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Misgendering Can Become Quite Expensive
by Sim Lee
5/31/2019 / Legal
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18 KJV
If you were a child of the 1950s and raised in the Heartland of America, chances are good that you were taught to respect your elders and address them as either "Sir" or "Ma'am" to show that respect. It was a grand day of passage into the adult world when an elder addressed you back in like manner!
And so it was, but it is no more.
Very few young people use the terms "Yes, Sir" or "Yes Ma'am" these days, and it is just as well for things have changed greatly in the past five years in terms of gender, gender identification and misgendering.
The financial cost of misgendering someone today by referring to them with the wrong gender pronoun is quite high as the fines and lawsuit settlements are on the rise as the laws change.
As the states come into line with the federal government's gender policies promoted by former President Obama, you can now be fined or sued up to $250,000.00 in New York for misgendering someone. One school teacher in Oregon was awarded $60,000.00 for being misgendered by his fellow teachers and a Canadian Tribunal fined a Christian activist $55,000.00 for referring to a transgendered person as a "male".*
As Christians, you may not agree, but as citizens you do have to obey all these laws, and although it is tempting to welcome such offended people's opinions with love and then argue with their perceptions of reality, it is best now to just love them and to respect their legal rights.
To understand just how transgender rights have come about so quickly, one only has to look at how the transgendered have been treated by mainstream America. Here are just a just a few of the complaints voiced to politicians by transgendered people with a plea to correct them were, according to a 2014 study* conducted by the Self and Identity Journal:
1. 33% of transgendered people have had at least one experience of discrimination when seeking medical treatment
2. 27% reported employment discrimination: being fired, mistreated or not hired because of their choice of gender identity.
3. 77% were discriminated against while in K-12 education and 27% people were discriminated against in college or vocational school because of their choice of gender identity.
As Christians we may never fully understand these circumstance, however the American public were 75% in favor of the very recent passage (May, 2019) by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Equality Act. If it becomes law, it will have far reaching effects and the majority will have spoken once again and we will have to be very careful in how we address other people.
Note: For those wondering what this "pronoun" issue is all about, here is a short list of preferred pronouns** that have been chosen in several nations in order to properly address the transgendered:
(No, these are not typos.)
HE/SHE - zie, sie, ey, ve, tey
HIM/HER - zim, sie, em, ver,ter, em
HIS/HERS - zir, hir, eir, vis, tem, eir
HIS/HERS - zis, hirs, eirs, vers, ters, eirs
*"What Does It Mean to Misgender Someone?" by KC Clements, Healthline.com
** "Fined $55,000 for calling a male a male" by Michael Brown, CP Voices 4/4/19
Sim Lee is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.
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