Steps Forward for Transgender Equality

Within the space of one week, on opposite coasts of our nation, transgender equality has taken several steps forward.

Two transgender equality laws went into effect in California on January 12, 2012.  The bills were signed last year by Governor Jerry Brown, a Catholic and former seminarian.

According the San Francisco Times, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act clarifies existing employment, housing, and other civil rights protections.   The Vital Statistics Modernization Act makes it easier to obtain and update birth certificates.

One week later,  in heavily Catholic Massachusetts, Governor Patrick Deval hosted  a ceremonial signing into law of that state’s  Transgender Equal Rights Bill, according to The new law protects transgender citizens from discrimination in housing, employment, credit, and offers protections in the areas of civil rights and hate crimes.

Not included in the Massachusetts law was the area of public accommodation, and at the ceremony LGBT activist Danica Ali noted that it “must be added to the bill.”  As the story notes,  “Public accommodation refers to the right to stay at a hotel, ride a bus, or even use a bathroom without being discriminated against.”

Meanwhile, in Maryland this past week, the Baltimore County Council began public hearings on a transgender equality bill they are considering, according to The Baltimore Sun.  Opponents of the bill have spread rumors that a similar bill in Maryland’s Montgomery County have led to bathroom rapes by men dressed as women.  The Baltimore Sun also reported that the Montgomery County Chief of Police Thomas Manger has said these rumors are false.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

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