RAW DEALS

Why Doesn’t MA’s Trans Rights Bill Protect Trans People From Public Discrimination?

On Tuesday, a Joint Judiciary Committee in the Massachusetts legislature advanced a six-year-old bill that would include trans people as a “protected class” in the state’s hate crime laws, prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in jobs, housing, insurance, mortgage loans and credit—that’s good, right?

Well… the bill also shares a big flaw with a similar trans rights measure that died in Maryland just this last April—it doesn’t guarantee trans people the right to recieve proper “public accommodations” in hospitals, bathrooms gyms, restaurants, hotels or public transit.

The bill’s sponsors dropped public accommodation protections to garner Republican support for the bill—because letting trans people use public restroom will endanger daughters and wives, naturally. Jennifer Levi, director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ Transgender Rights Project says that the bill is at least a good start that takes political reality into account while laying the groundwork for public accommodation inclusion later on. But trans blogger Monica Roberts has called the bill an “unjust… civil rights malpractice”:

When will you white trans activists get it through your thick fracking heads that taking public accommodations out of a civil rights bill or settling so you can get a legislative win is NEVER a fracking option?…

I know it’s a pain in the rear to get comprehensive trans rights laws passed in the first place.  That’s why it’s even more important you get it right the first time and don’t do it half assed.  

And once again who will pay for your lack of civil rights vision?… POC (people of color) and low income transpeople in Massachusetts.”

Roberts argues that without laws expressly forbidding trans discrimination in public places, we’ll get more McDonald’s bathroom beatdowns like the one inflicted on Crissy Polis. Polis was a white trans person and a public accommodations law probably wouldn’t have stopped her attackers from stomping and dragging her by her hair across the Mickey D’s floor, but whatever.

Roberts at least raises one particularly powerful point: if cisgendered Massachusetts politicians wouldn’t accept a civil rights bill that denied them public access to bathrooms, transportation and hospitals, why should trans citizens?

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99 Comments

  • Henry

    I get suspicious when trans bloggers talk about color. I have never met a transsexual who isn’t very very European in his or her thinking.

  • No One

    Why doesn’t MA’s trans rights bill protect trans people in public accommodations?

    Because the LGBT orgs sponsoring the bill don’t care. They didn’t care when they passed the first bill protecting sexual orientation in 1989 and they don’t care now. No LGBT org was dissatisfied with passing off that incomplete bill in Maryland as “equality” either. Few, if anyone, on any LGBT site will criticize this move and the orgs know they can get away with it. Any criticism is likely to come from more politically-active or intersectionally-oppressed members of the trans community, and when the vocal majority of LGBs and their public icons still are under the impression they can debate the offensiveness of “tranny”, who is going to give a shit what the trans community thinks? They probably have as few trans staffers as possible to avoid diversity in strategy or critique of this move as well.

    Massachusetts is home to Elizabeth Hungerford and Sue Hyde–google their names with the word “trans” if you’re clueless (or read E.H.’s blog: http://undercoverpunk.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/massachusetts-trans-bill-action-alert/). Based on the history of the LGBT movement, I think the question could more aptly be worded: why would anyone expect a trans bill to be anything more than table scraps?

    LGBT groups have a history of putting trans rights in the margins. It’s been that way since Stonewall. Trans rights only come up when it looks like the trannies are getting restless and might glitter someone–or worse–learn their history and organize independently again, thus robbing the LGBT movement of its most critical violent crime statistics and bargaining chip.

    Why doesn’t MA’s trans rights bill protect trans people in public accommodations?

    Because equality is a joke.

  • JayKay

    @No One:

    Oh do kindly fuck right off.

    Gays have our own fights going on. We don’t have the time or the money to spare to fight your fights too, and we certainly don’t have any obligation to do so.

  • No One

    @JayKay:

    No shit and likewise from us to marriage. I would like nothing more than all of your gay fingers to find their way out of the trans civil rights pie. Please write to your local LGBT orgs and demand that they stop appropriating trans political struggles. “LGBT” is one of the most useless things the trans community ever consented to.

  • Dan

    @ No One

    Since trans people are still considered their birth gender for purposes of marriage in most nations, even after they transition, most trans people need marriage equality as much as gay people, so obviously you are just a poser and not really trans at all or you’d already know that basic fact. Go troll elsewhere.

  • Cathy Brennan

    The GLBT community can continue to deny that there is a REAL ISSUE with regard to allowing male-bodied people in female-only space, or it can actually try to address it in a meaningful, nuanced way. Are you seriously suggesting that two lesbians – one of whom is a feminist champion, the other a shill for the GLBT movement – are to blame for the lack of public accommodations protection?

    Please. Public accommodations was removed because it is an issue. DEAL WITH IT.

