3-11-11: Being Transgender in Maryland
The House of Delegates is expected to vote today on whether to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland. The vote is expected to be very close. That issue has gotten a lot of attention in recent months.
We want to focus on another issue that’s in front of the legislature: the transgender community and the resources that are available to them.
There’s a bill before the House of Delegates that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity with regard to housing and employment. This week, the House Health and Government Operations committee held a hearing on it this week.
In 2002, Baltimore passed an ordinance somewhat similar to the one currently before the state legislature. It also prohibited discrimination in public accommodations–a provision missing from the state bill. There’s also an ordinance in effect in Montgomery County.
Meanwhile, this past weekend, a candlelight vigil was held for Tyra Trent, a 25-year-old transgender woman who was found murdered last month in a vacant house in northwest Baltimore. Her death is the most recent in a wave of acts of violence committed against members of the transgender community in Baltimore.
According to a report released in 2010 by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, transgender women are disproportionately targeted for hate violence relative to their make-up of the general population in the U. S.
Transgender people are also much more likely to be homeless and unable to find employment than members of the general population.
In light of all this, we examine the challenges this community is facing – and the state of resources available to them here in Maryland.
Sheilah speaks with Sandy Rawls, the president and founder of Trans-United, an organization devoted to providing help and support to the transgender community.
In this special just for the web, Sandy Rawls speaks about why trans-gender women face such violence: