Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Halfway Up Transgender Rights Trail

Today, the MA Senate will certainly join the House in passing the Transgender Equal Rights act. Stripped of public-accommodation protections, H.502/S.764 still puts into law strong protections for transgenders in housing and employment. Yesterday, the House vote was 95 to 58 in favor.

Bay Windows went to the good guys for comment. The most salient recap may be:
"We support this bill," said Jennifer Levi, director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ (GLAD) Transgender Rights Project. "We want complete protections for transgender people -- including in public accommodations -- but also know that in order to get there, we cannot walk away from the legislature’s first step toward achieving those full protections."
Almost certainly, the plug uglies, including Massachusetts Family Institute got their Pyrrhic mini-victory though. Using disingenuous slogans and arguments, the public-accommodation aspect of the legislation will have to wait for another legislative session. It almost certainly will happen, but not this year.

Like other winger organizations, MFI has led the attack on equality with illogically reframing the issue and smearing the beneficiaries. In this case, this seminal bill to offer basic equality was plugged as special rights and the bathroom bill. Instead of admitting the overt discrimination faced by the estimated 33,000 transgender folk in the commonwealth, the opponents manufactured demons in the john. They trivialized the problems and pretended that this bill would mean men dressed as women would invade the women's room and girls' rooms everywhere.

The protect-your-daughters lie seemed to resonate with the confused and the anti-LGBT folk out and in the legislature. Of course, it's a red herring, but it did manage to delay full equality.

I'm betting the rest will happen next year, but meanwhile, yesterday was and today will be a good day for fairness and equal rights.

Morning Update: The MA Senate did approve the bill, by voice vote this morning.

1 comment:

Uncle said...

It would do my blood pressure good if we could advance to true equality at one go. Doesn't seem to work that way.