Continuing the fight for equality in Maryland

The Task Force has been working with Equality Maryland to pass two critical pieces of state legislation in 2011: one bill would add gender identity and expression to the state’s nondiscrimination law, the second would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. We are directly contributing staff, money, training and technical assistance to Equality Maryland to assist folks in building a strong field program capable of turning out thousands of pro-LGBT constituents to write, call and lobby their legislators.

After a 3-hour debate last Friday, the Maryland House of Delegates sent the Civil Marriage Protection Act back to the House Judiciary Committee for further debate. So the Task Force is now honed in on HB235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act.

Lisa Mottet speaks at the press conference for HB235 prior to last week's hearing.

Last week, Lisa Mottet, director of the Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project, testified at the hearing on HB 235. She spoke about data from the recently released groundbreaking report Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the Task Force with the National Center for Transgender Equality. This national study included more than 6,400 people in the U.S., with 132 people from Maryland.

The study found that Maryland transgender and gender non-conforming people were being fired, harassed, passed over for promotion and not hired simply for being who they were: 71 percent experienced harassment or mistreatment on the job and 18 percent had lost their job just because of who they are. Likely due to this discrimination, transgender Marylanders experienced poverty (making under $10,000 per year) nearly three times the national average. Likely also due to troubles with employment discrimination as well as housing discrimination, homelessness was experienced by 12 percent of transgender Marylanders. Seventeen percent were denied a home/apartment due to being transgender, and 22 percent had to find temporary spaces to stay in an attempt to avoid homelessness.

For more information and to get involved in Maryland, call 410.685.6567 or e-mail Aimee Martin