If you’ve found yourself outraged by the story of Donald Trump walking in on beauty pageant contestants in their changing room, while they were undressed, including minor girls, consider this:
Donald Trump could make this story go away tomorrow if he came out as a trans woman or non-binary and, in our current media climate, no one would ever bring it up again.
Why would it be news that a woman had walked into a women’s dressing room and seen other women naked?
Gender identity laws make just that much sense.
Meet Chase Strangio, an ACLU lawyer working hard to ensure that any man can walk in on women anywhere, just because he feels womanly sometimes. Whatever it means to “feel like a woman.”
“When pushed on the reality that there are no public safety risks to extending legal protections to trans people, anti-trans lawmakers have made clear that the core of the problem is just the very existence of trans people in single-sex spaces. There is, they contend, a privacy interest for non-transgender people in not seeing and not being seen by a trans person.”
Here’s that last sentence in plain English: There is, they contend, a privacy interest for women in not seeing and not being seen by men, and vice versa.
Yes, I do contend that. I don’t want men walking in on me undressing without my permission. I don’t want to see men taking their clothes off unexpectedly. I don’t want laws protecting bodily privacy to be enforceable everywhere except bathrooms, locker rooms, women’s shelters, women’s prisons, OB/GYN offices, in the administration of urine tests, or during strip and pat-down searches where female staff could be forced to search biological males, or vice versa.
OB/GYN offices? Oh, yes. To see how far Strangio’s vision and that of the transgender movement diverges from most people’s understanding of the right to bodily privacy, consider this passage from the Lambda Legal briefing on the Equality Act, which has 178 cosponsors in the House and Senate.
“The Equality Act does not alter the general reach and applicability of the bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQ) defense. However, when a BFOQ is used to justify employment or training decisions on the basis of sex, individuals must be recognized as qualified in accordance with their gender identity. It is important to note that courts have deemed very few BFOQs to be permissible in practice.”
That sounds so reasonable. Here’s what it means: if a man says he is a woman and he works in a medical office, he has to be treated by everyone on staff as if he is a woman. This includes when a female patient at an OB/GYN office requests only female staff for her examinations, or asks for a female chaperone. Here’s a health care industry perspective on some of the very few BFOQs allowed by the courts.
“For example, although the BFOQ defense will not serve as a valid justification for an airline to hire only women as flight attendants to comply with male customer preferences, the privacy interests of psychiatric patients can justify a BFOQ for personal hygiene attendants of the same sex,” [Kimani Paul-Emile, JD, associate professor of law at Fordham University School of Law] says. “To this end, courts have held that for certain workers, such as nursing assistants, hospital delivery room nursing staff, and others involved in assisting individuals with dressing, disrobing, or bathing, gender may be a legitimate BFOQ for accommodating patients’ privacy or modesty interests.”
To get back to the beginning, Chase Strangio’s vision of the law means that when a female patient asks for a female personal hygiene attendant, it would be discriminatory to refuse care from a man who believes that he is a woman. Strangio and the rest of the transgender movement would like this to be the law of the land, and they have no problem with shaming even young girls who dissent.
I don’t know if all the Democrats who co-sponsored the Equality Act realize that this is the consequence of a policy that they have promised they will pass into law if they get the chance. Yet it constitutes an invasion of women’s privacy beyond even the apparently voyeuristic intentions of one, Donald Trump, who is also in favor of ending sex-segregated spaces through gender identity laws.
My friends on the left want women to be able to say no to unwanted invasions of our privacy, as well as to any unwanted touching. What to make of a policy that would allow men to walk into our changing rooms and strip in front of us? What to think about congressional Democrats telling women that they have to accept men helping them with their bathing and intimate care needs?
Have Democrats read the testimony on transgender prisoners in the UK that was submitted to a parliamentary inquiry on transgender equality by the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists?
“The converse is the ever-increasing tide of referrals of patients in prison serving long or indeterminate sentences for serious sexual offences. These vastly outnumber the number of prisoners incarcerated for more ordinary, non-sexual, offences. It has been rather naïvely suggested that nobody would seek to pretend transsexual status in prison if this were not actually the case. There are, to those of us who actually interview the prisoners, in fact very many reasons why people might pretend this…”
What do Democrats think about women in prison having to bunk with violent men who think they’re women (graphic content), or judges letting off male sex offenders because they’re now “women,” as can happen in the UK and other countries with expansive gender identity recognition laws?
To look at how it would go in the US if we adopted the same gender identity laws as the UK has, let’s take the case of the recently convicted Kryzie King, who brutally beat, starved, and tortured a 4-year-old boy to death in 2014, when Myls Dobson’s father was forced to leave the boy in King’s care. King is listed by the Department of Corrections as male, and was housed in a men’s detention facility while awaiting trial. But King claims to be a transgender woman. Here’s a headline reporting on the case: Woman charged in death of Myls Dobson said she ‘tried to show him the love’.
Kryzie King is male, and the State of New York knows it. Yet state employees and media reporting on the case have had to refer to King as if he were a woman, and leaving out significant details regarding his past. New York’s gender identity laws demand that everyone go along with this or be at risk of being charged with discrimination, possibly subject to fines of up to $250,000.
Right now, to the chagrin of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, King won’t be able to change his legal sex to female while incarcerated. Will this one protection for female prisoners in New York State be removed if the Equality Act is passed, or if court decisions render biological sex meaningless in the law? A 2009 study of 332 transgender male inmates in California determined that a total of 49 percent were incarcerated for crimes against persons, including the 20 percent of the study group who were registered sex offenders.
Do my friends on the left really want Kryzie King, who accepted a plea deal for a sentence of 22 years to life, to be able to change his legal sex markers and serve his time in a women’s prison? That’s something that even the State of New York, which has some of the most extreme gender identity policies in the nation, stopped short of allowing.
Kryzie King says he is a woman. Who are any of us to deny it if federal law insists that it’s discriminatory to claim otherwise. What does it matter if the women he would be housed with don’t want him showering with them, neither wanting to see him naked or to be seen naked by him? Will there be as much sympathy for these women as there is today for Donald Trump’s alleged beauty pageant victims?
I suspect Chase Strangio’s sympathies would begin and end with Kryzie King, with nothing spared for the women affected by him. Is that the true consensus of the Democratic Party and its members?
If it happens to be an awkward time for Democrats to bring this up, too bad. Women have been trying to warn them about these problems with gender identity laws for years and they have turned around and thrown us out of their politics for our troubles.
Not that it’s anything brand new. If the men in the Democratic Party really cared about women, where are the charges filed against PR executive Trevor Fitzgibbon, whose firm closed down over widespread allegations of sexual harassment and assault? Maybe the women who spoke out against him know all too well what would happen to their career prospects if they took a liberal man to court for workplace misconduct. Transgender activism didn’t invent misogyny on the left, after all.
The question remains, will they listen before we have to come up with millions of stories about being assaulted by men who think they’re women, or will the incidents we’ve seen already be enough?
Women aren’t irrationally phobic of transgender people. We are afraid of men, because many of us have seen them behave badly towards us in private. There’s no evidence that men who think they’re women are any different than the rest. Democrats should stop pretending they don’t know what we mean, even as they ride to soaring heights in the polls on the strength of our outrage about male violence. That’s not okay with me.
*Silence is the pseudonym of a radical, progressive feminist.
“For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I cannot disclose my real identity. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.”