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Predictions of trans bathroom harassment unfounded

D.C., Md., Del. police say no problems after enacting anti-bias laws

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Cathy Lanier, MPD, Metropolitan Police Department, gay news, Washington Blade, bathroom harassment

‘I’m not aware of any police-related cases — none,’ said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier when asked about predictions of harassment in restrooms following enactment of anti-bias laws. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The North Carolina Legislature created an uproar among LGBT rights advocates and prominent business leaders in March when it passed a controversial law prohibiting local jurisdictions in the state from enacting non-discrimination measures protecting LGBT people.

Many supporters of the law said it was necessary because measures protecting transgender people from discrimination would allow men to use women’s bathrooms and subject women to potential harassment and sexual assaults.

This week Police Chief Cathy Lanier of D.C. and law enforcement officials in Maryland – both of which have laws banning discrimination against transgender people – said they could not identify a single case in which a transgender person has been charged with assaulting or harassing women in a public bathroom.

“I’m not aware of any police-related cases — none,” said Lanier when asked by the Washington Blade if D.C. police have been called to public bathrooms because of threats against women by a transgender person.

Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, who was with Lanier when she commented on the issue at a police news conference on Tuesday, said he too was unaware of that type of bathroom-related issue.

“If something like that would have occurred in all likelihood I would have been notified,” he said. “But I have not heard of anything like that. So that’s not clearly an issue in the District.”

In Maryland, police or law enforcement spokespersons for the state’s three largest population centers — Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County — each said they also were unaware of instances of transgender harassment or assaults on women in public bathrooms.

Like D.C., which passed a transgender non-discrimination law in 2006, Maryland passed such a law in 2014. Montgomery County passed its own transgender non-discrimination law in 2008.

Det. Nicole Monroe, a public information officer with the Baltimore Police Department, said no reports of transgender harassment or other problems in public bathrooms have come to her attention since Maryland adopted its trans non-discrimination law.

“Where is this coming from?” she asked. “Just because you’re transitioning doesn’t make you a rapist. You go in your stall and you do your thing,” she said. “It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

Added Monroe, who is a 22-year veteran on the Baltimore police force: “I mean you have to worry wherever you go now. But not from somebody using the bathroom that’s transitioning. That has nothing to do with your safety. I’m more concerned in going to the bathroom about somebody reaching under and trying to snatch my purse.”

Montgomery County police spokesperson Rick Goodale said he would arrange for a search of various police records to confirm whether or not transgender-related offenses have taken place in women’s bathrooms.

“Just off hand, I don’t know of any specific incidents in recent memory that we’ve had on complaints like that,” he said. “We have duty commanders that work after hours and they file reports every night about incidents that happen in the county. And I don’t remember any reports about anything like that.”

Ramon Korionoff, public affairs director for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, which is in charge of prosecuting criminal cases, said he checked with people in his office that would be familiar with bathroom-related offenses.

“The people who would have some historical knowledge cannot remember anything of the sort,” he said.

Officer Tyler Hunter, a Prince George’s County police spokesperson, said he also checked with department officials and no cases of public bathroom related problems involving transgender people could be found.

In Delaware, which passed a transgender non-discrimination bill in 2013, the LGBT-friendly beach resort town of Rehoboth Beach has not had any issue or problem related to public bathrooms and transgender people, according to Rehoboth Police Chief Keith Banks.

“We’ve had no concerns on this and no complaints have been made, and we have observed none,” Banks told the Blade on Wednesday. “We’re a diverse community and we’ve just had no issue, no encounters of that nature,” he said.

Spokespersons for the police departments in San Francisco and Los Angeles said they weren’t aware of trans-related bathroom problems but they would need to check police records to provide a definitive answer on the matter. California’s statewide Unruh Civil Rights Act bans discrimination against trans people as well as gays and lesbians.

In New York City, an NYPD spokesperson said he too was unaware of transgender-related problems in public bathrooms but would have to also arrange for a check of police records to confirm whether or not such problems have occurred.

