Most of Maryland’s laws are passed in the spring and take effect on October 1. This year, the General Assembly added to the protection against discrimination in employment by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity. That anti-discrimination protection also extends to housing, credit decisions, and the use of public accommodations. Gender identity encompasses gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth. The law says gender identity is demonstrated as “consistent and uniform assertion of the person’s gender identity or any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as part of the person’s core identity.” It does not require that the person be undergoing medical procedures to reassign gender, just that the person identifies as that specific gender.
The big debate centered on bathrooms. Some lawmakers feared that “predators” would use the anti-discrimination law to infiltrate public restrooms, pretending to be transgender. It passed nonetheless. It seems to me that predators who want to use public bathrooms to expose themselves or peer at others are going to bother checking their statutory rights first. The law, however, allows an entity such as a gym to restrict the entry of a transgender person to a single sex locker room where people disrobe, for example, so long as there is another private place for the transgender person to change.
An interesting new show just premiered on Amazon showcasing Jeffrey Tambor as a 70-or so year old father of three who decides, finally, to live as a woman. Amazon strangely classifies it in its comedy section; what I’ve seen so far is touching and well-acted, but not a comedy. I’m hoping it will be an education.