Reading the Transgendernews yahoogroup this weekend, made me happy. There were stories about progress in three different states: two of which are in the advance stages of progress. In Montana a trans-inclusive anti-discrmiination bill has been introduced. In both Massachusetts and Maryland, trans activists and allies are making a strong push this year to finally make progress in their famously progressive states. [Massachusetts is actually a Commonwealth, which is really only an important distinction if you are from one of the four Commonwealth states (KY, MA, PA, VA) as I am.]
In Massachusetts, the Mass Transgender Political Caucus (MTPC) is gearing up for thir effort. This means it’s a done deal. Even if it doesn’t get finalized and signed by Governor Patrick, this year, it is soon a done deal. MTPC is among the best organized, smart and most broad-based trans organizations in the country–I have no doubt they will get the job done. Here is an article about their effort from the Boston Bay Windows newspaper. I feel tremendous kinship with MTPC. I have had the honor to work with them multiple times over the past few years. Gunner Scott, one of MTPC’s founders was the first paid member of NCTE and current MTPC co-president Diego Sanchez is a founding board member of NCTE. Additionally, last June a team of MTPC member (about six of them) attended our target states conference in Albany. [The target state conference was a joint training project of NCTE and the Task Force to provide training and networking to trans and allied advocates from the states with good prospects for passing anti-discimintion laws.]
In Maryland too, it smells like progress. NCTE Board member, Donna Cartwright, has begun work as a trans outreach consultant and they are making great progress. I ahve worked with both Donna and Equality Maryland for maybe 5-7 years and we can expect great things. And soon.
Including Mass. and Maryland there are nine states (CT, HI, MA MD, NV, NH, NY, VT, WI) that have job discriminatino protections based on sexual orientation, but not yet based on gender identity/expression. There is movement in a most of these states now to fix this. By early next year that number will be much lower thanks to folks like those at MTPC and Equality Maryland.
In Montana, according to the Helena Independent Record, Sen. Christine Kaufmann, D-Helena, is sponsoring a bill that would add “gender identity or expression” and “sexual orientation” as categories under the laws prohibiting discrimination. The wonderfulness of this is a) that it is happening and b) Montana was one of the few states left that had a sexual orientation-only bill. That number has dwindled to two (you know who you are).