Thanks, Rick Vanderslice
Thanks should be heaped upon Rick Vanderslice and activists like him who are willing to stand up to religious bigots.
There are those who say, "Bigots just want an audience. Don’t give it to them."
Perhaps they are right, but I’m old enough to remember Germany under Hitler. There were hated peoples who said much the same: "Oh, it can’t happen here, not in modern-day Germany. Germany is a nation of culture, of intellects. Just ignore the bigots."
So they did nothing.
Attend TDOR and learn
Open letter to FW Mayor Mike Moncrief, city councilmembers and Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead: I am Kelli Busey, one of the three transgender people to speak during the comment section prior to the voting on M&C G-16757, the proposal to amend city code 17 to include transgender people in the anti-discrimination ordinance.
During my comments, I invited all members to attend the Transgender Day of Remembrance and noted that many members signified with a nod their understanding of the significance of TDOR.
Mayor Moncrief prefaced the public comment section with an appeal that the comments be limited to amending Ordinance 17.
Most of the LGBT supporters who commented did so, making a distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity.
Most of the opponents signified their ignorance by not doing so.
Most of the opponents of a potential yes vote do not understand who transgender people are, have a misunderstanding of the Bible or have relied on others, sadly, to misinform them.
The opponents of a yes vote more often than not prefaced their comments with statements that including transgender people in Fort Worth’s anti-discrimination policy would be contrary to biblical teachings, a potential threat to their freedom to practice religion, a threat to the freedom of speech, an added burden on local business because of legal costs defending employment decisions, as undesirable to family communities and — most erroneous and disingenuous of all — a threat to women and children in public places.
All of these perceived threats have been shown to be untrue in Dallas since that city voted in 2002 to include transgender people in it’s anti-discrimination policies and across the country in hundreds of inclusive cities.
Why is this invitation to you so very important?
I found disturbing the incorrect terminology used by both the council members and our opponents, to describe us as "living a lifestyle choice," and the suggestions that our mysterious decision was contrary to all they had been taught during their upbringing.
These statements would lead one to believe that the council is, by no fault of its own, ignorant about transgender people and that they believed we had a option as to who we are.
I assure you we do not.
Most unsettling was the desire expressed by numerous opponents of the amendment to bring this matter up for a public vote. Never in history has a majority granted a minority equality by popular vote.
Whether you voted yes or no on the amendment, I hope that you will attend the Tarrant County TDOR and that an enlightenment process may begin.
I am sure with the intensity that our opponents displayed. every council member will be called to stand with informed conviction behind your stated desire to eliminate discrimination in your city’s nondiscrimination policy against any minority.
Kelli Anne Busey
Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 20, 2009.