Today the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has been hearing testimony regarding Senate Bill 449, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, which would finally add gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination protections. Unfortunately, the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg was on hand to testify his belief that transgender people have a “disconnect with reality” and need counseling, not protection under the law:
SPRIGG: A person who believes they are, or wishes to be, the opposite sex from that which is written in the chromosomes of every cell of his or her body, is suffering from a disconnection with an immutable biological reality. The solution to this problem is not actions – up to and including self-mutilating surgery amputating healthy body parts – which will reinforce this disconnect with reality. The solution is compassionate counseling aimed at helping the individual to uncover the psychological roots of their gender identity problems, and to become comfortable with one’s actual biological sex.
I understand the motivation behind this bill – the sponsors are concerned about the pain in the lives of these individuals, and hope that this intervention will ease that pain.
While I share that motivation, I must oppose this bill because it will not work. This bill would force the state and private actors – employers, landlords, and others who provide public services – to officially and legally affirm the very delusion that puts these suffering individuals at odds with reality. Not only will it not make their lives better, but it will prevent them from getting the very help they do need to make their lives better.
Sprigg is making two very offensive points here; not only is he claiming that trans people are “suffering” from a mental illness, but he’s also saying that they deserve to be discriminated against as a result. Leave aside the fact that the psychology professionals recommend affirming trans people in their gender identity, FRC wants it to be legal to fire, deny housing, and deny basic services to transgender people, who are already quite vulnerable to such discrimination. Sprigg has previously called for criminal sanctions against homosexuality and the exportation of gays and lesbians. It’s such campaigns against basic humanity that warrant FRC’s designation as a “hate group.” (HT: Joe.My.God.)