News with a T

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has called for more to be done to provide for greater protections for transpeople in his state.  This comes in the wake of the brutal attack of Crissy Lee Polis by Teonna Monae Brown and a juvenile accomplice and the subsequent filing of hate crimes charges.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons. We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

–Martin O’Malley

Brown’s attorney claims her actions were in self-defense and that she is really a “nice young woman”.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons,” O’Malley said. “We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

There is an accompanying video reporting on the hate crime charges but embedding has been disabled.  The video features Lynne Bowman of Equality Maryland.

In Washington, DC the Anti-Defamation League welcomed the addition of the charges.

We applaud the hard work and vigilance of law enforcement and prosecutors in this case.  The addition of a hate crime charge sends a forceful message that assaults against any individual, simply for being who they are, will not be tolerated and that those who commit them will face serious consequences.

Perpetrators of hate crimes send a message to their victims – and everyone else who shares the victim’s characteristics – that they are not welcome or safe.  The Anti-Defamation League wants the transgendered community, and all communities targeted by acts of bias motivated violence and harassment, to know that we will stand with them in the fight against hate crimes.

–Sophie Dornstreich, ADL Assistant Regional Director

Meanwhile nine HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities came together on on the Spelman College campus in Atlanta to exclusively talk about LGBT issues on their campuses.  The conference was entitled “Facilitating Campus Climates of Pluralism, Inclusivity, and Progressive Change at HBCUs”.

Other HBCUs participating were Morehouse College, Bennett College for Women, Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, Southern University, North Carolina Central University, Philander Smith College and Morgan State University. Funding for the project came from the Arcus Foundation and ends this year.  Future funding will be sought from the United Negro College Fund and the Human Rights Campaign.

Every HBCU will receive a 300-page packet of recommendations following the summit promoting course offerings, staff training and campus activities. I do hope this will further conversations on campuses about being black and gay. This was long overdue.

–Lenox Magee

In California the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 877) passed the Assembly with bipartisan support, 54-24.  Among other things, the bill would state that anywhere “gender” or “sex” occur in the state legal codes, those words shall be interpreted to include “gender identity” and “gender expression”.  The bill now moves to the Senate.

Employment protection for transfolk passed the Nevada Sentate, 11-10.  Democrat John Lee (North Las Vegas) again voted against us, but we piucked up Republican Ben Kieckhefer (Reno).  Since there was an amendment, the bill goes back to the Assembly before going to Governor Brian Sandoval.

Should it pass the Assembly again and be signed by Gov. Sandoval, Nevada would become the 14th state offering employment protections for transpeople.  The Assembly is also considering two bills that originated in the Senate offering protections to transpeople in public accommodations and in housing.  Passage is expected for both.

Hate crimes protection was voted down in the Senate thanks to Senator Lee.

Meanwhile Maine is also considering the discrimination against transpeople, but in this case the movement is in favor of the discrimination, with a piece of legislation that singles out transpeople as its target.  LD 1046 states:

It is not unlawful public accommodations discrimination, in violation of this Act, for a public or private entity to restrict rest room or shower facilities that are part of a public accommodation to the use of singlesex facilities to members of a biological sex regardless of sexual orientation. Unless otherwise indicated, a rest room or shower facility designated for one biological sex is presumed to be restricted to that biological sex.

The definition of “biological sex” in this context is unclear, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be painless.

Reverend Dr. William M Barber of St. Ansgar Evangelical Lutheran Church writes in opposition to the act.

This hateful, fear-mongering measure seeks to take from transgender individuals protections that are currently included in Maine’s human rights statutes. This legislation unfairly singles out one group of individuals for discrimination.

People claiming to be Christians have no basis in sacred Scripture for using religion to discriminate against transgender individuals. In Genesis, for example, we read that God created human beings in God’s own image, “male and female.” Scripture refers to God as “Father,” and again as “Mother.” Jesus himself laments over Jerusalem and states that he longs to gather God’s people like a “mother hen.” God is heard in the wind and seen in fire, two natural phenomena with no gender!

In addition to being a Lutheran pastor, I am a clinical psychologist. I have spent much of my professional life working with transgender people, who, like all of us, seek integrity and wholeness in their lives. They are among the most insightful and inspiring people I have ever met.

And lastly transgender equality issues were even discussed on Capitol Hill in DC in a program sponsored by the Congressional LGBT Caucus.

Speakers at the briefing were Mara Keisling, NCTE executive director; Stacey Long, federal legislative director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Lisa Mottet, Transgender Civil Rights Project director at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Jack Harrison, policy analyst, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Owen Smith, a Maryland resident who experienced housing and employment discrimination on the basis of his gender identity.  There is no word on how many congresspersons actually attended.

And in the same frame of reference, Hobby Lobby is being sued in Illinois for refusing a transwoman the use of the women’s restroom while she was at work.


    • Robyn on May 18, 2011 at 01:01
  1. my friend’s fiance, who is transgendered.  She is working with me on it, so it will not blindside her.  She wants her story to be told.  I think that it will be different perspective, since I am not transgendered, but certainly have compassion for those who are and who have had to endure abuse.  Please watch for it, probably in a couple of weeks, because I want her to sign off on the final draft, and she and my friend to not visit my friend’s mother except about once a week.

    Warmest regards,


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