Why an Iowa-Employed, Transsexual Woman Resident of Illinois Has More Authority to Speak on Maryland Transsexual Law Than Morgan Meneses-Sheets or Any Non-Trans Gay or Lesbian

Its time to look at one of Kat’s many photo albums.

Ansel Adams quality?  Prolly not.  But, nevertheless, they are a couple of shots I took in and near a DC Metro stop in Maryland whilst a bit bored one evening in November 2009.

Now…

Some shots – including self-portraits – I took whilst bored at a different kind of train station in a different part of Maryland about 9 1/2 years before the first three.

But wait, there are more…

Two shots at an NTAC organizational meeting in Maryland (including, among others, Vanessa Edwards Foster and Dawn Wilson) the day after that second group of three shots – and one shot of the restaurant where those who attended that meeting had dinner afterward.

Tired of my photos?

Bear with me.

Tired of my refusal to drink Free State Just Us’s kool-aid – either in 2001 or 2011?

Too bad.

For, you see, all of the photos in question involve public accommodations – meaning that, if trans-othering HB 235 is shoved into Maryland’s legal structure the way that people who will not be othered by it want it to be, then I and every other trans person could still be excluded from everything that is seen in those photos.

And forget bathrooms.

You don’t see any bathrooms in those photos do you?

You see public transportation.

You see hotel conference facilities.

You see eating establishments.

Okay, Amtrak in all likelihood wouldn’t be touched by Maryland state law, but it serves a point here nevertheless.  There is a disingenuous argument currently being floated by Free State Just Us’s apologists: ENDA doesn’t cover public accommodations, so why are you all whining about HB 235?

Here’s why: A trans-inclusive ENDA doesn’t cover public accommodations for gays and lesbians either (something else you can St. Barney for; its 2011, Barn – how many Republican votes does gatting rid of everything but employment have you now?)  

And, yes, there is the bathroom issue too.

The people who will not be othered by HB 235 will not address either the practical realities of how the lack of public accommodations will turn the protections that appear to be offered by HB 235 into near-melting-point swiss cheese or the symbolic realities of how the entire framework being put forth is just another way for gays and lesbians to write superiority for themselves into law to the detriment of trans people.  They’re now whining that Facebook is not the place for people who understand what Free State Just Us is trying to pull to point it out.

Egypt, anyone?

I guess not.

That passage was about the frackin’ fantabulous freakological trans get-together that Free State Just Us had last Wednesday.

Now, is it just me?  Or do I see holes in the pretzel logic?

Lets parse this.

Of the 24 people in attendance on Wednesday, 16 were transgender and 8 were cisgender.

Okay, now…

According to the orthodoxy of The John, trans people are such a miniscule portion of LGBT, no?  Shouldn’t any meeting put on by an ‘LGBT’ group for a mission that allegedly the entire ‘LGBT’ group is behind have an overwhelming dominance of LGBs who are there because they simply give a damn about the issue in question?

The other 8 folks work as advocates for organizations including NGLTF and EQMD.

So, the score thus far:

  • 16 trans people
  • 8 non-trans people who enjoyed the privilege of being paid to be there

Now, back to the spin:

It is of course imperative that we build a strong movement of transgender people, LGB people and other straight/cisgender allies. We are committed to continuing the dialogue in order to ensure that we can live up to the promise of equality in Maryland.

And yet, that dialogue apparently cannot include any discussion of what role that organization played in rigging the legal structure of Maryland to the point where some trans people actually think that a bill which will further other them is ‘progress.’

But lets het back to the above-snipped colloquy.

Donna analyzed the statement from Free State Just Us as follows:

so there were NO lgb people from the general population in attendance other than staffers from EqMd or NGLTF?

The question I have is: How else could one interpret, “The other 8 folks work as advocates for organizations including NGLTF and EQMD,” when it follows an assertion that only 24 people were in attendance and 16 of them were trans?

Free State Just Us, though, apparently believe that there is some other interpretation:

@Donna – yes there were LGB people from the general population. But most of the folks there were people from Maryland’s transgender community

Well, my analysis is that apparently basic English comprehension must fall under the heading of “public accommodations” in Maryland and Free State Just Us just presumes that everyone has been sufficiently excluded from it to not be able to read and understand what it posts on Facebook.  What is Free State Just Us trying tohang its overly-privileged hat on? The possibility that some some of those non-trans LGB gay organization employees (who all have positions of employment that trans people likely were never considered for) might live in Maryland instead of DC and, in turn, can be passed off to the Maryland burakumin as representative of Maryland’s ‘general population’ of LGBs?

I’ve said it before…

Get ready for Free State Just Us’s “Maryland is now a discrimination-free zone!” e-blast.

It will come nano-seconds after the gay marriage bill is passed…

which will be years before gays and lesbians in Maryland give up their right to discriminate against trans people.

No, I don’t live in Maryland – and I probably never will.

But I have every right to speak on this.

People who live in one jurisdiction travel to other jurisdictions.

Laws of one jurisdiction can have direct effects in other jurisdictions.

Laws of one jurisdiction can (and often do) get copied by other jurisdictions.

