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ENDA = Quotas for Transsexuals!

By Ed Brayton on November 19, 2013 in Civic Blog
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Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) has a profoundly silly column in Crisis magazine claiming that if ENDA passes (it won’t, at least not with the House as currently configured) it will lead to quotas for businesses to hire trans* people.

8102883_lThere is a small patchwork of states that have such laws that inevitably harm businesses and religious objectors to the dominant sexual ethos. But these are only states. However, the US Senate yesterday passed something called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that will enforce a similar law nationally.

ENDA says any organization with 15 or more employees may not “fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges or employment or the individual, because of such individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”…

Race hustlers everywhere know exactly where this is headed, toward self-imposed quotas by businesses large and small. The only way a business can inoculate itself against charges of discriminatory hiring practices is to hire the aggrieved class no matter what. If pushed by the Justice Department, Hobby Lobby’s only line of defense would be to trot out the transsexuals. They don’t even have to know how to type as long as they have lopped off their penises or at least wear dresses.

Uh, yeah. You know those states you just mentioned that already provide such protections for gender identity and expression, or any of the more than a hundred cities that have them? Can you find a single business in those areas that has set quotas for the hiring of trans* people? Right, I didn’t think so. It might occur to a rational person that this is evidence against one’s prediction, but since Ruse is motivated by bigotry and religious fervor rather than rationality, you’ll be holding your breath a long time for the obvious to occur to him.

And seriously, in a society where a staggering percentage of trans* people have lives filled with discrimination, fear and violence, he’s worried that employers are going to go out of their way to hire them even if they can’t do the job? This is like worrying that businesses are going to start hiring homeless people to be CEO. It’s so far from any conceivable reality that one could only shake one’s head that someone could suggest it with a straight face. And the stupid is still coming:

One of the truly strange things about the gay-rights movement is how free they are with their strangest cousins. You would think that even gay men and lesbians might be rather embarrassed by the T in LGBT. But so bold are they, so fearless, that they now lead with the T. Most Americans are rightly put off by such displays of obvious psychological disturbances.

Again, one has to wonder what reality Ruse lives in. In the actual country we live in, trans* people are still often shunned by mainstream gay rights organizations, pushed into a closet within a closet (thankfully this is slowly starting to change). Trans* people are still angry, as they should be, that the Human Rights Campaign only a couple years ago agreed to remove gender identity and expression from the ENDA bill to help it pass because, while gay and lesbian rights had become somewhat acceptable, trans rights were still too radical to consider.

But you know who is “leading with the T”? The anti-gay bigots. Everywhere around the country that has considered adding sexual orientation and gender expression and identity to their anti-discrimination ordinances over the last few years has seen opponents of that legislation focus almost exclusively on the trans* part of the issue. They know that support for gay and lesbian rights has become mainstream but that there is still a great deal of misunderstanding of, and thus fear to be created about, trans* people. That’s why every one of these cities has seen fliers and door hangers with the exact same picture on it, of a seedy looking guy leering at a little girl going into a public bathroom, with the argument being that these laws will let those weird and dangerous cross-dressers go into womens’ rooms and rape your daughters.

That this has never actually happened is irrelevant, of course; the goal is to push the fear button in people’s brains, which is always easier to do if the object of that fear is someone they do not know or understand. That’s why they focus so obsessively on the T in LGBT, because they know that the vast majority of people now know a gay or lesbian person and it’s much harder to make them fear those people. But the Ts are still a mystery to most people, one that can be turned into a convenient boogeyman. This is classic demagoguery.

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN. He regularly contributes to Civic Blog and posts daily at Dispatches from the Culture Wars. The above piece was originally puiblished there on November 13th 2013.

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