Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Maryland Gender Identity Bill

Facts About Gender Identity and Maryland Senate Bill 212

1) Supporters of Bill 212 would say that “it is all about equality.”


However, "gender identity" is not the same as race. Gender identity is not immutable! Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is labeled as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association because it is a mental confusion about one’s true identity. For adults suffering with GID, many have lived as their birth sex before trying to transition and for children with GID, most will come out of such confusion. Forcing society to ignore the fact that this is a mental illness harms society and ex-transgenders who are trying to get back to their real gender identity. Johns Hopkins stopped doing "reassignment" surgeries after finding it was not beneficial. In fact, such individuals have increased risk of suicide, death and need for psychiatric help even with such surgeries.

2) Supporters of Bill 212 would say "it is needed to prevent homelessness."


However, 25 to 30 percent of the homeless are mentally ill. Gender Identity Disorder is a mental illness. The best way to prevent homelessness is to correct the mental illness or confusion. Correcting the underlying mental illness or confusion can help individuals get back to living in a productive way, instead of endangering their lives with hormones and surgery and spending their time and energy hiding their real sex through activities such as cross-dressing.


3) Supporters of Bill 212 would say that "it is needed to prevent victimization."

However, the Polis case in Baltimore, as well as cases such as that of a Synthia Kavanagh, a Canadian transgender who was jailed for murdering a transvestite, demonstrates that the mentally ill can become victims or can victimize someone else.

Treatment of mental illness is felt to decrease both victimization and propensity to victimize in individuals with Manic Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia and Affective Disorder. Helping those with Gender Identity Disorder return to their true gender should be the goal of our society as well.

4) Supporters of Bill 212 would say that "16 states have gender identity laws, and there have been no problems."


However, laws that don’t respect the rights of women teach less respect, not more. In Portland, Oregon, a cross-dressing sex offender was found in the women's changing area. In Washington, DC, the prison system requested relief from the consequences of the law.  In fact, “Peeping Tom” activity, and men entering restrooms, seems to have become more popular as the popularity of these laws has increased.  These laws have already created harm not only in the originating states, but in other states, by decreasing respect for women’s privacy.   Further, not all state laws are the same.  The Hawaii gender identity law only covers housing and in Minnesota the courts have ruled that bathrooms can be separated on the basis of sex.  In addition, almost immediately upon passage of its GID law, Montgomery County was hit with a million dollar lawsuit by transgender Dana Beyer under the law she helped to pass.

5) Supporters of Bill 212 would say that "the bill is needed to prevent discrimination."


However, this bill institutionalizes discrimination against women and against individuals who want to tell the truth. The bill will intimidate women who want to complain about men in their bathrooms and will stop security guards from responding to them, as evidenced by the Colorado gender identity law Facts and Questions document which states:


“May transgender individuals be required to “prove” they are transgender to use gender-segregated facilities?

No. Just as non-transgender individuals should be able to use a restroom or locker room appropriate to their gender identity without having to provide documentation or respond to invasive requests, transgender individuals must also be allowed to use a gender-segregated facility appropriate to their transgender status without being…. questioned.”


6) Supporters of Bill 212 would say that "the problems of the bill have been corrected from last year because the definition of Gender Identity has been changed to try to limit the non-discrimination component to only those individuals who have a consistent public appearance of the opposite gender."

Similar to challenges in New York City by individuals who sued to have gender changed on their birth certificates (even without sex change operations), it seems likely that Bill 212’s definition will be challenged in the courts by individuals stating that their gender identity is real, even if they were not able to maintain a consistent public appearance, and that the law’s definition discriminates against them.


7) Supporters of Bill 212 would say that "the bill will solve the bathroom problem by making it clear that men have an absolute right to enter the female bathrooms if they feel and appear female."


Instead, Bill 212 opens the door to more conflicts. It is only natural to want to protect the rights and privacy of women. Men will feel a need to protect their wives and children. Women will feel a need to protect their own rights. Because the government is not protecting women, vigilante self-protection will be encouraged by this bill.


8) Supporters of Bill 212 would say that "the bill is needed to stop problems associated with transgender prostitution."


However, Baltimore was the first city in the state to pass such a law and it now reports increasing problems instead of improvement with transgender prostitution. HIV rates in transgender prostitutes can be as high as 68%. Washington, DC, which has one of the most liberal gender identity laws in the country, is struggling with similar problems. Prostitution is an accepted norm in the transgender community (Sausa et al., 2007). For example, DC Trans Coalition, in testimony opposing a Prostitution Free Zone Amendment, stated that sex work should be considered as employment.


9) Supporters of Bill 212 would say that "the bill is all about freedom of expression."


Who would expect that pronoun usage would be a problem with gender identity laws?  Just like in the childhood story of the Emperor's New Clothes, with this law, those who want to tell the truth will be the ones who are told they are wrong.


The bill redefines “freedom of expression about birth sex” as harassment.

·       Under Washington, DC’s gender identity law, individuals can be fined for using pronouns reflecting a person’s birth sex.

·       In Montgomery County, justice was denied and testimony was excluded from an ethics complaint against a transgender, Dana Beyer, because individuals used pronouns consistent with birth sex.

·       Using the Colorado gender identity law, the intentional use of pronouns reflecting the person's birth sex is banned. For example, the owners of the public accommodation are told they must not allow members of the public to use pronouns reflecting birth sex or object to bathroom usage in a place of public accommodation because that could be harassment.


It is wrong for the government to abrogate freedom of speech. Turning freedom of speech rights on its head comes from the government promoting a delusion instead of truth.


10) Supporters of Bill 212 would say the “U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit's ruling last December means that the battle is over.”


Opponents would say that the decision was made based on one individual employment case without Gender Identity Legislation and was made on the basis of sex discrimination, proving that special gender identity laws are not necessary.  Further, the decision on employment didn't involve bathrooms and specifically excluded commenting on Gender Identity Disorder.

Vote No to SB 212


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