Tag: Maryland

Jun 07

Colbert misses the mark: The Transgender Threat to Old People

Sometimes satire fails.  Even if you are Stephen Colbert, satire can fail.  

Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement.

When Colbert decided to use his inimitable charm to take on the subject of transgender seniors gaining the possibility of Medicare coverage of gender confirmation surgery, he neglected the fact that the majority of his audience are opposed to that coverage.

The Colbert Report
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The assumption that all liberals would support transgender-inclusive healthcare ignores reality.  Prachi Gupta at Salon addresses the issue.

Even more disturbing than the idea of Nana and Pee-Pop playing Mr. Potatohead downtown is that it violates the tacit agreement we have reached with the transgender community,  I agree to be totally cool with it – which I clearly am [footage of his interview with trans activist Janet Mock], which Time Magazine clearly is, and which all the people lobbying for this transgendered woman [Carmen Carrera] to be a Victoria’s Secret model clearly are – as long as you are hot.  But now you want me to accept unattractive transgender people?  Where does it end?  Will I have to accept unattractive non-transgender people?  What am I made of?  Humanity?

–Stephen Colbert

May 10

What it comes down to is, they really don’t like us

I’ve got a couple of stories I am cobbling together to support the title thesis…which should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody.  I mean, it’s nearly a tautology.

Big surprise.  Maryland recently became the 17th state to offer anti-discrimination protections for gender non-conforming people…so immediately the people who voted against it and lost started howling…and lying and fear-mongering…hoping to cajole the Maryland public into dispensing with the new law.

Incredibly, the conservatives’ main line of attack is that the law will turn women’s restrooms into fertile ground for peeping toms disguised in dresses and wigs, even for similarly attired rapists.  This is middle school trash talk disguised as policy analysis.  There is no evidence that this is a statistically detectable problem in other states that have banned discrimination against transgender people, nor in Maryland localities, such as Montgomery County, that have had similar statutes on the books for years.

More broadly, opponents of the legislation tend to miss its central point, which is to ban the blatant discrimination that transgender people report is pervasive.  In a 2011 survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 71 percent of transgender people in Maryland said they had experienced harassment or mistreatment at work and 18 percent said they had lost a job or been denied a promotion as a result of their gender identification.  Seventeen percent reported having been denied housing.  Shocking numbers of students in public schools report harassment (81 percent) and assaults (38 percent).

Washington Post Editorial Board

The Post rightly points out that although recall leader Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Asshole) has concentrated on raising fears about behavior in bathrooms, he opposed transgender protections at every turn when they didn’t include public accommodations.

Mar 08

Maryland set to protect transgender people from discrimination

On Tuesday the Maryland Senate approved the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 which would expand Maryland’s anti-discrimination laws to add transgender people to the list of classes of people protected against discrimination in housing, employment, access to credit, and public accommodations.  The bill exempts religious organizations, private clubs, educational institutions, small businesses and owner-occupied rentals.

There was virtually no debate on the bill, though Anne Arundel Republican Bryan W. Simonaire tried to raise “the bathroom question.”  

Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County and Montgomery County all have protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and officials in those locales say they have had no complaints concerning restroom usage.

The bill passed by a margin of 32-15, with four democrats (John Astle (Anne Arundel), James E. DeGrange Sr. (Anne Arundel), Roy P. Dyson (Southern Maryland), James N. Mathias Jr. (Lower Eastern Shore) joining the mostly republican opposition.  Howard County Republican Allan H. Kittleman, on the other hand, spoke in support of the bill.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Richard S. Madaleno, Jr (D-Montgomery).

Jan 18

Maryland to give it another try

On Tuesday Maryland state Senator Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced  another bill that would outlaw discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation against individuals on the basis of their gender identity.

A similar bill last year died in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee by a vote of 6-5 in March.  Proponents of the bill feel optimistic this year, citing cultural progress and the endorsement of some key political figures.

I am very hopeful.  Given the way our culture has changed in a progressive direction in Maryland and given the support we now have from the Senate and House leadership we will get the votes in the Judicial Proceedings Committee to move the bill.

–Dana Beyers, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland

Mar 15

Sad Tidings

Recently I’ve managed to find some stories with better news among the usual fare of crap that many transpeople face.  

I knew it couldn’t keep going like that.

So tonight we have hard news out of California and Maryland.

The toll?  One dead, two injured, and a state’s transgender population worth of others left endangered.

On the bright side today is payday…and unlike many other transpeople, I actually have one.

Mar 03

If not now, when?

Both the House and Senate passed marriage equality in Maryland and the governor signed it into law.  So what’s next?

For some people, what’s next is getting ready to fight a possible referendum in the fall.  But wait!  What about that other very important piece of legislation.  We hope it is not going to be forgotten in all the hubbub.  And we certainly hope that GLBT activists are not going to let Maryland legislators feel that they have done enough for our community at this time.

Senate Bill 212 stands at the forefront.  It would forbid discrimination against people on the basis of gender identity in the areas of public accommodations, housing and employment, just like it is illegal to discriminate on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability.