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Kathy11

    March 31, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    So, lower levels of problems than any other group. zero reports in several of the largest cities over decades. Several assaults of trans women in rest rooms by cisgender people.

    Cisgender people have to start proving they’re not going to assault people in women’s rest rooms.

  2. Leslie Gray

    March 31, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    There was a report of a transgender woman raped in the restroom of the Stonewall Inn last week. But, there are no credible reports of any cisgender women ever being raped in any public restroom anywhere in this country.

  3. Peking_Duck_sd

    April 1, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Why is it always oily, perverse, sexuality-oozing, portly, pedophilish right wing cranky old men who think trans people choose where they p*e and sh*t is based on something sexual? I’d be more worried about some closet creep like Huckabee trying to get the c*ck in a public restroom than a trans individual

  4. GayEGO

    April 1, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Send this information to North Carolina, McCrory needs to be caved in.

    • Brian's Ions

      April 1, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Moreover, Mayor Bower ought be standing with all LGBTs regarding NC.

      Mayor Bowser is *STILL* ignoring NC’s anti-LGBT hate law– while other states and cities ban their employees’ travel to NC… including CT, NY, VT, WA and the cities of Boston, Chicago, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, West Pam Beach.

      So why is the mayor of the Nation’s Capital, Muriel Bowser, not standing by the nation’s LGBTs in an hour of peril for LGBT civil rights laws– and in a state so nearby to DC?

      Why can’t DC be just as responsive as Chicago’s?

      LGBTQ NATION

      http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2016/03/to-sidestep-antigay-law-chicagos-mayor-will-help-north-carolina-businesses-relocate/

      • GayEGO

        April 1, 2016 at 11:33 am

        Good question! Mayor Bowser needs to speak out against NC’s discrimination against LGBTs. We need Patricia McCrory to cave! :>)

        • Brian's Ions

          April 1, 2016 at 12:02 pm

          For sure. Vince Gray would have been on top of this. Fenty and Williams, too.

          It is beyond disappointing that in a capital city, with a very high LGBT population, Mayor Bowser has the opportunity to impact LGBT civil rights– in NC’s hate state and nationwide, and for all time– but does not seize the opportunity to do so.

          It is inexplicable and embarrassing for our city… for NINE days and counting, now.
             .

  5. GayEGO

    April 1, 2016 at 11:13 am

    There have been more Republican legislators arrested for sexual misconduct in restrooms than there have been Trans people.

    • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

      April 1, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      This fixation on Republicans: you realize Caitlyn Jenner is a rightwing Ted Cruz supporter? The Rick Santorum -the guy santorum is named after – affirms transgenderism.

      Grow up. This isn’t one of those things where you can turn your mind off and root for the home team.

      • Kathy11

        April 1, 2016 at 11:27 pm

        Rick Santorum Rails Against ‘Dangerous’ Rights For Transgender Youth
        SUBMITTED BY Brian Tashman on Wednesday, 11/4/2015 11:20 am
        Yesterday on “The Steve Malzberg Show,” Rick Santorum offered his opinion on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which was successfully repealed yesterday, and a case in Illinois where the Department of Education sided with a transgender girl who accused her public school of carrying out discriminatory policies.

        Santorum, naturally, is not a fan of protections for trans youth, which he labeled as “dangerous.”

        Just discussing the issue of transgender youth in schools, Santorum said, would harm kids: “I don’t know why children at that age — why this is even an issue, the idea that we are introducing this type of real dangerous confusion for young people at this early age, do we really care about what we’re doing to millions of children who don’t have gender confusion and basically introducing the subject and saying, ‘maybe you should, maybe this is something you should start thinking about at age seven.’ I mean this is really dangerous and it’s going too far because it is having an impact on not just folks who may be in a difficult situation at an early age but many who would never have been in that situation but now are being confronted with it.”

