ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A battle is brewing in Baltimore County over transgender rights. One lawmaker is pushing to protect those individuals from discrimination, but his plan is meeting stiff resistance.
Andrea Fujii has both sides of the argument and the vicious attack that started it all.
The councilmember sponsoring the bill says he wants to stop discrimination, yet critics argue what seems well-intentioned is misguided.
The videotaped beating of a transgender woman named Chrissy Polis inside a Rosedale McDonald’s last year spotlighted the issue of violence and bias against those who are transgender.
“You don’t have to explain yourself to nobody. Be who you are and go as you are,” Polis said.
Two girls, one 19 and the other 14, were charged and later convicted for the assault.
“It’s hard to believe in today’s society that that type of behavior was allowed to happen,” said one person who attended Tuesday’s meeting.
Tuesday night, the Baltimore County Council addressed the Chrissy Polis case. Councilman Quirk proposed a gender identity anti-discrimination bill.
“Well, I think it’s all about we don’t discriminate in Baltimore County. We’re an open county, we’re a progressive county and we welcome everyone,” Quirk said.
“This is about discrimination. This is about getting a job and keeping a job,” said Dana Beyer, supports bill.
The bill would have language that would allow those who are transgender to freely apply for jobs and also use public restrooms and other accommodations. That’s where opponents draw the line. Many are afraid that sexual predators may disguise themselves and use the law to get into private areas and prey on women and children.
“Some sexual predators are gonna take advantage of this bill and not just them coming in here who deserve to come in but the predators are gonna come in and hurt people,” said Anita Schatz, opposes bill.
Councilmembers stress that this was the first reading of the bill. It’s not etched in stone and there’s still room to craft it before trying to pass it into law.
“Well, I think it’s a very dangerous bill because I think it opens the door for those that would want to perpetrate crimes against females,” said Rev. Grace Harley, opposes bill.
Quirk says there will be a discussion about the issue outside of the council meeting next month.