Press Release from TransMaryland Concerning HB235
April 12, 2011
HB235, NCTE, ENDA, and the big Reveal
April 18, 2011

SEIU Political Director and Progressive Maryland Board Member Calls Trans People “Circus Freaks”

I’ve seen vitriol spewed in my decade or so of transactivism, but it’s usually spewed most venomously by the right wing. SEIU Political Director Mark McLaurin spewed this vitriolic chain of transphobic/mysogynistic/hateful comments on Dana Beyer’s Facebook page concerning TransMaryland/TransUnited/Out of state supporters of fixing or killing HB235.

“Ohhhhh so it wasn’t spineless lawmakers who killed the bill but rather your uncannily strategic merry band of out of state circus freaks who, heretofore havent been able to organize anything more complex than a Sunday brunch at the local Denny’s ????? Now THAT is funny !!!!! Looooooooool !!!!!”


“How dare you take credit for killing a bill many of us poured our blood, sweat and tears into- the trash u smell is coming out of your mouth, Einstein !!!”

Really, who cares who killed the bill? Instead of calling those who supported a STRONGER BILL “circus freaks”, a true advocate would try to build bridges at this time (not spewing this kind of hatred).  What does this ugly bickering accomplish? Push the two sides further apart?

Barbara Siperstein said it perfectly:

“I’m glad to see that you all work together and play nice! It’s a key to success!… Pardon my sarcasm, but no-one has any reason to celebrate until you pass fully inclusive legislation and that means working together.”

Marti Abernathey
Marti Abernathey
Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee.
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  • Michelle Gould

    Human identity is who we are not a government piece of paper. Freedom has become for the many and not like our forefathers for the land vested.

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  • Mark McLaurin was a Equality Maryland board member. That’s important to note because his attitude towards transgender advocacy mirrors that of Equality Maryland current leadership.

  • The Facts Matter

    It should be noted that Mr. McLaurin is no longer a board member of Equality Maryland.

  • Cathy, thank you for the comments. Essentially, it appears that support looks like trans folks being silent and quietly and unquestioningly accept the primacy of LG rights over trans rights.

    Now, identifying Mr Miller and Ms Jacobs as the real obstacle is correct. Wouldn’t it be lovely if that is where we could actually focus our attentions? History has a pesky way of informing trans people that the real obstacle is the second obstacle – because we have to first watch out for our LGB allies first. I know you want to discuss Maryland as if it exists without any context, but it doesn’t. As an advocate and a lawyer, you know full well how the politics and laws of one location influences the politics and laws of another. We cannot look at MD 2001-2011 without also noting a series of trends in passing legislation that has not been great for gays, but has been disastrous of trans people. Disastrous to the point that even if it ends up good for gay people, it’s running about 50% for trans people.

    I would counter by saying that support would be helping pass CUs in Delaware without having a single pice of trans legislation introduced there in over a decade (I think it’s more like 2 decades). With the knowledge that passing relationship recognition is the end of the line for large support from the LGB allied community of trans protections. Support is recognizing this as a simple fact and still supporting relationship recognition.

    In many places, the support that is asked or strongly implied of us is that we not be visible or visible as trans when we show up. So, we show up and say nothing about being trans. Later we hear about how the T doesn’t show up to support the “LGB”. Next time, we show up and let it be known we are trans and get ignored, sidelined, or hear abut “Queens and trannies confusing the message” later. In many cases, trans folks – let’s be honest: trans women – face a situation with openly and vocally supporting the LGB where our transness is invisible or distracting. It is a hard position to be in, yet we do it as best we can in the ways we can.

    To then ask that trans people not to recognize trends in being included in legislation and then not included – well, that just seems a little self-serving doesn’t it?

    “But go ahead – keep attacking gay allies. We MUST be the cause of all that is evil.”

    Cathy – history, trends, current cultural climate within the L/G (mostly G) populations doesn’t indicate that gay men and lesbians are particularly allied with trans people. What is the greater evil: unemployment for trans people or backroom deals in NH to pass gay marriage for a unanimous vote against GI protections?

    • Ugh. No. And I have repeatedly offered to talk to you or anyone else on the telephone, but none of you apparently have interest in that. But why let facts get in the way of your anger? Good luck with that.

      And you must be confusing me with someone else – I have always thought it more important to prioritze antidiscrimination protections for trans folx over marriage equality – despite the fact that many of you out of staters are giant assholes who do no good at all.

      If you want to talk, call – and feel free to give my # to anyone who wants it. I’m done with this comment thread.