        FILED UNDER

        PEOPLE:Rick Santorum, Steve Malzberg
        – See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rick-santorum-rails-against-dangerous-rights-transgender-youth#sthash.sAXLHBj9.dpuf

        • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

          April 2, 2016 at 1:14 am

          From CBS News, 5/2/2015

          Former Pennsylvania senator and potential Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that he believes Bruce Jenner — a former Olympic athlete who recently came out on national television as transgender — is a woman.

          “If he says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman,” Santorum said to reporters Saturday at the South Carolina Republican convention. “My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are.”

          But, yea. That was before transgenderists started hammering public schools with bathroom lawsuits. Thanks for illuminating the timeline of how this unfolded.

          • Kathy11

            April 2, 2016 at 7:32 am

            So – he supports trans people by saying they exist – but denying them rights? Just like he supports gay people then?

          • Kathy11

            April 2, 2016 at 7:40 am

            It’s true. When people demand their rights – bigots backlash and blame the victims for the backlash.

            I’m so old. I remember this happening in the W election with gay marriage. Except it was a gay guy who came up with that plan. He apparently has spiritual children.

          • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

            April 2, 2016 at 10:18 am

            What rights are you referring to? Like name them. I want to see you type out something idiotic like “A man has a constitutional right to be a woman”.

          • GayEGO

            April 2, 2016 at 12:39 pm

            You can’t even say the phrase correctly – An American citizen has the right to resolve their own gender identity and gender attraction as no one else can. All of the negative religious hoopla preached to civilization is the main cause of our conflicts, just look at the middle east terrorism and the Westboro Baptist Church.

          • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

            April 2, 2016 at 1:02 pm

            No action has been taken which denies any individual the right to resolve their own gender identity issues.

            The Charlotte law which HB2 sought to remediate imposed, under penalty of law, a mandate to affirm other people’s subjective self-definitions of gender.

      • GayEGO

        April 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm

        I guess you weren’t paying attention as I am not the one who arrested the Republican legislators. I say Dump the Trump and lose the Cruz! And for Rick Sanitarium, he dropped out of the race along time ago.

  6. Brian's Ions

    April 1, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    ******UPDATE*******

    WASHINGTON CITY PAPER
    **Bowser Bans Official Travel to North Carolina for D.C. Government Employees**
    **
    Bowser’s order, “effective immediately,” notes that “ensuring individuals freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a compelling government interest.” It adds that “the laws and policies of the District of Columbia should support the values of inclusiveness and respect for all.”**

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2016/04/01/bowser-bans-official-travel-to-north-carolina-for-d-c-government-employees/

  7. Kathy11

    April 1, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    You definitely shouldn’t be allowed around little boys in the rest room. Millions of little boys have been abused by men.

    • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

      April 2, 2016 at 2:12 am

      The funny thing about the untoward insinuation there is that it may be recognized as bigotry in coming years.

      • Kathy11

        April 2, 2016 at 7:33 am

        I’m not waiting for some dudes.

        • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

          April 2, 2016 at 10:14 am

          For what?

          • Kathy11

            April 2, 2016 at 11:51 am

            I’m calling them bigots now.

          • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

            April 2, 2016 at 12:09 pm

            Opponents of pedophilia? You made a – let’s call it – ‘pedophobic’ remark to the effect that I shouldn’t be trusted in restrooms with young boys. Which was cute, but I wonder if you’re aware that all of the claims made toward the medical legitimacy of transgenderism can be exactly transposed to pedophilia.

            But aparently you got lost somewhere in the conversation.

          • GayEGO

            April 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm

            Homophobic and pedophilia are harmful to others because they force their uncontrollable sexual misconduct on others. LGBTs, straights, etc. are simply human beings that live like everyone elso.

          • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

            April 2, 2016 at 12:56 pm

            Isn’t it a bit bigoted to deny the experience of preadolescents, who medical professionals agree are quite capable of determining their own gender identity, by denying their capability to also choose with whom they desire intimate contact?

          • fedele

            May 13, 2016 at 3:08 am

            You’re creepy. I wouldn’t want you in any bathroom( or any room for that matter) with any of my children.

