actuality, H.B. 235 discriminates. To intentionally leave out protections in hospitals, hotels, restaurants, libraries, public transportation, drinking fountains, parks, lunch counters, homeless shelters, you know: PUBLIC ACCOMDATIONS, translates into the same result as discrimination. You can’t in all accuracy call this bill an “anti-discrimination” bill and then leave out these obvious and urgently needed anti-discrimination protections.
- 2) In prior legislation sessions in Maryland, previous versions of this bill had public accommodations protections, then, in an appalling compromise, they were stripped out
- 3) However, gay and lesbian Marylanders ensured PA protections for themselves in 2001, leaving the most vulnerable portion of the LGBT coalition, the transsexual and transgender (TS/TG) communities, out of the bill. We are tired of being left behind. No more. We demand full citizenship in the LGBT coalition. And that includes full rights.
- 4) Equality Maryland did not enroll community buy-in from the actual people who the bill affects, the TS/TG communities. Trans United and Trans Maryland are the only two TS/TG specific organizations in Md., and they both OPPOSE the bill without PA protections, so for the gay and lesbian dominated board and staff of Equality Maryland to (mis)decide to push for a bill w/o PA protections is misrepresentation and wrong. Equality Maryland has no transsexual people on their board or staff, so they have no right to (mis)represent them. EqMd can be an ‘ally’, but they can’t be a ‘dictator’.
- 5) Public accommodations are lifesaving protections, a basic human right. People have died due to no PA protections. Transsexual people have been denied access to hospitals and homeless shelters due to no PA protections. These are rights we are not willing to negotiate away.
- 6) We should not be dancing to the bells of the religious far right and abandoning PA protections to cater to their fear and hatred of diversity concerning TS/TG human beings. Making deals with transphobes is like caving in to terrorists. You just don’t do it
- 7) The message of not including PA protections in this bill sends a loud and clear statement that TS/TG people are 2nd class citizens. The stigma and defamation that this message sends will create long lasting harm and marginalization. No way Jose! Keep your “Trans Crow”, we want FULL citizenship and equality!
Moving forward, things are looking good. Maryland’s TS/TG community has rallied hard, has national support, and are planning to take control of their own movement, no longer the “dependents of the LGB decision makers of the LGB”T” agenda”.
Trans United and Trans Maryland are already working on their plan for 2012. Equality Maryland’s role is not to dictate the terms to Trans United and Trans Maryland, but to follow their lead.
Senator Madaleno stated today,
“Before next session, I will pre-file a new version of the Gender Identity Antidiscrimination Act that includes provisions for housing and employment, as well as public accommodations in the hope it can receive a full debate and vote in the Senate before the last day of the session.”
This is great news! This is all we have been fighting for; to have the bill proposed in its authentic and fully inclusive form, WITH public accommodations protections. Without these protections, the bill has no merit, no integrity, no teeth.
The bill is dead, but the transsexual and transgender resistance is so very much alive. This is it. We are taking back our voice, not settling for crumbs and are not resting until we achieve all that is entitled to us as American citizens.