As the title suggests, everything on this blog concerns violence against trans women.
The Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project is a trans feminist project addressing issues of systematic, institutional and interpersonal violence and oppression experienced by trans women (those who were coercively assigned male at birth and identify or are identified as women/female) across multiple identities (e.g., race, class, dis/ability, citizen-status, nationality, sexuality, age, HIV status, and form, status, or age of transition, etc.)
Ida Hammer is a writer and social justice communicator. She organizes the Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project. She presents workshops and trainings on cis privilege and being a trans ally. She's also involved in organizing against sexualized violence. She's a proud dyke-identified trans woman and an organizer of the New York City Dyke March.
MANHATTAN — Cops are on the hunt for a knife-wielding suspect who allegedly slashed a 22-year-old transgender patron after hurling an anti-gay slur at her for trying to use the women’s bathroom at the West 3rd Street McDonald’s, police and sources said.
The problems began shortly after 7 p.m. when two transgender women at the crime-plagued West Village eatery were accosted at the entrance to the women’s bathroom by a male patron who allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs at them.
"You’re going to the wrong bathroom," the suspect said, according to sources. The man then threatened to "f—- them up"
The women walked outside the West 3rd Street and Sixth Avenue location to escape the attacker, who police described as 5-foot 10-inches and weighing between 300 and 350 pounds, only to have him follow them out and try to take a swing at one of them, sources said.
One of the victims returned the punch, then kneed the assailant in the groin, sending him down to the ground, sources said.
The suspect pulled out a razor blade and repeatedly slashed the victim in the elbow, face, back and neck, police said.
The suspect fled and is now wanted for assault as a hate crime, cops said.
The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital and received multiple stitches, police said.
The episode was the latest attack for that McDonald’s location, which has been a hotbed of violence to Village residents and elected officials.
In April, the fast-food restaurant was outfitted with surveillance cameras for cops to monitor after a string of assaults.
Damian Furtch was caught on surveillance being beaten by another patron who he said bombarded him with anti-gay slurs on the sidewalk outside of that McDonald’s location in March 2011.
And two patrons — Denise Darbeau and Rachel Edwards — were indicted for burglary after allegedly hopping the counter in Oct. 2011 to attack a McDonald’s worker Rayon McIntosh, who was cleared of beating them with a metal grill cleaner.
McDonald’s, meanwhile, had hired two private security officers after City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents the neighborhood, called for a boycott until the burger joint beefed up security measures.
Police are requesting anyone with information about the latest attack can call 1-800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted at NYPDCrimeStoppers.com or by text at 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577.(Dan Rivoli, Murray Weiss - DNAinfo)
She’s asked state to rule whether bar’s exclusion policy is discrimination
Linked article includes quotes using the wrong pronouns and gender, also starts with a questionable lead.
A transgender student from the University of Arkansas at Ft. Smith is now allowed to use the school’s women’s bathrooms after the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to the college telling officials to revise their policy, Campus Reform reported.
Jennifer Braly, 38, a transgender woman, filed a complaint with the DOJ because the university’s officials told her that she could not use the women’s bathrooms on the school’s campus. They did, however, insist that she could use the “gender-neutral bathrooms.”
"Some saw me using the women’s public restrooms and complained," Braly said. "[O]ne problem to this is there are not unisex bathrooms in every building. Especially the two main buildings where most of my classes are, so I have to go to a completely different building to use the restroom."
Staff members of the university’s administration, however, claim that they tried to work with Braly. “We tried to make reasonable accommodation and to find a common ground, converting the number of bathrooms on campus to gender-neutral,” Mark Horn the vice president of university relations, said.
The university backed down after the DOJ sent a letter to the school, demanding that they review their policies and allow Braly to use the women’s restroom.
"[T]he office of civil rights basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction," said Horn. "[T]he DOJ complaint caused revisiting of our thinking. [T]he office of civil rights basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction," he added. "[T]he DOJ complaint caused revisiting of our thinking."
Allowing transgender people to use the bathroom has been a controversial subject. In January, Tennessee conservative lawmakers introduced a bill called the "Bathroom Harassment Act," which would fine a transgender person $50 for using a public bathroom or dressing room.
