Statements Indicating That No State Has Passed Public Accommodation Protections After Passing Employment & Housing Protections Are False
Update: Jenna Fischetti provided the text of her statement at the hearing. What I heard second hand about her testimony wasn’t true — she didn’t mention the false assertion in her testimony.
I’m waiting to hear back from her regarding the Metro Weekly quote — whether or not she was quoted accurately in the story. If she didn’t make the statement she’s quoted as making, I’ll retract this story in entirety.
This afternoon, Maryland’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on the gender identity bill — HB 235. Metro Weekly covered the hearing, and reported on it in their article Maryland Senate Prez Tells Advocates He Will Expedite Gender Identity Bill If It Passes Committee.
There was something that troubled me a great deal in reading the piece that I feel needs addressing immediately — it’s a false statement about passage of transgender specific antidiscrimination laws in other states than Maryland. From the Metro Weekly article previously mentioned (emphasis added):
“It’s difficult being put in the same waiting area as people who oppose the bill for different reasons than I am,” Ashley Love, an intersex advocate from New York, told Metro Weekly before the hearing.
“They’re opposing it for fear and hate and ignorant reasons, and I’m opposing it out of principle, meaning that this bill passing in its compromised form will imply that transexual and transgender Marylanders are second class citizens and it can lead to a domino affect around the country.”
Jenna Fischetti from Laurel, Md., who is the media director of Trans Maryland, agrees with that assessment.
“Never in the history of transgender-specific legislation has any state gone back and added a public accommodation only provision when there is already an existing law,” she said, adding that public accommodations go beyond bathrooms to include hospitals and hotels.
“We believe that it needs to be a part of a comprehensive strategy in order to be able to get it, just like other states have done in the past.“
In California, AB 196 (The Gender Nondiscrimination Act) was passed into law in 2003, and that antidiscrimination bill provided employment and housing protections for transgender Californians (Status reported by Equality California here). Then in 2005, California passed into law AB 1400 (The Civil Rights Act Of 2005) — that antidiscrimination bill being the one that provided public accommodation protections for Transgender Californians (Status reported by Equality California here).
I believe Colorado has a similar story, although I don’t know the bill numbers and dates of passage for their two bills.
In other words, there has been at least one state (my home state of California) that first had an transgender specific antidiscrimination bill for employment and housing, and later (in California’s case, two years later) had a transgender specific antidiscrimination bill that addressed public accommodation — and there may even be two states. Given what happened in California, therefore, Jenna Fischetti’s statements in the Metro Weekly article are verifiably false.
And, apparently not only did Fischetti make that verifiably false statement to the reporter for Metro Weekly, I’m told by someone who attended the hearing that she also made the similar statement to the Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee. I’ll have to listen to the audio of the hearing to verify whether that is true on not — which I haven’t checked as yet to see if the audio is posted on the official government website.
Transgender people of good faith and good conscience can disagree on whether or not passing HB 235 into law is a good idea or a bad idea, and people on both sides of the issue have valid points to make.
However, valid points shouldn’t be made with bad facts. When transgender community members talk to state legislators or media, we need to do our homework and have our facts correct.
That California passed its state’s transgender antidiscrimination bill regarding public accommodation two years after passing the antidiscrimination bill regarding employment and housing is, and has been knowable. Let’s as a community not repeat the statement “Never in the history of transgender-specific legislation has any state gone back and added a public accommodation only provision when there is already an existing law” and create a factoid — something fictitious or unsubstantiated that is presented as fact. If we do, it will be a fictitious statement that we in community have turned into a false meme.