  • The Plain Truth

    Because females don’t want men waving their dicks around the women’s locker room. Get over it. Start a true equality movement where men can shower with other dudes even if they like wearing dresses. Don’t think us women are going to take care of you and let you use our female spaces. Cause we aint your momma and we aint having it. If you have a dick- use the men’s facilities. Have all the gender bending you want but keep your dick in the men’s rooms.

  • Henry

    @The Plain Truth: But I bet more than a few men wouldn’t mind mtf transsexuals (with dicks) waving theirs around the men’s locker room.

  • missanthrope

    @Cathy Brennan:

    lolz, your a transphobe and a anti-woman activist who seeks to divide women’s communities for your ideological anti-trans radfem agenda. It’s not 1985 anymore, your divisive politics are not wanted in feminist movements anymore.

  • Cathy Brennan

    @misanthrope – and you cannot spell. And, I suspect, you aren’t female. Slainte.

  • Henry

    @Cathy Brennan: no, he’s not. Charles Rozier is all male. That’s why his nipples got hard when I told him how much I really, realllly wanted to go the whole way with him.

  • o

    I think missanthrope is the sort of person who likes transwomen (because he is one – well, he hasn’t had the hormones, and he hasn’t gone through surgery, but let’s ignore those little details) and hates ciswomen.

  • Mark

    This makes no sense. The Massachusetts Senate is made up of 36 Democrats and 4 Republicans and the House has 128 Democrats and 32 Republicans (not to mention the fact that the governor is a Liberal Democrat). Why on earth would they need to gain any Republican support? Either Queerty got that wrong or for some reason there are a ton of Democrats not supporting this (which is unlikely).

  • Zoe Brain

    Mark:

    “Either Queerty got that wrong or for some reason there are a ton of Democrats not supporting this (which is unlikely).”

    Er- no. Not unlikely at all. Latest news is that it appears the bill may not pass in the house, there’s a lot of opposition to it, even without Public Accommodations.

    Don’t you get it? Brennan, Hungerford and other transphobic GLB powerbrokers have influence in Mass. GLBs here on this site have said, and I quote,

    Oh do kindly fuck right off.

    Gays have our own fights going on. We don’t have the time or the money to spare to fight your fights too, and we certainly don’t have any obligation to do so.

    It’s not that they don’t support it; they’re against it. Brennan and Hungerford even wrote a submission to the UN calling for the repeal of existing laws protecting trans people. With so much opposition from segments of the GLB movement, why the heck should Democrats stick their necks out to vote for something many of their supporters are against – and have been since 1989, that’s 22 years that T’s have been denied the same rights GLBs have had?

    Why do you think it’s been 22 years? Why do you think it’s taken 6 years to even get it out of committee?

  • Michael Leuchtenburg

    Wow, there sure is a lot of trans hate tolerated in the comments here. Clean it up, please!

  • Nancy Nangeroni

    I can’t take the time to read all this right now, but here’s what really happened:

    We did not drop PA in order to “get Republican Support”. We did not drop PA at all.

    However, our allies in the State House informed us that the bill as written was dead, and that the only bill that could pass this session was a bill without PA. We pushed back, HARD. But in the end, it was take what we could get, or nothing at all for at least several years. Faced with that choice, we told them to get what they could for us. Which our Steering Committee unanimously decided was the better of two bad choices.

    We have commitments from our allies to keep fighting until we also get PA coverage. In the meantime, what happened to Chanelle Pickett, a black transwoman, is less likely to happen again. She was forced out of her job after someone outed her to her supervisor; unable to find work, she slid into a risky lifestyle and, especially vulnerable as a trans woman of color, was murdered by a known tranny chaser. Because he was white and she was black and trans, he got off with 2 years for A&B. That is real racism at work, and that is where our attention needs to be focused, not against one another.

    I share your frustration that we had to accept this incomplete protection. But the real story here is about an opposition well-funded from out of state, that made it impossible to pass a bill that included public accommodations.

    Moving forward, we will do our best to come up with a strategy to fight this pernicious force of ignorance and irresponsibility. In the meantime, it would be nice not to be torn down by other members of our community for not having the magic ability to pass a law against powerful opposition.

    Nancy Nangeroni
    Chair, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

  • Cathy Brennan

    Zoe, you are a liar. I supported HB 235 in Maryland, which any idiot with Internet access can look up.

  • Jane

    @Nancy Nangeroni: Thank you for taking the time to write this reply.

  • Kev C

    @Nancy Nangeroni: Why do you call them “allies”? Isn’t the proper term of those who folded under the slightest political pressure and cowtowed to the MFI “enemies”?

  • Michi Eyre

    The bigger problem is the self-identification aspect of gender identity and gender expression. There is still no third-party confirmation (medical diagnosis) of the transsexual medical condition.

    I feel that there would be a little more ease on this if there was medical condition language in the bill and “gender expression” is taken out for *sex segregated* P/A.

