“Gender identity” legislation and the erosion of sex-based legal protections for females

by Undercover Punk

Guest post by Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford. This is an edited version; complete submission here.

In response to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women’s call for communications dated June 14, 2011 regarding allegations of human rights violations affecting the status of women,[i] we write to advise you of a legal development in the United States that compromises hard won sex-based classification protections for females.[ii]  This legal development – in which gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (“GLBT”) organizations[iii] and individual activists work to enact protections based on “gender identity” – thus far has occurred in Minnesota,[iv] Rhode Island,[v] New Mexico,[vi] California,[vii] District of Columbia,[viii] Illinois, [ix] Maine,[x] Hawaii,[xi] New Jersey,[xii] Washington,[xiii] Iowa,[xiv] Oregon,[xv] Vermont,[xvi] Colorado,[xvii] Connecticut[xviii] and  Nevada.[xix]

We anticipate that GLBT activists will push to enact similar legislation in additional states in upcoming years, including in Maryland and Massachusetts, the states in which the authors of this communication reside.  In addition to compromising rational sex-based protections for females, “gender identity” legislation incorporates stereotypical ideas of “what is female” into law.  […] As lesbians, we are concerned about the impact of this legislation on our community, and our community’s ability to meet free from male influence and involvement.  More importantly, as females, we are concerned that in the attempt to provide protections for a few, we will compromise the protections of the many.[xx]

Specifically, the proliferation of legislation designed to protect “gender identity” and “gender expression” undermines legal protections for females vis-à-vis sex segregated spaces, such as female-only clubs, public restrooms, public showers, and other spaces designated as “female only.”  Females require sex-segregated facilities for a number of reasons, chief among them the documented frequency of male sexual violence against females and the uniquely female consequence of unwanted impregnation resulting from this relatively common form of violence.[xxi]  Public policy, therefore, rationally permits sex segregation in certain settings where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.

We do not single out individual males as predatory, nor do we think any particular male is more likely to harm females. Further, we do not believe that transgender or transsexual women are any more likely to harm females.[xxii]  In fact, we recognize the legitimate needs of transgender and transsexual women to operate in the world free from irrational discrimination.  However, we cannot deny the implications of this legislation – and the radical shift in priorities it represents for females.  Female reproductive vulnerability has a long history of exploitation by males in the form of sexualized violence. As attorneys, as females, and as lesbians, we seek legal recognition and protection for the potential harm that females may experience because of our reproductive vulnerability.

Every state in the United States plus the District of Columbia has adopted a law that bans discrimination based on sex in employment, housing, and public accommodations, among other areas of public life.[xxiii]  These “Anti-Discrimination Laws” stand as evidence of a public policy statement against irrational discrimination, which has no place in a free and open society.  However, each of these Anti-Discrimination Laws also preserves an exception to the general policy against discrimination with regard to sex-segregated facilities.  These exceptions operate as an admission by that state that females have an interest in sex-segregated facilities.

[…]

Subsequent to the enactment of the ban on sex discrimination and the preservation of sex-segregated facilities for females in 1979, the Rhode Island Legislature amended Title 11 in 2001 to ban discrimination based on “gender identity or expression,” which includes a person’s actual or perceived gender, as well as a person’s gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression, whether or not that gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s sex at birth.[xxiv]

This definition of “gender identity” does not require any objective proof.  Rather, it merely requires the person seeking protection to assert that he or she identifies as the sex opposite his or her sex at birth.  Further, because Title 11 only permits discrimination in sex-segregated facilities based on sex, a person asserting gender identity as a basis to avoid “discrimination” must be permitted to use the rest room or bath house of their chosen “gender identity” – without regard to any action taken on the part of that individual to change their physiology to “become female” (i.e., sex reassignment surgery.)

The other states that have adopted protections based on “gender identity” have similarly broad definitions that not only incorporate stereotypes about males and females into law, but also allow any one asserting claim to a “gender identity” – including non-transgender and non-transsexual people – to invade all space rationally segregated by sex.

