HRC to MA Newspaper: Your Anti-Trans Mockery Isn’t a Laughing Matter
December 20, 2011 by Allyson Robinson, Deputy Director for Employee Programs, Workplace Project
HRC Deputy Director of Employee Programs Allyson Robinson today submitted this letter to the Lowell Sun, a Massachusetts newspaper which yesterday ran an offensive column mocking transgender Americans as part of a Christmas song parody.
Your Dec. 19th parody of transgender Americans to the tune of a Christmas song was in poor taste and, frankly, highly offensive. Transgender people face very real struggles – from coming to terms with their gender identity, to seeking support from family members and their communities, to discrimination in the workplace that impacts economic wellbeing.
To make Chaz Bono a target of your mockery demeans the real progress his appearance of “Dancing with the Stars” signified. Bono’s appearance sent a message that transgender people are a part of every community and are just as capable of professional and personal success. Your column undercuts that and sends a dangerous message to those who are struggling with their own gender identity, while encouraging those who would harass and abuse them.
In 34 states, you can be fired for following accepted medical practice and living out your gender identity. That puts at risk the ability of transgender people to support themselves and their families in an economic environment that is already challenging enough for all Americans. Massachusetts’ transgender protections law – also a punch line in your parody – was a positive step toward a more equitable and safe life for transgender residents in the Bay State. It bars discrimination in the workplace and adds gender identity and expression to the commonwealth’s existing hate crime laws.
Despite this, challenges remain for transgender Americans – both in Massachusetts and across the country. Rather than crooning tired and harmful stereotypes, I suggest the Lowell Sun examine the struggles members of the transgender community still face, the inequities in daily life, and what should be done to ensure that no one experiences social or economic disparities simply for who they are.
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