Plumb Lines

July 23, 2009

Americans with Gender Disabilities Act

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matthew Schmitz @ 12:43 am

In a world untouched by sin and the fall, we would have many of the same ideas in more fanciful form. There would be no sickness or deficiency, but we would still have the Americans with (Gender) Disabilities Act. Places of public accommodation would be required to have doorways built so that men could easily hold doors open to let ladies pass. Lanes would be drawn on the sidewalks to make sure that men  always walked nearest the street. In short, law would everywhere make room for the gracious and considerate interplay of the sexes.

In such a world, the U.S. Congress would mandate that interiors be acoustically designed to soften the loud, low tones of male voices and amplify the female voice, which goes too often unheard. There would be no braille or sign language, but men would be taught a simple, picture-based code into which women could translate statements made in the female tongues of body language and social cues.

This, though, is not the world we live in. Our disabilities are accommodated by ungainly ramps and loading-dock elevators (all serving, of course, a worthy purpose). Of course gender, be it male or female, is no disability. But even a world that was free from disability would still have to make special accommodation for humans who are, one might say, “differently enabled.”

-Matthew Schmitz

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