Equality Maryland celebrates getting one step closer to securing job and housing protections for the Transgender community.
ANNAPOLIS, MD, March 26, 2011 - Today the Maryland House voted 86-52 to pass HB 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, legislation that would end discrimination in employment, housing and credit for Transgender Marylanders.
A report put out in February 2011 by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 1 in 5 transgender people in Maryland have lost a job due to discrimination and 12% have become homeless.
Advocates emphasize that this law is a matter of life-or-death for some Marylanders and call on supporters to help secure passage this year.
Equality Maryland, along with members of the House of Delegates, and the LGBT Caucus, celebrate this victory and acknowledge the work ahead.
Del. Joseline Pena-Melynk (D-21), Lead Sponsor:
"Every Marylander should expect to work or live in comfortable housing without fear of losing either because of who they are. HB 235 provides the protection necessary to make sure that every Marylander can live without fear of discrimination."
Del. Ariana Kelly, (D-16), Lead Sponsor:
"Transgender Marylanders face profound and often crippling discrimination in housing and employment. This bill [HB 235] is an important step towards mitigating this unjust discrimination. It will improve people's lives, and it is clearly the right thing to do."
Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director of Equality Maryland
"Today we thank Delegates Pena-Melynk and Kelly for their tremendous leadership. We are proud of the 86 Delegates who stood up for fairness today by voting to support HB 235. All hardworking people in our state, should have a chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families. Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job skills or work performance. There is still work to do, but today, we're one step closer in seeing all transgender Marylanders are treated fairly under the law.
Discrimination in jobs and housing happens a lot in Maryland and it's time we put a stop to it. Data shows that 1 in 5 transgender people in Maryland have lost a job due to discrimination and 12% have become homeless. This law is a matter of life-or-death for some Marylanders. We look to the Senate now, where we will work with proven champions Senator Jamie Raskin and Senator Rich Madaleno to see this bill through to a swift and successful passage."
LGBT Caucus members:
Del. Anne Kaiser (D-14):
"This bill will provide all Maryland citizens with the legal protections they deserve and it will also help end a lifetime of discrimination for LGBT individuals in Maryland. This bill allows transgender and transsexual individuals many of the same opportunities of growth and access to, housing and employment opportunities that are available to any other Marylander."
Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-19):
"In the committee, transgender individuals gave poignant and disturbing stories of discrimination and abuse they have experienced. This is the year to 'listen with our hearts' as one mother said and give these wonderful friends, family, and colleagues protection against further abuses in housing, employment and credit by passing HB 235."
Del. Luke Clippinger (D-46):
"Transgender citizens of Maryland have had to suffer discrimination in the realms of employment and housing for far too long. In Baltimore City, we are lucky to have an ordinance that was passed by former Mayor Martin O'Malley in 2002 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. All transgender Marylanders, not just those living in Baltimore City, should have the same protections against discrimination."
Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-43):
"Ten years ago when anti-discrimination legislation passed the General Assembly, the transgender community was omitted from anti-discrimination protections in housing, employment, and credit. HB235 must pass to correct the wrong made 10 years ago. I am a strong supporter of HB 235 and will vote for its passage."
Del. Heather Mizeur (D-20):
"Our transgender brothers and sisters deserve every protection under the law, and that's why we're standing up and fighting for HB235. Businesses need the very best workers and landlords need the very best tenants - regardless of the employee or renter's gender identity. This bill will be a big step toward the day when transgender Marylanders can live their truth without fear of unemployment, underemployment, or homelessness."
Del. Peter Murphy (D-28):
"I will continue to support protecting and advancing civil rights for all Marylanders. Surveys show up to 68% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have experienced discrimination in the workplace. Maryland should band together and say, 'enough'.
It's important to realize that federal housing laws do not protect individuals against discrimination based sexual orientation or gender identity. Maryland needs to join the 12 other states across the country that offers these protections. We have an opportunity to do that this legislative session with HB 235. This bill is a strong effort to move us in that direction."
Del. Mary Washington (D-43):
"These protections provided by HB235, would afford some of our most vulnerable members of our society some measure of much needed protections - protections that sometimes can be the difference between employment and poverty and shelter and homelessness. Maryland's laws against discrimination are intended to promote fundamental values underlay our political system - personal liberty, tolerance of diverse backgrounds and points of view, and respect for privacy and individual liberty...this legislation is absolutely needed to make it clear that discrimination is never acceptable."