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A citizens group that unsuccessfully fought a Montgomery County, Md., plan to create “coed showers” by protecting cross-dressing possible sex offenders who gain access to women’s locker rooms by alleging they are “transgendered” has issued an alert that Maryland residents need to contact their state lawmakers now or the plan could be imposed statewide.
The state’s HB 235 would prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” with regard to housing, leasing property and “in the provision of certain services or facilities.”
Officials with the NotMyShower.com website, who organized when Montgomery County was considering its own plan in 2007 and 2008, said there are a number of problems with the idea.
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First, it would force “individuals, employers, religious institutions, roommates, schools and public accommodation facilities to ignore reality and disregard a person’s legitimate ‘assigned sex at birth.'”
That would include alarming circumstances that could develop because of the ready access it could be interpreted to provide to males who want to invade the privacy of women’s locker rooms and restrooms, they said.
“In Montgomery County, women were afraid and outraged when a man in a blue dress went into female locker areas in a health club,” the organization explained. “He would have been protected under this proposed law.”
The alarm is being issued now by the organization Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays because the state legislative proposal, thought to have been abandoned, suddenly is surging forward in the law-making process. A hearing is scheduled tomorrow.
“The Maryland legislative session ends on Monday at midnight. Despite promises by Senate President Mike V. Miller that HB 235 would stay in rules committee, it passed to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee yesterday and a hearing is planned for Thursday. We are told that they plan to pass this radical bill despite public outcry in the last few days of the session,” the organization warned.
It provided a process for constituents to e-mail their lawmakers.
The NotMyShower website, run by the group Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government, said classifying a daily choice – to appear as which gender – the same as the immutable race characteristic fails to serve the state’s residents.
The coalition explains that even Johns Hopkins Hospital stopped sex reassignment surgeries because the procedures did not cure Gender Identity Disordered, but HB 235 “enforces ideology over opinions of respected medical professionals and the needs and concerns of the public.”
The coalition warns that since schools and day care centers are not exempted, there will be unexpected impacts on children who are in the trust of “transgender” or “cross-dressing” teachers.
“In Montgomery County, children are
taught that transgenderism is doing anything outside of the gender norm and that one can change their body to match
the way they feel. There is no mention of the risk of steroids, that gender identity confusion is a disorder, or that some
transsexuals regret their decision. No one has studied the effect on a child’s developing gender identity of having a
kindergarten teacher begin the school year as a male and end as a female. HB235 plays Russian roulette with
vulnerable children,” the organization said.
The proposal also would take away “the freedom of Marylanders to disagree with those who cannot accept their gender, mandates acceptance of ideology” and other complications, the coalition worries.
Further, it would punish employers who would be forced to deal with “cross-dressers … who obtain sexual arousal from dressing like women.”
While the legislation would ban “discrimination” against cross-dressers and others, employers would have no way to knowing what they could do.
“‘Appearance’ could even change from hour to hour during the work day. Gender Identity can change at will. Gender Identity is not an immutable class like other protected classes such as race or sex. … With HB 235, your employee can be Molly in the morning and Mark in the evening. The bill gives no restriction,” it warned.
Companies even could be banned from asking questions of an employee if there are worries about men and women sharing dressing areas or “if a customer has privacy concerns, for example, about male employees dressed as females monitoring female dressing rooms.”
Such problems already have erupted in Montgomery County, where the county board led the social experimentation by making the change to county rules several years ago.
“Dana Beyer, a transsexual woman who ‘helped craft’
the 2008 Montgomery County Gender Identity Legislation … promptly filed a $5 million lawsuit
against the county under its new Gender Identity antidiscrimination law. Even the use of simple pronouns such as ‘he’ or ‘she’
can be fraught with danger under these circumstances. Since the bill fails to contain a clear statement that ‘it is not discrimination to
use pronouns reflecting birth sex’ or a freedom of conscience exemption, it acts as a reverse discrimination bill which takes away the
freedom of Marylanders to recognize biology as fact,” the coalition explains.
According to Maryland Citizens for Responsible Government, public facilities that would fall under its requirements would include restrooms, lockers and showers, where “discrimination” based on “gender identity” would be banished.
The Equality Maryland organization, which advocates for homosexuality and other alternative lifestyles, argued “no one should have to live in fear that they will be discriminated against in the workplace or denied a safe place to call home…”
But Ruth Jacobs, of Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government, earlier addressed concerns of the county law.
“The effect … is to give special rights to men who want to dress like women, but completely disregard the safety of vulnerable women and children,” she said.
“Restrooms and showers will be opened up to cross-dressing or female affirming men, thereby allowing undressing in front of women and children in a women’s locker room,” she said.
“With the bill’s vague wording, all an adult male has to do to gain legal access to facilities normally reserved for women and girls is to indicate, verbally or non-verbally, that he has a sense of being female at the moment,” according to critics.
Penalties of up to $400,000 could apply to those who would continue to use sex as a basis for an all-girls school, sports teams, restrooms, locker areas, showers, or in sleeping or living areas in homes, prisons and shelters.
The Montgomery County measure that originally enraged citizens’ groups was opposed by nearly 27,000 county residents who signed petitions to allow voters to decide after the proposal was adopted by elected officials.
However, county officials petitioned in court to change the number of signatures required after the deadline for those signatures had passed, ending the attempt to have voters overturn it.