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Assembly Meeting Transcripts: Volume 3

July 15, 2009

[originally posted on the Alaska Commons]

Testimony #21
[Mike, Anchorage resident]

Hello, thank you. My name is Mike [last name omitted]. As a fantastic orator, Mark Hamilton once said responsibility means… if you have the ability to respond, you have the responsibility to speak. I will take a moment to remind all present… of the words in our great constitution, that all persons have the natural right to life, liberty, and enjoyment of industry and are equal, and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law. The essence of this matter is not of one religion or one amnesty group feels, but whether we, as Alaskans, come out in equality to persevere. Denying the rights of an entire minority is beyond morally reprehensible. And something I cannot in good conscience stand idly by to watch happen in my city. I want to make it clear. I do not seek to force or push my opinion on others; merely to be free from their persecution against myself, my brothers, sisters, our children, and yours. The protection of a minority… sorry… from the tyranny of a majority is one issue each and every Alaskan ought to be proud of. I won’t ask you for liberty. I will scream for it from the mountaintops. From city hall and on the steps of the old courthouses. I will fight for liberty because I know better than most that freedom is not free and because it is the American thing to do, I urge you to vote yes.

Testimony #22
[Ray, Anchorage resident]

My name is Ray [last name omitted] and I live in South Anchorage and I’m neither wearing red nor blue, I’m wearing white. I’m not going to talk about whether I’m homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual or asexual. I’m not going to talk about my religion or lack of religion. I’m going to talk about rights. Because that’s what I think this is about. I think one of the rights that’s going on here tonight is the right for people to speak freely, and I will celebrate that right. And I think that… instead of being weary out there I think we should be proud that so many people turned out tonight to express themselves about this ordinance. While I disagree with many of them, I will fight for their right to express themselves. This is about rights. This is about the rights for minority peoples. There’s soldiers from Anchorage in Iraq, in Afghanistan, fighting for our legal rights; rights that have been written down, specified in the law. This is about putting further rights into the law. It’s about rights for all people; for a minority group to have their rights protected. Some would argue that this puts the rights of a special group above others. Read the language, it doesn’t. This isn’t about special rights. This isn’t about taking away rights. This is about protecting the rights of minority group. Whether we’re judged by a higher power or by history, how do you want to be judged? Do you want to say that you stood up for the less fortunate, the disadvantaged, for those who suffer discrimination? Do you want to say that you put additional rights for people? When we look at our democracy, do we want to be… judge our democracy by how it treats the majority of the people, or how it treats people who dissent; how it treats people that are in the minority? I think we want to judge our democracy by the rights that it gives everyone. Not rights that it takes away. Thank you.

Testimony #23
[Elston, Anchorage resident]

