He Didn’t Forget Anything That Gay Marriage, Inc., Told Him To Remember

I hate the smell of feigned surprise from a sockpuppet in the morning:

Maryland state Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18) posted “Rich Madaleno’s Equality Agenda” over at Maryland Politics Watch on Monday.  Saying he is “proud honor Dr. King’s legacy through two civil rights initiatives I am working to pass this year in the Maryland General Assembly”, he lists the marriage equality bill and…the Maryland DREAM Act.  What’s glaringly absent from that short list is the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act.  Senator Madaleno, you’re forgetting something.Equality Maryland has assured us that the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act is on their equality agenda.  But one wonders why it isn’t on Senator Madaleno’s agenda because Senator Madaleno isn’t some rabid Republican bigot.  He’s an openly-gay pro-equality Democrat who invokes MLK, Jr. but fails to champion a non-discrimination bill that MLK, Jr. surely would have dubbed a no-brainer.

Maybe he’s Barney Frank using a different screenname?

The only thing that this clown ‘forgot’ was to make the real agenda of Free State Just Us ‘Equality’ Maryland – gay marriage, the whole gay marriage and nothing but the gay marriage and don’t you even suggest the we gays lower ourselves to beoming equal to the trans-scum – a wee bit less obvious.

Being ‘assured’ by Free State Just Us Equality Maryland that trans-anything matters?

That’s a bit like Michael Corleone assuring his wife that he had nothing to do with his brother-in-law’s murder.

Elsewhere, there have been ‘assurances’ that Free State Just Us Equality Maryland really, really, really won’t be its old Liz Seaton self this year because, assuredly, it has a trans presence now.

A sock puppeteth:

Field Organizer Owen Smith “comes to Equality Maryland after several years of experience organizing on issues of gender identity and expression. He has taught workshops on various sex and gender issues for the last five years at gatherings on the East Coast. Owen has been producing and performing in a gender performance troupe called the Charm City Boys for eight years. He is also one of the founding members of Baltimore’s Team Trans, a grassroots group aimed at raising awareness and conducting trans-positive trainings. Owen is excited to bring a creative and innovative perspective to Equality Maryland. Owen is motivated to do social justice work because of the many ways in which oppression impacts various populations. His goal is to build strong programs and active, working coalitions in order to create real change and reach the goal of gender equality.”

Alex Hickox on the EQMD Foundation’s board identifies as transgender. “Alex is an engineer by day and a photographer and drag king by night. Alex is a long-time member of the DC Kings and past performer with Baltimore’s own Charm City Boys. As a Navy Veteran, a transgendered person, a feminist and an anti-racism activist Alex brings a level of experience and diversity to the ongoing work of EQMD to advance equal treatment for all Marylanders. Alex resides in Prince George’s County with his fiancée.”

So, lets parse this:

- One board member who, at most, is a volunteer (and, if following the HRC model, is paying for the privilege of being on the Board); one person who might be gainfully employed at what is listed. NONE are trans women. (Now don’t get me wrong – guys shouldn’t be discriminated against either. On the other hand, there always seems to be a bit of convenient malleability of terminology when gay-primacy-oids want to ‘prove’ that they don’t discriminate against trans people by waving the existence of people who will be assumed to be trans men.  I still recall a rather heated discussion on a yahoogroups list several years ago when someone was vhemently asserting that HRC had anywhere between 6 and 12 ‘trans’ employees – none, of course, ever being named and, naturally, none being trans women and none really being trans men either.)

- A significant percentage of the listed experience for one is “producing and performing in a gender performance troupe”; a significant percentage of the listed experience for on is “drag king by night.” NONE are trans women. NONE evidence any professional or educational background in politics, policy or law. NONE – based purely on what is listed on the website of the former Free State Just Us (the organization that ramrodded the gay-only law through in 2001 and had given the thumbs-up to the Legislature to exclude us in the session before that) – can lead anyone to presume that either have any experience attempting to find post-transition employment.

identifies as transgender

Uh huh…

I sat in the audience at a panel at Lav Law in DC in 2000 and saw Liz ‘The Silence of the Scam’ Seaton make the same claim…

a year and a half after she, as a Free State Just Us representative (funny how non-trans people get bumped up to national jobs after fucking trans people out of state bills, eh?), gave the Maryland Legislature free rein to erase trans people from the bill it was considering in 1999 – and a few months before the MD Leg finished the political hate crime in 2001.