    Like with Maryland’s HB-235, I am concerned with the fact that non-sex segregated/non-controversial public accommodations are also not protected. Activities such as going to the grocery store, riding the bus or even staying at a Motel 6 would not be protected.

    It’s time for the GLBT mainstream organizations (what some call “Gay Inc.”) to finally recognize the transsexual medical condition and realize that sex segregation is a medical issue and not a social issue and should be legislated as such.

    I am willing to live with a medical diagnosis requirement for protections in sex-segregated public accommodations and employment protections in the workplace.

  • HippyDippy

    @Dan: How quaint of you. Did you intentionally mean to imply that most trans people identify as straight after they transition?

  • missanthrope

    @Michi Eyre:

    “am willing to live with a medical diagnosis requirement for protections in sex-segregated public accommodations and employment protections in the workplace.”

    I am not. I don’t need doctors to tell me that I’m worthy of the rights that everyone else has and I’m not going to ask anyone else to degrade themselves to the level of seeking a doctor’s permission slip to go to the correct bathroom or access a public accommodations. There is absolutely no logical argument to demand that and conservatives who argue otherwise have no leg to stand on except for scare-mongering about non-existent cross-dressing rapists.

    It’s demeaning and beyond contempt for trans people or anyone else to be asked to submit to that kind of stipulation.

    A trans-specific public accommodations law was just passed Nevada this spring without any stipulations or compromises. If we can do it in a tea-party state like Nevada, you certainly can do it in Massachusetts.

  • Cathy Brennan

    Nevada also legalizes prostitution. I suspect people might pay more attention to nuances like protections for females on the East Coast.

  • Kate LBT

    With hard right-wing forces like Focus on the Family joining with left-wing transphobes like Brennan, no wonder we can’t get any political traction to resolve the gross civil rights injustices continually perpetuated on trans people, or the war of genocide against trans women of color.

  • The Plain Truth

    The fact that women don’t want to look at your dick is not an act of genocide.

  • Cathy Brennan

    You say transphobia. We say misogyny. It’s more constructive perhaps to listen to female concerns and address them. We proposed a narrower definition of gender identity to address this. If your response is to run roughshod over females, we will fight back.

  • Kate LBT

    @Cathy Brennan: Valid ones, or “concerns” based solely out of a miserable, selfish demand from all cissexuals (because you are cissexual; we are BOTH female) that people not inconvenience you with complexity?

    And now you have won a bill that allows you to hound trans people out of businesses, bus stations, restaurants, hospitals, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and yes, restrooms. Well done, bigots. Well done.

    Our blood is on your hands.

  • Cathy Brennan

    It seems the new Massachusetts bill has this definition of “gender identity”: “Gender identity” shall mean a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth. Gender-related identity may be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, as part of a person’s core identity; provided however, gender-related identity shall not be asserted for any improper purpose.

  • Cathy Brennan

    Kate – you say Valid ones, or “concerns” based solely out of a miserable, selfish demand from all cissexuals (because you are cissexual; we are BOTH female) that people not inconvenience you with complexity?

    ARE YOU KIDDING? SERIOUSLY? YOU DO REALIZE THAT THE WORLD DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND YOUUUUU RIGHT?

    Legislation is about compromise. Females have a RIGHT to be free from male-bodied people in female space. Compromise requires concession – we have proposed a definition of gender identity that would provide transwomen a means to claim protection from a denial of access into female space upon demonstration that they fit the criteria. This LIMITS the number of people who can claim this protection to ACTUAL TRANS PEOPLE. If you are an ACTUAL TRANS PERSON, I fail to see your beef with me.

    You also say: And now you have won a bill that allows you to hound trans people out of businesses, bus stations, restaurants, hospitals, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and yes, restrooms. Well done, bigots. Well done.

    Our blood is on your hands.

    UM, SURE. OK.

    Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you want to continue this. Oh, but before you do, try READING and also try THINKING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.

  • Dylan

    I volunteered for a couple days with MassEquality in August and September. When they said we would be working on passing this bill, I was a little nervous about what kind of reactions we would get…I myself am gay, and was expecting to be working more on gay rights than trans.

    In August we went to Harvard, and walked up to random people in an attempt to recruit volunteers for canvasing and phone banks. We had a few people sign up, but I don’t think any of them actually came. On the bright side however, almost everyone was supportive; they said that they did feel that the discrimination was wrong, but they didn’t have the time to volunteer. It was a college campus, though; so I suppose the people around there would be a little more liberal.

    I went back to volunteer again with MassEquality in September, this time canvasing door to door in a smaller town just outside of Boston. There were a lot more older people, seemingly more conservative, so I was a bit nervous…but overall, they were all very supportive and happy to sign letters to send to their representatives.

