Georgia ACLU Director resigns over the organization’s failure to balance transgender rights with women’s rights
May 30, 2016
Maya Dillard Smith, the head of the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stepped down, citing the legal non-profit’s deliberate disregard for the impact on the rights of women and girls caused by the “Gender Identity” platform of the transgender rights movement.
From the Atlanta Progressive News:
“In a statement she accused the ACLU of being “a special interest organization that promotes not all, but certain progressive rights. In that way, it is a special interest organization not unlike the conservative right, which creates a hierarchy of rights based on who is funding the organization’s lobbying activities.”
Dillard Smith argues that transgender rights have “intersectionality with other competing rights, particularly the implications for women’s rights.”
“I have shared my personal experience of having taken my elementary school age daughters into a women’s restroom when shortly after three transgender young adults over six feet with deep voices entered,” she writes.
“My children were visibly frightened, concerned about their safety and left asking lots of questions for which I, like many parents, was ill-prepared to answer,” she said.
“Despite additional learning I still have to do, I believe there are solutions that can provide accommodations for transgender people and balance the need to ensure women and girls are safe from those who might have malicious intent,” she said.
“I understood it to be the ACLU’s goal to delicately balance competing rights to ensure that any infringements are narrowly tailored, that they do not create a hierarchy of rights, and that we are mindful of unintended consequences,” she said.
“Thus, I found myself principally and philosophically unaligned with the organization,” she wrote.”
Maya Dillard Smith has a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Law degree from UC Hastings. She has worked for the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and also for the California Supreme Court. She served two terms as the senate-appointed head of the rules committee of the California Commission on Judicial Performance and was founding chair and elected chair of the City of Oakland’s Violence Prevention and Public Safety (Measure Y) Oversight Committee for five years.
She is now founding a new organization called ‘Finding Middle Ground’ which launched their new website ‘Finding Middle Ground: A safe space to dialogue about complex contemporary civil rights issues’ here: http://www.findingmiddleground.org/
The site launched with the above video and a contact/comment form.
Cheryl Courtney-Evans, the founder of Georgia transgender group TILTT (Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth) was quoted by the Atlanta Progressive News stating: “She did the right thing leaving the organization. If she couldn’t defend our rights any better than that, she deserves to leave – she doesn’t need to be in that position.”
He goes on to say “I never went in a men’s room since I’ve been living my truth. What am I doing in a men’s room looking as luscious as I am, putting myself in danger?” (It’s unclear if he used single-sex facilities designated for women during the period which he describes in interviews as detransitioning to attend college in ‘man mode’.)
In a reaction post on his website: [http://www.abitchforjustice.com/2016/05/and-she-stepped-down-for-what.html] he refers to the black female civil-rights attorney as “lazy”, “uneducated”, and “a bitch”. Courtney-Evans also claims that no man in history has ever harmed another human being while “dressed as women”, stating:
“Perhaps someone should hep this biotch to the fact that THERE HAVE BEEN NO DOCUMENTED INSTANCES OF TRANSGENDER MOLESTATION, ATTACK OR IMPROPER APPROACH IN ANY LADIES’ ROOM ANYWHERE (even though there have been NUMEROUS reports that have made the news regarding cis-identified men raping/attacking women/girls/boys in areas that they have been allowed in, and NONE OF THEM WERE DRESSED AS WOMEN when they did)!!!! I invite ANYONE to post a documented contradiction to this!!!”
He also states that gender neutral or family facilities that are not designated for single-sex use “mark” their users “as the Star Of David marked Jewish people in Nazi Germany”:
“And while you’re thinking you’re doing a positive thing by advocating for “alternative facilities” for trans*folks, think again…you’re creating even more numerous opportunities for trans*aggressions and bashing because you’re marking those individuals who use them every bit as effectively as the Star Of David marked Jewish people in Nazi Germany (THINK about it) when possible perpetrators see them go in.”
GenderTrender requested that Courtney-Evans clarify his statements. He did not respond in time for publication.
For the record, I am sharing an excerpt from the gender identity laws state chart that I posted on this site in 2013.
These are states in which gender identity laws have already been passed, yet protection for sex-segregation is also explicitly allowed by statute. This differs from the recent DOJ interpretations of “sex” where “gender identity” is not a separate concept, but one and same with “sex.”
The “gender identity” definition is on the right in column D. The (s)exception language protecting sex-segregation in certain spaces is in column C, middle. Compare and contrast!!
Don’t let anyone tell you there is no statutory or historical support for a female right to privacy from males in certain spaces of public accommodation.
As you can see, the protections vary in their construction but the overall message is one of legislative recognition that sex-segregation is legitimate and appropriate in certain circumstances.
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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]