Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rights, Rhetoric and Reality

[A four part essay]
Sharon Brackett

The present rhetoric surrounding the Maryland Gender Identity Ant-Discrimination Act, HB235 is remarkable in its vitriol and acrimony.    I have to question any behavior that divides our modest numbers into smaller and smaller ineffective factions.  And this is exactly what is happening with respect to this bill.  The crux of the issue is public accommodations.  Let me state before you read further, I am in favor of protections for those of us who need it with respect to public accommodations.  What I am not in favor of is the “all or nothing” approach to how it is accomplished.  Change is something that happens in stages, and steps, and rarely in one shot.

Given the “tl;dr;” (too long; didn’t read) effect of our modern world with sound bytes, slogans, tweets and other assorted quips I have broken this essay into sections.  And they will be posted sequentially over a period of days.  But for those who feel the need to read ahead here are the big issues I will cover. 

  • Politics in Maryland – The reality of how law is made
  • Linkage – Why same sex marriage and gender identity protections are not linked
  • Incrementalism – Why this is presently only a battle in a much longer war
  • Commitment – What does it take to “stay the course”

I might ask that you hold your tongues and acerbic tone, and try to elevate what you say to the level of discussion and honest debate.   A warning in advance to responders.  This is "my" blog.  If you are rude, make unsubstantiated charges or apply personal attacks in any form I will delete your posts/comments without warning.  There will be no warning shot across the bow.  I expect there will be some who disagree with me.  Please by all means do so, but when you do make sure you have some facts and data to back up your claims. 

For those who need credentials I am a 49 year old transwoman who has lived in Maryland for the past 22 years.  I am a parent of two teenage sons.  I am a business executive and employer in the state of Maryland.  By profession I am an engineer. I am not a lawyer, politician, or policy person.  I transitioned in 2010 and for those who are wondering, yes, a legal name change and yes there is an “F” on both my state and  federal documentation.  As to what medical procedures I have had that is my own business, thank you for asking.  I am the co-founder of TransParent Day and which promotes the love held between children and their transgender parents.  And I have been a supporter of Equality Maryland both financially and in terms of volunteering.  I receive no compensation for my efforts on their behalf and they have no authority over the content of this blog.

Read on...

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