Alex Blaze

Colorado gets expanded civil rights legislation

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 03, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Fundie Watch, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: anti-discrimination, Autumn Sandeen, bathroom issue, Bill Ritter, Colorado, Focus on the Family, James Dobson, transgender

Congratulations to LGBT activists in Colorado, the governor just signed an anti-discrimination bill:

Gov. Bill Ritter today quietly signed a controversial bill expanding the prohibition of sexual-orientation-based discrimination, over the vocal opposition of conservative Christian groups like Focus on the Family.

The bill bans discrimination based on a person's religious belief or sexual orientation - including transgender people - in places of public accommodation, housing practices, family planning services and 20 other public spheres. Such prohibitions are already in place with regard to race.

It's just more evidence that we're becoming old news. This is James Dobson and FOTF's home state, and they couldn't do anything to stop this.

"The state legislature here in Colorado has frankly become just about as radical and extreme as the California Legislature, in an effort that was designed to obviously appease the homosexual community give access to all public restrooms by people of the opposite gender," Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said Wednesday on his regular radio broadcast, according to an online newsletter from the organization sent out later that day.

Opponents said the bill would have serious consequences, such as opening up Colorado public restrooms and locker rooms to all genders and transgender people, exposing children and women to sexual predators.

Jesus effin' Christ, the people of Colorado and Bill Ritter saw through that bathroom nonsense. It's almost as though they recognized it for the scare tactic that it was. Dobson can flail his arms all around all he wants now, it didn't stop a thing.

And consider the fundies' radio spot on the legislation:

RADIO: 60 05.07.08 "SB200 - Predator" Draft:

SFX: [screen door closing book bag dropping on table]

ANNCR: If the Colorado Legislature has its way

GIRL 1: Mom! A man in a dress came into the girl's bathroom at school today!

ANNCR: We could all be dealing with a new type of predator

WOMAN: [ambient sound under of woman getting out of car, door beep and close] Honey, there was a man using the women's showers today at the fitness center I asked the management why?!...They said it was Colorado law!

ANNCR: And instead of our kids worrying about finals and the prom they'll have to worry about who's in the bathroom with them at school.

GIRL 2: [SFX: ambient hall noise, lockers close] No way I'm going in there I'd rather wait all day than go in there if he's in there, too...

While they try to pick at one segment of our community to try to take down anti-discrim legislation for all of us, people can see right through that.

So Autumn Sandeen is going to get to use the bathroom in Denver:

Some Blenders have no doubt done the math and realized that, since I'm going to Democratic National Convention in Denver with the rest of the PHB bloggers this coming August, I'm going to be peeing within the state lines of Colorado. So with Colorado's Public Accommodation law changing to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the list of protected classes...

In Denver this coming August, I will be sure to take a copyrighted picture of me entering a public restroom, with the full intent of giving Peter LaBarbera free rights to use that picture on his Americans For Truth About Homosexuality website, as well as to OneNewsNow (the American Family Association) and Focus On The Family/CitizenLink. When these organizations directly or indirectly bear false witness against me and my transgender peers, I'd like them to have an non-pornographic, accurate photo of how a transgender/transsexual person makes use of public accommodations -- which is to say, I use the toilets as toilets are intended, wash my hands, check my hair and face in the mirror, and then I leave.

Send us a copy, too, Autumn!


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You can see why I love Autumn so much. I want copies of those pictures, too. Go, my friend!!!!

Its always curious to me how gender identity is often conflated with sexual orientation, sometimes in legislation, sometimes in people's minds--and certainly by our opponents.

I'm happy enough, though, for practical legislative reasons, for gender identity to be considered a 'sexual orientation'--though the purist in me sill cavils.

They, of course, are two very different things, two of what Julia Serano has called "intrinsic inclinations." Although she prefers--and I believe I do, too--"subconscious sex" to gender identity.

Because what lead me here was not some 'idea' of my gender, or some kind of 'gender play,' but because this is part of the fabric of my being.

