Support of LGBT community includes transgenders

By |2008-05-01T09:00:00-04:00May 1st, 2008|Uncategorized|

In the past week, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick made a fatal blunder while attempting to prove that he both supports and works for the LGBT community. It’s called consistency and honesty, and if recent news stories out of Detroit have proven anything, it’s that Kilpatrick knows nothing about either.
For example, don’t waste the money of a city that you claim you are trying to help recover from economic recession. Don’t sleep with people you claim to have a professional relationship with. Don’t lie under oath.
Kilpatrick’s most recent slip-up? He claims to support a group – a part of whose rights he blatantly ignores. Oops.
With Kilpatrick’s naming of Brad Dick as his official liaison to the LGBT community last week, Detroit has finally joined other major cities that also have a specific position serving our community. However, not a week after this appointment, he sent a letter to the Detroit City Council stating that he would neither veto nor support the passage of the anti-transgender discrimination ordinance into law. Luckily, the law passed with an 8-1 vote, rendering Kilpatrick’s opinion virtually useless.
Kilpatrick sides with the one opposing vote, placed by Councilman Kwame Kenyatta. Both men stated that they believed the ordinance was unnecessary because transgender people are already protected in Detroit under the city’s sexual orientation discrimination policy. These statements come despite the fact that numerous legal cases have shown that the exact opposite is true. Time and time again, transgender people who seek protection or retribution under the law are denied the right because their grievance is decided by the court to fall outside of the realm of sexual orientation.
Even without cases to back the need for an anti-transgender ordinance, common sense should suffice to reach the same conclusion. If someone is considered by law to be a man or woman, whether or not he or she was born the opposite sex is inconsequential. Any discrimination against them could be viewed as that against any other man or woman, but we all know it’s not the same. There is a reason transgender people are being discriminated against and it has nothing to do with whom they are sexually attracted to. It is a direct attack on who they are.
And besides, if Kilpatrick was truly in support of protecting and serving LGBTs, what would an added law do but add further padding to what he believes is an already running protection provided by local and state law?
The truth is painfully obvious. Kilpatrick cares about the LGBT community only insofar as it helps him to gain back some much needed popularity. In other words, the creation of an LGBT liaison was a publicity stunt in our mind. Through his letter regarding anti-transgender discrimination, his true colors are shown.
Brad Dick’s appointment is a feeble attempt at gaining the support of the LGBT community in a time when almost no one – not even his coworkers – supports the mayor. Dick’s job as LGBT liaison is an afterthought of his pre-existing responsibilities and now his first official act should be to apologize to the LGBT community for this smack.
Some advice to Kilpatrick: If you’re going to attempt to gain a group’s support, learn the meaning of their acronym first. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. And the last part is non-negotiable.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.