How Do We Reconcile Gender Self-Identification With Protecting The Disabled?

How Do We Reconcile Gender Self-Identification With Protecting The Disabled?

There’s no middle ground between these competing claims. People are either allowed to have single-sex accommodations and privacy rights based on sex, or they aren’t.
Natasha Chart
By

The Insider headline on a story about the unsolved rape of a San Carlos Apache woman in a long-term care facility in Arizona read, “Police to take DNA from every male carer who had access to the woman who gave birth after 14 years in a vegetative state.” According to Fox 59, Hacienda Healthcare’s new policy is that male employees must have a female employee to chaperone if they enter the room of a female patient.

Everyone understands what the terms male and female mean here. Especially, we get why police have only sought and received a search warrant for DNA samples from male employees, and why the facility would seek to prevent something like this from happening again by forbidding male staff from being alone with female patients.

This straightforward and horrifying situation is the tip of the iceberg regarding the abuse of disabled women and girls, particularly those who live in long-term care facilities. It’s been well known for a long time that this type of abuse takes place even in bastions of progressive health-care policy, like Canada, the United Kingdom, and the state of California, because it happens everywhere.

Yet the Democratic Party is likely to try to copy, on a national level, the mistake that Canada, the UK, and California have all made, which would make this type of sexual abuse harder to prevent. They plan to reintroduce a legal obliteration of sex through gender identity policies in the Equality Act. Gender identity policies, where an individual chooses his or her legal sex as an act of will, would both cause problems in the police investigation of this case, and forbid care facilities from adopting sensible policies that would protect incapacitated female patients from sexual torture by male staff and residents.

Consider the plan to take DNA from every male member of staff. What if a male member of staff had followed his heart some years back to identify as female, and had been allowed to change all of his documentation to reflect this? If the culprit is now claiming to be a woman, police may miss him.

In the future, such an investigation might require police to get a warrant for DNA samples from all staff members, regardless of legal sex. The prevalence with which heterosexual, adult men––many of whom have fathered children in the usual way––insist that they are women means that there are now legally female people with penises in the workforce. While much of the talk about gender laws revolves around sympathy for those with dysphoria or those intent on having cosmetic genital surgery, gender identity policies no longer have any medical criteria attached; they are based purely on self-identification.

Could  a ‘Woman’ Get A Comatose Patient Pregnant?

So then we have Hacienda Healthcare’s new policy of requiring female staff to always be present to chaperone a female patient. Again, how do we know that the women on staff at these facilities are actually female, and congenitally incapable of impregnating an unconscious or mentally incompetent woman through rape? Female human beings can commit terrible crimes (although we rarely do, in comparison to males). Yet we are categorically incapable of impregnating another woman.

In most cases, discrimination in hiring or assigning work on the basis of sex is rightly prohibited by U.S. law. There is an exemption to this for bona fide occupational qualifications in narrow cases. By custom, one of these exemptions is for the provision of intimate medical care. Both men and women currently have the right in most states to ask for a same-sex attendant, doctor, or chaperone if they require intimate care or to be undressed in the presence of another.

Patients no longer automatically have that right in the UK or Scotland, where medical staff have been told they must use the standard of gender identity in care provision. Wards that the National Health Service was supposed to be maintaining as single-sex wards for women, due to common problems of patients feeling dehumanized and criticisms that mixed-sex wards were an “affront to basic human dignity,” have had to allow men. This extends to the placement of children, even against their parents’ wishes.

Last year, this resulted in a woman who had checked herself into a mental hospital suffering what she recognized was a delusional break, characterized by a fear of men, being forced to room with a male patient claiming that he was a woman. The LGBT press vilified this woman, and another female patient who’d asked for a female nurse but was also sent a man claiming to be a woman, for “transphobia.”

(A transphobe, in the current sense, is anyone who read the first two paragraphs of this essay and knew what the words “male” and “female” meant.)

