Used to be that those present in the hospital delivery room could tell in an instant whether the newly delivered infant was a boy or a girl, and the clues they used were very obvious.
In New York City now, in what may be a national trend—setting move, these traditional distinctions no longer count for much in determining a person's sex — especially when it comes to who may use what restroom.
If you're an ordinary guy relieving himself at a public restroom urinal, that person washing up at the sink alongside may be a woman. And, it's perfectly legal, as long as she 'feels' herself to be a man. What's more, you're the one likely to be in trouble if you should question its sex or object to a female joining freely in the activities of what used to be a private male preserve.
Same for you gals who'd prefer not to have men join you in the ladies' — New York City law says shut up and make the best of it as long as the guy in the next stall 'feels' womanly.
The New York Times reported (the day after April Fool's Day) on the fate of a group of shopping mall security guards who had the temerity (normal people, read common sense) to challenge a man dressed as a woman who made several visits to what was clearly marked (and used to be known as) the Ladies Room:
When Pauline Park watched Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sign an amendment toughening the city's anti—discrimination laws two years ago, she never expected to become one of its first beneficiaries.
But yesterday, a complaint filed by Ms. Park — a co—chairwoman of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, which helped lobby for the amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law — became part of the first settlement issued under it. The amendment forbids discrimination based on sexual identity whether or not it differs from a person's biological sex.
The settlement, administered by the city's Commission on Human Rights, found that people working for Advantage Security, a New York security guard company, discriminated against Ms. Park when they demanded to see her identification after she used a women's restroom at the Manhattan Mall in Herald Square last April.
The only problem is that Park is a man who likes to dress and act as a woman, or as the Times delicately puts it, '...was born male but identifies herself and lives as a woman.'
'The commission's chairwoman, Patricia L. Gatling,' reports the Times, 'said that the settlement "sends a message that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in our city.'
One dare not ask about discrimination against normal men and women who expect to utilize the city's publicly—accessible restrooms without intimidation, embarrassment, or intrusion on privacy.
But I forget. That would be insensitive to the only people who count.