By way of example, we cite to several definitions found in the states that have banned this type of discrimination:

  • Nevada defines “gender identity or expression” as a gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.[xxv]
  • Hawaii defines “gender identity or expression” includes a person’s actual or perceived gender, as well as a person’s gender identity, gender-related self-image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression, regardless of whether that gender identity, gender-related self-image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s sex at birth.[xxvi]
  • New Jersey defines “gender identity or expression” as having or being perceived as having a gender related identity or expression whether or not stereotypically associated with a person’s assigned sex at birth.[xxvii]

These definitions – like the Rhode Island definition and like the definitions cited in the endnotes to this communication – provide no objective standard by which to assess the legitimacy of the “gender identity.”  These definitions would allow all males – including registered sex offenders or males subject to a domestic violence order of protection –  to assert “gender identity” as a means to invade female-only space.  Indeed, these laws provide a legal basis for males to be in sex-segregated space.  It is well-documented that males as a class have a demonstrated history of harming females as a class by exploiting female biology (i.e., rape, sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy).  Accordingly, definitions of “gender identity” that permit the individual to “self-identify” without any duration or medical documentation requirements present the potential for a human rights violation against all females.[xxviii]

As an additional matter, definitions of “gender identity” that suggest or codify into law that there are ways of expressing one’s self (or behaviors or appearances) “consistent or congruent with biological sex” present a risk to females, as such definitions codify the notion of stereotypes based on sex into law.  Traits stereotypically assigned to females – such as care-taking, emotionalism, and weakness – have served as sufficient legal justification for women’s exclusion from employment, participation in government, and many other critical social functions.  Archaic stereotypes are directly responsible for the denial of female credibility and intellectual authority, in addition to causing the historical marginalization of females, lower social status vis-à-vis males, and lack of power to engage equally with males. Even where law has evolved to formally prohibit sex-stereotyping; women continue to suffer from the lingering effects of sexist ideologies about female inferiority.  So although we support every individual’s right to freely express their gender identity, it is absolutely critical that law not confuse “feminine expression” with female reproductive capacity or female genital presentation.[xxix]  We believe that “gender identity” laws that codify the notion that there are traits, manners of expression, or modes of appearance that are inconsistent or consistent with one’s biological sex violates United Nations conventions seeking to eradicate sex stereotyping.[xxx]

As stated repeatedly in this communication, we abhor irrational discrimination against transgender and transsexual people.  However, we equally abhor the lack of concern for females that exists in the legislation promulgated by GLBT activists to remedy irrational discrimination against transgender and transsexual people.[xxxi]

______________________________________


[ii]               We know that other nations – most notably the United Kingdom – have adopted similar legislation.  However, as we are based in the United States, and claim no knowledge of the laws of other nations, we limit our communication to the laws in the United States.  However, with regard to the United Kingdom law, please see S. Jeffreys, They Know It When They See It: The UK Gender Recognition Act 2004, The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, Vol. 10, Issue 2, May 2008.

[iii]              We note that the main organization proponents of gender identity legislation – the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Human Rights Campaign – have yet to adequately address the concerns raised in this communication.  Additionally, we do not state that any of these organizations have encouraged violence against individuals who raise female-specific concerns with regard to this legislation.  Rather, it is individual activists who have targeted those opposing “gender identity” as a concept because of the potential for harm to females with violent rhetoric and actions.  At least one signer of this communication – Ms. Brennan – has received or been the subject of numerous threatening telephone calls, emails, and weblog posts due to her stated concern for females.

[iv]              Minn. Stat. § 363A.11.  Minnesota bans discrimination based on “gender identity” through its definition of “sexual orientation,” which includes “having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one’s biological maleness or femaleness.”  Minn. Stat. § 363A.03, Subd. 44.

[v]               R. I. Gen. Laws § 11-24-2.  We discuss the definition of “gender identity” later in this communication.

