ACLU official resigns over transgender bathroom issue, safety concerns for her children

Maya Dillard Smith says transgender rights compete with women's rights.(Screenshot/YouTube/Oppenheim Associates)

The interim director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Georgia has resigned over disagreement on a case concerning a North Carolina law that prohibits transgenders from using bathrooms according to their gender identity and on her concerns about her children's privacy and safety.

Maya Dillard Smith said she is siding more with the state of Georgia rather than ACLU on the matter. The ACLU of North Carolina is a plaintiff in the case.

Smith accused the ACLU of being "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," the Atlanta Progressive News reports.

She said transgender rights compete with women's rights.

Smith recalled an incident when she took her daughters to a women's restroom and then three transgender young adults 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," she said.

She believes that "there are solutions that can provide accommodations for transgender people and balance the need to ensure women and girls are safe from those who might have malicious intent," she said.

Smith said ACLU's goal is to "delicately balance competing rights to ensure that any infringements are narrowly tailored, that they do not create a hierarchy of rights, and that we are mindful of unintended consequences."

"Thus, I found myself principally and philosophically unaligned with the organization," she said.

She launched a website, Finding Middle Ground, about balancing civil rights for all.

A girl in the video says, "Boys in the girl's bathroom? I don't know about that. There's some boys who feel like they're girls on the inside, and there's some boys who are just perverts."

Cheryl Courney-Evans of Tilting The World Towards Change said Smith "did the right thing leaving the organization. If she couldn't defend our rights any better than that, she deserves to leave – she doesn't need to be in that position."