Accommodating transgender people at expense of others
I know an 8-year-old boy who likes all sorts of reptiles. There is, however, one particular stuffed snake that collects dust in the corner of the toy room. The reason this snake is python non grata is that it is pink. I made the mistake of picking up a girl snake, to which the young man replied with all the indignation an 8-year-old can muster, “Boys do not play with pink snakes.”
End of story.
This taught me a valuable lesson: Some absolutes are keyed into our biology and our DNA that have nothing to do with nurture. In other words, you will not be hearing Elsa screaming about letting it go in my house, but you will be forced to take cover if a barrage of orange Nerf bullets are aimed in your direction.
Some readers might be saying that this is all epidermal stuff, and that, of course, boys and girls have defined preferences for different things, but that this doesn’t mean there isn’t crossover. But to go from that to accepting the fact that gender is fluid and, because of that, unimportant and readily exchangeable is to do irreparable damage to the integrity of the human being.
Lately, it’s become trendy to talk about transgender. In only a few short years, a nanosecond after that last great sexual battle was won with the legalization of same-sex marriage, we have been treated to case after case of men coming out as women, or vice versa. It didn’t start with Caitlin Jenner, but it found its champion in her story.
Whenever I have questioned the legitimacy of the trans phenomenon, people have pointed me to studies discussing the issue of “gender dysphoria,” in which a person’s biological sex is not in sync with the way they feel inside. Frankly, you can find a psychological study to say whatever you want it to say, as I have found in my legal practice. There are as many opinions on these things as there are recent medical school graduates. This is not to say that the medical condition does not exist, but simply that its legitimacy and parameters are still being debated.
Last week, the Boyertown School District in Berks County, Pa. was sued on behalf of a young male student who was forced to share the boy’s bathroom with a biological female who apparently identified as male. The unnamed student was upset when the transgender classmate came into his locker room and started undressing. When he went to school administrators and asked them to do something about this violation of his privacy, he essentially was told to deal with it.
If we told a gay student to “deal with” being bullied by a straight student, we would rightfully be excoriated and quite possibly brought up on charges of child endangerment. But it is OK to tell a straight, cisgender boy to simply get with the program and stop whining because to do otherwise is to be intolerant of the sexual minority. That is how far we have come in this anything-goes society.
The hypocrisy is astounding. LGBT activist Eliza Bayard suggested that the appropriate avenue would be to find an “accommodation” for the non-trans child. Imagine if we suggested the reverse: that the trans child be given a specific accommodation, such as a separate room in which to change. There would be screams of intolerance and discrimination, as there were when President Trump did the right thing and repealed Barack Obama’s transgender mandates in public schools.
The point is that “accommodations” are exceptions, and the LGBT community does not want to be viewed as an exception to anything. It wants to be accepted as mainstream and deserving of all of the rights and privileges as the straight, white, Christian, plug-in-your-oppressive-patriarchal-adjective-here. But when a member of the majority group, in this case a kid who just wants to put on his underwear without making a political statement, files a lawsuit to protect his own right to privacy, the story gets turned into one about intolerance.
I know some people think the most important thing in the world is to keep our children from being bullied. There is definitely value in providing a safe environment for them, and adults are the ones who need to do it. Lord of the Flies was not fiction, and I say that from experience.
But that doesn’t mean that we sign on to every questionable social crusade in the name of tolerance, at least not where children are concerned. If an adult wants to go on reality TV and chronicle the transition from Olympic gold medalist to has-been Kardashian, that’s one thing. To enable a child to think gender is just another variable, like hair color and weight, is quite another.
As Pope Francis said in a quote that isn’t nearly as popular as his “Who am I to judge” comment: “We are living a moment of annihilation of man as image of God . . . Today, in schools they are teaching this to children - to children! - that everyone can choose their gender.”
Annihilation of man as image of God. Annihilation of the distinction between boy and girl. Annihilation of privacy.
Annihilation, really, of childhood.
© 2017 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.