Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gainesville Vote

Gay, lesbian and transgendered Americans who live in Gainesville can sigh with relief now that today's vote to overturn the city's gay and transgendered rights' ordinance was voted down by a healthy 16.64% point margin.

Charter 1 supporters said the measure was designed to bar pre-op transgendered Americans (men and women still trapped in the wrong body) from using the public restrooms of a member of the opposite sex. That was, however, merely the pretext they used to remove from gay, lesbian, and transgendered Americans, any and every protection the city offered them from employment and housing discrimination. (Gainesville sexual orientation-based discrimination in employment and housing. Charter 1 was, in effect, overly "protective" insofar as it permitted discrimination in matters that had no bearing on as well as the problem it was purportedly designed to solve.

It was designed to be overly broad. The anti-gay wing of the conservative movement wanted to legalize anti-gay and anti-transgendered discrimination and thought it would be easier to win Gainesville voters if they could hide behind the bathroom argument.

This wasn't really wasn't fair to voters who, while they for good reason objected to letting pre-op transgendered men in women's bathrooms (and pre-op transgendered women in men's bathrooms), supported lgbt rights in general. These particular voters were forced to either vote for anti-gay and anti-transgendered discrimination to protect the sexual privacy expected in the bathrooms or vote against upholding the single sex use of public bathrooms.

The legitimate concerns regarding the pre-op transgendered person's use of the public restrooms could and should be addressed either through a separate, narrow amendment or city ordinance that does not remove the job and housing protections now in place. The ordinance route is preferred for two reasons: (a) ordinances can easily be fine-tuned and (b) ordinances cost less since there are no expensive election campaigns.

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