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Biden’s Equality Act is not the unifying issue he thinks it is

The legislation is striking in what it reveals about the new administration’s priorities. Credit: Daniel Acker

February 23, 2021 - 5:00pm

President Joe Biden has announced that he will move ahead with a proposed Equality Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. A decision celebrated by Liberal America, it will be the first such legislation to be implemented at US federal level. Campaigners argue this is necessary in a nation where, in many states, it’s still legal to refuse housing or services to someone on the basis of being gay or trans. But the legislation comes with a sting in the tail for women, which may prove unexpectedly costly to the Democrats.

Unlike the UK’s 2010 Equality Act, which treats ‘sex’ and ‘gender reassignment’ as separate categories, the proposed American Equality Act effectively merges the two in ‘gender identity’. That is, it would sign into law provisions that require an individual to be treated in all ways as the sex he or she feels themselves to be on the inside. Sex would become, legally speaking, a matter of felt identity rather than observable reality. In practice, this change will be to the detriment of women in need of single-sex spaces, for example in prisons, domestic abuse shelters or school sports.

The legislation is also striking in what it reveals about the new administration’s priorities.

Biden has already indicated that his previous commitment to raise the minimum wage is unlikely to make it into the COVID relief bill, remaining a ‘jam tomorrow’ proposition. The oft-noted capture of formerly working-class political parties by bourgeois priorities could be no more richly illustrated than by a Left-wing administration willing to push through laws permitting males to compete in women’s sports, while kicking the can down the road on the minimum wage.

Conservatives have noticed, and are on manoeuvres. Commentators and politicians are calling for a new, multi-ethnic working-class conservatism, freed from ‘free market’ dogma and willing to mobilise state power in the interests of working-class Americans. Thanks to the Equality Act, a defence of women’s interests is now also an open conservative goal.

Biden may have calculated that more will be gained by prioritising the needs of America’s estimated 9 million LGBT people than its 1.8 million minimum wage workers. He may be taking women’s liberal loyalties too much for granted, though. The Human Rights Campaign argues that this represents a ‘unifying issue’ for America, but the fact that this legislation is already bringing together conservative polemicists and radical feminists in opposition suggests it is unifying, just not in the way liberal activists expected.

Most profoundly, it has the potential to radicalise suburban mothers, a classically swing-voting group that’s often tepidly centre-left but will walk through fire for their children. Come next election, were the Republicans to repeal self-ID and legislate for — say — better maternity provision and family support, they might yet answer the Democrats’ claim to be the party of feminism by becoming the party of females. And there are many more American females than there are American feminists.

In that scenario, all the GOP need do is field a presidential candidate who is not obviously an idiot or sociopath. Biden has misjudged this issue badly.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

‘In that scenario, all the GOP need do is field a presidential candidate who is not obviously an idiot or sociopath.’ I do love these little tail stings at Trump, one wonders if the industry requires it, being so ubiquitous. I even went back to re-read and find if any Biden zingers were slipped in, but sadly I did not find any 🙁 Maybe if the Democrats could field a candidate who is not obviously an America Hating Commie they could get over 51% of the vote next time:)

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Thumbs up.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Being a sociopath is pretty much an established requirement for higher office.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I voted for Trump but would far rather have DeSantis. Trump ultimately is responsible for the lockdowns and the nationwide masking. I would personally campaign for DeSantis. The first time I would openly campaign for a politician ever. I strongly supported Ron Paul but didn’t’ campaign for him. This is a different time though. The Biotech fascists need to be fought and defeated or we are all screwed. Even Politico which hates him is running articles on his popularity. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/22/desantis-rubio-scott-florida-poll-470892

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

I agree with some of this but not all. We didn’t have nationwide masking mandates. Lockdowns were by state as well which is why you have some states still locked down.

Micah Starshine
MS
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Not only that but notice that dems only got the Senate by a hair and did not have the massive landslide in the house that was predicted 2 years ago? As a lifelong (until I defected to independent two years ago) democrat I think people like Biden are completely tone deaf. But corporate profits in the trillions are driving this “Equality Act” b.s.. Apparently over the lifespan transition surgeries and drugs can total over a million per child, that’s why there are already hundreds of transition ‘clinics’ in the US with several more opening every single day. Their ultimate goal with legislation like this is to break parental consent so that minor children can be transitioned no matter how the parents feel about it. I only hope that these clinics will be sued into smithereens by detransitioners in class actions one day. That’s one of the only things that gives me hope.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago

The great advantage of allowing biological males at the top of women’s sports would be to show the world the absurdity of gender ideology.
PS: I don’t know why I’m bothering to comment as I get no notifications of responses whatsoever. It’s like shouting into the void.

Last edited 3 years ago by Judy Englander
voodoopolitics
voodoopolitics
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I saw you. Hello!

stephen f.
SF
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Thumbs up. And yes, this new system is seriously flawed.

Chris Casey
Chris Casey
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Hi JUdy – we hear ya!! These myopic moves of a left wing populist President could destroy female sports in the US. But who knows what it might give rise to in terms of fairly bizarre and niche sporting activities?!!

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

You make sense.

Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
3 years ago

Biden hasn’t misjudged anything…… more like the ones pulling the strings.

