The retiring chief of police of Boise, Idaho, Mike Masterson spoke on behalf of a new bill in the state's legislature which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, specifically citing that the protections should make LGBT individuals feel safer about reporting crimes against them.
Unsurprisingly, this non-discrimination amendment has been repeatedly stopped by the Republican controlled state government. In fact, it's been introduced and defeated before even a public hearing for the past nine years. The new bill is actually a proposed amendment which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's Human Rights Act. At present, the current act lists race, sex, color, religion and national origin as protected classes in terms of employment, housing, etc.
Masterson (bottom right of the header image) approached the issue first and foremost as a police officer, saying that he supported the bill because it was a good first step in lessening crime by promoting increased reporting. He said in his many years of policing, he has found that the LGBT community is at a much higher risk of underreporting. He added that, "unreported crime perpetuates crime," and that the bill sends a strong message that the system will take homophobic and transphobic acts seriously.
The chief was just one of the hundreds of people who came out to testify either for or against the proposed amendment. Of course, the issue of transgender people just trying to go about their business and using bathrooms became a source of intense debate, mostly because of that often repeated canard about trans women being a threat to cis women (except of course, not), or the related but only slightly less odious assertion that men will pretend to be trans women just to get into women's restrooms.
Julie Lynde of the Cornerstone Family Council (basically Idaho's mini "Focus on the Family") of course felt it necessary to make this about "women" while completely ignoring that trans women are women. They are not men.
This is a big deal for women. This isn't about whether a guy can wear a dress. It's about whether he can take it off. In front of your daughter, your wife, your mother, your sister, your aunt.
Lynde got her say, but she also was countered by the very brave 13-year-old D.W. Trantham, who essentially just outed herself as a trans girl to her entire state government and a large contingent of the press by asking opponents of the amendment to confront her directly.
Imagine if I was your daughter or granddaughter. What sport team would you want me to play on? What clothes should I wear? What bathroom should I use?
You go, D.W.
But really, the best response to the issue came from Chief Masterson. When Republican Rep. Brent Crane asked Masterson to clarify that the bill would amend the act so as to allow transgender individuals to enter restrooms reflecting their gender identities, he only had four words for the honorable gentleman:
They do that now.
Image via AP.