Let's say that MD already had full marriage equality, how much would you want to bet that SB235 would have been introduced with accommodations? Regardless, I have been living in a state where there are no transgender protections (and that some may consider as a hostile state) and I have never had problems where it has come to public accommodations. As long as you present yourself correctly, conduct yourself accordingly and have all of your identification in order, you should have few if any problems.

But, the reality is that this bill has been introduced without an accommodation provision. The only other state I am aware of with transgender protections but no public accommodation clause is Colorado. Have they been in the news lately? Has there been any massive round-ups of transgender women? Potty stings? I have not heard of them.

As much as I am not happy about the public accommodation protection being excluded, I see it this way, the news that is out there will be that there's transgender protections. This is the aspect that most people will remember, not what exactly what those protections include or exclude. While there will be no legal ground to file a complaint if there's a restroom incident, I think that once this bill is passed and the law is in effect for awhile, most people will assume that the protections are there because the overall law exists.

As long as we do not harp on the exclusion of the public accommodation aspect of the legislation, it is less likely for that aspect to be picked up by mainstream media. I know this contradicts my reaction when this bill was first introduced but after discussions with both Del. Pena-Melnyk and EQMD, the overall benefit of the bill will protect those who are seeking employment and housing. Whether public accommodation will be added in the future, I see it highly unlikely, especially if SB-116 passes, which is truly the prize EQMD has their eyes on.

I still feel that organizations such as EQMD, Equalty Arizona, etc. should have at least one transgender woman and one transgender man who have been following the WPATH standards of care on their executive board. Those who have a full understanding of the issues that impact those of us who are transitioning by the rules.

This bill is not perfect. I don't like it, but I can live with it.

This was originally posted as a comment on Facebook to Equality Maryland in response to other comments expressing concern about the lack of “public accommodation” language in SB-235, currently in the Maryland State Senate. 

Michiko Ota

Michiko Ota