State Rep. Richard Floyd strongly supported the act and even said he would physically assault a transgender person.
"I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry," Floyd said.
"Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts."
But the Chattanooga Times Press ran an online poll asking readers if “transgender people should be required to use the bathroom of their birth gender.” Nearly 90 percent of voters said “no.”
Although Braly can now use the women’s bathroom, some female students are not pleased with the school’s decision, the article on the conservative blog notes.
"I disagree with allowing a male to use the female restrooms," Amanda Shook, a senior at the university, told Campus Reform. "Even if they are a transgendered person, they are still a man, and should have to use the men’s restroom."
When the ultra-conservative website Free Republic posted the article, many readers also agreed with the female student’s position.
"Whoever approved this ’person’ for admittance to the university should be severely disciplined," one person wrote. "They’re going to have to add a urinal to the ladies’ room then," another said.
This isn’t the first time the 36-year-old has been surrounded in controversy.
Not that long ago, Braly was scheduled to give a lecture on gender and sexuality at the school but moments before she was to speak, the event was cancelled, according to the blog the Guerilla Angel Report. Braly received an email from Dr. Rita Barrett - the school’s associate professor of psychology and department chair.
"All of my faculty are now diligently preparing for the closure of the semester. They must be in compliance with their syllabi, grading, final exams, graduation exercises, etc. and it is impossible to afford more class time to accommodate an additional speaker at one week before finals," the email said. "Therefore, your scheduled speaking engagements in any course in my department (PSYC, CJ, SOCI, ANTH) have been cancelled. This includes the two scheduled for tomorrow Friday April 20th in Dr. Laura King’s classes."
But the student claims that the lecture was cancelled because she is a transgender person. There is a petition on Change.org asking people to allow Braly to “speak freely about gender and sexuality.” Nearly 700 people have signed the online petition.
(Jason St. Amand, EDGE Boston)
The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith is changing its policy regarding restroom use by transgender people after a student complained to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jennifer Braly, a 38-year-old UAFS junior who is a transgender woman, was upset after being instructed to use only gender-neutral restrooms on campus. Braly had used women’s restrooms and gender-neutral restrooms until another student complained.
Braly is again allowed to use women’s restrooms, said R. Mark Horn, a vice chancellor. He said that the decision was made this spring after the Justice Department sent a letter to the university system’s lawyers. The university wouldn’t make that letter available, citing federal privacy laws. Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa confirmed that a letter had been sent informing the university of the complaint, but Hinojosa said the letter did not direct the university to take any specific action. Hinojosa wouldn’t say whether an investigation is ongoing. A conservative blog, the first national outlet to report on the issue, accused the Obama administration of forcing the issue.
Born a man,Braly is raising money for gender reassignment surgery. Braly secured a name change, is undergoing hormone therapy and is now recognized as a woman on her Arkansas driver’s license.
Horn said Arkansas-Fort Smith is trying its best to accommodate transgender students. The issue simply hadn’t come up until recently, Horn said, at which point the college created several gender-neutral restrooms. “We did what we thought was reasonable accommodation,” Horn said. “We were trying to be fair on both sides to students who are not transgendered as well as to this student.”
Braly enrolled at Fort Smith in 2010
as a man. In early 2011, after changing her name and winning a court petition to switch her legal gender, Braly started attending classes as a woman. That’s when the college created the gender-neutral bathrooms, which Braly said administrators instructed her to use exclusively.
As her hormone therapy progressed and Braly became more comfortable living as a woman, she said she occasionally used women’s restrooms. That was never a problem until Braly started lecturing to classes, at the invitation of several psychology professors, about gender identity disorder.
At that point, Braly said, at least one student complained that she wasn’t comfortable sharing a bathroom with a transgender person. Administrators then asked Braly again to use only gender-neutral restrooms, an arrangement that wasn’t satisfactory to her in part because many buildings she frequented had no such facilities. When the college followed that request with a decision that she would live in a single dorm room next fall instead of with roommates, she contacted the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The lack of a policy about transgender accommodations underscores a larger problem in higher ed, said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride.
