Civil Rights Advocate Who Left Her ACLU Job Over Transgender Bathroom Issue Speaks Out


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.

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.”

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Heather Sells