Wednesday, April 2, 2008

County does need transgender bill

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In her letter (‘‘Is transgender bill needed?” March 26), Barbara Ellis asks why the county’s law extending existing anti-discrimination rules to transgender people is necessary, asserting, rhetorically, ‘‘Don’t we already have federal laws to protect these people from discrimination in housing and employment?”

Sadly, the answer is no. Indeed, no state laws provide such protection, either.

The same small group that sought, unsuccessfully, to stop our public schools from including medically accurate information on sexual orientation in the eighth and 10th grade health education curriculum has now turned its sights on the anti-discrimination ordinance. Their misrepresentations of the curriculum were rejected by the county and state boards of education and the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Their use of the same tactics failed to convince the County Council or county executive. Similar tactics were used in their referendum petition drive.

If the courts rule that there are enough valid signatures to put it on the ballot in November, the voters will uphold our elected officials’ decision to provide simple justice to the small group of people in our community who happen to be transgender.

David S. Fishback, Olney

The writer is a member of the board of directors of the Metro D.C. Chapter of Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays.

Open forum: For additional letters on this issue, go to www.gazette.net⁄ speakout.