HUD proposed regulation forces homeless women and girls to bunk and bathe with men who claim to feel psychologically female: January 19 deadline for public comment
January 6, 2016
Julian Castro, the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (and the likely Vice Presidential running-mate of Hilary Clinton) has announced his agency’s intention to eliminate the legally protected category of sex in homeless shelters nationwide, eliminating the right of vulnerable women and girls to shower, sleep and toilet separately from homeless men.
HUD had previously issued a non-binding “guidance” document back in February 2015 suggesting that physical sex be redefined as “actual or perceived gender-related characteristics” and prohibiting those providers of homeless services who receive HUD funding from inquiring about the physical sex or sexual orientation of service recipients. Kind of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” provision. Providers were instructed to assess clients on the basis of adherence to sex-role stereotypes and make their own determination of the client’s transgender status. Those suspected of possible cross-sex identification were to be advised that the agency provides placement based on “gender-related characteristics”, and not physical sex: “where a provider is uncertain of the client’s sex or gender identity and that information matters for the determination of placement, the provider informs the client or potential client that the agency provides shelter based on the individual’s gender identity.”
HUD’s non-binding February 2015 “guidance” was similar to those recently issued by other Federal Obama administration agencies [such as the DOE’s “guidance” overturning Title IX protections for women and girls, and the DOL’s “guidance” eliminating privacy for women in workplace accommodations] which attempt to reinterpret existing protected sex categories into a cluster of unspecified psychological characteristics which the government redefines as the core human reproductive trait, overriding biology (or any other objective measure).
The proposed new rule is a modification of the previous “guidance” that HUD issued and will change federal law, officially removing sex as a protected category and creating precedent for other agencies to bypass the legislature, judiciary, and public debate in eliminating the legal category of sex under which women’s rights are protected. (HUD Secretary Julian Castro actually cites the DOE’s recent highly controversial reinterpretation of physical sex -as a subjective psychological self-perceived essence- under Title IX as the governmental authority which sets the precedent justifying his own agency’s move to elevate its internal “guidance” into federal regulation.)
Julian Castro’s new HUD rule will be the first official elimination of legal sex-based protections for private citizens under federal law by agency regulation, and homeless impoverished women in crisis- largely women of color with children, most of them survivors of male violence- are the first targets. Under this new law legal sex status will be redefined by the US government as “gender identity” defined as such:
“Gender identity means the gender with which a person identifies, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth.”
Biological sex will be conflated with sex-stereotypes of “appearance, behavior, expression and other gender-related characteristics” and become “perceived gender identity”:
“Perceived gender identity means the gender with which a person is perceived to identify based on that person’s appearance, behavior, expression, other gender-related characteristics, or sex assigned to the individual at birth.”
This law is designed to allow homeless males to bathe and bunk in shelters set aside for females and specifically forbids agencies to consider the rights of women and girls to bathe, bunk, and bathroom separately from men. There is no provision for “improper purpose”. There is no “right to privacy”. There are 18 references to “health and safety” issues and concerns but the source of potential dis-ease and danger is never identified:
“In deciding how to house a [transgender] victim, a recipient that provides sex-segregated housing may consider on a case-by-case basis whether a particular housing assignment would ensure the victim’s health and safety. A victim’s own views with respect to personal safety deserve serious consideration.”
“..taking health and safety concerns into consideration. A client’s or potential client’s own views with respect to personal health and safety should be given serious consideration in making the placement. For instance, if the potential client requests to be placed based on his or her sex assigned at birth, HUD assumes that the provider will place the individual in accordance with that request, consistent with health, safety, and privacy concerns.”
“..whether a particular housing assignment would ensure health and safety. It is prohibited for such a determination to be based solely on a person’s actual or perceived gender identity or on complaints of other shelter residents when those complaints are based on actual or perceived gender identity. It is likewise prohibited to deny appropriate placement based on a perceived threat to health or safety..”
“..legitimate safety concerns that may arise in any shelter, building, or facility covered by this rule.”