Self-Identification Can Cause Severe Problems

This causes problems the other way around, too. Because of self-identification policies in the UK, violent and extremely dangerous male prisoners can also claim to be women, and therefore entitled to be strip-searched by female corrections officers. This demand should be an obvious case of sexual harassment at work. Yet you can’t describe it that way if you can’t state that a male prisoner is a man, and that no man is entitled to have a female person touch his genitals for any reason. Creating such a loophole all but guarantees that an indecent man will emerge to take advantage of it.

In Canada, a man called JY has been suing female beauticians through the local human rights tribunals for refusing to wax his genitals, because he says he’s a woman now. He has attempted to shake down more than a dozen different businesses and independent providers for $2,500 settlements over this, leveraging the power of the state to intimidate women into handling his testicles against their will. This is an entirely predictable outcome of letting men identify as women in law. It usually doesn’t matter, but when it does, it matters a lot.

A California law passed in 2017 has already mandated that patients be cared for according to gender identity claims. This means that a man can ask to be housed in a ward with women, to be cared for only by female staff, and be referred to only as a female patient, or he can sue the facility or fellow patients for violating his civil rights. Since 2017, female California nursing home residents can’t be offered the protections from men that their counterparts in Arizona can now be offered if a need becomes apparent, and neither the residents nor female staff are allowed to complain about it in terms that would “misgender” those men, either.

Nine women are suing a women’s homeless shelter in Fresno, California, because a man claiming to be a woman was allowed to stay there. They allege that he sexually harassed them on the premises. The shelter says that they were following the laws about transgender access to facilities. They probably were in compliance with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidance for emergency shelter that remains in place since the Obama administration, requiring that any people making a gender identity claim be housed wherever they would like, no questions asked.

No Room For Compromise

There’s no middle ground between these competing claims. People are either allowed to have single-sex accommodations and privacy rights based on sex, or they aren’t.

It’s correct for proponents of gender identity policy to note that Phyllis Schlafly’s original concern about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was that women would lose the right to single-sex public accommodations. They often fail to point out that the response from proponents of the ERA in 1975, including now-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was to say that such rights to single-sex spaces and bodily privacy would continue to be protected. At the time, based on the 1972 Title IX education amendments, Ginsburg’s belief seemed justified.

As recently as 2010, Democrats like Barney Frank accurately predicted women’s now-realized concerns about forced cross-sex nudity. Back then, the gender activist voices dismissing this as “penis panic” portrayed Frank’s concerns as “fantasy” or “fiction.” Since that time, the gender identity movement has done everything possible to make both Schlafly’s and Frank’s worst predictions come true.

Nowhere in these new gender identity policies is there any material qualification listed for gender identity protections, either. There’s no guidance on how homeless women using group showers, girls changing at school, incarcerated women, and elderly or disabled women in long-term care, are supposed to figure out the difference between a man who is fine being known as a man vs. a man who will have a raging meltdown if you don’t call him “she.” Entire governments can’t even define gender identity, but they’ve shoved the problem off on women in hospital gowns, nonetheless.

If Democrats pass the Equality Act with the same gender identity provisions as the last version, federal law will include these mandates:

Employers must recognize individuals in accordance with their gender identity if sex is a bona fide occupational qualification that is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise…The bill prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.

So if you have disabled or elderly female relatives, or if you might someday be a woman who gets sick enough or lives long enough to require long-term care, or if you’re a woman who provides medical or intimate care to others, or ever has to change clothes away from home, gender identity policies are of concern to you.

You may have heard otherwise. You may have been told that gender identity policies wouldn’t affect anyone but trans-identified people, or that sex is a “social construct.”

Every person who would tell you those things has a biological father and mother. They’re talking bollocks if they pretend not to know what that means. Gender identities can’t get pregnant, or give birth, and nothing that your body can do whilst you’re in a coma can honestly be described as a social construct.

Natasha Chart is the board chair of the Women’s Liberation Front, and a member of the Hands Across The Aisle Coalition. She does not recant her heresy.

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