Did you call a transsexual person “he” or “she” when they preferred to be called “zhe?” According to a newly updated anti-discrimination law in New York City, you could be fined an eye-watering $250,000.
In the latest, astonishing act of draconian political correctness, the NYC Commission on Human Rights have updated a law on “Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Expression” to threaten staggering financial penalties against property owners who “misgender” employees or tenants.
Incidents that are deemed “wilful and malicious” will see property owners face up to $250,000 in fines, while standard violations of the law will result in a $125,000 fine. For small business owners, these sums are crippling.
It’s not as simple as referring to transmen “he” or transwomen as “she,” either. The legislation makes it clear that if an individual desires, property owners will have to make use of “zhe,” “hir” and any other preferred pronoun. From the updated legislation:
The NYCHRL requires employers and covered entities to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification. Most individuals and many transgender people use female or male pronouns and titles.
Some transgender and gender non-conforming people prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir
Other violations of the law include refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities such as bathrooms that are “consistent with their gender identity,” failing to provide employee health benefits for “gender-affirming care” and “imposing different uniforms or grooming standards based on sex or gender.”
Examples of such illegal behaviour include: “requiring female bartenders to wear makeup,” “Permitting only individuals who identify as women to wear jewellery or requiring only individuals who identify as male to have short hair,” and “permitting female but not male residents at a drug treatment facility to wear wigs and high heels.”
In other words, if a bar owner prevents male bartenders from wearing lipstick and heels, they’ll be breaking the law. They’ve now got a choice between potentially scaring off customers, and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Regardless of the establishment’s clientèle or aesthetic, every property owner will be forced to conform to the same standard.
This is the latest in what Spiked Online editor-in-chief Brendan O’Neill calls “The Crisis of Character” in the west, in which identities become grounded in subjective interpretation rather than objective reality. The state is now forcing society to recognise the subjective identities of individuals, regardless of how absurd or surreal they may seem. In New York City, recognising someone’s identity is no longer a matter of case-by-case common sense and courtesy. It’s zir way or the highway.