Support Trans Rights in Baltimore County

We urgently need you to contact the Baltimore County Council

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As some of you may be aware Gender Identity protections have been introduced for consideration in Baltimore County, Maryland, the home of Chrissy Polis and the Rosedale McDonalds where she was savagely beaten in April, 2011.

Four of the seven Councilmembers have agreed to sponsor bill 3-12 as a fully comprehensive bill that also includes sexual orientation.  However, unlike our successful efforts in Howard County last fall, the opposition has woken up and filled Councilmembers in-boxes and switchboards with hateful and fearful messaging regarding trans and gender non-conforming people. 

We are asking you to do three things: 

1) Send an email to Councilmembers.   

2) Call the Council and express your support.

3) We need you to come and support us at public hearings that will be held on the afternoon of February 14th 2012.

Click this link for information on contacting Councilmembers directly!

Not sure what to say or write, follow the link and we will help you.

On Tuesday February 14th, starting at 1:30 p.m., the council will hold public hearings on the issue and we need to send a clear and visible message to the council – and the state – that Marylanders support these basic rights. That’s why we’ll be there wearing PURPLE, and whether or not you live in Baltimore County your attendance will help send that crucial message.

Tuesday, February 14th, 1:30pm

Baltimore County Council

400 Washington Avenue
Court House, Second Floor
Towson, Maryland 21204

Victory is within our reach, and success in Baltimore County will add to our momentum as we look ahead to passing SB212, the Gender Identity Anti-discrimination bill, in the state legislative session.

Let’s get ahead of the opposition. Let’s leave no doubt that the community supports ending discrimination against transgender people. Let’s secure another victory in Maryland, together.

Live (or know someone who lives) in Baltimore County and want to testify? Let us know so we can help prepare you and coordinate to be most effective.See you on February 14th!

In Solidarity,
Sharon Brackett, Board Chair

Dana Beyer, Executive Director


Howard County Council Passes Gender Identity Protection Ordinance

MEASURE PASSES COUNCIL ON A 4 to 1 VOTE

Columbia, MD – December 5, 2011 – This evening Howard County passed legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in the areas of housing, law enforcement, public accommodations, financing, employment, and health and social services.  The bill was initiated by Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) and Gender Rights Maryland (GRMD), an organization dedicated to enacting similar statewide protections. 

"This is a very happy day here in Howard County” said Heath Goisovich, Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee of PFLAG Columbia-Howard County.  “Our County Council has shown that Howard County is willing to lead in the state on civil rights issues.  We have put a lot of work in on this and we are really pleased with the outcome.”

“Now, after much hard work, we have expanded protections in Howard and done so with a broad coalition of support. As a resident of Howard County I could not be prouder of my Council for taking this issue on.   This event will yield great momentum in expanding these same rights throughout the state in 2012,” said Sharon Brackett, Board Chair for Gender Rights Maryland. 

”Howard County will now join Montgomery County and Baltimore City as the third jurisdiction in Maryland supporting these rights.  This is a clear sign of exciting and changing times in Maryland for advocates of civil rights,” added Brackett.

The bill will now be forwarded to County Executive Ken Ullman who is expected to sign it.  The measure will take effect 61 days following the signing.  


Governor Glendening Asks For Your Help

When I was in office as your Governor, I had to make the hard decisions that affected our State. It was not always easy to make those decisions. Today I want to let you know about one decision that’s become an easy one for me: advocating for full equality for transgender Marylanders. Today I ask you to join me in supporting Gender Rights Maryland.

When I began as an elected official, as City Councilman for Hyattsville, I envisioned a political career where I could make a difference. I have my brother, Bruce, to thank for the fact that one of my top priorities is championing civil rights within our State. Bruce was influential on my push for sexual orientation to be included in the anti-discrimination law in 2001 when I served as Governor.

In 2001, the state of Maryland passed anti-discrimination for gay and lesbian people but fell far short of the inclusion of transgender individuals. Gender Identity is not a “gay” issue and requires the equal promotion of education, tolerance, equality and acceptance.

Due to the absence of securing anti-discrimination for transgender individuals in 2001, I staunchly support the transgender community’s efforts in the 2012 legislative session to have full and comprehensive legislation added to the Maryland antidiscrimination policies for transgender individuals.

Gender Identity anti-discrimination is about basic human rights – the right to a job, a place to live and fair treatment in public spaces.

I understand you might have frustrations, given the recent Maryland State Legislative session, but I urge you to continue your steadfast support for legislation into 2012 with Gender Rights Maryland.

My commitment to assisting in the passage of gender identity anti-discrimination legislation is unwavering. I know Gender Rights Maryland is committed to bringing these laws to fruition in the next legislative session and with the commitment from their members and supporters over the course of the next few months they will be well positioned to move this legislation through the Maryland General Assembly in 2012.

My brother passed away in 1992. I wish he could be here today to see how far our society has come with acceptance of all LGBT individuals. I support Gender Rights Maryland’s continued efforts to pass these protections.  I want to honor his memory by doing whatever I can to ensure we win gender identity protections in Maryland and continue to increase acceptance and education in the State of Maryland.

There is a long road ahead and we will only accomplish the tasks set forth with the commitment from the community as a whole. This is a time for us to unite as allies, community members and leaders.

Today, 15 states, the District of Columbia and over 140 municipalities including Baltimore City and Montgomery County (and soon to be Howard County) have gender identity protections. This is a life or death bill - over 90% (as reported by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) indicated harassment, mistreatment or discrimination at work. Over 43% indicated they had been fired, not hired or denied a promotion for being who they are.