[vi]              N.M. Stat. Ann. § 28-1-7(F).  “Gender identity” means a person’s self-perception, or perception of that person by another, of the person’s identity as a male or female based upon the person’s appearance, behavior or physical characteristics that are in accord with or opposed to the person’s physical anatomy, chromosomal sex or sex at birth.  N.M. Stat. Ann. § 28-1-2(Q).

[vii]             Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 51.5.  The Unruh Civil Rights Act defines “sex” with reference to the definition of “gender” in the Penal Code as including a person’s gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.  Cal. Civ. Code § 51(e)(4), Cal. Gov. Code § 12926(p), Cal. Pen. Code § 422.56(c).

[viii]             D.C. Code § 2-1402.31.  “Gender identity or expression” means a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.  D.C. Code § 2-1401.02 (12A).

[ix]              775 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-102.  Illinois bans discrimination based on “gender identity” through its definition of “sexual orientation,” which “gender-related identity, whether or not traditionally associated with the person’s designated sex at birth.”  775 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-103(O-1).

[x]               5 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4591.  Maine bans discrimination based on “gender identity” through its definition of “sexual orientation,” which includes a person’s actual or perceived gender identity or expression.  5 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4553(9-C).

[xi]              Haw. Rev. Stat. § 489-3.

[xii]             N.J. Stat. § 10:5-4.

[xiii]             Rev. Code Wash. § 49.60.215. “Sexual orientation” includes gender expression or identity.  As used in this definition, “gender expression or identity” means having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.  Rev. Code Wash. § 49.60.040(26)

[xiv]             Iowa Code § 216.7.  “Gender identity” means a gender-related identity of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.  Iowa Code § 216.2(10).

[xv]             Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.403.  Oregon bans discrimination based on “gender identity” through the definition of “sexual orientation,” which includes an individual’s actual or perceived gender identity, regardless of whether the individual’s gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the individual’s sex at birth. Or. Rev. Stat. § 174.100(6).

[xvi]             9 Vt. Stat. Ann. § 4502.  “Gender identity” means an individual’s actual or perceived gender identity, or gender-related characteristics intrinsically related to an individual’s gender or gender-identity, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.  1 Vt. Stat. Ann. § 144

[xvii]            Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-34-601.  Colorado bans discrimination based on “transgender status” through its definition of “sexual orientation,” which includes a person’s transgender status or another person’s perception thereof.  Colo. Rev. Stat. §  2-4-401(13.5).  Colorado law does not define “transgender status”

[xviii]           Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-63.  “Gender identity or expression” means a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth, which gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person’s core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4a-60a(21).   (Effective October 1, 2011).

[xix]             Nev. Rev. Stat. §651.070.  Numerous municipalities in the United States also have adopted similar local ordinances.  See, e.g., New York City (http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/pdf/trans_guide.pdf).

[xx]             The authors favor anti-discrimination protections for transgender and transsexual individuals; however, we do not favor such protections at the expense of protections for females based on sex.

[xxi]             Please see “Men in Women’s Restrooms,” http://ts-is-liberation.org/Men+in+womens+restrooms, an article cataloguing the presence of males in female-only space on the TS-IS Liberation website maintained by transsexual activist Dana Lane Taylor.  Our sincere thanks to Ms. Taylor for compiling this information.

[xxii]            Throughout this communication, we refer to “transgender” and “transsexual.”  These terms do not have definitions in any of the legislation cited in this communication.  However, the definition of “gender identity” intends to capture both “transgender” and “transsexual.”  For perspective on these terms, we refer you to http://ts-si.org, an excellent resource website operated by Sharon Gaughan and Lisa Jain Thompson.  Please also see S. Gaughan, “What About Non-op Transsexuals? A No-op Notion,” http://ts-si.org/content/view/1409/995/, 2006.

[xxiii]           These laws – the “Anti-Discrimination Laws” – abrogate the common law rule in most states that employment is “at will.”  This communication expresses no concern or grievance with laws that ban discrimination in employment or housing based on “gender identity.”  We support full access to employment and housing opportunities unfettered by irrational discrimination.

