Wednesday, October 11, 2023

“Misgendering” is NOT a thought-crime

The EEOC is NOT trying to make "misgendering" a thought-crime.

The agency recently proposed new Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace. Contained with that guidance is the EEOC's legally correct statement that the "intentional and repeated use of a name or pronoun inconsistent with the individual's gender identity" could create a hostile work environment constituting unlawful sexual harassment. That interpretation of Title VII by the EEOC is consistent with judicial opinions dating back nearly a decade.

In response, Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Director of the Conscience Project, wrote an op-ed on taking the EEOC to task for its alleged "thought-policing."

"'Misgendering," Angela writes, "is one of the new mortal sins of the secular catechism. And there is no recourse in the EEOC's new enforcement guidance for those with sincerely held religious beliefs that it is wrong to deny the actual biological sex that God has assigned to each human being."

"The EEOC's proposed enforcement guidance," she continues, "will require covered employers, employees, and even customers to bow to the unrelenting demands of gender ideology, with absolutely no regard for religious objections."

Angela could not be more incorrect. Everyone has the right to their own beliefs. But your right to "believe" ends when you act on those beliefs with an intent to harm someone else who believes differently. Moreover, shrouding a discriminatory belief structure in a cloak of "religious liberty" is dangerous. It's a slippery slope between the religious freedom to refuse to use another's preferred pronoun, to firing an LGBTQ+ employee, to firing an African American or Jewish employee, all in the name of "it's against my religious beliefs."

I operate under no pretext that I can change Angela's belief that it is sin to be transgender or that it is against her religion to refer to someone with a pronoun different than one's birth-sex. She is free to think what she wants to think. But when she ACTS on those beliefs to harass or discriminate against someone in the workplace, that's where her beliefs are no longer just beliefs … they are tangible acts in violation of Title VII.

So, Ms. Picciotti-Bayer, I'll make you a deal. I'll stop calling you "Angela" (which I'm well aware isn't your name) when you stop calling trans women "he" and trans men "she" (which isn't their pronoun).