Here is some free non-legal advice: If you’re trans and Free State Just Us Equality Maryland invites you to go on a fishing trip, your answer should be not simply ‘No,’ but ‘Hell No!’

23 Responses to He Didn’t Forget Anything That Gay Marriage, Inc., Told Him To Remember

  1. TransGriot says:

    All of this has happened before, and will happen again, will happen again, will happen again…

  2. It’s a shame because that is their EXACT strategy. Its all about using GIADA as a bartering chip to pass Gay Marriage for “loving and committed gay and lesbian couples” , their words, not mine. Not “loving and committed GLBT couples” mind you….

    Gay Inc of MD, D.B.A. Free State Just Us Equality Maryland’s own website is as full of broken links as they are of broken promises.

    GIADA has been stripped of any meaning by the removal of “public accommodations”. Imagine The Civil Rights Act of 1964 without Title II and Title III.

    • jezabeth says:

      An interesting reply to a Bilerico Post

      I am not a bitchy queen, thank you. I am an Angry Sapphist.
      We have people on the streets hungry, ill, suffering and we are worried about MARRIAGE?
      It is a question, in the end, about decency and moral imperative. Our moral imperative should be to save the lives of the most endangered amongst us, not this endless pursuit of federal marriage credits and avoidance of inheritance taxes that go with marriage.
      Do you honestly believe that the homeless and unemployed LGBTs on the streets would benefit from the ability to marry? Will death in wedded bliss make them less dead?
      In our priorities, heve we no decency left?

  3. Alex Hickcox says:

    My name is alex. Yes I exist within the drag king community. Though I haven’t performed much in the past few years, this is the community I found the language to better understand myself.

    Almost ten years ago my life was utterly changed having the privilege to take on a masculine form. Everything that didn’t make sense suddenly changed my view on life, on gender and who I am as a person.

    I am fully in transition. My story is not only personal it is only one story of all of our stories.

    I HAVE not PAYED to be a board member. I am NOT just a volunteer. I am an active voice. I am an active participant.

    Being a drag king is only a small part of my profession and story. I’m political and true on stage. My goal is not and has never been to entertain. Performace has always been a form of
    political activism.

    As a biological female I have faced an onslaught of discrimination and abuse that trancends anything currently being discussed.

    I still HAVE to play female. I’m queer. I’m trans. I’m transsexual. I’m afraid. I’m frustrated. I’m not the me’ I want to be YET!!

    If you question me’ or my intnetions feel free to email me. My email is alex.hickcox@yahoo.com.

    I’ll give you my cell. I’ll meet you for coffee.

    Don’t make assumptions about me’ and my intentions based on a paragraph. Give me’ chance to be a person before you drag me’ through the mud.

    I’m VALID.

    Me being a transman has nothing to do with no current sitting transwomen on the board. Infact, I’m a huge advocate for transwomen and women in general. I think, based on personal experience I have a tremendous amount knowledge on the plight of womens rights.

    I consider you women.

    By all means email me.

    • Kathleen says:

      Alex:

      It’s gracious of you to extend that invitation.

      If you are fully in transition – do not let anyone insult you by in any way forcing you to play female, as you say. If any of that pressure comes from EQMD – challenge it forcefully and publicly – resign if you need to in order to maintain your integrity.

      As an FYI for others here – there were two trans women on the EQMD Board – they resigned over the decisions EQMD Board on the bill and as they were treated poorly.

      If you are experiencing the same – quit – and do so publicly. Don’t put up with that crap.

  4. Alex Hickcox says:

    Having to maintain a ‘female’ status has nothing to do with EQMD. I can’t and won’t get into in any further detail because I don’t trust my story not to be used against me in a public format.

    I May not agree with some folks on how to proceed with the current bill, however I am an advocate for our community within EQMD and as Marylanders. It’s my personal desire to be apart a mechanism where our voices are heard and not diminished.

    It may be moot, but hell if I won’t try and fight for it. We deserve and should be afforded absolute equality.

    I relish the day when who I am, who we are, is just ok. No longer a topic for discussion. No longer a fight for validity.

    I may not have a degree in gender studies, or any specific experience in politics. However I, like many of us m, wake up everyday having to be an advocate… it’s not a choice.

