As a parent of five adult & teen children, a grandparent of five grandchildren, an aunt to over a dozen nieces and nephews living in Maryland, and a worker at St. John the Evangelist School in Severna Park and a 32 year Md. resident, I implore you to protect the safety of all our citizens by voting against HB 235. If this were to pass I would be afraid of taking children into a public restroom, signing them up for extra curricular activities, among others without constant supervision from a family member. Life is confusing and complicated enough for our young people growing up in today’s culture. They don’t need the added pressure of having to deal with adults who cannot offer healthy guidance and protection because they can’t figure out who they are…Do you realize in Australia they recognize 23 gender identities? Do you want that happening here in America?

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, for the sake of our children, VOTE AGAINST HB 235.

~Excerpt From A Sample Lobbying Letter To A Maryland State Legislator Against Passage Of HB 235

There’s insider strategies and outsider strategies, and these can be accomplished by professional lobbyists and grassroots lobbyists.

One of the effective tools of grassroots activism involves citizen lobbying. The formula is actually pretty simple:

  1. Identify the target and/or audience. That target could be a legislator, regulator, or legislative aide or a bureaucrat who can influence legislation/regulation coming into effect. Or, an audience may be voters one wants to vote for a particular piece of legislation. Basically, one needs to identify who one wants to message to for a particular piece of legislation and/or regulatory change.
  2. Identify the problem one wants addressed.
  3. Pretty self-explanatory.

  4. Explain why one wants a bill to pass/not pass into law; explain why one believes a regulation is required/not required. For example, if one is a grassroots activist for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), one would tell a personal story of employment discrimination. If one were against ENDA, then one would cite an emotionally charged reason — which may include a personal story why one would have to violate a personal conviction to comply with ENDA, or a hypothetical of how passing ENDA into law would have a scary secondary effect.
  5. An ask. What exactly you want the legislator/bureaucrat/voter to do at the end of your lobbying. That could be to sign your petition for an initiative, vote for or against a particular piece of legislation, or create a regulation to remedy the problem one identified, etc., etc.

To effectively engage in grassroots lobbying, one needs to at least loosely organize a significant number of people to send a coherent message to the target and/or audience.

So for Maryland’s gender identity bill — HB 235 — there should have been a target of state legislators by transgender community members and their allies. If one is for the bill, one needed to lobby one’s legislator for the bill; if one is against the bill, then one needed to lobby against the bill.

Who hasn’t effectively organized and lobbied citizen lobbyists for or against Maryland’s gender identity bill? Transgender people and their allies. Who has been more effectively organized and sent a coherent message to Maryland’s legislators against the gender identity bill? People on the religious right.

I’ve received a package of letters sent to one Maryland legislator, and the letters ran 30-to-1 against the gender identity bill. The legislator in question had received no letters from trans people lobbying against the passage of HB 235. The only letters against HB 235 were from people on the religious right — and those letters were mostly from people in some way affiliated with Grace Brethren Christian School.

A sample of some of the letters:

[More below the fold.]

As a parent of five adult & teen children, a grandparent of five grandchildren, an aunt to over a dozen nieces and nephews living in Maryland, and a worker at St. John the Evangelist School in Severna Park and a 32 year Md. resident, I implore you to protect the safety of all our citizens by voting against HB 235. If this were to pass I would be afraid of taking children into a public restroom, signing them up for extra curricular activities, among others without constant supervision from a family member. Life is confusing and complicated enough for our young people growing up in today’s culture. They don’t need the added pressure of having to deal with adults who cannot offer healthy guidance and protection because they can’t figure out who they are. (more detailed reasons stated below). Do you realize in Australia they recognize 23 gender identities? Do you want that happening here in America?

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, for the sake of our children, VOTE AGAINST HB 235.

The Maryland bill uses the force of law to impose cross-dressing, transgenderism, and a range of related behaviors and affectations into society against the will of citizens with traditional values or religious beliefs.

Most importantly, this bill completely ignores the fact that the medical community considers “gender identity disorder” a mental illness. It ignores the fact that attempting to change one’s sex is biologically impossible. Every single human cell contains chromosomes which identify whether we are male or female. That cannot be changed. And it ignores widespread medical observations that using mutilation, surgery, hormone treatments, etc., to try to change one’s sex generally leads to worse psychological problems for the individual, including suicide attempts. (Several years ago Johns Hopkins University stopped performing “transgender” operations for those reasons.)

