To lift your spirits from the dreary news on the national and international scene, here is a bit of good news from my neck of the woods. Ohio is a pretty conservative, even reactionary state but I am lucky that the county I live in (Cuyahoga) has fairly progressive politics. An example of this is recent legislation passed by the County Council that provides protections against discrimination for the LGBT community, joining 20 Ohio municipalities that have passed similar legislation in Ohio, six of which are within Cuyahoga County already.
Cuyahoga County Council on Tuesday passed legislation that protects the LGBTQ community from discrimination and creates a commission with the power to level fines if it finds discrimination did occur.
The legislation — proposed by County Executive Armond Budish and sponsored by council members Dan Brady, Yvonne Conwell, Michael Houser, Dale Miller and Sunny Simon — passed by an 8-3 vote along party lines. Republicans Nan Baker, Michael Gallagher and Jack Schron voted against the legislation.
The ordinance offers protections to people on the basis of the already-protected classes of race, color, religion, military status, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, familial status or sex, and adds sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to that list.
The protections target equal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations, including access to public bathrooms and locker rooms.
State laws do not provide such protections because Republicans dominate the state legislature. In fact, Beverly Goldstein, the Republican candidate who is challenging my congressional representative Democrat Marcia Fudge, chimed in with a weird statement about why the ordinance passed, blaming it on the low literacy rate among “inner-city church-attending Black voters” in the county.
Fudge, a Warrensville Democrat, called the statement “ill-informed, racist and homophobic,” and said she would not dignify it with a response.
“Offensive statements like those made by Ms. Goldstein don’t merit a response,” agreed a statement from Phillip Robinson, a Democratic state representative candidate who backed the initiative. “Instead what I will say to you is the majority of Americans including residents here in Cuyahoga County agree with me that this is a matter of equal rights and basic human decency.”
Goldstein’s husband expanded on the candidate’s view that illiterate people did not know what might happen if this law passed.
“If most of them understood that this ordinance would allow transgender males, or sex offenders who masquerade as transgender males, to use women’s bathrooms regularly used by mothers and daughters, thereby endangering the safety of girls and women, they probably would have brought pressure to bear on their elected county representatives not to bring the resolution in the first place,” Michael Goldstein said. “But those who cannot read cannot be expected to know about the negative effects of the resolution.”
Of course some religious groups have also objected, raising the dreary old transgender bathroom use issue.
What is it with these people and their bathroom obsession? Do they really care about it that much? Do they not realize that sexual abusers have almost the entire world at their disposal? Or is that they just hate the LGBT community, can’t stand the thought of treating them like any other human being and giving them protection against the very real discrimination they face, and feel that the bathroom issue is their best weapon to deny them that?