    Since, then I’ve been really looking forward to how the voting on this bill ends up. I had a good experience with reactions from various people, but unfortunately, not everyone is able to be so open-minded. But I’m still hoping something will pass, as any ban on discrimination is a great thing in my eyes.

  • Joann Prinzivalli

    @Cathy Brennan:

    Public accommodations is a lot more than bathrooms, Cathy, as you well know. The lack of coverage means that trans people in Massachusetts can be legally denied service at restaurants, hotels and other public accommodations. (Not to mention being denied access to *any* public restroom, regardless of the sex designation on the door.) While it is flawed and classist (poor trans people have less access to and ability to obtain the right kind of identity papers), the “Connecticut Compromise” could have been better than no coverage at all, even though the jury is still out as to how that law is working in Connecticut. I was actually under the impression that you might begrudgingly support such a compromise approach, based on a footnote to your letter to that U.N. agency.

  • Kate LBT

    It’s always “legitimate concerns” when you want an excuse to push people into the shadows.

  • Kate LBT

    @Cathy Brennan: Before I even think about emailing you, because I do not particularly enjoy ramming my head into a brick wall, answer this:

    What is a point where “concerns” about trans people become invalid? A point where trans people’s right to go about our business unmolested trumps the desire of cissexuals to molest us?

  • Cathy Brennan

    I have never stated trans concerns are invalid. Some trans activists have, however, violently and repeatedly stated that female-specific concerns are invalid. That’s bogus.

    I support the Massachusetts definition of gender identity as a reasonable compromise to ensure that nontrans people cannot take advantage of an overbroad definition of gender identity (that is, the first sentence in the definition above) that would allow said nontrans people unfettered access into female-only space.

    I hope the Maryland General Assembly can pass a comprehensive gender identity anti-discrimination bill in 2012 (including public accommodations) that has a definition similar to this. Joann, I don’t know you, so I have no idea why you would think you’d be able to say what I do and do not support (since you, among many others seem unwilling to read words put on paper).

    And, seriously, you can keep talking about how Cathy Brennan is oppressing you, or you can actually listen to the concerns raised by folx and try to address them in a way that involves more than just labelling them a bigot – because people aren’t buying what you are selling.

    See also http://undercoverpunk.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/why-i-support-the-trans-bill-in-massachusetts/

    Oh, and congratulations to Massachusetts folx on their victory!

  • o

    Why does missanthrope want to get into a woman’s restroom anyway, when he has male genitals? …Oh. OH. That’s why.

  • missanthrope

    @Cathy Brennan: @Cathy Brennan:

    What, like representing all sex workers as helpless victim who to be “protected” through having their honest work being criminalized anti-women crusaders like you and the American Family Association.

    The you lost the feminist sex wars. You’re a talented legal mind and your skills should be put forward to non-classist dogmatic agenda that criminalizes honest sex work. Your anti-sex agenda is in ruins. Move on.

  • Henry

    @missanthrope: Rachel’s dead, Charles. You can’t play daddy to every adult woman you meet, so instead of talking down to her, you should bow your head and listen to what a real woman has to say.

  • Cathy Brennan

    And @missanthrope demonstrates that it’s all about the porn for “her.” Enjoy your porn!

  • KristyButterflyHugs

    @Cathy Brennan *cough*JaniceRaymond*cough* and all the other bigots:

    This is me: http://i40.tinypic.com/3162mia.png

    Do you really think I should be made to use a men’s restroom? Will that really protect ME at all?

  • Cathy Brennan

    I wouldn’t click on your link, but if you fit into the definition passed today in Massachusetts, I support that for public accommodations. But – and here’s the thing – LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE OPINIONS ON THIS AND ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE NEED TO COME TOGETHER TO MAKE LAW.

    The self-absorption, it burns. I don’t care how you or anyone else in Internets land identifies. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU SPECIFICALLY.

    Got that? Ok? I am sure you are a lovely person.

  • o

    @Henry: I think it’s significant that Charles Rozier treats every adult women he meets like a child. That reminds me of how badly he treated you because he thought you were black.

  • KristyButterflyHugs

    “ITS NOT ABOUT YOU SPECIFICALLY…I JUST HATE PEOPLE LIKE YOU”

    Yea, I got that.

  • Kate LBT

    It pretty much says everything that needs to be said that Brennan thinks wanting full legal equality constitutes self-absorption. I don’t know, I think it’s pretty self-absorbed to want to deliberately maintain an underclass for the sake of your own emotional comfort.

    I am a REAL TRANS WOMAN (caps Brennan’s), i.e. binary-identified, surgery-tracked, et cetera, I can provide the documentation demanded by Connecticut, though I feel that the demand to do so is inherently demeaning. My “dog” in this fight is NOT myself but others; I intend to fight for those who cannot access the mechanism of full legal and physical transition, particularly because of class issues and lack of money. For those who believe that the benefits of surgery do not outweigh its not inconsiderable risks (we are talking about *major genital surgery,* which has both extensive recovery time and serious potential complications). It is a valid decision to not want to have extensive surgery but to still want to access the full panoply of civil rights.