  • It requires all Maryland employers including government agencies to hire, promote, and include cross-dressers in every part of the workplace without discrimination. Business owners will be helpless – under threat of lawsuit or punishment – not to have men in dresses waiting on customers, etc.
  • It also extends to public schools and even day-care centers, which will legally be unable to turn away cross-dressers and “transgenders” from teaching or working with children.
  • It will require transgenderism, cross-dressing, and related behaviors to be considered legally normal. Thus, activists can compel schools to have transgender assemblies and similar activities including library books promoting transgenderism. This will also lead to transgender diversity training in businesses.
  • All real estate transactions are covered — people have no choice when renting or selling units or homes.
  • Since transgender employees may not be discriminated against in the workplace, they cannot be restricted to using male or female restrooms in stores, restaurants, bars, schools, day care facilities, or other places of employment.
  • Employers may not require a genetic test to determine the actual sex of an employee or applicant.
  • The bill defines “gender identity” as “a gender-related identity or appearance of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.” This opens the door to a wide range of behaviors and interpretations by activists. This definition also clearly denies biological reality.

Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.

Please vote “NO” for Bill HB 235! When you vote it affects all for Maryland, not just your constituents. You should not be voting an issues like this. It does not serve the community or state as a whole. Consider the following information.

This bill completely ignores the fact that the medical community considers “gender identity disorder” a mental illness. It ignores the fact that attempting to change one’s sex is biologically impossible. Every single human cell contains chromosomes which identify whether we are male or female. That cannot be changed. And it ignores widespread medical observations that using mutilation, surgery, hormone treatments, etc., to try to change one’s sex generally leads to worse psychological problems for the individual, including suicide attempts. (Several years ago Johns Hopkins University stopped performing “transgender” operations for those reasons.)

Please vote NO on the Gender Identity Bill HB 235:

I have worked with many who have done complete body part cuttings/surgeries. After the fact-many have still been in deep depression – with a myriad of issues that cause huge problems for everyone around.

Can you know the depth of what is ahead with this bill to cause pain & problems unseen…..?

Please reconsider for the sake of the children & future generations-this is more complex than what it appears from the surface.

The Emperor has no clothes!

Please oppose HB 235. This bill is imposing upon Marylanders that they must deny reality! That is not only ridiculous, it is just so wrong! in America, no one should be allowed to force their distorted definition of reality on others.

In fact, in Montgomery County where a similar gender identity bill was passed over the wishes of the overwhelming majority of residents, the Montgomery County Ethics Commission held that Marylanders are not credible witnesses if they fail to use what the Commission considers to be the correct pronouns in addressing a man as a woman. This governmental ruling is an example of the ridiculous consequences of these defective Gender Identity laws.

Most importantly, this bill completely ignores the fact that the medical community considers “gender identity disorder” a mental illness. It ignores the fact that attempting to change one’s sex is biologically impossible. Every single human cell contains chromosomes which identify whether we are male or female. That cannot be changed. And it ignores widespread medical observations that using mutilation, surgery, hormone treatments, etc., to try to change one’s sex generally leads to worse psychological problems for the individual, including suicide attempts. (Several years ago Johns Hopkins University stopped performing “transgender” operations for those reasons.)

I hope that I can count on you to oppose this bill.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE VOTE AGAINST HB 235!

This bill would use the force of law to impose cross-dressing, transgenderism, and a range of related and disturbing behaviors into society against the will of citizens with traditional values or religious beliefs. How can you discriminate against the majority of citizens merely to please a small minority? The thought of men dressed as women using the ladies’ restroom is horrifying. Even worse, this would open the door for pedophiles to dress as women in order to follow young girls into restrooms!! Do you want that on your conscience? Do you want your own daughters stalked by men in public restrooms?? That is just the tip of the iceberg; all children will be at risk if this bill is passed!

Furthermore, this bill completely ignores the fact that the medical community considers “gender identity disorder” a mental illness. PLEASE DO NOT UNLEASH THIS MADNESS ON SOCIETY!

This is not the time to cave in to some “politically correct” mentality. The ramifications are frightening. Protect our children and grandchildren by voting AGAINST HB 235.

Vote NO on Gender Identity Bill

This bill is bad science and bad policy, inasmuch as every cell of our bodies contains DNA identifying us as either male or female. Why is an aggressive minority being allowed to hamstring our government with bad law like this?

I am a high-earning Maryland taxpayer on the cusp of moving to Virginia where my tax bill will be reduced and my legislators won’t be burning up time and worrying me with this dangerous nonsense.

Remember the time the Iowa legislature legally mandated a value for the mathematical constant “Pi” since they couldn’t cope with the FACT that it was by definition an irrational number? Didn’t think so. Go look that one up, and learn.

Please get back to work — I mean REAL work that benefits our state, and stop afflicting us with this nonsense.

I am writing to ask you to vote against what is presently known as HB 235 if it is brought before the Senate for a vote.  This is a bill which has the admirable goal protecting people from discrimination but which in reality has serious unintended consequences for businesses which need to be considered.

There are hundreds of businesses where outward appearance matters for very practical reasons. A partial list includes many customer-facing businesses ranging from law to investment banking to consulting to food service. Businesses in areas such as childcare have even more magnified issues with the appearances they must present. I know of no parents who would send their small children into the care of someone physically male who dresses as in a way that does not match their physical gender. Is this irrational or based in hate? Of course not.