“..eliminate the safety risk and that has available accommodations..”
“…since it would not apply unless the facts and circumstances demonstrated a nondiscriminatory risk to health or safety that could not be eliminated or appropriately mitigated by policy adjustments and physical modifications to buildings and facilities.”
“HUD recognizes a limited exception to accommodating individuals in accordance with the individual’s gender identity when a recipient, subrecipient, owner, operator, manager, or provider identifies a legitimate safety risk that cannot be eliminated or appropriately mitigated”
“keeping a record of when a legitimate safety risk is identified.”
“accommodation is necessary to ensure health and safety. It shall be prohibited for such a determination to be based solely on a person’s actual or perceived gender identity, the complaints of other clients, beneficiaries, or employees when those complaints are based on actual or perceived gender identity, or on an actual or perceived threat to health or safety that can be mitigated in some other way that is less burdensome. In order to avoid unwarranted denials of placement in accordance with an individual’s gender identity, decisions to provide accommodations based on concern for the health and safety of the individual..”
At no point is the nature of this “threat to health and safety” identified. Epidemic male violence is apparently not only a protected government-sanctioned institution beyond reproach but one which cannot be named. While a male or male-identified transgender client’s “own views with respect to personal safety deserve serious consideration” and his “own views with respect to personal health and safety should be given serious consideration in making the placement”, women’s views with respect to their own personal safety are not only disregarded but explicitly prohibited by law: “It is likewise prohibited to deny appropriate placement based on a perceived threat to health or safety..”
Homeless males can identify as female or male and access whichever facility they prefer. Atlanta’s 600-bed Peachtree-Pine Shelter estimated that 5% of the male homeless population is transgender (using the no longer required definition: males who regularly adopt some social cues traditionally associated with females). “Women are allowed to stay in the men’s shelter — because Peachtree-Pine is not supposed to turn anyone away — but they can only stay in the lobby area overnight sitting upright in a chair, said Tony Thomas, the shelter’s spokesperson. So when given the option of sitting in a chair all night or sleeping in a cot, many transwomen will identify and “present” as male, he added.”
According to Mark “Mara” Keisling’s National Center for Trans Equality (NCTE) 49% of homeless transwomen report a history of criminal incarceration. [PDF]
Presumably this measure solely serves the desires of some men to be housed with women. Only a sociopath would suggest a female transgender (FTM) be housed among men. Toronto’s ‘Trans Communities Shelter Access Project’ claims that multiple homeless “transmen” have been gang-raped in men’s shelters: “Although a female-to-male trans person (trans man) might identify themselves as a man… the reality for many is that surgery and hormones are expensive, passing is out of reach, and men’s services are not safe for a trans man who may not pass. If an FtM has not been approved for testosterone, or had a mastectomy, (and even if he has…) then he is at risk for physical, verbal, and sexual assault in men’s dorms/ bathrooms/ and showers. There have been incidents of gang rape toward FtM’s in men’s shelters. Some FtM’s may choose to face these risks in a shelter that validates their identity… but they should not have to. There are no FtM shelters or rape crisis centers, so as men who face (or have faced) sexual assault, spousal abuse, and gender discrimination, there is, as of yet, no place better equipped to meet the needs of FtM’s than women’s services.”
As required by the Administrative Procedure Act this proposed law has been filed with the Federal Register for public comment. HUD is required to respond to issues raised by the public before adopting the law. The deadline is January 19. Comments may be submitted by mail or posted online here:
Comments must include the name and number of the regulation:
FR–5863–P–01 Equal Access in Accordance With an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs
You can also view the comments that have been submitted. As of now, 30 comments have been received. 20 have been published. 14 have been discarded due to duplication via (transgender activist) mass mailing campaign. 4 are obviously duplicate mass mailers from transgender activists. 10 are yet unpublished. Only two comments mention the welfare of women and girls.
