Equality California Applauds Introduction of Transgender Rights Resolution by Congressman Mike Honda

On December 11, Congressman Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force, introduced a resolution, “Expressing Support for Transgender Acceptance”, to promote transgender acceptance, recognize the challenges facing the transgender community, and improve safety and opportunities for transgender people.“This is another much-needed step in our fight to ensure that the transgender community’s voice is represented in Congress. The transgender community faces widespread bullying, harassment, and violence, and these individuals do not yet have sufficient legal means of protection from such discrimination in many states. We cannot achieve equality without acceptance. This resolution will take one step toward greater acceptance the transgender community. We must work to address the challenges and risks that transgender individuals face on a daily basis in their places of work, education, and housing, and ensure that their individual rights are understood and respected,” said Congressman Honda.

“The statistics hide the murders never reported, the hate crimes that went uncounted because police or family members did not respect the victim’s gender identity, and the transgender youth and adults, who, facing hostility from their families and communities, took their own lives,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. This resolution would send a signal of support and affirmation to those among us who are still fighting a desperate battle not just for civil rights, but also to simply stay alive. Equality California is leading, together with the Transgender Law Center, a groundbreaking coalition to educate Californians about their transgender neighbors, and we’re grateful to have an ally like Rep. Honda in Congress.”

In November, Congressman Honda, along with members of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, hosted the first-ever congressional Forum on Violence Against Transgender Individuals. Honda chairs the Transgender Equality Task Force, the first congressional task force devoted only to issues impacting the transgender community, which he launched last month in the U.S. House of Representatives. In September, the congressman introduced a house resolution to protect transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual congressional employees from employment discrimination. He is also the founding member and chair of the Congressional Caucus to End Bullying.

Right-wing activists are trying to qualify an anti-transgender initiative for the November, 2016 ballot. The so-called “Personal Privacy Protection Act” is one of an increasing number of bills brought forward by right-wing activists across the country that target the transgender community. It would go even farther than efforts in other states, prohibiting transgender people from using facilities in government buildings and requiring the government to monitor bathroom use. It would also allow anyone offended by the presence of an individual in a restroom to sue that person for a $4,000 in damages, as well as attorney’s fees. Government analysts say the measure could cost California millions of dollars every year in legal expenses and lost federal funding.