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March 29 2019

Equality Act's Gender Identity Provision Goes Too Far

by Jennifer C. Braceras

Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the Equality Act. The bill, sponsored by Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of categories protected by federal civil rights law.

Who could be against a law that promises equality and bans discrimination?

Turns out, plenty of women who worry that the bill’s “gender identity” provisions will negatively affect women and girls.

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Abigail Shrier writes:

“Insofar as [the Act] would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants and employers from firing employees based on sexual orientation, it is no doubt long overdue.”

But, she says, the “gender identity” provision of the bill goes too far.

“Any biological males who self-identify as females would, under the Equality Act, be legally entitled to enter women’s restrooms, locker rooms and protective facilities such as battered-women’s shelters. This would put women and girls at immediate physical risk.”

Shrier continues:

“Are there sincere transgender people who ought to be accommodated with appropriate facilities? Of course. But their need, however real, doesn’t justify the immediate transfer of the hard-won rights of women and girls. No comparable sacrifice is asked of boys and men, who are unlikely to feel threatened by a biological woman in the restroom. No top male athletes are likely to lose competitions to biological women competing as men. Only women are made to sacrifice for the sake of this new ‘equality.’ And what women and girls are being coerced to cough up isn’t an unfair privilege but a leveler they require.”

Shrier is not alone in her opposition to including “gender identity” in the list of categories protected by federal anti-discrimination law. Kara Dansky, a lawyer and board member at the radical Women’s Liberation Front, says that although the Equality Act “sounds all well and good,” it is actually “an unmitigated disaster for women and girls.”

Why?

Because, Dansky argues, “it is not possible to both enshrine gender identity in civil rights law and protect women and girls as a distinct legal category at the same time.”

For example, Kristen Waggoner argues in The Hill that inclusion of “gender identity” in federal anti-discrimination law could have a negative impact on women’s sports.

“[T]his difference became clear recently in Connecticut, where two male high school students who identify as female raced against superb girl athletes at a women’s track meet — and trounced the girls. When asked what they thought about the girls losing to them, one’s advice was telling: “Run faster.” But by that standard, there shouldn’t be any separate sports for women. Women just have to run faster, jump higher and tackle harder.”

The House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the measure  Tuesday, April 2, at 10:00am in the Rayburn House Office Building. You can watch it live HERE.

 

 



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