In a deeply concerning decision, a federal judge ruled that the distress someone may feel due to gender dysphoria is to be considered a disability that must be accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Williams v. Kincaid involved an imprisoned male who identifies as a female in Fairfax County, Virginia. The man wanted to be housed with the female inmates, but the prison’s policy states that “male inmates shall be classified as such if they have male genitals,” and “female inmates shall be classified as such if they have female genitals.”

The ADA itself explicitly excludes:

“(a) Homosexuality and bisexuality

For purposes of the definition of “disability” in section 12102(2)?[1] of this title, homosexuality and bisexuality are not impairments and as such are not disabilities under this chapter.”

Therefore, the court was tasked with overcoming a major hurdle to reach their illogical conclusion. Still, the majority opinion argued that gender dysphoria was not actually a gender identity disorder. “A close parallel to their logic would be that trucks are not sedans, and therefore a ‘no cars allowed’ sign does not apply to them,” writes Joshua Arnold of the Daily Signal. This case is an excellent example of why interpretation of the law based on the original meaning of the words is so important.

In a much more reasonable dissent, Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum asserted that the case was really a matter of statutory construction, and that the law’s text does not support the majority opinion. He wrote that “…linguistic drift cannot alter the meaning of words in the ADA when it was enacted. And at that time, the meaning of gender identity disorders included gender dysphoria as alleged by Williams … Under basic principles of statutory construction, Williams’ ADA claim should be dismissed … [W]hen the ADA was signed into law, gender identity disorder was understood to include what Williams alleges to be gender dysphoria.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in all areas of public life, including employment, education, transportation, and in public places. This means that if the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision is left to stand, anyone who identifies as transgender would be eligible to receive public accommodations in bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, same-sex housing, and more. This clearly opens the door for abuse of the law and infringements upon religious liberty and privacy rights. 

For example, religious institutions could be forced to hire individuals who do not share their respect for natural law and God’s design. Further, women could be forced to share bathrooms and locker rooms with biological men, which we’ve already seen has disastrous consequences. 

While this ruling only directly covers states within the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the laws and ideas found within other states can certainly make their way to Wisconsin. We need to be aware of these ideas and refute them before they reach our communities.

Our rights and liberties are more important than an individual’s feelings (and individuals suffering from gender dysphoria need true help, not harmful “affirmation”), and the way that our public institutions are run needs to reflect biological realities.

 

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