Updates are added at the bottom of the page.
FUAH's position regarding federal hate
The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA)
was introduced to the US 107th Congress as
S. 625 and H.R.
1343. Families United Against Hate is very concerned that some
people such as transgendered and homeless people were not included the
proposed federal legislation.
Hate Crimes/Violence Prevention Project from the National Coalition
for the Homeless for information, resources and recommendations about
hate crimes against people based on housing status. (There
are also more resources at the bottom of this page.)
This letter regarding the need for explicit
inclusion for transgendered people was distributed to the co-chairs of
the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Hate Crimes Task Force as well
as to Senator Kennedy and Senator Smith's staff:
March 4, 2002
When we cradled our children's bloody,
battered and broken bodies, our worst fear had come to fruition. The
trauma that bias-motivated violence brought into our lives was
compounded by the failure to achieve justice for our loved ones. The
reasons our judicial system failed are many, but the primary reason
was the absence of laws with explicit language that such violence is
unacceptable and will be fully prosecuted. We come from all corners
of this nation and live in states whose hate crime statutes vary
from no statute to statutes inclusive of sexual orientation and
Now, when we come into the homes and
hearts of families who are walking the path we once walked alone,
they also face this overwhelming obstacle of seeking justice. We
find that with or without a state hate crime statute, legal
representation for the family and or survivor is always necessary to
navigate the legal system, to ensure full and proper investigations
as a prelude to the arrest of perpetrators, and to assist or
watchdog the prosecution by District Attorneys who may not be doing
all they could because of their own biases. From our personal
experiences and in our work with other families, we have learned
that it is virtually impossible to locate attorneys willing to
represent people dealing with this. Many of us are people of color
and or poor, which only adds to the burden of locating legal
representation in the pursuit of justice for our transgender, gay,
lesbian or bisexual children.
We believe that the language in LLEEA
should explicitly protect all groups who are targets for such
violence and are deeply troubled that transgendered people are not
explicitly protected by LLEEA.
The current language is vague and weak.
It has been said that we need an enhanced legislative history to
increase the likelihood for a favorable interpretation that "gender"
includes gender identity and expression. We anticipate that reliance
upon judicial or administrative interpretation of LLEEA will create
huge problems. We have worked with organizations that are involved
in litigation efforts for members of the GLBT community. Because
these groups are among those we assume would be most likely to
represent transgendered people and their families, their advice, as
recorded in statements and literature is very clear. They argue for
explicit protection in our laws, as explained in the attached, a
section of page 8 from Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund's
recent publication, "A Guide to Effective Statewide Laws and
Policies." The statement explains the need for explicit language in
laws for transgender students.
Matt Cole, Director of the ACLU Lesbian
and Gay Rights Project published an editorial on transgender
inclusion in ENDA in April 2001. It directly addresses the issue
regarding the need for explicit protections in the law.
"With the likelihood that court
appointments will tilt more conservatively in the foreseeable
future, it is unwise to rely completely on a litigation strategy
based on sex discrimination. Perhaps more critical, civil rights
laws are important not just because they allow people to sue,
but because of what they say to and about society. Civil rights
laws are supposed to prevent discrimination, not just remedy it.
This is far more effective when the people protected are
described explicitly. Moreover, civil rights laws embody our
ideals about what it is that civilized people don't do to each
other. Transgendered Americans deserve to be a part of those
ideals, and not just through the back door."
We know from experience that with
explicit language, another positive aspect will be the growth of
public education and inclusion of the terms gender identity or
expression in government publications, including our public
education system. This will transcend into many other arenas that
will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of transgender
people of all ages.
FUAH's position is not based on fear or
on political expediency. The integrity of our organization's work
with families who are directly impacted by bias-motivated violence
is challenged by this exclusion. All of our work is based upon
valuing the worth and dignity of every person. We cannot comprise
our integrity and our work by compromising on this core issue.
Transgendered people are an integral part of our family and an
integral part of the diverse fabric of our society.
Failure to amend LLEEA to include gender
identity or expression will only compound the trauma felt by
families and survivors of bias-motivated violence. Therefore,
Families United Against Hate requests that the LCCR Hate Crimes Task
Force seek an amendment to the LLEEA to provide explicit protections
for individuals who may be victims of bias-motivated violence
because of their gender identity or expression. We believe that this
issue goes to the very core of our work and should be the core of
all civil rights groups. The value of each person must be recognized
and honored with equal rights explicitly provided in legislation.
We ask LCCR to join us in providing
leadership on this very important civil rights issue. Equal rights
does not mean that one group will be provided a legal standard which
is different from other groups. We can accept no less as we can
leave no person or family behind. We cannot justify the actions of
any group that promotes legislation if it does not provide clear,
explicit and indisputable inclusion of all people targeted for bias
motivated violence, and this must include transgender people.
We leave you not with our words, but
with the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. We hope that these
words will remain with you during your deliberations on this issue.
These words, spoken many years ago, provided us with clarity and
guidance. It is our fervent hope they will do the same for you.
"There comes a time when one must
take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular,
but he must do it because his conscience tells him that it is
Families United Against Hate
A section of page 8 from the recent publication, "A Guide to
Effective Statewide Laws and Policies" by Lambda Legal Defense and
Transgender Students often suffer
discrimination because of their gender identities, which is
reflected in a growing trend of laws and policies around the
country that explicitly address this form of harmful
discrimination. Generally, there are three approaches to
addressing the discrimination through statutory reform:
separately enumerating the
factor of "gender identity" either as a completely separate
category or as an expressly stated subset of sex
explicitly clarifying that the
definition of "sex" and/or "gender" includes "gender
amending the definition of
"sexual orientation" to include "gender identity."
