Do ‘Gender Identity’ Laws Affect Me and My Family?

By Jeff Johnston
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'Gender Identity' laws and policies affect everyone. From cities and states to businesses like Target, Macy’s or Planet Hollywood to federal agencies, those with any “gender identity” may use any public accommodations, threatening privacy and safety of others.

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You may say to yourself, “I don’t live in one of those liberal states, so laws privileging “gender identity” don’t affect me and my family.” Be aware that, for a variety of reasons, almost everyone in the U.S. is affected by the shift in thinking about “gender” and “gender identity.” This shift has influenced city and state laws, corporate policies and federal agencies. These laws and policies affect almost all of us because:

  • At least 17 states and the District of Columbia have “nondiscrimination” laws for public accommodations (such as restrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms) that include “gender identity” or “gender expression.” If you live in these states ‚Äï or if you travel, you could encounter someone with a different “gender identity”  in a public facility.
  • Hundreds of cities and counties have passed similar ordinances, giving those who identify as or dress as a different gender the freedom to use whichever public accommodation they wish. Do you know your city or county policy? 
  • Many businesses also privilege transgender-identified individuals. For example, a Macy’s employee in Texas was fired after telling a man, dressed as a woman, that he could not use the women’s dressing rooms. Target and other large corporations, have announced that their restrooms are open to those who believe they are the opposite sex. Planet Fitness, a national fitness chain, revoked the membership of a woman who complained about a man ‚Äï who believes he’s a woman ‚Äï in the women’s changing room.
  • At the federal level, agencies such as the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have redefined laws that mandate no discrimination on the basis of “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” For example, Title IX was passed in 1973, to help level the playing field for girls in education. It mandated no discrimination on the basis of “sex,” which meant schools had to start providing equal funding for girls’ sports and facilities. But a recent guidance letter sent out by these departments to all public schools and colleges says that “sex” in Title IX now includes transgender-identified students. According to those two federal agencies, boys who believe they are girls must be able to compete on girls’ teams and use girls’ facilities ‚Äï and vice versa.
  • Even before the recent Title IX letter from the Departments of Education and Justice, many school districts, colleges and universities already had policies in place that allow individuals to attend school and use facilities based on their “gender identity.”
  • Many states are accommodating these recent decrees by federal agencies, even if they have no laws granting special rights based on “gender identity.” So in Alaska, which does not have a state law favoring gender identity, a boy who believes he’s a girl was able to compete at the state track championships ‚Äï denying girls the opportunity to compete at this level.

Yes, ‘Gender Identity’ Laws Place Everyone at Risk

The bottom line? You are affected ― or your children, grandchildren or other family members are ― because of city and county ordinances, state laws, business practices, and administrative edicts from the federal government.

Transgender-identified and gender dysphoric individuals are not necessarily more dangerous than anyone else. However, these laws and policies allow dangerous individuals open admission to public accommodations. The following are not just possible scenarios (note: a number of these situations have already occurred):

  • Some individuals who fall under the “transgender umbrella” are sexually aroused by cross-dressing. So a heterosexual man who is a cross-dresser or transgender fetishist may be sexually aroused by dressing as a woman; however, he will still be attracted to women. This is exactly the type of person women do not want in a restroom or locker room with them, but who are now legally allowed to be there ‚Äï dressed as a woman or not.
  • There are also a growing number of stories of individuals who have committed crimes against women and children, some of whom served time in prison who are now “transitioning” to become the opposite sex ‚Äï which may give them more access to women and children. Sometimes the penal system even pays (with our tax dollars) for an inmate’s “transition.”
  • Sexual predators have used the opportunity given them by these new laws to gain access to women and children. In a number of cases, men have entered women’s restrooms or locker rooms with the intent to assault or expose themselves to women or children. Others have entered women’s facilities in order to stare at, film or photograph women.

To reiterate:

  • We are not saying gender-confused individuals are more likely to be dangerous; however, there are people who will now take advantage of gender identity laws and policies to gain access to women and children. No one who is concerned about opening up bathrooms and showers to the opposite sex is questioning the inherent worth and value of all people ‚Äï including those who struggle with gender confusion.

© 2016 Focus on the Family. From Focus on the Family website at

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About the Author

Jeff Johnston

Jeff Johnston works as an Issues Analyst for Focus on the Family, writing and teaching about marriage, homosexuality and gender, as well as encouraging and equipping Christians to engage the culture on these issues. He regularly shares his story of struggling as a Christian with same-sex attractions and how God brought healing and change to his life. Before working at …

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