Fifty five years ago then a college student Dr. Helena Hicks, pictured right, participated in the first ever lunch counter sit in at Reeds, a Maryland department store, protesting black peoples denial of equal access to public accommodations.
Transgender people are still fighting for that same right today. Incredibly, the foe promoting our second class citizenship is "Equality Maryland" a federation member!
On this podcast of The Marc Steiner Show Hicks talks about why Maryland students 55 years ago committed this civil disobedience and why the preservation of this memory is so important.
Hicks recalls “We could go in Read’s and buy a pack of cigarettes or a pack of gum, but you’re hungry and you can’t sit down. It might be cold, it might be raining, it might be snowing and you can’t sit down and drink a hot cup of coffee or cocoa or tea or anything,”
As we all know these courageous acts of defiance ignited the conscious of people of good faith of all colors and eventually resulted in the civil rights act of 1964
Helena Hicks wants to keep developers from tearing down the building that Reeds was housed in so to preserve our memory of this struggle that allowed almost every minority to live as first class citizens.
Today Maryland students are still engaged in the battle for public accommodations. They are asking their state legislators to remember the lessons learned decades ago with blood:
"The 'Gender Expression Non-discrimination Act' bill being introduced into the Maryland house of delegates this session has a serious issue. An issue so big that, if passed, could put full trans equality in the state out of reach for *years*."Lessons forgotten! Has Morgan Meneses-Sheets forgotten the value of human dignity?
"The bill lacks public accommodations protections while providing housing, employment, and credit protections. What this means in practical terms is that trans people can still get thrown out of restaurants, domestic violence shelters, forced off of buses, really most anything."
"Imagine the civil rights act of 1964 without protections in restaurants, bathrooms, buses, etc."
"And if the bill DOES pass without public accommodations, then that protection will be nearly impossible to get because any attempt to bring it to the floor will be met with 'Bathroom bill' and basically get laughed out of committee."
In a recent conversation with Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director of Equality Maryland
she incredulously harrumphed when I asked her what reality would be like now if public accommodations had not been included in the civil rights acts.
Yet amazingly she is persisting in promoting Maryland HB235 a transgender "equality" bill without public accommodations.
HB235 is resurrecting the concept of humanity that those who voted against that legislation in 1964 believed in. They believed that people of color, as transphobes do today, could work for them and support their business but that they could not share in their public spaces.
Maryland students understand, why can't Morgan Meneses-Sheets?
UPDATE! Read Equality Loudoun's article Two bills in Maryland published 2.23.2010 on their website.
I fully support marriage equality and will continue my passionate advocacy so that EVERY child may know a secure, loving family environment free of worries created by domestic partnerships and civil contracts.
Our saving grace has always been and will continue to be our allies. As hard as it is to believe right now, there are Cisgender people some just across the river from Maryland who see thru this ruse and will openly object to Equality Maryland forcing HB235 as written on Maryland's transgender population.
The first is David Weintraub founder of Equality Loudoun who posted this comment on Equality Maryland's facebook thread titled "End Transgender Discrimination in Maryland!"
"It seems obvious to me that if every trans rights organization in MD opposes this bill as written, it's not written correctly. Further, I think that planning to introduce a stand-alone bill sometime in the future to address public accommodations is very bad strategy - it's opening up a situation in which opponents (who will never be satisfied anyway) can focus completely on their imaginary bathroom issues."
Prior to posting his comment David had only heard what Equality Maryland had told him and asked me why transgender were so outraged about HB235. David listened to Jenna Fischetti, founder TransMaryland interview on TransFM Radio and David told me he knew he had to act.
Video streaming by Ustream
Like I said, I fully support ALL federation work towards achieving full marriage equality EXCEPT when transgender rights are traded for marriage equality as it has been done by EQMD.
On February 15, 2010 61 Maryland delegates co-sponsored HOUSE BILL 1022 "Human Relations – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity 2 – Antidiscrimination."
FOR the purpose of prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity with regard to public accommodations, housing, and employment.Last year sixty one Maryland delegate signed on. Publicly the proposed plan was to resubmit the HB1022 in 2011 as announced by lead sponsor of HB235 currently in the House:
On Febuary 2, 2011 Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk was quoted on Gay life
"The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act will be sponsored by Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D-21). It defines gender identity as a “gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.” This legislation adds gender identity to anti-discrimination protections already granted on “the grounds of race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or disability.” Discrimination would be “prohibited in the areas of employment, housing, credit and public accommodations.”Unknown to the transgender community HB235 sans public accommodations was already introduced in the house by Pena-Melnyk with full support of EQMD's DECEPTIVE MINIPULATION!
