For those who missed it, Lowell Sun columnist Dan Phelps wrote a nasty little piece titled “Christmas Carols — With A Twist” that casually mocks Chaz Bono for being transgender and makes fun of the recently passed Transgender Equal Rights Bill.
MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini just submitted this letter in response:
“Dan Phelps’ attempt at humor (see “Christmas Carols – With a Twist,” Dec. 19) falls far short of the mark. Since when has it been funny to make fun of civil rights laws and the people they protect? In reality, his column is offensive and a demonstration of exactly why we need protections for the transgender community.
“Last year, a Lowell resident who has lived as a transgender woman for 20 years, was forced to obtain a restraining order against her neighbor. Why? Because after months of verbal harassment, the neighbor defaced the woman’s apartment door with slurs and threatened to have someone shoot the woman in the head. The woman shared her experiences with state lawmakers this summer when she testified in favor of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill during a Joint Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill.
“The year before that, as reported in the pages of this newspaper, a transgender man was physically assaulted in Lowell by two young men who screamed slurs at him indicating that the reason they had attacked the man was because of his appearance and gender identity.
“And two years before that, as reported in the pages of this newspaper, a transgender woman was physically assaulted in Lowell by three men who shouted slurs at her indicating that the reason they attacked her was because of her gender identity.
“The Transgender Equal Rights Bill, passed by lawmakers last month and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on Nov. 23, provides vital protections in employment, education, housing, credit, and hate crimes for the Commonwealth’s transgender residents. And they surely need them. As transgender residents of Lowell know, violence motivated by anti-transgender bias is all too common.”