Colleges should be proactive in establishing clear policies and gender-neutral facilities, said Windmeyer, whose organization advocates for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. While many transgender people prefer gender-neutral restrooms, also called family restrooms, Windmeyer said individuals should also be able to use a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. In failing to allow that, Windmeyer said Arkansas-Fort Smith erred.
“It sounds like the campus has not done a good job taking responsibility for creating a welcoming, safe space for trans-identified students,” Windmeyer said. “It is unrealistic to ask anyone to go across campus in between classes to be able to use the restroom.”
Horn said the university is still finalizing a formal policy on transgender accommodations. Administrators are likely to consider such a policy this summer, a decision Braly appreciates.
“Frankly, this is new turf for us,” Horn said. “We welcome all students. The issue of accommodating transgender student needs has been a threshold that we had never had to go up to before. It’s been a learning curve for us, both in terms of the law and what gender identity disorder is in the first place.”
That lack of understanding of transgender issues is too common, Windmeyer said, even as acceptance of gay and lesbian issues grows on campuses. Transgender students consistently report feeling less safe at college than their gay peers. Braly said she knows of at least four other transgender students at Fort Smith, though most prefer not to advertise their sex change.
“Any campus needs to have active dialogue around trans-identified people,” Windmeyer said. “The ‘T’ of LGBT is largely forgotten or invisible on most campuses today.”
Even though Braly said her time at Fort Smith has been largely positive, the resistance she’s encountered in gaining access to women’s restrooms and housing makes her feel that more needs to be done.
“I have an ‘F’ on my driver’s license. I dress as a female. I live as a female. I do everything as a female,” she said. “Treat me as a female. They’re treating me as a leper — like I have some icky disease.”(Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed)
Police cited a transgender woman for disorderly conduct on April 25 for using a women’s restroom at Parkland hospital.
An officer with the hospital’s police force wrote the citation for a class-C misdemeanor after a complaint was lodged by someone who saw the transgender woman, Paula Witherspoon, leaving the bathroom.
Witherspoon said she was at the hospital with her husband, who had a follow-up appointment after suffering a heart attack.
“I live full time as a woman,” Witherspoon said.
She said hospital police told her they weren’t there to decide whether she was guilty.
“Then they wrote me a ticket,” she said.
The ticket lists Witherspoon as a man and her name as Paul. But Witherspoon provided a copy of a letter from her clinical psychologist at the Dallas VA Medical Center, Gloria J. Emmert.
“As a frequent visitor to the Dallas VA Hospital, she is expected to use facilities consistent with her external presentation, which is female,” Emmert wrote. “Please assist this Veteran by supporting the application of this ethical approach in all Dallas settings.”
Ken Upton, a supervising attorney in the Dallas office of Lambda Legal, said lewd conduct is the closest thing he could find in Section 4201 of the Texas Penal Code, the statute listed on the ticket.
For that portion of the code to apply, Upton said, Witherspoon would have had to have acted “intentionally or knowingly for a lewd purpose.” But since she went into a private stall, that’s unlikely, he said.
Witherspoon said she didn’t even know whether there was anyone else in the restroom.
“I went in, did my business, washed my hands and left,” she said.
And the letter from the psychologist indicates she was following doctor’s orders rather than acting out of lewd intent. Upton said Parkland will have trouble defending the case.
“The officer doesn’t know if anyone else was in there,” Upton said, so his testimony would be hearsay. And if the complainant wasn’t in the restroom, that person was not a witness to any lewd behavior.
Upton said the officer probably figures Witherspoon will either pay the fine or it’ll be dismissed.
“And he doesn’t care,” Upton said, adding that the officer couldn’t have written a ticket for simply using the wrong bathroom.
“That’s not a crime in Dallas,” he said.
Officials at Parkland, Dallas County’s public hospital, are looking into the incident.
“We have verified that on April, 25, 2012, Parkland Police responded to a complaint from a concerned female patient regarding her allegation that there was a male in the female restroom,” Parkland spokeswoman Charise Thomason wrote. “Because of the complexity of the issue, the incident is currently under review. Parkland strives to treat patients, visitors and staff with dignity and respect, as well as provide a safe environment at all times.”
Roberto de la Cruz, an openly gay member of Parkland’s Board of Managers, said he plans to meet with Witherspoon on Wednesday at her home. He said his concern is that transgender people are welcome at Parkland and will be treated with dignity.