  • Monicar62

    Cathy the Clueless,
    You may wish to ask the folks in Louisville about moi being part of a team in 2007 that successfully helped fight for GL employment coverage in the JCPS despite being majorly pissed we transpeeps got cut out of it.

    • That’s really nice for you Monica and the people of some school district?

      I wish you had been around in 2001. Instead, Alyson Meiselman and her merry band of – two? – violently opposed our legislation, even though it was her testimony in 1999 that helpd scare the members of the committee that stripped the bill.

      If I recall correctly, Ms. Meiselman lives in the wealthiest county in the state and is fully employed, and she opposed legislation that would (and has since) help literally thousands of underemployed gay and genderqueer (and trans people who are also gay or perceived as gay) people. That doesn’t offend any of you?

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  • Maddie

    I’d be willing to put our organizational skills to the test in helping him find a new job where he can shoot his mouth off all the wants and nobody will care.

  • And we support the cis LG why? How is it that, as a group, Gays DEMAND unwavering support, perfect apologies (K. Bryant anyone?), and an iron-gripped control over language – yet fail miserably to hold themselves, or their (our?) groups to the same standard?

    To be fair, I can understand being hurt and/or frustrated after this session. I can also understand feeling betrayed that members of the community that you feel like you were helping are angry. I get all that.

    • Bianca – I haven’t actually seen much support coming from many of you for gay folx. Sorry if I missed it.

      • Cathy, what does “support” look like to you? Honest question.

      • Kat

        “Sorry if I missed it. ”

        Given that there’s been plenty of it, your statement is hereby deemed to be an active apology.

        Get your head out of your ass and you’ll stop missing it.

        • Sitting behind a computer and offering “help” isn’t help.

          None of you have ever come to Maryland to help us with anything. I am serious – did I miss that? Unlike many of you, I am reality based, so my area of influence is Maryland.

          Monica? Have you done work in Maryland?



  • deb

    good thing Massa McLaurin needs the ‘negroes’ and ‘orientals’ (not to mention them crazy espanol-ites), or they’d be thrown under the bus as well. what a freakin’ himbot . maybe the day job oughta be with westboro baptist, marky mark?

    • Wow. This comment goes in the WTF box.

    • “Massa”??? seriously???! I have to agree with Cathy here – pretty damn racist. You may want to check that crap quickly.

  • Sharonlynnvn

    In this he also referred to us as “racist” due to a comment asking if he would like to live with “Jim Crow” style laws, and he also called us “Larochies”. One piece of filth from his mouth after another. Now this is a prime example of what Gay Inc, really thinks of us!

    • Kat

      Don’t you know that gays get to define everything for us?

      After all, according to Cathy Brennan, anyone who opposes any gay bill – even if the stated reason for opposing it is that it excludes trans people – is homophobic, but no gay who opposes trans-inclusion in gay bills can possibly by transphobic.

      …and in other news, Santa Claus is the Easter Bunny, therefore collectivelythey are a trans-friendly Winnie Stachelberg.

      • It’s so cute that you are in love with me Kat, but I’m happily coupled.

        Also, you are homophobic. I know plenty of folx who are trans who are not homophobic.

        • Kat

          “I’m happily coupled.

          Also, you are homophobic.”

          Who are you coupled with, Vizzini? There are so many words that you use that you clearly do not know the meanings of that you and he must burn dictionaries as foreplay.

          ” I have never opposed trans-inclusion in ‘gay bills.'”

          2001 scoreboard.

          • Oh Lord.

            Ok. Kat, I know that “a lady of your age” isn’t up on this thing the kids call “slang,” or perhaps it hasn’t reached, what is it… Iowa? Nevertheless, I choose my words carefully and intentionally as I don’t wish for you people (and by you people, I mean you crazy Internet people who do nothing but sit nehind computers) to bother my person with whom I am coupled. He/she/it is already irritated enough that I bother with this. In fact, she/he/it hates all of you.

            As for 2001, are you calling recognizing reality “opposing trans-inclusion in ‘gay bills’.”? That’s a fun take on reality. Here’s actutal reality – most trans folx in Maryland who worked that bill were 1. gay and 2. supportive. Why? Because we all recognize that bigots don’t make fine points of who we are when they discriminate. Rather, they call us all faggots.

            I’m beginning to think that this is what truly offends you – that someone might think you are gay rather than a woman. Be honest. Is that the problem?

          • Kat

            Is this therapy for you? Because it looks rather bizarre – and a little pathetic on the side.

