Back in June 2016, the Canadian federal government added “gender identity and expression” to its list of protected classes in the Canadian Human Rights Act. As a result, the federal prison system was recently forced to implement an absolutely insane change the way they house their inmates.
Specifically, inmates in Canada will now be placed in a prison that matches the gender that they self-identify with instead of the gender that they were assigned at birth. This means that they will allow biological men to be placed with biological women, which could potentially put the rest of the female prison population in danger.
In addition, prison staff, who are now required to address the inmates by their preferred name and pronoun, will also provide all inmates with “items from both men’s and women’s items from the prison catalog, regardless of their anatomy or the gender on their official documents.”
On top of that, transgender inmates will also be provided with “individualized protocols” that will reportedly include “special accommodations when using shower and toilet facilities” as well as the option to choose whether they want a male or female officer to conduct any necessary “strip searches, urine testing, and camera surveillance.”
Unsurprisingly, the disturbing new change was widely celebrated by many on the left. Upon learning about the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) move to house inmates differently, for instance, Jennifer Metcalfe, the Executive Director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, released a statement in coordination with the Prisoners’ Legal Services, the Correctional Service of Canada, and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, praising their decision.
“We are overjoyed that CSC is making so many positive changes that recognize the human rights of trans people in the correctional system,” proclaimed Metcalfe in the statement.
“[The changes will] improve the safety and dignity of transgender federal offenders in Canada, affecting every daily aspect of their lives,” she added.
Some, however, like Helen Kennedy, the Executive Director of advocacy group Egale Canada, expressed concern for the safety and well-being of those behind bars following the new change in policy.
“Unless it’s implemented with the training that’s required for all of those frontline workers, then we could potentially be putting people in harm’s way,” reasoned Kennedy.
Jeremy Dias, the founder of the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, added that the new changes aren’t enough. “This is only halfway there,” he argued, noting, “in 2018, we have to start thinking of trans and non-binary specific correctional facilities.”
Dias’ suggestion, though, is utterly ridiculous. This is because there simply aren’t enough transgender prisoners to warrant the costs that would be associated with building separate correctional facilities.
Sadly, Canada isn’t the only place to recently pass an absolutely ludicrous law regarding a person’s “gender identity.”
A few months ago, for instance, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a piece of legislation, known as SB 219, designed to protect the elderly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community from discrimination. As a consequence, though, care facility workers could now be punished with a fine and jail time if they refuse to use a patient’s preferred name or “gender pronoun.”
Specifically, the new law, otherwise known as the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights,” prohibits long-term care facilities from discriminating against people “on the basis of [their] actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status.”
Under the new law, which sponsored by Equality California, which is a nonprofit civil rights organization that “advocates for the rights of LGBT people in California,” health care facilities could be punished with fines “as high as $1,000” and a “jail term of up to a year” for “denying admission to a long-term care facility, transferring or refusing to transfer a resident within a facility or to another facility, or discharging or evicting a resident from a facility [because of their gender identity].”
On top of that, facilities could also be punished for “willfully and repeatedly failing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.”
This means that someone could literally be fined and thrown in jail for simply refusing to call a biological man “she,” or a biological female “he.” Not only is this completely absurd, it’s also in violation of the First Amendment, which protects people from compelled speech.
The Supreme Court has made this abundantly clear first in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette and later in Wooley v. Maynard. In both cases, the Court ruled that “the right of freedom of thought and of religion as guaranteed by the Constitution against State action includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all.”
By saying this, the court is basically claiming that while the federal government can prohibit particular types of speech, such as explicit language, it can’t force people to use “government-sanctioned” words.
The authoritarian left must not be allowed to continue passing ludicrous legislation. To ensure that they don’t, conservatives need to work together and actively push back against their absurd agenda.