“This is the year for gender identity and marriage equality. Legislative leaders have been educated. They are messaging affirmatively in the press,” declares Lisa Polyak, a board member of Equality Maryland. She remains optimistic about the chances for both bills in the upcoming General Assembly and ends with a call to action for our community.
However then there were some that expressed doubt a full marriage bill would be passed.
"Lynda Dee, lawyer and executive director of AIDS Action Baltimore, urges supporters of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act to “have a back-up plan. Sometimes you have to compromise.”
"One such compromise could look promising to those weary of the marriage equality debate. State Senator Allan Kittleman (R-9) has stated he will sponsor legislation legalizing civil unions in Maryland. This bill would “preserve the sanctity of marriage” and give same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of a marriage—but without the dreaded “m” word."
Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, quickly responded to these sentiments marriage equality might need to be compromised.
It’s marriage or bust. We are not going to accept anything less.”So public accommodations was thrown to extremist hate groups like Maryland Citizens for Responsible Government who led a venomous attack on the Montgomery County transgender equality bill BUT are strangely silent on HB235.
Maryland Citizens for Responsible Government and the religious demagogues got what they wanted, but why did EQMD do this? The transgender community believes they traded public accommodations in exchange for votes and assurances a dreaded referendum challenging legislative proccess would not be mounted.
"It’s marriage or bust. We are not gong to accept anything less.
Morgan Meneses-Sheets, win or lose your precious marriage bill you are already a whole lot less.
In the capture below Elizabeth questions EQMD why there are no google returns other than EQMD press releases about HB235.
I posted the following comment on February 21 at 7:56am ET
By 8:56am on February 21, 2011 my comment was deleted.
Methodist Marylanders and others of faith, I ask you to confront EQMD and demand she let transgender people have fair and equal access to the Facebook page. Please ask them what is more important, the EQMD's marriage agenda or the lives and well being of the transgender Marylanders they are stomping on?
Maryland Section 20-301 - "Place of public accommodation" defined.
Sandy Rawls the director of Trans-United announced on her facebook profile that her group has withdrawn its support of Equality Maryland's transgender 'equality' bill minus public accommodations.
Trans-United withdraws support from Trans-United for HB235
Morgan Meneses-Sheets executive director of Equality Maryland which was instrumental in getting HB235 written without public accommodations quickly commented on Trans-United withdrawal of support.
Being that Equality Marryland has invested extraordinary resources in promoting and representing HB235 as a trans supported effort I assume Meneses-Sheets was somehow hoping to
Whats more, these are strange words coming from someones who's group EQMD blocks Marylanders if they should question their commitment to racial diversity as happened on February 8th to Transgender journalist Danna LaRocca!
Equality Maryland contention that it pursues a goodwill transgender inclusive agenda is a lie.
Former transgender Equality Maryland board member Laura Hart who quit with Dana Beyer in protest of gay peoples non support of transgender issues had this to say when questioned why she left:
"I quit the board mainly because, with my 2 years of volunteering on the United ENDA Coalition, I was totally disgusted that ENDA was left to die while DADT repeal consumed all available political capital the gay community had. I simply do not believe in an LGBT movement. There is a gay movement and a trans movement. You could say that the gay movement is our best allie and I said that is very sadly true. The gay movement has always sold us out and always will. I think the only reason they want the T to be included is to control the message to further their own ends."As to Equality Maryland contention all transgender people made well informed desisions regarding their initial support of HB234 Laura says:
"There was a statement I read early on in this controversy which stated that the trans community was consulted and agreed to dropping public accommodations. I was on that phonecon and I can tell you they took the phonecon out of context. The call took place within days of the end of the legislative session in 2009. We were told that if we did not remove public accommodations, the bill was dead. If we did, we had a fighting but only outside chance of getting it to move. We were told that if it died in 2009 then 2010 will be an election year, 2011 will be all about marriage equality and they would not come back for GI anti-discrimination until 2012, 2013, maybe even 2015. In the hope of getting something done in 2009, we agreed. I doubt the decision would be the same if we had any idea that accepting this, under short term duress, would result in a permanent ceiling on what we would ever fight to enact."And what does the future hold if these misconceptions were held as truth? Luara explains:
So what compromises are we going have forced on us this year and will the result of these compromises result in a bill being passed? If I was a betting person I would be willing to bet that GI anti-discrimination has already been sold out in the Maryland State Senate for the sake of marriage equality. To the best of my knowledge, there isn't even a Senate bill yet. It will be New Hampshire 2.0. Even before session began, there was word that the marriage bill would not be filibustered. What was given up to get that deal?Trans-United now joins with TransMaryLand in non support of this bill.
