The fashion police are at the door
It will surely come as a surprise to members of the LGBT community that their fight for recognition and acceptance, represented by the hoped-for passage of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), is not about their right to receive respectful treatment and equal opportunity in the workplace, but about their slathering desire to sport outrageous gender-bending attire on casual Fridays.
ENDA is not particularly radical legislation. Its merely extends the language of earlier federal legislation against employment discrimination to include reference to sexual orientation and gender identity. In a U.S. Senate vote on November 7, 2013, the legislation passed 64 to 32, with ten “yes” votes coming from Republicans, including Arizona’s Republican Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain among other long-time family-values stalwarts. Evidently, they have come to accept that the world’s population is not easily categorized as either M or F.
Sadly, the consensus among political prognosticators is that ENDA will get no further with our consistently recalcitrant Congress. Indeed, Speaker of the House John Boehner is on record as saying that he opposes the legislation and does not plan on bringing it to the floor for a House vote.
The fear-mongering tactics often associated with the Far Right have reached new lows in the rationales presented for opposing ENDA, as is evidenced in a recent press release issued by the Western Representation PAC. Jay Batman, Director of Research and Messaging for Western Rep, writes that banning discrimination against LGBT persons is tantamount to “masking privilege as equality,” so that one result could be “having grown men show up to work in miniskirts or ball gowns” in spite of business owners’ objections. Like Boehner, Batman believes passage of ENDA will produce an avalanche of frivolous lawsuits and, thus, bring the nation’s economy to its knees.
The big issue here, of course, is putting limits on big government. But, to couch the argument in terms of deciding whether “cross-dressing is a civil right” merely begs the question: how much longer should we tolerate crumpled cargo pants and aloha shirts in the work place?