Friday, November 18, 2011

Howard County Council to Hear Gender Identity Bill Next Monday

On the heels of Massachusetts lawmakers’ praise-worthy decision to provide several basic rights to transgender residents, Howard County Marylanders continue to fight their own battle for local gender identity protections.
The gender identity non-discrimination bill was proposed with the help of PFLAG Howard County and Gender Rights Maryland and was introduced by Howard County councilmembers in October. The bill would prohibit discrimination in areas of housing, law enforcement, public accommodations, financing, and employment.
One out of every five transgender people in Maryland has lost a job because they are transgender. 12% have become homeless. These staggering numbers are proof of the dire need for protections for gender expression and identity. Catherine Hyde, coordinator of PFLAG Howard County’s Transgender Network, expresses the urgency for these protections: “As parents of transgender children we want the same thing for our children as all parents want: we want them to be happy, to get a productive job, and to move out and support themselves…this law is a matter of life-or-death for many Marylanders, including my child.”
63% of Marylanders support protections for gender identity and expression, and 15 states (and the District of Columbia) have gender identity protections. “It’s time for Howard County to say enough is enough,” said Catherine. We couldn’t agree more.
Americans don’t allow discrimination against the color of people’s skin, and there is no reason to allow discrimination against an individual’s gender or gender expression. Sometimes we forget: Everyone has a gender identity, and we express it every single day.
Take Action: Write to Howard County Councilmembers before the public hearing on November 21st to give them the real facts about this bill, and urge them to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential in Howard County. If you are a resident of the county or live near-by, wear your purple and attend the public hearing at 7:30PM next Monday, November 21st in Ellicott City to show councilmembers that Marylanders support this bill!

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