Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maryland Senators Expose "Equality" Maryland Misrespresenting the Transsexual & Transgender Community!

Though Equality Maryland (and many other state and national LGB”t” organizations) have serious control freak issues when it comes to dominating the transsexual and transgender community’s narrative, political movement strategy, media guide suggestions, priority level in the LGB”t” agenda and how bills pertaining to TS/TG people are written or amended, it seems more and more straight allies and politicians are hearing the cries of the TS/TG community when they say:

“Gay Inc. doesn’t represent us accurately, we are tired of being thrown under the bus constantly and we will not accept a few crumbs here and there! We are taking back our voice.”

The Maryland HB 235 bill is losing ground, which is actually a blessing in disguise because the weak bill leaves out public accommodations protections, so it’s best to propose it next year in its full and original version. The bill has been sent to the Senate Rules Committee where it's expected to die.

Senator Frosh has decided not to be spoon fed what to say by Equality Maryland, and has honestly pointed out that many transsexual and transgender Marylanders disagree with Equality Maryland’s ’incremental strategy’. Yesterday, he was interviewed in the Washington Blade concerning the tainted bill:

In yet another development likely to trouble the bill’s supporters, Frosh said his office was “inundated” on Monday by calls from transgender activists opposed to the bill because it has been stripped of a provision banning discrimination against transgender persons in the area of public accommodations. They are livid that that was taken out and oppose the bill,” Frosh said of Trans Maryland members. So there’s a division within the transgender community apparently about whether or not it’s a good idea."

Times are changing. Our elected officials are finally realizing that there is a disconnect between LGB strategists and TS/TG advocates on many issues. Yep, the time has come to represent ourselves, and a lot of LGB groups, and their TG loyalists and apologists, aren’t too happy about it.

Maryland transgender resident, Dana Beyer, who unsuccessfully ran for Maryland House of Delegates three times, and used to be on the board of Equality Maryland, told the Washington Blade yesterday:

"We don't trust Frosh and this seems to be his way of killing it and leaving himself with clean hands," Beyer says. "Bills don't go to Rules Committee unless there's a problem with them. This is not the normal process. There really is no reason for it. I would say this doesn't look good, and there's no excuse for it."

However, many in the community disagree that "Frosh is to blame". In fact, many are grateful to Senator Frosh for acknowledging that the bill's compromised version "may not be a good idea", and that many leaders in the Maryland community, including members of Trans Maryland and Trans United, have been calling his office and telling him why the bill must either ammended to include public accomodations protections, or withdrawn.

Emelye Waldherr replied to Dana Beyer’s opinion,

"Maybe there IS a problem with the bill? A great number of people think there's a big problem with this bill. Could it be that Senator Frosh agrees with them?"

A commenter then called Waldherr “naïve and Pollyanna ” to suggest that Senators would actually reconsider the bill’s merit due to the large outcry and opposition from Maryland’s only two trans specific organizations, Trans Maryland and Trans United. TransGriot’s Monica Roberts’ rebuttal to that name calling was:
"No, what’s “naive and Pollyanna” is GL rights orgs pimping an 'incremental rights' trans legislative strategy that not only doesn't work, it is harmful to the people it allegedly is supposed to help."
Dana LaRocca, a noted transsexual journalist and member of Trans Maryland, comments on this development,
"Yusef [a political writer for Metro Weekly] writes whatever he is spoon fed by the Equality Maryland disinformation team. He has no idea what is going on around him. An article in the Washington Blade has an entirely different take on it. [Washington Blade’s] Lou Chibbaro was apparently aware that the transgender community had reached out to key players in the Senate.

It looks like we got to [Senator] Frosh. Even better it looks like Frosh got under EQMD's skin. Next year is different because we have backed them into a corner and they have seen what we can do. I'm not a Blade fan. But if they upset the EQMD folk it's OK with me

Now EQMD is whining that he [Frosh] doesn't play by the rules. Well guess what EQMD - ya'll don't make the rules."

Even Maryland Senator Rich Madaleno publicly commented on the how all the attention seems to only goes towards gay marriage, though anti-discriminations protections for transsexual and transgender people are more urgent and needed. In his statement he says:

Although much of the media attention this legislative session has centered on marriage equality, we cannot let that debate overshadow efforts to enact these essential protections. Protection against discrimination, including gender identity discrimination, is a basic human right.”

Many agree with Senator Madeleno. Let’s be real, marriage is a luxury when you can’t even get a job because you are discriminated against, or can’t use public accommodations because of your gender identity, or get denied hospital care or health care insurance because you are transsexual. But since the gay and lesbian elitists who dominate the priorities of the LGB (lets tack on T to be PC) movement have most privileges straight people do, all they are concerned about is marriage and tax breaks, and those who are more oppressed are demanded to follow what their desires are. Never mind that a large percentage of the TS/TG communities are unemployed or living in poverty level, are frequently victims of hate crimes and have less social acceptance and understanding then gays do from society.

