There's a bunch more tidbets of good news to share. Some examples:
- Howard County in Maryland became the 3rd county in the state to pass a trans-specific discrimination bill (details here).
- President Obama released a first-of-its-kind Presidential Memorandum making the defense of LGBT rights a global effort (details here). "The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States' commitment to promoting human rights," Mr. Obama said. Read the entire Memorandum here. Big stuff, that was immediately attacked by Rick Perry....
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton continued that theme by defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender persons around the world in a speech entitled "Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights", at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. (details here).
- NCTE released a document outlining workplace rights for Transgender Federal Employees (see it here).
- A Georgia transwoman who was fired when she announced that she planned to transition won her appeal when the 11th Circuit Court announced that her dismissal constituted sex descrimination (details here). These kinds of things are huge.
But the thing that I find most compelling is also the thing I find most disturbing. It's the story, AND VIDEO, from mid-November of a California transwoman being tazed in the crotch by law enforcement officials once they realized her situation (see story here).
It's horrific to watch this go down. And to be sure, this kind of thing isn't isolated or rare. An article on Huffington Post highlights just a few recent examples (read it here).
I've said in the past that one of my biggest fears in the early days of my transition was to be stopped by the police. Honest to God, I would have had a heart attack right there. And that's a pretty significant thing to admit given all the other things that were going on in my life at the time. But it's true. And depending on who stops any of us those fears have proven time and time again to be justified. Recent incidents in Washington DC brought that police force into the national spotlight, as well (details here).
It's a shame that good people get tainted by the behaviors of a few, but that's the reality of many things in life. And - watching this there can be no doubt that this is a hate crime. The sight of a person peacefully standing with their hands up suddenly getting tazed not once but twice isn't something anyone could reasonably argue as otherwise.
Is this any different than the brutal attack on a transwoman in a Baltimore McDonald's earlier this year? As a matter of fact - it is. Because these attackers worked for the government - the Bureau of Land Management - so they had "authority". I find this to be doubly troubling because BLM is part of the Department of the Interior, and I was just there last month to speak and do trainings. I saw the commitment to respect at the highest levels for myself. But the oath that government employees take to protect the Consitution is nowhere to be found as this poor woman writhes helplessly on the ground.
So - the take away from all of this is that we're making amazing progress but we're still being brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized, and disrespected every day. Daily indignities continue to be the norm for many if not most. And Newton's Third Law stating that every motion has an equal and opposite re-action is very much alive and well.
As a side note, while I think it's critical to recognize that although it's important to embed our values in our foreign policy and to articulate them clearly for all to recognize, we've still got lots of work to do here at home, too.
As for me - I'm heading to the gym. I took yesterday "off" but I'm hoping for a good, long, brisk 5-mile jaunt on a treadmill. Then? Dinner and the most civilized part of the day.....a glass of red wine.