Thursday, July 08, 2010

Be Visible. But Vigilant.

It's been an eventful week for the LGBT community here in Georgia . First, the good news: Vandy Beth Glenn won an important victory in her lawsuit against Georgia state officials. The District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (a federal court) granted her motion for summary judgment against the one remaining defendant. As you may recall, Ms. Glenn was fired from her job as legislative aide for the Georgia state legislature after she informed her boss that she was Transgender and would be transitioning from male to female on the job. The district court found that in firing her, the state had violated Ms. Glenn's equal protection rights under the 14th amendment. Relying on solid precedent, the court found as a matter of law that Ms. Glenn was fired because she refused to behave and dress like a man. This, the court ruled, constituted impermissible sex discrimination. I've read the 50 -page opinion and it's a good read. (since I'm writing this on
my phone, I can't provide a link to the opinion and can't give nearly as much detail as I'd like). All that's left is to determine the remedy - Ms. Glenn wants her job back - and that will be addressed at a hearing scheduled for next week. Of course, an appeal is likely.

As encouraging as this development is, my enthusiasm is tempered by more sobering news: a few days ago a gay couple was attacked and beaten in Piedmont Park (again, I can't provide links or much detail). Judging from the news reports, it appears to have been a hate crime.

It's still dangerous out there, folks, even in our own neighborhoods. I'm reminded of that bumper sticker: 'Freedom is not free." Those of us who enjoy greater acceptance in society do so on the shoulders of others who - whether voluntarily or not - have found themselves on the front lines. And because these sacrifices aren't just in the past, we never know when we might be called into the fight ourselves.

2 comments:

  1. I was watching Oprah yesterday, and she had on a guest who had transitioned from male to female, and whose brother was vehemently against it. (against what? being herself? But I digress) The brother kept spouting junk about "do you believe in the bible? Do you?" Even Oprah asked how her guest reconciled her life with the bible. As far as I know, the bible (to which I don't happen to be a subscriber) says nothing, zero, nada, about transgendered people. But nonetheless, the beat goes on.

    Oh and by the way, she had a cute and articulate girlfriend. We are everywhere. Look on our works, ye mighty, and despair! ;-)

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