  • John Wesley

    Kate, why is the “G” missing from your name? Are you anti-gay?

  • The Plain Truth

    @KateBLT- that definition has nothing to do with surgery. Stop making things up.

  • Kate LBT

    @John Wesley: Because “LBT” are my middle and last initials ;) Also because I am a Lesbian, who sometimes identifies as Bisexual, who happens to be Transgender.

  • Cathy Brennan

    That definition says nothing about surgery. Please read.

    Also, life is unfair.

  • Cathy Brennan

    Also, posting a photo of yourself in a comment thread constitutes self-absorption. Like, by definition, I think.

  • KristyButterflyHugs

    Next time a bigoted radical feminist starts ranting about the patriarchy I’m going to respond “Sorry, life is unfair.”

  • Cathy Brennan

    And she would say “no shit.”

    You want to the right to have unfettered access to female-only space. Many females don’t want this. It’s not a matter of bigotry. It’s a matter of we deserve space. The Massachusetts language strikes me as a reasonable compromise. Yanno, compromise?

    Also, I am amused to know end to be described as a radical feminist. Thanks!

  • The Plain Truth

    lol lets all do some “ButterflyHugs”:

    “The Butterfly Hug (BH) is a Dual Attention Stimulation (DAS) that consists of crossing your arms over your chest, so that the middle finger from each hand will be placed below the collarbone and the rest of the fingers and hand will cover the area that is located under the connection between the collarbone and the shoulder and the collarbone and sternum or breastbone. Hand and fingers must be as vertical as possible (fingers toward the neck and not toward the arms). Once you do this you can interlock your thumbs (forming the body of the butterfly) and the extension of your other fingers outward will form the butterfly’s wings.

    In this position the Butterfly Hug stimulates several acupuncture points: kidney meridian 23,24,25,26, 27 and stomach meridian13,14,15,16 and 17, each one with many benefits.

    The eyes can be closed or partially closed looking toward the tip of the nose.

    Next you alternate the movement of your hands, simulating the flapping wings of a butterfly.”

    Flap Flap Flap

  • missanthrope

    @Cathy Brennan:

    I think the real Cathy Brennan would know the difference between “no” and “know”

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    Good job though, I took the bait for a while.

  • They see me trollin'

    @Cathy Brennan:

    Legislation is about compromise. Males have a RIGHT to be free from female-bodied people in male space. Compromise requires concession – we have proposed a definition of gender identity that would provide transmen a means to claim protection from a denial of access into male space upon demonstration that they fit the criteria. This LIMITS the number of people who can claim this protection to ACTUAL TRANS PEOPLE. If you are an ACTUAL TRANS PERSON, I fail to see your beef with me.

    They hatin’

  • Interesting

    @Henry: Then you have never lived in NYC.

  • Zoe Brain

    You want to the right to have unfettered access to female-only space. Many females don’t want this. It’s not a matter of bigotry. It’s a matter of we deserve space. The Massachusetts language strikes me as a reasonable compromise.

    Let’s parse that, shall we?

    You (transwomen) want to the right to have unfettered access to female-only space. Many (cis)females don’t want this. It’s not a matter of bigotry. It’s a matter of we deserve space. The Massachusetts language strikes me as a reasonable compromise.

    Sounds a lot like:
    You (black women)want to the right to have unfettered access to female-only space. Many (white)females don’t want this. It’s not a matter of bigotry. It’s a matter of we deserve space. The Massachusetts language strikes me as a reasonable compromise.

    Trans men don’t want access to female-only space. Just Trans and Intersex females.

    I know many don’t think Butches are female, but no need to try to oppress trans females to show you’re “not like THEM”, that you’re a “real woman” no matter how male you look.

    As for “supporting” the Maryland legislation – see your letter to the UN:

    In response to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women’s call for communications dated June 14, 2011 regarding allegations of human rights violations affecting the status of women,[i] we write to advise you of a legal development in the United States that compromises hard won sex-based classification protections for females.[ii] This legal development – in which gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (“GLBT”) organizations[iii] and individual activists work to enact protections based on “gender identity” – thus far has occurred in Minnesota,[iv] Rhode Island,[v] New Mexico,[vi] California,[vii] District of Columbia,[viii] Illinois, [ix] Maine,[x] Hawaii,[xi] New Jersey,[xii] Washington,[xiii] Iowa,[xiv] Oregon,[xv] Vermont,[xvi] Colorado,[xvii] Connecticut[xviii] and Nevada.[xix]

    We anticipate that GLBT activists will push to enact similar legislation in additional states in upcoming years, including in Maryland and Massachusetts, the states in which the authors of this communication reside. In addition to compromising rational sex-based protections for females, “gender identity” legislation incorporates stereotypical ideas of “what is female” into law. […] As lesbians, we are concerned about the impact of this legislation on our community, and our community’s ability to meet free from male influence and involvement. More importantly, as females, we are concerned that in the attempt to provide protections for a few, we will compromise the protections of the many.[xx]

    Original at http://radicalhub.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/communication_csw_un_brennanhungerford_08012011_.pdf so you can see I haven’t quoted it out of context.

