Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Michigan GOP Candidate Plays The Transphobia Card

The Michigan Republican convention will be happening on the Michigan State University campus August 29.

One of the issues to be decided at that event will be which one of the six candidates running to replace term limited Secretary of State Terri Land will become the party's nominee to run against Democratic party nominee Jocelyn Benson for the office

Trans Michiganders and their allies were already concerned because of one of the candidates in this race, half term conservanegro state legislator Paul Scott.

He promised in January that if he was elected secretary of state, he would deny transpeople the ability to change gender markers on their drivers licenses.

Now we have another candidate in a bid to match Scott, that is playing the transphobia card. The galling part is this candidate in 2002 received the endorsement of Triangle PAC, a pro-gay rights organization in Detroit.

Ruth Johnson issued a statement not only disavowing her 2002 endorsement by Triangle PAC, she also echoed Scott by stating, "No I do not support allowing people to change their gender on their license as a result of surgery or lifestyle.”

The reaction was swift from Alicia Skillman, the executive director of Equality Michigan. “It’s unfortunate that the conversation has come back to the issue of denying fairness to transgender residents in the state of Michigan,”

“We need to move forward, not take giant steps backwards regarding trans-equality. To refer to transgender individuals changing the sex on their driver’s licenses as “dishonest” is insulting and downright oppressive. Michigan needs to catch up to states that value difference. Michigan needs to keep the conversation moving toward fairness and equality for every person in the state.”

Julie Nemecek, who in 2007 made national headlines when she was fired from the conservative Christian Spring Arbor University for being trans, also blasted the move.

“To not allow a transgender person to change their gender marker on a driver’s license is to ignore the advice of the AMA (American Medical Association), APA (American Psychological Association), WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health), and other healthcare organizations that understand this medical condition. The US State Department allows changes on a passport even without surgery,”

A survey filled out by Johnson and released by homobigot Gary Glenn and his Campaign for Michigan Families, conclusively shows Johnson has no support for LGBT issues.

Not only does Johnson say she would oppose allowing transgender people to change their gender markers on state issued licenses, but that she opposes adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights law to prevent discrimination, opposes hate crimes legislation which includes the LGBT community and opposes allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. On top of that, Johnson says she would fight to keep the state’s constitutional amendment which prohibits marriage equality for same sex couples.

This is what you'll get trans Michganders, if she or heaven forbids, Paul Scott gets the GOP Secretary of State nomination and subsequently wins on November 2.

Trans Michiganders, if you don't like being used as a political football, stand up and do something about it. While we have no control over (unless you're a trans Republican attending the GOP convention) who gets the GOP nomination, we do have a major say over who will be taking the oath of office in January.

You can start by donating and working to ensure Jocelyn Benson has everything she needs to ensure she becomes Michigan's Secretary of State on November 2.

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