Friday, May 13, 2016

The Wrong Poster Child: Transgenders as Victims

When Michael Brown, the 18 year old Black male who was shot in a suburb of St. Louis, became an example of Black youth violated by white police, discerning minds around the country said, "Uh-oh, maybe not the best example you would want for the victimization of Black youth."

The images of the massive Brown beating and intimidating a slight South Asia convenience store clerk as Brown stole some small cigars was enough evidence to suggest this 18 year old was no child and was, in fact, a thug. It was enough to make some people wonder if this particular 18 year old might, in fact, have stormed into the police car as the police asserted and tried to wrest the policeman's gun from him.  If Brown was shot in the back, that still has to be explained, but if you imagine a policeman physically attacked, you might imagine he didn't want this particular 18 year old running around looking for another victim.

But the knee jerk reaction ensued:  he was Black and shot dead, so he was innocent and he was used by well meaning, but misguided, people as a good example of a major societal ill, namely violent racist White police.

The same sort of mindless rush to embrace transgenders in locker rooms and bathrooms seems to be exerting gravitational pull on President Obama, who ordinarily is thoughtful, in a lawerly sort of way, weighing both sides of the argument, and choosing a reasonable path toward solution. Not so with his response to transgenders in bathrooms and locker rooms.

Mr. Obama, and many Democrats continue to cast this debate as one about victimization of innocent people who are simply different, who are struggling to be accepted, or at least to be left alone, in a cruel and mocking world. Mr. Obama and others see these people as being similar to homosexuals in their position of being ostracized, demeaned and denied basic human rights, like the right to marry whomever they love, something which affects nobody but themselves. 

Let's first agree there is a significant difference between a bathroom, where there are stalls which conceal people using the bathroom from each other, and a locker room, where women strip naked in front of each other, walk naked into a shower and shower naked. 

Let us also agree that nobody of good will should wish to hurt the feelings or threaten the psyche of a fellow citizen, even if that citizen is odd or frankly deranged. Everyone ought to be treated with respect.

But, suppose, for a moment,  that a person who has male external genitalia, walks into a locker room with thirteen year old females with female external genitalia and strips down to use the shower with these girls.  Is it unreasonable for these girls to express discomfort with this? 

And if their expression of discomfort made the person with the testicles feel demeaned and abused, should we say that his/her discomfort should prevail over the discomfort of the girls?

Suppose, just for the sake of argument, that at least some physicians who deal with transgender people who believe that, unlike homosexuality, most if not all transgender people have significant psychopathology.  This psychopathology may have understandable biochemical roots.  But it is psychpathology, palpable and real and not simply another way of being.

If you believed transgender people have a disease, in this sense, would it affect your analysis of their rights to use locker rooms or even bathrooms which have been designated for "women?" 

No comments:

Post a Comment