There are still some lines in the sand on transgender equality

posted at 11:46 am on March 29, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

In Maryland, you’ll no longer have to worry about anyone telling you what gender you are, where to go to the bathroom or which dressing room to use again. The legislature there has just passed a new bill mandating Transgender Equality across the land… or at least as much land as you can find in Maryland.

The Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday approved a bill banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity, positioning the Old Line State on track to join 17 others and the District of Columbia in protecting the rights of transgender individuals.

Senate Bill 212, otherwise known as the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014, made it through the Democratic-controlled House by a vote of 82-57, after more than two hours of floor debate. It passed the state Senate earlier this month, 32-15, and now heads to the desk of Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley for signature.

“I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to accomplish this,” Democratic state Sen. Rich Madaleno, the bill’s sponsor and the only openly gay member to have ever served in the state Senate, told msnbc. “It took a lot of effort, many years of outreach and education, but it’s remarkable how much progress we’ve been able to make in Maryland, especially over the last four years.”

There have been a lot of stories on this subject crossing the transom lately, and it’s gotten me to thinking about the various designations of “rights” we seem to be pigeonholing for every demographic subdivision you’d care to name. This one in particular raises some rather personal questions in terms of where we draw the line between what the government must recognize and what the individual citizen must recognize. The government part is fairly easy, as long as we stick to the fundamental rights which are already assured to all citizens.

It doesn’t matter how you dress or what pronoun you demand when people refer to you, at least in terms of your basic rights. You should be free to speak your mind, worship as you wish (or not) or keep and bear arms, regardless of which pair of chromosomes is swimming around in your biological stew. And that doesn’t change whether you’re shopping for your clothes at JoS. A. Bank’s or Lady Bug Plus. Of course, when it comes to government recognition, there are still a few folks out there who will try to take it too far.

This story came to my attention this morning. A person on trial for a series of killings is using a unique defense: s/he has had a sex change, is now a woman and so, as Donna, cannot be held responsible for crimes that s/he committed when s/he was Douglas.

Words fail me somewhat, but I wonder if this brings us to the limits of the madness of a world where we are whoever we think ourselves to be and where an operation is enough to justify changing birth certificates.

Well, that’s clearly a case of trying to run the play long past where the whistle has blown. But in our day to day lives, there are other potential cases which are far less beyond the realm of imagination and again beg the question of just how far the rest of your fellow citizens are obligated to go in accommodating you. When I was researching this, a colleague pointed me to – of all places – and advice column at Slate. And while I realize that this takes the newsy level of this discussion down a few notches, it’s still worth reading what one advice seeker was dealing with.

Dear Prudie,
Several years ago I dated a woman named “Rhonda” for three months. I broke up with her after her sister “Amy” revealed to me that Rhonda was born “Ron” and showed me ample evidence. When I confronted Rhonda about her being a transsexual woman, she broke down and confessed that she was going to tell me, but only after we had been intimate! (Luckily we hadn’t been yet.) It wasn’t her transsexuality that ended the relationship, but her deception; I am not a transphobic person. Rhonda took the breakup badly and stopped speaking to Amy, and on top of that their parents took Rhonda’s side and accused Amy of trying to ruin Rhonda’s life out of jealousy. Later, Amy and I began dating and eventually married.

I’ll just let that one sink in for a minute. And I won’t torture you with the helpful “advice” which was dispensed in return by Emily Yoffe.

Surely we can admit – and if need be, ask a court to confirm – that there are limits on the personal interactions you have with others in a situation like this. Honestly, I have to admire the letter writer a bit for not writing this missive from jail after punching his date in the nose. But what of “Rhonda” in this story? Have you no obligation under the law to let an obviously heterosexual dating partner in on the fact that you are not biologically of the gender you are advertising before you … “become intimate” with them?

I don’t care if we’re not talking about the Full Monty here (if you’ll pardon the pun), but even so much as a kiss at the end of the date. I suppose I’ll set myself up for all sorts of hate mail on this one, but as I see it, a person who engages in a goodnight kiss on the stoop under these circumstances should be potentially subject to arrest under sexual assault charges. There is simply no way that any rational court of law could expand the definition of “rights” to the point where you can pass yourself off as different gender than the one you were born with and demand that a prospective suitor accept that to the point of engaging in intimate activities with you. And if things have gone that far, we’ve arrived at a mad, mad world indeed.