          • Kathy11

            April 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm

            Pedophibic would be fear or animus towards pedophiles – I don’t have a problem with that.

            And yes – Statistically, you are more likely to be a threat to kids than a trans person. I can see that you find it upsetting when your slur is transposed back upon you. Rather accurately transposed. Cisgender dudes are responsible for the overwhelming majority of all types of violence in this world. Including that visited upon children.

          • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

            April 2, 2016 at 7:11 pm

            You are correct that violent and sexual assault are strongly correlated with men. Almost exclusively so.

            An ugly fact, however, is that ‘transwomen’ commit acts of violent and sexual assault at an identical rate as men:

            http://journals.plos.org/ploso
            “Second, regarding any crime, male-to-females had a significantly increased risk for crime compared to female controls (aHR 6.6; 95% CI 4.1–10.8) but not compared to males (aHR 0.8; 95% CI 0.5–1.2). This indicates that they retained a male pattern regarding criminality. The same was true regarding violent crime.”

            As for the other thing, I’m relieved to hear you’re against pedophilia for now. I just hope that ten years from now you don’t regret having been ‘on the wrong side of history’ with regard to pedophilia. I hope there’s a line somewhere which society wont be dragged across.

          • Kathy11

            April 3, 2016 at 12:28 pm

            A. Your link doesn’t work.
            B. The author of the study repudiates your statements about what the study shows. She states that trans women don’t have a level of violence that differs from cis women.
            C. You’re obviously more suspect around children as a man.

            Dhejne: The individual in the image who is making claims about trans criminality, specifically rape likelihood, is misrepresenting the study findings. The study as a whole covers the period between 1973 and 2003. If one divides the cohort into two groups, 1973 to 1988 and 1989 to 2003, one observes that for the latter group (1989 – 2003), differences in mortality, suicide attempts and crime disappear. This means that for the 1989 to 2003 group, we did not find a male pattern of criminality.

            As to the criminality metric itself, we were measuring and comparing the total number of convictions, not conviction type. We were not saying that cisgender males are convicted of crimes associated with marginalization and poverty. We didn’t control for that and we were certainly not saying that we found that trans women were a rape risk. What we were saying was that for the 1973 to 1988 cohort group and the cisgender male group, both experienced similar rates of convictions. As I said, this pattern is not observed in the 1989 to 2003 cohort group.

            The difference we observed between the 1989 to 2003 cohort and the control group is that the trans cohort group accessed more mental health care, which is appropriate given the level of ongoing discrimination the group faces. What the data tells us is that things are getting measurably better and the issues we found affecting the 1973 to 1988 cohort group likely reflects a time when trans health and psychological care was less effective and social stigma was far worse.

            There you have it. To be clear:

            No, the study does not show that medical transition results in suicide or suicidal ideation. The study explicitly states that such is not the case and those using this study to make that claim are using fallacious logic.
            No, the study does not prove that trans women are rapists or likely to be rapists. The “male pattern of criminality” found in the 1973 to 1988 cohort group was not a euphemism for rape.
            No, the study does not prove that trans women exhibit male socialization. The “male pattern of criminality” found in the 1973 to 1988 cohort group was not a claim that trans women were convicted of the same types of crime as cis men.

          • Kathy11

            April 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm

            I’m on the right side of the pedophilia question & will be in the future. The right side is that cis men are a greater risk to kids than all others. Your people are the problem.

  8. skinnercitycyclist

    April 2, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    It’s good to have a hobby.

    • TangerineDream

      April 21, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Good to see you have no concern.

      • skinnercitycyclist

        April 22, 2016 at 7:24 am

        None in the slightest. Thanks for caring.

  9. skinnercitycyclist

    April 3, 2016 at 7:46 am

    I was of course referring to your hobby of paying inordinate amount of attention to what other people do in the bathroom, in case it slipped by you.

    • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

      April 3, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      Ah. I thought you meant the hobbies listed. Not for me, but I guess we’re supposed to assign civil rights to people’s kinky fetish BS now.

