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Op-ed: Women lose with gender ID ordinance

source: http://www.jconline.com/story/opinion/readers/2016/08/16/op-ed-women-lose-gender-ordinance/88834186/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin

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(Photo: jason szenes/european press photo agency)

The Lafayette City Council is set to vote on an amendment that would add gender identity to thecity nondiscrimination statute.

And they mean business — violators can be “presented to the city attorney for study or prosecution” if they fail to comply with the orders of the Commission on Human Relations. But most don’t realize that this law is a losing situation for women.

As explained by the ACLU, Title IX was created to protect women from discrimination and harassment in venues like housing and school athletics. But gender identity laws shred these protections, allowing biological men into women’s dorms and on girls’ sports teams. This means that women could find themselves placed in dorm rooms with biological males (no sex change required). It also means that men can take awards, team slots and sports scholarships from women. (A real possibility? Ask Jennifer VanPelt, whose daughter lost to a biological boy in a high school track competition in Alaska, as reported by The Daily Wire.)

As Zack Pruitt, lawyer and director of public policy at the Family Action Council of Tennessee, wrote, “An anti-discrimination law that affords special protection for women but also allows men to garner the same protection under the same law is absurd and illogical. ... The same justice system that provided liberty to millions with landmark anti-discrimination laws is now undermining those very laws. ... The practical result is that vital anti-discrimination laws like Title IX may be rendered useless.”

And that’s just the nightmare for women in schools. For women in the workplace and public life, it continues.

As David Marcus explains in The Federalist, employment protections for women become meaningless if men can capitalize on those protections by identifying as a women.

Women’s rights activist Kathleen Slone writes, “To women’s rights advocates and feminist leaders like me, laws that include gender identity raise a number of red flags for their unintended consequences for women.”

She highlights that obscuring male and female distinctions make protecting women much harder. “One of the issues is the loss of safe sex-segregated spaces such as public bathrooms, changing rooms and even domestic violence shelters. When access to such public spaces is based only on a subjective belief that one is a woman, this effectively allows men to claim a gender identity and enter women’s spaces at any time.”

Stopping discrimination is a worthy goal, but unraveling protections for women is not the right way to create harmony. Call and remind the city council that the women of Lafayette deserve a law that respects women’s legal protections. We can start by rejecting laws that put women’s needs last, like the proposed amendment. Until we have women’s concerns recognized at the discussion table, we won’t have a truly inclusive law.

Minich lives in Lafayette.