Archive for the ‘restroom panic’ tag
I hesitate to jump into these shark-infested waters, but here goes.
I certainly have my own opinion on the “transsexual” vs. “transgender” debate that has ignited many a flame war on the internet over the last few months between those who want to separate our community based on those who have had or, at least, want to have, SRS, from everyone else, but I’m not going to express that here. Instead, I’m going to take a position that I’ve never seen expressed by anyone else, although some have come close. My position comes from my background as an attorney and my understanding of how anti-discrimination laws are written and are intended to operate.
Here’s what I know to be true: the dispute about who is transsexual and who isn’t is irrelevant to the fight for protections for transsexual, transgender, genderqueer and every other gender variant or gender nonconforming person in this country. Why? Because of how anti-discrimination laws are written for both practical and constitutional reasons.
Equality Maryland and Lambda Legal successfully challenged Citizens for a Responsible Government’s petition to place the trans rights passed last year on the ballot. Lambda Legal:
Lambda Legal, together with Equality Maryland, represented concerned Montgomery County registered voters who opposed this latest effort to set back the clock on civil rights in the state.
On November 13, 2007, in order to address discrimination against transgender individuals, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an act that added gender identity to the county’s civil rights law. A group calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) sought to block the law by gathering signatures for a referendum petition. We challenged the referendum because the Montgomery County Board of Election over counted the signatures in violation of the rules governing the process, and Maryland’s highest court ruled in our favor.
“This long overdue, crucial law is all about assuring that unchecked bias is not allowed to inhibit our neighbors’ abilities to make a living or rent a home, and as a Montgomery County resident, I breathe a sigh of relief that this campaign to roll back anti-discrimination protections is now over,” said Dan Furmansky, Executive Director of Equality Maryland.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 8, 2008
Victory in Maryland: High Court Rules for Challengers to Illegal Referendum Petition That Attempted to Overturn a Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law
Dan Furmansky, Executive Director
Annapolis, Md. – In a one paragraph order issued today, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a challenge to a referendum that attempted to block a unanimously enacted transgender protection law.
“We’re pleased with this victory. The court ruled in our favor in our challenge to this improper referendum,” said Natalie Chin, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal. “Though the order was brief we feel confident that we’ve stopped this referendum from being on November’s ballot.”
The court indicated that they will be releasing an opinion at a later time.
On November 13, 2007, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an act adding gender identity to the county’s civil rights law in order to address discrimination against transgender individuals. A group calling itself Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) sought to collect enough signatures on a referendum petition to block the law from going into effect. Lambda Legal, together with counsel retained by Equality Maryland, represented concerned Montgomery County registered voters who opposed CRG’s flawed referendum effort to set back the clock on civil rights in Montgomery County. Lambda Legal and Equality Maryland argued that the number of signatures needed to put the referendum petition on the November general election ballot was insufficient and that the Montgomery County Board of Elections over-counted purported signature entries in violation of detailed statutes that safeguard the referendum process.
“This long overdue, crucial law is all about assuring that unchecked bias is not allowed to inhibit our neighbors’ abilities to make a living or rent a home, and as a Montgomery County resident, I breathe a sigh of relief that this campaign to roll back anti-discrimination protections is now over,” said Dan Furmansky, Executive Director of Equality Maryland. “While we are confident the voters of Montgomery County would have voted against rolling back this law, , it is far better that our transgender brothers and sisters be spared the rhetoric that the referendum proponents have subjected them to over the past year. Equality Maryland thanks Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the law firm of Arnold and Porter, and the many volunteers who came together to assure that our laws in Montgomery County are on par with the 100 other jurisdictions nationally that protect residents from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.”
Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel, and Natalie Chin, Staff Attorney, are on the case for Lambda Legal. Jonathan Shurberg, lead attorney for Equality Maryland, argued the case. The case is Doe et al. v. Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Equality Maryland is Maryland’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, focused on making life better for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of Maryland. Equality Maryland works to secure and protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Marylanders by promoting legislative initiatives on the state, county and municipal levels and educating the public about the issues faced by our diverse community.
You can read my previous posts about this here.
Edit: Monica Roberts posted about this here. Plus, quotes the Washington Blade article.
I’ve posted in the past about the debate in Montgomery County, MD about the passage of civil rights protections for trans people and the ensuing campaign to have those rights stripped on the basis that a man might enter women’s restrooms or showers.
Obviously, Not In My Shower’s campaigning is based on deceptive, shady tactics – they gathered signatures for their petition to put the civil rights up for a vote in a general election on the basis of scaremongering. That is, as posted on Vigilance:
TTF supports a new county law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. A small group of radicals has redefined the issue, saying the bill is about predatory men claiming to be women and lurking in ladies locker-rooms.
Check out the blog and read more. Not In Our Showers is campaigning rather heavily, and Basic Rights Montgomery apparently needs to get into gear. They need help and support – organizations like Focus on the Family are backing NIMS, after all.
The Ottumwa Courier reports that the city council of Ottumwa, IA has deleted gender identity protections from its sexual orientation ordinance intended to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and formerly trans people from discrimination in housing and employment.
What were the arguments presented against protections for transgender and transsexual people?
Citizens who spoke against it said the ordinance would enable a man to put on a dress, enter a women’s restroom and molest or kidnap a female youngster.
Because, of course, it’s totally not possible for a man these days to put on a dress, enter a women’s restroom, and molest or kidnap a female youngster. It’s completely impossible for a man these days to not even bother with the dress, enter a women’s restroom, and molest or kidnap a female youngster. That symbol on the door that shows a stick figure in a skirt? It’s a magic talisman that keeps men from entering women’s restrooms as long as there are no laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Okay, so back to the real world: Pedophiles will do pedophile things until they are caught. Civil rights for transgender and transsexual people will not liberate them from restrictions that do not currently exist. They are already molesting children, why would they care whether it’s legal or illegal for them to enter a restroom set aside for the opposite sex? And, I’ll be honest, they can and do kidnap or molest female and male youngsters in a variety of settings outside the restroom.
Blocking civil rights for people on the basis of gender identity will not make anyone more vulnerable to sexual predators. It will not encourage sexual predators to take advantage of those civil rights. This is fearmongering and nothing more, and the fact that the Ottumwa City Council allowed such blatant lies to sway their decision to deny human beings the same rights guaranteed to everyone else who lives in Ottumwa just shows either their gullibility or lack of a backbone.