The University of Pittsburgh has instituted a new policy forcing transgender students from using gendered facilities (restrooms, locker rooms, etc.) consistent with their gender identity and presentation. The resolution triggering the policy was passed unanimously.
On Tuesday an unidentified Pitt spokesperson stated that students must use the gendered facilities that correspond with gender on their birth certificate, not how they currently present.
That’s problematic on several levels. Pennsylvania is one of the states that only allows birth certificate changes if the person in question undergoes SRS. That’s an out of the question expense for many trans college students. It also doesn’t take into account some states like Tennessee will not allow or offer new or amended birth certificates under any circumstances.
Pitt’s transphobic policy is also in conflict with the recently adopted NCAA competition policies for trans student athletes, the non-discrimination laws in the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and could open trans students to anti-trans violence if forced to use a gender facility that doesn’t correspond with their gender presentation.
And as trans Pitt student Alice Haas pointed out, ““I find it absolutely barbaric and appalling that the University of Pittsburgh requires forced castration in order for me to be considered female, especially when my driver’s license and passport both state otherwise,” Haas said. “It is in no way just or appropriate to force me to provide information on my genitals or my birth certificate.”
Full disclosure, I grew up in western Pennsylvania not that far from Pittsburgh, and, yeah, this is pretty much par for the course.
Since joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2003, Emilia Lombardi has never had to worry much about which bathroom facilities she should use on the Oakland campus. The choice was simple: As a transgender person who identifies as a woman, it’s always made sense for her to use the ladies’ room.
"I have never had any issue using any [women-only] bathroom or changing facility," Lombardi says. "I can’t see myself using the men’s room."
Now she might have to.
On March 20, a university official informed Pitt’s Anti-Discriminatory Policies Committee that transgender students and faculty must use bathroom facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate rather than the gender with which they identify. Since news of the controversial policy broke in the Pitt News student newspaper, critics have condemned it as a potentially harmful move that violates the university’s anti-discrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination “on the basis of … gender identity and expression.”
"A lot of people were really shocked that they had taken such a harsh position," says Jane Feuer, who chairs the ADPC, which advises the University Senate on issues regarding discrimination. "It was just dropped on us like a bomb."
Before the announcement, Feuer says, the university never had a formal bathroom policy. Instead, she says, Pitt officials dealt with concerns about the use of restrooms on a case-by-case basis.
That’s what happened late last year at the Pitt-Johnstown branch campus, where a transgender student who identifies as male was expelled for using the men’s locker room.
The ADPC unanimously passed a resolution in February charging that the expulsion violated Pitt’s anti-discrimination policy. The committee also stated that students should be allowed to use bathrooms that match the gender with which they identify, and asked for a specific policy regarding bathroom usage for transgender people.
It got that policy during a March 20 ADPC meeting, when a university official representing Pitt’s HR and legal departments informed the committee of it. Transgender people, the official said, are prohibited from using bathroom facilities of the gender they identify with, unless they furnish a birth certificate matching that sex.
University officials have not been eager to discuss the policy. Even the official who disclosed it to the ADPC, for example, has not been identified; ADPC members say the person requested to remain anonymous. Robert Hill, Pitt’s vice chancellor of public affairs, declined to directly respond to an emailed list of questions about the policy. Instead, he emailed a statement that Pitt’s non-discrimination policy, as applied to restrooms, means that a student or faculty member can use the bathroom of “his or her declared gender identity after he or she has obtained a birth certificate designating the declared gender.”
"This does not represent a change in policy," the email continues. "Rather, it is an articulation of a longstanding University practice."
Rayden Sorock, a local advocate for transgender rights, says the policy is problematic for several reasons. For starters, changing the gender on a birth certificate requires sex-reassignment surgery, which is very costly and not always desired by transgendered people.
"[The policy] assumes that people want to change their bodies, and that they can afford to," says Sorock.
Feuer says the University Senate is forming a committee to look into Pitt’s bathroom policy. In the meantime, she says, the ADPC is still trying to discuss the matter with university officials.
As for Lombardi, she has no plans of using the men’s bathroom.
