Easton Activist Will Meet With Biden

Ashley Hope and other LGBT leaders will have dinner with the vice president Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden will meet with up-and-coming LGBT leaders from around the country at his home in Washington.

Among those leaders: Easton's Ashley Hope, who hopes the vice president comes away knowing that there's still work to be done when it comes to rights for transgendered people.

"Mostly, the biggest message is that transgendered people face huge amounts of discrimination," Hope said.

Biden notably came out in favor of same sex marriage before President Obama did earlier this year, but Hope says she thinks the president has made some strides when it comes to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues.

For example, this was the first president to send a representative to a conference for transgendered people, Hope said.

"That never would've happened in the Bush administration or even the Clinton administration," she said.

Hope doesn't think her demands are unreasonable.

"All I'm asking for is to be able to go to work, go home to my apartment and if I ever have a kid, to send him to school," she said.

Concerns about those rights are part of the reason Hope -- who works as a web programmer in downtown Easton -- came to the city, which has non-discrimination laws for things such as housing. 

Beyond meeting with Biden, Hope said she looks forward to networking and connecting with other LGBT leaders.

"I think it’s really good that they’re bringing in this young energy," she said.

As a student at Millersville University, Hope saw how powerful younger voices could be. When she came out as transgendered, the school was facing something it hadn't dealt with. Where would she live? What bathrooms would she use?

But then the university issued a survey, and found a number of other transgendered students.

After that, the administration really started looking and listening," Hope said.

She'd like other institutions to start listening as well. Transgendered people can face real dangers beyond just discrimination. A report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that violence against transgendered individuals was on the rise, and that 2011 was the worst year ever for anti-LGBT hate crimes.

Hope said she has spoken with Turning Point, the local support organization for domestic violence victims, about working with transgendered individuals. She'd like to continue that work in Easton, she said. The city might have laws to protect people like her, but Hope said the people enforcing those laws still might have things to learn.

louis kootsares September 20, 2012 at 02:04 PM
i am wondering.. what do these activists want the government to do? i myself dislikes the government passing more things that i cannot do, even though i do not do them i really dislike limiting my use of vocabulary i am permitted to use in a heated debate this is america ,freedom of speech, with all these activists .. i think straight people may soon need to be on the the discriminated list
Amend September 22, 2012 at 02:37 PM
@Daniel- a father's love shouldn't have conditions.
Hollis Taylor September 22, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Dear Mr. McLaughlin, I want to reach out to you because I feel that your likely struggling with your child's most recent transition. I worry about your ability to love your child regardless of their life journey. I understand you must be hurting inside and I want to help guide you to where you can find support in your struggle with your child. I know that you must worry that you did something wrong or try to blame "fault" on someone else. Please I assure you that there are other parents that feel the same as you but often its a matter of recognizing your newest addition to the family. I don't expect you to ever forget your son that you raised, the boy that you loved when he was only 5. But I would hope that once you are through morning the death of your son you could then move on to celebrate the birth of your daughter. A beautiful activist feminist that can stand up for who she is. She can stand up for love, for the loving everyone just as they are. She can stand for a healthy tomorrow that we all know is our sickness today. I know that you can contact the GLBT center in your area and they will be happy to help you get to a PFLAG meeting where you can meet other parents just as yourself, that are struggling with the same ideas. I hope that your able to reach out and find the peace and love that you so deserve. I hope that God can help guide you to peace with you son's death and acceptance of your daughter. Please find a way to love your child again.
Joshua Dorsheimer September 24, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Since when is motive NOT taken into account, Susan and Ronnie? I was under the impression that investigators...you know...investigated, and then the motive is taken into account upon charging someone. But perhaps I was wrong? Susan, that analogy you gave by the way, about a heterosexual getting stabbed for heroin money and a transgendered person being stabbed for basically just being alive, is rather like comparing apples and oranges. A hate crime is not just about committing a crime. It is about committing a crime motivated by hateful ideologies. Someone harms another person for no reason other than hatred for what that person is. When an individual harms someone because of their race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age etc.... it isn't just a senseless crime. It is also a form of domestic terrorism. It is not just about the individual who was harmed. It is bigger than that. By attacking someone because of who they are, it also sends out a threatening message of hate to an entire targeted community. It's no longer "Gay people should die" graffiti in the city, or spray painting a swastika on a Synagogue. Rather, it is a message sent out by eliminating someone, or attempting to, through a violent crime. The crimes need to be treated differently, because they are indeed very different.
Alanna September 28, 2012 at 02:35 PM
For those who keep insisting on equal rights, equal justice, those laws are meant to protect white, heterosexual males as well. If a white man is killed by non-whites BECAUSE he is white, that is a hate crime and would be covered by hate crimes legislation. If a straight man is killed by a group of gays BECAUSE he is straight, that is a hate crime and would be covered by hate crimes legislation. Josh is exactly right - motivation is taken into consideration. That's why there are different degrees of murder as well as voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Motive has always made a difference.


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