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November 16, 2007

Court Overturns PA Hate Crimes Bill

A Pennsylvania State Court judge overturned a Pennsylvania bill adding language to a hate crimes bill.  It listed as a hate crime certain crimes motivated by the sexual orientation or disability of the victim.

The original purpose of the bill was to protect against "agricultural vandalism and crop destruction."  The judge stated that the bill must be overturned because, "no matter how salutary the purpose of a bill may be, it still must comport with constitutionally mandated requirements for passage . . . ."  See Article in Philly.com entitled "Court Throws Out PA's Hate Crimes Law."

November 16, 2007 in Employment Discrimination, Sara R. Benson | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 13, 2007

Montgomery County, Maryland Transgender Bill

The County Council for Montgomer County, Maryland is considering a bill granting housing and employment protection to transgendered individuals.  However, it also included a provision that would permit transgendered individuals to use public restrooms.  Those opposing the bill were up in arms about this provision, claiming that it would result in "indecent exposure."  See the Washington Post's Coverage of the issue (Nov. 11, 2007; Transgender Bill May Be Close to Passing).  The bill's sponsor stated that she will pull the restroom language and thinks that the bill will pass without it.  However, the broad language of the rest of the bill may be read to include the right to use public restrooms nonetheless.

This brings up an important point.  Why are restrooms such a hot button issue?  It seems that generally people are really offended by the idea of a male to female transsexual using the women's restroom when she has not yet had genital surgery.  I have a litany of responses to this, but I will limit my comments to three:

(1)  As I pointed out in an earlier blog post, women's restrooms generally have enclosed stalls.  Thus, how would anyone suffer from "indecent exposure"?  Also, even in male restrooms, there is generally at least one stall, so the same logic applies.

(2)  Most male to female transsexuals would rather not have anyone see their "male" parts.  Why would any transsexual individual "flash" her genitalia at the general public?  In my view, this kind of concern is really a front for a deep seated fear of those who are different.  In fact, it is similar to comparing transgendered individuals with sick individuals who like to expose their private parts in public to young children.  It is an unacceptable comparison.

(3)  Why don't we just add additional "family" or "gender neutral" single stall restrooms to public buildings?  In this manner, we will never have the issue of forcing a transgendered individual to pick whether he feels like a male or a female today.  Not to mention the fact that intersex individuals are put to the same task as well.

November 13, 2007 in Employment Discrimination, Other, Sara R. Benson | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack