I was pretty excited for my Transgender neighbors and friends just to the north in Maryland. It actually looks like they might become protected from most forms of discrimination.
It burst my bubble when I realized Maryland HB 235 does not contain the words non-discrimination in the access to Public Accommodations.
Here is how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines Public Accommodations:
A public accommodation is a private entity that owns, operates, leases, or leases to, a place of public accommodation. Places of public accommodation include a wide range of entities, such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors' offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers. Private clubs and religious organizations are exempt from the ADA's title III requirements for public accommodations.
Kind of limits the scope of this non-discrimination law, doesn't it?
You might find it interesting that there is a marriage equality bill in front of both house of the Maryland Legislature - The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB116/HB175).
Why would you want to know this?
It seems ironic that a same sex marriage equality bill and a watered-down Transgender non-discrimination bill have been introduced. The last time a gender identity inclusive non-discrimination bill was introduced in Maryland gender identity was used as a bargaining chip to try and get the bill passed, which never happened. Yep, your Maryland Trans siblings were thrown under the bus back then.
Is the same thing happening now? Has this so-called non-discrimination bill been so watered down to make it easer for it to pass along with the same-sex marriage equality bill?
Think about it. If you are an assimilated white gay man or lesbian, the odds are you can shop, eat, drink, or stay wherever you chose. The same does not apply to Trans people.
For God's sake, we cannot even pee in peace without the fear of discrimination.
Now, some say, "This bill is better than nothing. You Trans folks should take this and try and get more rights later." Of course, what they failed to say is, "Once we have marriage equality and other equal protection we might come back for you." Yeah, sure, the check is in the mail!
From this writer’s perspective, it sure smells like back-room political shenanigans in Annapolis and playing with our lives.
Human Relations - Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity - Antidiscrimination
Friday, February 18, 2011
Posted by De Sube at 2/18/2011 02:41:00 PM