In the last few days and weeks, with relatively little public fanfare, radical legislation was enacted in New York City and Washington State to protect the rights of those who identify as transgender — at the cost of everyone else. And when I say "cost," I'm not exaggerating.
In New York, violation of these new laws could cost you up to $250,000 for a single offense.
What exactly do these new laws do?
Rather than give you a lot of legal jargon, I'll give you some practical examples.
Let's say you own a gym where men and women come in to work out and get in shape.
A man comes in — at least, to all appearances he's a man — but he proceeds to enter the women's locker room to change.
You approach him and say, "Sir, I'm sorry, but you're going into the ladies' room. The men's locker room is across the hallway."
He replies, "First, I'm not 'sir,' I'm 'ma'am.' Second, I have the legal right to use the locker room that I identify with, and I identify as a woman."
If you refuse to refer to him as she/her, you have broken the law and could be fined.
If you refuse to let him use the women's locker room, where the ladies are not expecting a biological male to be changing, nor are they expecting him to shower naked in the stall next to them, you have also broken the law and could be fined.
What if you decide to ask for proof that this man really identifies as a woman? Perhaps he can produce a letter from a doctor saying that he has been diagnosed as transgender and has been undergoing hormone therapy for the last two years? Perhaps he has had sex-change surgery, at least in part?
Sorry, friend, but it is illegal for you even to ask for such proof.
That's how crazy the new laws are.
As reported by MassResistance, "On Dec. 21, New York City's Commission on Human Rights announced that it has re-interpreted the city's transgender anti-discrimination law. The result is more radical and oppressive than we've seen so far in the U.S. It covers all people in the areas of employment, public accommodations (i.e., restaurants, theaters, stores, health clubs, etc), and housing. Included are fines of up to $250,000 for each violation."
This means that if you own a restaurant and the same scenario unfolds, this time with this gentleman (who perceives himself to be a woman) walking into the ladies' bathroom immediately after a little girl walks in, if you try to stop him, you have broken the law.
Who cares about traumatizing the little girl?
I am not suggesting that the man in question is a sexual predator (although it is documented that non-transgender, heterosexual male predators have abused these laws to satisfy their voyeurism).
But I am suggesting that the rights of the little girl are at least as important as this man's rights, and it is outrageous to think that the little girl could be traumatized in order to accommodate this man's personal perceptions.
Yet the New York laws go even further.
As cited again by MassResistance, some of the new laws include:
Limiting a person's options to only "male" and "female." How this works was not completely explained.
Sex stereotyping. If a company allows women to wear wigs, makeup, skirts, and jewelry — it must also allow men to do so. Any conversation about a person's non-conformity to gender norms is also prohibited.
Imposing different dress codes based on sex. Similar to sex stereotyping. For example, if a restaurant requires waitresses to wear skirts and high heels, it must also require male waiters do so. Or, it may not require only male patrons to wear ties.
Is this anything less than madness? Is this anything less than a war on gender?
It is one thing to do our best to understand the struggles of those who identify as transgender. It is another thing to turn society upside down in the process.
Things are hardly better in Washington, where Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington told the Daily Signal, "To my knowledge, this is the first time in the country that there's been a statewide effort to mandate all public accommodations cooperate with the gender identity concept that somebody declares."
He too rightly observed, "This is the next step in this war on gender."
Let's also remember that some transgender individuals profess to be gender fluid, identifying as Sam one day and Sally the next. Some even speak of mixing their identities in a gender blender.
Yet these new laws would require you as an employer or fellow-worker to make the daily switch in pronouns and names if that's what Sam (or Sally) requested.
Failure to comply could cost you more in a few seconds of time than most of us make in a year — or several years.
Frankly, having warned about these very things for years now, I'm not in the least bit surprised to see the latest developments.
But let's wake up while we have the chance and vigorously protest and work against these outrageous laws.
Having compassion for those struggling with gender identity does not require us to lose our corporate sanity.