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Friday, April 29, 2011

Good Parents v Bad People

--by Robyn

Last week I shared the first four of five episodes of a series called
Transformation, produced by Canada'a Global News BC.

My first objective for tonight was to share the last episode.

Nikki's Story

What struck me about this short video was the acceptance of Nikki that we see she has gotten from her mother, Michelle Buchamer.

Then I got to reading some other articles about what's been going on and once again, the role of parents seemed to be handily filled. Although Chrissly Polis did not attend the vigil held in her honor at the Rosedale, MD Mc Donald's, her mother, Renee Carr, was there as was her grandmother.

She was thankful, and I came on her behalf. I'm shocked looking at all of these supporters out here today. I'm so happy that everyone pulled everything together and that everyone is rooting for my daughter.

--Renee Carr

Warms the cockles, in my opinion.

There is hope that some good may come out of the beating that Chrissy Polis received.

Joseline Pena-Melnyk, who sponsored the transgender protection bill that the Maryland State Senate eventually crushed, issued an open letter to her colleagues regarding the attack and the need for the bill.

Incidents such as this illustrate why the transgender community in Maryland and elsewhere needs to be protected through antidiscrimination legislation.

--Pena-Melnyk letter

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamentz also issued a statement, calling the attack "vicious" and "a wake-up call".

Last week's beating of Chrissy Lee Polis in Rosedale once again reminds us of our responsibility as citizens to do all that we can to ensure that our neighborhoods provide a safe and welcoming environment for residents and visitors.


Maryland transgender politician Dr. Dana Beyer has penned her own essay calling for reconsideration by the Maryland legislature, which she entitled, A Perfect Storm

In a profound irony, the assault on Polis occurred exactly one week after the end of the legislative session, the day the gender identity bill, shorn of its usual public accommodations protections, died. Protecting the transgender and gender-non-conforming communities from discrimination in the public sphere was simply too much for many delegates to seriously consider.

The two girls charged with the crime are in dire need of an education. Clearly they know nothing of sex and gender, and have been taught that violence is acceptable. Maybe they were taught by their parents, or church or peers. The right-wing fundamentalist opposition to any protections for gender nonconforming individuals gets spewed into the pews of our state's churches, as well as the floor of the House of Delegates.

Dana is a co-author of the Dallas Principles. If you are not familiar with them, it is perhaps time to learn.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also include the testimony by the father of a transgirl up in Maine, where there is a movement to try to strip us of some hard won public accommodation rights.

My name is Wayne Maines, I live in Old Town. I have a 13-year-old transgender daughter. In the beginning, I was not onboard with this reality. Like many of you I doubted transgender children could exist, I doubted my wife and I doubted our counselors and doctors. However I never doubted my love for my child. It was only through observing her pain and her suffering and examining my lack of knowledge about these issues did I begin to question my behavior and my conservative values. I learned that the medical standard of care requires parents seek assistance from a panel of experts. We did this and our team of doctors recommended my daughter to live fully as a girl. We cannot turn back now. When my daughter lost her privileges at school and both children and adults targeted her, I knew I had to change and I have never looked back.

When we moved to Maine, it was clear my daughter was transitioning from male to female with us or without us. She used the girl's bathroom with no fanfare; she was confident and very social. Her strong personality helped the entire school transition right along side of her. She was proud and secure with herself and when people asked at the young age of six she openly stated that she was a girl trapped in a boy's body.

The transformation was amazing, but her happiness would not last. Unfortunately the fears of others would destroy everything that our team of doctors, teachers, school counselors, friends and classmates had work so hard to establish.

I know that it is difficult for some of you to understand the needs of transgender children. You only need to spend some time with these kids to see that they are struggling and suffering beyond your imagination only because they are singled out and misunderstood. They are just like your children and grandchildren; they have the same hopes and the same dreams.

In the fifth grade because of significant negative exposure we had to take drastic measures to protect her from harm, including splitting our family up to go in hiding and we are not the only family that has had to do so. When she was told she could no longer use the appropriate bathroom her confidence and self-esteem took a major hit. Prior to this my daughter often said, "Dad, being transgender is no big deal, my friends and I have it under control." I was very proud of her. It was only when adults became involved with their unfounded fears that her world would be turned upside down. "She came to me crying and asked, "Daddy what did I do wrong? Daddy please fix this?" That is what dads do -- we fix things. I had to break her heart and say, "You have not done anything wrong sweetie, but Mommy and I do not know how to fix this, but we will try."

Continuing to single these kids out is not necessary. Having the opportunity to use the bathrooms of their true gender is essential for these kids' well being. This bill places transgender children in a position of doom and hopelessness. This bill tells my daughter that she does not have the same rights as her classmates and reinforces her opinion that she has no future. Help me give her the future she deserves. Do not pass this bill.

There were some not-so-nice people in the news as well. Texas Sen. Tommy Williams and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst come immediately to mind. They are the proponents of a law in Texas to prohibit tradespeople from entering into heterosexual marriages by denying legal recognition of sex reassignment for marriage purposes.

gender is assigned at birth and sticks with a person throughout their life

--Texas State Appeals Court, 1999

I'm also not feeling too kindly towards John Lee (D-North Las Vegas)

While voting for SB 331, which would grant protection from discrimination for transpeople in public accommodation, and SB 368, which would grant protection from discrimination for transpeople in housing, which fortunately both passed the Nevada Senate and will move on to the Nevada Assembly, Good Ole John also voted against SB 180, which would have added "real or perceived gender identity or expression" to the state's Hate Crimes Law, so it failed to pass by a vote of 10-11.

But when it comes to SB180, I felt we were looking for a solution to a problem that's not there.

Chrissy Polis and the transwoman known as Stephanie at the Cosmopolitan would probably disagree. So might Angie Zapata and Gwen Araujo. Oh…and we shouldn't forget Francheska Gonzalez, who was viciously attacked while pumping gas in a Rio Piedras, PR gas station the same evening that Chrissy was getting mauled in the McDonald's.

Lee, who said he supported two other gender expression bills out of compassion for God's creatures, said he could not support SB180 because it would require education about gender expression.

Would the bill indeed have required education about gender expression? No (pdf), but why let facts stand in the way?

Here's some testimony by Andrew Davey of Stonewall Democrats during the events leading up to the vote.

While looking for an appropriate video like the one above, I also found testimony from a mother, Elvira Diaz:

Perhaps I also should add something about Jennifer Carr, mother of a 7-year-old transgender girl and a 5-year-old boy who lives in Chicago and has written a children's book about her family, Be Who You Are.

We all know what happens when things don't go so well.

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