Maryland senate president Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, a Democrat, was shown to have a puzzling and rather ignorant view of Maryland’s failed Gender Identity Anti-discrimination Act this week when it emerged he called the bill “anti-family” during a television interview that aired April 8. He also said that he knew senators who wouldn’t employ “people with male sexual organs who wear a dress to serve as receptionists.”
From The Advocate:
Maryland Public Television interviewed Miller for its State Circle program that aired April 8, three days before the conclusion of legislative business. Last Monday the senate voted to recommit the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act to committee, killing its prospects for passage this year despite the bill’s having surmounted numerous obstacles to reach the senate floor in the final hours of the 90-day session.
“I personally believe it’s antifamily, and so I am going to vote against it,” said Miller in the interview. “The problem is this: I have senators that are not going to hire, uh, people with male sexual organs who wear a dress to serve as receptionists, OK? Um, and so if they’re not going to do it, if the senators and house members themselves wouldn’t hire a person in that category, how can we say to constituents, you’ve got to do this?”
House Bill 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, which went through a number of amendments before receiving a final 86-52 vote in the House just a few weeks ago, would have prohibited discrimination based on “a gender-related identity, or appearance of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth” and covered employment and credit, while offering limited protections in housing.
The legislation was recommitted by senators in a 27-20 vote on the last day of the legislative session.
The trans community itself was divided on the bill given that it omitted protections in public housing that would have left the trans community vulnerable and with no remedy given how hard it is to pass trans-inclusive legislation.
However, advocates of the bill said at the time the votes were there to pass the legislation and that it was political maneuvering behind the scenes that prevented the bill becoming law. Now, the finger of blame is pointing directly at Miller.
More from The Advocate:
“We believe that he basically decided to hold one of the communities hostage because another part of the community was involved in actions that really upset him,” said [transgender activist Dana Beyer]. “This was his way of punishing us. He feels that his people were hung out to dry.”
The office of Senator Miller did not respond to a request for comment.
As to how legislation preventing workplace, housing and credit discrimination can be “antifamily” escapes me and in fact smacks of lazy rhetoric that is not even masked particuarly well. Miller’s description of trans people is also highly offensive yet very telling. He reduces them solely to their sex characteristics and touches on the tired transvestite caricature rather than regarding trans people as individuals worthy of respect and a civil, non-sexualized level of discourse.
To read more background on the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, please click here.