Alex Blaze

Delaware's Lesbianism 101

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 26, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: ACLU, Delaware, LGBT, nondiscrimination, solota

Delaware just passed a nondiscrimination bill, and it's now waiting for the governor's signature, although he's said he'd do it:

"It protects the most basic activities of human life -- moving about the world, earning a living, keeping a roof over your head," Fennell said. "Now the state has said you can't be discriminated against because of sexual orientation."

The measure, Senate Bill 121, adds sexual orientation to the list of protections under Delaware's anti-discrimination law. That law covers housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations and insurance.

They pushed it through past several conservative amendments that would have weakened the language of the bill, and even got this power quote from a Republican:

"I'm convinced that lesbians can be made," Venables said. "I don't want it taught in our schools that this is a normal lifestyle."

And how does one make a lesbian? Well, I'm sure that's a question best left to the ladies.

But the amendments the conservatives wanted were out of the question:

•Clarified that the bill could not be used to force recognition of same-sex marriages.

•Prevented schools from teaching acceptance of homosexuality.

•Allowed individuals and businesses who object to homosexuality because of "sincerely held religious or conscientious beliefs" not to be forced to participate in objectionable practices.

The marriage one was a red herring. Schools should be teaching the acceptance of all disempowered groups. But the last one looks pretty broadly worded, since everyone who's homophobic I'm sure thinks that their beliefs are "sincerely held." That's the whole point of antidiscrimination legislation: to fight against the people who sincerely believe in discriminating.

The bill is sexual orientation only. So start the counter on how long it takes for them to go back for the trans folks. I don't know anything about Delaware electoral or LGBT politics, so I'll withhold judgment.

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Angela Brightfeather | June 26, 2009 11:16 AM

WEll, there you go. Another "hollow" victory that does not include all GLBT people.

It will be interesting to see how enforceable this piece of law is going to be when a lesbian gets discrimiated against because, like Chaz, a change of gender expression is desired. Or the first time a lesbian is discriminated against for looking or acting to masculine.

By leaving our gender expression in bills like t his, it only becomes more difficult in the long run to provide protections for Transgender people in the long run. It gives the wrong message to legislators who end up thinking that even the GLB people aren't willing to defend the rights of Trans people to be protected and allows them to write of the importance of that segment of our GLBT community.

No matter how you cut the cake, a piece is a piece and anyone who thinks that it's easier to reassemble the pieces only has to look a few miles North to NY where they are still loking for passage a GENDA bill to protect Trans people, over 10 years after GLB people were protected.

It's never easy. But it should never be that hard either to pass anti-discrimination legislation that protects all of us.

The clock has started on Delaware. (Isn't that where Joe Biden lives and has some gravitas?)

Tick, tick, tick. Sadly, the counter for trans-inclusion after a sexual-orientation only bill is approved will need to be be measured in years or decades, not seconds.

One of my favorite old jokes:

"My mother made me a lesbian."
"Oh, if I buy the fabric, will she make me one too?"

I wonder how soon it will be for a marriage equality bill to be proposed by the GLB orgs in Delaware. We can be reasonably assured that will happen way before they start fighting the fight for gender variant people.

It's a shame more trans people don't own businesses, besides the impracticality of the idea, so they could throw a few cisgender people out, just to make the point that everyone has a gender identity and modes of expression. I can just hear the news media now, it would be the modern equivalent of a "man bites dog" story.

FYI, Deleware gay activist Steve Elkins says they're going to push for a transgender amendment next session.

And how does one make a lesbian?

Perhaps by spending time as Robert Venables' wife or girlfriend?

(Yes, I know that was childish, but someone had to say it.)

well, ya'll know I won't behave here if I didn't over at the PHB discussion of this bill.

Emelye -- transfolk owning businesses is what a lot of what I do here that isn't overtly political is about. I'm trying to teach folks how to do exactly that -- start and run your own business. Its not impractical, either -- wherever there is no protection from discrimination on that basis, we can actually get away with hiring only gender variant people who meet our individual requirements for such.

Just as cis-GLB folks in Delaware can continue to discriminate against transfolk.

Does it make it right?

Hell no.

And yet, there it is. A done deal, and the reality of the situation.

The groups and organizers that supported this bill should be ashamed and called out for doing so, as once again, they continue a long, long history of tossing the trans under the bus using the transphobic excuse of "they're just not ready" or "its too hard".

This is not a victory. It is a tragic reminder of why transfolk are so damned pissed off.

It is a failure.