Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New York City Addresses Transgender Rights

                 New York City’s “Commission on Human Rights” has issued new guidelines as to what pronouns can be used to refer to transgender individuals. Yes, the same stout yeopersons who believe that abortion, which abolishes a child’s inalienable right to life (as well as the child) is a human right, have now decreed that pronouns are “wrong” when they correspond to someone’s actual or birth gender but are contrary to that person’s gender self-identity. Well, if it’s not a fundamental human right to be called by whatever gender-descriptive pronoun (from the newly vast and contrived list of them) you like, no matter your genitalia, I don’t know what is.
                If you are a business or property owner in New York and call a transsexual person “he” or “she” when they prefer to be called “zhe,” for instance, you may have to pay a quarter of a million dollar fine. “Misgendering” breaks the city’s newly updated law as regards “Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Expression,” and is now a serious offense. What was it Ted Cruz was saying?
                Incidents that are deemed “willful and malicious” will see property owners face up to $250,000 in fines, while standard violations of the law will result only in a $125,000 fine. Fines of these amounts would be the end of many small businesses.
                Funny, these businesses would likely also get fined for false advertising or misrepresentation if they- or their claims- turned out to be other than they actually are. For example, why can’t a company that makes alcoholic beverages simply self-identify as “the maker of the world’s healthiest drink” if that’s how they wish to see themselves? Surely their products should be allowed onto the same shelves as skim milk. Surely they shouldn’t be excluded from grocery stores or vending machines! That wouldn’t be very validating!(Perhaps the company’s 151 rum has a drop or two of kale extract in it and is transitioning to a health drink).
             The legislation makes it clear that if an individual desires, property owners will have to use  “zhe,” “hir” and any other preferred pronoun. From the updated legislation: ”The NYCHRL requires employers and covered entities to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification.” (Many transgender and gender non-conforming people prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or zhe/hir).
            Other violations of the law include refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities such as bathrooms that are “consistent with their gender identity,” failing to provide employee health benefits for “gender-affirming care” and “imposing different uniforms or grooming standards based on sex or gender.” Ergo, if a bar owner prevents a male bartender from wearing a skirt, lipstick and high heels, he or she (“zhe?”) would be breaking the law. Every property owner will be forced to comply with the same standards.
                Identity has become chimerical and surreal, based on absurdly selfish and subjective interpretation rather than objective reality. This will have real consequences. Human interaction will be more precarious and difficult and therefore less frequent. Language will take another hit.
                It has come to this: if you simply, (and believe) accurately address a person by his or her actual physical gender in the biggest and most important city in the United States, you may be ruined for life.