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The Coming Nightmare of a “Transsexual Rights
and Hate Crimes" Law in Massachusetts:

Why Bill H1722 Must Be Defeated

by Amy Contrada, MassResistance

Table of Contents

Text of H1722

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PART 5:  Employment, Business, Real Estate
Including Benefits, Health Care Coverage, Insurance, and Credit
Bill H1722, Sections 11-13


Employment and Benefits, Sections 11-13

Sections 11-13 of H1722 refer not only to hiring and firing of employees, but to benefits (including health coverage for most workers) -- the “terms, conditions or privileges of employment.” It would add the phrase “gender identity or expression” to the list of banned discrimination categories:

It shall be an unlawful practice …  For an employer, by himself or his agent, because of the race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, which shall not include persons whose sexual orientation involves minor children as the sex object, genetic information, or ancestry of any individual to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment such individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification. [emphasis added]

Hiring and Firing

According to one family, in Brookline High School in 2006, a male teacher announced to his students that he was “transitioning” and would be wearing women’s clothes from then on, and asked the students to bear with him during this awkward year. (MassResistance source; confidential.) If H1722 is passed, no parents or students would dare complain if assigned this teacher, since asking for a transfer to another class would be considered inciting others to discriminate. No school or school committee could refuse to hire or dismiss such a person, whether in the process of “transitioning” or already in full opposite-sex mode, no matter the age of the students. So parents will not be able to protect their child in any public school in Massachusetts.

What if you own a store and your check-out clerk decides to “transition” -- but your customers become uneasy and don’t want to come back -- so you’d like to let the employee go? Too bad! Loss of business is of no concern! What’s important is stamping out transphobia. Only progressive companies will be allowed in Massachusetts! If you fail to hire a person, or you let him or her go for any other reason (e.g., unqualified, incompetent, missing work) you could still be brought up for illegal discrimination if the employee claims that your “transphobia” was the real reason. Even if you win the case, you’d be forced to waste resources fighting the charge – possibly before both the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and the courts.

Even religious institutions (a church, religious college or school, or charitable institution) will be told they have no choice but to hire and accept employees who are transgender. They could appeal on the basis of their constitutional freedom of religion, but that would be costly and today’s courts might easily rule against them. There is no exemption for businesses or services dealing with children. There is no exemption for the religious beliefs of a business owner.

It’s not far-fetched to think that Christian private schools and colleges in Massachusetts will be unable to fire a faculty member who decides to “transition” (and will be unable to enforce single-sex dorm rooms, restrooms or locker rooms under the accommodations sections of the law). Recently in New Hampshire (a state without a “transgender rights” law), GLAD brought a lawsuit against a Catholic university which had terminated an employee when he was “transitioning” from male to female. GLAD successfully argued then that "transgender people are covered by state non-discrimination laws prohibiting sex and disability discrimination.”

Another Christian college has fallen to this madness. John “Julie” Nemecek (photo below) recently brought a complaint to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal version of MCAD) against a small Christian college in Michigan, Spring Arbor College. The religious values of the college were grounds for letting Nemecek go, after he announced he was undergoing a “sex change.” A settlement was reached in March 2007 (the terms have not been disclosed). Transitioning workers will become commonplace, but even religious institutions will not be able to let them go (and there will be no possibility of compromise settlements) if H1722 is passed.


John “Julie” Nemecek, male-to-female transsexual (right) who challenged a Michigan Christian college’s religious freedom. (Photo: PrideSource)

Clothing on the Job

Under H1722, a transgender employee must be granted non-discriminatory “terms, conditions or privileges of employment.” That means you can’t regulate how he or she dresses in relation to his or her self-determined “gender identity.” If you’re an employer and set a dress code (arguably allowable) for your employees (e.g., “women and men must wear gender-appropriate clothing”), even that won’t protect you from employees cross-dressing. Why? Because if a man who thinks he’s a woman is wearing a dress, since he is a woman (under this new law), he’s not cross-dressing. This is why the Mass. Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) can promise that there will be no increase in cross-dressing if the bill is passed!

This is plainly admitted in the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s activism guide:

Misconception #2: “Civil rights protections for trans people will force employers to hire a man in a dress”
One of the most irrational fears that has been used to oppose civil rights protections for transgendered people is the misguided notion that such laws will result in an outbreak of cross-dressing in the workplace. … Invariably, concerns about “cross-dressing” in the workplace are focused almost exclusively on fears that transgender employment protection will result in “men in dresses” showing up to work. One doesn't hear the reverse alarm—that these laws will cause “women in suits” to overwhelm the workplace—sounded nearly as often.

