The Senate Judiciary Committee just held a hearing on the Equality Act, under which, if a current or former president identified as a woman, we’d have to say we’ve already elected our first woman president. That we’re even close to the possibility of this scenario is being hailed as some great feminist victory.
Democratic support seems wholehearted, including among female members of Congress and our first female vice-president. Leading self-proclaimed feminist non-governmental organizations, Planned Parenthood, NOW, and the National Women’s Law Center all stand behind the bill poised to effectively erase women from the law by allowing a man to simply declare he is a woman.
I’m often asked, “If this is so bad, why haven’t more feminists spoken up?” One lesson from so many Me Too stories is what men often do when they’re harassing women in the workplace is to first make inappropriate demands, then retaliate if a woman resists. The most common reaction is to destroy her reputation and get her fired.
The vast majority of women working for American organizations or outlets aligned with the political left more or less have to affirm a belief in sex change on the basis of gender identity. I’ve talked to women who’ve been forced out of work, out of professions, pushed out of classrooms, or hounded off campus. As a woman fired in 2015 from a left-leaning feminist charity for opposing gender identity and the legalization of the sex industry, I can say the dynamics within American leftist organizations broadly mirror typical workplace harassment of women.
Gender activists say gender identity is a problem of people being trapped in the wrong bodies. While there are no medical criteria in the definition of “gender identity” in the Equality Act, many people have been told that questioning transgender orthodoxy poses a suicide problem.
First, this argument about suicide is a deeply flawed claim, usually shared alongside scaremongering about murder rates, and often repeated in an irresponsible way that can itself risk suicide contagion. Second, when people are suffering severe depressive episodes, doctors don’t prescribe changes to other people’s speech and legal rights to address it, as the Equality Act demands.
Ordinarily, people struggling with acute fixations on self-harm are told to seek immediate intervention. Yet abusers can also use threats of self-harm to manipulate and coerce others into surrendering what they can’t secure in a normal forthright fashion.
Domestic violence survivors like myself are, sadly, all too familiar with the crucial difference between the depression we often suffer from and the threats to which we’re often subjected. When I was in an abusive relationship, I may have been the one who curled up in the closet alone with a weapon, but it was my partner who used self-harm as a threat.
In three recent hearings where I testified in favor of bills to protect women’s sports, opponents invoked this suicide trope to describe male access to girls’ and women’s sports, using terms like “lifesaving.” Female athletes have been reduced to watching males steal their victories, titles, and scholarships, but gender activists are the ones carrying on about how traumatized they are.
Worse, women have already had to put up with sharing domestic violence shelters and prison cells with men because of gender identity claims. Under an Obama-era directive, their federal funding is on the line.
Returning to the earlier proposition, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., — the bill’s sponsors in the House and Senate — could declare themselves women, and under the Equality Act, it could be a civil rights violation to disagree. Of course, because people can’t change sex, it would still be true that the sponsors of the Equality Act are two men. But the law can cause many problems by claiming that sex change is possible or perpetuating the falsehood that there are more than two sexes.
The two men who introduced the Equality Act could claim the right to stay at a women’s shelter or shower with women at the gym as a result of the bill’s text. Their female colleagues have been told to smile and cheer, or there will be consequences. They aren’t kept hostage by traditional means, but by a false ideology wearing feminist clothes, and a coercive system of threats and rewards that forces feminists to destroy opportunities for girls and women.