[bolding by me-GM]
December 29, 2015
The latest in the ongoing saga of the contentious new transgender student policy at the Virginia district. This is actually pretty funny. Apparently the district never defined the newly protected category of “Gender Identity” but they did warn students in the Student Handbook that they will be suspended if they discriminate against it. The suit, filed December 21 by district resident Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition hinges on that fact, and also that the state has a legal principal, “Dillion’s Rule” that prohibits municipalities from creating their own protected classes.
The LOLsuit’s plaintiffs are Lafferty, Fairfax County high school student Jack Doe, his parents John and jane Doe, and his friends, also John and Jane Doe. [PDF]
From the complaint:
“68. On May 7, 2015 “gender identity” and “gender expression” were added to the Booklet as grounds for student discipline, but Defendant did not define “gender identity” or “gender expression” anywhere in the Booklet. (Exhibit F).
- Neither “gender identity” nor “gender expression” are defined in the Virginia Constitution or Code of Virginia, including Section 22.1-279.3 which Defendant cites as the authority for drafting and revising the Booklet.
- Jack Doe is particularly distressed about the Board’s decision to add “gender identity” to the non-discrimination policy and to the student code of conduct because “gender identity” is not defined in either the policy or the code, so Jack Doe has no idea what words or conduct might be interpreted as discriminating on the basis of “gender identity,” and therefore does not know what speech or conduct might subject him to discipline, including suspension.
- Jack Doe is distressed about the Board’s decision to add “gender identity” to the non- discrimination policy and student code of conduct because he understands that the decision will mean that the restrooms, locker rooms and other intimate spaces set apart, respectively, for boys and girls, will now be open to students who might have the physical features of one sex but are permitted to use the bathroom of the opposite sex which the student “identifies” as, whatever that means.
- Because the new policy and code of conduct are not sufficiently defined, Jack Doe has no way of knowing whether he can, for example, question someone who appears to be a girl using the boys’ restroom or locker room, refer to someone by a certain pronoun or even compliment someone on his/her attire without being subject to discipline for “discrimination.”
- Jack Doe is nervous about having to think about every statement or action and its potential sexual connotations to third parties before interacting with students and teachers, and the prospect of having to interact in such an uncertain environment creates significant distress to the point that it adversely affects his ability to participate in and benefit from the educational program.
- Jack Doe is terrified of the thought of having to share intimate spaces with students who have the physical features of a girl, seeing such conduct as an invasion of his privacy, invasion of fellow students’ privacy and a violation of the though patterns and understanding about male and female relationships which are part of his cultural values.
- Because of Defendant’s actions, Jack Doe cannot regard school as a safe place where he can learn what he needs to be a productive and well-educated adult without fear of harassment, being charged with harassment, and having his speech and conduct chilled by the fear of reprisals or of discipline for unknowingly violating the ambiguous code of conduct.
- Jack Doe’s ability to fully and freely participate in and benefit from the school’s educational program has been significantly diminished by the Defendant’s actions in adding the undefined terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the non-discrimination policy and student code of conduct.”
HERO crushed in Houston as public becomes educated about the impact of “Gender Identity” on sex-segregated areas of public nudity
November 4, 2015
Last night the “LGBT Rights” movement faced its first momentous loss following last summer’s victory in the decades-long fight for equal marriage rights, as Houston’s HERO ordinance was voted out by a stunning 62-38% margin. The ordinance had claimed to offer protection against discrimination for 15 categories: Sex, Race, Color, Ethnicity, National Origin, Age, Familial status, Marital status, Military status, Religion, Disability, Sexual Orientation, Genetic information, Gender Identity, Pregnancy, but only two of the categories: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, actually changed anything, as the rest are already covered by national and/or state law.