My name is Elston [last name omitted], West Anchorage, and I want to dedicate this testimony to my old pastor, Reverend David [last name omitted]. I was raised in the North Pole and Fairbanks. I’m a life long Alaskan. I literally attended a one room school in the North Pole Baptist Church in the late nineteen fifties. My teacher was Dave [last name omitted], who also happened to be the pastor of the church. Doctor [last name omitted] was a transplant from Denton, Texas who held a doctorate of divinity and consequently was the only person in town who had the qualifications to manage us kids, and our education. And manage us he did. He divided the upper grades of the school in two teams, the Philos and the Sophies. And he gave us the topics to debate and be resolved. He taught us that the purpose of debate was for two sides to find areas of common ground. Only then would the love, or philos, of wisdom of sophia, sustain the worthy human endeavor. While faith was a part of Doctor [last name omitted]’s life, so was knowledge. Inform your faith, he would tell us, whenever he would defend a position with some faith encouraged by personal beliefs, instead of facts. To Dr. [last name omitted] the greatest sin was hate. The next greatest sin is ignorance, because ignorance leads to hate. And the sin before ignorance is hubris, or pride, because when we’re proud, we cease to listen and learn from others, which leads to ignorance, which leads to hate. On the other hand, Doctor [last name omitted] told us that the greatest virtue is love. The next greatest virtue is understanding, because understanding makes love possible. Before understanding comes tolerance, because tolerance allows us to understand others who are different than ourselves, and that in turn allows the love to follow us throughout our days. His favorite text in the bible was in first Corinthians. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now, we see through a glass darkly. But, then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Pastor David [last name omitted] was a great teacher and a great man who informs me to this day, nearly fifty years later. I attribute many of my most cherished values to his teachings. I know that if he were alive to day and here, he would support this ordinance, [3 minute timer sounds] because just as we are all God’s children, so are we all people in the eyes of the law.
[Chair: Thank you. Ms. Drummond?]
[Assemblywoman Drummond: Thank you very much for coming and for your patience. I understand, from you, that a number of people have signed up, who live outside of Anchorage, to speak.]
Speaker: I don’t know if that’s true. I do know that a number of that I’ve talked to [unintelligible] young man out there demonstrating in a red shirt, and I said where you from? And he said, oh, I’m from the valley. And I said, what church do you go to? And he said, well I go to the church of hope in the valley. I said, you came in on a bus? And he said yeah, and I said okay. So, apparently there are a group of people bused in from outside the municipality of Anchorage.
[Assemblywoman Drummond: Thank you very much. Madam Chair, I respectfully request that the Chair request that only Anchorage residents be allowed to testify since we have nine hours of testimony ahead of us. I would rather limit it to people who live in Anchorage.]
[Chairwoman Ossiander: I was requested this on the break, and I already shared with the rest of the body that it is not my plan to do that. A lot of folks in the valley spend the bulk of their day in Anchorage. There is no precedent for requiring proof of where you live when you testify to this body. So, I’m going to allow everyone who wants to come to come, unless I’m overruled by the entire body. So, at this point, please speak ma’am. Oh, just a minute, hold on. Dr. Selkregg?]
[Assemblywoman Selkregg: Is it appropriate to just ask people whether or not they, where they’re from, just there address, not that we say they can’t speak, but at least to give us information about… I’m reminded of Antelope, what is it, poor Oregon, where they bused in people from Portland to change kind of an initiative. I mean, it just seems to me it would be appropriate for us to at least know if people were not from this community we could still hear their testimony.]
[Chairwoman Ossiander: Thank you. So, you’ve all heard that. There’s been a request to identify where you live. Please speak, ma’am.]

Testimony #24
[Dr. B, not an Alaskan resident, licensed to practice medicine in state]