    So when you say you supported the bill – it’s a very peculiar definition of “support”.

  • Kate LBT

    @Zoe Brain: The assertion that gender identity legislation incorporates “stereotypical” ideas of what is female into law still boggles me. It’s completely novel, not supported by either a face or a deep reading of the laws in question. In fact, exactly the opposite is true – gender identity laws were written in the first place to protect exceptional gender identities and expressions, because they were NOT being protected by extant law.

    The Brennan-Hungerford interpretation ONLY makes sense if you assume that all transsexuals want to transition to become stereotypical, pre-feminist housewives (if female) or stereotypical hyper-masculine men (if male). As a lesbian, albeit a relatively femme lesbian, this makes no sense to me.

  • Practical

    How would this be enforced? Will there be guards at every restroom checking whats between the legs of every person trying to use the facilities? I think that may be illegal.

  • The unspoken

    This is rape waiting to happen. Pre-surgery mtf transsexuals will use this opportunity to sexually abuse women in the one public place where women are supposed to be the most safe and where you least expect it to happen.

  • Henry

    @Cathy Brennan: There are a lot of narcissists in the world.

  • Henry

    @Interesting: I think there’s something unconscious in your reply. I can’t make sense out of it.

  • Kate LBT

    @The unspoken: Do you also expect cissexual lesbians to try to rape you?

  • Michi Eyre

    I still think that Brennan is right on about a few things here. The bottom line is this, those who have been treated or are being treated have a low testosterone level and are not a threat to “rape” a female in a restroom. If you have taken medication to reduce your testosterone level to be that of a woman, then you should have those privileges.. But those of who are still “fully functional”, you have no place in female spaces and that I agree with Brennan with.

    Keep in mind, some states and the US State Department already enforce a third party verification process through letters from physicians that you must provide before you can receive an identification card that is congruent with your gender.

    Plus, it is possible to write public accommodation law to allow for non-discrimination for gender identity and expression in non-segregated locations while expanding protections to sex segregated locations for those who have a medical need. This can be done by expanding the definition of sex to be reflective of what is on someone’s identification card or US Passport (card).

    To me, this is an adequate compromise that allows transfolk with a medical need to access private facilities while protecting the privacy of women from potential predators playing the “gender expression” card.

  • John Wesley

    @Kate LBT: That’s just adorable. You’re anything and everything you want to be, aren’t you, sweetie.

  • Melody

    @John Wesley: I believe that makes her transsexual before anything else.

  • Kate LBT

    @John Wesley: Spoken exactly like a man.

  • Cathy Brennan

    @Zoe Brain: Zoe, you giant weirdo. My support of HB 235 is well documented. Why don’t you ask Dana Beyer?

    There has been no bill introduced for 2012 yet – the off-season work is to GET ADVOCATES TO INTRODUCE A BILL THAT ADDRESSES ITS MASSIVE PROBLEMS. Deal with the problem you have in passing these bills – an overbroad definition of gender identity that GUTS protections for females to sex-segregated space. Harmonize those, and you will have a greater likelihood of success. Or keep threatening women who disagree with you. It makes no never mind to me.

  • Cathy Brennan

    @Kate LBT: The definition of gender identity in these statutes BY DEFINITION assumes that there is such a thing as a “gender-related identity.” That ASSUMES a lot, and can only be knowable by reference to STEREOTYPE.

    NGLTF and GLAD and others drafted that language – take it up with them. Don’t blame us for noticing how dumb it is.

  • Cathy Brennan

    @Zoe Brain: No, actually, Zoe. Males sexually assault females. There IS no similar history with regard to race, and only a racist would make such a suggestion. Are you going to deny that? Your racist troling is unconvincing to anyone who can follow a logical argument.

  • Cathy Brennan

    @Practical: This is a civil antidiscrimination statute, enforcement comes in the breach. There will be no bathroom policing, or any other policing.

  • Cathy Brennan

    @Kate LBT: Oh, right. DOes it upset you that males as a class sexually assault females so much that you have to deny it by making shit up?

  • Kate LBT

    @Cathy Brennan: “males” is not the class in question. “Pre-operative transsexual females” is. A distinction you continue to refuse to understand, because it is useful to you not to.

