Today is a Good Day for the Good Guys(And Gals)

10/28/2009

This is MY president, speaking out at the signing ceremony for the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Act.

Today I am prouder of him than I have ever been in my life, today I have felt better politically than any other day in my life.

This is a landmark LGBT rights bill expanding Hate Crimes protections for gender identity and sexual orientation.

Not only that, but it extends protections, including allowing federal officers to take over cases and lend aid when a local police force refuses to take seriously a case or is financially unable to take seriously a case. It lends greater resources for the investigation of such crimes so they are dealt with as they ought to be no matter the circumstances.

Not only that, but it is the first legislation of all time to include gender identity. The National Center for Transgender Equality responds:

It’s Official: First Federal Law to Protect Transgender People

President Obama has just signed into law the very first protections for transgender people in US history: The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“This is a powerful day as the United States government, for the first time, stands up and declares that violence against transgender people is wrong and will not be tolerated in our country,” stated Mara Keisling, the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Every day transgender people live with the reality and the threat of personal violence, simply because of who they are. This must end and it must end now. The new law provides for some vital first steps in preventing these terrible crimes as well as addressing them when they occur. At NCTE, we are dedicating this day to all those who have been victims of hate-motivated violence as well as recommitting ourselves to ending the epidemic of hate that continues to damage our communities and our country.”

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will have a number of positive impacts:

It will help educate law enforcement about the frequent hate violence against transgender people and the need to prevent and appropriately address it;
It will help provide federal expertise and resources when they are needed to overcome a lack of resources or the willful inaction on the part of local and/or state law enforcement;
It will help educate the public that violence against anyone, including transgender people, is unacceptable and illegal.
Most importantly, this law marks a turning point for the federal government, by including positive protections for transgender people and taking seriously the need to address the discrimination that we face.

That is the FIRST ever piece of legislation to recognize gender identity.

So excuse me if my words seem minced and tripping, because all I can say is that this is HUGE!

All of it.

We live in a world where a trans person is murdered every 3 days in the world. Where in this country this year, 12 transpeople have been murdered for being trans.

Will this stop the slaughter? Not overnight. Not entirely. But it does send a clear message.

Trans people, gay people are recognized and protected by the U.S. government. They are people, deserving of full protection.

This cuts to the heart of the bigots. We are officially people in the public consciousness, in how the law follows us. Not regionally, not on certain days, everywhere in this country, every day.

It’s no longer open season on the faggot or the sissy or the dyke or the “it”.

It won’t kill the trans and gay panic defenses overnight, but it will become harder to use them and bigots will be reminded by Uncle Sam that they walk alone if they go against one of God’s queer children.

Today, I feel a little safer in the world, a little more loved, a little more valued by my society and my government. I feel a little better about coming home this June.

Today, I love my country and my president and I thank with tears in my heart the congressmen who voted with us and Judy Shepard who fought so hard for this day.

I crack open a Blå Thor and toast the sky, Skjold!

Eat, drink, and be merry everyone. Today was a good day for the good guys!

#

P.S. Great Roundup of responses to the signing here. Just don’t read the comments, some troll infested them sadly. Again, Skjold, cheers, mozeltov!

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2 Responses to “Today is a Good Day for the Good Guys(And Gals)”

  1. […] Federal Hate Crimes Legislation […]

  2. […] Oh yeah, The Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Act. […]

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