Those realities give people in those other jurisdictions a right to express their opinion about the laws – if, of course, they’ll actually be affected.  And we all know that allowing same-sex couples to get married does not actually affect any actual straight person or the nebulous ethereal, untaxed entity known as ‘the family.’

But…

The trans-inclusive 1975 version of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance was copied by Los Angeles in 1979 (a fact that doesn’t comport with the dominant gay historical narrative of ‘trans stuff only started showing up last week’.)  

That, of course, was a good thing.

When Wisconsin enacted a statewide gay rights law in 1982, it didn’t copy the trans-inclusive law from a city in neighboring state that had thereafter been copied by the largest jurisdiction in the country to that point to enact gay rights legislation.  And when New York City passed a a gay rights ordinance in 1986, its author copied not from a trans-inclusive jurisdiction but from that gay-only Wisconsin law.

Maryland 2001 SONDA 2002, anyone?

As is the case now, I didn’t live in Maryland in 2001 – but I then had an interest in what its gays and lesbians set out to do to trans people in the legislature that year (succeeding, of course) just as I do now with what the current incarnation of Free State Just Us (and its apologists) are trying to pull now.

21 Responses to Why an Iowa-Employed, Transsexual Woman Resident of Illinois Has More Authority to Speak on Maryland Transsexual Law Than Morgan Meneses-Sheets or Any Non-Trans Gay or Lesbian

  1. Kathleen says:

    I remember that meeting -if it’s the first one?

    On most times that I’ve travelled to petition my national government in DC, I’ve used public transport from the Maryland Hotel I stayed in (not Amtrak), enjoyed a libation in MD locations, eat meals in MD, bought items from stores & pharmacies – and once had to fill a script.

    Not having public accommodation rights might interfere with my ability to petition my government over over rights or on any issue.

    • Katrina Rose says:

      This was a meeting in the spring (May?) of 2000. I recall being told that there actually was one before that one (as such, folks were rather familiar with the restaurant), though you were at this one (I do have one shot that you are partially in.)

  2. transgriot says:

    The LaPanatteria one in which NTAC was born was in 1999 after the GenderPAC lobby day.

    • Katrina Rose says:

      Well, something or another had happened at the one pictured as almost everyone there in 2000 had been to some event there previously and were familiar with the place.

  3. As a person who was actually at the EQMD meeting, who does live in Maryland and is trans (one of the 16 present) I think I have plenty of authority, if that is ok…

    The meeting was the first of a planned series of meetings to get the trans community organized and energized in consort with EQMD and other LGB organizations. It also allowed for a discussion in a non-confrontational format where everybody worked on being civil. Something we seem to be in short supply of. And my personal goal was to make sure that the interest of my community was represented, to hear what perspective our LGB allies had, and to fill in any blanks, or misconceptions that might be present. Ms. Plamondon was not present for the meeting. Neither were some of the other more vocal local critics.

    Oh and I should point out I recently “peed” in the appropriate facility while visiting my legislators in Annapolis. It would seem I can do so without difficulty. Mind you I just went and did my business without making a fuss, as any other woman would.

    I am pleased you have enjoyed your visits to Maryland.
    We’ll work the keep the lights on for you.

    • laughriotgirl says:

      You attended the meeting that was announced with days notice and that had the location changed on the same day. The meeting that should have been had before any trans legislation was presented? he meeting that should have happened when both trans women on the board left the organization, the meeting that happened so close to the vote that any discussion about the content of the bill is pretty meaningless?

      That meeting? Or did you attend a stunt that was called a meeting by a group trying to cover their ass?

      Read your blog post – I’m sure the cis GLB thanks you for not asking any questions – like why “all or nothing” on marriage is the way to go and “You trans women need to take what we give you” is what we get.

    • Katrina Rose says:

      As a person who was actually at the EQMD meeting, who does live in Maryland and is trans (one of the 16 present) I think I have plenty of authority, if that is ok…

      Well, as should be obvious, my qualm is with non-trans people making false claims about what trans law is and is not.

      The meeting was the first of a planned series of meetings to get the trans community organized and energized in consort with EQMD and other LGB organizations. It also allowed for a discussion in a non-confrontational format where everybody worked on being civil. Something we seem to be in short supply of.

      I have to say that I am inherently suspicious of style-based responses to substantive criticisms.

      And my personal goal was to make sure that the interest of my community was represented, to hear what perspective our LGB allies had, and to fill in any blanks, or misconceptions that might be present.

      Ms. Plamondon was not present for the meeting. Neither were some of the other more vocal local critics.

      Do you know them personally? I don’t. And I damn sure don’t presume that everyone has the means to travel everywhere they want to when they want to – and I doubly damn sure don’t presume that trans people who are fortunate enough to be employed in an anti-trans state have the freedom to be anywhere at any given time (based on ‘Equality Maryland’s’ claim, all of the GLBs who were there were gay-rights-industry-employed GLBs who are paid to go to such events – be it directly or indirectly – as part of their gay rights industry jobs.) Yes, such a meeting has to take place at some point during the day/night, but there was a point in my life – albeit brief and a few years before I transitioned – that I worked at a job that was at night and was draconian about work hours. The entire basis for the opposition to this top-down, non-trans-input bill (not to mention the entire wave of Marriage Derangement Syndrome) is that it purports to care about the needs of working-class people when, in reality, it does not.

