by Jay Monaco

Tonight. 6:30 PM. City Hall.

Be there.

The honorable council is at it again, folks. Seems like just yesterday they were out comparing poor people to animals. Now a resolution has been proposed solely for the purpose of discriminating against transgendered people.

When the state senate passed a bill protecting transgendered people who use public facilities, the esteemed Rodney Elliot filed a motion just to express opposition to the law. The resolution, of course, were it to pass, would have no bearing whatsoever on the standing of the law. It would solely serve as an official statement of hate from the governing body of the Commonwealth’s fourth largest city.

It’s despicable, it’s heartless, and it must not be tolerated.

Councilor Elliot justifies his archaic and aberrant urges by pointing out that he has relatives who are female, and presumably the transgendered may be coming to get them (?). Making things worse, our friend and elected representative Elliot was not alone in sponsoring the motion, which was cosponsored by none other than noted Trump supporter Rita Mercier. Councilor Mercier, however, seems to have had second thoughts – according to the Sun article linked above, she had withdrawn her cosponsorship as of Monday morning.

Feeling the heat, Rita?

Still, as reported by the Sun, she has yet to make her views on the issue clear. “It’s a sensitive issue, and I’ll wait to give my comments at the City Council meeting,” she said.

When she does, we’ll be there, too – giving our comments.

Local blogger Dick Howe makes an economic case against the passage of such a measure, raising concerns about whether large businesses considering investment in Lowell might find such a statement backwards and barbaric. While such corporate entities might be right in coming to such a conclusion (and they would be!) such an argument misses the point entirely. Who cares what businesses think? This is justice we’re talking about, here. Equality. Basic protections for all people.

We shouldn’t need to put our wet fingers to the wind on this one.

Tell the city council Lowell doesn't support hate.

As another local blog, Learning Lowell, put it: “The truth is, we all should have been doing more to help this community for a long time. Trans people have long been in need of additional protection under the law, as a group that has experienced violence, discrimination, and suicide at much higher rates, even as compared to gay and lesbian people. 90% of trans people reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job.”

Click through to the link above for a comprehensive summary of how we, collectively, can make our voices heard. There’s this quick and easy link to send a note to the council – but frankly, that isn’t enough when it comes to an issue like this. We need to come out and be heard and seen. And we plan to do just that.

Activists across Lowell, including members of CAJE, Socialist Alternative, 350.org and many, many others will be gathering at City Hall at 6:30 tonight for the council meeting. Over a dozen concerned citizens have officially registered on the docket to speak to the council directly on the issue. Details can be found in the Facebook event here.

Will we see you there?

Which side are you on?

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