Freedom to speak the truth

The Massachusetts legislature is considering a radical "Transgender Equal Rights" law. According to the proposed legislation, 'transgendered' persons would receive special legal protection. The term "gender identity or expression" would be added to current laws and defined as "a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual's physiology or assigned sex at birth."

The law would apply not only to people who have undergone surgery to create the appearance of the other sex, both above and below the waist, but anyone who is simply wants to dress as the other sex.

This would affect all public accommodations, because according to the law "all otherwise lawfully sex-segregated facilities, accommodations, resorts and amusements shall grant persons admission to and the full enjoyment of such facilities, accommodations, resorts and amusements consistent with their gender identity or expression."

The law carries serious penalties: "Whoever makes any distinction, discrimination or restriction ... relative to the admission of any person to, or his treatment in any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement ... or whoever aids or incites such distinction, discrimination or restriction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than twenty-five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both and shall be liable to any person aggrieved thereby for such damages... This right is recognized and declared to be a civil right."

The transgendered (that is, those who want to appear in public as the other sex) insist that they have a right to be what they want to be -- either permanently through surgery or partially through above the waist surgery (breast removal or breast implants) or simply by dressing up as the other sex. Some even want the right to list their sex as 'none of the above.'

If this were a joke, we could smile and say you have almost fooled us. Some of those who are pushing this legislation do get a kick out of confusing ordinary folk. For example, Riki Wilchins, a man who dresses as a woman, writes in "GenderQueer," "...gender is the new frontier: the place to rebel, to create new individuality and uniqueness, to defy old, tired, outdated social norms, and, occasionally drive their parents and sundry other authority figures crazy."

The genderqueer may wish to drive us crazy, but we are not obliged to play their game. And here is the problem: while some of the transgendered and genderqueer just want to 'pass' as the other sex, some are demanding that everyone else pretend they have actually changed sex. The rest of us would be forced to lie. People cannot change their sex. Those who believe they can have a serious problem.

The Church is obliged to defend the truth about the human person. She will not change baptismal records, marry people who claim to have changed sex, ordain women who think they are men, or accept boys who want to be girls into girls schools.

As for myself, I must speak the truth. Sexual identity is not arbitrarily "assigned" at birth, but observed. It is a reality and it cannot be changed and I cannot perjure myself by calling a man a woman or a woman a man. This law would make speaking the truth in Massachusetts a criminal offense.

Dale O'Leary is an internationally recognized lecturer and author of "The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality."

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