Why Allegheny County Cannot Throw “Gender Identity” and “Gender Expression” out the window

Dear Allegheny County,

Please go read this account of how an incident of transphobia manifested itself as homophobia, almost as an incident of public accommodation.  http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/10382/national-car-rental-employee-to-trans-woman-customer-screwedup-man-faggot    (h/t to Pam's House Blend for a well-done exclusive story)

I read this and think of those of you, friend and foe, who think that stripping the County anti-discrimination ordinance of protections based on “gender identity” and “gender expression” might be necessary as a means to get some sort of protection in place.

I respectfully disagree.  As Autumn points out, there is no fine line of discernment when it comes to hatin' on the LGBTQ community.  Thus, any attempt to pretty up the bill by excluding protections for those who are most vulnerable is self-defeating and somewhat self-loathing.  Would lesbians accept an ordinance that only protected gay  men only?  Would gay men accept a bill that solely protected bisexual men and women in relationships with opposite gendered individuals?  No. 

The employee of this car rental company used the term “faggot” as a general slur against our community –LGBT and Q.  He wasn't addressing a gay identified man.  He was bashing someone in our community.  It is 2009 and we should not accept subterfuge as an acceptable means of dealing with discrimination.  Trans men and trans women living in Allegheny County should not be slipped into a protected class through the back door. 

It is 2009 and Allegheny County is in 14th place, at best.  Let's not make a deplorable situation worse by tacitly feeding into some sort of hierarchy of acceptable queerness. 

When it comes to discrimination, we are all faggots.


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  • Well said Sue, although I had not heard that anyone is seriously thinking of stripping gender expression/identity from the legislation.
    It is an easy call in my book. Equal protection under the law is equal protection, and taking out protection for transgendered people just to get something is not a compromise with a positive result.

  • Thank you, Thomas. I had to correct my own language to my utter embarrassment. To be fair, I suspect Ledcat and I have a touch of food poisoning hence my logging in at 1:45 AM.
    I am not in touch with the circles of LGBT folks who participate in these levels of discussion, but I know that this is a perceived weakness targeted by right wing opponents. I have also had multiple conversations with private citizens who think it would be a worthwhile thing to do … real conversations with people who genuninely believe this, similar to the HRC stance on the last go round with ENDA.
    Autumn's report at Pam's House Blend really got me thinking. Too often we think of these protected classes in an us/them framework when really how we express our gender identity transcends the whole queer community. The are plenty of lesbians who could be fired simply because their gender expression does not conform with societal expectations of “women” just as there are plenty of heterosexual women in the same boat. The triad of protected classes is not simply a stringing together of unrelated categories of human beings; rather it is a collective description of the intersection of the experience and the expression of orientation and identity.
    I hope that makes some sort of sense.

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