Nearly 50 years of advances in women’s rights are being threatened.
And I’m not talking about the “pay gap.”
I’m talking about several instances where government agencies are threatening the safety, privacy, dignity, and equal opportunities for women and girls. Here are just a few examples.
Downtown Hope Center
Downtown Hope Center serves all people during the day, handing out 450-600 cups of soup daily and providing showers, clothing, laundry services, and job skills training for homeless men and women in Anchorage, Alaska. But its overnight shelter is open only to women. Because the Hope Center serves many women who have escaped domestic violence, rape, and sex trafficking, the shelter wants to ensure these women have a safe place to sleep.
In 2018, a biological man dressed in a pink nightgown showed up at the shelter, intoxicated and injured. The shelter director responded with compassion, sending the individual to the hospital to get needed care, even paying for the taxi. But soon after, a complaint was filed against the Hope Center with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, claiming the center had discriminated against this individual based on “gender identity.” And the government went after Downtown Hope Center—insisting that the Center allow men who identify as women to sleep in the same room, mere feet away from women who have been raped, trafficked, and abused.
When high school student Alexis Lightcap walked into the girls’ restroom at her high school, she reasonably expected to encounter only other girls. But upon entering, Alexis saw the reflection of a male student in the mirror. Instincts took over, and she fled the restroom, reporting the incident to her teacher, who directed Alexis to her grade-level principal. When Alexis spoke with her principal, she found out that the school had secretly implemented a policy that allowed biological males who identify as female to use the locker rooms and restrooms of the opposite sex. Alexis sued her school district to protect the privacy of girls and women who don’t want to share these private spaces with males.
Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, and Alanna Smith
Do female athletes deserve the right to compete on a level playing field? That’s the question that three high school girls are asking after the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) changed its policies to allow male athletes who identify as female to compete and take victory slots in girls’ events. Since that policy change, two male athletes identifying as female have dominated the competition in Connecticut, winning 15 state track-and-field titles in the girls’ division over the past three years. Track athletes Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, and Alanna Smith have personally felt the impact. Selina lost an opportunity to advance to finals at the state championship. Alanna received a bronze medal when she earned the silver. And Chelsea was denied a state championship title four times. That’s why these three girls have filed a lawsuit against the CIAC, standing for equal educational and athletic opportunities for women and girls.
In each of these cases, the safety, privacy, and equal opportunities for women and girls has been compromised in order to push a political agenda.
And while this may sound concerning, there is hope.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule in a case that could help protect these rights for women and girls. In October 2019, Alliance Defending Freedom argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of our client R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes.
In that case, Tom Rost, owner of Harris Funeral Homes, chose to part ways with a male funeral director who informed Tom of the director’s intent to begin dressing and presenting as a woman when serving grieving families at work. This funeral director had worked at Harris Funeral Homes for nearly six years and had always abided by the sex-specific dress code.
Harris Funeral Homes has a professional code of conduct and dress code to ensure that the people it serves can focus on the grieving process and not on the funeral home and its employees. Such a dress code is permitted under current law and is industry standard.
But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—a government agency made up of unelected officials—reinterpreted “sex” in the law to include “gender identity” and then used that interpretation to try to punish Harris Funeral Homes. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court where the federal government reversed course and now agrees with Tom and the funeral home that “sex” in federal law means “biological sex”. But the ACLU continues to push for “sex” to be redefined in federal law to include “gender identity.”
A change like this would have major consequences for women and girls. If “sex” is redefined to include “gender identity” in federal law, we would likely see massive confusion in employment law. And women’s safety, privacy, and even scholarship opportunities would be jeopardized like it has been for Alexis, Selina, and the women of Downtown Hope Center.
Please join us in praying that the Supreme Court will uphold the law as it is written, protecting the rights of women and girls.