  • Desiree Arcy

    Can anyone actually provide statistical evidence — or even a single documented and verified actual case — of a pre-op trans woman committing sexual assault in a women’s restroom? For that matter, can provide statistical evidence or an actual example of a male being deterred from committing sexual assault by a women’s restroom?

    Because if you can’t demonstrate that both of these things occur, then you are elevating a paranoid hypothetical over reality.

  • Kate LBT

    It’s depressing to consider how much a certain subset of feminists sounds like the religious right when it comes to transgender issues.

  • Shannon1981

    I don’t understand why there is so much trans hate on this site. Gay people are the last people who should be hating on the trans community.

    That being said- as a genderqueer female bodied human who dates other female bodied humans, not only am I gay, I also fall into the category of people you might not recognize as male or female at first glance. I’ve even had security called on me in an airport because the straight women in the bathroom thought I was a man. I personally advocate for a third bathroom- gender neutral- for those of us who do not line up with the gender binary. It isn’t the perfect solution, but it is one where everyone can be comfortable.

  • Kate LBT

    @Shannon1981: There is so much trans hate on this site – and on virtually every site on the internet – because cissexuals hate the idea that sex is a fluid concept rather than set in stone at birth with no possible variation.

  • Cathy Brennan

    @Kate LBT: The definition of gender identity that I support does make a distinction. I don’t think and I have never said that transwomen are a threat to females as a class. Your continued willful ignorance on this point makes you look foolish to anyone who can read.

  • Kate LBT

    @Shannon1981: Also note that Gallus Mag – and hence Plain Lies – is also lying through her teeth, claiming that the transgender community is leaping to the defense of Mr. Benson, when it’s one person, apparently a male, doing so. Mag’s stock in trade is lying through her teeth about transgender people and the transgender community so this really shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise.

    Depressingly, this little douchenozzle is going to give the Gallus Mags and Cathy Brennans of the world all the ammunition they need to continue their war, and innocent women will be the ones who suffer.

    I am resistant to the idea of conditioning civil rights on professional medical intervention, even though my transition has been done wholly under the WPATH Standards of Care and I have in my possession all the identifying and validating documents that anyone might care to ask for, including an “F” on my driver’s license. I am resistant because I am personally close to many trans women who were either forced by poverty to circumvent the official medical establishment, or did so out of a refusal to subject their identity to external ‘verification’ based primarily upon submission to male-centric ideas of womanhood (ironic that a self-avowed feminist would put that much trust in a process that historically has put more effort into denigrating and controlling women than liberating us).

  • Kate LBT

    @Cathy Brennan: I just explained the reason for my resistance to conditioning the possession of civil rights upon verified medical intervention.

  • Cathy Brennan

    The answer is to fight for health care, not to subject females to all manner of intrusion at the hands of males (which I have already said does not include actual trans women).

  • Cathy Brennan

    Also, I can think of nothing more “male centric” than asserting that having a penis makes you female. Try leaving Crazy Town on occasion.

  • Kate LBT

    @Cathy Brennan: Since I never said anything of the sort (and nor has any other trans woman), the person in crazy town is you. Obviously having a penis does not make you female; but neither is its presence a disqualifier.

  • Cathy Brennan

    No, it’s a disqualifier. That’s why you want a SEX change.

    Feel free to email.

  • Lyn

    @Cathy Brennan:
    You’re completely discrediting all of the non-op transwomen. No, they aren’t guys just because they didn’t get the bottom surgery.

    It’s risky, complex, crude, expensive, and ultimately, unnecessary as 99% of people never see your genitals anyway.

    So according to what you’ve said there, any transwoman who

    A.) Doesn’t want the risk of surgery
    B.) Doesn’t want to plan a month or better off work to get it done by a proper surgeon
    C.) Doesn’t feel the current surgery is ‘good enough’
    D.) Is unable to afford the surgery
    E.) Just doesn’t want it, period

    None of these people are trans in your opinion? Are you insane?

    So you mean to tell me the person everyone calls Karen, who has beautiful long blonde hair, works as a secretary, is married to her husband…. Is a guy, until the moment she goes under the knife? What magic happens when they invert that little bit of flesh?

  • Shannon1981

    @Kate LBT: I really am glad you have all the identifying things you might need, but the thing is, you shouldn’t HAVE to have all that. Whether cis people like it or not, people are what they say they are. The thing that gets me is this, though: the trans people are the ones who are in danger here, not their cisgender counterparts, and all you have to do is look at who is being harassed, beaten up, set on fire, and killed. It ain’t them.

    That’s why I always say that there really should be laws regarding gender neutral public restroom facilities. Certainly far from a perfect solution…but it is all encompassing for those who are in between like me, and it eliminates many safety concerns for MTF and FTM folks.