… But there might be a lot of concern about women showing up in suits, if the general population understood that this could also mean that their breasts had been surgically removed, they were wearing penile prostheses (placed to bulge through their tight-fitting pants), and they were growing beards thanks to hormone injections.

The NGLTF guide on cross-dressing continues:

Opposition to cross-dressing in the workplace is perhaps the most commonly voiced objection to transgender rights. In practice, however, there is not a shred of evidence that protecting trans people against discrimination leads to any increase in the number of employees who cross-dress on the job. Employers in jurisdictions that have passed trans-inclusive ordinances have not reported or complained of any such increase, and human rights departments in those jurisdictions have not been inundated with complaints from cross-dressing employees.

Passing civil rights protections for gender variant and transgendered people does not mean that employers may not impose dress codes requiring employees to present a neat, well-groomed and professional appearance. Rather, it simply means that employees may dress in the type of clothing that conforms with their gender identity.…

Many employers have gender-based dress codes. One problem with these
particular exclusions, however, is the phrase “the other gender.” How one proves that one is not dressing in the other gender’s clothes but rather that one is “the other gender” is ambiguous.

A statute might allow the employer to set standards for a gender-specific dress policy, but leave the determination of gender identity up to the individual. Gender identity is, after all, one’s own sense of being male or female. In contrast, exclusions that rely on psychiatric diagnoses put many transgendered people at a real disadvantage. Phyllis Frye, the founder of the International Conference of Transgender Law and Employment Policy, suggests that employers be allowed to require a consistent gender presentation in the workplace. The City of Boulder, Colorado, adopted a version of this rule, requiring that all persons claiming protection maintain a reasonably consistent gender role in the workplace. Finally, it is very important that dress code rules not apply when the employee is not on the job. [emphasis added]

So, it’s nowhere denied that men are wearing dresses; it’s just stated that no employers are complaining. But how could they, if they’re ruled by ordinances forcing acceptance of cross-dressing? No doubt, these employers have been taught that it’s not cross-dressing if the individual decides that clothing is appropriate for his or her gender. And the problem with NGLTF’s suggestion of requiring a “consistent gender role” is that trans activists themselves often say their identities are “fluid,” and some are even claiming to be “bi-gendered” -- as did the recent keynote speaker (photo below) at the transgender First Event/Tiffany Club of New England (January 2008). He’s a man one day, a woman the next. And since that’s how he identifies, switching back and forth from day to day would have to be allowed as H1722 is written.

“Julie” Owens, self-proclaimed “bi-gendered” activist, was keynote speaker at the Tiffany Club of New England’s transgender conference (January 2008). "I'm more than a cross-dresser, but less than a transsexual, and that's OK, that's a choice that I've made."

Health Coverage

If H1722 passes, employee benefits and health insurance (whether through the employer or the Commonwealth) will eventually have to cover transgender demands. This can include hormone treatments, electrolysis, cosmetic treatments, plastic surgery (including facial reconstruction), Adam’s apple reduction, vocal chord surgery, breast removal or augmentation, hysterectomy, penis removal, and “neo-vagina” construction, artificial penis construction, binders (to hide one’s natural private parts or breasts), prosthetic penises, padded bras, voice feminization training, movement training, treatment for HIV/AIDS and other STDs, and mental health therapies.

Everyone’s health coverage costs would go up, and taxpayers would be forced to fund transgender medical costs through our state health insurance.

The "Human Rights Campaign," a national GLBT activist group, rates corporations on how well their benefits and company culture support GLBT employees. They give 100% ratings only if "transgender/transsexual" health demands are met. The National Center for Transgender Equality also makes this goal clear in an online pamphlet. MTPC is collecting stories and preparing to make such demands:

TransHealthCare Survey  Do you see a doctor?  Why or why not? Insurance dilemmas?  Discrimination? As trans folks, we face all sorts of barriers to getting the health care that we need and deserve.  It's high time we demanded more from the systems in place to keep us safe and healthy.  We at the MTPC Health Care/Health Insurance Committee are prepared to start making those demands.  

The American Medical Association has recently blessed transgender medical coverage. (No doubt, physicians from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, GLMA, played a role.)

