WERE I TO ARRIVE AT WORK ONE DAY DRESSED IN, say, a cheerleader's uniform, I might reasonably expect to be admonished by my superiors.
Were I to continue this habit with any regularity, I might even get fired. It only makes sense a newsroom has enough distractions without the gruesome sight of my pale, hairy legs poking out of a miniskirt.
For the record, I have no actual desire to wear a cheerleader's uniform to work (or, for that matter, anywhere else), but City Council member-turned state Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, seems to think it's my inalienable right provided, that is, that I consider being a cheerleader a fundamental, immutable part of my identity.
That distinction is important.
Goldberg insists that AB 1649, a bill she's sponsoring that would extend employment and housing discrimination laws to include people whose dress or behavior is "different from that traditionally associated with a person's sex at birth," is not about protecting cross-dressers. It would only cover the honest-to-goodness transgendered people who don't merely enjoy dressing up like members of the opposite sex, but who, for reasons psychological or physical, feel as though they must.
It's actually even more complicated than that. Transgendered is academia's latest contribution to the culture's confused sexual vocabulary. As Lennard J. Davis, an English professor at the State University of New York, Binghamton , wrote in the "Chronicle of Higher Education" last year, "a transgendered person is anyone who breaks the rules of the gender binary."
What academics call the "gender binary" is what most of us think of as simple biology the hard and fast reality that the overwhelming majority of people are born with one of two chromosomal compositions, XX (girls) or XY (boys).
Not so, according to the gender-bending left, who consider biological notions of "gender" little more than a social prejudice.
In the transgender world, Davis writes, "there are 100 genders and we can morph through 20 of them in a single morning."
The premise of the transgender philosophy is that there are no objective norms my gender is whatever I say it is. It could be male; it could be female; and since it's all up to my own perception, it could even conceivably be "cheerleader."
An Assembly analysis states that the bill would allow "employers to adopt reasonable workplace appearance, grooming and dress standards, provided that an employer must allow an employee to appear or dress consistently with an employee's gender."
Determining what constitutes a "reasonable" standard and what qualifies as a legitimate "gender" then becomes the responsibility of the state's liberal courts.
Because the bill includes such ambiguous terminology as "perception" and "identity," it has the practical effect of making any housing or employment judgment based on "appearance" or "behavior" a potential crime subject to a $150,000 fine.
So if AB 1649 becomes law and there's good reason to believe it will and I declare "cheerleader" as my perceived "gender," my boss may be hard-pressed to object to my workplace wardrobe.
Casual Friday will never be the same.
Goldberg, of course, tries to downplay the radicalism of her legislation, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that its primary purpose is to protect "women who are too aggressive" and "men who are too effeminate" from workplace discrimination. But existing laws and legal precedents already cover such cases.
What Goldberg has in mind is far more expansive using the powers of the state to rewrite cultural mores and impose her radical social agenda on anyone who might disagree.
Under AB 1649, a Christian bookstore would have to suspend its own moral convictions and employ a transvestite, or else face legal sanction. A department store would have to allow a bearded woman to work the cosmetics counter, no matter how off-putting that might be to potential customers.
It's bigotry masked in tolerance.
For all the talk of ending "discrimination" against the transgendered, AB 1649 would blatantly discriminate against anyone holding a more traditional moral outlook. It would deny the rights of landlords and employers to exercise their consciences or make prudent decisions affecting their own livelihood. It would turn public fetishism into a right while eviscerating the rights to freedom of religion and association that define a free society.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by fellow local legislators Assemblyman Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood, and state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles, has already been approved by the Assembly and a Senate committee. Passage in the full, Democratic-dominated Senate seems inevitable. At that point, it's up to Gov. Gray Davis to decide whether California becomes the state where it's illegal to smoke a cigarette in a bar, but a stockbroker has an absolute right to wear a tutu to the office.