Hi, my name is Doctor [last name omitted] I’m, um, a licensed physician in the state of Alaska. I actually don’t reside anywhere in Alaska; I’m here temporarily, but I think that this issue and this ordinance are significant enough that I wanted to step forward and simply address some very basic issues. And if at anytime you feel that my testimony is superfluous or out of line please let me know.
[Chairwoman Ossiander: Ma’am, you have the right to say anything you want to for three minutes.]
So, what I wanted to really address was, I agree with everyone who’s spoken before me with regard to human rights and civil rights; these are not an issue of who can scream louder outside or who can stand more people in line here, we have, this is the United States, we talk about freedom and liberty for all. Having said that, I want to look at the… ordinance itself, where it describes biological gender. So, I’m a physician, I’m familiar with genetics, physiology, anatomy, etc., but I do not understand the term biological gender. My problem with the concept of biological gender has to do with my understanding of the definition of the word gender. Gender is a psycho-social construct used to classify a person as a man, a woman, both, or neither. Gender encompasses all relational aspects of social identity, psychological identity, and human behavior. So we’re talking about transgendered persons; trans and transgendered are umbrella terms used for persons who’s gender identity or gender expression does not match with the sex they were assigned at birth. These are people who we know have substantial psychological and emotional angst. These are not people who choose to dress up on Saturday night and go to a bathroom to bother little girls. I’m sure that there are laws in Anchorage that prohibit such behavior. Saying “Hi, how are you,” in their natural voice is probably… ought not be illegal; the fact that the little girl we heard about earlier was scared is unfortunate; and an opportunity for her mother to talk to her about different people and diversity [applause]…
[Chairwoman Ossiander: Go head ma’am.]
Thank you. Um, so, transgender disphoria, which is actually the psychiatric term used in the DSM IV R, is a serious medical problem that if left untreated leads to emotional suffering, and this quote is from the AMA House of delegates resolution of 2008. So we’re saying that they’re people with a… condition that can lead to serious mental anguish. [3 minute timer sounds]
[Chairwoman Ossiander: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.]
May I have, may I have one more statement to—
[Assemblywoman Drummond: Ma’am, could you please finish your, finish the paragraph you’re on, I’m interested to hear the rest of the definition.]
Thank you, what I wanted to say was that… when people come to me for treatment for their gender disorder, the first thing that I’m going to recommend to them is they have to, not the first thing, but one of the things is they have to live as a member of the opposite gender for a minimum of a year before we can consider treatment with hormone surgery, etc. They are required to do that per the national recommendations and international recommendations for treatment of gender identity disorder. So, if these people can’t go to the bathroom in their workplace or in downtown, how are they supposed to decide if they need to make the transition, and how are we as physicians, supposed to determine whether they are appropriate for treatment or not? In fact, as a physician, I’m not going to go into [audible objections from attendees] the potential complications of being without a bathroom for a whole workday.
[Chairwoman Ossiander: I want to ask you… there are people here who have strong beliefs on every single thing they’re saying. Please don’t interrupt when they’re talking, and… I mean, you can applaud this one, and then somebody’s going to applaud in the opposite side just as strong. Let’s try to get through this. Thank you. Please come forward.]

Testimony #25
[Patricia, Anchorage resident]

Good evening, Madam Chair, members of the Assembly, thank you for giving me this opportunity. My name is Patricia [last name omitted] and I am here on behalf of concerned women for America of Alaska. With members in all fifty states, I represent the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. I have lived in Anchorage for 43 years. This ordinance is not about equality, it is about special rights. The term sexual orientation does not define a true minority as defined by the Supreme Court. There are more notable characteristics like skin color, more economic deprivation, that are separate from the long list of discrimination and their powerlessness as evidence by this Assembly today. By the Supreme Court’s own definition, this bill has no basis. Had there been any impact studies done on this, this is what I’d like to ask the Assembly, had there been we may have decided to build a pipeline, they did an impact study to see how it would effect the caribou, how it would cross the Yukon River, etc. Had there been any impact studies done on this; this is a sweeping ordinance that would change the identity as is, or… A positive impact on the identity of Anchorage. What studies have been done to see how this will affect our city? Um, Further more, I don’t understand what the big rush is… This has come up really quickly and… there’s a lot of questions that haven’t been addressed that need to be addressed. We have documented cases where someone has been denied access to education, housing, and employment, I ask how dare anyone associate themselves with those who’ve truly been discriminated against. During the civil rights movement I very much remember the images of intolerance and racism. African Americans should be offended at the audacity of this special rights interest group to suggest that this group has suffered discrimination. There should be knowledge that these people, seeking special rights, would equate the needed seperence [sic] of those who were forced to take their vow for equality to the streets. How dare they hide behind those who truly suffered blood and in some cases died for the cause of equal rights. Most significantly, and most personally, this ordinance threatens my civil liberties. I have taught in a private school for twenty years and I cannot imagine discriminating against a child based on the color of their skin, economic status, or who their parents are. These are issues over which the child has absolute no control. However, children do need to be taught to control their behavior. None of us are free to act on every impulse we feel. I cannot drive a BMW at the car lot unless I pay for it. I am not above the law enough to punch someone else in the nose. If I do act on any such impulse, I have learned there are negative consequences to such behavior. This is a simple truth that needs to be taught to such children, even in the areas of sexuality. I teach them that marriage is a sacred relationship designed by God so babies can be born. [3 minute timer sounds] That God has a special purpose for daddies and mommies and that when daddy kisses mommy it’s a good thing.
[Chairwoman Ossiander: Thank you.]

