This week’s edition of Bay Windows includes an FAQ on the Trans Equal Rights Bill from GLAD.
Discussing the inclusion of gender identity to the hate crimes law, it states, "that means that people convicted of anti-transgender hate crimes will face added criminal penalties and increased fines." While correct, this is not the complete truth.
Supporters of hate crimes legislation often omit the reality that a whole class is protected -- not just the oppressed people. That means that trans people can also face added criminal penalties and fines for "anti-cisgender hate crimes." For example, self-defense situations may get construed as such. Statistics show increasing "anti-white" people "hate crimes."
I am a transman, and I volunteer for Black and Pink, an LGBTQ prisoner support organization based in Boston. We did not support the bill due to its inclusion of hate crimes legislation, for the above reason and many others. That was a challenging thing to do because of the many positive aspects of the bill. A coalition of organizations including Sylvia Rivera Law Project, FIERCE, and Queers for Economic Justice put out a similar statement with regards to NY’s GENDA a few years ago.
We hope that the inclusion of gender identity in the hate crimes statute can be reversed, and that our community can realize that the police and courts and prisons are not our protectors -- they never have been. We need to revisit our history and come together for real, community-based solutions to transphobia.
Travis Reed Miller
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