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Maryland’s potential referendum on trans civil rights

Commentary: Trans Progressive

Trans people are often tagged as either being predators or enabling predators in public restrooms. It seems to always be the one sure thing that will be trotted out when arguing against civil rights for trans people, especially public accommodation protections.

Within the last month, Maryland has passed legislation that adds employment, housing and public accommodation protections for trans people in that state, and the state’s governor has promised to sign it. It joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia in passing anti-discrimination laws based on gender identity.

No Republican in either the House of Delegates or state Senate voted for the bill, and for the most part labeled the bill the “Bathroom Bill.” One of the reasons is the same as it has been for many, many years where serious effort has been put forward by LGB and especially T people to obtain basic civil rights protections for T people in that state is the fear that providing civil rights for trans people in their state would open the door to predators that will engage in otherwise unlawful behavior toward cisgender women and children. For example, according to the Baltimore Sun, Del. Neil C. Parrott of Washington County has called “the proposal the ‘Bathroom Bill’ to stir up fears of men dressing up as women in order to molest innocent young girls or senior citizens in the local lavatory. We kid you not. He’s been circulating an online petition against the bill featuring the image of a cartoon man (the kind you see on bathroom doors) peering over a stall to eye a cartoon woman.

“Never mind that the bill isn’t about enabling such criminal behavior any more than the sellers of men’s trench coats are trying to accommodate flashers,” editorialized the Baltimore Sun. “Similar laws have been enacted in 17 other states and the District of Columbia without outbreaks of bathroom peeping toms. The law is unlikely to make much difference to potential molesters one way or the other as sexual assault and similar misconduct was illegal then and it’s still illegal now.”

Social conservatives in Maryland are considering mounting a referendum effort to repeal the law much as social conservatives in California mounted an effort to repeal the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB1266).

The arguments against trans people using public facilities that align to their gender identities are the same. They are arguing in part that any “Bathroom Bill” will open the doors of public restrooms and will enable predators, as well as the relatively newer argument that allowing trans people in public bathrooms (and public locker rooms) violates the privacy of cisgender women.

This is all based on the two competing ideas regarding the term gender. The trans argument is that all of us have gender identities, and these sometimes don’t align with the sex assigned at birth based on the shape of genitalia. The other argument falls into two similar camps: either that gender is a false concept; gender equates to sex, and that sex and gender are based on the shape of one’s genitalia at birth, or that only sex is relevant and that gender is used by the patriarchy to keep women subservient to men. These definitions of gender appear to have no overlap: either one understands gender as a gender identity or that gender identity that’s different to the sex assigned at birth functionally doesn’t or shouldn’t exist as a concept.

The major medical organizations that have spoken on the subject have all come down on the trans definition of gender; these include the American Psychiatric Association; the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association.

And, the people of Maryland, in a Goucher College poll that was released in March, indicate that 71 percent of Marylanders support the Maryland civil rights bill, and when broken down to gender 75 percent of women in the state support civil rights for people.

The “Bathroom Bill” argument is tired, yet it will be trotted out by social conservatives every time civil rights based on gender identity are discussed. The counter argument, in my mind, should be in the same vein as the Baltimore Sun’s editorial: show us where in the states where civil rights for trans people have resulted in a rash of illegal behaviors after these laws have been passed. Put up or shut up on your alleged “Bathroom Bill” argument.



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Posted by LGBT Weekly on Apr 3, 2014. Filed under Bottom Highlights, Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

40 Comments for “Maryland’s potential referendum on trans civil rights”

  1. A Woman, Period

    Quite frankly, allowing men (i.e. those who still retain, and who wish to keep retaining, their penises) into women’s space IS an invasion of those women’s privacy. It is an outrageous demand that is coming back to bite the transgender extremists on their posteriors.

    • Jasmine Erricka Glenn

      Transgender women are women and are subject to the same dangers of sexual assault from men that cis gender women are. Forcing some women to be endangered by using the men’s room is what is dangerous for women. Grow up person not strong enough in “her” convictions to leave her name.