Testimony #26
[John, Anchorage resident]

Good evening, Mayor Claman, and the assembly. My name is John [last name omitted], I’m a 25 year resident of Anchorage, Alaska and a tax paying citizen. I also am the current chair of the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, and I am speaking tonight on behalf of the commission members. When the ordinance came… under discussion tonight, was introduced, I decided we had to call a special meeting of  the Equal Rights Commission to review this ordinance. The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission did not author this ordinance or introduce this proposed ordinance, but we will be the agency charged with enforcing the ordinance if it becomes law. We discussed the ordinance from two points of view. First, is this ordinance needed and will it serve our community well. Secondly, is the commission able to handle this additional protected class with regard to our case load and budget. I will address the second issue first, and that is, can the Equal Rights Commission handle the Anchorage case load if this ordinance become law. I want to clearly state that it is our belief that you cannot put a dollar value on equal rights for all citizens. However, we understand that as a practical matter there will be an impact on the commission investigators and staff if this becomes law. Our executive director, Barbara [last name], who is a civil rights attorney, researched how the addition of sexual orientation impacted other places around the country. She contacted places like Washington, Louisville Kentucky, Philadelphia Pennsylvania. The conclusion was that the increase in case load would be five to seven percent, and that is well within our capabilities without staff our budget increases. The issue of need for this ordinance was also discussed. The commission members discussed that the municipal policy in Anchorage Municipal Code 5.10 is equal rights for all citizens and visitors. As a result, the Commission members voted unanimously to support the proposed ordinance. That resulted in the Commission adopting a resolution that I would like to read into the record at this time. Since this resolution was passed, veteran’s status has been removed from the ordinance. This resolution still contains veteran’s status reference, and the Commission does support further conversation regarding the adding of veteran’s status at a later date. I think you all have a copy of this release, I gave it to the clerk, and if you don’t have it you’ll find it someday, I guess. The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission resolves, where as in the municipality of Anchorage citizens, visitors, and workers have no legal protection from discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accomodations, and financial practices, based on their sexual orientation, where as… in the Municipality of Anchorage, some veterans have protections from employment discrimination, yet other veterans and their families do not have legal protection from discrimination in housing, education, public accommodations, and financial practices, based on their veteran’s status.
[Chair: Thank you. You do have questions. Mr. Gutierrez?]
[[Assemblyman Gutierrez: Thank you, madam chair, actually a couple questions for Mr. [last name omitted], but first I’d like to hear the rest of the resolution.]
Where as the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission’s inability to address the discrimination based on sexual orientation and veteran’s status interferes with the policy stated in title 5 of the municipality code, to ensure equal opportunity to all Anchorage persons, the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission hereby resolves that the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission supports the efforts to amend title five of municipal code to include sexual orientation and veteran’s status as a protected class. Dated the 21st of May, signed by the chair.
[Assemblyman Gutierrez: Thank you. Mr. [last name], first, it was an honor to serve with you for two years on the Equal Rights Commission, and I thank you for taking the time to come out here tonight. We have a substitute version than may or may not be before us once the public hearing is over. Have you had a chance to review that, do you have an opinion you feel comfortable expressing an opinion on behalf of the commission?]
If you talking about… the S version… I was at the work session on Friday… Is that the version you’re talking about?
[Assemblyman Gutierrez: Yes.]
Yes, I’m comfortable with most of that. The only thing I’m not comfortable with is the home based business of up to four employees. It is my understanding that, in other situations, other protected classes, its only it loses the one employee. And if we do this, then this could open the door to discrimination under any protected class: sex, marital status, any of them, for home based businesses up to as many as four employees. I think you could better word it to define certain types of businesses that are personal care businesses. I, no I don’t have the answer but I think that needs to be looked at a little. Other than that I am very comfortable with it. I’m particularly comfortable the way we leave… churches out of it and talk about gender-fixed bathrooms and so on.
[Assemblyman Gutierrez: Thank you, madam chair. That’s all.]
[Chair: Mr. Birch.]
[Assemblyman Birch: This has, uh, been changing a lot.]
It has.
[Assemblyman Birch: It’s changed a lot just since Friday. It’s just not very well done yet. And, regarding the veteran’s status, you indicated that you would be, it’s your intent to bring that forward or, you know, keep that in play, have you really encountered any widespread discrimination against veterans?]
Let me first just say… we didn’t offer to bring this forward. This is somebody else’s work. We are just addressing it as it was presented to us. I don’t have any personal information on veteran status… we stopped researching that as soon as we knew it was being pulled. We’ve been contacted by some veteran’s organization in town and they want to meet with the Equal Rights Commission in July. I don’t know what the agenda of that meeting is. If they want us to proceed with this, if they want to say we don’t need it. I don’t know. Beyond that, I do not have that, I can find out for them and get back to this group.
[Assemblyman Birch: Yeah, it just came as a surprise. It’s been perceived as certainly as a military friendly town, with a lot of military…]
Speaking… If I can take my chair hat off and just speak as John [last name omitted] for a minute, I would prefer to see these two ordinances come on a stand alone basis. I believe sexual orientation has merit, but I think it should pass on its own basis. And I think the same thing with veteran status… I think it was, I would have preferred to see them come as two separate ordinances, standing on their own merit, but that’s me speaking now and not the commission.
[Assemblyman Birch] Thank you.
[Chair: Dr. Selkregg.]
[Assemblywoman Selkregg: I just want it known that I have been contacted by veterans organizations and they plan, they think there is some issues and they have planned, I assume they’ll be working with you in resolving them.]
And that may be the people that contacted us also.
[Chair: Thank you very much.]
Thank you.