"For my own safety," she says, "I have to continue to use the same facilities."
As of Tuesday, transgender students at the University of Pittsburgh are required to use the campus bathrooms of the sex listed on their birth certificates rather than the gender they identify with.
According to The Pitt News, a University representative announced the new standard on Tuesday. The policy contradicts a unanimously-passed February resolution from Pitt’s Anti-Discriminatory Policies Committee, which would allow students to use bathrooms of the gender with which they identify.
Committee members say their suggested resolution was already practiced across campus and would even require “documentation from a health provider (confirming that the student identifies as a person of that gender).”
The advisory committee’s resolution seems more sensible for multiple reasons.
Although there may be no way to effectively enforce the University’s standard, it is discriminatory and close-minded on principle. Such a policy does not acknowledge a very real issue that a portion of its students deal with daily: their natal sex does not match their lived gender.
The Pitt News interviewed junior Alice Haas (who identifies herself as female), for a story posted Wednesday. Haas said changing her birth certificate would require a surgical sex change and legal processes — which would take years. She said the new standard requires “forced castration in order for me to be considered female” by Pitt, even though her driver’s license and passport both say she is female.
Although it may seem like a “modern” issue to some, many feminists and gender scholars have understood since the 19th century that sex and gender are not synonymous, and that not every individual fits into a gender dichotomy with a clear line drawn down the middle.
Most people who call themselves men are born male, but some are born female. Some people who identify as women and dress the part were born with male body parts. Pitt, an urban, often progressive university, should understand this.
In addition to putting its transgender students at risk for further discrimination, the new standard contradicts logic; if a person who identifies as a man, dresses and looks like a man, wants to use the men’s bathroom, no one should not force him to use the women’s just because that is the sex on his birth certificate. Most students in that women’s bathroom would likely agree.
Gender identity is a complex, constantly evolving issue that relies heavily on individual experience. Although, determining gendered bathroom use on a case-by-case basis is not the answer, neither is a sweeping black-and-white standard to such a personal, intricate issue.
If you read this, you might notice something funny. Such as: this is an article about showers.
That’s curious because Alice, the girl mentioned in the article, actually has no problems with showers. She has a private shower in her dorm. The University apartments she wanted to live in with her female friends had a private shower as well.
This lede should say, “Alice Haas has a problem. She has taken all the steps necessary to be legally female - Alice is her legal name, and her driver’s license has an F on it. Yet the University refuses to allow her to room with other women, because she is transgender.”
I happened to have privileged access to this interview, which was conducted electronically. Alice sent me a copy after it went down, very excited about the prospect of her plight making news.
She talked about how the University refuses to treat her as female until she gets sex reassignment surgery, which is expensive and difficult and FUCKING RIDICULOUS (and is where her totally-removed-from-context statement about what’s between her legs not being Pitt’s business factored in), how Penn State and Carnegie Mellon already offer inclusive housing, and how she’s been shunted around and ignored by most administrators.
What she did not talk about was showers. At all. Because showers are not an issue for Alice.
You may also notice that Alice is only quoted once in this piece. She is quoted once, out of context, obliquely referencing her genitals, and the rest of this very long article is about the thoughts and opinions of cis people. About showers. Which were never the issue.
And don’t get me wrong, they quote very good cis people! Like the anti-discrimination committee ones, who have all the right thoughts, and who have been on Alice’s side from the start! Tricia especially, the president of Rainbow, has been fighting for gender-neutral housing all year. If you’re writing about this issue, you absolutely must talk to Tricia!
But the person whose DAY TO DAY LIFE IS IMPACTED by the OUTRIGHT DISCRIMINATION the University is perpetrating in the absence of an actual policy? That would be Alice.
After hearing hours of testimony on a bill to ban discrimination against transgender people, Baltimore County Council members said Tuesday they would consider exempting public restrooms and locker rooms from the measure.
Restrooms have emerged as a hot-button issue in the county’s debate over the bill. At public hearings, the bill’s opponents have said they fear that if the law is passed, men would sexually assault women in restrooms.
Supporters of the legislation say places with transgender laws have never reported such incidents, and accuse opponents of using the bathroom issue as a distraction. The bill would add gender identity to existing county laws that prohibit discrimination in housing, workplaces, and public places.
