By Leo Coughlin
The Tampa City Council took action last week that is a forecast - the betting here is - of what will become a big issue in Largo in the near future.
Last Thursday, the council approved an amendment to the city's discrimination laws that adds "gender identity or expression" as a protected group.
And who decides on "gender identity"?
The individual, who can decide, on any given day, that he or she wants to appear as one of the other gender and merely by saying so, not necessarily dressing in that gender.
Think of the opportunities that offers voyeurs who might want to visit a restroom of the opposite gender for his or her own personal amusement. Crank that up to sexual predator and you have one very big problem.
Think of the business owner who serves the public - a restaurant, say - who must hire a cross dresser. That might be offensive to potential customers who would stay away and the business would suffer.
Think of the business owner or landlords who stand to have their business suffer because they cannot shut the door on a transvestite.
In other words, the aberrated and perverse have taken command where common sense used to prevail. That is, the inmates are running the asylum.
Yes, friends, the subject will arise again in Largo. It came up some years ago and was turned away.
In another instance, Largo lost a competent and professional city manager. When Steve Stanton shocked the community with his sincere plan to change his gender (which, of course, cannot be done, all arguments to the contrary) he turned the city upside down.
The City Commission reluctantly fired him. Not because, as advocates of his choice claimed out of any bias against people who choose that lifestyle, but because his staying on as manager would just not have worked.
Underneath all of this is homosexuality. And that, simply, is a desire to direct sexual proclivities toward another person of the same gender.
Obviously, this ranges from the hidden homosexual who keeps his or her condition pretty well concealed to the blatant cross dresser and to those who actually undergo "sex change" surgery.
As a footnote, cross dressers are not always necessarily homosexuals.
Reaction to all this perversity ranges from snickering and vulgar jokes to outright repugnance.
It was just a few years ago that the chamber in which the Largo City Commission meets was chock-a-block full of advocates and opponents of an anti-discrimination measure that would have given the cross gender folks basically what the Tampa City Council has just approved.
What used to be totally unacceptable in our society in this country and was absolutely against the law in some manifestations has now become acceptable - with enthusiasm or reluctance - in many quarters.
Something like 13 states in our union extend protection to people who want to wear the opposite gender's clothing, want to change their sex or want a totally opposite gender identity.
Include in that 16 cities in Florida, of which Tampa apparently is the latest.
Tampa's ordinance will make it lawful for cross dressing males to enter and use women's rest rooms.
Not only that - any man who perceives his gender identity to be female, whether he is dressed as a woman or not, can enter any public women's rest room in Tampa.
All the individual has to do for legal protection is make the claim that he or she considers himself to be gender identified with the opposite gender. There need be no other manifestation.
So, a deviant who just likes to see women in some sort of undress or in the vulnerability of a bathroom can go in, enjoy himself and no one can stop him. He is legally protected. He has a right to indulge his perversity.
Further, public schools and day care center cannot refuse employment to cross dressers and transgender persons. An individual teacher could, under the Tampa law, teach one day appearing as a man and do the same the next day appearing as a woman.
You think this might confuse the children? Of course, to the teenagers it would be hilarious, no doubt.
Again, it is up to the individual to determine what his or her gender is on any given day.
Stand by, Largonians.
This is in our future.
Bet on it.
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