Back in May of 2011, shortly after Chrissy Lee Polis was assaulted as she attempted to use a restroom in a Rosedale McDonald’s, Gov. O’Malley issued a statement:

Even with Maryland’s ‘hate crimes’ law, it is clear that more must be done to protect the rights and dignity of transgendered people.

At the time he committed to working on the issue.  But then, when this year’s session started, the issue was not found on his agenda.

Feb 25

Updating: More of the Story

Some stories require follow-up.  How else are we going to know how they are progressing?  In December I wrote about the treatment of transkids in A Voice for the Future.  I’d written about the issue before that as well.

How are doctors treating these children?

They’re prescribing young GID patients with puberty-blocking drugs until age 16, as recommended in guidelines from the Endocrine Society. Then doctors begin lifelong treatment with sex-changing hormones, while monitoring for potential health risks. The guidelines recommend the aid of mental health professionals throughout the process.

A new study about gender non-conformity has been published and even made its way to the mainstream media (Washington Post, CNN Health, The Week, AP.  Two articles about gender-variant behavior are in the March issue of Pediatrics.  The Advocate picked up the story, but concentrated on a survey from 2010 about how 41% of transpeople have attempted suicide.  They did, however, provide a link to LiveScience, which was helpful.

Feb 18

Equality…except at the lunch counter

Being an aging lesbian transwoman, I’d rather be writing about the problems of aging GLBT people, but sometimes events make me so furious, that what I would rather be writing about must take a back seat to expressing my fury.

As I wrote about in January, Baltimore County, Maryland has been considering whether or not transpeople deserve the respect inherent in equal rights.  A bill was introduced by Democratic Councilman Tom Quirk to enumerate and protect the rights of transpeople, and had three co-sponsors (two Republicans and a Democrat).  With 4 out of 7 of the council members sponsoring the legislation, it seemed like a shoe-in to pass.

It likely will still pass, but the changes made to it make it into something unrecognizable as a bill to protect equal rights.

Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Democrat, has introduced an amendment to strip public accommodations from the rights enumerated by the bill.

How we are treated in public is the main concern many of us have.  Yes, we need protection in the workplace, in housing, and in credit, but if we cannot safely conduct ourselves in the public sphere, then we are not equal citizens.  Have we forgotten the sit-ins at lunch counters from the 60s?  Are we so willing to restrict equality that segregation is actually being considered as the solution?

Shame.

Jun 18

Successes and Failures

I’ve noticed recently the tendency to start reviewing this year’s legislative and governmental progress…as if this were the end of the year.  Admittedly it is in many cases the end of the legislative session, but my calendar still has a good six months to go.

Autumn Sandeen has a commentary in the San Diego LGBT Weekly, which highlights the fact that we have equality in three more states (HI, NV, and CT) and fought off a challenge to equality in Maine and that antidiscrimination protections were added administratively for federal employees.  And soon we should see that trans clients of our government (at least at HHS and the VA) have equal rights to the services we seek.

[For those who don’t know, transpeople will not gain anything from the repeal of DADT since we are excluded from service for other…administrative, not legislative…reasons.]

All that is good, but I was taught as a child that we learn more from our failures than from our successes.  So what of our failures this year?

May 18

News with a T

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has called for more to be done to provide for greater protections for transpeople in his state.  This comes in the wake of the brutal attack of Crissy Lee Polis by Teonna Monae Brown and a juvenile accomplice and the subsequent filing of hate crimes charges.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons. We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

–Martin O’Malley

Brown’s attorney claims her actions were in self-defense and that she is really a “nice young woman”.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons,” O’Malley said. “We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

There is an accompanying video reporting on the hate crime charges but embedding has been disabled.  The video features Lynne Bowman of Equality Maryland.

Apr 09

Worse and then Better(?) Again

So where are we?  Well, a few weeks ago, things were sort of looking up, but last week they seem to get into the well-known hand basket.

For instance, the Maryland House passed a bill disallowing many, but not all, forms of discrimination against people based on gender identity or expression.  It wasn’t unanimously applauded by the trans community since there were no protections in public accommodations, but there it was.

But only a week or so earlier, the Maryland House had tabled the marriage equality bill that had already passed the Senate, to someone in the Senate decided that the House need to be taught a lesson, so sent the gender identity/expression protection bill to the Senate Rules committee, expecting it to languish and die there.  After all, who do those House members think they are?  We’ll show them!  We’ll kick this transpeople right where it hurts.

Wasn’t that just very cool?

Mar 12

To the people walking away from Omelas



Scarlet Letter

We’ve been hearing a lot about the marriage equality bill in Maryland (which was today recommitted to committee), but very much less about HB 235, which would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in housing and employment…but not in public accommodations, which has become a bit of a sore point for some (for a little understatement).

It must also be noted that the expression “public accommodation” does not apply exclusively to public bathrooms, showers and changing facilities. Public accommodation also includes schools, libraries, hospitals, restaurants and retail establishments. It is not an exaggeration to characterize lack of protection from discrimination in public accommodation in the same way as one would the idea of segregated lunch counters. Segregated lunch counters in 2011. In Maryland.

Trans Griot

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