LGBTNew York CityNYAGRA

It’s Tranny Time, Says the New York Post

NY Post gigolo cover

If you ever wondered why the New York Post is reviled by progressives and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists in New York City, the Rupert Murdoch footprint daily demonstrated why in April 2005, when the tabloid printed an op-ed by Nicole Gelinas of the right-wing Manhattan Institute.

In the op-ed, Gelinas inaccurately claims that the guidelines for implementation of the 2002 New York City transgender rights law (adopted by the City Commission on Human Rights in December 2004) say that “people can pick whichever gender they want to be.” Not true. The guidelines recognized that transgendered people face pervasive discrimination and violence in this city, even after enactment of that landmark law. These sensible and practical regulations were intended to enhance public safety at minimal cost, including the safety of transgendered women who, if forced to use the men’s room, would be vulnerable to humiliation as well as harassment and assault.

But truth and the Murdoch press have been long estranged, and so the transphobic op-ed from Nicole Gelinas — complete with offensive headline — came as no surprise to any of the transgender activists that I know.

Rupert Murdoch at World Economic Forum

Tranny Time
By Nicole Gelinas
New York Post
18 April 2005

Human rights are self-evident and sacred: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But Gotham has gone one further: New York’s Commission on Human Rights has determined that everyone in the city has the inalienable right to . . . dress up in women’s clothing and use the women’s restroom?

Last year, Pauline Park, who is biologically male but views herself as a woman and dresses as one, used the women’s public restroom at the Manhattan Mall. After she used the same restroom again, five security guards from Advantage Security stopped her. Park told The New York Times: “The female security guard demanded to know, ‘Are you a man or a woman?’ I said to her that I identify as a woman. And she said, ‘One of my colleagues thought you were a man.’ ”

The same thing happened to Justine Nicholas, who, like Park, is biologically male but identifies as a woman: Park was stopped by Advantage guards after using a women’s restroom at a different location.

Enlightened people would view the above incidents as awkward situations — but Mayor Bloomberg has turned them into human-rights violations. Bloomberg outlawed “gender-identity” discrimination in 2002 — and last December, the Human-Rights Commission released guidelines to enforce the new law.

The law covers people whose “gender identity and/or gender expression does not match society’s expectations of how an individual who was assigned a particular sex at birth should behave in relation to their gender.” It covers, but is not limited to, pre-operative transsexuals and, as the commission notes, “drag queens or kings.”

Sounds complicated — and it is. It’s also expensive. Violations carry fines up to $250,000.

The law is a waste of taxpayer money — the Human Rights Commission’s budget could go toward keeping libraries open late.

Worse: The law will compromise public safety and punish employers. The law covers “challenging an individual’s gender” — so Park and Nicholas filed complaints. Under a settlement reached two weeks ago — one of the first — Advantage will fork over $2,500 apiece to each woman. (Park, as a co-chairman of New York’s Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, had lobbied for the law in the first place.)

Five grand won’t put Advantage out of business — but it’s a humiliating result for a company that did nothing wrong. Security guards are supposed to look out for unusual activity — and a man in women’s clothes in public restrooms is an unusual occurrence, and a possible security risk.

Worse, Advantage has now agreed to allow people to use bathrooms at locations it polices around the city, “consistent with their gender identity” (apparently to be unchallenged on sight). This forces guards to put gender politics above common sense, comfort and safety.

The law will also cause headaches and cost more money. It covers “housing institutions” — so what happens when a man who identifies as a woman shows up as the roommate of a female student at NYU?

The law also recommends that employers and retail stores label single-stall restrooms as “gender-neutral” — and construct private spaces in locker rooms and changing rooms. The implication: If companies don’t do these things, they could be seen as promoting an environment ripe for discrimination — and bullied into paying a fine if an awkward incident occurs.

And the law recommends that employers educate their workers, so that they don’t face hefty fines for crimes like not addressing customers “with names, titles, pronouns and other terms appropriate to their gender identity.”

Finally: The guidelines are just plain nonsensical. They note that “Nothing in the Human Rights Law prohibits restrooms from being designated by gender.” But people can pick whichever gender they want to be — which makes any attempt at gender segregation at public facilities futile.

If Park or Nicholas were ever threatened or assaulted because of her gender identity, officials would, and should, prosecute the perpetrators. But mind-boggling new regulations over “he vs. she” is the last thing New York’s businesses, and its tolerant citizens, need.

NY Post Piazza not gay back cover (5.22.02)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *