January 26, 2010

Debate on Transgender Rights in Massachusetts

There is a bill being considered by the Massachusetts state legislature that would help protect transgender people from discrimination.  Local LGBT newspaper Bay Windows published an in-depth report about the ongoing debate.  Here's an excerpt:

Rev. E. Carrington Heath from the United Church of Christ in Provincetown was motivated to lobby due to issues of faith.

"All people are children of God and God loves his children regardless," Heath said. "We are all created equal and this bill just verifies that."

Opponents of the bill say that this bill endangers the general public.

"[This bill] would open all public facilities to which ever gender wants to use them," said Kris Mineau, the president of the Massachusetts Family Institute. "We believe this is not in the public’s best interest."

Mineau said this bill opens doors for sexual predators and the cost of this bill is public decorum. Mineau said the MFI has been very active in opposing this bill and believes the legislature is "well informed" of the consequences of passage.

Christina Knowles, the spokesperson for Mass NOW said this is "completely ridiculous."

"The bill does not allow transgenders to commit crimes," she said about the idea that a male can walk into a female bathroom and molest someone. "Anyone who commits a crime, transgender or not, will be punished."

Brian Comenken, the president of MassResistance, said this bill was "onerous and radical." He asserted that transgender individuals suffered from a mental health disorder and needed treatment, rather than legislation allowing them to "flaunt" their disorder.

"If a man wants to wear a dress as a second grade teacher he can do that and if a parent objects there can be jail time," he said. "What these people need is treatment, instead of punishing people who don’t want to see them."

Comenken said he thinks hosting a lobby day at the Statehouse would actually make it worse for the transgenders.

"Seeing a bunch of 6 ft tall men walking around in skirts isn’t going to help," he said. "I don’t think this bill will get out of committee because it’s too weird."

(Loreli)McLaughlin, who wore a pantsuit, believes there is a great chance of the bill making it to the floor and passing.

"I testified at the judiciary hearing and we came off as normal and intelligent and our opponents came off as hysterical," she said.
Click here to read the rest of the story.

No comments:

Post a Comment