  • This explains why I got only token support from my SEIU local when I was fired after I came out at Everett Washington’s Providence Medical Center. _Everyone_ knew I was being fired because I came out as transsexual, no matter what the Hospital claimed. But I could get no more than token support from my local for the trumped up reasons the Hospital gave.

    • I got the same when it came to my regional Lambda Legal when my job was on the line over at Metro Lift. They still won’t hire me back because they say that I “have too many complaints against me” on my record some of which are trans related.

    • Shannon Becker

      Perhaps I missed it, but the Maryland bill would have covered employment discrimination, but sadly it is dead and realistically likely to never return to a Senate or House floor in MD–WITH or WITHOUT public accommodations. Gay people take incremental victories that would help protect ourselves and our families from legal discrimination ie, domestic partnerships to civil unions, civil unions to marriage equality. This bill would’ve been a significant incremental victory, one which the legislative bigots wanted to give in lieu of not voting in favor of marriage equality. But the reality is a vocal minority helped kill the bill, that although had some flaws, would’ve helped a hell of a lot.

      • “one which the legislative bigots wanted to give in lieu of not voting in favor of marriage equality.”

        Are you claiming that the trans bill was used to kill the marriage bill?

        “Gay people take incremental victories that would help protect ourselves and our families from legal discrimination ie, domestic partnerships to civil unions, civil unions to marriage equality.”

        What, exactly, is the fundamental difference between a Civil Union and Marriage Equality aside from the words used? And in the immortal words or Morgan Menses-Sheets “Marriage or bust!”

        “But the reality is a vocal minority helped kill the bill, that although had some flaws, would’ve helped a hell of a lot. ”

        Minimize away… It’s kinda cute reading supporters acknowledge in the most incidental ways that the bill had a gigantic flaw… one that was obviously important enough in 2001 to include for sexual orientation.

        • No – I think Mark correctly states that the trans and transallied opponents of HB 235 cannot “organize Sunday brunches at crappy road-side diners.”

          HB 235 was killed because of Mike Miller.

          For the record, I would have supported civil unions and it burns me that the First State got that done.

          • Tom Lang

            Mark actually said, “Denny’s” which is where he should be working now after that whole outrageous diatribe.

          • This is a classist comment. There is nothing wrong with working at Denny’s.

            Also, I was quoting Biana.

          • Kat

            ‘There is nothing wrong with working at Denny’s.”

            Then I can presume that you will be trading your law license for an apron first thing on Monday morning?

            I didn’t think so.

          • Nothing you say makes sense, lady. But this takes the cake.

            I am pledging here and now not to comment back to you, on anything, and not to talk to any of you, in any format other than the telephone. If you or anyone else wants to get in touch and actually hash things out, email me at I will email my cell to any one of you who wants to chat – or even yell at me.

            None of this is productive. And none of this is activism.

            PS – I have noticed that you have attributed anonymous comments to me in other forums. Rest assured, I stand by my opinions and always sign them. But I am, as always, flattered that you appear to be in love with me.


          • Poitbrain

            “I am pledging here and now not to comment back to you, on anything, and not to talk to any of you,”



  • Anyone who calls Transfolk “circus freaks” … especially coming from, supposedly … the side of the fence where they reside, is a loose cannon of the worst kink. Make them into wurst.

    • He wrote that note in response to Tom Lang, a gay man. He calls right wing Republicans circus freaks as well.

      • Tom Lang

        Cathy, you know as well as I do that he was not referring to me specifically until later when he tried to cover his ass. That jerk was referring directly to those who virtually and physically presented to oppose HB 235. McLaurin is too smart of a guy to not understand why he should not have said what he did and therefore should not have said it in the first place.

        And as a reference, he tried to bow out and claim he was not speaking to appearance but later used references of “stilettos” to further degrade trans women. This sort of language, dialogue and denigrating attacks have no place in civilized conversation. McLaurin should be removed from any place of leadership he is in, immediately. And Cathy, please cut the spin, I deal with the radical right on a daily basis and your use of their tactics is truly unattractive.

        • Tom –

          Does it bother you, then, when folks like Katrina Rose use homophobic references when she disagrees with us? A serious question. I have never once seen you denounce this.

          I didn’t state that he was referring to you specifically. I stated that he said the circus freaks comment to refer to out of staters who messed up HB 235 – that includes you, I suppose.