Four of the council’s seven members have signed on to the proposed amendment, which says the law wouldn’t apply to public places “that are designated for male or female use, such as restrooms, bath houses, locker rooms, dressing rooms, changing rooms, and similar facilities.” The sponsors are: Democrat Cathy Bevins of Middle River, Republican Todd Huff of Lutherville, Republican David Marks of Perry Hall, and Democrat John Olszewski Sr. of Dundalk.
A vote on the bill and amendments is set for next week. Other proposed amendments would exempt certain institutions, including religious ones, from the law, and would allow employers to require that workers “adhere to reasonable workplace appearance, grooming, and dress standards” as long as the employer allows employees to dress as the gender with which they identify.
More than 60 people testified at the council meeting. Supporters of the bill told stories of being fired from their jobs or physically attacked because they are transgender. Several parents testified about their children coming out as transgender.
Mara Drummond of Catonsville held up a laptop playing a video of the April 2011 attack on Chrissy Lee Polis, a transgender woman who was beaten when she tried to use the bathroom at a Rosedale McDonald’s.
"I want this image to be in your head when you give people the power to police what bathrooms other people use," Drummond said.
Some opponents cited their religious beliefs for being against the bill. Some said it could spur lawsuits against businesses, while others said it would lead to men preying on women in public restrooms.
Catonsville resident Allison Baird spoke against the measure, calling it “a safety issue.”
"I am a mother of two girls, soon to be three, and I have to tell you that this makes me very nervous," she said.
The bill has four sponsors on the council: Catonsville Democrat Tom Quirk, who introduced it last month; Bevins; Randallstown Democrat Kenneth Oliver; and Reisterstown Democrat Vicki Almond, who is chairwoman of the panel.
Bevins said that she knows that many transgender people use public restrooms now, and it doesn’t bother her, but that she has received many concerned phone calls and emails from constituents.
"I hate it that it’s boiled down to being called ‘the bathroom bill,’ " Bevins said.
Olszewski said the proposed amendment would address some people’s worries.
"If your human anatomy is male, you should go to the [men’s] room," he said. "It’s a tough issue, but I’ve heard enough testimony of the public being concerned about it."
Huff said that he would not support the bill without changes, but would consider voting for it if amended.
He said that as a businessman, he is concerned about “frivolous lawsuits” against businesses regarding bathrooms, and that the proposed amendment alleviates that concern.
Marks said he is “prepared to vote for the legislation if it addresses the concerns many of my constituents have … including protections for businesses and a clear exemption for religious institutions and religious-based schools.”
TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Strengthening human rights for transgender people has ignited a firestorm of protest in Baltimore County. Late Tuesday afternoon, the public had their last chance to influence the council ahead of next week’s vote.
Mike Schuh has more.
Transgender woman Chrissy Polis was beaten at a Rosedale McDonald’s. It’s clear no one—not the people who support this bill or the people who oppose it—want to see a human get beaten because they are transgender.
“This bill is an anti-discrimination bill,” said one councilman.
He is close to giving transgender people more protections, but the road to protecting them has hit a wall. Well, actually a door…a men’s and a women’s. On paper, it’s section D, line 4. The words, “Public Accommodation.” About half of those testifying who passed through the doors of council chambers to testify against the transgender bill don’t want a person who is biologically male but who hasn’t had the gender reassignment surgery allowed into a woman’s bathroom.
“I do not want my grandkids going into the bathroom where there is a man dressed as a woman going into the bathroom,” said Jackie Auburn.
“We’d be forced to allow men to use ladies’ restrooms, women’s locker rooms, women’s gym dressing rooms at department stores, pools, beaches, women’s clubs and so forth,” said Betty Labrun.
But those wanting the protection the bill affords are quick to rebut that.
“This bill is not a bathroom bill,” said Tom Quirk.
“We live, work and play among you and pay our taxes as well as go into fast food bathrooms and have done so for many decades with no untoward consequences toward others,” said Dana Beyer.
Reminded of the Rosedale beating, one speaker used her two minutes to read the names of people killed because of who they are.
But many of those against spoke of religious objections.