    I’m here for the long hual. No matter how that transpires.

    • Katrina Rose says:

      Having to maintain a ‘female’ status has nothing to do with EQMD.

      So, can I interpret this as you saying that, yes indeed, you have not legally transitioned?

      If so, then thank you for proving my point.

      • Alex Hickcox says:

        Katrina. What does a legal transition have to do with being transgender? Are you implying I don’t get my trans card until I’m done jumping through all of the hoops?

        What point does this really prove?

      • Katrina Rose says:

        What does a legal transition have to do with being transgender?

        I suggest you ask someone who has legally transitioned and has, thereafter, attempted to find employment in a jurisdiction that has no transgender anti-discrimination protections.

        Are you implying I don’t get my trans card until I’m done jumping through all of the hoops?

        I’m not implying, but I am stating bluntly that you are being used – and by your words here it would appear that you’re being used willingly – by the organization that ten years ago worked tirelessly to enact a gay-only rights law in Maryland, and you are being used to give that organization street cred while it subverts the effort to make trans people fully equal to gays in favor of getting the same gays who made us third-class citizens even more rights in the form of gay marriage.

        Based on your words here, a reasonable person can conclude that you are someone who wants to play around under the umbrella definition of ‘transgender’ when it is convenient for you, yet also keep the privilege of whatever other space you occupy (and a reasonable person can conclude that that would be lesbian space.)

        The fact that you are taking whatever life path that seems most comfortable for you is nothing that you should have to be ashamed of or, in and of itself, have to defend; but, when someone who is into a second decade of a gradual transition process is held out as trans-political street cred by an organization that has a long history of political animus toward the real needs of trans people who either don’t have that sort of transition-longevity privilege or who have transitioned and any privilege that they might have enjoyed under a gay-only regime, that person has to face the music for what he is allowing himself to be used for. No trans women get ten years (or more) to work the transition process while remaining employed, and a hell of a lot of trans men don’t either.

        If you are still identifying as non-trans-(whatever) in any space or forum for whatever reason, then your being held out as ‘trans’ for any purpose by the organization that will always be Free State Just Us to trans people is as fraudulent as the legal theory put forth by Menesses Sheets’ predecessors to con the Legislature into passing (and the public into accepting) the anti-trans political hate crime of 2001.

        Whose side are you on?

  5. Kathleen says:

    “It may be moot, but hell if I won’t try and fight for it. We deserve and should be afforded absolute equality”

    If you disagree with the approach they are taking – you should state so publicly. They are using your name to say the trans community supports the approach of leaving public accommodations out of this bill when clearly we do not. And the decision to go forward without them was opposed by the trans members of their own board – who quit over the issue. If they don’t listen to us – we don’t have a voice there & you’re fooling yourself & enabling them in not representing our decisions for our community.

    And – gently – no – you’re not fully transitioned if you are being forced to live the female role. Wherever that may be. Everyone here understands how difficult that is & the sacrifices we make in that process. It’s not easy – but it is necessary. And it will involve some losses – some may be able to accept your truth others will not.

    If it’s in your personal life – yes – you may lose some of those dear to you. Some may come back later / some will not. But – you’re not fully transitioned or fully out until you live & speak your truth fully.

    If it’s at work – well – we all know we can be fired or refused real access to employment because the public accommodation rights aren’t included in the nondiscrimination bill. Yes – it may happen. It’s something we all have to face.

    It wasn’t clear to me from your post – did you opposse stripping that section from the bill also?

  6. Alex Hickcox says:

    @Kathleen. It wasn’t my intention to make it seem I had fully transitioned. I am transitioning. I could have worded my sentence differently.

    That said. I have a few more steps under my belt before I am fully out. And yes it is job specific. I am out and actively being myself in every other aspect of my life. I have chosen to take a very slow and methodical approach to my transition. That choice shouldn’t take away from my validity or identity as a transgender person though.

    I do agree with the approach. I wouldn’t continue with EQMD if I didn’t believe we were committed to fighting for expanded protections when and if the current bill passes. I’m aggressively adamant about it.

    I’m fairly new to the board. I was actually brought in from outside of the organization. I had very little involvement with EQMD prior to this. I wasn’t privy or apart of the discussion about removing public accommodations, unfortunately. I would have fought tooth and nail to keep PA language on the bill. I don’t like it happening the way it’s happening. However I see the value and necessity of it none the less. I am committed to fighting for the bill as it stands, and then moving forward from there.