[xxiv]           R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-24-2.1(i).  The addition of “gender identity” took effect July 13, 2001.  2001 R.I. Pub. Ch. 340; 2001 R.I. HB 5920.

[xxv]            Nev. Rev. Stat. §651.050(4).

[xxvi]           Haw. Rev. Stat. § 489-2.

[xxvii]           N.J. Rev. Stat. 10:5-5(rr).

[xxviii]          We note that the Connecticut definition attempts to limit the potential for this harm, but we believe it falls short of that goal because it ultimately allows an individual’s “sincerely held” belief to trump objective medical evidence.

[xxix]           We fully support anti-discrimination protections for transgender and transsexual people that do not run rough-shod over laws that protect females.  We support the following definition of “gender identity” – a person’s identification with the sex opposite her or his physiology or assigned sex at birth, which can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of a transsexual medical condition, or related condition, as deemed medically necessary by the American Medical Association.” Such a definition would protect the classification of sex, while simultaneously providing a cause of action for discriminatory practices on the basis of a persistent and documented “gender identity.”  We welcome people who fit into this definition into space segregated by sex in recognition of their perceived need for access and in the fervent hope that we can achieve such protection for identifiably transgender or transsexual people without harming females.

[xxx]            See, e.g., Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”).  We understand that the United States has signed, but not ratified, the CEDAW.

[xxxi]           This disregard for female-specific concerns with regard to sex-segregated facilities is a foundational plank in the “gender identity” agenda.  In 1996, at the International Conference for Transgender Law and Employment Policy, transgender activists adopted the “International Bill of Gender Rights.”  That document provides a “Right of Access to Gendered Space and Participation in Gendered Activity,” which states that “(n)o individual should be denied access to a space or denied participation in an activity by virtue of a self-defined gender identity (that) is not in accord with chromosomal sex, genetalia, assigned birth sex, or initial gender role.”  See Transgender Rights, edited by P. Currah, R. Juang, and S. Minter, International Bill of Gender Rights, Appendix at page 327 (2006).  This assertion of a “right” to access space segregated by sex stands in stark opposition to the need for females to have female-only facilities.

Cathy Brennan is a lawyer and longtime lesbian activist in Baltimore, Maryland. Elizabeth Hungerford is a lawyer in Massachusetts.

44 Responses to ““Gender identity” legislation and the erosion of sex-based legal protections for females”

  1. Wow!! Good on you two. 😀

    I grabbed the pdf, so I’m off to study. Thank you.

  2. The feminine stereotypes have done a lot of harm to women, but the masculine stereotypes have harmed women, too.This idea that men just can’t help themselves is pretty prominent in our culture already. They’re such victims of their own biology that just the sight of a woman in a short skirt is allegedly too much for them to handle. I worry that these kind of gender identity laws will strengthen a man’s ability to use the “boys will be boys” defense. Culturally that’s already pretty effective, but if it became your legal right to “express your masculinity,” things could become worse.

    Ironically, that could actually harm transgendered people, too. MTF trans people already allegedly can’t use the mens room for fear of being assaulted. Just wait until it’s a man’s legal right to assault people he perceives as female or homosexual or trans, because the abuser is just “expressing his masculine gender identity.” We don’t need to legalize “crimes of passion” or “boys will be boys” defenses anymore than they already are.

  3. This is brilliantly and precisely stated, and directed to the authority where it can be most effective.

    A huge investment of energy for each of you. This is the turning point.

    Now for all the other pieces to fall into place. 🙂

  4. This is really excellent writing, Cathy and Elizabeth. Even if it’s not 100% ideal, it’s doing *something* to move in a direction that’s beneficial to females. And doing something as opposed to nothing feels damn good!

    If I am correct in my understanding, “gender identity” protection laws, at least here in the U.S., would only protect those who were not born with the gender they see themselves as being. Thus, they would not protect females who do not fit the stereotypical female role.

    It seems so outrageous this much energy is being put into gender identity protection when there is STILL no ERA; that is a pipedream.

  5. That’s fucking brilliant!! Perfectly chosen wording in every single sentence. A watertight document to hurl at the patriarchs.