“Woe to those who call good evil and evil good,” said Labrun.
Four votes are needed. The bill has four co-sponsors.
The vote on this will happen next Monday at 6 p.m.
Maryland is one of 34 states which offer no special protections for its transgender residents.
For transgender and gender non-conforming people (TGNC), using the bathroom matching our gender identity or presentation can often be complicated and sometimes dangerous. What rights do we have to use the bathroom of our choice? How can we safety plan for spaces in which this right is not recognized?
Join AVP and community allies on February 9th from 7-9PM for a discussion on bathroom access. We will share our experiences with accessing the bathrooms of our choice, discuss how to safety plan around potential incidents, and identify key areas for further organizing on this issue.
Snacks and refreshments will be served!
Metrocards will also be available.
DIRECTIONS TO OUR OFFICE:
240 West 35th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues
(take A/C/E/2/3/1/N/R/Q/F/D/B to 34th Street)
RSVP here or to Joyce Choi Li, Local Organizer, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever heard of a case whereby a trans woman harassed a cis-woman in the bathroom or women’s changing room? Have you figured out any magical radar that automatically lets you know if someone is a trans woman or not?
Patriarchy is kind of like Procrustes. It creates these wonderful- and by wonderful I mean awful- standard stereotypes and then lops everything off that it feels does not fit. Thus, being a woman means that someone has to be, well, 5’5, svelt, with breasts large enough to fit a pair of cows, perfect hair and makeup, and the IQ of a stunned rabbit. Any other type of woman is, well, not a woman. Heaven forbid that a woman be 5’11 and built rather masculinely. It does happen. There are many cis-women who are built like trans women just as there are many trans women who look just like cis women.
Unless one spends a great deal of time around trans women, those latter ones tend to not stand out. In fact, even those who spend a lot of time around trans women are able to only suspect that, say, I happen to be trans (for the sake of things I list myself as transsexual because I am changing sexes and intersexual because of the physical abnormalities that put me between the sexes. I am also lesbian since I am attracted to other women as a woman).
Thus, it is amazing to find out that Tennessee Representative Richard Floyd has, somehow, developed a method by which he can detect trans women, but it is not surprising that Floyd has any grasp of what it means to be a human being. Floyd recently stated “…if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there – I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there – I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry. ”
This is a man who has introduced a pedophile’s dream bill by making it illegal for mothers to accompany their underage sons into the bathroom to monitor them, or fathers to accompany their underage daughters into the bathroom to do the same. That is right, rather than caring about children, he would rather ban anyone from using the bathrooms of the sex that their birth certificate does not match.
It also shows that Floyd condones the murder of his fellow humans. At one point, there were people who condoned the outright murder of Blacks, Women and Gays in this nation.
Masen Davis, the Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center, stated “Representative Floyd’s threats send the message that it is ‘OK’ to attack innocent people based on their gender identity and expression. This type of hate speech incites violence and fosters a dangerous and discriminatory environment for transgender people in Tennessee. It is reprehensible for any elected official to encourage violence against people who are our friends and family and who are his constituents.”
The TLC press release goes on to say:
Injustice at Every Turn, a report byThe National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force illustrates the shocking levels of violence and discrimination transgender people face:
Fifty-three percent (53%) of respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies. Respondents experienced widespread abuse in the public sector, and were often abused at the hands of “helping” professionals and government officials.
One fifth (22%) were denied equal treatment by a government agency or official; 29% reported police harassment or disrespect; and 12% had been denied equal treatment or harassed by judges or court officials.
Sixty-three percent (63%) of participants had experienced a serious act of discrimination – events that would have a major impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to sustain themselves financially or emotionally.
“We are extremely concerned that Rep. Floyd’s hateful and bigoted comments will contribute to violence and discrimination against transgender people in Tennessee and elsewhere,” said Matt Wood, Staff Attorney with the Transgender Law Center. “If nothing else, law enforcement and community members should pay close attention to Rep. Floyd’s comments and respond immediate if they rise to the level of criminal threats.”