Testimony #27
[Donna, Anchorage Resident]

Madam Chair, members of the Assembly, Mr. Mayor. My name is Donna [last name omitted] and I’ve lived in Anchorage for 33 years. I have three issues with this ordinance. First, let me begin by saying that I do have gay and lesbian extended family members. In addition, for three summers I worked under a gay manager and we had a great working relationship. I really liked him and I was sorrowful when he died due to complications from his lifestyle. I cried at his funeral and I miss him a lot. Nevertheless, as a Christian, I do not believe that multiple sex partners, recreational sex, adultery, pornography, prostitution, or homosexuality are healthy acceptable lifestyle choices, therefor I do not support any legislation that promotes these lifestyle choices. Secondly, all of us are sexual beings and we choose when, with whom, and how we use our sexuality. We have always been a nation based on individual choice as long as these choices do not have negative consequences for others, government has no business being involved. You cannot change people’s opinions by adding more rules and regulations. Reading the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website, one finds that the section entitled whether the practices are discriminatory under title seven of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states title seven’s broad prohibition against sex discrimination specifically covers sexual harassment. This includes requests for sexual favors to workplace conditions that create a hostile environment for persons of either gender, including same sex harassment. Job rights and protections for homosexuals are already provided the federal government, which the states must comply with and apparently is not being done. As it has been pointed in numerous articles, we in Alaska have been able to live together peacefully and tolerably. The only time we hear of tension is when the Assembly attempts to pass regulations trying to force the acceptance of a minority sexual choice upon the majority. Finally, I’m appauled that those who are apparently trying to railroad this ordinance through before Mayor Sullivan takes office. I’m angered that as a body you’ve sought to create a new war over something that has been not documented to be a huge problem in our community. If discrimination based on sexual orientation was a major problem, we’d be bombarded daily through the news media of stories validating this claim. You’re elected to make decisions that benefit the community as a whole, not to try to destroy the community that placed you into office. If you pass this ordinance, the division you’re generating will continue as… an issue will appear on next spring’s ballot. No one in Anchorage benefits from this kind of fighting; I find this whole process to be totally acceptable. Best wishes to you, you have a tough decision; a tough job ahead. Thank you very much.

