Yesterday, the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a public hearing on the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (H.B. 235), which would “prohibit discrimination against transgender Marylanders in employment, housing and credit.” The measure passed the House of Delegates 86-52 last month and was recently revived in the Senate. A final vote could occur as early as this afternoon.
Opposition to the bill was divided, with some in the transgender community speaking out against the measure for not providing protections for public accommodations, while others contested that the bill would endanger Maryland’s children. Below is a compilation of the most offensive remarks:
– “My brother dressed up as a woman for Halloween… but he never became a homosexual. But if he became a homosexual, he couldn’t even be in our family, transgender, whatever.”
– “You’re looking at transgender teachers and you’re looking at an agenda that is rolling out into the school systems that seeks to affirm transgenderism as normal and positive. Children will be encouraged to cross dress.”
– “Children will then have to defend their birth femininity, or masculinity and they will be discriminated against if they attempt to be the boy or the girl they were born to be.”
– “If you vote yes on this bill, it will be abundantly clear to everyone of your constituents, that you do not care about the children of Maryland and you do not care about the children — our youngest most vulnerable and defenseless citizens who also have rights.”
Listen to a compilation:
A slate of recent studies have found that hate filled rhetoric contributes to a stigma that affects the health of the LGBT community. A 2010 study by the Movement Advancement Project already confirmed that LGBT elders have higher rates of poverty, homelessness, and depression due to the inequities of marriage inequality, sexism, and a lifetime of stigma. Transgender individuals experience “Injustice at Every Turn,” facing high rates of poverty, unemployment, housing discrimination, homelessness, discrimination in healthcare, harassment by law enforcement, and attempting suicide at 25 times the rate of the general population. Meanwhile, data from a survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality has concluded that 97 percent of transgendered individuals report being mistreated or harassed at work and 47 percent lost their jobs or were denied a promotion or denied a job as a direct result of being a transgender individual.
As Delegate Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk (D), the lead sponsor of the legislation, concluded, “what you heard today from the opponents is the reason we need this bill.”