Wednesday, June 01, 2005


New York City and the State of New York are getting in the business of pushing social change in the nation's corporations. On May 19, Delta shareholders voted down a proposal aimed at stopping what some call "gender-identified discrimination." The proposal was backed by five pension funds operated by New York City and additional funds with the state of New York. This isn't the first time New York City has urged companies to change policies on sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, 30 companies have amended or agreed to amend their policies, according to New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. The most recent was Toys "R" Us.

The Delta board of directors issued a response to the latest proposal saying it is opposed to such a change because the company has already adopted an inclusive policy. "That's hocus-pocus," said Grant Lukenbill, managing director of the Equality Project and author of the "10 Principles of Equality" which are outlined in the comptrollers' proposal. "They have to walk the walk."

ExxonMobil knows what it means when New York City comes to a shareholders meeting. For seven years the company has faced the same proposal on its proxy. ExxonMobil claims the proposal itself is problematic. In a response to shareholders, corporate officials wrote, "This proposal suggests that ExxonMobil condones discrimination based on sexual orientation, which is false. ExxonMobil has a zero-tolerance discrimination and harassment policy." But that's apparently not enough for homosexual activists, who continue demanding more.

What about the claims that such harassment is increasing? The U.S. General Accounting Office studied states that have same-sex orientation included their discrimination laws. The findings were not what homosexuals have been parading in front of media. "We found that, in those states with a law making it illegal to discriminate in employment on the basis of sexual orientation, relatively few complaints of such discrimination have been made," the report reads. "The statistics do not show any trend in the number of complaints over time."

But a dearth of discrimination complaints have not placed the issue low on the comptrollers' list of priorities. Instead they continue to seek special rights for homosexuals. And groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce continue to echo the refrain. "If they won't discriminate, why not put it in the policy?" asked Lukenbill.

A better question said Glenn Stanton, senior analyst for marriage and sexuality at Focus on the Family, is to ask for the definition of sexual orientation. "There is no academically-accepted definition of sexual orientation," he noted. "It could be almost anything."

The obvious problem appeared at the Delta shareholders meeting. Dave McNeil, a Delta shareholder, asked, "What exactly are you using for a definition of sexual orientation? I mean, we're going to vote on something, shouldn't we all be on the same page as to exactly what it means? I think it would be helpful if she'd define that." Lyn Connelly on behalf of the New York City pension funds, a group that owns more than 668,000 shares of Delta stock, said, "Gender Identity is the identity by which the individual describes themselves which may not be apparent to the person with whom they're speaking." "And sexual orientation?" McNeil asked. "Sexual orientation," Connelly answered, "is whether or not you are same-sex or . . . heterosexual or homosexual."

"So whatever an individual finds sexually desirable?" McNeil confirmed. "OK, So that definition could also include pedophiles and necrophiliacs? Doesn't that fall within the definition?" "I don't believe that falls within the legal definition, no," Connelly answered.

The issue makes itself quickly apparent when defining the terms. That is where most pro-family groups have problems with same-sex orientation policies. "Let's just say that if you are part of the class of human beings, you should not be discriminated against," Stanton said. "Everyone is for that, but why single out one category over another?" He said human resources departments are going to be tied in bureaucratic knots by giving categorical rights to workers. Imagine the different categories that could be added to a company's official handbook: smokers, left-handed workers, people who vacation at the lake and workers who eat fatty foods in the cafeteria. The list could get truly bizarre. Fortunately, ExxonMobil and Delta are standing firm: No worker should face discrimination.


Gender: Good Riddance, Farewell

The journal "Nature" recently published a study showing the inborn differences between men and women are far greater than previously suspected

In the Nature vs. Nurture debate, feminists rabidly insist that all psychological and social differences between the sexes are caused by the social environment. That ideologically-loaded belief is captured in that innocent-sounding word, “gender.” There’s a strategic reason for that dogmatic assertion. As long as people believe that men and women are biological clones, the rad-fems can claim that the under-representation of female CEOs and politicians can be blamed on the Glass Ceiling, not on the informed lifestyle choices that women make. And that in turn justifies the gender quotas, government set-asides, and all the other appurtenances of a feminist society.

The feminist thought police do not take kindly to persons who challenge widely-held beliefs. So when Harvard president Lawrence Summers suggested innate sex differences, not gender socialization patterns, might account for the shortage of female scientists, the Lefties were aghast.

But scientists insist Summers has a point, that the brains of men and women are anatomically and functionally different. Referring to the spatial abilities of the sexes, Judith Kleinfeld of the University of Alaska notes, “The average difference between males and females on psychological tests of these abilities is huge.”

The Summers’ dust-up has broadened into a broad-based examination of sex and gender. That argument is now being waged on two other fronts.

First is the Great Op-Ed Debate, that non-stop catfight that has been trying to answer the vexing question, Why do women represent only a small fraction of newspaper opinion writers?

Of course, there were the pundits like Amy Sullivan who predictably played the victim card. Sullivan blamed the problem on women who “have been raised to feel ill-at-ease in the rough-and-tumble, male-dominated world of political expression.” Sorry, Ms. Sullivan, that argument may have played in Peoria 50 years ago, but not in 2005.

Others searched for more plausible explanations. Gail Collins, the woman who runs the editorial page of the New York Times, admitted in a round-about way, “There are probably fewer women, in the great cosmic scheme of things, who feel comfortable writing very straight opinion stuff.” And Maureen Dowd, whose writing style is perpetually stuck in full-attack mode, sounded more like a purring kitten when she admitted, “I wanted to be liked, not attacked...This job has not come easily to me.”

But it was Catherine Seipp who finally came out and stated the obvious: “The uncomfortable fact is that women just seem less interested in politics than men.” Why? Because “that typically female emotional-reaction-as-argument is one big reason why the op-ed pages are still mostly male.”

By remarkable coincidence, the Great Op-Ed Debate was being waged just as the journal Nature was about to release the startling results of a study that would profoundly challenge the basic feminist assumptions of gender. That research, published late last month, found the inborn differences between men and women are far greater than previously suspected. Men and women differ by two percent in their genetic make-up.

And here’s the jaw-dropper: That two percent sex difference is greater than the biological gap between humans and chimpanzees. In other words, the built-in differences between men and women are akin to the dissimilarities between man and ape. Now we know why millions were so engrossed by that long-running TV series about Tarzan, Jane, and Chita.

First Larry Summers. Then the Great Op-Ed Debate. And now breakthrough research on the genetic differences between the sexes. It’s high time that we accept the obvious: Men and women are not the same. Vivre la difference!


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