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ACLU Director Who Resigned Because of Bathroom Bill Exposes Dangers of Political Correctness

Heather Sells : Jun 16, 2016  CBN News

"Am I bigot because I'm a trauma survivor and I'm asking these questions? Because I think that sends a dangerous message to hundreds of thousands of women and girls that their rights, their desire to be safe and comfortable in bathrooms doesn't matter either." -Maya Dillard Smith

airlift(Atlanta, GA)—[CBN News] In the midst of a nationwide debate on public bathrooms, civil rights advocate Maya Dillard Smith says she has lots of questions about bathroom safety. (Screengrab via CBN News)

But in her role as director of the Georgia American Civil Liberties Union, she says that turned into a controversial position.

"I was just really curious about what it all meant," Smith told CBN News. "What does it mean for girls? What does it mean for schools?"

After leading the organization for the last year, Smith is now out of a job. She won't say whether she resigned or was fired and neither will the ACLU.

But Smith said the ACLU did not welcome her asking questions about safety for women and girls in bathrooms and that ultimately led to her breaking point.

Smith was not well versed in transgender issues when the ACLU recruited her in 2015 to oversee a variety of civil rights cases in the state of Georgia.

She did, however, bring a wealth of experience in public safety, serving on the city of Oakland, California's Violence Prevention and Public Safety Oversight Committee from 2005-2009 and as the director of Violence Prevention for the city and county of San Francisco from 2007-2009.

She says a family experience also shaped her views. She told CBN News that she was in a public bathroom with two of her daughters when three transgender men entered.

"They were visibly male, and my daughters were visibly frightened," she said.

In addition, Smith is a sexual trauma survivor. But in the world of transgender politics, sexual trauma is a loaded topic. Liberals view it as a minefield exploited by conservatives to limit transgender rights.

Indeed, many conservative groups have argued that allowing transgender people into the bathroom of their choice will pave the way for predators looking to assault women and girls.

But Smith asking the safety questions brings a liberal voice to the mix, especially with her proven track record of fighting for LGBT rights.

She says she's saddened that more progressives can't or don't want to hear them.

"Am I bigot because I'm a trauma survivor and I'm asking these questions?" she asked. "Because I think that sends a dangerous message to hundreds of thousands of women and girls that their rights, their desire to be safe and comfortable in bathrooms doesn't matter either."  

airliftSmith fears that a short-term view of transgender rights will ultimately erase the rights and gains made by the women's movement over the years and could lead to unintended consequences as public policies develop. (Screengrab via CBN News)

It's a difficult conversation to pursue, in part because of the country's political polarization. Smith says she's committed to doing her part to reshape it and that includes talking with CBN News.

"There were a lot of people that advised me not to sit down and have a conversation with you or to appear on the Christian Broadcasting Network, because it would make me appear more aligned with the Right," she said. "But this is not about me and my political alignment. This is about whether we can have an honest conversation."

To that end, she's established a website, Finding Middle Ground and a Facebook page to encourage civil discourse on public policy, starting with bathrooms.

She says accomplishing that is worth fighting for and diminishes her job loss.

"This is not about me and the ACLU," she said. "This is about reshaping and broadening a conversation and if my transition from the ACLU allows us to do that, then I'm okay with that."

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