The first approach makes a law's
coverage of gender identity discrimination most clear. Readers
who look at a civil rights statute usually look first at the
provision that enumerates the types of discrimination forbidden
by the law, and that is the provision that is most often quoted
in materials, like a school's employee manual or student
handbook. Many local anti-discrimination laws have used this
approach of adding gender identity to the list of factors that
are an impermissible basis for discrimination.
The second and third approaches
would include gender identity discrimination by explicitly
folding it into the definition of sex (or gender) or sexual
orientation in the definitional section of the statute. One
example at the state level is California's "education" statute,
which prohibits discrimination on any basis enumerated in the
state's hate crimes statute. The hate crimes statute includes
"gender," defining it broadly (though somewhat convolutedly).
The definition of sex or gender in a statute could, more
straightforwardly, be made to include one's gender identity,
whether or not that identity corresponds to the designation made
In Minnesota's general "civil
rights" law, the definition of sexual orientation includes
"having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity
not traditionally associated with one's biological maleness or
femaleness." Although this approach achieves the goal of gaining
anti-discrimination protection for those targeted on the basis
of gender identity, it also confuses that identity "a matter of
one's self-definition) with sexual orientation (a relational
characteristic defined by one's orientation, sexually, toward
"Thrown out of their
homes by parents or running away to escape abusive families, the
number of homeless teenagers in New York City has been estimated at
over 20,000. Nearly 35% of New York's homeless youth population
self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. These
youth often find their access to homeless services limited by
service providers who are indifferent, fearful, or not educated
about this population. Left with no place to turn, homeless youth
often find themselves neglected, invisible, and forgotten; at
increased risk for drug addiction, prostitution, violence, HIV
infection, and suicide."
Hetrick-Martin Institute's Project First Step
"Many youth expressing
non-gender conforming behaviours or identifying as transgender find
themselves rejected by family, school, church, peers and other
communities of origin. They often become homeless and unemployable and
are forced into the street economy - very often into sex work. Compared
to their gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) peers, transgender youth are
often far more marginalized and disenfranchised, often finding
themselves unwelcome even at GLB youth-serving agencies."
"Challenges Faced by
Homeless Sexual Minorities: Comparison of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
and Transgender Homeless Adolescents With Their Heterosexual
CDC Report on Homeless Youth, May 16, 2002
"Persons who identify with a
gender that differs from the sex assigned to them at birth are at high
risk for social isolation, physical and emotional trauma, chemical
dependency, infectious disease, and discrimination limiting their access
to employment, housing, and health care. Homelessness compounds these
Crossing to Safety: Transgender Health & Homelessness - Healing Hands: a
publication of Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians' Network,
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
"The enormous stress in
the lives of those who are homeless is magnified greatly in
transgender individuals," said John Auerbach, executive director of
the city's Public Health Commission, which sponsored the training
with the city's Emergency Shelter Commission. "Fear of
discrimination and violence among this population, and a general
lack of knowledge about transgenderism among service providers,
sometimes leads to obstacles to critical services for transgender
men and women," Auerbach added."
Better service for transgender homeless is goal in Boston: City
agencies gather experts, shelter workers for daylong training to
"On the streets of San
Francisco, our volunteers counted 1,753 homeless men, 460 homeless
women, 22 transgender people and 921 genders unknown during this Fall's
Homeless Count, for a total of 3,156 compared to a total of 2,033 in
October 2000 an increase of 55%."
City & County of San Francisco Mayor's Office on Homelessness - 2001
Homeless Count Report
youth are a poorly defined and underserved population. In addition
to the "normal"
challenges of American adolescence, these young people face the
additional challenges of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender
in a heterosexual society and of being homeless. Homelessness among
queer youth is a complex social problem that involves many aspects
and institutions of American society. Adolescent development,
homelessness, and homophobia are several aspects of society involved
in the problem. The institutions involved include families, schools,
churches, and the legal system."
Homeless Queer Youth
11/20/02 for Transgender Day of Remembrance
by Jack Carrel
Executive Director, Lesbian and Gay Community Center of New Orleans
Director, Hate Crimes Project
Beyond He and She - A Transgender News Profile
by Patrick Letellier
Originally published in GOOD TIMES - Santa Cruz, CA -
Jan 9, 2003
House of Representatives Will Consider The Hate Crimes Amendment Next
July 16, 2004
: Last month, the Senate passed the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement
Act (S. 966 / H.R. 4204) (LLEEA) as an amendment to the Department of
Defense authorization bill.
Next week, when the House conference
committee for the Department of Defense authorization bill (S. 2559 /
H.R. 4613), is appointed, supporters of LLEEA will offer a
the conference committee to include the hate crimes bill in the final
A conference committee is an ad hoc
joint House and Senate committee that works to eliminate differences
between the House and Senate versions of the same bill. In the case of
the hate crimes bill, the Senate included the hate crime amendment and
the House did not. The conference committee will decide whether the
hate crime language will stay or not in the Defense authorization bill.
A motion to instruct is simply a sense of the House that they want the
conference committee members to include certain language.
This is the same process the hate
crime bill went through in 2000, when the motion to instruct passed by a
wide margin but the hate crime language was ultimately stripped by the
conference committee anyway.
NCTE has unsuccessfully worked to
modify the language in the bill to more explicitly cover crimes against
transgender people. At this point in the legislative process, it is not
possible to improve the language of the bill.
For more information on this bill,
please refer to NCTE website at
Or our December 2003 newsletter at
For more information
contact NCTE 202-639-6332