Transgendered People Win Right To Go To Public Restrooms, Also JobsMay 24, 2011 No Comments
They’re fighting for their rights… to go potty.
Connecticut could become the 14th state to pass a legislation against discrimination against the transgender community. The state’s House of Representatives voted 77 to 62 Thursday night for the bill, with all the Republican members in opposition.
The main sticking point was the issue of which washroom a transgender person should be able to use in public.
The bill would include “gender identity or expression” as a protected characteristic along with race, national origin, and sex to stop discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, including restrooms.
This version of the bill passed after a 5-hour debate, which mostly focused on public bathrooms, specifically which bathrooms transgender people should be allowed to use. The idea was that if transgender people were to use bathrooms for the sexes they identify with rather than their genetically assigned sex, they might expose children to genitalia they should not see.
It all sounds a little surreal; if a person with male genitalia and living as a woman went to the women’s bathroom, they wouldn’t expose anyone because women’s bathrooms are all stalls. All this talk seems nourished by fear and misunderstanding of gender assignment issues, which are seen as sexual deviance rather than a true identity issue.
The bill was amended to allow a court to seek evidence of person’s gender identity issues, such as medical history, to determine if they’ve been discriminated against as some representatives feared that the law would give the right for anyone who cross dresses at some point in their lives to abuse of it. All that shows me is how people still see gender identity issues as a surface problem rather than the deeply personal disconnect between mind and body that it is. Being transgender goes far beyond dressing in drag for fun.
Their argument about protecting children also sounds off. Among those children, some may have gender assignment issues. Without a system that supports them and protects them from oppression and discrimination, they will repress their true identity and be unhappy.
These young children can only learn to accept themselves and express their being if they have models to look up to. That can’t happen if those models have to live in the dark because of discrimination.
The bill had been proposed for years, to no avail until now. Statistics show that half of transgender people in the greater Hartford, CT area had experienced employment discrimination while more than 40 percent have experienced housing discrimination, according to Jerimarie Liesegang, a transsexual woman and director of the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has promised to sign the bill if it makes it through debate in the Senate. No one today should be discriminated against; if the law passes in Connecticut, maybe it will have a snowball effect so that all 50 states have a law protecting their transgender communities.
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