The American Medical Association voted last week [June 2007] to amend its nondiscrimination policies to include transgender people.… The AMA has taken an increasingly high-profile stance in the past few years on issues of concern to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) patients and physicians. In 2005, a sitting AMA president for the first time addressed GLMA’s Annual Conference. Also that year, the AMA formed an Advisory Committee on GLBT Issues, with one of the seven seats reserved for a GLMA representative.… One section of the new policy states the AMA’s opposition to "the denial of health insurance on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity." According to GLMA and the National Center for Transgender Equality, many transgender persons are unable to obtain insurance coverage for care related to transitioning, such as hormone treatments, surgeries, prostheses [e.g., artificial penis] and mental health services. Denial of care can also extend to "contra-gender" care, such as prostate exams for some male-to-female transgender patients, and gynecological care, which is needed for some female-to-male transgender patients. A variety of healthcare insurers and municipalities across the country are reexamining their policies to ensure that transgender patients are not denied access to medically necessary services. [emphasis added]

The nightmare world of genital mutilation would not be possible without the cooperation of many medical practitioners. One such surgeon (photo below) makes his fortune castrating men and constructing artificial vaginas at the Reed Centre for Genital Surgery in Florida. He posts photos of actual procedures on his web site.

http://www.srsmiami.com/images/The+wonderful+Dr.+Reed.jpg
Harold M. Reed, M.D., a Florida surgeon specializing in male-to-female surgeries.

Who will decide what is appropriate transgender medical intervention? Apparently, the transgender individual. A female-to-male activist calling herself Matt Kailey describes her evolving “needs” in her book, Just Add Hormones (2005), widely read in the trans community. Kailey speaks to activists all over the country, and was at the 2006 Transcending Boundaries Conference in Worcester (co-sponsored by PFLAG, “Parents Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays). Here are two brief excerpts from her book:

[From the chapter "Flat busted":]
Chest reconstruction is often the second major step in a female-to-male transition and it's a welcome subtraction to the household. One of the problems with transition, as in furnishing a home, is that you think you'll be satisfied once you get that male haircut/choose a new name/change your driver's license/start hormones, but each progression only leaves you longing for more. ... Chest, or "top," surgery is one of the most fulfilling accomplishments of transition. You can finally abandon painful and artery-constructing binders. You can wear the flimsiest of T-shirts with no telltale binder or bra lines. You can even take your shirt off in public....Breasts are a significant identifier of females in our culture and, therefore, something that transmen usually want to get rid of as soon as possible....

[From the chapter "Dickless in Denver":]
Penises are a very big deal (or very little deal, depending on how you look at it) in the transmale community. Testosterone makes the clitoris grow, but usually only enough to be visible to the naked eye. Some guys have better luck than others, depending on genetics ... The competition among transmen is fierce. Bragging about two inches, unheard of in nontransmale society, is often standard fare at nouveau transman get-togethers. And those lucky enough to be able to afford phalloplastic surgery are definitely at the top of the food chain. For those of us whose goals (and incomes) are more modest, there exists an array of prosthetics that can give the impression of a living organ inside tight jeans.... I could have invested $300 or so for a realistically shaped and molded penis and balls, one fashioned with veins and a carefully shaped head, all in a shade to match my own skin tone. This penis glued on with special medical glue and stayed on for several days ... Was this what it meant to be a man? ...

Recently a New York judge ordered the city (i.e., taxpayers) to pay for a 21-year-old man’s sex change operation. “She [sic] suffers from a diagnosed gender-identity disorder and that surgery is the recognized treatment.” Who recognizes this as appropriate treatment? A radical transgender group of therapists called the “World Professional Association for Transgender Health” (formerly the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association). Here in Massachusetts, GLAD and MTPC are referring our legislators to these standards, as they consider Bill H1722. (MTPC Legislative Info Session, Mass. State House, Jan. 16, 2008)

A Massachusetts transsexual is now suing the IRS in tax court (with GLAD’s representation) to recognize his sex-change procedures as a necessary medical cost, not an elective cosmetic treatment, and therefore a deductible medical expense. The editor of Massachusetts Lawyers’ Weekly supports the transgender’s transition:

As she [sic] explained the medical procedures necessary to switch genders, one got the impression that this type of surgery is even more complicated than it sounds. In addition to genital surgical sex reassignment [note that we aren’t told the penis is removed, and an artificial vagina cavity constructed], O’Donnabhain endured breast surgery; a procedure to her [sic] trachea (to remove the appearance of her [sic] Adams apple; a nose job; cheek implants; lip augmentation; an operation to shrink her [sic] prominent chin; and a procedure to pull the scalp forward. [He also receives ongoing injections of female hormones.]