Do not waver, do not lose faith. Enacting civil rights is a process, and not an easy one at that, but full civil rights will come with the dedication from you and the entire LGBT the community and allies.

Sincerely,

Governor Parris Glendening


Advocates Applaud Intro of Critical Gender Identity Protections in Howard County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Advocates Applaud Intro of Critical Gender Identity Protections in Howard County


LOCAL PARENTS AND ADVOCATES APPLAUD INTRO OF CRITICAL

GENDER IDENTITY ANTI-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS IN HOWARD COUNTY

Columbia, MD - October 27, 2011 – Howard County Councilmembers Courtney Watson (District 1), Calvin Ball (District 2), Jen Terrasa (District 3), and Mary Kay Sigaty (District 4) introduced county legislation today that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in the areas of housing, law enforcement, public accommodations, financing, employment, and health and social services.  This bill was immediately applauded by the local chapter of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) and Gender Rights Maryland (GRMD), an organization dedicated to enacting similar statewide 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 bill will make that dream more possible for transgender children in Howard County, who are at much higher risk for suicide, unemployment and homelessness,” said Catherine Hyde, the coordinator of PFLAG Howard- County’s Transgender Parent Network. 

“All hardworking people in our state, including transgender people, should have a chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families. Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.  I have seen the result of this kind of discrimination and it should not be allowed in Howard County,” said Sharon Brackett, Board Chair for Gender Rights Maryland. 

”In recent polling, 63% of Marylanders support adding comprehensive protections.  Gender Identity protections are on the books in 15 states, the District of Columbia, and over 140 municipalities including Baltimore City and Montgomery County, covering 43% of Americans. We are seeking those protections to be extended to all Marylanders.  The Howard County bill is an important next step,” added Brackett.

“Discrimination against the transgender community is rampant in Maryland. The data shows that 1 in 5 transgender people in Maryland have lost a job because they are transgender, and 12% have become homeless. This law is a matter of life-or-death for many Marylanders, including my child.  It is time for Howard County to say enough is enough,” said Hyde. 

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 PFLAG Columbia-Howard County, http://www.pflagmd.org

Founded in 1994, PFLAG Columbia-Howard County has a thriving program that truly makes a difference in the lives of LGBT people and their families, as well as providing a forum for educating the broader community in order to advance real and lasting change in the hearts and minds of people in our county and beyond.

Gender Rights Maryland, http://www.GenderRightsMaryland.org

The purpose of Gender Rights Maryland is to promote civil rights, education, tolerance, equality and acceptance on the basis of sex and gender identity/expression in the State of Maryland.  Gender Rights Maryland’s initial legislative goal is to see the passage of a comprehensive gender identity antidiscrimination bill by the end of the 2012 legislative session.


Advocates Applaud Intro of Critical Gender Identity Protections in Baltimore County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Advocates Applaud Intro of Critical Gender Identity Protections in Baltimore County


LOCAL PARENTS AND ADVOCATES APPLAUD INTRO OF CRITICAL

GENDER IDENTITY ANTI-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS IN BALTIMORE COUNTY

Towson, MD – January 19, 2011 – This week Baltimore County Councilmembers Tom Quirk (District 1), Vicki Almond (District 2), Kenneth N. Oliver (District 4), and Cathy Bevins (District 6) introduced county legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in the areas of housing, employment, education, public accommodations, or financing.  This bill was immediately applauded by the local chapter of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) and Gender Rights Maryland (GRMD), an organization dedicated to enacting similar statewide protections. 

“The passage of this bill, from PFLAG’s perspective, will work to create a society that is healthy and respective of diversity. PFLAG envisions a society that embraces everyone, including those of diverse gender expressions, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Only with respect, dignity and equality for all will we reach our full potential as human beings, individually and collectively,” said Mark Patro, Chapter President of PFLAG Baltimore County.

"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 bill will make that dream more possible for transgender children in Baltimore County, who are at much higher risk for suicide, unemployment and homelessness,” said Catherine Hyde, the coordinator of PFLAG Howard- County’s Transgender Parent Network. 

“All hardworking people in our state, including transgender people, should have a chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families. Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.  I have seen the result of this kind of discrimination and it should not be allowed in Baltimore County,” said Sharon Brackett, Board Chair for Gender Rights Maryland. 

”In recent polling, 63% of Marylanders support adding comprehensive protections.  Gender Identity protections are on the books in 15 states, the District of Columbia, and over 140 municipalities including Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and now Howard County covering 43% of Americans. We are seeking those protections to be extended to all Marylanders.  Baltimore County following on the heels of Howard County passing the same protections offers us tremendous momentum at the state level going ahead,” added Brackett. 

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PFLAG Baltimore County, http://www.PFLAGBaltimore.org

Founded in 2009, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Baltimore County promotes the equality and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, their families and friends by providing support to cope with an adverse society, education to enlighten an ill-informed public and advocacy to end discrimination and secure equal civil rights.

Gender Rights Maryland, http://www.GenderRightsMaryland.org

The purpose of Gender Rights Maryland is to promote civil rights, education, tolerance, equality and acceptance on the basis of sex and gender identity/expression in the State of Maryland.  Gender Rights Maryland’s initial legislative goal is to see the passage of a comprehensive gender identity anti‐discrimination bill by the end of the 2012 legislative session.