How people choose to dress and present themselves on their own time is one thing. But giving employees legal right to dress in any manner they please while on the job represents a clear violation of a business’s right to present a particular public image. Just to give one example,most Wall Street firms have high standards of dress for men and women. These are simply firms which absolutely must present a sharp image to their customers. Even if just a few employees get a special privilege to dress as they please, the ability to impose appearance standards on everyone falls apart. It would be understandable if such economic powerhouses steer clear of Maryland in the future.

The passage of this bill would unintentionally further cement Maryland’s reputation as a state unfriendly to business. Chief Executive Magazine recently (2010) ranked Maryland only at #33 out of fifty states for business as compared with Virginia at #4. This is a huge embarrassment because the two states are neighbors whose “base conditions” are so similar. This CEO survey is crucial because CEOs have discretion on where to place new jobs, and for our region things often boil down to a choice between the two states.

I sincerely hope you see the real unintended harm of this legislation. If this legislation passes into law as it is, it will be the basis for continuing legal conflict because it violates the right of countless businesses to have standards of dress for the sake of appearance before their customers.

I am writing you to encourage you to vote no on HR 235. There are some very sound facts that show that encouraging transgender people is detrimental to their own health and also creates an environment that is unhealthy for business owners, community organizations and our children in the public schools.

The medical community has classified “gender identity disorder” a “mental illness.” Because of the increase in psychological problems and suicides in people who undergo surgery, hormones, etc. to “change their gender identity” John Hopkins now does not perform the above treatments for transgender people. It is impossible to change the DNA of every cell in the body which is programmed in your physical body.

Do we really want to force the Boy Scouts to allow a female transgender become a boy scout leader or a male transgender to become a girl scout leader ?

Do we really want to normalize a lifestyle, deemed a mental illness, to our children in the public schools?

Do we really want to allow adult men/boys to go into female rest rooms and shower rooms in our elementary public schools, local gyms , and places of business?

Do we want male transgenders  being admitted to an all girl’s school or female transgenders being admitted to an all boy’s school? I think it is obvious that passing this bill would open a pandora’s box of consequences that will cause a public outcry.

I could site many more potential examples of how this bill will affect our normal everyday life.

Thank you so much for listening to my concerns.

In considering the attempt to recognize multiple genders, you will NOT be making a courageous stand,…instead you will be pleasing thousands of hungry lawyers eager to prey on the confusion and clog our courts with wasteful lawsuits.

You will contribute to a decaying society that has lost its moral compass, and you will earn the wrath of a disgusted public. Vote in favor of this legislation and we the people will unite to drive you out of office at the next possible election.

Show some true courage and stand on what is right. Man, Woman, PERIOD.

Note that there are similar themes reflected in several letters. It’s clear the letter writers worked from talking points, and they were engaging in — from a pro forma perspective — effective grassroots lobbying.

And again, not a single trans identified person who is against the gender identity bill sent this particular Maryland state legislator a letter in favor of rejecting HB 235 in favor of a better bill in future years.

I like optimism. I try to be optimistic. However, with all the online activity of late by those transgender, transsexual, and those who identify as both transgender and transsexual people who oppose HB 235, it appears that almost none of it is translating into effective lobbying of state legislators.

For those trans identified people who are against HB 235, they are leaving their grassroots lobbying against the bill to the religious right — the religious right who aren’t exactly saying positive things about transgender people.

How much of a real win will it be for transgender community activists against HB 235 if they’re leaving the lobbying against HB 235 to the antitransgender sentiments of voters on the religious right? Leaving the lobbying against HB 235 to the religious right isn’t a pathway to getting a bill that includes housing, employment, and public accommodation protections based on gender identity passed next year, or in years to come.

Trans Marylanders against HB 235 appear to have been better at armchair activism than effective activism. And for that matter, grassroots transgender activists for HB 235 don’t appear to be as good at organizing and lobbying legislators as the religous right either.

I read in the comment threads of Pam’s House Blend and other blogs, and have frequently read that transgender people need to organize themselves and take command of their own political destiny. So far, I haven’t seen much effective, basic political organizing of the grassroots of trans identified people towards lobbying legislators.

I’d like to be wrong here. If someone can show me evidence that I’m wrong, I’m all ears — if I’m wrong about this, then I’ll definitely apologize.

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With March 31st having been Cesar Chavez Day, let me quote him on grassroots organizing and activism:

It is not good enough to know why we are oppressed and by whom. We must join the struggle for what is right and just.

A good organizer has to work hard and long. There are no shortcuts. You just keep talking to people, working with them, sharing, exchanging and they come along.

If a leader cannot give it all he cannot expect his people to give anything.

Talk is cheap…It is the way we organize and use our lives everyday that tells what we believe in.

The religious right is more organized than we in transgender community are, and they’re doing lobbying as a community in Maryland and we aren’t engaging in lobbying nearly to the level of their level of lobbying. That should tell us something about what we transgender people, as a community, really believe in.

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