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Bangor Daily News blasts anti-trans legislation, would "put them at risk of harassment"

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In November of 2005, voters in Maine added protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to the Maine Human Rights Act. It was a decisive victory for equality.

Things have gotten ugly in Maine. The new Governor is a bigoted teabagger and both houses of the legislature are controlled by GOPers. One of those Republicans, Rep. Kenneth Wade Fredette, wants to remove protections for gender identity from the Maine Human Rights Act.

Via Equality Maine, we learned the bill was defeated in the Judiciary Committee:

Last Friday, in a bipartisan vote of 8-to-5, the Judiciary Committee voted down a bill (LD 1046) to repeal crucial protections for transgender Mainers under the Maine Human Rights Act. Five Democrats, two Republicans and one Independent came together to vote against this anti-equality bill.
But, that's not the end of it. In the Maine legislature, the bill will go to the floor with an "ought not to pass recommendation." The House and Senate can go along with the committee's recommendation or decide to pass the bill anyway. Equality Maine wants

Today, the Bangor Daily News, which has always been the more conservative paper in the state, blasts the anti-trans bill:
As we make our way around the public world — offices, stores, restaurants, work, school — we rely on having a private place to attend to our biological needs. Part of the privacy comes in being segregated by gender. Generally speaking, men would not welcome women standing behind them as they use a urinal, and women would not be comfortable with a man in the next stall.

People who identify with the gender that does not correspond to their birth gender deserve this same privacy. They are a small minority, and the public does not know much about their circumstances, so misconceptions and fears abound. But their use of bathrooms should be left to their own discretion, as is everyone else’s.

A proposal to amend the Maine Human Rights Act has the goal of protecting the privacy of the nontransgender public in public bathrooms. This isn’t necessary and, instead, it has the potential to embarrass transgender people and put them at risk of harassment.

The bill, LD 1046, sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Fredette, would exempt businesses and institutions from the discrimination provisions of the Human Rights Act on the use of bathrooms and shower facilities.
If you live in Maine, call your Representative and Senator.

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