Want to be a "ze" instead of a "she"?
Well, if you live in New York City, your fellow Gothamites had better say "ze"–or else. The "else" is a fine of up to $250,000, to be levied by the city's Commission on Human Rights for the brand-new offense of "misgendering" someone.
The commission just before Christmas issued a set if guiidelines, endorsed, natch, by oh-so-progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio that are supposed to implement a 2002 local law forbidding discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual identity. Although the law itself doesn't prohibit "misgendering," the commission's guidelines sure do. In fact, "failing to use an individual's preferred name or pronoun" is Violation Numero Uno:
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. 10 Many transgender and gender non-conforming people choose to use a different name than the one they were given at birth.
All people, including employees, tenants, customers, and participants in programs, have the right to use their preferred name regardless of whether they have identification in that name or have obtained a court-ordered name change, except in very limited circumstances where certain federal, state, or local laws require otherwise (e.g., for purposes of employment eligibility verification with the federal government). Asking someone their preferred gender pronoun and preferred name is not a violation of the NYCHRL.
Well, that's a relief! At least you get to ask whether "he" is actually a "hir."
And to further mess up the minds of New Yorkers, get this: While it's a $250,000 offense to call a biological woman who looks like a man "she," it's also a $250,000 offense to call a biological woman who looks like a a man "he."
Examples of Violations…
b. Refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun, or title because they do not conform to gender stereotypes. For example, calling a woman “Mr.” because her appearance is aligned with traditional gender-based stereotypes of masculinity.
In other words, you're damned if you do call the gal "Mr."–and you're damned if you don't call the gal "Mr." I'm sure glad I don't live in New York!
As might be expected, the new guidelines are draconian about transgenders in bathrooms, which is a Very Important Transgender Issue. Violation Numero Dos is:
Refusing To Allow Individuals To Utilize Single-Sex Facilities and Programs Consistent with Their Gender
Now, $250,000 is a lot of money, so liberals have been scrambling to point out that it's "misleading" to infer that everyone who refers to someone by the wrong pronoun is going to get slapped with a bill for $250,000.
And the liberals are right! Careful reading of the guidelines reveals that the $250,000 penalty applies only if the pronoun violation is "willful, wanton, or malicious." People who simply make honest mistakes in pronoun usage will be slapped with a fine of up to only $125,000.
Whew–what a relief!