5-4-11: Our Interpretation of Gender
Last month, a 22 year old transgender woman, Chrissy Lee Polis, was brutally beaten by two teenage girls at a McDonald’s in Baltimore County. The beating was video taped, and posted online. It triggered millions of views, and national headlines. The group Equality Maryland has called on Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler to investigate the case as a hate crime.
Meanwhile, some think this may act as a rallying point for getting anti-discrimination legislation in place in Maryland. A bill that would have banned discrimination against transgender people on matters of employment and housing failed to make it through the General Assembly this past spring.
In light of all this, we want to examine how we, as a society, react to transgender people—and whether reactions differ in different parts of the country.
To help us understand our notions of gender, Sheilah speaks with Paz Galupo, Professor of Psychology and Director of LGBT Studies at Towson University.
You can also listen to a conversation we had this past spring with transgender advocate Sandy Rawls, about the frequency with which violence occurs in the transgender community. Sandy is the president and founder of Trans-United, an organization devoted to providing help and support to the transgender community.
And for an in-depth look at the obstacles members of the transgender community face in daily life, this 2007 piece called “In Between Days” from Baltimore’s City Paper is definitely worth a read.