The sticking point for voters was a simple one: The overbroad legal status of “Gender Identity” contains no specific characteristics whatsoever. That’s right! No specific characteristics. The sole characteristic of individuals protected by the legal status of “Gender Identity” is that the individual chooses to claim that legal status, and they can invoke it or discard it at any time or for any reason. In practice, this means that any individual can escape charges of indecent exposure, trespassing, and voyeurism in sex-segregated spaces of public nudity (toilets, locker rooms) simply by stating their desire to invoke “Gender Identity” status. There is no medical requirement or psychiatric diagnosis or evidence of gender nonconformance required. No transgender “transition” (adoption of sex-stereotyped appearance or behavior) is required. Even the protected status of religious faith requires objective characteristics (evidence of duration, participation in religious services). Not so for “Gender Identity”.
What could possibly go wrong with the introduction of a new protected legal status that has no characteristics but which is designed to eliminate the rights of women and girls to areas in public life segregated from males for our privacy and protection against sexual harassment and predation? What could possibly go wrong? Nothing at all, if you are willing to ignore the ever present gauntlet of sexual violence by men against women and girls of all ages, ethnicities, orientations, and yes, even “identity”, across all cultures throughout recorded history. Nothing at all, if you completely disregard the rights of women and girls to participate equally in public life. Which is what those who lobbied for the HERO ordinance and those who push other “Gender Identity” statutes must do, in order to support them.
The “Gender Identity” movement, under the auspices of the Transgender Rights movement, is the first (so-called) “civil rights” campaign whose success relies on removing the rights of another protected category: Women. This conflict of competing minority rights is based on the transgender philosophy that there is something wrong with being transgender. Rather than lobby for rights and protections for individuals who choose to modify their bodies to look like the other sex, or who believe that humans have distinctly different brain functions based on reproduction (and that they possess the “wrong” type), the transgender lobby demands to be recognized as “cisgender” (their word for people outside the Gender Identity movement).
In the wake of the overwhelming failure of Houston’s HERO initiative the men at the helm of the post-equal marriage “LGBT” movement are reacting the only way they can: by continuing to ignore the competing rights of women and girls. They are calling the voters of Houston “haters”, even though they represent the most diverse city in the country who elected a Lesbian mayor for the last three terms. They are calling for more “education” of the public on transgenderism. But that isn’t the problem. No one has a problem with transgenderism. Even the proponents of HERO admit that the measure would have passed easily if it had not sought to remove the equal rights of women and girls. The problem, at least for the Gender Identity movement, is that the general public is now becoming “educated” as to what legal Gender Identity status means to them, and to the women and girls in their lives.
Houston’s Gender Identity advocates did everything right. They did everything that has worked for them in the past:
They attached Gender Identity to the lesbian and gay rights movement.
They spent millions more to campaign than their opponents.
They obscured the conflict of interest with women’s rights by embedding Gender Identity in a long list of established rights for minority groups that everybody agrees with.
They tried to pass it as quietly as they could.
They used their political power to squelch the legal rights of the opposition to contest (later overturned by the Texas supreme court).
They threatened to subpoena the sermons of Houston churches (later withdrawn).
They got Hollywood celebrities to do photo-ops in support.
The President of the United States, as well as 2016 candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders stumped for it.
They called opponents “haters” and “bigots” and “anti-gay”.
They threatened to force important national football and social events to boycott the city.
They called women and girls “fear mongerers” who should simply trust men to refrain from ill-behavior.
They denied overwhelming evidence that male predators will use any means necessary to gain access to potential victims.
They ignored the poll numbers and framed the opposition as fringe right-wing Christian zealots.
In short, they did everything right (by the standards and history of the Gender Identity movement). What they failed to realize is that the public is becoming “educated” about the conflict the transgender movement poses to the rights of women and girls. You can see the same story playing out in Illinois, where the largest school district in the Chicago suburbs, District 211, is facing off against the dubious legal authority of the Obama administration’s Department of Education. The school board voted unanimously that opposite-sex students must simply utilize one of the plentiful privacy booths when using opposite-sex locker rooms. The issue arose after two female students complained about a male student undressing in the girl’s locker room. He was previously given the right to use female restrooms and also given a slot on a female sports team. Obama’s DOE has threatened to strip the district of federal funding (which comprises around 2.5% of their annual budget), unless the male student is permitted to freely expose himself and shower openly with the girls, claiming that “Gender Identity” overrides the rights of women and girls. But, no. The mainstream liberal residents in the district overwhelmingly support drawing the line. They’ve reached “Peak Trans”.