In the last decade and more, there has never been an incident where a man dressed as a woman assaulted anyone in a women’s bathroom or changing room. That is not stopping the Tennessee General Assembly from showing off just how transphobic they are in that state. Representative Richard Floyd of Chattanooga and State Senator Bo Watson, also of Chattanooga, have introduced legislation that would make it a criminal offense for people “to use the restrooms designated for the sex other than the one listed on their birth certificates.”
This legislation is designed to harass trans people.
The problems with this legislation are manifest and multiple. To begin with, not all trans people are automatically visible. While the typical stereotype is of a very masculine looking guy in a dress, the reality is that most trans women look pretty female. In fact, most trans women are indistinguishable from cis-women. Then comes the other problem. There have been women who have been barred from using the women’s restrooms because they were too butch.
Another problem is, how would they enforce this law? Would they have men standing around demanding that women lift up their skirts to show off that they have a clit and labia and not a penis? That certainly won’t work for post-op trans women. The next problem for this bill is the fact that, while Tennessee bans trans women from getting their sex changed on their birth certificates, many states do not. Vermont recently passed legislation allowing trans people to change their birth certificates before the official surgery. So…what happens when some trans woman shows up with a copy of her birth certificate indicating that she is female, but looking under her skirt shows that she still has male parts?
The bill is designed to do two things. The first is to harass trans people. The second is to try and bring out the Fundamentalist vote. The Nashville Scene notes that “Legislative leaders have claimed they will stick to important issues this session for a change and prove Republicans are serious adults capable of governing responsibly. So much for that.”
The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition issued this statement:
Bathroom Harassment Act is a New Low for Tennessee
The Second Session of the 107th Tennessee General Assembly convened on Tuesday, and it did not take long for the members to set the bar lower than ever before in introducing bad legislation.
Just a little over 48 hours ago, the Bathroom Harassment Act (SB 2282/HB 2279) was filed by two Hamilton County Republicans, Senator Bo Watson of Hixson and Representative Richard Floyd of Chattanooga.
The Bathroom Harassment Act restricts access to public restrooms and public dressing rooms designated by sex to members of that particular sex. Using the person’s birth certificate, a person would face a Class C Misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $50.
The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition feels that while this bill is a direct attack on the rights of Tennessee’s transgender community, transgender people would not be the only people harassed under this bill should it become law. It would affect lots of other gender variant and gender non conforming people who do not necessarily identify as trans. Furthermore, it would criminalize plumbers and cleaning personnel who operate in restrooms the opposite of their birth gender.
The bill would also affect families who take their children with them into restrooms in shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, and sporting events. Are we now going to arrest the parents, or children, or both, for violating this new law?
Tennessee also has many people who visit the state to enjoy our many tourist sites, from Dollywood to Graceland, as well as to transfer at Tennessee airports in Memphis and Nashville. If any of them wish to use a restroom while they are in the state and they do not have their birth certificates with them to prove identity, are we now going to arrest them?
We are also curious to see how Senator Watson and Representative Floyd intend to set up this new Bathroom Identification bureacracy. Who will be responsible for checking everyone’s birth certificates? If a person does not carry their birth certificate with them, will they be denied access to a facility? And how do they intend to pay for this new Big Government agency in the bathroom stalls? Do they propose raising taxes, or will they seek to cut the budgets of superflous agencies like Department of Education or Department of Health? Does this mean that doctors, nurses, and teachers are less important than Bathroom stall monitors?
There are also serious Constitutional questions surrounding this bill, since the Fourth Amendment protects persons “from unreasonable searches and seizures.”
While there have been many attempts to scare people about transgender people using bathrooms, including a well circulated video previously used in anti-transgender campaigns in Florida and Michigan, the only documented incidents all show the transgender person as the victims, not the perpatrators of the abuse. The April 2011 beating of Chrissy Lee Polis at a Baltimore McDonald’s led to charges of Hate Crimes in Maryland against the two women who beat Ms. Polis. In Tennessee, they would probably be hired as supervisors in the new Tennessee Bathroom Security Agency.
We feel this bill is the latest in a growing string of embarrassing bills in Tennessee.
We urge all of you to contact Senator Watson (615-741-3227 or email@example.com) and Representative Floyd (615-741-2746 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and express your opposition to the Bathroom Harassment Act and ask them to withdraw it immediately.