In so many ways the province of Ontario, Canada, where I live, is so far behind so much that has been legislated in various states.

Though it doesn't have the direct force of law, the policy of the Ontario Human Rights Commission has been for some years now that people may use the gender-segregated facility that corresponds to their full time gender expression.

Not quite law, but getting there--as with all human rights legislation the effect tends to be after the fact.

I'm so happy Autumn will be at convention and I've no doubt she'll carry it off with the same aplomb and panache she has always demonstrated.

And raise the concerns of transgendered veterans.

I, too, am looking forward to the picture of Autumn going into a public washroom.

LOL

In all the fuss over "cross dressing predators" a number of things have been 'overlooked.'

First, as Autumn herself has pointed out, in her posting of news on transgender and transsexual people there have been no reports of trans "predators."

Second, in the coverage of those who oppose us there has also been no mention of male predators who routinely use the men's public washrooms--why is there no concern for our young boys and their vulnerability?

Third, for those who go on to hormone therapy we simply do not have the equipment what is being implied.

O, and if sexual orientation were the same as gender identity/subconscious sex, then transgendered people in women's washrooms would not be interested in the cissexual women in those washrooms.

O, and what about all those lesbians.

LOL

I wondered about how "sexual orientation" also includes the t-folk, but all I can go by is that article. And, if it does, it's great that the protections are there no matter what language is used.

Alex,
One of the ways to help include trans people, especially in places where the bigotry is at extremes (like here in Georgia,) is to craft the definition for sexual orientation to include gender identity and expression. Most legistators are too lazy to read the definitions, so the only thing they see on the front of the bill is the words "sexual orientation." This means that the arguements focuses on the larger issue, where a some places, the transgender protection goes unnoticed. Not always, but sometimes.

It also protects transgender people from becoming a barganing chip to be removed in favor of GLB people. "We'll keep the homos in, but ya gots to remove them damn she-males and transvestites." Isn't American politics so much fun?

Everything you say is true, Monica, and to have legislated protection is important--practicality and convenience so often trump the truth.

But the conflating of sexual orientation with gender identity perpetuates the quite incorrect notion that they are the same--and in Canada reinforces the incorrect assertion that all LGBTQ people have universal, formal human rights. Transsexual and transgender people do not.

And it continues the marginalization of transgender and transsexual people. Particularly those in greatest need of a nuanced understanding.

The "larger issues" will often not include the very different needs of, say, medical assistance for transsexual people--gay and lesbian people, quite legitimately, do not want sexual orientation returned to the DSM, but transgendered people still need some avenue to access medical assistance.

In fact, the discussion on that front, with Drs. Blanchard and Zucker being appointed to the APA committee to rewrite the DSM for the expected 2012 release of DSM V, has often seemed a discussion on just this, the return of homosexuality to the DSM--and not on what is really at stake, the access of transsexual people to necessary medical assistance.

Convenience is at least a two edged sword.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 3, 2008 12:39 PM

Congrats to "Beautiful Colorado," She finally grew a set and stood up to those fools in Colorado Springs who have created a huge haters campus called: focus on the family.

Jessica,
I appreciate all the problems our sisters and brothers face in our friends up North, but comparing the political process between the two countries is way beyond the apples and oranges thing. We do strange things here that makes everyone across the world scratch their heads, but it works for us. Colorado is a case in point.

Basicly, all I request is that you watch in amazement as we stumble from one issue to another, while you have many of those things taken care of. (TG people can serve openly and transition in the Canadian military, for instance.) You can alway point to your crazy neighbors to the south and chaulk it up as being in the "Don't Try This at Home" catagory.

Yeah, I'm a bit concerned about the redefining sexual orientation approach, too. That's what we did here in Oregon. It can help alleviated the pressure on trans stuff in the bill, but it makes it so that trans specific discrimination isn't discussed in the legislature (or in the bill). That means that the first person to bring forward a case of bathroom discrimination is going to have a pretty hard time and the judge my conclude that that kind of protection wasn't intended by the legislation.