The “problem” in Houston and around the country isn’t that people are “bigots” or require “education”. The problem going forth, at least for the Gender Identity movement, is precisely the opposite.
Professor of Political Science, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne (currently on leave in London).
I am the author of a number of influential books, book chapters and scholarly articles on transgenderism including the 2014 book Gender Hurts: a feminist analysis of the politics of transgenderism (Routledge). Gender Hurts has been featured on Woman’s Hour in the UK and in The New Yorker, The Nation, Village Voice, and numerous other media outlets. See also my article ‘The Politics of the Toilet: a feminist analysis of the ‘degendering’ of a women’s space’ (2014) http://www.sheilajeffreys.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/toilet-article.pdfpublished-version.pdf
Transgender equality versus women’s equality: a clash of rights?
–The submission argues that any discussion of transgender equality should consider the ways in which such equality might violate women’s equality rights.
–The submission argues that men who transgender should be not be treated in law and policy as if they are women if such treatment enables them to gain access to spaces set aside to ensure women’s dignity, security and right to organise as a specific rights bearing group, such as women’s refuges, women’s toilets, women’s prisons, women only political groups and activities.
–The submission requests that ensuring women’s equality rights in relation to women’s spaces should inform the committee’s deliberations and that a policy guideline aimed at protecting such spaces should be drawn up.
1. Transgender equality rights:
This submission supports legislation and policy that seeks to prevent discrimination against persons who transgender. All persons should have rights of employment and access to services irrespective of how they choose to dress or present themselves in public. It supports the rights of those in a category called ‘transgender’ to protection from discrimination in the exercise of their proclivities. Gender is not the same as sex. Women require protection as a sex, as it is on the basis of and through their sex that women are discriminated against and suffer disadvantage. Women do not occupy low status on the basis of their ‘gender’, i.e. aspects of appearance and behaviour, but on the basis of sex. The protection of a category of men to express their ‘gender’ should not conflict with women’s right to protection from discrimination as persons of the female sex.
2. Omission of women’s interests in this inquiry:
Despite the fact that this committee’s name specifically references women, women’s equality rights are not included in the terms of reference for this inquiry. The inquiry does not refer to the effect that ‘equality’ for men who transgender might have upon women’s equality. Women’s and feminist groups are generally not invited to contribute to consultations on transgender rights as if they would have nothing relevant to say, despite the fact that men may, under the idea of transgender equality gain the right to be recognised in law as ‘women’. Women are the ‘absent referent’, not officially referred to, despite the fact that it is ‘women’ that the majority of those persons who wish to express their ‘gender rights’ seek to emulate. In this submission I have taken the liberty of writing from the point of view of the category of persons, women, whose interests are usually omitted from consideration in relation to this issue.
3. Clash of rights:
i. The demand for transgender equality may create a ‘clash of rights’ in which the rights demanded by one group of people can substantially endanger the rights of another group (Sniderman, Fletcher, Russell and Tetlock, 1997). In a clash of rights some adjudication has to be made as to whether the group involved in the rights demand that compromises the rights of another group, can be accommodated in human rights norms.
ii. In the case of the campaign for transgender equality the main category of persons seeking rights are persons of the male sex, that is, those responsible for the violation of women’s rights to, for example, live free from violence and the threat of death, to freedom of movement and expression, to freedom from discrimination (Romito, 2008). These male persons do not generally just claim that they are disadvantaged in their own right as members of the category ‘transgender’, but that they actually are physically members of the female sex, women, as in the demand by male bodied transgenders that they should be able to enter spaces such as toilets, set aside for women. A most serious clash of rights is likely to occur when members of one rights-bearing category claim to actually be members of another category.
