Georgia ACLU director quits over group’s support for trans rights

Maya Dillard Smith Dawn Ennis

The interim director of the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has announced she’s leaving the organization because she cannot stomach its stance in support of transgender civil rights, claiming they come at the expense of women’s rights.

The ACLU of North Carolina is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, Carcano v. McCrory, challenging House Bill 2, the controversial law that restricts public bathroom usage to those facilities matching the gender on a person’s birth certificate as well as limiting LGBT non-discrimination ordinances.

But as the ACLU makes transgender issues a national priority, Maya Dillard Smith says she found herself at odds with the organization and efforts by the Obama Administration to defend the rights of trans students in schools across the country.

Dillard Smith says she is siding with the state of Georgia and ten other states in objecting to guidance by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice that transgender students should use restrooms consistent with their gender identity. Those states and three governors are suing the federal government over that directive.

In a statement, Dillard Smith declared “I found myself principally and philosophically unaligned with the organization,” and accused the ACLU of being as bad as right wing conservative groups:

“…A special interest organization that promotes not all, but certain progressive rights.  In that way, it is a special interest organization not unlike the conservative right, which creates a hierarchy of rights based on who is funding the organization’s lobbying activities.”

She also shared a story about what she described as a disturbing encounter with trans women in a ladies room, that scared her school-age children.

“I have shared my personal experience of having taken my elementary school age daughters into a women’s restroom when shortly after three transgender young adults over six feet with deep voices entered. My children were visibly frightened, concerned about their safety and left asking lots of questions for which I, like many parents, was ill-prepared to answer.”

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