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Today is Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Anti-gay Ypsi-ites Use Trans Image to Inflame Voters

Monaghan picketed at EMU

[YPSILANTI, MI] - Thomas Monaghan, former owner of Domino's Pizza, was greeted by a crowd of protesters Oct. 9 at Eastern Michigan College of Business. Monaghan had been invited to the campus by the Entrepreneurship Club to give a lecture titled "Spirit of Entrepreneurship."

The protestors were angry about Monaghan's anti-gay stance on the upcoming referendum on Ypsilanti's city charter amendment that includes sexual orientation in the list of categories protected by civil rights. Monaghan has provided significant funding to the group that seeks to overturn the existing charter amendment.

Monaghan brought to EMU more than just his "rags to riches" story about hard work and ingenuity in the pizza business. Volunteers from the anti-gay group Ypsilanti Citizens Voting YES for Equal Rights Not Special Rights were there too, distributing campaign fliers encouraging voters to rescind Ypsilanti's existing civil rights charter amendment. The flier featured a photo of a transperson, Naomi Snyder, with the headline, "Will you vote YES to protect your daughter...your granddaughter...from being forced to use the girl's bathroom with men like this?"

Beth Bashert from the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality said she is outraged that the anti-gay activists are using scare tactics and misinformation to try and sway voters.

"It's completely not related to the issue that we are voting on and it is a deliberate attempt to mislead the voters," said Bashert. "Our concern all along is that they would continue to use the tactics they were cited for when we took them to court over the petitions."

Earlier this year the anti-gay campaigners were cited for election law violations in collecting signatures for their petitions.

The photo of Snyder was an unauthorized reproduction of a photo that appeared in the March 6, 2002 issue of Between The Lines. Snyder's attorney said it was an illegal use of the photo.

"You've [BTL] got an absolutely clear copyright infringement against them. They expropriated the photo without any type of license or compensation. With regard to Naomi, we may have a lawsuit against the organization for placing her in a 'false light,'" said George Warren, a Lansing-based attorney in private practice who represented Snyder in her name change and divorce. Snyder is a post-op transsexual who is now legally a woman.

"It's not fair to use my image this way. Get the facts right. Why do people with closed minds always open their mouths?" said Snyder, who said she is offended that her image was used in a negative manner. "That really irritates me...And by the way, just how would those people feel if a 'girl like me' was in the bathroom with one of their boys?"

"This is a person that has feelings, and they are using and warping her story for their own purposes," said Bashert. "I am appalled to think about what she must be feeling. It's so cruel."

"The intended impact is to scare people about the issue, and quite frankly I think the impact is that it has made our voters more solid on the issue," continued Bashert. "But actually I think it has scared some people. The 'bathroom issue' is very powerful to people. It helped sink the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1980s. Everyone was afraid we would have unisex bathrooms everywhere. I think it's a really shocking image that intended to further marginalize our community."

"Having grown up as a Roman Catholic I am amazed that Monaghan and his people are just so intolerant," said Warren who said that he and his wife have become close personal friends with Snyder. "People are seeking to arouse the public that a man disguised as a woman is doing this for the purpose of going into a woman's bathroom. It is a total desecration of everything that Naomi stands for, that she has work for, and it is holding her in a 'false light.'"

Phone calls to the Ypsilanti Citizens Voting Yes for Equal Rights not Special Rights were not returned by press time.

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