Saturday, March 28, 2009

More about New Hampshire

I received some more news that, unfortunately, does not relieve my suspicions. It turns out that more than 50 New Hampshire House representatives who are members of the Democratic party were absent from the non discrimination vote. I wonder why the representatives who were not present didn't think it was important enough to attend to the non discrimination vote. I assume they were present when the marriage equality vote was taken the day before. Why didn't they know, why didn't they care? Were they not told of how important the non discrimination bill was? Didn't anyone tell them trans people's survival, tied as it is to employment and housing availability, is a bit more important than being able to marry your same sex sweetheart? Why was the marriage vote scheduled first?

I've already been told by one person, but without any proof (I'm supposed to take their word for it), that there is no divide between the GLB and T portions of the community in New Hampshire. I will count that as one small piece of evidence that I may be wrong and it is far from being enough to convince me.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Tale of Two Battles. (or was it three?)

I was very pleased, heartened even, when I heard on Wednesday that Gainesville, Florida had voted no to the cynical and hateful attempt by the so called “Citizens for Good Public Policy,” along with their right wing supporters from the Thomas More Legal Center, to roll back that city’s nondiscrimination law. Their attempt to remove the city law in favor of the much more limited Florida state non discrimination law, using scare tactics based on lies was defeated by 58 to 42% of the voters.

Amendment 1, as it was called, would have rolled back nondiscrimination protections for not only the trans community in Gainesville but also the gay, lesbian and bisexual community as well, since Florida state law does not recognize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well as gender identity/expression. A strong coalition of GLB as well as T groups and individuals, along with the ACLU and NOW, fought the good fight and beat back the oppressors.

Today, however, I hear that the New Hampshire House defeated a bill that would have included trans people in their non discrimination law. The bill lost by 15 votes, 157-172. The day before this vote was taken, however, the NH House voted to pass a bill that would to make same-sex marriages legal, by a vote of 186-179. This particular coincidence fills me with dismay.

Why? Because the GLB community has been so focused on marriage rights that I suspect they gave non discrimination short shrift in their lobbying efforts. I am not connected with either of the campaigns in Gainesville or New Hampshire so this is conjecture but given past history and my own two eyes on how things work in New York State, I feel pretty safe with my suspicion. I hope to see some information from the trans community in New Hampshire that will make me wrong, but I dare say, I doubt it will come.

It is important to note that sexual orientation was and remains a protected category under New Hampshire non discrimination law. There was zero motivation then, from what I can see, beyond enlightened self interest (since gender expression is often variant within the GLB community) for them to devote the resources it would take to get trans people covered when their marriage rights were on the docket at the same time.

The “predators in bathrooms” lie apparently worked in New Hampshire. It didn’t in Gainesville. While I suppose there are many factors that came into play, I am almost certain the lack of support from the GLB community, distracted as they were by the marriage equality bill in New Hampshire, played a significant part in the defeat. I hope I’ll be proven wrong. I really do, but it’s about the same level of hope that I have for an inclusive ENDA, or the hope I have for real support from the HRC, not just words.