Freedom’s Edge: Balancing Religious Freedom and Equal Access to Facilities and Services for Transexuals

On the heels of the continuing culture wars in the United States and elsewhere over balancing religious freedom and sexual freedom for members of the LGBT community in the context of marriage equality, a newer issue has arisen. Are transexuals able to be recognized by their gender identity even if it differs from the gender on their birth certificate? In many US states this is not a problem and people can access facilities based on the gender with which they identify. In other states, however, this has become a battleground issue. In many states these battles are stoked and supported by certain religious organizations. In other states which protect equal access based on gender identity, religious entities have not been exempted from these new laws, even when failure to exempt could lead to serious violations of religious freedom. Thus, in some cases religious organizations have been pushing for laws that create discrimination and inequality for transexuals. In others, forces on the other side are creating serious religious conflicts by failing to exempt religious entities from equal access laws. It is a new chapter in the culture wars. I argued in the well-received book, Freedom’s Edge: Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom, and the Future of America (Cambridge University Press 2016), that we should protect both religious freedom and sexual freedom on issues such as same-sex marriage. In this talk I will likewise argue for protecting interests on both sides.

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Posted by IAFOR