Title: The US Christian Right's New Tactics Credit: Craig Young Comment Wednesday 3rd February 2016 - 9:38am1454445480 Article: 17868 Rights
In the United States, the National Centre for Transgender Equality has alerted its catchment to the US Christian Right's latest target. They are now attacking transgender child health and safety laws, official documentation rights and even their inclusion within anti-discrimination laws.   Discriminatory anti-transgender laws have materialised in several US states. They attack the right to privacy and rectification of gender-inappropriate former official documentation as well as transgender inclusion within anti-discrimination laws, but their most frequent target is the right of transgender children to use gender-appropriate toilet and changing room facilities. They impose ridiculous fines if someone uses such facilities appropriate to their gender while transitioning or after they've transitioned, even fining business owners and schools if they don't enforce these repressive pieces of despicable hate-mongering against vulnerable children and teenagers. Now, about the lurid fantasies that the Christian Right foments in its anti-transgender propaganda about imaginary sexual predators lurking in toilet and changing room facilities. Law enforcement and human rights agencies in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont have been able to find no evidence of increased incidence of violence against women in such facilities after the passage of anti-discrimination legislation or regulations, as one might guess. In other words, the Family Research Council, Pacific Justice Institute and nauseum are lying. Again. The NCTE describes this flurry of anti-transgender state legislation as about segregation, harassment and stigmatisation. And one suspects that given that Family First is prone to regurgitating US Christian Right propaganda, tactics and strategy here, it will try to persuade legislators to do likewise in our own context. To offset this, I've decided to document NCTE's existing information about anti-transgender political activism in the United States. Currently, several such anti-transgender bills are circulating in the state legislatures in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Missouri, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington state and Wisconsin. Of these, House Bill 4474 (Illinois), Senate Bill 35 and House Bill 1079 (Indiana), House Bill 1320 (Massachusetts), Senate Bill 1014 (Oklahoma), House Bill 1008 (South Dakota), House Bill 2414 (Tennessee), House Bill 663 and House Bill 781 (Virginia), House Bill 2782, Senate Bill 6443 and Senate Bill 6548 (Washington), Assembly Bill 469 and Senate Bill 582 (Wisconsin) all target transgender children's health and safety through denying access to gender appropriate toilet and changing room facilities. Another category of anti-transgender bills targets official documentation. House Bill 2215 (Oklahoma) forces marriage applicants to state on their marriage license whether they've had reassignment surgery, as does House Bill 2600 and Senate Bill 2275 (Tennessee), while House Bill 431 (Virginia) erases the right of transpeople to amend post-transition incorrect gender designations recorded on their birth certificates. A third tranche of anti-transgender bills attacks trans-inclusive antidiscrimination legislation, such as House Bills 77 and 397 (Virginia) and House Bills 2589, 2782, 6443 and 6548 (Washington state). Currently, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Mexico, California, the District of Columbia, Maine, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington state, New Jersey, Vermont, Oregon, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, Utah (!), Virginia (!!) and New York all include gender identity within their anti-discrimination legislation. Predictably, most progressive New England and Pacific Northwest states have already embraced inclusiveness. Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington are targeted by multiple anti-transgender bills. How petty, spiteful and hateful. Moreover, it is probable that some of this transphobic mischief making from the US Christian Right will founder in hostile legislative environments. Massachusetts is a liberal New England northeastern state and has a highly effective transgender rights organisation, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MassTPC), which has already been successful in passing some trans-inclusive anti-discrimination legislation (2011)and hate crimes legislation (2012) in that state, although limited to employment, credit eligibility, union practices and private housing, but not public accommodation, although a bill is pending to remedy that gap. Moreover, its Christian Right adversary, Mass Resistance, consists of extremists out of step with the progressive political climate in that state. To give another example of MassTPC's effectiveness, Cambridge (1997), Boston (2002), Northampton (2005) and Amherst (2009) all adopted anti-discrimination ordinances before the state did, as have Brookline, Medhurst, Worcester, Melrose and Newton (2014) and Swampscott (2015). Washington state is similarly progressive, given the fact that Seattle tends to have been a progressive West Coast major metropolitan centre throughout US history. It passed trans-inclusive anti-discrimination laws in 2006, which forbid anti-transgender discrimination in the fields of employment, housing and public accommodations. As with Massachusetts, one suspects that such legislation will go nowhere in that state. One suspects that the real problems will arise for the NCTE and allies in Southern states such as Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia, although Indiana's debacle over pro-discrimination "religious freedom" state legislation last year should also be recalled in this context. In 2011, Tennessee's legislature prevented any further additions to state anti-discrimination legislation, which does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. Predictably, the anti-gay and anti-transgender US Family Research Council's state affiliates appear to be ringleaders of these anti-transgender initiatives. I noted such references on the websites of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, the Missouri Family Council, Wisconsin Family Council and the Massachusetts Family Institute. I could find nothing on Canada's anti-feminist REAL Women website to indicate similar mischief making north of the border, and "our own"Family First seems to be unaware of the above developments here in New Zealand. Given its World Congress of Families links to the Family Research Council and US Focus on the Family, I suspect this state of affairs won't be permanent. Recommended: National Centre for Transgender Equality: Action Centre: action-center "Transgender youth and adults are under attack: Help needed to stop bullies in state legislatures" NCTE 26.01.2015: blog/transgender-youth-and- adults-are-under-attack-help- needed-to-stop-bullies-in- state-legislatures-now Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition: Craig Young - 3rd February 2016    
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