Karen Bercovici: Voting ‘no’ on Question 3

  • Parade participants march down Market Street carrying the rainbow flag during the annual Gay Pride parade in San Francisco, Calif. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS/Wally Skalij

Published: 10/24/2018 11:16:48 AM
Voting ‘no’ on Question 3

I urge a “no” vote on ballot question 3 to repeal the 2016 “Gender Identity Law.” This law decimates the safety and privacy of females. It passed with little public debate.

This is troubling because of its extreme implications and consequences: that any person can claim to be the opposite sex if they “sincerely” feel they are. This erases the recognition that sex is a protected characteristic, which allows women to organize separately from men; for example, offering female only spaces to survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. Under this law, any man can access any previously sex-segregated place like changing rooms, bathrooms, rape crisis, homeless and domestic violence shelters, hospital rooms, etc. But there is no way to determine “sincerity,” and therefore no way to differentiate between sincerity and criminal intent.

Many males who identify as the opposite sex do not have genital surgery. Some are heterosexual cross dressers. Trans-identified males commit violence in the same proportion as all men, according to a Swedish study published in 2011 in the Public Library of Science ONE journal. Why is it women’s responsibility to assume this extra risk, when approximately one in three women in their lifetime will be the victims of male violence? When a six-foot-tall man performing femininity enters a public sex-segregated space, women sense possible danger. This is our reality. To deny this is to ignore female life experience.

Many of us believe in the science of biology: One cannot change sex. Only females can define what it is to be a woman. I have empathy for transgender people. A 2011 law prohibits discrimination against them in employment, housing, credit and education.

A “no” vote on 3 is not about denying rights. It is about the need for a new law which does not decimate a woman’s right to safety from male violence.

Let’s explore ending socially constructed gender roles and recognize that a range of valid viewpoints around sex, gender and transgender ideology exists.

Let’s respectfully discuss solutions that will benefit everyone. One group’s rights cannot come at the expense of another’s.

Karen Bercovici
​​​​​​​Leeds




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