 

“Male-to-female” transsexual Rhiannon O’Donnabhain is suing the IRS in tax court for refusing his attempt to deduct his sex-change medical costs. GLAD is representing him. O’Donnabhain has just become a Commissioner on the Mass. Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. (Photo: Josh Reynolds, AP)

Judges may even order transgender medical coverage for prisoners. Federal judge Mark Wolf has already ruled that a Massachusetts prisoner, Robert Kosilek (serving a life sentence for murdering his wife), should receive hormonal and electrolysis treatments as he his “transitions” in prison! Will a court soon rule that his requested sex-change surgery must also be funded by the taxpayers? A video interview on this case, with “Denise” Leclair (a male-to-female transsexual) of the International Foundation for Gender Education (located in Waltham, MA), is very enlightening:

“Judge says state should pay for sex-change operation for convicted wife murderer.”
Convicted murderer Robert Kosilek, who now goes by ‘Michelle,’ wants the state to pay for his sex change operation. He said he’s a woman trapped inside a man’s body and he’ll kill himself if he doesn’t get the surgery. Should taxpayers pay for the procedure?  … State Sen. Scott Brown and Denise Leclair (President, International Foundation for Gender Education) video interview on “Wired”, New England Cable News.  

Convicted wife murderer Robert Kosilek: Left: en route to the county jail following his arraignment on drunken driving charges, 1990. Right: Kosilek as “Michelle,” file photo taken in a New Bedford, Mass. courthouse, 1993. (CBS/AP photo)


How bizarre does it get?

For more on what these treatments and surgeries involve, go directly to the transsexual medical web sites. For a history with surgical illustrations, see “MTF Sex Reassignment Surgery: History and Development.” Until recently, the “Transgender Care” web site was recommended as a resource for teens by BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth). The site includes graphic illustrations of “penile inversion" surgery, "neo-vagina” construction surgery, and links to personal sites of trans individuals.

The Transgender Care welcome page makes one wonder what exactly motivates “transitioning” men:

measure_transition2

Welcome page of TransgenderCare.com web site recommended by Massachusetts “male-to-female” trans activist “Grace” Sterling Stowell to teenagers referred to him by “Gay-Straight Alliance” (GSA) clubs in the high schools. (Stowell is also co-chair of the Mass. Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.)

For some of the products that transgender/transsexuals will demand must be covered by their health benefits, do an Internet search on “transgender products,” “MTF products” or “FTM products.” Modesty prevents us from posting the photos of the many models of penile prostheses (“packys”) or “stand-to-pee” devices used by many female-to-male transsexuals. But it’s likely they will have to try out various models before finding the right fit or look. And then there are the pubic wigs, for just the right hair look. Prior to breast removal, binders may be worn to flatten the breasts. And for male-to-females who need to hide their private parts, there are specialty groin binders. Prior to their breast augmentation surgery, male-to-females will want to wear padded bras.

Mango Products [FemaleToMale] - just one of the companies marketing these devices:

FTM Prostheses that Really Work!

       

Mango Products is proud to present a full line of FTM prostheses for pre-op ftm guys as well as post-op men with metoidioplasty or phalloplasty. Our product line includes prostheses for every need - packing, peeing, and having sex - as well as chest binding vests and comfortable cotton harnesses.

Our exclusive MAN-GO is the best pack and pee prosthesis available on the market, and the only one designed specifically for pre-op FTM guys. Many of these items have been designed and created for FTMs by the owner of Mango Products and are not available anywhere else.


Air Vent (Zipper)
Short Cut - Grey

This zip-up vest is very easy to get on and off. The front panels are made of supportive lycra, with mesh inserts in the sides and upper back for comfort and coolness (see insert). The rest of the back is made of a lightweight, breathable yet firm stretch material. We carry this model in the short cut length only. This model also makes a great compression vest after chest surgery.

 

Unbelievable new questions will come up for doctors. Long-term health consequences of radical surgical practices and opposite-sex hormone injections are unforeseeable. Look at the shocking questions, for instance, in this sad posting seen on “Transgender Parenting LiveJournal” (Jan. 2008):


Hello
Hello, I'm new to this group. I am an FtM [“female-to-male” transsexual] who has been on T [testosterone] for about 2 months. I had chest surgery [breast removal] this summer, and was considering having a hysterectomy next year. However, before I make the decision to have this surgery I need to figure out the possibility and risks involved with getting pregnant.

Have any of you guys given birth who no longer have breasts? I do not know much about feeding with formula, or the risks involved with that. Also, what are the risks involved with giving birth on T. I am not planning on stopping T until I see some more changes, but I also don't plan on giving birth for several years. I know that the longer I am on T, the greater the risk of not being able to get pregnant, but I am more concerned with the risks concerning the wellbeing and health of my child than just not being able to give birth. I can live with not being able to give birth, but knowing that T effected my child's health would be devastating.


Other problems . . .

