NYC: The Baskin Robbins of Gender

46984098_sCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The city of New York’s preposterous policy naming 31 gender identities businesses must respect or face six figure fines, is causing new outrage – and ridicule.

The Daily Caller is reporting on the policy, created in December by the city’s Commission on Human Rights, which include gender identities ranging from man and woman to “gender bender” to “pangender” to Two Spirit (an American Indian term), Hijra (an Indian term for trans woman), Drag Queen and many others.

The policy not only includes these 31 identities, but keeps the door open for adding more, and for those who fluctuate from one gender identity to another.

The  policy now makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and gender expression in the workplace, in public spaces, and in housing.

“The NYC Commission on Human Rights is committed to ensuring that transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers are treated with dignity and respect and without threat of discrimination or harassment,” the Commission states. “External representations of gender as expressed through, for example, one’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, or body characteristics. Society identifies these as masculine and feminine, although what is considered masculine and feminine changes over time and varies by culture. Many transgender people align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.”

Examples of violations include:

a. Intentional or repeated refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title. For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman “him” or “Mr.” after she has made clear which pronouns and title she uses.

b. Refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun, or title because they do not conform to gender stereotypes. For example, calling a woman “Mr.” because her appearance is aligned with traditional gender-based stereotypes of masculinity.

c. Conditioning an individual’s use of their preferred name on obtaining a court-ordered name change or providing identification in that name. 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. 11

d. Requiring an individual to provide information about their medical history or proof of having undergone particular medical procedures in order to use their preferred name, pronoun, or title.

Fines for offenses run in the neighborhood of $250,000.

In response to public outrage over the policy, Seth Hoy, the Human Rights Commission’s press secretary gave the following clarification to the The Daily Caller:

“The Commission’s legal guidance on gender identity protections under the NYC Human Rights Law addresses situations in which individuals intentionally and repeatedly target transgender and gender non-conforming people. Accidentally misusing a transgender person’s preferred pronoun is not a violation of the law and will not result in a fine. The Commission issued this guidance last year so that employers and individuals understand what the law says and to ensure that every transgender individual in New York City is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Even though the policy is not new, the colossal media storm that erupted over Target’s bathroom rules has brought renewed attention to the city’s stance.

Not surprisingly, the reputation of New York City and its ultra-liberal mayor Bill De Blasio, is taking a beating with pundits now referring to the Big Apple as “the Baskin Robbins of gender.”

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