I want to thank Senator Frosh and Senator Madelno for having the integrity to call a spade a spade, and for them compassionately acknowledging that the LGB movement does not always do right by the TS/TG community.

The tide is shifting......

Transsexual, transgender and intersex Americans have had enough. They are exiting the back of the LGB”t” bus and buying their own bus. It’s high time we stop allowing our community to be used as a political bargaining chip by the gay establishment. Many elected officials and media outlets are supporting us in doing so.

We own our voices.

WE own OUR voices!

Trans Maryland members and supporters rally at The Supreme Court to oppose HB 235


  1. TransMaryland welcomes the decision by the Senate to refer HB235, a bill lacking basic protections in public accommodations based on one's gender identity, to the Senate Rules Committee. This move appears to be in response to the great public outcry over its gross deficiencies.

    TransMaryland’s position to withhold support for HB235 is based on the lack of basic human rights protections. An anti-discrimination bill needs to provide critical deterrents to the real and destructive discriminations the members of Maryland’s transgender community faces. 13 states and the District of Columbia offer such complete protections, protections which include public accommodations. Not once in the history of transgender specific civil rights has a state enacted protections for public accommodations only, once a prior law was in place.

    We hope this will allow the actual facts about HB235 to be openly discussed and that organizations like Equality Maryland, devoid of any serious diversity in its staff or Board, will cease claiming to be a transgender advocacy organization until it embraces organizations like TransUnited and TransMaryland.

    We will continue to withhold our support for legislation or legislative strategies which exclude input for the greater transgender and transsexual community in Maryland, while seeking workable and long term solutions to the needs of our community.

  2. I don't believe the fight is over until I see the last shovel of dirt heaped upon H.B. 235 and April 11 signals the end of this year's legislative session.

    Those of us who opposed the bill for the lack of public accommodation alnguage hammered senators with a barrage of truth concerning this fatally flawed bill.

    Sponsor Pena-Melnyk claims that the only reason bills end up in the rules committee is because they've crossed from one chamber to the other past the deadline. It's possible that this was not the reason Senate President Mike Miller sent it to the Rules Committee. It wouldn't surprise me, considering how remarkably unprofessionally EQ MD has pursued this, if it turned out to be some rookie procedural error. In any case, we can only hope it results in the death of the bill.

    "The Blade" also dances to the Gill Foundation tune, and the company line from them is that "most trans activists support this bill." By most, they mean NGLTF and NCTE, which are one and the same, and are by no means a majority, much less do they represent trans Marylanders, as Trans Maryland and Trans United do. Hell, they don't even represent trans people in general.

    So, for 12 more days, we'll keep the pressure on, and hope we can kill this bill, while at the same time developing relationships with legislators with an eye toward working with them to introduce a real trans rights bill next year.

  3. Jenna and Robyn, though I dont live in your state of Maryland, I feel this also affects me as well. If this bill passes in it's toxic form, who's to say New York or other states will not follow in HB 235's compromising footsteps?

    This is why every TS and TG American needs to support Trans United and Trans Maryland in their fight. Our rights being compromised could be next

  4. Worse still, Ashley. The most dangerous thing about this bill is that at the same time it creates a protected class, it also establishes the precedent for placing conditions on the rights of protected classes. It also sends the message that it's OK to remove the existing rights of prtected Americans, in this case, residents of Baltimore City and Montgomery County, who enjoy this protection in the areas where they live, but lose these rights when outside their home jurisdiction.

    What this tells legislators in Arizona that it's OK to remove public accommodation protection based on, say national origin, or legislators in Oklahoma that they can remove rights from Muslims in that state.

    The dangers of this bill are not limited to trans people. This is why every American needs to support Trans Maryland and Trans United in this fight.

  5. this article is great.

    if I had a Pam's House Blend account, I would post it here:

  6. We thank Senator Frosh for acknowledging that many transsexual and transgender people disagree with Equality Maryland compromising the bill, and Senator Madaleno for stating that “although much of the attention… is on marriage equality…it cannot overshadow efforts to enact these essential protections [of] gender identity discrimination [protections], a basic human right.” The tide is shifting. Elected officials are realizing that the LGBT movement does not always serve, prioritize or accurately represent TS/TG Americans. This HB 235 controversy has shown the whole country that it’s time for the transsexual, transgender and intersex coalition to take back their voice

  7. How can an organization with "Equality" in their name settle for less than that? If you are an LGBT group who is willing to compromise on this, then you are not speaking for me.

    This shows, as Ashley and others have been yelling and screaming about, that we need to take our voice back from those who would cause us harm. These are precidents that we most certainly do not need to have set.

  8. Best of luck passing a comprehensive bill next year.