iii. A clash of rights occurs also when members of one rights-bearing category, persons who transgender, promote ideas and practices which are recognised in international law as harmful to the equality of another group. Persons who transgender do not change their biological sex but follow the norms in outward appearance that are called in human rights terms ‘gender stereotypes’. The promotion within the politics of transgenderism of the idea that an essential ‘gender’ exists and that the appropriate ‘gender’ for persons of the female sex is represented in particular forms of clothing and mannerisms creates a clash with the rights of women. In international law gender stereotypes are recognised as being in contradiction to the interests of women. The importance attributed to the elimination of these stereotypes is exemplified in the wording of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which feminists advocated for throughout the 1970s until its promulgation in 1979. Article 5 of CEDAW calls upon States Parties, to ‘take all appropriate measures’ to ‘modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudice and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women’ (United Nations, 1979: Article 5). ‘Stereotyped roles’ are, according to feminist critics of the practice, the very foundation and sine qua non of transgenderism, and the notion of ‘gender identity’ (see Jeffreys, 2014). The promotion of such stereotypes by men who transgender is harmful to women’s equality and this could be seen as a reason why ‘transgender equality’ inevitably conflicts with women’s rights.
4. Why men who transgender should not have access to women’s spaces:
i. Men who transgender should not have access to women’s spaces because they do not change their biological sex and do not become female. Moreover, the majority of these male-bodied persons (85%) retain their genitalia (Transgender Law Centre, 2005). There is no requirement in UK legislation such as the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, that recognition as transgender must involve hormonal or surgical treatment. Thus male persons who access women’s spaces may be physically entire and express their gender identity only through the assumption of feminine stereotypes, i.e. gender, in their appearance.
ii. The behaviour of men who transgender towards women resembles the behaviour of men who do not transgender in respect of male pattern violence i.e. some male-bodied transgenders, like their non-transgendering counterparts, have a pattern of violent practices towards women such as murder, rape, sexual harassment. The linked website provides a collection of newspaper accounts of sexual violence against women and girls by men who transgender: https://outofmypantiesnow.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/when-is-90-not-substantially-all/ The response from transgender rights campaigners is sometimes that the men who are violent are not genuine transgenders, but since transgenderism is not a biological condition but a mental one, adjudication of genuineness is not possible. Increasing numbers of those who have transgendered are deciding that they have made a mistake and engaging in ‘detransition’, which reveals that the mental condition can be temporary and evanescent. A google search reveals 19,600 pages of resources for persons who seek to detransition.
5. Women’s spaces:
Three varieties of spaces deliberately segregated to protect women’s dignity and security will be considered here: women’s refuges, women’s toilets and women’s prisons.
i. Women’s refuges: Women’s refuges were established to create a place of refuge for women who have suffered violence from men. From their inception the majority of refuges have sought to offer women spaces where they are not forced to interact with men in order to enable them to recover from the trauma they have suffered. Unfortunately, as a result of the campaign for transgender equality, refuge provision for women is increasingly being opened up to men who ‘identify’ as women through the adoption of stereotyped feminine accoutrements. Some of these men have histories of violence against women and media reports of court cases involved rape by such persons is starting to emerge. In a Canadian case a man called Christopher Hambrook was found guilty of sexually assaulting ‘four vulnerable females between the ages of five and 53 in Montreal and Toronto over the past 12 years’ in two shelters for homeless women and women escaping domestic violence (Pazzano, 2014). He accessed the shelters by claiming to identify as a woman called ‘Jessica’. Clear dangers arise when women residents are forced to share bathrooms and bedrooms with violent men who profess to have gender identities.