          Here is the exchange:

          Tom Lang And I received an email today from a key sponsor of the Massachusetts Transgender Rights Bill and we were correct. MA legislators WERE watching the outcome of HB 235. I am GLAD that transgender and transsexual rights activist in AND outside of Maryland fought against a meritless Public Accommodations deficient bill.
          Thursday at 5:12pm · 5 people

          Loading…Mark McLaurin Ohhhhh so it wasn’t spineless lawmakers who killed the bill but rather your uncannily strategic merry band of out of state circus freaks who, heretofore havent been able to organize anything more complex than a Sunday brunch at the local Denny’s ????? Now THAT is funny !!!!! Looooooooool !!!!!
          Thursday at 5:17pm


          Not sure why having an opinion that differs than yours is “spin;” I assume people can read.

          PS – some of us think “cover your ass” is a homophobic thing to say, but I’m sure you didn’t mean it.

          • Tom Lang

            No Cathy, I do not see Kat’s comments as homophobic. I never have. I have seen Kat get banned from PHB by Autumn for saying that gays and lesbians wanted to screw the transgender community over (or something like that). Autumn called that homophobic, it may be painting too large a brush stroke but I do not see it as homophobic. McLaurin knew what he was saying, he is not that stupid . And if he is that stupid then he should not be in a leadership position either.

            And no “cover your ass” is not a homophobic comment either. But I did write above “brush ‘stroke'” maybe I over stepped the line.

            Like I said before, I deal with people like you on a daily basis and have since 2001 without pretty much of any break. But usually they are carrying “End Times” pamphlets not Equality Federation cards.

  • Kat

    Lets face it; the guy is just angling for a job as a diversity specialist some gay rights industry entity. I’m sure NGLTF needs another non-trans trans ‘expert.’

    The only question I have is one I posed on that Beyer thread: Is it McLaurin or McLovin?

    • Amen to that one Kat.

      • Markjason02

        Oink, Oink !!!! Thanks for the free publicity- of course SEIU is my day job and has nothing to do with my work as a volunteer on the trans bill but you’ve never let the truth stop you before so carry on with your efforts- you are having an AMAZING impact !!!! Keeeeeeee !!!!!

        • Yes, but off-duty performance by a person in authority can been seen very badly on an organization with a reputation to uphold. In addition, perception exists as there are common interests. SEIU is a labor union dedicated to job security and fairness for all workers. Those of us who support HB-235 with the public accommodations provisions in there are doing it to support job security and fairness for all. Supporting 235 without public accommodations excludes certain segments from enjoying the full benefits of employment protection. Think about it, if 235 passed without P/A, think of your transgender Union brothers and sisters at ATU, UTU and Teamsters who are still being denied using public restrooms when they are out for 8 to 10 hours a day with a bus. The transit analogy is one very important reason why you can’t have Employment without P/A. Think about the Verizon CWA telephone field techs who need to use remote restrooms. Think about the employees of any Union who need to use (and are encouraged to use) public transportation to get to work. They could be denied a ride without P/A. (and if you think there’s no discrimination in public transit, look at SEPTA’s pass policy) .. So yes, your views are perceived by myself and possibly others as reflecting the opinions of some but not necessarily the policy of SEIU 500. Michi Eyre (former CWA and Teamsters)

        • Kat

          “SEIU is my day job and has nothing to do with my work as a volunteer on the trans bill….”

          So if Jerry Falwell has moonlighted as a rentboy, that would have balanced out his work in promoting an exterminationist political agenda?

          I’m glad my union isn’t SEIU.

        • and you just keep on making these impacts Mark… with “allies” like you making piggy noises I can’t imagine why there are problems between trans people and the GLB movement. But no, by all means keep it up.

        • Kathleen

          And thank you for the object lesson in effective organizing and community building. I’m not sure which is more inspiring; your legislative successes this year or your ability to engage communities that are the subjects of legislation to garner support for your view of what they should accept in their lives.

          What is it you do for a living again?

          Regardless – if you believe that Transgender opponents of this legislation paid a key role in scuttling its passage – they were effective. Unless you think your union opposing legislation that may have some favorable components but is strategically harmful is losing. Which would be an interesting position to take.

          Either way – congrats on setting the stage for the next effort. I look forward to hearing your quote used by opponents – brilliant planning!

    • Sharonlynnvn

      Mclaurin is the pig!

    • Example of homophobia right above there!

      • Kat

        Hmmmm…let me review that “Example of homophobia”:

        “Lets face it; the guy is just angling for a job as a diversity specialist some gay rights industry entity. I’m sure NGLTF needs another non-trans trans ‘expert.’

        The only question I have is one I posed on that Beyer thread: Is it McLaurin or McLovin?”

        What exactly are you on?

        Acid? Mushrooms? X?

        Whatever it is, I sugest that you have your next batch stepped on – perhaps more than once – because, whatever it is, you’re clealy overdoing it.