The head of the Georgia American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stepped down over the organization’s backing of the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom guidance.
The national ACLU and its state-level chapters have been strong supporters of policies that allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice. Besides endorsing Obama’s recent bathroom decree, the ACLU has assisted in lawsuits in North Carolina and elsewhere with the intent of abolishing any laws and policies that restrict the transgendered from using the facilities of their choice.
But Maya Dillard Smith isn’t so enthusiastic, and so she has resigned as the head of the Georgia ACLU. She accuses the ACLU of pushing LGBT rights at the expense of the rights of others, and she grounds her position in personal experience.
“I have shared my personal experience of having taken my elementary school age daughters into a women’s restroom when shortly after three transgender young adults over six feet with deep voices entered,” she said in a statement last week. “My children were visibly frightened, concerned about their safety and left asking lots of questions for which I, like many parents, was ill-prepared to answer.”
Until she stepped down, Dillard Smith was one of the youngest state leaders in the ACLU, and was also one of just three black people to hold such a post. She had been in her position for about a year.
Dillard Smith says she isn’t necessarily opposed to letting the transgendered use the bathrooms of their choice. But she also argues there should be room for dialogue on the issue, and she says the ACLU has not been the right environment for such a dialogue.
“[The ACLU has become] a special interest organization that promotes not all, but certain progressive rights. In that way, it is a special interest organization not unlike the conservative right, which creates a hierarchy of rights based on who is funding the organization’s lobbying activities,” she said. “I believe there are solutions that can provide accommodations for transgender people and balance the need to ensure women and girls are safe from those who might have malicious intent.”
Dillard Smith has also launched her own website, FindingMiddleGround.org, which apparently has the intent of hashing out a compromise on the bathroom debate. Currently, the website consists solely of a feedback form and a YouTube video that posits questions about the bathroom debate.
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