Tag Archives: discrimination

Regulation of the Day 210: Transgendered Air Travelers

Canada is cracking down on the latest terrorist threat to innocent people everywhere: transgendered people. A July 2011 provision added to the Canadian Aeronautics Act’s Identity Screening Regulations says, “An air carrier shall not transport a passenger… who does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

Suppose someone was born female but lives life as a male. If his valid government-issued photo ID still identifies him as female, he may not board an airplane. It can take years of filling out forms and enduring hearings to convince courts to legally recognize that someone has crossed genders, as the economist Deirdre McCloskey (formerly Donald) movingly writes in her autobiography, Crossing. The result is a de facto ban on flying for most transgendered Canadians.

Dennis Lebel is Canada’s Transportation Minister. He supports the ban. He believes it increases passenger safety.

It doesn’t, actually. Here’s why. A passenger is a threat if he carries weapons or explosives on board. If he doesn’t, he’s not. This is true whether or not his appearance matches his ID, or whether it says “M” or “F.” This is true even if the passenger uses a fake ID, or none at all. Can this person bring down a plane? That is the question.

In other words, showing ID has precisely nothing to do with passenger safety. It’s all for show. The point is if you have weapons and explosives or not.

Lebel and the Canadian security screeners who work for him should keep this in mind. The nasty little provision may or may not be specifically targeted at gender crossers. But in practice it is discrimination, and it does not make air travelers any safer. If anything, by distracting screeners from searching for weapons and explosives, it makes passengers a little less safe. This is bad policy all around. It should be repealed immediately.

CEI Podcast for April 21, 2011: The Male-Female Pay Gap

Have a listen here.

Kathryn Ciano guest hosts. Carrie Lukas, Managing Director of the Independent Women’s Forum, argues that the pay gap between men and women isn’t due to discrimination. She also wrote the issue last week in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Regulation of the Day 142: Ladies’ Night

Ladies’ night bar specials are illegal in Minnesota. They are unfair gender discrimination, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

Of course, few of the people actually affected by this blatant discrimination have a problem with it. Women save money on drinks. Men who buy women drinks save money. And by increasing the female-to-male ratio, ladies’ nights make men happy for other reasons.

If anything, enforcing the ladies’ night ban is a waste of state resources at a time when Minnesota is facing a severe budget crunch.

So why are regulators bothering? Blame lawyers. A separate case in New York has brought publicity to this divisive issue:

New York attorney Roy Den Hollander has for years made his living filing gender discrimination complaints for men, including himself.

Who cares? He does.

“[Men] have to pay more for the services [clubs] offer just because an accident of nature made them one sex or another?” he said. “That’s the basis of discrimination, and it shouldn’t be allowed.”

Or Mr. Hollander could simply choose to patronize bars that don’t do ladies’ nights. Other people seem to enjoy that particular form of gender discrimination. Let them.

Regulation of the Day 81: Porn

Marginal Revolution’s Alex Tabarrok points to a proposed rule in California that would reclassify adult film actors as being subject to certain employment regulations. The unintended consequences are potentially fatal:

California’s anti-discrimination laws prohibit requiring an HIV test as a condition of employment; therefore the adult film industry’s current testing process, in which every performer is tested for HIV monthly, would be illegal. Nor would adult film producers be allowed to “discriminate” by refusing employment to HIV-positive performers. As a result, untested and HIV-positive performers would be able to work in the industry, raising the risks of HIV outbreaks–particularly since condom breakage or slippage can occur.

Sounds like regulators and activists need to think that one through a little more carefully.