By Kathleen Brush
With unanimity from the Left, the so-called Equality Act passed the House of Representatives. The Left crowed that Conservatives didn’t vote for it because they are anti-women. The Equality Act has nothing to do with equality for women, and everything to do with transgender equality. Legalizing this equality, ends up discriminating against women. This time, when it comes to women, Conservatives have it right.
Jim Crow laws were written to be race neutral and the Equality Act is written to be gender neutral, but the impact is clearly greater on females. Statistics are imprecise, but the number of transgender females, a person born biologically male that identifies as a female,is believed to be about four times that for transgender males.
This Act will have many repercussions for women, such as being a setback for aspiring cisgender women in sports. Cisgender women identify with the gender of their sex at birth. Additionally, a lot of females can find the ladies room and locker room uncomfortable, and female prisons and battered women shelters can be even more uncomfortable. Oh well, they don’t call women, the second sex for nothing.
When it comes to sports, advocates for the bill say the Conservatives are making much ado about nothing because transgenders can already compete in women’s sports in some states and the impact has been minimal. Tell that to the affected females. How long will the impact be minimal? This survey from Gallup highlights how current trends encouraged by the Equality Act can make this issue a lot larger. In just a few years the presence of transgenders has jumped from 0.3% to 0.6% of the population, but this includes a lot of old timers that weren’t raised in a society that socially accepts and legally protects people re-selecting their gender. The survey didn’t include anyone under 18, but among 19-24 and 25-40 year olds the transgender populations are 1.8% and 1.2% respectively. There is a similar trend in the growing population of LGBTQs. For boomers it is 2% but for Gen Z it’s 15.9%.
What about women in prison? In Washington State men that self-identify as women can be transferred to a women’s prison now. It’s been reported that there are 150 transgender women waiting for transfers. This is about 0.9% of the prison population, however in the women’s prison this would represent 9% of the population. This could be a real problem. Transgenders often retain their cisgender attraction. Caitlyn Jenner’s partner is Sophia Hutchins. Rachel Levine’s partner is Stephanie Haynes. A big reason there are separate men’s and women’s prisons is because of sexual aggression, and there are already multiple allegations of women being raped in prison by transgender female inmates. Only about 1% of transgender women have their penis removed. The Equality Act is a real tragedy for female prisoners, because most have suffered sexual abuse. It won’t help their rehabilitation if they are raped in prison in the name of equality.
Transgender women are 180% more likely to endure intimate partner violence than cisgender women. The new law would allow transgender women to shelter in the homes for battered women. Because federal funds are used for many of these shelters, not doing so could result in closures or limiting access. Battered women are already severely underserved. There is no data available on problems that could occur because it’s not presently illegal to keep cisgender women separate and they have been kept separate. Will battered women get the comfort they need in the presence of transgender women? Will there be the same problems with those found in prison? A battered woman being raped in a shelter would be tragic — even in the name of equality.
Then we have the locker rooms and bathrooms. Is the government really promoting equality if women feel uncomfortable disrobing in a female space? Isn’t this law really about making women’s spaces gender neutral, while men’s spaces more commonly remain private to men? At my gym transgender males and females use the female locker room, steam room and sauna. When biological men use them, women do not. Young women in school won’t have that option. They will need to get changed for gym class. Is it equal when females are afraid to disrobe in their locker rooms, but males are not? Or is the solution as some states are doing, like Washington, to teach school children as young as five that some boys have penises, and some girls have vaginas and a girl’s vagina can expand to accommodate a penis. They are taught it’s no big deal who has what. They also learn if they want to change to the other sex, the process can be started without parental consent. What they are not taught is that 50% of transgender girls attempt suicide. For those that undergo gender reassignment, suicide rates have been found to be 20 times over the normal rate, and there are much higher rates of psychiatric hospitalization, and death due to neoplasm and cardiovascular disease. Today, these lessons would be called transphobic.
Discrimination against women is nothing new. All men were given the right to vote in 1870. For women it was 1920. The first affirmative action programs were implemented in 1941. They were for minorities. Women were added in 1961. The inclusion of sex in the 1964 Civil Rights Act was an accident. A Virginia lawmaker added sex to the bill because he felt sure it would kill its passage. In 1974, head and master laws that gave a husband sole authority to manage community property was declared unconstitutional. In 1993, spousal rape became illegal across the United States. In 1972, women’s sports either got equal treatment or federal funds were withheld. Under the Equality Act, funds will be withheld from women’s sports if they deny participation to biological men that identify as women. Perpetrators defending women’s sports for biological women can also find draconian measures from the NCAA and a lawsuit from the ACLU.
It seems like some things never change, like it being OK to discriminate against women. Conservatives shouldn’t miss the opportunity to demonstrate that they are the party that really supports gender equality.
About the Author: Kathleen Brush, Ph.D. MBA is a management consultant that specializes in two areas: maximizing the outcomes from global strategies and improving organizational productivity by increasing the number of competent women in senior leadership.