While Miami-Dade residents are gearing up to celebrate American Independence, the Christian Family Coalition is making sure one group of people don't get to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In response to a proposed amendment to the county's human rights ordinance that would protect transgender folks from discrimination, Coalition executive director Anthony Vedrugo is rallying his Holier-Than-Thou band of racists to show up for the commission's Health & Social Services Committee hearing on July 8 when the measure will be discussed publicly.
Verdugo fired off emails on Wednesday to his "Christian" brothers and sisters, warning them the Miami-Dade County Commission "wants to pass a dangerous law that will force all places to open bathrooms and dressing rooms to 'transsexuals.'"
For good measure, he included the racist image below:
Apparently, Verdugo went to the Joseph McCarthy School of Shameless Scare-Mongering Propaganda. It's not the first time the Christian Family Coalition has used smear tactics to prevent members of the LGBT community from having the same protections against discrimination that straight people have. In the Nineties, Verdugo and his mob did everything they could to prevent gay people from being included in the county's human rights ordinance, which offers people protection from being discriminated against in the workplace and in finding a place to live.
According to the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Partnership, there are approximately 5,020 to 20,080 transgender persons living in Miami-Dade County.
The county is now looking to add transgender persons based on the findings of a 2011 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that offered a bleak assessment for the transgender community. The two groups interviewed 6,450 transgender people across the nation, finding that 90 percent of the respondents reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination in employment. Nearly half of the survey takers, 47 percent, reported that they experienced an adverse job outcome such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion. And 53 percent of the respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in places of public accommodations, such as hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and governmental agencies.
The study further showed that the combination of anti-transgender bias and persistent, structural racism was especially devastating for all respondents, but even more so for transgendered people of color; that the respondents lived in extreme poverty; and that a staggering 41 percent of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6 percent of the general population.
Miami-Dade government is simply following, and rightfully so, in the foot steps of the federal government and other local jurisdictions in Florida. Earlier this year, for the first time, Congress extended protections to transgendered and gender non-conforming people, who are victims of domestic and sexual violence and President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women's Act, which now offers protections against discrimination based on gender identity in those programs that receive federal funding.
What's more, 14 Florida counties and cities, including Broward and Palm Beach counties have extended protections based on gender identity or expression.
H/T: Eye On Miami.
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.