The transgender/transsexual population is burgeoning, and their distinctive health problems are only beginning to be tracked. Especially, men who are transsexuals (male-to-female) have a high incidence of HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and mental health issues. One study from Washington, D.C. (conducted between 1998 and 2000) yielded this profile:

The high overall HIV prevalence rate of 25% (32% in MTFs), along with the high numbers who report unsafe sexual behaviors, demonstrate a population at a significantly high, immediate risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. According to the HIV Prevention Community Planning Committee's Three Year Plan for 1999-2002, only Black Male IDUs show a higher overall prevalence rate (27%) amongst District at-risk populations. Twelve percent of the WTNAS participants report unprotected sex while doing sex work as a reason for having unsafe sex, and of those 72% were HIV positive. Two-thirds of the seropositive participants believe they became infected with HIV by having unprotected sex with non-transgendered men. It is likely that the MTF seropositive participants represent a significant HIV vector for men who have sex with MTF transgendered people (note that these men should not be considered "MSMs").

With regard to alcohol and drug abuse co-factors, 46% of the participants report having sex while drunk or high (on a lifetime basis), and 22% admit to drug use as a reason for having unsafe sex, along with 9% who had unsafe sex to obtain drugs. These figures correspond to the 34% and 36% who admit a problem with their alcohol use or their drug use, respectively. However, only 36% of those with alcohol problems and 53% of those with drug problems have sought treatment for substance abuse.

A desperate population, which may be seen in its high suicidal ideation rate of 35%. Of those with suicidal ideation, 64% attribute it to their gender issues and 47% report they had actually made attempts to kill themselves – 16% of the entire sample. [emphasis in original]

Of course, this population needs adequate medical care. But rather than encouraging more people to become part of this risky lifestyle, which passage of H1722 would surely do, shouldn’t our society instead discourage such behaviors and choices? The pro-GLBT Southern Poverty Law Center confirmed that offering free transgender “health” benefits draws people to that community, as happened in Washington, D.C:

With its abundance of support groups and readily available hormone and steroid treatments, Washington has long been a destination of choice for transgendered people on the East Coast. Now, with the past year's spree of killings and the constant drumbeat of assaults that has accompanied it, the city has also become a microcosm of what life — and death — is often like for transgendered people in cities across the U.S.

If H1722 passes, there will likely be an influx of transgender people into Massachusetts to take advantage of these health benefits. And accompanying them will be the unfortunate and avoidable social chaos experienced in Washington, D.C.


Insurance, Real Estate, Credit:  Sections 14-22

H1722 will ban discrimination in insurance bonding (section 14), mortgage lending and real estate transactions (sections 15-21), and credit (section 22) on the basis of “gender identity or expression.”

Real estate – whether apartments, condos, assisted housing, houses and land, or commercial properties -- may not be withheld from transgender clients. Individual property owners cannot oppose or speak out against transgender purchasers or businesses. A lender cannot refuse a client on the basis of a transgender product or clientele. There is no religious exemption for an owner, lessor, or lender. Too bad if a bank is owned by Christians who don’t want to support this “lifestyle” with loans to transgender-related businesses. 

H1722 would effectively wipe out a community’s ability to monitor or control the sorts of activities going on “next door.” While communities or property owners can ban smoking, they will not be able to ban wild behaviors involving protected sexual perversions parading as “gender expression.” If a property is next to a school and tenants wish to rent who “express” their gender through “swinging parties,” whips and chains, sex for sale, or public nudity -- the landlord will not be able to say no. It will be up to the “transgender” individual to decide how he needs to express himself in his (even rented) home or commercial property.

Look at the ads for “she-male” prostitutes (in the Boston Phoenix) whose “gender expression” includes sequential, anonymous visitors to their apartments, and who often express their gender loudly and violently through BDSM practices. They can rent any place they choose if H1722 is passed. (The only exception in the law, Ch. 151B section 4, where an owner may discriminate is for “a single dwelling unit in a two family dwelling, the other occupancy unit of which is occupied by the owner as his residence.”)

“Adult” stores catering to transsexuals and cross-dressers will not be stoppable. Local zoning regulations, if attempting to block them, will surely be challenged as discriminatory. No exemptions are built into the proposed law, no matter who the surrounding owners, tenants, or users may be -- including schools, playgrounds, churches, family neighborhoods.

Section 19 even says that no one (not just realtors or property managers) may publicly object in any way to an individual’s right to buy or rent apartment/condo-type dwellings on the basis of their “gender identity or expression.” This would include a letter to a newspaper, or a posting on a web site or blog.

This new law would have a profound effect on the business climate in Massachusetts. Watch for a continuing exodus by businesses from the state if H1722 passes.

NEXT: Family Law, Public Health, Government IDs

Copyright 2008 MassResistance