To mix my metaphors, the Trojan horse approach is definitely a double ended sword.

Good news from Colorado! Remember, it wasn't that long ago that CO was under boycott for giving us the middle finger...

For those people who have concerns about how affective adding GI & GE to sexual orientation, or why one would do it, you need to direct those question to Lisa Mottet at NGLTF: e-mail: lmottet@theTaskForce.org | 202.639.6308. She's the one who originally crafted this definition and as a lawyer, has worked on LGBT rights legislation for several years. She knows what works and what doesn't. No double-edged sword here. Trust me.

The LGBTQ community is one of great diversity--some have said every member is a unique intersection of sexual orientation, subconscious sex and gender expression.

These intrinsic inclinations, as Julia Serano has called them, interact in different ways depending on each person and the culture in which each person lives.

Sometimes the mix is heavy on sexuality and demands for sexual freedom; sometimes the mix is heavy on the dissonance between what was designated at birth and what is known in the depths of one's being and demands for medical assistance; sometimes the mix is heavy on the desire to experiment with gender and its expression and demands for understanding.

Usually it is a combination of all three in varying degrees.

Lessons are learned from all over the world.

All variations, all mixes, all must be recognized, understood and accepted.

Eliding the marginalization of the most marginalized among LGBTQ people in support of practical advantage may yet lead to problems in the future. How does this differ from much else concerning transgendered people?

When legitimate demands are made that cannot be based in any way upon sexual orientation what will happen?

As Michele O'Mara has put it on this site:

Gender identity is the way in which a person defines their sense of self as male or female. Sexual orientation is unrelated, except that it is defined by the gender toward whom we find ourselves attracted both emotionally and physically.

http://www.bilerico.com/2007/09/a_gender_primer.php

As others have put it, it is the difference between what is between the ears and what is between the legs.

Certainly superficial, but no more superficial than merging a minority into a majority.

In the long run, what are the consequences of burying gender identity in sexual orientation for the future recognition, understanding and acceptance of transgendered people?

To too many people we are already gay, with nothing to distinguish us, our struggles, needs and lives.

Do we not need to be distinguished as who we are and what our struggles, needs and lives are?

Isn't this one of the purposes of the law?

As a Canadian, it is very necessary to be aware of what happens in the United States because what happens here resonates throughout the world.

Jessica,
Here in the US, protecting our ability to work and maintaining employment is "Priority One." The process of how we obtain that is not nearly as important as the end result. I would rather "bury" the definition of gender identity and gender expression in the definition of sexual orientation than bury another friend because of not having any chance of getting a job. It may not look pretty, but it works. Again, I ask you to contact Lisa Mottet. She'll explain it all to you in great detail. Please point out that you live in Canada when you write to her.

Here is the definition of "sexual orientation" in SB200:

"Sexual Orientation" means a person's orientation toward heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender status or anther person's perception thereof.

I see Jessica's point that "transgender" seems sort of shoehorned into the definition. But as Monica points out, practicality has its virtues.

If similar definitions have stood up in court, then it seems that what matters is the destination, not so much the route taken to get there.

thank god for this. I'm trans and only learned about this today. I always worry about being outed when I use the toilet.

I love the whole "sexual predator" argument. "Statistics show that 84% of all sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim, 57% of all sexual assaults occur during a date, and 43% of all rapes involve two or more perpetrators." (http://www.wcstx.com/rapeedit.htm)

I go in, use the loo, wash my hands and leave. I don't hang around and check my hair or makeup, that's what my pocket mirror is for. I don't go to the gym even cause I don't want to change in front of GG's and make them uncomfortable.

what does dobson and his ilk want us to do? use the mens facilities? you know where we can be caught alone and brutally attacked or even murdered (Brandon Teena, Gwen Araujo and more at: http://www.gender.org/remember/#) these people make me sick with their hatemongering.