Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Connecticut To Consider Transgender Anti-Discrimination Proposal

Updated Below

Transgender activists believe this is the year they will gain equal protection under Connecticut's anti-discrimination laws.

"We feel good," said Jerimarie Liesegang, who leads the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition. "We've done the groundwork, we've done the education and we know we have the votes."

A proposal, to be introduced in the legislative session that begins Wednesday, would prevent people who in any way blur gender lines from being discriminated against in the workplace or while seeking housing or obtaining credit.

Read the rest of the story here.

(FYI, Connecticut is the home of the author of this blog.)

UPDATE: If you read the rest of the article (by clicking here), be sure to vote (preferably YES) in the online poll that accompanies the article.


  1. There is also a Hartford Courant poll on the article...

    Should anti-discrimination laws be tightened?

    Should Connecticut anti-discrimination laws be tightened to clearly bar discrimination based on gender identity or expression?

  2. As an intersex person from Connecticut, I am against the bill because the bill would make it look like intersex people need the same thing that LGBT people need. It would cause society to confuse intersex with trans and it would make people think that intersex is associated with the trans.

    First, some people fear that adding the "I" would give the wrong impression that all or most intersex people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/ or transgender. Obviously, some intersex people are, and some aren't--but when we are dealing with young children and their parents, there is a concern that the association with LGBT would drive away parents of intersex children who would otherwise seek out information and resources about intersex conditions. Worse, the misperception might push parents to demand more surgeries to ease their concern about the child's future sexuality or gender identity.

    Second, there is already a lot of conflation between LGBT and intersex in the society, and constantly being combined with LGBT might prevent intersex from getting its own visibility, or make it hard for intersex people to find intersex-specific resources. For example, if you search for the word "LGBTI" on the internet, most articles that would come up deal with LGBT issues--marriage, discrimination, hate crimes, etc.--with no mention of any issues that actually apply to intersex people.

    Similar to this, there is also a concern that adding the "I" would make it appear as if what intersex people need is the same thing that LGBT people need. For example, adding intersex to the non-discrimination ordinance or hate crime law is completely insufficient to address the human rights issues faced by intersex people, but it gives the false impression that intersex people's rights are protected.

    Lastly, the model of organizing is very different. People with intersex conditions generally do not organize around the "identity" or "pride" of being intersex; "intersex" is a useful word to address political and human rights issues, but there is yet to be an intersex "community" or "culture" the way we can talk about LGBT communities (although this may change in the future). In other words, adding the "I" does not necessarily make the organization appear more welcoming to intersex people. For many people, "intersex" is just a condition, or history, or site of horrifying violation that they do not wish to revisit.

  3. Intersex is not the same as a transsexual (gender dysphoria) or as a transgender state. Neither term is one that we recognise as belonging in any general discussion of intersex. We are not happy with the recent tendency of some trans groups/people to promote transgender as an umbrella term to encompass, for example, transsexuality, transvestitism and intersex. We object to other organisations/individuals putting us in categories without consulting us, especially categories that imply that interexed people, of necessity, have gender identity issues.

    The problems this causes...

    We are constantly trying to get away from the idea that intersex is necessarily to do with gender identity, a notion that others (including the press/media) like to impose on us. Moreover, the prefix trans- infers a "moving across" and although a few people with intersex conditions may choose to change their gender role, the vast majority never "go" anywhere in terms of their sex or their gender, but are happy to stay in the status in which they grew up.

    XY females may suffer various problems on finding out their diagnosis. Problems such as:

    * confusion
    * anger at secrecy and paternalism (withholding of diagnostic information)
    * shame
    * an existential type of identity crisis
    * low self-esteem
    * difficulty grasping how this biological phenomenon can come about
    * grief at being denied fertility and rites of passage (e.g. lack of menstruation)
    * a feeling of freakishness and isolation compared to their peers
    * a fear that others might see them as 'male'
    * a concern regarding their ability to function in a relationship (e.g. vaginal hypoplasia)
    * the burden of keeping a secret, or uncertainty over who to tell and how
    * a retreat from medical care leading to failure to take HRT with a risk of osteoporosis
    * etc., etc.

    These are the issues that are of major concern to most of our members; and none of these issues necessarily means that their inner sense of gender identity is compromised.

    This trend towards 'muscling in' on intersex issues seems to be a initiative on the part of certain politically-minded people in the 'trans' community, to bring intersex under their banner (for whatever reason - it lends more credibility to their cause?) or even to actively interfere in clinical issues relating to intersex.