  6. WOAJ, thats my understanding as well: women who dress femininely or like “sluts” arent protected at all, and they arent protected in the workplace from being discriminated against for acting feminine, where male-defined success is correlative with MASCULINE behaviors only. we also cant act too manly. typical.

  7. Interesting also that the law is evolving to protect men who choose to perform femininity but still blames women who (are culturally required to) perform femininity; a man who wears makeup and heels should be able to access female-only spaces, but a woman who wears makeup and heels is ‘asking for it’. Men have such ownership over women that not only do they determine what is feminine (fashion industry), they can punish us for our performance of femininity (she was gagging for it), punish us for our refusal to perform it (dyke bitch) or indeed perform it themselves (trans). Talk about male privelege.

  8. It strikes me that there is an analogy here between land rights and women-born-female bodies. Here is my thinking: the British Crown claimed that it had property rights over all the land in Australia. This law was proclaimed from thousands of miles away without any connection to the land. In other words the British Crown claimed sovereignty and did not recognise the sovereignty of the original inhabitants of the land. When Aboriginal people attempt to get their land back, they are told that they must prove continuous connection with that land (ignoring the fact that the Crown had no connection at all with the land when it claimed it for itself). In order to get it back they have to go through lengthy and expensive court cases, frequently losing them in the end.

    The similarity begins here: men claim the ability to the bodily rights of female bodies. Though born into male bodies and into male/masculine culture they claim access to all of women’s bodies (through heterosexuality, pornography and transgenderism). These bodies are claimed from outside the bodily forms and outside the culture of women. And when lesbians try to claim back our space what we find is that we have been redefined. We are the ones asked to ‘prove’ our connection to our bodies and the right to claim that space. To get back the right to our bodies and our spaces we are expected to go through lengthy and expensive court cases, frequently losing them in the end.

    On the one hand racist and colonialist forces protect their property rights over land (and then exploit the land through mining, militarism, monocultures and other destructive activities); on the other hand heterosexual and patriarchal forces protect their property rights (and then exploit those bodies through violence, prostitution, the monoculture of pornography and other destructive behaviours).

  9. Thank you for guest posting this great document. It is so important to have this kind of work done! This is a great reference document and has a beauty in its logic.

    The use of the word “gender” is something that was originally assumed to mean biological female or male, but that use has been warped to mean trans-persons of all stripes. The trans-persons category is not at all uniform. The trans who identify as female (bio males) can include, though is not limited to any of the following: cross-dressers, males with fetishes for dressing in particular items of feminine clothing, males who have partially transitioned via hormones but not surgery, males who have SRS, of males who have SRS, some of them may have fetishes similar to those people who have removed limbs, those with body dysmorphic disorders who seek cosmetic surgery, those with multiple personalities, those with dissociative identity disorder. Then there is a hypothesized “brain-identity” disorder where the person is born with a biological condition whereby they perceive themselves to be a female in a male body. The science behind this last disorder is inconclusive. It would be useful if it could be scientifically demonstrated as a clear and measurable category. Right now what passes as proof does not pass the test of clear scientific evidence.

    What struck me in reading your document is that those who are biologically female is a simple category (persons with XX genes and genitals) but the other category is not clearly defined, it is so foggy that it could be expanded to include the class of all males on the planet (theoretically). No matter how you define the gender-trans category you run into difficulties. That’s why you have ways of defining that are highly subjective. If it’s “my gender is what I say it is” then persons with dissociative personality disorder or with multiple personalities, would be understood as changing genders more or less frequently. If it’s “dressing/behaving in feminine ways” we have the problem of stereotypes. When I first heard this debate, I thought that the solution would be to have a third category “trans.” Though this has numerous real-life problems at least it is a consistent category based on “gender choice that is discrepant from biological sex.”

    It is interesting that trans persons that are biologically male are the ones seeking admission to women’s restrooms. There are few or no battles for biological female trans persons to get into male restrooms. It is not symmetrical, in other words.