      • MikeinBaltimore

        April 4, 2016 at 2:10 am

        People wishing for freedom of the slaves, freedom to marry anyone they wished, freedom to get an education, etc., prior to the US Civil War was considered by slaveholders mostly a Northern “people’s kinky fetish BS. . . .”

        Until SCOTUS ruled, many people in the South (and some Northerners) considered separate as equal.

        Until Congress acted, many people in the South (and some Northerners) thought they could exclude African-Americans from lunch counters, etc.

        They are attempting to do the same to the GLBT community now.

      • skinnercitycyclist

        April 4, 2016 at 7:34 am

        Wrong again, but keep trying.

  10. Lauravan

    April 5, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Why do conservative women play this game of “oh my God someone might attack me”? No one wants their saggy old hag azzes. No trans person in their right mind has time to even look at those nasty old hags peeing. I mean really who cares!?

  11. TangerineDream

    April 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Just not true. Google and you will find that these bills are starting to cause problems with safety for women.

  12. TangerineDream

    April 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Wondering if you are a predator? Women and children’s safety is not a “pressing issue?” Don’t need bathroom cheerleaders? Smug arrogance. These laws have just been passed and there are already a dozen examples of abuses that have resulted.

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise

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Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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D.C. bill to ban LGBTQ panic defense delayed by Capitol security

Delivery of bill to Congress was held up due to protocols related to Jan. 6 riots

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New fencing around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented some D.C. bills from being delivered to the Hill for a required congressional review. (Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A bill approved unanimously last December by the D.C. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented the law from being delivered to Congress.

According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who guided the bill through the Council’s legislative process, all bills approved by the Council and signed by the D.C. mayor must be hand-delivered to Congress for a required congressional review.

“What happened was when the Capitol fence went up after the January insurrection, it created an issue where we physically could not deliver laws to Congress per the congressional review period,” Salmi told the Washington Blade.

Among the bills that could not immediately be delivered to Congress was the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, which was approved by the Council on a second and final vote on Dec. 15.

Between the time the bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D.C. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb. 16, the Council’s legislative record for the bill shows.

Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory 60-day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.

But the Evangelista-Hunter bill, named after a transgender woman and a gay man who died in violent attacks by perpetrators who attempted to use the trans and gay panic defense, includes a law enforcement related provision that under the city’s Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the early 1970s requires a 60-day congressional review.

“There is a chance it goes into effect any day now, just given the timeline is close to being up,” Salmi said on Tuesday. “I don’t know the exact date it was delivered, but I do know the countdown is on,” said Salmi, who added, “I would expect any day now it should go into effect and there’s nothing stopping it other than an insurrection in January.”

If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D.C. Council’s legislative office estimated the congressional review would have been completed by May 12.

A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D.C. bills because of the Capitol fence has been corrected.

“The House found an immediate workaround, when this issue first arose after the Jan. 6 insurrection,” the aide said.

“This is yet another reason why D.C. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D.C. statehood,” the aide said.

The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.C. Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution.

“House Democrats support D.C. home rule, statehood, and LGBTQ rights,” said the aide.

LGBTQ rights advocates have argued that a ban on using a gay or transgender panic defense in criminal trials is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder.

Some attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a way they believed to be a form of self-defense.

In addition to its provision banning the LGBTQ panic defense, the Evangelista-Hunter bill includes a separate provision that strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law by clarifying that hatred need not be the sole motivating factor for an underlying crime such as assault, murder, or threats to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime. The prosecutors noted that juries have found defendants not guilty of committing a hate crime on grounds that they believed other motives were involved in a particular crime after defense lawyers argued that the law required “hate” to be the only motive in order to find someone guilty of a hate crime.

Salmi noted that while the hate crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.C. budget to cover the costs of implementing the provision.

The provision gives the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.C.

“That is subject to appropriations,” Salmi said. “And until it is funded in the upcoming budget it cannot be legally enforced.”