Transgender Marylanders are becoming aware of this potential tragedy and are speaking up. We NOT ONE STATE will not accept a bill that allows us legal protections in the work place but not public accommodations. This bill was in effect telling us we can work for you, but we can't use your bathroom.
Equality Maryland now stands alone to meet the public outrage without any Maryland transgender groups support for HB235 as written.
presente.org quiere saber cómo, tiempo tendremos que esperar a la justicia para Brisenia?
How long must we wait for justice for Brisenia?
Breaking Minuteman Shawna Forde has been found GUILTY on all counts. Tuesday the 14th begins the sentencing phase of Justice for Brisenia. Whether Forde receives the death penality or not, we will never see this childs bright eyes again. This makes me cry.
Shawna Forde the Minuteman vigilantly currently on trial for the cold blooded murder of 9 year old Brisenia Flores laughing tells a Norwegian news crew in the video below "you'll be very sorry you do not have a gun when the time comes."
AOL news reports Brisenia's mother has testified she was murdered despite pleading to Forde "Please don't shoot me' after seeing her unarmed father gunned down.
Brisenia’s story has been largely ignored in the mainstream media, but her life has galvanized people around the country to speak out against hate violence towards Latinos. We at Presente designed a poster to honor Brisenia’s memory, and to send a statement that we want justice.
Together, let’s take a stand against anti-Latino violence and the hatred that ruins lives. Please download the memorial poster, display it proudly, and share it with your friends and family.
How long must we wait for justice for Brisenia?
!!!Update: In=Equality Maryland is now deleting my from there facebook wall as well. Captures of thread before and after at the bottom of the post.
Equality Maryland has also been deleting comments by other Transgender Marylanders who are opposed to HB235 as written. In doing so Equality Maryland is misrepresenting the wishes of trans people to make appear we approve of the 'equality' bill without the all important public accommodations provisions.
What brought about EQMD's silencing of it's most critical transgender ally? What is Equality Maryland's investment in a transgender equality bill without the volatile bathroom provisions?
LaRocca banned by EQMD after commenting on this this Facebook thread about the above picture explains in a Facebook message what brought about this draconian messure;
"As I said other dissenters opinions have been deleted, I don’t know if they have been blocked though. I think I have been polite. I sometimes use colorful language but I don’t curse or call people names or any of that childish nonsense. I think about a week ago I asked if anyone knew when certain legislators planned to propose a pissing license to avoid having to inspect genitals at the door."
"In certain places that would be considered rude, but we are talking EQMD here. On February 4 they linked to a sex toy shop with a picture of a woman about to swallow a dildo. They were fund raising at the sex toy shop. Frankly I find that sort of thing in poor taste. My word “pissing” pales in comparison."
"What upset them yesterday was the fact that I called them out on their lack of diversity. I don’t know my exact words but I have the responses from others to give you an idea of the discussion."
"Next I posted jokingly that I was wearing my little red dress but that I was afraid of getting tossed out of the ladies room in Annapolis because my attire was illegal. Note; my (facebook) avatar is Betty Boop in a red dress."
Danna was alluding to the 2009 incident when a transman was thrown out of the gay establishment the Hippo Bar despite Baltimore having transgender inclusive ordinances.
Why was Dana LaRocca's comments deleted? Why was she blocked from commenting on EQMD facebook? Why were so many people's comments disagreeing with EQMD agenda and methods deleted?
Many people myself included believe HB235 was striped of the public accommodations and served up as a sacrifice to transphobes so EQMD can get a marriage equality bill passed. Now that we bloggers have let the cat out of the bag we will be a lot harder to silence.
EQMD: UNBLOCK DANA NOW.
Edited 02/11/09 with my apologies for shoddy journalism to all offended.
Posted Feb. Feb 19 2010 10:16 am
Deleted Feb 19 10:19am
Posted 6:45 2/19/2011
lets see if they leave this one up?
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Here are just a few examples:
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She will not be convinced Maryland's HB235 without public accommodations provisions is a bad thing. She stated that transgender people can gain equality incrementally comparing our need to use facilities of human necessity to the incremental want to move from civil unions to full marriage equality.
