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By Dave Tombers

The council for Baltimore County, Md., is working on a plan that would prevent “discrimination” cases that primarily involve men who dress as women and portray themselves as being female.

The idea gained notoriety as the “coed shower” plan when it was adopted several years ago in Montgomery County, Md., because of provisions that would allow men who dress as women to access women’s locker rooms, showers and restrooms.

Critics continue to call the formal adoption of such policies dangerous.

Bill 3-12 in Baltimore County, introduced and sponsored by four of the seven council members, takes aim at preventing discrimination against a person on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

According to the bill, “gender identity or expression means a gender-related identity or appearance of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

Ruth Jacobs, president of Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government, which maintains detailed information on the issue at notmyshower.com, says the bill’s definition amounts to “gender identity theft.”

“Many people believe that transgender people have had surgery to change their sex, but in most cases they haven’t,” she told WND. “I call them a fake female.”

According to the MCRG website, such bills “legally protect cross-dressers and transvestite behavior by forbidding discrimination against men who self-identify as women.”

“This dangerous Peeping Tom bill will allow cross-dressing men to enter women’s bathrooms and dressing rooms even if they are sexually attracted to women.”

MCRG says that a similar bill in the city of Baltimore at least has exemptions for “religious, educational and toilet facility settings,” but the Baltimore County bill it has dubbed the “Dangerous Peeping Tom Law” does not.

WND left messages with Baltimore County officials without response.

MCRG noted that since Montgomery County, Md., adopted the change, women have been raped in the restrooms at Montgomery Community College, Asbury nursing home, Pelican restaurant and the Bethesda Hyatt.

“Women are easily victimized and ladies’ bathrooms can be risky places when men have access,” Jacobs noted.

She also pointed out the outrage when a 48-year-old man went into a women’s locker room and was changing his clothes with little girls present.

Proponents of the Baltimore County bill appeared at a public hearing recently to affirm that men who portray themselves as women need protections regarding housing, employment, education, public accommodation and financing.

Ann Miller, a concerned citizen who attended the meeting and wrote several editorials on the topic, says that opponents to the bill expressed concerns over safety and privacy, and argued that “gender” is already a class protected from discrimination.

“The new bill creating a ‘gender identity’ class of people could potentially endanger one group (women) while seeking to protect another group,” Miller wrote.

Jacobs told WND that women “are extremely vulnerable under this proposed law.”

“Law enforcement will not be able to keep men out of changing rooms,” she said. “I can see women in a bathroom thinking, ‘There’s someone in here with a big Adam’s apple and hairy legs, and I’m scared. But if I say something, they’ll call me a bigot.’”

Another concerned citizen, Anita Shatz, told WND she fears that the bill is “open to interpretation.”

She said that supporters of the bill have tried to tell her that the it is mostly meant to protect cross-dressing on the job.

“I’ve called all the council members. One of them tried to win me over, by persuading me that transgender people are ‘very nurturing people,’” she said. “She actually told me I should be glad my granddaughters will be alone in the bathroom with these ‘nurturing’ people.’

“Nurturing sounds like a nice word, but if you look up the definition, it means educate, influence, win-over,” Shatz said.

WND reported in the Montgomery County, Md., case that the county’s policies now include a statement regarding gender that reads: “Gender identity means an individual’s actual or perceived gender including a person’s gender-related appearance, expression, image, identity or behavior, whether or not those gender-related characteristics differ from the characteristics customarily associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.”

The amended laws initiated a backlash because they allowed individuals with alleged “identity issues” the choice of whether to use men’s or women’s public facilities such as lockers and bathrooms, regardless of their gender. That means a woman who thinks she’s a man could use the men’s public restroom and vice versa.

MCRG also opposed that bill and wanted voters to have a say. It attempted to get the issue on a ballot through a petition drive.

As WND reported, the petition drive fell short when Maryland’s highest court allowed officials to raise the required number of petition signatures for a ballot issue – after the deadline for submitting names had passed – from 25,001 to 27,001.

Jacobs told WND, “We’re always told that we can’t discriminate. The bill in Baltimore County is one huge discrimination against women, against children, and against employers.

“Transgender persons need compassion and treatment, not laws sanctioning their illness.”

The website notmyshower.com says, “Gender Identity Disorder is a treatable mental illness.”

The Baltimore County Council has another public meeting regarding the bill Feb. 14, and then the council votes on it a week later. If it passes, it will become law 45 days later.

Opponents are already concerned that a similar bill will be pushed through the Maryland legislature this year.

Shatz told WND that the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation held a conference in Baltimore last weekend called “Creating Change.”

The website claims that it is the nation’s premier organizing and skills building event for the lesbian, “gay,” bi-sexual and transgender community.

MCRG urges lawmakers to use caution when creating transgender laws.

“They open the door to teaching our children that gender is all in the mind, and depends on one’s perception,” MCRG states.

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