3/5/09

EQMD : Urge Committees to Support Transgender Anti-Discrimination Legislation



Urge Committees to Support Transgender Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Urge Committees to Support Transgender Anti-Discrimination Legislation
Transgender people experience bias far too often in employment, housing, healthcare, and public accommodations. When discrimination prevents or hinders a person from gaining or keeping employment, many other problems develop. Rent doesn't get paid, which leads to eviction. Data shows that 42% of transgender people in the DC Metro Area are unemployed and 19% do not have their own living space. Transgender individuals may also be denied access to social services like shelters or rape crisis centers; refused treatment, ridiculed, or denied recognition of their gender identity by health care professionals; or refused service at restaurants or stores.

Every person in our state deserves an equal opportunity to make a life for his or herself free from discrimination and violence. Discrimination against transgender Marylanders is wrong, far too prevalent, and must be stopped.

The lack of protections based on gender identity and expression has gone on long enough. Edit the below text to tell your state legislators to cosponsor this common-sense legislation.

Talking Points
The Washington Transgender Needs Assessment survey estimates that 42% of transgender people in the DC Metro Area are unemployed; 31% have incomes of less than $10,000/year; and 19% do not have their own living space. The most common barriers cited by those who lack housing are their economic situation (38%), housing staff insensitivity or hostility to transgender people (29%), estrangement from birth family (27%) and lack of employment (23%).
Similar bills in other states have been non-controversial. The New Jersey bill adding protections for transgender individuals was signed into law in December 2006, passed by a margin of 33-3 in the Senate and 69-5 in the Assembly. According to a Gonzales poll taken in August 2006, more than half of Maryland voters favor making it illegal in Maryland to discriminate against transgender people.
Discrimination in housing and public accommodations is a large problem for transgender people.
Many are evicted or forced to leave home.
Landlords may not want to rent to a transgender person.
Public facilities such as stores, restaurants and bars may ask transgender people to leave because of the perception that other customers may be upset.
Transsexual individuals often lose their jobs during or after their gender transitions.
Without protections from workplace discrimination many transgender Marylanders will continue to be pressured to hide their true gender identity to keep their jobs.

Urge Committees to Support Transgender Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Equality Maryland supports Freedom of Association and Assembly Protection Act of 2009


Does that qualify Equality Maryland a threat to society?

The people who ordered the Maryland State Police to spy on Equality Maryland apparently think so. According to EQMD Executive Director Kate Runyon these activities include monitoring email lists, keeping files on currant and past members and posing as activists in order to gain access to ongoing activities.



The apparent spying began after Equality Maryland spoke out in favor of the Freedom of Association and Assembly Protection Act of 2009. These bills mandate that law enforcement use of covert techniques and compiling of criminal intelligence dossiers about Marylanders' political views and activities be based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

From Equality Maryland
Every person in our state deserves an equal opportunity to make a life for his or herself free from discrimination and violence. Discrimination against transgender Marylanders is wrong, far too prevalent, and must be stopped.
Urge Committees to Support Transgender Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Calif. Supreme Court Hears Arguments to Overturn Prop 8


An emotional accounting of the arguments to invalidate Prop 8

by kelli Busey
March 4, 2009

Today the California Supreme Court heard arguments that the changes made to the California Constitution by a popular vote should be removed.
As thousands of opponents waited outside and hundreds of thousands nationwide watched the justice's put the opponents on the defensive as to why the changes to the constitution represented a revision as opposed to being an amendment.

What the judges were reluctant and some even refused to consider was the constitutionality of removing an 'inalienable right' that is guaranteed by the constitution from a minority by the majority. Each time this argument was brought up the judges stated that their interpretation of the law restricted by the briefs filed by the opponents, placed this argument outside consideration in this case.

This would beg the question. Is the court the proper place to revise or amend the constitution, or should it be done in full consideration by the legislature?

One Justice asked basically whats the harm if thy upheld the removal of rights from a minority? Wouldn't the minority be allowed to protest?

The ruling should be forthcoming within 90 days.

Also found are factual accounts of the prop 8 arguments on March 5, 2009

About Get Busy, Get Equal ACLU

The National Center for Lesbian Rights

AP Press Calif justices hear arguments in gay marriage case

Cal Prop live on CNN streaming Video March 5

Live Streaming Video Supreme Court Video on CNN CNN

http://www.cnn.com/

Ugandan Anti GLBT Seminar Condemed by IGLHRC and SMUG

For Immediate Release, March 4, 2009
Contact Media: Hossein Alizadeh, 212-430-6016, halizadeh@iglhrc.org
Source : Walking With Intergity


(New York, March 4)- The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) condemned a seminar designed to attack lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans under the cloak of religion. The 3-day seminar in Kampala, which opens Thursday, March 5, features an array of U.S. speakers known for their efforts to dehumanize LGBT people and for their belief that homosexuality can be "cured." The speakers include Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge—leading voices in the crusade by religious extremists to roll back basic human rights for LGBT people in the United States. Brundidge is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic Ministry in Phoenix, Arizona. Schmierer is on the board of the so-called "ex-gay" organization Exodus International. Lively is well known for his belief that the Nazi Holocaust never happened.

"The American religious right is finally showing its hand and revealing the depth of its support for homophobia in Africa," said IGLHRC's Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson. "This seminar will increase violence and other human rights abuses against LGBT people, women and anyone who doesn't conform to gender norms. This newest form of colonialism is deplorable and must be stopped."

The seminar is hosted by the by Family Life Network (FLN), a Ugandan non-governmental organization founded in 2002 that claims to be committed to the "restoration of Ugandan family values and morals." The FLN opposes access to safe, legal abortions. It also opposes the use of condoms and promotes abstinence-only programming as its approach to HIV prevention. The FLN makes the sensationalized claim that homosexuality is "spreading like wildfire in schools." The event organizers have invited parents, teachers, government workers, politicians, counselors and faith leaders. The seminar costs 25,000 Ugandan Shillings a day (approximately $12.60) to attend. Books and materials are extra.

"This seminar is just another way of encouraging hatred and abuse," said a spokesperson from SMUG." We condemn their discriminatory words and actions that only lead to violence. Suffering is all that they are bringing to Uganda—all in the name of God."

"There is a lot of misunderstanding about human sexuality," said Ugandan Bishop Dr. Christopher Ssenyonjo, who was expelled from the Anglican Church for supporting gay people. “This workshop is going to bring more conflict, greater hostility, increased intimidation. We need love ... in the long run, love will overcome."

The U.S. religious right has a history of exporting homophobia to Africa With support from anti-gay organizations and faith leaders such as Family Watch International and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Pastor Martin Ssempa from Makerere Community Church has attacked not only gay men and lesbians, but also women's rights and HIV activism. Pastor Ssempa has stated, "there should be no rights granted to homosexuals in this country." In 2007, he organized a multi-denominational rally against LGBT rights in Kampala, where one cleric called for the "starving to death of homosexuals."

In response to this ongoing pattern of violence and abuse, SMUG launched its Let Us Live in Peace campaign, aimed at decreasing violence against LGBT Ugandans. The campaign was launched shortly after human rights defenders Victor Mukasa and Oyo Yvonne filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General related to an illegal raid on Mukasa's home. The plaintiffs won their case in December 2008—a landmark victory by organizers in a country that still punishes homosexuality by life in prison and has repeatedly made efforts to silence human rights leaders. FLN organizers cite this victory in the promotional materials for the seminar, saying that it shows that a "well organized homosexual machinery" is taking over Uganda, "wreaking havoc in individuals, families and the society."