Published today a article by Dana LaRocca at Baltimore OUTLoud that puts things into perspective.
Written by Dana LaRocca
"Gloria Richardson’s role in the struggle for black equality is a story of conscience. In the 1960’s white liberals and self-proclaimed leaders crafted a bill leaving her county, Dorchester, exempt from laws banning discrimination in public places. Gloria Richardson organized an adult run affiliate of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC).
At stake was a referendum that if passed would have ended discrimination in public accommodations in Cambridge, Maryland. Ms. Richardson and CNAC agreed that such discrimination was wrong; what they did not concede was the right of a handful of liberals and youth activists to put their civil rights up for auction. In a counterintuitive move she went door to door telling her neighbors and friends not to vote.
The referendum failed. The Cambridge riots took their place in that grand stratagem known as the civil rights movement.
In 1961 Ambassador Adam Malick Sow of the Republic of Chad was denied service at a restaurant as he traveled through Maryland to meet President Kennedy. Nine incidents involving African diplomats had recently embarrassed Maryland and angered the international community. Compromise in the General Assembly left eleven counties untouched by public accommodations legislation.
Black citizens were not consulted in making the back room deal. Some black incrementalists, as they were called then, were pushed in front of the camera in a sixties version of spin control.
See the rest of the best of this article at baltimoreoutloud.com
Personally I believe that there are many parallels to be drawn most importantly is that political expediency motivates incrementalism. This was the case in Cambridge forty years ago and is the driving force behind EQMD support of HB235 now.
From TransMaryLands Event "Contact your legislator":
Right now in Maryland the rights of 1.5 million Marylanders in Baltimore City and Montgomery County are assured. 3X that amount are NOT protected.
Baltimore City and Montgomery County has legal protections for their transgender citizens. The rest of the state's transgender population deserves the same level of dignity and respect afforded to ALL of our citizens. They are denied the basic rights others carry, simply because they ...were born with a gender incongruent to their physical self.
HB 235, introduced last month does NOT provide full protection under the law!
MD HB235 at introduction.
Please contact your Legislators TODAY! and tell them you DEMAND a Gender Identity Anti-discrimination Act with protects Transgender Marylanders are the SAME level as Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Age, Disability, Marital Status, Sexual Orientation, or National Origin. The current bill DOES NOT provide this!
Click here to find your legislator
Hello[YOUR LEGISLATOR'S NAME],
My name is [YOUR FULL NAME] and I live in your district at [ENTER YOUR ADDRESS].
I am writing to urge you to vote for A Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act which protects Transgender Marylanders are the SAME level as Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Age, Disability, Marital Status, Sexual Orientation, or National Origin by INCLUDING PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS. This bill is important to me because I believe that ALL Marylanders deserve protections and respect, regardless of their gender identity.
Only by passing FULLY protective GIADA can Maryland truly be called the Free State, where everyone is treated equally.
Only through FULL protections can our rights be upheld!!
This bill will establish transgender Marylanders as second class citizens, subject to only partial protections and send a message National, that the same unequal treatment is acceptable.
It is through your simple phone calls and emails that YOUR voice can be heard. It is the most sacred and intimate responsibility of freedom we possess.
Facebook Event page
TransMaryland on Facebook
Morgan Meneses-Sheets Executive director of Equality Maryland has made it clear this morning. Equality Maryland despite the objections of the transgender community will press forward of HB235.
Morgan Meneses-Sheets sheets said about the prospects of obtaining civil unions this legislative year Gay life "It’s marriage or bust. We are not going to accept anything less.”
Apparently Martin Luther King JR's words only apply to Gay marriage equality. Morgan Meneses-Sheets is using the entire weight of Equality Marryland in calling and emailing the legislature supporting HB235 which does not include public accommodations.
The panel will ecasted live tonite 7 EST/6 CST.
You can post a question to Morgan Meneses-Sheets sheets here.
(posted to the eQuality website 1/20/2011 10:57am ET)
My question goes to Morgan Meneses-Sheets sheets,
Why has Equality Maryland banned Danna LaRoccaa a well spoken transgender journalist from your facebook page. Why has Equality Maryland has continually removed links and comments from transgender people who oppose HB235 as written without public accommodations.
Equality Maryland is censoring the transgender community and attempting to force this bill on transgender people by using the full membership of Equality Maryland to lobby the legislature for HB235.
It is common sense that a bill framed as a "equality" bill without public accommodations is useless. The transgender community is asking you to stop censoring the conversation and let free speech be the bell weather of full transgender equality.