      • A Woman, Period

        Sorry, but I have no desire to be stalked by some crazy transgender extremists. I have been in the past, and I don’t care to have it done when I can avoid it.

        But to clarify, you are saying all it takes to be a “woman” is to simply say, “I am a woman…” Sorry, but no….

        • Jasmine Erricka Glenn

          glad to see you believe yourself to be nothing more than your vagina. I would get the surgery if it was affordable. unfortunately because of cis-sexist non human people like you, i can even get a job to pay for it. because i look like a woman and have the legal credentials of a man i never was i should be put in harms way. having a vagina doesn’t make you feminine and therefore isn’t the only thing that makes a person a target for sexual assault. by your rules you would be wanting trans men with beards and huge muscles in your bathroom instead of other women. and for Christ sakes most people are in the bathroom to go to the bathroom, not to check out other women. by your rules lesbians should have to use the men’s room too. grow up and stop being sexist.

          • You should proof read your posts before hitting the submit button.

            More to the point of your post, NO having a vagina doesn’t make you feminine, but it DOES make you FEMALE. Having a penis makes you male. It is all about genitals and all about what it is to be FEMALE and to be loved by a man as a FEMALE should be.

            Anne

          • A Woman, Period

            Actually, no. If you really needed surgery, affordability would not be an issue. You would find a way. Even when it is covered by insurance, and if you live in California, and don’t have a job, it is covered by Medi-Cal, people find other excuses. So, no, I’m not buying it. And I said nothing about you being there to check out other women. If you are there, and people can easily perceive you as a male, then you are making them uncomfortable. If you cannot understand this, or don’t care, then don’t tell me you are “really a woman, because no, that is not the case.

          • “be loved by a man as a FEMALE should be.”

            Anne, are you lost? This *is* LGBT Weekly, right?

    • You might be interested to know that Maryland’s laws as they stand without this already allow transexual men and women to use the bathroom of their identified gender without the need for surgery. It has nothing to do with a law that would make it illegal to fire us, or kick us out of our homes for our condition.

      It may also surprise you that most of us do not have $30,000 or so lying around that we don’t need for the GRS operation.

    • Sane cis woman

      Cathy Brennan, is that you?

      Cis female Marylander here. My trans* sisters deserve all the same civil rights I have. Beginning and end of story.

    • Yes, because the identity of a person is always reducible to a single body part. You’re kidding, right?

      • It is called Biology, your Tee-Gee propaganda will not be allowed to muddy the waters of truth.

        Transgender is a fad like green hair and nose rings were in the 80s.
        Legitimate Transsexuals don’t need any additional so called civil rights laws. There is a cure for their birth defect, it is called Sex Reassignment Usury. Without Sex Reassignment you are and always be your birth sex. All the word games in the world will never change that.

        Only a man would want to keep that man organ.

        Anne .

        • A fad, eh? Remains of trans people have been found from many ancient civilizations. Fads die out. And if gender dysphoria has survived since ancient times, then it’s not going anywhere.

          • A Woman, Period

            Really? There were no “transgender people” prior to the Nineties. Silly claims by a certain blogger aside, “transgender” as we use it today did not exist before then. There have been transsexuals, and there have been other behaviors, like fetishistic crossdressing, crossdressing for religious purposes, etc., but the phenomena we know today as “transgender”is relatively new. And yes, it is basically a fad

        • A Woman, Period

          Well put Anne. Very well put.

        • So we’re going to make SRS free now? Because otherwise that’s a classist requirement on who can be concidered their identified gender. I don’t suppose you’d care to shell out the roughly $30,000 to help me out? =P

          • A Woman, Period

            Well, given that it IS increasingly covered by insurance, and even Medicaid in some states, yes, it is, for many quite “free.” And you know what, when it is “free” many still make excuses. The simple fact is, if you really need the surgery…you will find a way. So, simply put, cut the crap. If I gave you $30,000, I am sure you would find another use for it. If you need the surgery (need, not just think it is a nice fantasy that you know you will never really follow through on) you WILL find a way. It may take sacrifice, it may take work, it may take hiring a lawyer and forcing Medicaid to pay, but you will have it. Or, you really don’t want, and you are just putting up a smoke screen.

