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The CT Judiciary Committee’s Hearings On The Gender Inclusive Anti-Decimation Bill

Yesterday, I spend the day (8:00am – 8:15pm) at the Legislative Office Building (otherwise known as the LOB) waiting to testify in favor of HB6599 An Act Concerning Discrimination. It was a very long day of sitting around.  The hearing opened with a statement from Governor Malloy’s General Counsel,  Andrew Mc Donald, former co-chair of the Judiciary Committee. The governor’s statement said the he fully supports HB6599 and that he will sign the bill when it is passed.

The way the hearing are run, is that there are a number of other bills that are heard at the same hearing and public officials get to testify first. Then the public gets to speak and the order is determined by a lottery. That was why I was there at 8:00am, to draw a number… 137. UGH! And why I left so late. They then publish the list and I was on page three.

The opposition drew an early number and they were able to speak first, Peter Wolfgang from the Family Institute of Connecticut gave his testimony and he started out by calling the bill “The Bathroom Bill” and when on to talk about how the bill will allow sexual predators in to the bathrooms. This is from their web-site

What does this mean? It means that a man who is a sexual predator could claim to be “transgendered” and enter a women’s public bathroom. [Their emphasis]

When he finished his testimony, he was criticized by several legislators for calling the bill “The Bathroom Bill”. They told him it was demeaning and fear mongering, and one legislator challenged him to tell them when anyone was ever arrested using a gender inclusive anti-discrimination law as an excuse to sexually assault a woman.A few testimonies later, it was Jennifer Levi’s turn to testify, she was questioned for almost an hour and she rebuffed FIC testimony. She was also asked if she knew if anyone was ever arrested using a gender inclusive anti-discrimination law and she answered that there has never been a case that a sexual predictor used the gender inclusive anti-discrimination as an excuse. She was also asked how the law would affect sex differentiated facilities and she said it would not, that it will still allow sex differentiated facilities based on their gender identity. She then was asked if the bill would change the law for sexual predator and again she answered that it would not, that a person still could arrested.

The questions for Jennifer Levi from legislators opposed to the bill were about bizarre scenarios.

Lawmakers Seek to Understand Gender Identity and Expression, Some Struggle

CT News Junkie

by Hugh McQuaid

Mar 21, 2011

That led to a lot of theoretical questions, most revolving around hypothetical scenarios playing out in bathrooms and changing rooms. That’s where the mustached bride trying on wedding gowns came in. Just what are his or her rights? What are the rights of the shop owner who may wish to kick him or her out?

These are some the questions the committee pondered but Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, the bill’s author, said the measure comes down to a far simpler question: do you or do you not want to discriminate against these people?

Holder-Winfield found himself at odds with Family Institute of Connecticut President Peter Wolfgang, who opposed the measure on the grounds that, among other things, the measure would force public schools to accept transgender teachers.

They also asked the same questions about the man with the mustache and sexual predators to Rachel Goldberg, a lawyer who use to work for Gov. Malloy when he was the mayor of Stamford, she asked why do you asked questions about something that never happens?

There were also questions asked of attorneys Levi and Goldberg about religious freedoms from one legislator.

Another person that spoke against the bill was someone from CT Right to Life and he spoke about  the DSM and said that it was a mental illness and that they should not be granted special rights. BIG MISTAKE!!!! Last year Peter Wolfgang used the same argument and they questioned him on what he knew about the DSM and if he favored discriminating against people who are mentally ill. They did the same thing to the head of the CT Right to Life, he said no, that he didn’t favor discriminating against people who are mentally ill… then if he thought that transgender people are mentally ill, why did he feel it was OK to discriminate against trans-people? Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield asked him if he read the whole section on gender identity disorder or just the criteria, he admitted that he didn’t. The legislators raked him over the coals for about a half hour.

There were a number of church officials that spoke in behalf of the bill, including an Episcopal Bishop, along with government officials, politicians, union leaders, therapist, lawyer and students. I was proud that around a dozen students from the UConn School of Social Work, where I am attending, testified for the bill.

ctEquality did an excellent job in lining up speakers!  

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