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Comment pages: 1 2 3

All done, Thuja? But you never even got to explain how dinosaurs co-existed with man.
Or you could always just make fun of special needs children again, I suppose.
rogerb on March 29, 2014 at 6:31 PM

I can only assume that you have my confused with someone else. By the way, have you stopped beating your wife?
thuja on March 29, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Echolalia is for five year olds.
thuja on March 29, 2014 at 1:04 PM

So you either knew what the condition was tied to (in five year olds) and felt comfortable using it as an insult, or you didn’t really know what the term meant when you decided to try it out.
Which do you prefer?
rogerb on March 29, 2014 at 8:28 PM

All done, thuja?
So you’d rather us guess which one it was, then? Mine is the second, fwiw. I can’t imagine an adult knowingly and willingly making fun of children with developmental disorders, so I’m going with “thuja didn’t really know what the term meant when she decided to try it out”.
Feel free to correct me if you did know what the term involved, though.
Although that’s much worse, of course.

rogerb on March 30, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Does Jesus call out Original Sin as separate from actual sin in this Commission? No, He does not.
In other words, not even the Catholic Church, after two milennia of study of Scripture and Tradition in relating man to God, has the answer.

So, yes, we can hope, but we cannot know.

unclesmrgol on March 30, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Scripture is silent on what happens to unbaptized children at death.

It is also silent on what happens to people w/o a mental capacity to accept/reject God. And, “baptizing” someone w/o their knowledge of what it means, accomplishes nothing but dunking them in the water.

Not a Catholic, so quoting Catholic traditions and the Catechism does not answer anything for me. If you want to talk Scripture, the last place you should go for affirmation of your position is the Catholic Catechism to someone not a Catholic. The words “original sin” are not found in the bible. It a construct made by men or “manufactured” as it were.

The scripture you picked one verse from does not mention babes at all. The whole conversation is to and about adults and about they should conduct their lives/rules to live by, etc. Then, the instructions are about to rectify the sin….be “buried with him in baptism” (not sprinkled, btw).

Not one word about babies. Not one.

5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

5:21 That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

6:3 Know all of you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

ALSO, The Great Commission is also in Matthew, which is overlooked by those that believe in infant baptism to “save” babies:
Mark 16:15-18
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

I’ll have to tell you that I was a minister’s wife for about 10years b/f he quit, and have taught bible classes for that length of time an longer. I’m not a novice here.

avagreen on March 30, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Thuja, all people are potentially bisexual. It’s just a matter of which sexual habits you learn, and the only difference between you and a practicing bisexual is that has learned (at least) one more habit than you. It isn’t limited to “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” either: every kink and fetish is a sexual habit on the same level — even the ones that involve imagining acts that aren’t physically possible (like actual transsexualism).

Count to 10 on March 29, 2014 at 12:25 PM

But isn’t it the standard line that gays and transgenders are “born that way?” So which is it? A lifestyle choice or a predilection?

cheeflo on March 31, 2014 at 12:44 PM


rogerb on March 30, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Lolz! ; )

Bmore on March 31, 2014 at 12:46 PM

…she broke down and confessed that she was going to tell me, but only after we had been intimate! (Luckily we hadn’t been yet.) It wasn’t her transsexuality that ended the relationship, but her deception; I am not a transphobic person.

So he’s okay with pre-marital sex, he’s okay with transgenders, and he’s a guy with a normal sex drive who would be okay with having sex with a transgender …it’s just the deception that bothers him. Ya, he’s a liar.

Fenris on March 29, 2014 at 12:52 PM

I thought the same thing when I originally read it at Slate. People are totally cowed by the real bullying that comes from the LGBT community. Let’s face it — straight people are repelled by the thought of sexual congress with their same gender, but heaven forbid to actually admit it and confess that their sexual proclivities fall into the normal range.

cheeflo on March 31, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Why any man would want to use a women’s public toilet is beyond me. They are notoriously disgusting. Ask any janitor.

Mord on March 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

That’s true. I don’t know why, but women trash restrooms. I’ve observed that at many public facilities.

cheeflo on March 31, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Then you agree that all people are potentially bisexual. Or heterosexual. Or homosexual. It’s just a matter of experience.

Anyone claiming that they were “born that way” are really just trying to shed responsibility.

Count to 10 on March 29, 2014 at 1:43 PM

The issue of potentiality is rather broad and, it seems to me, academic. It’s more than just experience — it really does all boil down to choice (unless the subject is abortion, then potential is irrelevant to the bien pensant).

cheeflo on March 31, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Hmmmm… if you have decided to be a woman, but you are still attracted to women, wouldn’t that mean that you might want to rethink the initial decision to be a woman?

Theophile on March 29, 2014 at 3:20 PM

I remember reading about a man who had sexual reassignment surgery and he was always and still attracted to women. I could never wrap my head around that — was he a lesbian in a man’s body? That must have been hell.

cheeflo on March 31, 2014 at 1:38 PM

All done, thuja? No more quips about developmentally disabled children?

rogerb on March 31, 2014 at 4:40 PM

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