  • Kate LBT

    @Shannon1981: I was making that point – although I have the correct documents, it is cissexist and classist to demand that those documents be present before being allowed to exercise basic personal rights.

  • The Plain Truth

    “..who is being harassed, beaten up, set on fire, and killed. It ain’t them.”

    There isn’t an epidemic of violence against females conducted by males?
    My god you boys should get your head out of your ass and look into the experiences of actual females. Living under constant threat of violence is part of the female experience. Even most men are aware of this, yet you are so blinded to (and distant from) female experience that you would make such a bizarre claim. Incredible.
    You are completely unaware of male violence against women. I’ve never seen an actual woman make such a claim or deny that female safety was a concern.

  • Kate LBT

    If you don’t want to be compared to racists, stop acting like racists. It’s that simple.

  • Kate LBT

    Let’s do a quick crunch of the numbers:

    According to the United States Government Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of homicide against women is roughly 2.1 per 100,000 (reference: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/gender.cfm and http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0311.pdf – statistics in the latter PDF are from 2008).

    Statistics on crime against transsexuals are difficult to come by, because until the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Act of 2009 went into effect, the government was specifically barred from collecting them. However, virtually ALL homicides against transsexuals are committed against trans women, and 70% of those are committed against trans women of color. With that said, some statistical assumptions:

    Lynn Conway estimates (http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TSprevalence.html) a prevalence of 1:500 or greater for transsexualism in the United States, which suggests in turn that of the nation’s roughly 150,000,000 women, roughly 300,000 are transsexual.

    In 2008 (to keep the statistics symmetrical), 16 transsexual women were murdered in the United States, for a homicide rate of 5.3 per 100,000 (reference: http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org/uploads/downloads/TMM/LIM2009-TMM-NameList2008-en.pdf) – nearly double the rate for the general population of women.

    All transsexual homicides committed in the United States in 2008 were committed against women.

    Please note that the homicide rate for transsexual women in the first two months of 2008 (2.7 per 100,000) exceeded the homicide rate for all women for the entire year (2.1 per 100,000), and that of the eight U.S. trans homicides in those two months, three were execution-style shootings and two were intimate-partner killings.

    The statistics, simply, DO show that transsexual women are a particularly vulnerable population of women.

    The comparison here was specifically limited to homicide and omits other forms of violent crime such as rape and assault, because statistics on those for trans women are even harder to come by than statistics for murder, and until a thorough study is done, an “apples to apples” comparison can only be made for murder.

    Also note that the estimate for transsexual homicides is if anything a low-order estimate – since the government at that time was forbidden to collect statistics on murders specifically committed against transsexuals, we are limited to the data gathered by the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, which itself is limited to gathering information from police reports in the open media.

    It is also worth mentioning, though I wish I didn’t have to, that trans women do suffer every form of violence against all women suffered worldwide – including honor killings. A comprehensive campaign opposing violence against women MUST, therefore, necessarily include a commitment to ending violence against trans women.

  • Henry

    @Kate LBT: Shame on you for your cissexism, Katie. You’re a very bad pre-op girl.

  • o

    2 per 100,000? Jesus Christ, it’s an epidemic.

  • Kate LBT

    @Henry: Your comment makes no sense.

  • Henry

    @o: “What does the scouter say about transsexual violence?”
    “IT’S 999,998 UNDER 100,000!”

  • Henry

    Kate, my comment should make perfect sense, even to a pre-op tranny like you. You were cissexist against a perfectly good cissexual male.

  • Kate LBT

    @o: Crime rates are always gathered in numbers per 100,000. In any event, the greatest proportion by far of homicides are male-on-male. Unfortunately, these numbers for the reasons I outlined above omit crimes that victimize women on a much more numerous scale, including assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, sex trafficking, et cetera, for the reason that the specific figures on the same crimes targeting trans women are not currently collected and thus no “apples to apples” comparison can be made. I suspect, however, that the figures for trans women would also be correspondingly higher than for cis women because the pressures (most particularly, employment discrimination leading to a significantly higher jobless rate leading to a significantly higher rate of survival sex and other “risky behaviors”) that drive up the homicide rate do not let off for other forms of crime.

    I’m not in ANY way trying to downplay violence against women, either cissexual or transsexual. It’s just the fact that I have NO statistics for nonfatal forms of violence against trans women and thus no concrete basis for comparison.

  • CBRad

    @Henry: You are a dirty cissexual man, and transphobic !! So you’re probably also a sexiat racist classist xenophobe!! (I know! A college professor told me..)

  • Kate LBT

    @Henry: First of all, you’re using the word wrong.

    “Cissexism” is specifically defined as sexism which assumes that gender variance is “bad.”

    Second of all, I made no judgment on whether he was cissexual or transsexual – many trans men can be just as misogynist as any cissexual man.

    Telling off a man who’s being misogynistic and patronizing is not sexist. The man is, however.

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