Monday, May 6, 2019

Heritage's not-so-novel attack on the Equality Act

Smearing transgender people to assail the Equality Act is an assault on the entire LGBT community.
Monday, according to the Heritage Foundation, the Equality Act will enable high school boys to declare themselves transgender girls for athletic advantage. The very notion is preposterous but it is advanced in a piece by Kelsey Bolar titled: 8th Place: A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Join Her Sport.

I am reasonably certain that Heritage is more concerned with conservative Christianity than high school athletics. Athletics are pretext for expressing disapproval of transgender people. This is also a re-tooled anti-gay trope about our seeking special rights.

According to Ms. Bolar:
Most prominently, on March 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced HR 5, the Equality Act, a bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law.

The legislation would create a civil right for male athletes to self-identify as females at any time, critics say, without any evidence of physical changes to their bodies.
Nonsense. The intent of this fog is to create the notion that we do not know who is really transgender. They are attempting to manufacture confusion over both gender identity and the Equality Act. The measure would protect gay and transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Nothing in the act would prohibit a school district from establishing fair criteria for competing in athletics.

The religious right has determined that the best way to attack the Equality Act is to attack transgender people. The effect that they are hoping for is create fear of HR 5 among their constituents. At the same time they hope to fragment the LGBT community by causing us to fight with each other. Bolar's polemic (and similar pieces) are also trying to spread the idea that many people are transphobic but afraid to speak out.
Encouraged by her mother, Bianca Stanescu, who has been in the forefront in challenging the state policy, Selina is one of the few students, if not the only one, giving a voice to countless others who appear to feel the same way.

“Everyone is afraid of retaliation from the media, from the kids around their school, from other athletes, coaches, schools, administrators,” Selina explained. “They don’t want to drag attention to themselves, and they don’t want to be seen as a target for potential bullying and threats.”
Sure. Transgender kids are not at risk of bullying. Oh no. It is the transphobic students who fear bullying. Sure. Moreover, the sheer volume of transphobic material from pressure groups and individuals (via social media) is staggering. Who is being silenced? Certainly not this mother. It is not a coincidence that she contacted Heritage Foundation. Because of people like anti-LGBT extremist Ryan T. Anderson, Heritage has garnered the reputation of being one of the leading anti-trans organizations in the country.

We in the LGBT community must acknowledge that there is a legitimate concern.
Again, Heritage Foundation is far more interested in attacking transgender people due to religious dogma than the fairness of high school sports. Nevertheless, Bolar's piece offers an opportunity to address the issue.

Many high school athletes are competing for college scholarships. Those kids have a legitimate concern over fairness. A model policy for transgender athletes should start with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a qualified physician. I do not believe for a second that people will pretend to be trans but the diagnosis requires significant distress for at least six months. The intent is to silence an objection that should not exist in the first place.

High school students are post-pubertal. Therefore, a transgender girl would be receiving hormones. If that is not the case then they would conceivably have an unfair advantage and should be eliminated. Therefore a model policy should require evidence of certain hormones over a certain period of time. I am not qualified to know which hormones over what duration would make a trans girl a fair competitor. However, there are sports medicine professionals who can assist school district and school boards in that regard. The LGBT community is not trying to create an unfair situation.
Transgender people have a golden opportunity to turn a problem into a benefit.
If transgender people demonstrate that they appreciate concerns over fair athletic competition then they will enhance their credibility. Empathy demonstrates intellectual honesty which creates validity. Established trustworthiness will apply to other matters. The LGBT community is not going to convince the Christian crazies of anything. However, the general population will perceive us as fair and reasonable because the LGBT community is fair and reasonable.

All that we want, all that we have ever wanted are the constitutional guarantees of Equal protection and due process. Nothing less and nothing more.

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