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




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. 



PFLAG Columbia-Howard County,

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,

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.