The Maryland political system is making great strides to eliminate discrimination towards people who identify as transgendered. Once signed, SB 212 “Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014,” will “include gender identity in work place, housing and public accommodations.” But of course with great strides, comes great resistance.
Much of the resistance has been from Republican groups in Maryland (not to diss Republicans, it’s just a fact). It’s kind of silly though in my opinion because, according to The Baltimore Sun, many counties and Baltimore City already extend these anti-discrimination rights to transgender people. So Baltimore City and counties throughout Baltimore are making changes to their policies, but to make it a state wide law would be an issue?
The groups resisting the passage of this bill have re-named it “the bathroom bill.” I have so many issues with this. First of all, by focusing on the restrooms other issues such as work place and housing discrimination are glossed over. Second of all, the bill is originally entitled “Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014.” To reduce “Fairness for All Marylanders Act” “the bathroom bill” just makes me inherently sick to my stomach. And lastly, it’s just rude. Equality Maryland has been working hard for years to get this bill passed so that no matter what your gender identity, you are treated equally in all aspects of life. I don’t tolerate rudeness, and Maryland Republicans…you’re being rude.
If you couldn’t tell by their nickname of the bill, the opposition is mostly concerned with the “safety” of women and girls in public restrooms.
“Opposition to the bill… complained that it would entitle people who were born male to enter women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. In heated debate on the floor, Republicans charged that predators would sneak into ladies restrooms and use the new law as an excuse”
The supporters of the bill haven’t let the opposition faze them though:
“Advocates for transgender people dismissed that hypothetical as fear-mongering, and pointed out that existing laws already making sneaking into a restroom to assault people a crime.”
While the restroom accommodations are absolutely not the only aspect to this bill, they seem to be the only focus of opposition, so I guess that’s what I’ll address in this post. I do not identify as transgender but I can totally see how public restrooms could be super uncomfortable. You look like one gender but as far as equipment goes, your set might not match up with societal standards for your appearance. So which restroom do you use? The one where you get less dirty looks? The one where no one will try to fight you? How do you decide? I would have absolutely no idea. And that to me is just not fair. Everyone should feel comfortable using the restroom without fear of judgment or (yes, this happens) harassment. Which is why the title of the bill, Equality for All Marylanders, is even more fitting.
Anyway, if you still think that gender neutral restrooms will increase rape and sexual assault towards women and girls, here’s a pretty cool chart to explain why that is completely false:
If you aren’t a visual learner, Carlos Maza sums it up like this:
“the claim that sexual predators will exploit non-discrimination laws to sneak into women’s restrooms is a lie, plain and simple. It’s a lie that is unsupported by even a shred of evidence and contradicted by years of experience in states that already have non-discrimination laws on the books. It’s a lie that does tremendous damage to efforts to protect transgender people from violence and harassment, which often occur in public restrooms. And it’s a lie that persists because conservative media outlets would rather tout made-up stories about sexual harassment than fact-check the anti-LGBT groups who invent those stories from whole cloth.”
I do have strong hope that this bill will get passed because, from what I have read, Gov. Martin O’Malley intends to sign it into law. Hopefully the anti-LGBT groups opposing this bill will be able to open their eyes and realize that equality matters, for everyone. What are your thoughts on this?