  10. Dana Lane Taylor, a politically active trans woman, has left the following female-supportive comment consistent with end note [xxi] in the communication above. By consensus of the Hub, we are publishing this comment.

    Specific wording needs to be included in these laws. They are too broad and do open up the possibility that men can easily and legally invade women’s private spaces. I think most people know that not all guys are dangerous to women but those people also know that a lot of men are.

    I have a page dedicated to bringing this to light (sorry, I have not updated it in a few days).

    http://ts-is-liberation.org/Men+in+womens+restrooms

    Notice to the LGBT activists. Use the right language or public accommodation laws will not be accepted by most in society. I am called a lot of very nasty names by the transgender leadership and am pretty much an outcast for my views. I have been told by a lot in the transgender community that they don’t feel safe using men’s private spaces because of their presentation. Mostly by cross-dressers. Well, you need to educate men that some men wear dresses and need to pee and shower.That isn’t a problem women should have to deal with, unwillingly. If you want help, ask.

  11. This is really excellent. It is an important document for all women.

  12. Thank you for the thoughtful feedback here. This is an incredibly difficult subject for many of us who “grew up” in GLBT activism. I am grateful for those members of the GLBT community – especially trans people – who are able to hear the concerns raised by females without defensiveness. I do not want anyone to face irrational discrimination – that includes females as well as trans folx.

  13. This issue is just kind of sad. The issue came up recently here in Australia – a fairly private, women only (since the 1920s I think) swimming spot near a major metro beach was visited by a man (with a couple of women). He was clearly a guy, bare chested and wearing board shorts, but claimed to be planning to transition. The issue caused lots of trouble with women at odds over whether he should have been allowed there.

    Lots of lesbians go there because we like hanging out with other women, straight women go there for the same reason and because they get time out from being stared at and judged by men, older women and women who’ve had surgery (especially mastectomies for eg) go there because they unfortunately don’t feel comfortable on most beaches anymore, muslim women go there because they can remove head scarves in the heat and swim etc – but none of that matters apparently. Women don’t have the right to have our own even tiny space for any reason, apparently. It’s sad.

  14. just as a reminder, the discussions on this blog are reserved for women only. this does not include transwomen. thank you.

  15. Thank you, FCM. And I quote the COMMENTS POLICY:

    The discussions on this blog are reserved for women. Female-born, women-identified women are welcome to take part. This means that no male-born or male-identified person is given a platform to speak in this space.

    This is a female only space. We have a right.

  16. just wanted to say that this submission was AWESOME and i am truly in awe that such powerful radical feminist sentiments have been embraced by female attorneys, and they they have been sent to the UN. !! i hope someone actually reads them, and that they are seriously considered. the unique reproductive vulnerability of female-bodied people MUST be acknowledged, because it is used against us and is a very real barrier to our participation, safety and “equality” in public AND PRIVATE. men know this, and they have always known it, because they have used it against us, deliberately and continuously. its time we shine a bright light on this and make it known that we know it too: we know the source of our own suffering, and its men sexually vicitmizing us, and exploiting our reproductive vulnerability in every context.

    thank you!

  17. Re: developing .
    The incident you mention was actually a case of an FTM person (who had undergone chest surgery and had been taking hormones) using the Coogee Women’s Baths – I know because I was involved in the discussion around it that happened on Facebook brought up by the trans man’s partner. The media reported it incorrectly.

  18. Georgina

    Thanks for that – I stand corrected on that front.

    But isn’t it still an issue if someone who considers themselves a man wants to access women’s spaces?

  19. Yes, developing. Yes it is.

  20. Thoughtful, compassionate, well-argued. thank you. And yea, if women elect to “transition”, they are then also giving up their access to women-only spaces. If they change their minds, I’d welcome them back, to be sure. Otherwise, nope. Your locker room is now over there.

  21. Cathy and Elizabeth, thanks for taking the time and the effort and having the courage to submit this, for the benefit of womyn as a class and to protect our spaces and right to determination. It is an excellent submission and I hope it will be taken seriously.

