The Maine Human Rights Act protects the people of Maine from discrimination. Restaurants, and other public accommodations, are not allowed to deny people use of facilities based on improper grounds, including a person’s race, religion or gender identity.

The Sun Journal editorial, printed May 22, “Sex and the single restroom,” was critical of a recent Maine Human Rights Commission decision. But it failed to discuss the relevant law that guided the commission’s decision.

The commission applied that law carefully and appropriately, and Mainers should take comfort in that. Legal protection for gender identity was added to Maine law three years ago, with the support of the Legislature, the governor and a majority of Maine voters.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about what it means to be transgender. Too often, such misunderstanding leads to fear and mistrust. We can do better.

Sun Journal readers deserve to know that gender expression is about much more than body parts. They deserve to be informed that being transgender does not mean that someone is sick or a threat. And they deserve to know that Maine law protects the dignity and safety of all Maine’s people.

The Maine Human Rights Commission got it exactly right.

Zachary L. Heiden, Esq., Portland,
Legal director, Maine Civil Liberties Union

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