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Bathroom wars: Transgenders get flushed

By John Aman

MIAMI, Fla. – A well-organized coalition of pro-family and civic organizations in Miami-Dade soundly defeated a measure that would have given transsexuals access to public restrooms and locker rooms used by the opposite sex.

The Miami-Dade Commission gave initial approval in May to adding “gender identity and expression” to the county’s anti-discrimination law by an 11-1 vote but the measure stalled after intense lobbying by opponents – led by the local Christian Family Coalition.

Bill sponsors withdrew it on August 14 because they lacked the votes to get it through committee.

The victory in liberal Miami-Dade “is really landmark,” said Christian Family Coalition executive director Anthony Verdugo of the win 36 years after singer Anita Bryant led the successful repeal of Miami-Dade County’s homosexual rights law.

“When we caught wind of it, we had three weeks to organize,” said Verdugo. His team exhaustively researched the issue, developed a communications strategy and filled a hearing room with nearly 300 opponents when the commission took testimony on July 8.

The move is in the opposite direction to that which many cities, counties and states these days are moving.

The Miami-Dade campaigners developed a coalition of 17 Republican, Democrat, human rights and religious organizations and worked with numerous churches to educate and mobilize the opposition.

“Last Wednesday, August 14, to the glory of God, the sponsors publicly announced that they were withdrawing it.”

Verdugo called the result “historic” and “groundbreaking,” saying bill supporters “couldn’t even get to step two, because the opposition was so widespread, and it’s growing. ”

The other side isn’t giving up.

“We’re going to meet with commissioners again to make sure the support is there, and the education is there, as well,” SAVE Dade deputy director Maria Barth told the Miami Herald. “Our staff is completely committed to passing this ordinance.”

The fight in Miami-Dade is but one skirmish in efforts nationwide to give transsexuals – individuals who use surgery and hormonal treatments to try to present to the world that they are of a gender opposite of what they were born – special protections from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations.

Nationwide, 17 states and the District of Columbia have embraced the transsexual agenda. Rhode Island added “gender identity and expression” to its anti-discrimination law in June with the support of Gov. Jack Markell, and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced his support in an Equality Delaware video.

But other attempts to advance the transsexual agenda were defeated this year in Montana, Missouri, North Dakota, and New York where state Senate leaders refused to allow a vote.

The Christian Family Coalition’s opposition campaign included a poster showing a little girl cowering next to a wig-wearing man with a three-day stubble – a not-so-subtle reference to the threat that males who claim to be transsexuals will invade women’s restrooms for ill purposes.

Transsexual-rights proponents scoff but numerous incidents suggest that concerns about men in women-only facilities are well-grounded.

Bathroom laws represent the next legal frontier for transsexual advocates as they work to add “gender identity and expression” to local, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws.

The ultimate aim is to “do away with religious convictions, typically Christian convictions, so that we are no longer a Christian culture,” said Janice Crouse, senior fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women America.

“They want to change the culture and to do that they need to get rid of the Judeo-Christian culture of this nation and to destroy the foundation on which this country was founded.”

It’s a fight that has the solid backing of the Obama administration. Vice President Joe Biden calls the campaign to give transsexuals enhanced legal protection “the civil rights issue of our time.” White House support for the transsexual agenda includes:

The CWA’s Crouse said the APA “is the place where all these special agendas start.”

Activists lobby the APA, she said, “to make sure that their agenda is regarded as normal behavior. … It’s the normal route.”

Many in the LGBT community also raved that a transsexual competed for the first time in the Miss Universe Canada pageant after 23-year-old Jenna Talackova waged a public campaign to persuade Miss Universe competition owner Donald Trump to alter policy limiting pageant events to women.

Talackova did not win the title but shared Miss Congeniality with three others.

Despite recent transsexual gains, Miami-Dade pro-family leader Anthony Verdugo thinks the movement can be stopped. He cited the defeat in the last two years of measures to add “transgender identity” to local laws in Anchorage, Alaska; Grand Island, Nebraska; Jacksonville, Florida; and Miami-Dade County to show it is possible.

“If we can do it in Miami Dade County,” he said, “we can do it anywhere.”

John Aman is a writer and communications consultant. He is the co-author of Team Obama: All the President’s Real Men and Women. He’s worked in Washington and also for one of the nation’s largest Christian broadcast ministries.