Op-Ed: California’s “Bordello Law”

| Oct 9, 2017
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Why do conservative news outlets always slam the transgender community? The Federalist routinely prints articles that portray trans people as mentally ill. They use “experts” like Paul McHugh to validate their screed against us. They, and other conservative news sites constantly take stories that describe gains for the trans community and spin them around to make it seem that the purpose of anti-discrimination is to mount an attack on conservatives.

The latest story that is getting this treatment comes out of California. The state legislature passed a bill, SB 219 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights, and Governor Brown signed it into law. It directs long term care facilities to honor a senior resident’s requests to express the gender they wish to express. If facility staffs don’t honor a trans resident’s request to be dressed as the gender they identify with the law imposes criminal liability on the facility. SB 219 also mandates that the staff use the resident’s preferred pronouns, and would ban facilities from denying admission to, transferring, or evicting a resident based on gender identity, sexual orientation or HIV status.

If you are an elder trans person it sounds like a retirement home in California is your best choice.

But the conservatives don’t see it that way. They don’t see that by honoring a senior’s gender expression and making sure that the facilities in the state are required to do so that thousands of trans people will be able to live out their senior years in peace as the gender they really are. No, to the conservative mind SB 219 is a direct attack on conservative moral values. They view it as a “bordello bill” and emphasize that it would mean people with male genitals would be allowed  live with cisgender female roommates, and “men” calling themselves women would be able to use shower facilities with cisgender women. They dwell upon the fact that the law would “force” staff people to dress “men” as women and let them wear makeup and jewelry. They build up the law as an authoritarian measure that will send staff members to prison for using the wrong pronouns. They use headlines like “California Can Now Jail People for Misusing Gender Pronouns” as clickbait. While the law might indeed allow such a remedy would people be that insistent on misgendering a retirement or nursing home resident?

It doesn’t matter to the “moral” conservatives that not having this law in place means that seniors who wish to express their true gender, or crossdressers who have worn women’s clothing for years would routinely end up in their old age forced to wear the clothing dictated by the staff and conform to the staff’s idea of what gender they were. They would be having their rights violated and have no protection. Conservatives immediately go to the position that it’s a “bordello” law and when it takes effect there will be sexual chaos in the retirement homes. (Why do they always think about sex?) They rile up their conservative readers by making it an attack on their morals. The LGBT “agenda” at its worst. They couch this and other laws meant to protect LGBT people as laws attacking them. But the only attack is actually coming from the right wing since they are scared of LGBT people and constantly hold up their religious and moral views to degrade us as mentally ill, label gay people as evil, and claim that somehow LGBT people are going to takeover and force them, the moral Christian conservatives, to become LGBT.

I have news for them. Morals have nothing to do with  being LGBT. Some people who proclaim their moral values and conservative views loudest are often found to be cheating on their wives, taking bribes in public office, or engaging in homosexual sex acts with anonymous partners. LGBT people are who they are and because of how we have been treated for decades we need extra legal protections to back up our civil and human rights as human beings. A sweet little old lady in a nursing home in California may have male genitals under her pink dress but she’s no threat to conservatives. Conservatives, reaching for authoritarian remedies to counter the delusion that we are attacking them are a real threat to the liberty of us all.

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Category: Transgender Community News, Transgender Opinion, Transgender Politics


About the Author ()

Angela Gardner is a founding member of The Renaissance Transgender Association, Inc., the former editor of that organization's newsletter and magazine, Transgender Community News. She wrote the Diva of Dish column for TGF in the late 1990s and was the Editor of LadyLike magazine until its untimely demise. She is currently the Editor of TGF. She has appeared in film and television shows portraying TG characters, as well as representing Renaissance on numerous talk shows. In her idle hours she keeps busy producing her monthly TG parties, Angela's Laptop Lounge.

Comments (1)

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  1. Beverly Beverly says:

    Ugh. Conservatives should stick to comparing their hand sizes and leave us alone.

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