          • If SRS was free, people like you and Autumn Sandeen wouldn’t have it. Sandeen has said so. What about you, if it were free would you “chop it off”? Every TG I have known online has some excuse for not having SRS. A few are to their credit honest enough to admit it.

            Anne

        • (appearantly I can’t comment to the later parts of the threads, there seems to be a limit on thread length) It’s true that many insurance companies are increasingly beginning to cover GRS, none of the policies that do so in my area are in my price range.

          You and A Woman, Period both seem quick to insist that I would /not/ opt for the operation were it within my financial capability. So to answer you both, yes. If either or both of you offered to fund my operation I would be making arrangements with the Suporn clinic right now.

          That being said, I don’t believe that my non-op cousins should be denied anything, and you both seem to be oddly ignoring the fact that there is absolutely nothing in this law about bathroom protocol. Lawyers, doctors and therapists are all in agreement that as laws stand without it we pre-op and non-op trans women are already fully entitled to use the womens facilities. I have been since I came out.

          • A Woman, Period

            If you live in California, and you cannot afford health insurance, you probably qualify for Medi-Cal which will pay for SRS (it is NOT GRS…it reassigns your sex, not your gender). Quite frankly, if you cannot function well enough in your target sex to either get a job with reasonable benefits, or to save up the money for a trip to Thailand, then you probably should not have surgery. It is not for everyone. If you need surgery, it will be a drive for you that you will not be able to set aside. If you think of it as something that would be nice…provided someone hands it to you on a platter, then don’t have it. Simply put, if you can live without, don’t have it. Chances are that you will regret it.

            As to so-called “non-ops”(an oxymoron, as they are not transsexuals and are an example of behavior, not a medical condition) they should not have the right to change their sex legally, as they are still, and plan to remain, their birth sex.

            No, I really don’t believe “non-ops”are entitled to use the women’s room. They may be able to sneak in, but no, they are not entitled. But, of course, being men, they think they are…

        • Alright, I think I’m going to go do something more productive with my time. You two are either ignorant zealots, or trolls. Not sure which, but either way I’m wasting my time bringing up the facts surrounding the issue at hand in the article or the lives of trans* people in this area.

          • Maybe you should do something more productive with yourtime, go play a computer game or something. You are on thelosing end of a debate sorry.

            Anne

  2. hey a woman – show us verified examples where this happened – and need it verified by places not a anti lgbt hate group since we all know they lie to push their hate

    • A Woman, Period

      Examples of what? Men invading women’s privacy? It happens every time a crossdressing man demands the right to enter women’s space. But, check out the stories of Colleen Francis, Paula Whitherspoon (a convicted sex offender in Dallas), the Toronto rapist Christopher “Jessica” Hambrock… Women have a right to privacy and to feel comfortable and secure in the privacy of the women’s room. If someone can enter, and use the facility without causing a disturbance, fine. But that is not always the case, and simply demanding some imagined right to force yourself on women is bogus.

  3. Prosecute the predators if they’re out there, but you won’t find a transwoman among them. I’m a transwoman myself, and, when I go into the ladies’ room, I’m not there to prey on anyone, I’m there to USE THE RESTROOM! Nobody’s going to see whatever genitals I have because I’m in a stall like any other woman. And when I’m done, I wash my hands and leave. I’d like to do that without worrying about being called a pervert or worse…just like any other woman.

    • I am all for throwing them out if they don’t behave in the restroom, I’ve done it.
      You don’t act like a female you will have to deal with one of us who will see you to the door and loudly let everyone know you have the wrong equipment to be in there.