  22. I have been told (and seen) a petition submitted to the UN that is specifically anti-what Cathy and Elizabeth have written. Is there a way to start a petition FOR this wonderful piece of writing (that, I should add, has nothing to do with taking away the rights of any transgender or transsexual person).

  23. You can start a petition here: http://www.change.org/, but I wouldn’t bother with it.

    That petition decries “these radical feminists who try to assign an arbitrary definition to the word ‘woman’ that does not even fit all cisgender women.”

    I cannot overstate how pathetic and bizarre this sentence is.

  24. Oh, and WOAJ, I meant to also say thank you for your support.

  25. Yes, WOAJ, thanks for your support! I’ve seen the petition you refer to. The trans community’s response to this submission has been overwhelmingly misrepresentative of the arguments Cathy Brennan and I put forth in the submission to the UN.

    Entitlement to sex-segregated spaces on the basis of ‘gender identity’ discrimination refers specifically to civil rights causes of action. This may be a difficult distinction for the non-lawyer to make, however, we do not address criminal searches & seizures, aka ‘panty checks,’ per the Fourth Amendment–which applies to government actors.

    The letter does not express opposition to ‘gender identity’ discrimination laws in the contexts of employment, housing, education, or any area except sex-segregated accommodations. All persons- including trans identified persons- retain access to the bathroom assigned to their birth-sex (/reproductive capacity).

    ‘Gender identity’ permits claims of discrimination by people seeking access to sex-segregated spaces solely on the basis of masculine/feminine expression, appearance, identity, or behavior. Our argument clearly identifies the need for “duration [and] medical documentation” of ‘gender identity’ in civil rights causes of action that claim discrimination on the basis of ‘gender identity.’ This is in no way a denial of ‘human rights’ to trans persons.

  26. these radical feminists who try to assign an arbitrary definition to the word ‘woman’ that does not even fit all cisgender women.”

    What that sentence ultimately means is that because some women have gone through the menopause, or have had a hysterectomy, NO women are entitled to sex based protection.

  27. WHy don’t they tell all those foetuses who were aborted precisely *because* they were female, that women– Adult Human Females– do not exist as a distinct, and seperate group to men.

    It’s highly likely that the only reason many Chinese and Indian trans women are alive at all is because a penis was present on the ultrasound, when their parents were making a decision about whether to abort or not.

  28. my favorite part was how the trans politickers said that the authors of the UN submission had silenced them by not telling them about the call for submissions, and not “giving them a chance to respond.” as if the trans failing to KNOW ABOUT IT (ie. their own failure of activism and failure of awareness of PUBLIC INFORMATION) was in any way the fault of the authors, or the fault if radical feminists in general. we are supposed to take these people seriously? why?

  29. There is a similar submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission arguing that basic human rights for transgendered people are provided under existing legislation. The insistence by the transgender lobby that gender re-alignment must be hidden by providing opportunities to completely diguise all transgender history of an individual through laws that deprive women of their basic human rights in favour of transgender rights is addressed in this submission in an Australian and global context. The submission cn be found at http://www.erinyes.org.au and on hte Australian Human Rights Commission website. It is easier to find on the ERINYES site. http://www.erinyes.org.au/lesbian-human-rights/erinyesonhumanrights2010

  30. Gender Identity laws which include gender expression protect gender variant females and males regardless of their sexual orientation. So the “butch” woman and the “effeminate” man will be covered. This letter, this whole “to-do” is a red herring and luses for bathrooms the same kind of logic that the religious right wing, such as Focus on the Familty, AFA and the like to fight laws for transgender access for societal rights and respect.

  31. Babs, I approved your comment because you are an example of those who seek to waste our time (and there are a LOT of you!). Number one, butch women do NOT identify opposite their birth sex. So they would NOT be covered by ‘gender identity’ legislation as currently phrased. Further, your foolish analogy between female-centric reasoning and “the logic” of the “religious right wing” has been thoroughly DEBUNKED.

    Here, try this and think harder: http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/radfems-are-conservative/

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