We are currently working within the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality (MCTE) to pass a bill that would update the current state laws to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and epxression in the areas of employment, places of public accomodations, housing, and credit.
No one deserves to be fired, refused work, denied housing, education or credit, or suffer harassment or violence just because of who they are — but transgender people and those who don’t fit gender stereotypes, such as some gay, lesbian, bisexual, and straight people, in Maryland routinely face this type of discrimination and/or violence without some kind of recourse. In order to close the loophole on discrimination in areas of basic rights such as housing or employment protections is state law are neeed.
Nationwide, 17 states, Washington D.C., and more than 150 counties and cities have passed legislation to ban this discrimination in their communities.
From the 2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey – Key Findings by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
- 18% of transgender Marylanders reported losing a job beause of their gender identity or expression and 42% had experienced an adverse job action
- In housing, 17% reported being denied a home or apartment
- In places of public accommodation, 54% of transgender Marylanders reported being harassed (in places such as restaurants, stores and movie theaters).
This bill will make explicit the State’s commitment to providing people of diverse gender identities and expressions equal protection under the law, and guarantee transgender and gender non-conforming people the opportunity to contribute to their communities and to the local economy. It sends a clear message that everyone should be able to work, go to school, and live without fear in Maryland. This law is about fairness.
History of Transgender Equal Rights Legislation
In Maryland transgender people are not currently protected under statewide anti-discrimination laws. Although Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County and Montgomery County provide such protections we need to ensure that everyone in Maryland is protected. Transgender people experience bias in a number of venues related to employment, housing, healthcare, public accommodations and others.
In employment, discrimination against transgender individuals can occur during the application process, employment, promotion and/or termination. An employee may experience gender identity-based discrimination in many instances such as when coming out, transitioning to a different biological sex, discovery of their birth sex, or even mere suspicion of transgender status.
Transgender people also frequently suffer discrimination when health care professionals deny treatment because of gender identity or expression, ridicule a patient, or refuse to recognize the gender identity of a patient. In other areas of public accommodations, transgender people might be refused service at a restaurant or in a specific gender department at a store, or simply ignored by staff. Transgender individuals also may be denied access to social service like shelters or rape crisis centers. Equality Maryland expects workplace decisions to be based on an individual’s qualifications and job skills.