Opinion: Equality Act harms American freedom
The Equality Act promises to promote tolerance, respect and — of course — equality.
Instead, it would promote inequality by undermining parental rights, forcing the hand of medical professionals, and erasing women.
How? By imposing government-mandated gender identity policies in schools, hospitals and women’s spaces across the country.
The Equality Act would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes in the federal Civil Rights Act. It would also expand the definition of “public accommodations.” While this bill may sound harmless, these changes would have far-reaching negative effects on average Americans.
For example, the Equality Act could be used as a tool to force schools nationwide to teach kids about LGBT ideology without parental consent.
Judges have interpreted the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a landmark bill that ended segregation and served as a direct response to racism in America, as requiring schools to implement black history curriculum.
If activist judges interpret the Equality Act in the same way, schools would have no choice but to implement LGBT curriculum, not only in sex education classes, but across the board — in literature, history, etc. — without an option to opt out.
When it comes to sensitive and personal topics such as sex, parents should be free to decide when and how to talk with their children. A change like this would rob parents of their right to make those decisions, with potentially damaging consequences for kids.
In Rocklin County, California, children came home crying and afraid that they were going to change sex after a teacher hosted a “gender transition celebration” for a kindergarten student. The teacher read two books to the class, including "I Am Jazz" to students, a picture book about a transgender reality TV star named Jazz Jennings. The teacher then asked the kindergartner to leave the room. When the student returned in girl’s clothing, the teacher instructed children to refer to the boy by a new female name. Parents were given no prior notice of the event and no chance to weigh in with any concerns.
The Equality Act would also politicize medicine for adults and children. By expanding public accommodations to include health care, this bill would impose a nationwide gender identity mandate. It would require doctors and nurses to perform and provide sex-reassignment procedures and hormone therapy against their conscience or even their best medical judgment. It would require hospitals to offer these procedures and insurers to cover them.
This would also affect pediatrics and parental rights. If the government can force providers to offer hormonal and surgical interventions for adults, the expectation will come to include those same interventions for children.
Activists promote social transition to children as young as 4, puberty-blocking drugs as young as 9, cross sex-hormones as young as 14, and surgery at 18 or younger. These therapies come with serious medical risks, including include increased risk for cancer, liver and cardiovascular disease, and of course, sterility. These side effects ought to make any parent take pause.
What about women’s rights? The Equality Act would erase women and effectively end any women’s-only spaces.
When biological males can claim entry into women’s facilities, including locker rooms, bathrooms and so on, women can no longer expect privacy in these places. Gender identity policies endanger women by making it more difficult to establish malicious intent when sexual predators take advantage of self-identified gender identity policies to access female spaces.
Women will also lose the opportunity to participate in fair and equal athletic competitions. Enduring biological differences between the sexes — in hormones, bone structure, and musculature — give biological males a competitive advantage over females in most sports
When males who identify as women are allowed to compete against females, women lose. Just ask Selina Soule, a 16-year-old track athlete who lost her spot to compete at the state championship to two transgender athletes.
“It’s very frustrating and heartbreaking when [we] girls are at the start of the race, and we already know that these athletes are going to come out and win no matter how hard you try,” she said.
The Equality Act is anything but harmless. It would undermine parents’ ability to do what is best for their children. It would force medical professionals to offer procedures and prescriptions even when they conflict with their professional opinion about what is best for a given patient. It would erase women by opening up women’s spaces and sports to men nationwide.
Do not be fooled by a name. The Equality Act would only promote inequality.
Monica Burke is a researcher in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.