SOGI laws fail to ensure a flourishing, diverse, and pluralistic society. One need look no further than the stories of those who’ve found themselves targeted by these laws. And if it is enacted, the “Equality Act,” as well as proposals such as “Fairness for All”, would only lead to more heartbreaking stories of victims across the nation.
Women and Girls
SOGI laws remove the equal opportunities and fair playing fields women have worked so hard to achieve. In the arena of athletics, for example, this recently played out at the high school level in Connecticut’s track and field championships. Competitors Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti were deprived of a fair opportunity to compete and win because the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allowed two male students who identify as female to compete against the girls. Not surprisingly, the two male athletes have massively outperformed the female athletes, earning 15 women’s state titles and 85 opportunities to compete at higher levels of competition that should have gone to girls.
These laws also violate women and girls’ privacy, safety, and dignity. Consider these examples. The city of Anchorage attempted to use one of these laws to force a women’s shelter, the Downtown Hope Center, to allow men who identify as female to sleep just three feet away from women, many of whom have survived sex trafficking, rape, and domestic violence. A Pennsylvania high school quietly adopted an “open-door” SOGI-like policy, permitting boys who identify as female to use the girls’ locker rooms and restrooms. A Georgia school district, relying on its SOGI policy, allowed a male student who identified as “gender fluid” to use the girls’ restroom, leading to the sexual assault of a five-year-old girl.
Victims of these laws aren’t limited to women’s shelters. At a major public university, a college freshman was shocked to learn there was a man living on her all-women’s dorm floor, using the same showers and restrooms as the female residents. This floor was supposed to be for recipients of a female-only scholarship.
In Pennsylvania, Alexis Lightcap was enjoying her junior year at Boyertown Area Senior High School when, one day, she unexpectedly encountered a boy in the girls’ restroom. Shocked and embarrassed, she was dismayed to learn that her school had quietly adopted an “open-door” SOGI-like policy, permitting boys who claim to be female to use the girls’ locker rooms and restrooms.
Or consider the nightmare lived out by Pascha Thomas, whose five-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted in her school restroom by a male classmate who identified as “gender fluid.” Relying on its SOGI policy, the Decatur, Georgia school district had allowed him to use the girls’ restroom.
Churches and Non-Profit Organizations
SOGI laws negatively impact non-profit organizations of all kinds, including social services, ministries, religious organizations, and churches.
They impact people like Pastor Esteban Carrasco and House of Destiny Ministries. When Pastor Esteban and his church sought to open a women’s shelter for survivors of domestic violence, Massachusetts officials told them that men who identify as female must be able to use the same changing rooms, restrooms, and living facilities as these vulnerable women.
Children and Parents
SOGI laws are particularly harmful to the vulnerable children in our nation’s foster and adoption care system.
The State of Illinois targeted religious adoption and foster providers, forcing them to violate their commitment to placing children in homes with a married mom and dad. The state’s actions resulted in thousands of foster children and foster parents being forced to leave Catholic Charities and start working with other agencies. The state effectively prevented valuable providers like Catholic Charities from serving children, birth moms, and their families, even while facing a shortage of quality foster homes.
Parental rights are also in danger. Rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children are pre‐political, and guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. But SOGI laws like the proposed Equality Act threaten the fundamental right of parents to raise their children consistent with their beliefs.
Already, teenagers have been forcibly taken away from loving parents who—in the state’s eyes—fall short of enthusiastically affirming their son as a female, or their daughter as a male. As just one example, an Ohio court took a 17-year-old girl away from her parents because they didn’t want her to undergo hormone treatments and were unwilling to call her by the male name she had chosen. The court awarded custody to the grandparents.
Business owners and creative professionals
Government officials have repeatedly used local and state SOGI laws to target and punish small business owners. These are creative professionals like Jack Phillips, Barronelle Stutzman, and Blaine Adamson who serve everyone, but, like most creative professionals, can’t in good conscience express every message or celebrate every event.
SOGI laws are also harming healthcare professionals and their patients, as these laws often attempt to force medical professionals to violate their commitment to caring for patients and not harming them. Just ask Dr. Dovid Schwartz, a licensed psychotherapist
SOGI legislation like the “Equality Act” and proposals like “Fairness for All” don’t offer equality or fairness. It creates victims. But there is a solution.