Monday, January 18, 2016

The Battle Begins In Massachusetts

As the legislative session beings in Massachusetts one of the bills that the spotlight is focusing on is the bill against discrimination in public accommodations for gender non-conforming people. The latest article is in the Boston Globe.
Should the state ban discrimination against transgender people in public places?
By Beryl Domingo
Bridgewater resident, mother of a transgender child

As the mother of a transgender son, the bill to update Massachusetts’ current nondiscrimination law to include transgender people in public accommodations is hugely important and would make life better for our entire family.

My 27-year-old, Micah, was born and raised in Massachusetts. When he came out to me and my husband as transgender and began transitioning from female to male at age 21, my first and most consistent concern was fear for his safety. I know as a social worker that transgender people face some of the highest rates of assault, homelessness, and suicide in Massachusetts. I was overwhelmed with the need to protect my son from a world that suddenly seemed a very unsafe and unfair place.
But then the opposing says…
By Jonathan Alexandre
Brockton resident, legal counsel to the Massachusetts Family Institute

Supporters of the “bathroom bill” have disguised their movement as a civil rights issue with both the Massachusetts attorney general and co-sponsors of the legislation making analogies to segregation and race-based discrimination against black Americans. As a person of color, I strenuously object to the false narrative of equating “gender identity” and race.
The bill that is currently before the Massachusetts Legislature is not about the lunch counter or the back of the bus. It’s about bathrooms. And while it is true that there was a time when some bathrooms in this country were labeled “whites only” and others as “colored,” we as a society now recognize that there is no legitimate basis for limiting bathroom access based on the color of someone’s skin. Racially segregated bathrooms would violate our civil rights; separate public bathrooms for men and women do not.
As one commenter says,
I don't think it is always right to compare how one movement or one group of people who experience discrimination compare to another. None are exactly the same and comparing them often pitts marginalized people against marginalized people and then no one wins except those in power.
That person hit the nail right on its head. Discrimination is discrimination, I don’t care if the sign says “Whites Only” or “No Trans People” it is still discrimination.

And to say this is only about bathrooms is wrong, it is about being able to sit a lunch counter, it is about walking in the park, it is about being able to get on the bus, and it is about so many things more than bathrooms.

Mr. Alexandre says “It is imperative that they understand that requiring men and women to use bathrooms consistent with their biology and anatomy does not constitute “discrimination,” as experienced for generations of black Americans.” and by that he is denying our existence based on some 1950s it idea of biology. We now we know gender is not based on chromosomes but it is way more complicated than that.

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