Testimony #28
[Enya, residence not specified]

Hello, my name is Enya [last name omitted] and I am a transexual. And, I’ve come here today to share my experience with you, being a transexual in the United States for the past 26 years. It’s not easy for me to be here today to talk to you. I am not out. I have lived my life very selfly [sic], because it is very dangerous to be a transexual in the United States. I have been rudely assaulted by the police in Houston, Texas, and nearly shot for simply walking away from police officers that were kept following me. I was left with my skirt torn and my underwear ripped away, and this was done in broad daylight. I have been denied… emergency medical treatment because I am a transexual. I have been denied health insurance because I am a transexual. I have been openly fired from a job I loved and did well because I am a transexual. And, on top of that, my former employer called my new employer and informed them that I was a transexual. And believe it or not, I am one of the lucky ones. Many are not. Such as Tyra [last name omitted], a young African American trans woman who received injuries in a car wreck in our nation’s capitol. When it was discovered that she was a trans-person, her medics refused to treat her, and once she reached, finally reached the emergency room, she was refused treatment. She died. It was two hours. Had she received treatment she would probably be with us now. This is not an isolated incident. This happens frequently. One in twelve of us will be murdered. 56% of those murders will remain unsolved. When lawmakers exclude us from protection under the law, you send a clear message to these would be harmers of us, it’s okay. It’s okay to deny us medical treatment; it’s okay to abuse us, because we’re not worthy. We’re something less. You know, there just simply aren’t enough of us to demand our rights by sheer wage or volume. There will be no thousand or million tranny march on Washington, there just isn’t enough of us. So we need our allies where we can get them. [3 minute alarm sounds]
[Chair: Thank you very much. You do have questions, Miss Grey-Jackson.]
[Chairwoman Grey-Jackson: Thank you madam chair, thank you for coming out, and everyone else this evening. Well, first I want to know, what does it mean to be transgender.]
Well, it’s not easy for anyone. It’s not something you just wake up and do. I’ve been transgendered since I was age 14. I just simply didn’t pass as a boy, and I mean, for some, it’s real obvious early on… Some people hide it.
[Chairwoman Grey-Jackson: Is there a standard for diagnosis and treatment?]
Yes, it’s called the Harry Benjamin standard, and the one doctor had mentioned it, that you must live for a year as a female, or male, the opposite sex, and you must undergo… extensive psychological testing by more than one physician.
[Chairwoman Grey-Jackson: Two other questions, madam chair. Do you believe that the current ordinance adequately addresses the concerns of the transgender community?]
Um, [unintelligible] felt like it, and I realize [unintelligible] has been out of business for awhile, but felt like they could openly, finally, remain a transexual, they had no problems with it, so, I don’t know, you guys decide.
[Chairwoman Grey-Jackson: Thank you, and we will, and my other question is, what are your thoughts regarding the exemptions for the public restrooms?]
I am really nervous with it. Okay, I’m opening up myself to a good deal of potential harm just by coming out here and being open. But, you know, as a woman, I don’t welcome the idea of sharing a washroom with a fetish transvestite, which is, I believe, what everyone is concerned about. And transexuals and intersex people are much different than fetish transvestites. It’s not about sex for us, and I believe that there are better ways of doing it. Many of us carry a slip of paper from a medical professional that states that we are undergoing physiological changes to change our gender, and, they’re simply aren’t available to fetish transvestites, which, you know, it seems like everyone is concerned with.
[Chairwoman Grey-Jackson: Okay, one last question madam chair, and… The last question is what effect do you think this will have on the transgender persons in our community?]
As is, I think that you open it up to people such as myself who have completely undergone sex reassignment, and… without being too graphic, I do have female genitalia. It may be possible that I… will have to use a male washroom, and that sets me up for violence and all kinds of bad stuff, and I’m frankly scared.