What will it take for you to let this bill die? The transgender community does not want it.
INEquality Maryland then parades out a employee quisling apologist who personally attempts to justify this injustice as necessary incrementalism.
The Maryland legislature non discrimination bill explicitly prohibits discrimination against trans people except in public accommodations! This is a concession to extremist neo-christian groups and generic transphobic so gay Marylanders may have a better chance for marriage equality this year:
HOUSE BILL 235 (pdf) introduced and read first time: January 28, 2011 prohibits workplace discrimination and ".... discrimination based on gender identity by certain licensed or regulated persons; prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity with regard to the leasing of property for commercial usage or in the provision of certain services or facilities; altering a certain exception for employers that relates to standards concerning dress and grooming; providing that certain provisions of law relating to discrimination in 10 employment do not apply to certain religious entities.."
Glaringly absent from this years years bill, unlike previous versions offered in the past years, are provisions to allow us access to public accommodations. This will mean if this bill passes transgender Marylanders will only be protected in the areas of employment and housing.
Dana LaRocca wrote in her column in the Baltimore Outloud
"During Thursday’s Kick-Off, Equality Maryland emphasized the importance of employment protection using the statistic that transgender people have an unemployment rate ten times the norm (their website says two times, however). I doubt the accuracy of any number. The places where transmen and transwomen are most often discriminated against are in public accommodations. A bill that leaves out public accommodations leaves transfolk, literally, “without a pot to piss in.”
Commenting on Pams House Blend post "Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination bill introduced in Maryland House" Danna was more explicit in her condemnation with a post tittled:
"Public accomodations were left out as appeasment to opponents."Yet the majority of the commenter's on Pams House Blend just shrugged their virtual shoulders sending a disastrous potentially lethal message of "oh well its better than nothing".
"Unlike the bill offered for the past four years this bill excludes public accommodations, it includes only employment and housing. This is not equal treatment under the law. This is second class citizenship. It is the moral equivalent of what would have been if the Civil Right Act of 1964 had left restaurants, the restrooms, and the lunch counters segregated."
"I have seen no support for this bill within the transgender community. What I have seen is a lot of anger and a sense of betrayal."
"The die had been cast and the rights of the transgendered were sacrificed. Just as Neville Chamberlain had sacrificed the Sudetenland for a moment of peace the LGB lobby has sacrificed the transgendered. The result will not be the peace they expected. What the LGB lobbyists have shown is that they are willing to back down at fear of something like what they have called ""vicious" attacks on Montgomery County's transgender bill," which refers to a county struggle in 2007. I'm old enough to remember the Battle of Chicago in '68 and Stonewall in '69, when activists in my day said "vicious" they meant fire hoses, Billy clubs, and teargas. The name calling we suffered in Montgomery County was not "vicious."
Better than what? Its almost impossible to prove discrimination in housing or win any monetary compensation in employment discrimination cases
You are on your way to work after a Starbucks and get delayed in one of the many MD traffic jams and you can't even use a bathroom for Christs sake!
This is worthless bill spotlighting gay.com's willingness to sacrifice transgender lives for its agenda. Transgender Marylanders, are you going to lay down for them and let the Gay.com bus run you over?
EQUALITY MARYLAND people of good faith, I have always supported you, will you be silent?
Demand Equality Maryland treat us with dignity. Add a comment on their Facebook page post congratulating themselves on our exclusion.
TWEET THIS and make the call!!!! From « ENDAblog Maryland Mariage Equality Hearings today call the six undecided senators needed to pass #EQMD #transgender
Ask the six undecided Senators to vote against the Maryland Marriage Equality bill UNTILL there is a bill, PASS OR FAIL, that respects transgender people.
Trans in the military Google Docs
Rapid Action Revision (RAR) Issue Date: 23 August 2010
AR 40-501, Standards of Medical Fitness, paragraph 2-14 which I have outlined and linked below.
a. Female genitalia.
(5) History of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia such as change of sex (P64.5), hermaphroditism, pseudohermaphroditism, or pure gonadal dysgenesis (752.7) or dysfunctional residuals from surgical correction of these conditions is disqualifying.
b. Male genitalia.
(5) History of penis amputation (878.0) is disqualifying.
d. History of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia, such as a change of sex (P64.5), hermaphroditism, pseudohermaphroditism, or pure gonadal dysgenesis (752.7) or dysfunctional residuals from surgical correction of these conditions is disqualifying.
AR 40-501, Standards of Medical Fitness