Here’s to a discrimination-free workplace and, while we’re at it, a discrimination-free world… Unfortunately good intentions are rarely enough to establish a fair playing field in life. So here’s to forward-thinking organizations like Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the largest nonprofit in the world dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Earlier this year, a transgender woman was attacked for attempting to use the women’s room at a McDonald’s in Rosedale. The widely viewed cellphone footage of the attack helped make gender rights an issue. Currently, Howard County is considering a bill that adds “gender identity” to the short list of unlawful grounds for discrimination that currently includes race, religion, and political orientation. The law would protect transgender individuals against “discrimination in housing, employment, law enforcement practices and public accommodations in the county.”
Interestingly enough, it seems that most of the opposition to the Howard County bill is focused on what the law might mean for public restrooms. Opponents, including Greg Quinlan of the Arlington based group Equality and Justice for All, fear that the bill will encourage a transgender woman (who was born male) to use the ladies’ room, but a moment’s reflection reveals it as a desperate argument. Certainly transgender women are already using women’s facilities, just as transgender men are using men’s facilities.
Other statements from Quinlan’s press release reveal more faulty reasoning: “These men may dress as women but they are still males and can be attracted to women.” I suppose Quinlan would be shocked to learn that females can be attracted to women, too.
Are Maryland’s four historically black colleges — Morgan State, Coppin State, Bowie State, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore — more segregated and generally worse off than they were a few decades ago?
So argued a lawsuit filed on behalf of the schools a number of years ago — and brought to a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion this week. The suit argued that the state underfunded these schools, and gave preferential treatment to other schools, among other discriminatory practices; as a result, they are more segregated now than they were a few decades ago. To take one example, funding for capital enhancement projects takes two or three times longer than at other institutions. As a result, perhaps, historically black institutions have poor retention and graduation rates.
Maryland has a checkered past when it comes to higher education and race. In 1969, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights ruled that Maryland had an illegal segregated higher education system.
But we won’t get a chance to see a dramatic trial result in the case, at least not anytime soon; the two sides agreed to postpone the trial until December, in favor of trying to mediate the conflict.
What do you think is the role of historically black colleges in today’s educational landscape?