He said that at Council member Allen’s request, the Council added language to the bill that ensures that all other provisions of the legislation that do not require additional funding – including the ban on use of the LGBTQ panic defense and the provision clarifying that hatred doesn’t have to be the sole motive for a hate crime – will take effect as soon as the congressional approval process is completed.

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D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011

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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. man arrested in August 2020 for allegedly threatening to kill a gay man outside the victim’s apartment in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and who was released while awaiting trial was arrested again two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill another man in an unrelated incident.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his 2020 arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, 2021 with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at 4412 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D.C. police says Malki allegedly threatened to kill the man who owns the house shortly after the man arrived at the house while Malki was inside.

According to the affidavit, Malki walked up to the owner of the house while the owner was sitting in his car after having called police and told him, “If you come back here, I’m going to kill you.” While making that threat Malki displayed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, but which was later found to be a toy gun, the affidavit says.

Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his 2020 arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial. In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.

An arrest affidavit filed by D.C. police in the 2020 case states that Malki allegedly made the threats inside an apartment building where the victim lived on the 2300 block of Champlain Street, N.W. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived.

“Victim 1 continued to state during an interview that it was not the first time that Defendant 1 had made threats to him, but this time Defendant 1 stated that if he caught him outside, he would ‘fucking kill him.’” the affidavit says. It quotes the victim as saying during this time Malki repeatedly called the victim a “fucking faggot.”

The affidavit, prepared by the arresting officers, says that after the officers arrested Malki and were leading him to a police transport vehicle to be booked for the arrest, he expressed an “excited utterance” that he was “in disbelief that officers sided with the ‘fucking faggot.’”

Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the 2020 arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.

Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between 2011 and 2015 in cases unrelated to the 2021 and 2020 cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. Two of the cases appear to be LGBTQ related, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not list the cases as hate crimes.

In the first of the three cases, filed in July 2011, Malki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt.

“Victim 1 believes the assault occurred because Suspect 1 believes Victim 1 is a homosexual,” the police arrest affidavit says.

Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case. But the court records show that on Sept. 13, 2011, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.

The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. With the courthouse currently closed to the public and the press due to COVID-related restrictions, the Washington Blade couldn’t immediately obtain the records to determine the judge’s reason for the verdict.

In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D.C. police outside the Townhouse Tavern bar and restaurant at 1637 R St., N.W. on Nov. 7, 2012 for allegedly threatening one or more people with a knife after employees ordered Malki to leave the establishment for “disorderly behavior.”

At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.W.

The police arrest affidavit in the case says Malki allegedly pointed a knife in a threatening way at two of the tavern’s employees who blocked his path when he attempted to re-enter the tavern. The affidavit says he was initially charged by D.C. police with assault with a dangerous weapon – knife. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office lowered the charges to two counts of simple assault. The records show that on Jan. 15, 2013, Malki pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.

In the third case prior to the 2020 and 2021 cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, 2015 on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon – knife, possession of a prohibited weapon – knife, and unlawful entry.

The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. When her female friend came to her aid, Malki allegedly got “aggressive” by threatening the woman and “removed what appeared to be a knife from an unknown location” and pointed it at the woman’s friend in a threatening way, the affidavit says.

It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so. But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of previous problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.C. police.

Court records show that similar to all of Malki’s arrests, a judge released him while awaiting trial and ordered him to stay away from Cobalt and all of those he was charged with threatening and assaulting.

The records show that on Sept. 18, 2015, Malki agreed to a plea bargain offer by prosecutors in which all except two of the charges – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and simple assault – were dropped. Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. on Oct. 2, 2015 sentenced Malki to 60 days of incarnation for each of the two charges but suspended all but five days, which he allowed Malki to serve on weekends, the court records show.

The judge ordered that the two five-day jail terms could be served concurrently, meaning just five days total would be served, according to court records. The records also show that Judge Irving sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for each of the two counts and ordered that he enter an alcohol treatment program and stay away from Cobalt.

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