Washington Post Gets in the Act of Being Scrivener for ‘Equality’ Maryland’s Trans-Othering Narrative of Deception
April 8, 2011
Do Not Blame Trans People For The Fact That, At Midnight, Maryland Will Have No Statewide Trans Protections
April 11, 2011

Trading Away Public Accommodations in Maryland

There’s bickering over at Pam’s House Blend about a statement made by Jenna Fischetti in her public testimony to the Senate in Maryland. She said

“Never in the history of transgender-specific legislation has any state gone back and added a public accommodation only provision when there is already an existing law,”

in the argument over the truthfulness of Fischetti’s statement, a very important point gets lost.  Sandeen states:

“Well, I am sorry I got the facts wrong. And I do, without reservation, apologize to you for getting what you said at the hearing — or actually attributing something to you in your testimony that you didn’t actually say — wrong. You deserved better than that…I have your number, and I should have called to verify what you said first. That was a fail on my part, and I have no excuse for doing that to you.

At the same time, I make no apology for the headline for the piece. You did make a false statement about the short history of trans legislation in the U.S. to Metro Weekly — I don’t want that kind of statement you made to Metro Weekly repeated as fact when it isn’t fact.

And by the way, even if it were a factual statement you made to Metro Weekly, it wouldn’t have to remain true. We can empower ourselves to change the world in ways that it hasn’t been changed before if we set our minds to it. We, as a community, have more power than we’ve allowed ourselves to believe we have. We aren’t as limited as we’ve acted like we are.”

But what about the political realities on the ground in Maryland? You can bicker about the minute details of Fischetti’s statement, but you can’t compare the political landscape in Maryland to that of the landscape in California. Sandeen’s comment points to an “empowering” statement  of hope. Fischetti’s statement is one of political history and pragmatism.  I agree with Sandeen that the community has more power than we believe. That doesn’t make Fischetti’s statement any less true. For all practical purposes if HB235 becomes law, public accommodations legislation will become unattainable for trans people for the foreseeable future in Maryland.

While I agree with Sandeen that the community has more power than they know, I think she puts her hope in the larger LGBT community than I. Repeatedly the L&G leadership has shown that we are not equals (New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, etc). For us to have any power, we will need to forge our own organizations with our own money and advocate on our own terms. Until  then we’ll continue to be second class citizens with second class equality. HB235 is “penny wise, pound foolish.”

3 Comments

  1. Babsc says:

    What is the problem in New Jersey? We have whatever gays and lesbians have in civil rights. we did employment, housing and PA in 2005 and hate crimes in 2006 and anti-bullying has always had GI/E since first law in 2002.

  2. If/when we do have a Trans organisation… may I make 2 suggestions.

    1. Reach out to Intersexed people too. While some have no commonality with us (or rather, you, since technically I’m IS ), others (like me) do.

    2. I’ll be dreadfully disappointed if the group’s leaders are 100% melanin-free. Trans women of color have been persistently denied appropriate representation. They make up the bulk of victims of violence, and other persecution too.

  3. And yet, the still greater narrative is missed.

    The statement, vetted twice over the last month, is in fact 100% accurate.

    Not once in the history of transgender specific civil rights has a state enacted protections for public accommodations only, once a prior law was in place.

    Two states have added public accommodations, one with and one without housing , but both covered more classes than just gender identity. Those state, California AND Colorado also redefined current class definitions to include protections. Such as Colorado defining sexual orientation to include transsexualism. Hardly a transgender specific bill. California defining sex to include gender. Again, not a transgender specific bill.

    So the “sell” we are being offered in Maryland is, “buy” HB235 with employment , housing and credit” and we’ll upgrade you for free with public accommodations*

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