Testimony #29
[Megan, Anchorage resident]

My name is Megan [last name omitted] and I live here in Anchorage. And, if I sound really nervous; I am. I wanted to come here today because, I understand that this is a very… heated, emotional issue for a lot of people. And, for me, it’s not any different than anyone else. I was raised in a Christian home. I was raised with a southern family where… if God wanted men to sleep with men, he would have made Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve. That’s how I was raised. If, you know, if a man lies with a man, it’s a sin. You know, God made us how we are and that’s how we should be right? This was how I was raised, so when I had my children, this is how I raised my children. When my oldest child was old enough to start walking and talking and showing interest in things on her own, she wanted to get her haircut short like a boy. She wanted to play with boys’ toys and we’d tell her no, honey, no. You’re a girl. Girls don’t wear boys’ clothes. Girls don’t play with boys’ toys. They don’t, you know, they don’t wear boys clothes, you have to keep your hair long. Girls wear pink and they keep their hair long cause that’s just how it is. And my child was absolutely miserable. For years she was miserable, depressed, crying, not understanding, at a very young age, why I would do this to her. My first thought, now that I know, is why would a child choose to put themselves in this kind of position? Does the four year old child just say, hey, I’m gonna wake up and I’m gonna piss off, pardon my french, every christian person out there just cause I have nothing better to do. Probably not. Probably not. Once I started taking college classes and I was educated about different issues, I found out that, hey, there’s a thing where you’re assigned a biological sex. But then you have your gender identity and your sexual orientation, and I was like, wait a minute, they’re separate? There’s three separate categories? How can this be? I never learned this in school, nobody told me this. I should have learned this in church. What’s going on here? So, after taking this class, I sat down with my child and then I asked her open ended questions. Tell me how you feel. Little did I know that my daughter didn’t feel like a girl. At eight years old, she didn’t feel like a girl. Was this something that I did wrong? I was brought up in a christian home. I was brought up in a southern baptist family, what did I do wrong? Was I not pushing my values enough? [3 minute timer sounds]

Testimony #30
[Richard, residency not established]

Madam Chair, assembly members, fellow citizens, my name is Richard [last name omitted] RN. I representive of myself, and I am here to urge you that this experiment in social engineering be voted down. I am a research nurse and the proposed experiment in social engineering does not sufficiently describe the benefits from society that we citizens can expect. More importantly, the proposed experiment does not adequately address the potential risks to society that may involved if this experiment goes forward. Although society has in past, required government intervention to provide liberty and justice for all, this legislation is designed to grant special sanction for behavior in contrast to the established subjects of equal opportunity laws that address human traits. As a health work researcher, I warn you that there may be unintended consequences of implementing changes to society, no matter the good intention, consequences that could be devastating and long lasting. As a health researcher, if I wanted to study this type of social engineering in a population, I would have to present my proposal, a well written proposal, to an institutional review board, detailing the anticipated benefits as well as any potential adverse consequences that may occur from it. I would then be required to obtain informed consent from every participant, fully explaining the risks and the benefits of their participation. No one could be forced or coerced to participate. Government, however, can conduct experiments by just passing a law. The consequences be damned. In this case, I submitt that an unapproved research project might be prefered over a well intentioned government body passing a law. Ever since Nuremburg, the Tuskegee experiments, and the ensuing Belmont Report, researchers have had legal obligations to the human subjects that are part of their studies. Elected representatives in government, however, can be guilty as hell and free as a bird. They may suffer politically, and they may severely stain their legacy, but because they are representatives of the people, they cannot suffer legally. It’s a great country. It’s a great country where informed consent from human subjects involved potentially serious relegated to the whims [3 minute timer sounds]
[Chair: Thank you.]
Thank you.

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