I am often the “lone voice in the wilderness” in this publication, surrounded by an echo chamber that often stifles a truly holistic approach to dealing with issues. On the matter of recent transgender discussion, we find ourselves again missing the entire picture.
Seacoast Media Group recently ran an editorial titled “Transgender policy sends right message about equality” (https://tinyurl.com/ya4cgxpg). Phrasing throughout it is used to marginalize people who hold a differing view on this topic. Phrasing such as “simple concept and universally embraced,” is not true and meant to send an ominous warning. What were those who penned the statement really trying to say?
Pile on other statements such as “speaking out with emotion and compassion and addressing opposition that shows a great deal of education is still needed in our society on transgender issues” or “This change and the Kittery school policy send a much-needed positive message about humanity and equality in our communities,” and the not so subtle tone is made abundantly clear. If you disagree with the approach of these polices you lack compassion, intellect, humanity and oppose equality. I am sure what they really were thinking was “debate over, sit down and shut up, you phobic, closed-minded bigot.” I am none of these things, because if I were SMG would not afford me this little corner of intellectual deliberation.
The editorial first went after the valid opinion offered by a resident that non-transgender predators will abuse these polices, dismissing it as a “bathroom myth.” Is it the position of SMG that male predators will not exploit these policies? As a former police officer, I can tell you with certainty that sexual predators, with intent of physical harm, capturing illegal images or merely leering, will take advantage of the new camouflage these types of policies afford them. Trust me when I say, no police chief in his or her right mind will go on record and state that these policies will not be abused by non-transgender predators. This leads me to the next statement in the editorial.
“The truth is sexual assault is illegal, of course, and remains illegal, and we as a society simply need to allow people to go to the bathroom when nature calls.” Violent crime in our society in every regard is illegal, yet still happens. If most transgender men feel safer going to the bathroom with women (disregarding the woman’s right to privacy), because they fear they will be assaulted in the men’s room, isn’t the first part of this statement contradictory to its concept, and frankly insulting to victims of sexual crimes? “The truth is” that this was the most disconnected, weak argument in the piece, devoid of commonsense, and exactly what emerges from an echo chamber. No one is suggesting men suffering from gender dysphoria are predators. History tells us sexual predators of all shapes and sizes will exploit every opportunity and every weakness to fulfill their perversion.
The next part of this statement is even more bizarre. Who is trying to deny anyone the ability to go the bathroom? We put proper boundaries as a matter of decency and privacy, not because of a lack of compassion. However, we must remember we are not just talking about bathrooms.
What the authors of this piece fail to mention is that when a man (who identifies as a woman) is standing before two doors, one marked “Boys” and one marked “Girls,” the fact he is not permitted to walk in one door (Girls), and chooses not to walk in the other door (Boys), means somehow we lack compassion? That is a preposterous belief.
The most alarming element of the Kittery policy is the elimination of parents regarding the application of the policy when it pertains to their child. As reported, the policy “In the event that a student and their parent do not agree on the gender identity or expression, the school district will abide by the wishes of the student.” It is noble of the school board to enact a policy that places a wedge between the child and their parent, yet in every other regard they will hold the parent responsible for the actions of the student. This provision is not only grossly inappropriate, but frighteningly authoritarian in nature.
There are reasons society provides separate facilities for males and females. Contrary to the weak argument attempted in the editorial, it is not because of gender identity, but because of the bodily differences between females and males. This privacy concern is real and particularly critical for victims of sexual assault, many of whom have expressed that seeing naked male bodies can function as a trigger for the anxiety related to their attack. As a reminder, a sexual assault that was “illegal,” yet still occurred.
The Kittery policy is another example of a policy advanced by the echo chamber. These polices merely serve to advance an agenda that is not only radically illogical, but is an affront to privacy and safety, has nothing to do with equality, is using a perverted understanding of liberty, and is promoted by an ideology that condemns people who have valid concerns regarding the full impact of such measures.
I do understand why a man suffering from gender dysphoria would rather use the women’s restroom or locker room. However, I also understand why girls don’t want a naked man changing with them. These concerns are more heightened when dealing with students, something dismissed in this conversation. Many of us remember too well being a teen in a locker room without clothes. To be in the middle of puberty and surrounded by other naked bodies is very stressful; now add a naked person of the opposite gender and the anxiety is intensified.
The editorial, as well as others that will follow, takes a large percentage of our society and casts aside their reasonable concerns. In short time, these policies will prove to be the disasters they really are, and then what?