Press

Task Force criticizes bigoted mockery by Illinois state lawmakers considering measure related to gender identity

Date: 
April 18, 2007

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

“Let Don Imus be a lesson for us all. There will be no more profit or pleasure to be gained by describing the lives of others in contemptuous and derisive terms. We’ve had enough of trash talk from public figures and elected leaders.” 
— Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, April 18 — Two Illinois state legislators reportedly mocked gender transitions while debating a bill designed to make it easier to secure a new birth certificate after having sex-reassignment surgery in another country. According to the Associated Press, the legislation came up shortly after a debate about neutering deer to control their population growth. Republican Rep. Chapin Rose said the state might start issuing sex-change documents to deer, while Republican Rep. Bill Black said he objected to recognizing non-surgical means of gender transition. “Maybe you went somewhere and a voodoo doctor said you were now a man, where you had been a woman,” Black said. The legislation, sponsored by Chicago Democrat Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, failed 32 to 78.

Comment by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“Rose and Black have sunk to new lows with their repugnant and boorish comments. Comparisons of transgender people to animals have no place in civil discourse about public policies intended to make the lives of transgender people easier and less onerous. Black’s mocking and diminution of transgender people and their hard work to change their gender identity is nothing but a transparent attempt to question the humanity, the dignity and the bodily integrity of transgender people.

“Such remarks are an insult to the extraordinary work of Equality Illinois, which championed the passage of transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation in the state.

“The Associated Press story reports that Black’s remarks were greeted with ‘hoots from his colleagues.’ They will all do themselves and their constituents a great service by learning more about the transgender people in their districts and in their state. We urge that the educational discussions with Illinois legislators proceed in due haste before these buffoons are presented with another serious policy proposal that concerns transgender people.

“As public debate over how we treat each other goes forward, let Don Imus be a lesson for us all. There will be no more profit or pleasure to be gained by describing the lives of others in contemptuous and derisive terms. We’ve had enough of trash talk from public figures and elected leaders.”

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.