      Businesses cannot discriminate in California but the females of the world can take action. If they misbehave in the slightest embarrass them and send them packing.

      Anne

    • A Woman, Period

      Christopher “Jessica” Hambrock, a “transwoman” by the usual definition (he claims he is a woman) and a rapist. Or Paula Whitherspoon, a convicted sex offender who now claims to be a “transwoman.” If you can do it without causing a scene, go right ahead. But if your presence is going to be upsetting to women, and you still claim that right, in spite of their feelings, you aren’t, and you don’t belong. Not because of appearance, but because if you don’t care about the feelings of “other” women, you aren’t one.

  4. “No Republican in either the House of Delegates or state Senate voted for the bill, and for the most part labeled the bill the “Bathroom Bill.” ”

    Actually Senator Allan Kittleman(R), former Minority Leader in the Senate has been a staunch support of the Fairness for all Marylanders Act, he was even a co-sponsor of the bill.

    The Senate has 47 members and the House of Delegates 141.

    The measure passed 32-15 in the Senate (with Kittleman’s vote being the only Republican) however 4 Democrats still voted against it.

    In the House, there are 43 Republican, however there were 57 NAYs, which included 14 Democrats.

    This state is more Red than most give it credit for. A big shout out to Senator Rich Madaleno, who first introduced a trans bill as senator in 2007. While his was not the first incarnation of bills for the trans community, he did support the amending of HB235 to include public accomodations, something his current senate challenger, Dana Beyer did not. And as we all know, never has a state, when dealing with a trans only bill, ever gone back and added public accommodations only, when no other protected classes were included. (see Massachusetts).

    http://transmaryland.blogspot.com/p/gender-identity-legislation-in-maryland.html

  5. A Woman, Period and Anne; thank you for making it clear that the crucial factor is BEHAVIOR. “If someone can enter, and use the facility without causing a disturbance, fine” and, “I am all for throwing them out if they don’t behave in the restroom.” It’s good to know that trans people who don’t create a disturbance and do behave can use the restrooms. I have yet to meet a trans woman who has done anything but try to blend in and use the restroom quietly and peacefully. Admittedly I probably only know a hundred and fifty or so trans people so it is not “every” trans person. But from the sounds of it, as long as I obey laws and maintain decency I should be fine? Thanks!

    • Back in 2002 I was at a mall here in my town, I went to grab a drink at the juice bar but before hand I had to use the restroom. I went in and found some man dressed as a woman standing up while urinating. I pounded on the door to the stall and said we don’t need any men in here. I followed him out, he was dressed like a teenage rand by his look was obviously 50 or so years old.
      I followed him outside and said in a loud enough voice “we don’t need any men in the ladies room”. You should have seen the look on that person’s face.

      That behavior is unacceptable.

      Anne

    • A Woman, Period

      That is just reality. And if you have only met so-called ‘trans women” who only try to blend in, you haven’t met many at all. More than a few make no serious attempt to be accepted as simply women. In fact, what generally separates those who are often called “transsexual separatists” from “transgender” is the desire, or lack thereof, to be perceived as “just a woman.” Trust me, the ones who usually make the news are doing anything but trying to “blend in.”

      • I would agree with Anne that someone standing up to pee in the ladies room is asking for trouble. So both of you find this a lot? More than a few? not just every 12 years or so. What would you see as a policy solution? Should access be based on surgery or intent? Should it be based on how close someone is to a defined standard of appearance? Because that would still leave a couple of my cis friends in jeopardy. Or, and this sounds like what you are saying, if you create a disturbance by being there then you should get thrown out and confronted. What should be an acceptable yardstick for deciding who is acceptable? Because I am getting involved in discussing these sorts of policies and I can’t tell a university or a city that the policy should be based on a subjective standard. Is saying that use of facilities is based on “gender identity” too loose because there is no proof? Should you have to register with an agency? Or carry the note from a medical professional? Or have it stated on your driver’s license?

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