Monday, February 23, 2009

Equality Day on the Hill a Success

by Marissa Richmond

A large, diverse group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens and supporters travelled from all across the state, showing that LGBT people are part of Tennessee and live and work in every community.

Those who met with their legislators talked about the importance of adding "gender identity or expression" to Tennessee's Hate Crimes statute, because it is past time to acknowledge the humanity of Tennessee's transgender residents and to put the power of state government behind the effort to stop gender based violence. They discussed the importance of repealing Tennessee's one-of-a-kind ban on gender changes on birth certificates so that those who were born in Tennessee can find closure and get on with their lives. They showed how LGBT families, which were represented by our partners and children who also participated, are legitimate families, and we should not be denied the right to adopt. They presented the concerns over new Voter ID's with gender markers that could disfranchise transgender voters. And they talked about legislation which would silence school teachers from discussing sexual diversity in society.

In the meantime, we hope you are able to travel to Washington, DC, for the National Center for Transgender Equality's Congressional Lobby Days, April 26 to 28. Among the priorities are to secure passage of the fully inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA), and the fully inclusive Federal Hate Crimes bill. For more information, visit the NCTE Lobby Days webpage.

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