ii. Women’s toilets: Women’s toilets constitute spaces in which women are particularly vulnerable and for this reason, to protect women’s dignity and safety, they have tended to be segregated ever since women’s rights campaigners in the nineteenth century demanded such provision. As a result of campaigns for transgender equality, men who crossdress and transgender are increasingly gaining the right to access women’s toilets. There are a quite surprising number of cases in which men wearing women’s clothing have been arrested for engaging in behaviour in women’s toilets that harms women. This webpage provides information and links to numerous occasions on which men dressed in stereotyped women’s clothing have engaged in sexual violence in women’s bathrooms/toilets: https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/men-love-the-ladies-restroom-transgender-edition/ l The range of acts they engage in includes secret photographing of women using the toilets and showers, making audio recordings of women urinating or defecating, peeping at women from adjacent stalls or under stall dividers, demanding that women recognise them as women and becoming aggressive if women do not, luring children into women’s toilets in order to assault them, and sexual assault. In a British case, a man dressed up as a ‘mannequin with a mask and a wig’ to enter a cubicle in the women’s toilets in a shopping mall, where he ‘performed’ an unspecified ‘sexual act’ (Ninemsn staff, 2011). The 22 year old man told police he ‘found the sound of women on the toilet sexually exciting’. The man had filmed women’s feet from beneath cubicle doors on his mobile phone, and recorded the sound of a flushing toilet.
iii. Women’s prisons: Women’s prisons are spaces in which women are confined and unable to escape unwanted attention from males. The fact that women may have to share cells and shower facilities with men who are seeking to transgender could be seen as an extra layer of punishment. Male prisoners in western countries are using human rights laws successfully to gain access to transgender treatment at public expense in prison, and the right to then transfer to the women’s estate. These men are often precisely those who are most violent and dangerous to women’s safety, having been convicted of grave crimes including the murder of women. In 2009, an appeal from an unnamed, violent male prisoner in the UK to be moved to a women’s prison was successful. The petitioner in this case was found guilty in 2001 of the manslaughter of his male lover who was strangled with a pair of tights, allegedly for refusing to fund the murderer’s sex change surgery. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment. Five days after his release he attempted to rape a female stranger and was sent back to prison (Allen, 2009). The man’s lawyer told the court that the crimes were all linked to ‘a desperation to become a woman’. The judge declared that ‘her (sic) continued detention in a male prison is in breach of her rights under Article 8 [the right to private and family life] under the European Convention on Human Rights’. The notion of human rights is trivialised thereby. In response to the judgement, new guidelines were issued for the treatment of prisoners seeking gender reassignment in UK prisons in March 2011, which enabled prisoners to have treatment and to be located in women’s prisons. Unfortunately, there seems to be no acknowledgement here of the more serious and pressing right of women to avoid being compulsorily housed with violent men.
Persons of one biological sex who consider that they have a ‘gender identity’ stereotypically associated with the other sex do suffer discrimination and need protection. A problem arises, however, when ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ are confused, to the extent that male-bodied persons gain a right to enter spaces set aside for women. In such a case a clash of rights is created. Persons who wish to express a gender identity not usually stereotypically associated with their biological sex need to be accommodated in ways that protect them, but do not conflict with the rights of women.
That the protection of women’s rights to dignity and security and to separate women’s spaces should be an underlying principle guiding the deliberations and recommendations of this committee. That the committee should establish a guideline that ensures such protection.
Allen, Vanessa (2009, 5 September). Transsexual killer and attempted rapist wins ‘human rights’ battle to be moved to women’s prison. London: The Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211165/Transexual-prisoner-wins-High-Court-battle-moved-womens-jail.html
Jeffreys, Sheila (2005). Beauty and Misogyny: harmful cultural practices in the west. London: Routledge. Jeffreys, Sheila (2014). Gender Hurts: a feminist analysis of the politics of transgenderism. London: Routledge.
Ninemsn Staff (2011, 18 April). Man dressed as mannequin found in mall toilet. Australia: Nine News. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/8238380/man-dressed-as-mannequin-found-in-mall-toilet
Pazzano, Sam (2014, 15 February). A sex predator’s sick deception. Toronto Sun. http://www.torontosun.com/2014/02/15/a-sex-predators-sick-deception
Romito, Patrizia (2008). A Deafening Silence. Hidden Violence against Women and Children. Bristol: The Policy Press.
