Maryland House approves transgender protections bill

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The US state of Maryland’s House has approved a bill to give transgender people more legal protection.

The bill, which passed 86 to 52 votes, will now go to the Senate for approval.

If passed into law, it will give trans people protection from discrimination in employment, housing and credit.

However, trans advocates in the state are unhappy that the bill does not include protection from discrimination in ‘public accommodation’ – meaning hotels, restaurants, bars, schools and public toilets.

Trans campaigners say misguided fears about trans people using public toilets are the reason why this element of the bill has been scrapped.

The decision to remove that provision was taken by delegate Joseline A Pena-Melnyk, who is the bill’s lead sponsor in the House.

On Top magazine reports that she defended the decision: “I did so because the political reality is I could not have gotten the bill out [of committee].

“You have to forgive me I told them, it’s not what you want, it’s not perfect, but it gives you protection.”

Gay group Maryland Equality is said to be keen to add the provision at a later date, once the bill has been passed into law.

Gay advocates in the state recently lost their latest battle for marriage equality, when a bill failed to attract enough support to pass in the House.

Supporters will try to get the bill passed next year.

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