      Oh and I should point out I recently “peed” in the appropriate facility while visiting my legislators in Annapolis. It would seem I can do so without difficulty. Mind you I just went and did my business without making a fuss, as any other woman would.

      And your point would be what? That the only trans people who have been hassled/arrested in the restrooms appropriate for their presentation did something to bring it on themselves?

      Of course, your implicit point is that you pass and certain other people don’t.

      As Sen. Al Franken says regarding the alleged success of abstinence-only sex education: Yes, it works – until it doesn’t.

      I am pleased you have enjoyed your visits to Maryland. We’ll work the keep the lights on for you.

      I never enjoy setting foot anywhere that greedy, transphobic gay elitists have usurped the machinations of government to give themselves the special right of legal superiority over me.

    • Kathleen says:

      ”  I transitioned in 2010 ”

      So – with your vast experience…of a few months of transition… and no expirience in how legislation effects the community – gotcha.

    • laughriotgirl says:

      “Oh and I should point out I recently “peed” in the appropriate facility while visiting my legislators in Annapolis. It would seem I can do so without difficulty. Mind you I just went and did my business without making a fuss, as any other woman would.”

      – Taking a potty is probably the last thing I’m worried about. Never ever been hassled in the restroom. What I have experienced:

      * Lack of resources after I was raped. No shelter or support services.

      * Lack of public transportation. I was on a bus that SPED UP rather than stop to pick up two gender non-conforming folks to the cheers and chuckles of the other passengers.

      If this was all about the delicate ladies’ access to the lavatory, it would be important. However, this is about access to public sphere. The means to hold the job that allows you to pay for the house. Without he bridge of public accommodations, having job and housing protections are all but meaningless.

      • Katrina Rose says:

        However, this is about access to public sphere.

        Go further. Use the terminology of the Marriage Derangement Syndrome-ists: Its about citizenship.

  4. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,”

    I have not been known publicly of recent to be in accord with Sharon Brackett. Not for my love of my friend, and YES, she is my friend. But because we see things differently.

    So differently it drives be mad at her hubris and self arrogance ( two traits I most certainly possess, yet seem to cleverly disguise) but, I know what is in her heart. I know her struggles and her pain. I know her. I have a key to her house and have humbly been at her call, if she needed me.

    I cannot abide in this uncalled for attack, a personal attack when the broader issues that are so clearly documented in this and other posts here at the ENDA blog need to be heard and respected.

    I do not support HB235, I believe it is absolutely the wrong bill and the wrong time.

    Yet we MUST stop killing our own, for the only victors are those against us.

    May we stop this? ALL of us? Please…

    Can we go forth in seeking Unity, Solidarity, Victory?

    • Katrina Rose says:

      Jenna, would you please point out to me what I (or Kathleen) said that was not directly relevant, not to her personally, but to the position she as asserting the right to be in regarding this discussion?

      Pointing out that someone with virtually no relevant life – much less legal or political – experience on this topic is not a personal attack; it is a substantive, professional critique.

      The remark about HRC? That was an attack on HRC – and, again, a substantive one backed up by their past track record of decades of refusing to hire trans women and, when finally doing so, hiring one with no experience whatsoever.

      The remark about passing? That is a substantive critique of her remark about her bathroom use – and, quite frankly, I doubt you’ll find anyone who would not interpret that it was as at least a veiled claim of passing privilege (not to mention what my intitial interpretation of it was: a veiled assertion that those who do have problems in restrooms have those problems coming.)

  5. transgriot says:

    Jenna,
    If you’re big and bad enough to post snarky stuff that makes you look like an idiot in a comment section on a blog, then you need to be able to pull up the big girl panties and deal with it when you’re called on you BS.

    • ALL of us need to remember that lesson. I’m not acquitting anyone of culpability for their actions, but lets at least work on principles over personalities. Our entire community deserves all of our collective efforts. Should we not try enlightening through example.

      Just because I or anyone for that matter may sometimes post snarky stuff does not me I need to lower myself to an equal response. (see Do not Feed The Trolls)

      Anyone so willing to put themselves out there is at risk of often times sharp rebuke. Merited or not.

      But does not those against us so delight in our internal transgressions?

  6. I want HB235 to die an ugly death, for what it stands for in our community today, a tool that is being used to create discord and loss of unity in our community. Forget anything else about the bill. It has become a destructive element in our community and we, of all positions on the bill, have allowed that.

    It is disgusting what others may seek to do to us.

    With so much depth and insight being proffered through this blog, can we find the time to simply and politely dismiss those who disagree? The truth needs nothing more in order to shine.

  7. Comfortably wearing my big girl panties thank you.

    No further defense of me required. I am reminded though sometimes you toss out some bait to see what bites on it. Always nice to see where folks stand and how they comport themselves in response. Thanks for the data point.

  8. […] Why an Iowa-Employed, Transsexual Woman Resident of Illinois Has More Authority to Speak on Maryland… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: