“Transgender women are women regardless of whether they were born male,” argued David Stacy, government affairs director at the Human Rights Campaign. Stacy was praising new “guidelines” issued by the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which will order homeless shelters that receive federal funding to allow “transgenders” to stay in their shelters based on their self-identified “gender.”
In other words, if a biological man identifies as a woman, a shelter must lodge him with the women, not the men.
This is the latest chapter in what Barack Obama promised during his 2008 presidential campaign: that he was going to “fundamentally transform America.”
Stacy believes this is a great victory. “If you’re a transgender woman and you walk into a homeless shelter and they treat you like a man, it’s traumatizing. These people are already vulnerable, they’re homeless, they don’t have a job. To face discrimination the entire time they’re there is a real problem.”
However, “It makes no sense at all,” declared Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, in arguing against the new guidelines. “Good, Christian organizations that are trying to help people do not need Washington dictating their bathroom or bedding policies.”
Catholic Charities USA and the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions both challenged the new policy of HUD, arguing that homeless shelters are often a safe haven for abused women, and this Obama policy would place them with men in the shelter.
So, how can the federal government force Christian and other faith-based shelters to submit to this new order? After all, Congress has passed no such law, affording “discrimination” protections for transgender individuals at homeless shelters. For the Obama Justice Department, it's an easy process: They simply “interpret” laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex, such as the Fair Housing Act, to “protect” transgender individuals.
But only shelters that receive federal funding for their operations will be affected — at least for now. If a shelter takes no federal funds, it can ignore the decree. Being ordered to accept policies in contradiction to one’s faith is the price religious organizations will pay for taking federal funds. The federal money is the bait, and the hook is federal control.
Of course these new regulations stand in direct contradiction to the religious beliefs of most homeless shelters across the country, which were created as an act of Christian charity. There are few, if any, atheist-funded shelters. If religious liberty cannot be argued for a baker in a private business to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, it is no surprise that a Christian charity which takes federal dollars will be ordered to ignore its religious tenets.
The stark truth is that religious liberty does not appear to be a highly regarded freedom in today’s political climate. For example, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson has stated, “I just see religious freedom, as a category, as just being a black hole.” He was asked in an Oregon debate about the requirement that caterers participate in “gay” weddings, and he responded that it was the job of the government to prevent discrimination “in all cases.”
The contraction of liberty under the guise of fighting discrimination is certainly an integral part of Obama’s efforts to “fundamentally transform America.” His administration has even said that felons cannot be denied the opportunity to rent an apartment based on their criminal history.
John Ashmen, president of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, spoke out against the new guidelines on the grounds of safety. “One of the guests at a rescue mission overheard someone on the street saying, ‘Dude, if you go down to the rescue mission and tell them you’re transgender, you can sleep in the women’s dorm and even shower with them.”
This ideological fanaticism of those who have ordered these new rules ignores the evidence that a person believing he is a sex that he is not would probably be regarded as someone suffering from a mental illness, if it were not a political cause.
As Wildmon observed, “What if I self-identify as a woman today, and tomorrow I want to self-identify as a man? Why not self-identify as a minority? Today, I’m white. Tomorrow, I’m black.” After all, we think someone who thinks he is Jesus Christ is deluded.
Not very many years ago, it was certainly considered a joke to say a biological male was really a woman, or vice versa. For example, in 1970, on the popular Carol Burnett comedy show, actress Vikki Lawrence played a young mother who was asked if her baby was a boy or a girl. She responded, “This is 1970 — the baby will decide that when it is 21!” Of course, the audience roared with laughter at the absurdity of it all, but today it is taken extremely seriously by the Left.
Even the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) said in February of 2015, when these rules were first announced for consideration by HUD, “nearly one in five transgender people” had experienced homelessness at some point. NCTE officials claimed it was because of “discrimination"; however, it is well known that many homeless people suffer from some form of mental illness. Perhaps these individuals need help to overcome this delusion, not affirmation from radicals wanting to “fundamentally transform America.”
According to the 2010 census, fewer than 1 in 2,500 adult Americans have changed their names to the other gender, yet this appears to be the newest cause célèbre of the Left. However, once this “cause” has been accepted, new ones will certainly arise. NCTE is already anticipating one such liberal cause. After the new rules were promulgated by unelected bureaucrats at HUD, NCTE applauded the decision as “great news,” considering it a “huge step forward.” But they were far from satisfied, declaring,
We recognize that equal access to the current homeless services system is not enough. We share the goal of ending homelessness — and on the way to that goal, we must improve the way we provide housing. A shelter is not a home, and relying on temporary communal shelters comes with real challenges for anyone — especially survivors of violence and trauma, which many trans people are. NCTE strongly supports investing in stable, affordable, and supportive housing, and we applaud portions of President Obama’s FY 2016 budget proposal which would increase those investments.” [Emphasis added.]
When a progressive speaks of “investments,” this is code for government spending. In other words, the hope of NCTE is for these homeless shelters run by Christian charities to be replaced by individual dwellings, paid for by the taxpayer. After all, it is by taking money from the pockets of taxpaying Americans that liberals such as Obama, Clinton, and others get the money to make their “investments.”
Wildmon, commenting on the new rules, was perplexed. “Why do you have to force other people to feel really uncomfortable, and in some cases unsafe, just to make your political point?”
The answer is really quite simple. It is to increase the power of those who run the government, and to reduce the areas in which private citizens are able to make decisions — especially if those decisions are made according to the dictates of their religion. Or, as Barack Obama so plainly put it — to “fundamentally transform America.”
Photo: AP Images