Group Urges 'Compassionate Response' for Transgender Activists
[WASHINGTON DC] - Activists demanding nondiscrimination policies for "transgenders" employed on Capitol Hill are twisting the original intent of the civil rights movement and should be rebuffed, a public policy group said.
Instead, lawmakers should opt for the "compassionate response" and suggest counseling for people considering sex-change operations, Sandy Rios, president of Concerned Women for America, said in a letter to members of Congress.
By signing a nondiscrimination pledge, lawmakers also would forfeit the right to object if men came to work dressed as women and wanted to use the women's bathroom, Rios said.
"We suggest that your staff politely but firmly tell the 'transgender' lobbyists that you are declining to sign any pledge and that you do not want to do anything to encourage people to remain trapped in a serious psychosexual disorder," she said. "That would be the compassionate response."
The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC), whose members are lobbying Congress, did not return calls seeking comment.
In a recent release announcing the joining of forces of GenderPAC and the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual advocacy group, GenderPAC said the new pledge asks members of Congress to affirm that they do not discriminate based on employees' "sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in their hiring practices."
This language, which is appearing more frequently in nondiscrimination clauses and in hate crimes legislation at the state and local level in the United States, could serve as a model for legislation that would prohibit private companies from enforcing their ethical, moral and dress codes as they wish, analysts said.
"You can't discriminate based on sexual orientation; now, you add perceived or actual gender identity, and gender identity would be what you choose to identify as gender," said Peter LaBarbera, a senior policy analyst with the CWA's Culture and Family Institute.
The city of San Francisco, for example, pays for sex-change operations for eligible city employees, LaBarbera said.
According to GenderPAC, 96 members of Congress signed diversity pledges affirming that they don't discriminate based on gender, including 70 lawmakers who signed both "gender identity and expression and sexual orientation" pledges since 1999.
Since 1995, the HRC has secured the signatures of 336 members of Congress on a pledge affirming that they do not discriminate based on "sexual orientation" in their hiring practices, GenderPAC reports.
GenderPAC quotes Winnie Stachelberg, the HRC political director, as saying the joint project "will provide members of Congress with the opportunity to follow the lead of some of the top Fortune 500 corporations in America, such as Bank One, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Intel, Nike and Xerox, which have implemented policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression."
Some homosexual advocacy groups are urging caution, however. Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said his group intends to meet with representatives of GenderPAC in the coming days to discuss their initiative and to get a better understanding of GenderPAC goals.
But he stressed: "We oppose discrimination of any type against any part of the American family."
CWA accused GenderPAC of "aggressively" recruiting teenagers. At a recent "True Spirit Conference" hosted by transgender groups, girls grappling with gender issues were encouraged to undergo surgery to have their breasts removed, LaBarbera said.
"Imagine the confusion they're foisting on these very impressionable kids," he said. "I think that's unconscionable, and I think that's an aspect of how this movement exploits people and innocent children who have no idea what they're getting into."