    • Kathleen says:

      Alex – I have to say that – until you have transitioned – you really don’t know how important all those other rights are.

      And yes – transitioning at work really is that important to that understanding.

      I think you might ask yourself why EQMD chose someone who – as you note – doesn’t have political experience to represent trans people on a what is a political organization – especially when other trans people with that experience resigned their board positions.

      Would they have done so if your onionskin didn’t suit their needs?

      I’m quite sure your intentions are honorable – their intentions are quite another matter.

    • Sure you’re aggressively adamant, but can you name one other jurisdiction that passed a limited bill and then came back and strengthened the language? It generally doesn’t happen at all, or if it does it is a VERY LONG TIME. Look at New York, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, etc. What you’re suggesting happen isn’t in the least bit historically possible or probable. And the difference in people’s lives is important. I’ve lived under a weak GI bill in Indianapolis and a strong one in Madison, Wisconsin and I can tell you that the Madison civil rights bill saved my ass from the streets because it had teeth. That’s why this matters. These differences make or break lives.

    • Katrina Rose says:

      A simple question for you Alex: Which restrooms do you use at work?

      • Alex Hickcox says:

        Katrina. I work on construction sites. If I cannot use a single use room or a porta–john, my bathroom choice is based on my personal safety. Obviously my preference is to use the men’s restroom and I do, though sometimes if it is full of men or a lot of men are hanging around it I won’t. Using the women’s restroom isn’t any less of an issue and the same self preservation rules apply. Most people outside of my direct coworkers read me as male. In that instance it’s shocking to people should I use the women’s the restroom. On the flip side, using the men’s restroom is problematic when I’ve been discovered. I often will walk into a bathroom and if someone is already in there I will turn around and walk right back out. If I’m in the restroom when some comes in, I either rush to leave while they are in their stall, or I’ll stay until they leave.

        I hate going to the bathroom at work. It’s terrifying.

  7. Alex, I know this is going to sound like an attack, but WTF? You know that without public accommodation provisions that transgender people in Maryland will CONTINUE to live in fear in the restrooms!

  8. Kathleen says:

    Alex – surely you can see that even if there’s employment protections – your employer can still fire you for using EITHER bathroom?

    And – that – the fear you’re feeling? Will be not just transition related for some – but will be lifelong.

  9. Zoe Brain says:

    Alex – a word of advice.

    Think of yourself a bit more. You don’t owe anyone anything. You’re in the midst of transition, and allowances should be made for that.

    Yes, you’re being used. Unfortunate that, but that’s our worry, not yours. You should just complete your transition as best you can, and tell others to go take a running jump.

    Remember, when this whole thing goes pear-shaped, some of us remember what it was like when we transitioned, and will give you unconditional support. Yes, you’re being set up as designated scapegoat and “token tranny” to give cover to some very accomplished political operators. But that’s not your concern either. Your concern is your own transition. Some of us understand that.

    Best wishes, Zoe

  10. genderqueer riff raff says:

    Alex don’t let them use you. A bill without Public Accommodations is useless. a poorly written bill is worse than none. its true. Its not a personal attack either – what is unfortunate is that birth assigned females are almost not on the Trans radar for Equality – imo – its Trans Woman that get the brunt of discrimination with much less tolerance of Transition or gender fluidity. HB 235 is a travesty.

  11. Rebecca Juro says:

    Alex, I’d also note one other thing that I believe you’re not considering here: Bathrooms aren’t the end-all of this debate, they’re just the beginning.

    The lack of PA protections would mean that an employer can legally refuse you not only their right to use any bathroom at their facility but also access to any public space on their property. A restaurant, bar, or retail store could legally refuse to serve you. A landlord could ban you from the public areas of the building/property you live in. It goes on and on. The lack of PA protections creates a legal back door for those who want to discriminate against transpeople to continue doing so and for the politicians to say we’re already protected despite that.

    Realize that that’s what you’re advocating. You may be willing to live with that, but you should understand why the rest of us are not.

  12. Life In Neon says:

    Another important point is that case law across the country has been used as a double-edged sword. It protects the so-called “protected classes” of citizens, and then uses the lack of mention of others (in this case, trans people) as justification for not extending equal protection to them.

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