March 23, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Maryland lawmaker: trans bill would ‘normalize abnormal behavior’

transgender, Maryland, trans equality, Marylanders, gay news, Washington Blade

A Maryland lawmaker says a transgender rights bill would “normalize abnormal behavior.” (Image public domain)

A Frederick County Republican has told her constituents a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders would “normalize abnormal behavior.”

“I am completely and unequivocally opposed to this bill, which doesn’t aim to end discrimination, but to normalize abnormal behavior,” wrote state Del. Kathy Afzali (R-Frederick County) in a letter to her constituents.

Afzali also notes that House Bill 1265 that state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) introduced in January has been called the “Bathroom Bill.”

“HB 1265 seeks to create a new class of protected individuals in the state’s anti-discrimination statute,” said Afzali. “Specifically, the bill defines ‘gender identity’ as ‘appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.’”

“It is important that Maryland does not separate one’s ‘gender identity’ and their ‘assigned sex at birth’ as noted in the bill,” adds the Republican. “Like the majority of Marylanders, I share the view that this redefinition rejects our society’s understanding of human nature. So ladies if you happen to see a guy in a dress in the restaurant bathroom, you’ll know the bill passed and that I voted no.”

Afzali is among those who spoke at an October 2012 rally in Frederick during which a local pastor suggested Superstorm Sandy struck New York City after then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $250,000 to the campaign in support of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law that voters approved in a referendum. The Frederick County Republican has also said gay men are bad parents.

The Maryland House of Delegates Health and Government Operations Committee on Tuesday is expected to vote on HB 1265. A final vote on the measure is slated to take later this week.

The Maryland Senate earlier this month approved a similar bill that state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced.

Baltimore City, Hyattsville and Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery Counties have already enacted trans-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinances.

Neighboring Delaware is among the 17 states along with D.C. and Puerto Rico that ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania, New York and other states have introduced similar measures.

A recent poll the Sarah T. Hughes Field Center at Goucher College conducted found 71 percent of Marylanders support efforts to ban anti-trans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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