Transgender Law Centre (2005). Peeing in Peace: a Resource Guide for Transgender Activists and Allies. San Francisco Transgender Law Centre. 20 August 2015
YMCA in Washington State: Transgender patrons must now use private locker rooms and restrooms in facilities open to children
October 7, 2015
YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap county in Washington State has rolled back their transgender open locker room policy, which had allowed access to opposite sex locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to members who had proclaimed a belief that they are “mentally” the opposite sex. The changes came about after a mother and YMCA volunteer went to the press and exposed the risks to children, and potential liability for the non-profit, that the former policy created.
“Following complaints from the public, Bob Ecklund, President and CEO of the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap county, issued a statement Oct. 5 saying the organization is modifying the policy for transgender individuals in locker rooms and restrooms in “family facilities.” Ecklund said the change was to ensure youth are not exposed to the opposite sex in their locker room.
Ecklund said the new policy states that “transgender members in transition will use private locker rooms for dressing and showering. Transgender members may use standalone restrooms that align with their gender identification. The change applies to: Gordon Family YMCA, Mel Korum Family YMCA, Lakewood Family YMCA, Morgan Family YMCA, Tom Taylor Family YMCA, Bremerton Family YMCA, Haselwood Family YMCA.
For locker rooms at “adult facilities,” transgender members may use locker rooms and restrooms that align with their gender identification. That applies to Tacoma Center YMCA and University Y Student Center.
“We understand transgender individuals who are in transition often face a dilemma on where to change and shower, and the Y strives to be a place to be safe and inclusive of everyone in our care,” Ecklund wrote.
“I want to emphasize this narrow revision of the policy is focused on dressing and showering spaces only, as they are the most sensitive spaces in our facility, especially as it relates to children.”
Ecklund noted that as a nonprofit in Washington State, YMCAs are both “employers” and “places of public accommodation,” and that they are required to comply with all laws regulating employers and places of public accommodations.
“Washington State recognizes transgender rights and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which includes gender identity,” Ecklund wrote. “We believe we are both following the law and accommodating our diverse groups of members. We also note this is an evolving area of the law, and we will continue to stay tuned to updates from Washington State.”
Read the whole story, which is very interesting and well-reported by journalist Eric Mandel here:
August 28, 2015
A hunger strike was started by ten transgender activists calling themselves “No Pride In Prison” demanding that a male convicted of a violent crime in New Zealand who says he “identifies as female” be transferred to housing among confined females. The man, Jade Follett, was convicted for stabbing another man in the back three times as the victim tried to run away. The two had met via social networking for a sexual encounter. Follett was offered home detention and anger management training for his 21 month sentence but declined it, opting instead for voluntary incarceration.
Calls were issued for volunteers who would sit with and administer juices and teas to the “Transwomen” who pledged to die of starvation so the voluntarily confined individual could achieve his goal of placement among women confined involuntarily by the state. This action was informed by New Zealand’s adoption of “Gender identity” laws that eliminate the basic human rights of women prisoners to be confined separate from males in favor of the self-reported “gender feelings” of any male who claims they have female brains in their male bodies.
No hunger protest took place to demand Conner MacCalister be placed in male prison in accordance with her long term identity as a man. No transgender activists have protested her “misgendering” as female after a decade of testosterone medical treatment. No transgender legal advocacy organizations have demanded her identity as a man be respected in her prison placement. Her gender identity rights have not been affirmed by transgender advocates. No hunger strike has been announced for the identity rights of Conner MacCalister to be affirmed by placement in the male facility she identifies with. This is because Gender Identity rights apply solely to males. No female benefits from “Gender Identity” rights, ever, including females who identify as male and are “post-transition”.
* The hunger strike for the male inmate was halted after 5 hours when prison authorities agreed to house the violent male inmate among the state confined female population in deference to his belief that he is female-brained. Reports say dinner was early for the hunger strikers, but celebratory.