Gay Rights as Human Rights

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October 26, 2010

10/26/2010

"Have you seen old maps? Beyond the edges of explored territory, the maps bore a legend warning, 'Here there be monsters!' Whatever was unknown was dangerous, monstrous.

"And what do we think of unknown people? The monsters emerge: Myths of gay men as sexual predators, transgender people as inherently deceptive and dangerous. The city commissioners in my hometown dared to pass an ordinance barring discrimination based on gender identity. Extremists put the ordinance up for majority vote. To promote their campaign they papered people's parked cars with cartoons showing men lurking in women's bathrooms to attack young girls. They added racism into the attack by broadcasting staged video scenes of dark men sneaking into playground restrooms following blonde little girls.

"Never mind that transgender people are overwhelmingly the targets of violence, not its perpetrators. Never mind that gender identity nondiscrimination ordinances have existed since the 1970s without triggering violence. Never mind that the town sheriff opposed overturning the nondiscrimination ordinance. Lambda Legal joined the local LGBT-rights campaign, and in the end, my hometown voted to keep the ordinance, but that ballot-box success story is unusual. Putting minority rights to majority vote is frequently a recipe for disaster. A primary reason: it's easy to conjure demons when real people are invisible."

Read Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg's complete blog entry on the Huffington Post.

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