The Weekly Standard's John McCormack couldn't resist. In the face of the Senate's immanent passage of the Employment NonDiscrimination Act, McCormack stated the real concern: ENDA Would Grant Transgender Rights to Elementary School Teachers…by which I believe he is concerned with the fact that transgender people might…just might…become elementary school teachers.
John, John, John, oh, John. That boat left the dock decades ago. Teaching is one of the foremost occupations that transgender people gravitate to in their lives before transitioning.
McCormack bemoans the numbers calimed by the Human Rights Campaign…that 88% of Fortune 500 companies have formal employment policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. McCormack even brings up the fact that Rick Santorum has a gay friend and confidante.
It's hard to imagine that in the year 2013 that any business in the country could fire someone simply because he is gay without facing a major backlash and boycotts.
Transgender, on the other hand, is a different matter.
ENDA contains no exceptions for schools at any age level (though the law does contain a modest religious liberty provision).
Horrors! Transgender teachers! Run!
McCormack turns to the Heritage Foundation to justify his horror.
Issues of sex and gender identity are psychologically, morally, and politically fraught. But we all ought to agree that young children should be protected from having to sort through such questions before an age-appropriate introduction. ENDA, however, would prevent employers from protecting children from adult debates about sex and gender identity by barring employers from making certain decisions about transgendered employees.
--Ryan T. Anderson, Heritage Foundation
Think about the children!
There is no reason to believe that a gay or transgender teacher will have a negative effect on the children they teach. The research shows that, in fact, younger children are the least concerned or confused.
--Human Rights Campaign, MYTH vs. FACT
Indeed, when parents are faced with the possibility of a transgender teacher for their children, they almost universally say, "How am I supposed to explain this to my child?" It is very telling that they make this about the parent rather than about the child. The child doesn't need an explanation. To the child, the teacher is The Teacher. What matters is whether or not the teacher is a Good Teacher.
We do not, as a general rule, talk about our gender transition or surgery with our students, much less with people who are not our intimate acquaintances…unless those people are seeking to be educated on those particular issues.
And as a teacher…for 37 years, though at the college level…who transitioned from male to female on the job beginning 21 years ago this past September,…I can assure you that I did not lose my ability to teach when I transitioned. I was recognized as an extraordinary teacher before transitioning, and I still am.
In 1978 Ronald Reagan even editorialized against the Briggs Initiative in California which would have placed a ban on gay teachers.
It is ridiculous that we are having this debate again, 35 years later, on the floor of the United States Senate.
--Human Rights Campaign
MYTH: The gender identity provisions undermine the right of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards by forbidding employers from using the most fundamental standard of all - that people be dressed in a way that is appropriate for their own biological sex. This legislation unfairly discriminates against men and women who oppose cross-dressing in the workplace.
FACT: ENDA makes clear that employers can maintain their otherwise-lawful gender-based dress and appearance standards, so long as an employee is allowed to follow the standards consistent with his or her gender identity. The bill provides that that employee can only do so after providing notice to his or her employer of the intent to begin presenting at work in a manner consistent with his or her gender identity. This gives the employer and the employee an opportunity to discuss and plan for that on-the-job gender transition, and ensures that this change of workplace appearance is part of a bona fide decision by the transgender employee and not a prank or other attempt at disruption. As with other aspects of ENDA, if a need arises, the EEOC can issue additional guidance for employers regarding this issue.
Notably, employers all across the country – large and small – have already navigated this process successfully time and again. Laws in seventeen states and dozens of localities, as well as the voluntarily-adopted equal employment policies of 60% of Fortune 500 companies, ensure that transgender people are protected for who they are on the job.
----HRC's MYTH vs. FACT
But if ENDA becomes law, it's inevitable that parents in some communities--at least the ones without the financial means to send their children to religious schools--will lose the right to choose what's best for their young children.
McCormack is here channeling the Traditional Values Coalition.
Another conservative Christian group, the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), claims that the legislation would have a negative impact on school children by eliminating schools' ability to avoid hiring transgender teachers. The group claims that parents are not being adequately informed of the presence of transgender teachers in their children's classrooms. It argues that children should not be "subjected to [a transgender] man's bizarre sexual transformation", claiming that transgender individuals are "seriously mentally disturbed". The TVC argues that individuals cannot change their sex, even with surgery, and that it is impossible to transition from one sex to another.
ENDA – aptly described as the “cross-dressing teacher’s bill” – will force every American public school to hire men who dress like women as teachers.
Currently, 38 states do not consider men dressed as women (cross-dressing heterosexual men, gay drag queens, or transsexuals) as protected minorities under anti-discrimination laws. All of this will change under ENDA when it becomes illegal to re-assign transgender teachers out of the classroom.
Of course the TVC has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center…and was connected with Jack Abramoff and the Mariana Islands worker abuse scandal.
We can only hope and pray that bigots like the TVC and John McCormack will be discarded along the wayside of the road towards progress for humanity.