Fraser Bailey
FB
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

Exactly. Biden doesn’t really know where he is or what day it is. He is just a puppet.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
3 years ago

“President Joe Biden”

Shudder. Hate DT all you want, but I am confident he is able to put on his own pants in the morning.

To the point, his hands handlers seem to be unaware of the opprobrium foisted upon the various examples of biological males dominating women in women’s sports, probably because they are just reading Salon or some other rag. Of course, if states aren’t able to maintain the integrity of their elections, none of it matters anyway.

James Watson
James Watson
3 years ago

A good article, although I’d have one small quibble. Assuming the entirety of the LGBTQ community stand four square behind the current focus on trans rights is not accurate. While trans folks are certainly welcomed some of the more extreme positions are seen by some ( many?) in the community as detrimental to progress – as this article points out

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  James Watson

3 decades LGBT, & despise this movement with my entire being, because of the drive to medicalize children despite the fact that 80 will outgrow their GD. Trillions in profits is driving this insane trans “rights” movement. Add to the mutilation and sterilization of innocent children the transvestite predators that have infiltrated and are driving the endless rape and death threats against feminists daily online, and the sexual violation young girls face daily in school now in showers and locker rooms due to “trans” boys (60 percent or greater of trans identified males call themselves ‘lesbian’ or ‘bisexual’, and as adults 75 to 90% of these men are pre-operative and plan to remain so),and what we have is a trans trainwreck of epic proportions that threatens millions of vulnerable children. Suicide among young girls has already TRIPLED in the last 15 years in the US. We already have transgender inmates in prisons in the US who have committed multiple rapes of female inmates, because they are in fact SEXUAL PREDATORS. I will never again be a member of the democratic party because of issues like this, such a misstep is not only unconscionable but just about unforgivable.

Adam Wolstenholme
AW
Adam Wolstenholme
3 years ago
Reply to  James Watson

Yes. See Douglas Murray in this issue. There is no such thing as the LGBT community. Their interests frequently conflict. Yet another example of the failure of identity politics to appreciate the complexity of human nature.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

The clash is already happening… and it isn’t just with radical feminists.

mike otter
MO
mike otter
3 years ago

It doesn’t matter much if the GOP have someone as polarising as Trump or as unifying as Reagan in 2024 if the voting system is still left open to fraud they will either have to get very good at fraud or lose.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Reagan wasn’t unifying in his day. He was actually one of the most polarizing presidents, with the benefit of hindsight, things change.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

“The Good Doctor” series is going back into wokeness in a big way. It devoted episode 9 of series 4 to a story about a so-called transgendered male who discovers he is pregnant and must decide if he will give birth at the same time as he is struggling with an aggressive tumour. Dr Shaun Murphy asks his husband what would seem to be an obvious question, how could he consider himself a gay man if he was having vaginal intercourse with his partner. He immediately gets shouted down by his woker-than-thou superior, Dr. Audrey Lim. The gay husband finally gets over his misgivings about his partner’s pregnancy, and exults in the thought that a gay man will be giving birth at the hospital. You couldn’t make this stuff up, but obviously the Good Doctor’s writers could. This is Joe Biden’s America, I suppose. (I noticed that episode 8 got a rating of 8.0; episode 9 got a rating of 4.6. Obviously a lot of the Good Doctor’s viewers don’t care for Joe Biden’s America.)

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago

Excellent, well argued piece.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I doubt Biden has the intellectual capacity to grasp this issue these days, he might have years ago, but not now. He doesn’t seem to be aware of what he is saying much of the time. In all likelihood he would not agree with the notion of disallowing women their own space if he were mentally competent.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago

While Biden and the Democrats myopically cater to the radical left progressive mob imposed gender dogma ,across the pond in Britain the democratically elected non left govt and people are opposing and dismantling the wokes cancel cult in education, political indocrination of children and protecting children from regretted sex change left recruiters and activist cheerleaders exploit.The fear and hate mongering Smear Your Way to Power emotionally manipulative left got in by the slanderous defamation of their political rivals , presenting themselves as our alternate saviour.
Now , the real dogma driven tyranny of the progressive cult can be inflicted with the resources and power of government…as the outrage and rising opposition to the woke imposed doctrine gains momentum in the free democracies of the west.

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Gaughan

What is your secret ingredient, we need to import some fast. It’s not even funny. This is pure insanity.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

Haha…. good point.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
3 years ago

“.  provisions that require an individual to be treated in all ways as the sex he or she feels themselves to be on the inside.”
Or, what they feel like saying they are.

Micah Starshine
Micah Starshine
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

Transvestite predators are real. This act is just an incentive.

Starry Gordon
SG
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

The ruling class may be trying to rebalance the parties now that the Republicans have shot themselves in the foot, and have ordered the Democrats to follow their example.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
3 years ago

The silence of the gays? No, we most certainly are not being silent. If you doubt me, try googling “LGB Alliance”.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

It’s been noted forever that many cis het (‘normal’) males are profoundly disturbed by homosexual or trans males, and may attack them violently. The usual reason given is that females have lower status than males and can even be dominated by physical penetration, which horrifies the more insecure ‘normal’ males because they think the condition might be contagious. But theories are cheap and you can make them at home if you like.

Last edited 3 years ago by Starry Gordon