On Tuesday, lesbian feminist Julia Beck, who was kicked off of the Baltimore LGBT Commission because she opposes transgender identity, testified against the federal Equality Act. Her testimony caused quite a stir, with many Democrats expressly asking other witnesses to delegitimize it.
“If the act passes in its current form as H.R. 5, then every right that women have fought for will cease to exist,” Beck warned. “H.R. 5 is a human rights violation. Every single person in this country will lose their right to single-sex sports, shelters, grants, and loans. The law will forbid ever distinguishing between women and men.”
Beck insisted that she supports the general goal of the Equality Act, but warned against codifying transgender identity into law. People who identify as transgender “still deserve the same basic human rights as we all do, but treating someone as if they are the opposite sex” enshrines a false view of sexuality into law, with disastrous consequences.
While the “myth of changing sex has gained considerable traction,” she insisted that “sex is a vital characteristic, gender and identity are not.” She reminded the audience that “100 years ago, pink was a color for boys, but now pink is a girl’s color.”
Beck opposed “sex stereotypes that prevent people from being authentically themselves.” She warned that the circular definition of gender identity as based on “actual or perceived gender-related characteristics” will require lawmakers to “consider which mannerisms, hairstyles, occupations, and clothing choices make up one gender identity or another.”
“How is this any different from the sex stereotypes that women have been fighting to break free from? How is this not regressive?” the feminist asked.
The Equality Act will make dissent from transgender identity illegal. “Making gender identity the law will, in fact, mandate a belief in a female penis or female testes,” Beck warned. “Deep down, I believe you have good intentions, but gender identity only does harm.”
If H.R. 5 becomes law, Beck warned, “male rapists will go to women’s prisons and likely assault female inmates as has already happened in the U.K.; female survivors of rape will be unable to contest male presence in women’s shelters; men will dominate women’s sports — girls who would have taken first place will be denied scholastic opportunity; women who use male pronouns to talk about men may be arrested, fined, and banned from social media platforms; girls will stay home from school when they have their periods to avoid harassment by boys in mixed-space toilets; girls and women will no longer have a right to ask for female medical staff or intimate care providers, including elderly or disabled women who are at serious risk of sexual abuse; female security officers will no longer have the right to refuse to perform pat-downs or intimate searches of males who say they’re female and women undergoing security checks will no longer have the right to refuse having those security checks being performed by men claiming a feminine identity.”
“Everything I just listed is already happening, and it’s only going to get worse if gender identity is recognized in federal law,” she declared.
“I urge my fellow Democrats to wake up. Please acknowledge biological reality,” Beck concluded.
After her testimony, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, asked Sunu Chandy, legal director of the National Women’s Law Center and a pro-transgender witness, to contradict Beck’s testimony.
“Listening to that testimony, it seems like that particular witness does not believe that transgender people exist,” Chandy responded.
“I’ve met numerous transgender individuals who are trans women and girls who are women and girls, and in terms of the biology piece, biology is made up by so many different things as I understand it, not just external sex organs. There are hormones, there are internal things,” the legal director responded. “And so, transgender women and girls are women and girls, transgender boys and men are boys and men.”
Chandy falsely stigmatized Beck’s testimony as insisting that transgender identity “doesn’t exist.” She mocked the idea “that people would go so far as to make up an entire identity … just simply to invade sex-segregated spaces or participate in sports is so outlandish,” as “so far-fetched.”
“I hear it as offensive because it sounds to me as someone saying that an identity doesn’t exist,” she said. She also suggested that there was “no research” to support the claim that biological men identifying as transgender women have any “competitive advantage” over biological women. On the contrary, there are many cases of such male sports victories in women’s sports.
Chandy argued that disagreement with transgender identity and fears about the Equality Act are based on “fears and myths and stereotypes, which is not a way that we can make law.”
Later in the hearing, Beck had the opportunity to respond to Chandy’s mischaracterizations.
“No one is saying that people don’t exist,” she said. But transgender identity is impossible to verify. “How can we tell if someone’s lying about being transgender?” Beck asked. She brought up the case of Stephen Terence Wood, a male rapist who identified as a woman, calling himself “Karen White.” He got himself transferred into a women’s prison and sexually assaulted two women in the prison.
“There’s no way to know if someone’s lying about being transgender because there’s no evidence,” Beck argued. “There is no evidence of gender identity. It’s not a material reality at all.”
Indeed, biological sex traces back to the cellular level. In each human being’s DNA there are either two X chromosomes or one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. In the vast majority of cases, XX humans develop as female and XY humans develop as male. In a few tragic instances, genitals fail to develop or other abnormalities take place, creating intersex people. This is far different from transgender people, who are healthy males who identify as women or healthy females who identify as men.
Transgender identity is impossible to prove, but doctors can diagnose gender dysphoria (the persistent identifying with the gender opposite one’s biological sex). People suffering from this condition should be treated with respect, but Americans should be able to disagree on whether or not transgender identity is the solution to this condition.
H.R. 5 restructures American civil rights law in the name of helping gender dysphoric people, but these changes would have wide-ranging consequences that would harm women and may even harm those with gender dysphoria. After all, many former transgender people have returned to an identity fitting their biological sex and have expressed deep regret at mutilating their bodies. People with gender dysphoria should be able to hear their stories, and not just be rushed into a transition they may regret.
At the same time, Americans cannot overlook the serious threats to women’s rights that come with transgender activism.
“I believe that the language of gender identity lends itself readily to abusive gaslighting that disguises and distorts women’s ability to describe what is happening,” Beck argued. “We must be able to name sex.” She warned that “this would eliminate women and girls as a coherent legal category, worthy of civil rights protection.”
Julia Beck’s testimony is a much-needed rebuke to this hasty social change.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.