Free State Just Us ‘Equality’ Maryland:
History of Transgender Equal Rights Legislation
In Maryland transgender people are not currently protected under statewide anti-discrimination laws that include coverage for discrimination based on sexual orientation. Baltimore City and Montgomery County provide such protections for the transgender community. Transgender people experience bias in a number of venues related to employment, housing, healthcare, public accommodations and others.
In employment, discrimination against transgender individuals can occur during the application process, employment, promotion and/or termination. An employee may experience gender identity-based discrimination in many instances such as when coming out, transitioning to a different biological sex, discovery of their birth sex, or even mere suspicion of transgender status.Transgender people also frequently suffer discrimination when health care professionals deny treatment because of gender identity or expression, ridicule a patient, or refuse to recognize the gender identity of a patient. In other areas of public accommodations, transgender people might be refused service at a restaurant or in a specific gender department at a store, or simply ignored by staff. Transgender individuals also may be denied access to social service like shelters or rape crisis centers. Equality Maryland expects workplace decisions to be based on an individual’s qualifications and job skills. We ask other jurisdictions to follow the progressive lead of Baltimore City and Montgomery County in outlawing discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
Where are all the Maryland state law trans-specific sex discrimination cases that were waved in front of the Maryland Legislature a decade ago to justify passing a gay-only rights law? Where are the ones that have occured in the years since?
Isn’t this already covered under existing laws?
Transgender people derive some protections from existing statutes dealing with sex and disability derived from various court rulings but they are not explicitly protected by our laws. The inclusion of gender identity and expression in our non-discrimination laws achieves three important goals:
- It makes a clear statement of statewide policy.
- It makes clear the scope of coverage to anyone who reads the laws or encounters materials related to them.
- It affirms the State’s commitment to fair treatment and freedom from discrimination, crime, and violence for all its citizens.
- All hardworking residents of this state, including transgender residents, should be free from discrimination in housing and employment.
I’ll ask again: Where are all the Maryland state law trans-specific sex discrimination cases that were waved in front of the Maryland Legislature a decade ago to justify passing a gay-only rights law? Where are the ones that have occured in the years since?
Can anyone point to even a single one?
None of the transphobic mouthpieces of a decade ago could do so then? If their predecessors-in-activism-interest can’t now, then what must we conclude?
- They were lying about the state of exisiting law then to get what they wanted: a gay rights law that gave them legal superiority over trans people.
- They can’t be presumed to be telling the truth about what their legislative priorities really are now: not rectification of the 2001 gay-only law and gay marriage but gay marriage and gay marriage alone.