NEW YORK CITY, December 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The New York City Commission on Human Rights has issued rules that fine employers for referring to transsexuals by their real gender.
The new “guidance” (“NYC Pronoun Ban”), which has power to levy hefty fines against “violators” who “discriminate,” is an extension of the New York City Human Rights Law, based on the city’s laws against gender discrimination.
Failing to use an individual’s preferred name or pronoun, under the new ban, will be considered a violation of New York City Human Rights Law, punishable by fines up to $250,000.
“Refusal to use a transgender employee’s preferred name, pronoun, or title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) may constitute unlawful gender-based harassment,” the new NYC Pronoun Ban reads.
“Gender is defined as one’s ‘actual or perceived sex and shall also include a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression,’“ the new ban reads, “‘whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.’“
Fines may be levied whether the man who wants to be called a woman, or the girl who wants to be called a boy, has legally changed their name or not.
Additionally, the new ban lists “refusing to allow individuals to utilize single-sex facilities and programs” as against New York City law, so boys may use girls’ toilets, showers, and locker rooms, and girls may participate in boys’ activities and programs. This policy has the force of law “regardless of their sex assigned at birth, anatomy, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on their identification.”
Such “discrimination” is “unlawful,” not only in single-stall bathrooms and showers, but in group facilities and locker rooms. “Forcing a transgender or gender non-conforming person to use the single-occupancy restroom” is an example the NYC Pronoun Ban gives of illegal “discrimination.”
The NYC Pronoun Ban makes a special example of a women’s shelter, which may not “turn away” a man who identifies as a woman, or a men’s shelter which “may not deny service” to a woman who wants to be male. Critics point out obvious dangers for the safety of shelter inhabitants, such as a battered women’s shelter, inherent in the application of this policy.
“The New York City Commission on Human Rights (the ‘Commission’) is the City agency charged with enforcing the New York City Human Rights Law,” the new ban reads.
A great deal of power is put in the hands of members of the Commission. “The Commission can impose civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.” The new ban clarifies, “These penalties are in addition to the other remedies available to people who successfully resolve or prevail on claims.”
The new ban states that individuals may file complaints with the Commission within one year of a “discriminatory act,” and file with the New York Supreme Court within three years of a “discriminatory act.” Significantly, the new ban does not qualify “discriminatory acts” as “alleged.”
The NYC Pronoun Ban goes on to define transgender-sensitive terms: “Cisgender: an adjective denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex.”
“Gender Identity: one’s internal deeply-held sense of one’s gender which may be the same or different from one’s sex assigned at birth. One’s gender identity may be male, female, neither or both, e.g., non-binary.”
In its definitions section, the NYC Pronoun Ban uses words of disdain for the natural acceptance of one’s sex, calling that “traditional gender-based stereotypes.”
The NYC Pronoun Ban also reads, “Someone who identifies their gender as androgynous, gender queer, non-binary, gender non-conforming, MTF (male to female), or FTM (female to male) may also consider themselves to be transgender.”
The new ban notes that any difference in work assignments is actionable as gender discrimination.
Also actionable: “Some transgender and gender non-conforming people prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir.” Such chosen pronouns must be used “regardless of whether they have identification in that name or have obtained a court-ordered name change.”
“For example, a covered entity may not refuse to call a transgender woman her preferred name, Jane, because her identification says that her first name is John.”
Furthermore, the new NYC Pronoun Ban “guides” employers and public workers to “avoid violations” by “creating a policy of asking everyone what their preferred gender pronoun is…and by updating their systems to allow all individuals to self-identify their names and genders.”
Employers and public workers “should not limit the options for identification to male and female only.”
Employers and public workers are advised to avoid toilet, shower, and locker room “violations” by “providing private space within multi-user facilities for anyone who has privacy concerns.” They should also post a sign in all bathrooms, showers and locker rooms stating, “Under New York City Law, all individuals have the right to use the single-sex facility consistent with their gender identity or expression.”
It is “discriminatory” for employers to have “a policy in which men may not wear jewelry or make-up at work.” It is also “discriminatory” for employers to have different uniforms or dress codes for women than for men. Additionally, the NYC Pronoun Ban instructs that it is now illegal for employers to have different “grooming standards,” such as hair length rules, for men than for women.
“The fact that the grooming standard or dress code differentiates based on gender is sufficient for it to be considered discriminatory, even if perceived by some as harmless” or “innocuous,” the new ban explains, because that “reinforces a culture of sex stereotypes and accepted cultural norms based on gender expression and identity.” Additionally, “It will not be a defense that an employer or covered entity is catering to the preferences of their customers or clients.”
Examples of discrimination cited in the new ban include not allowing men “to wear wigs and high heels,” and, “Requiring all men to wear ties in order to dine at a restaurant.”
The NYC Pronoun Ban concerns healthcare, as well. “To be non-discriminatory with respect to gender, health benefit plans must cover transgender care, also known as transition-related care or gender-affirming care,” including “hormone replacement therapy, voice training, or surgery.” Surgeries that must be covered by employers include “reconstructive breast surgery” for transgender men.
Ironically, the new ban requires traditionally male healthcare for self-identified “women”: one noted “violation” is “offering benefits that cover prostate cancer screening for cisgender men but not for transgender women.”
Employers are advised to comply with “the standards of care of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.”
The ultimate arbiter of “gender discrimination,” according to the new ban, is the transsexual. “An individual’s assessment of their own safety should be a primary consideration.”
The entire NYC Pronoun Ban may be read here.