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Baltimore Approves Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill, But Critics Remain

First Posted: 02/22/2012 5:26 pm Updated: 02/23/2012 7:58 am

Baltimore's approval of a controversial transgender protection bill is being praised by the LGBT community -- but not everyone is happy about its passage.

As the Baltimore Sun is reporting, the Baltimore County Council approved the legislation -- which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression and sexual orientation when it comes to housing, employment, public accommodations and financing -- 5-2, along party lines. "Whether you’re a woman, whether you’re male, whether you’re female, African-American, gay, lesbian, transgender, this bill is simple," Tom Quirk, Baltimore County Council, is quoted by CBS Baltimore as saying. "Everyone deserves to be treated fairly."

The bill's approval, the Associated Press noted, comes nearly a year after Chrissy Lee Polis, a 22-year-old transgender woman, was viciously beaten when she tried to use the restroom at a McDonald’s franchise.

The Baltimore bill, which follows similar legislation recently passed in Massachusetts, did not add a heavily debated amendment that would have specifically exempted bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms, instead allowing the issue open to interpretation.

Among those who opposed the bill was Anita Schatz, a 59-year-old retired school secretary. Schatz told the Sun that she feared women would be sexually assaulted in restrooms, and that she was concerned about what kind of world her granddaughters would face. "We just don't want them turning our children into what they are," she is quoted as saying. "It has to do with morals because parents have a right to raise their children the way they want."

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |