I got unfriended on Facebook again. It used to happen a lot more… I think I have become a little less abrasive over the past few years. These days, I can usually see it coming. I’m aware that feeling like you can fix everyone on the internet makes you way crazier than any of the people you might encounter on the internet… So most of the time, if some ignorant article pops up in my feed, I just shake my head, roll my eyes, and move on to the next thing. But it still happens every now and then when someone will post something that is just CRAZY offensive, and I feel compelled to chime in. Usually, I will run it by my wife. I will say, “So-and-so just wrote ________… Should I write ________?” Almost all of the time, she will advise me against it. But there are times when I still just can’t help myself… And I think, “You know what? This is worth getting unfriended over.”
I’m sure I get unfriended all the time… I probably just don’t notice. This one I DID notice, because I spent some time before bed researching/writing a response, and when I woke up, I went to her page to see if anything was said. The article was posted by a woman from our old church–A lot of the attrition I see on my “friends list” comes from members of our old church… I suppose that’s probably not unique to my situation. I didn’t really “know” her, but I definitely liked her. She was always smiling, and I never witnessed a moment where she came off as anything but very kind. I used to love watching her worship… She sang with this wild abandon, waving her hands above her head like a person on a deserted island trying to get the attention of a passing plane. Anyway, she shared an article that was passionately against the idea of transgendered people using the restrooms of the gender with which they identify. The article she shared was written by a man who was a football coach for 35 years (who also happened to be sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams) named Coach Dave Daubenmire, and it was titled “Have We Lost Our Stinkin’ Minds?”
A lot of the conversation that has centered around the issue of Which Restrooms Transgender People Use has been spurred on by attempts to pass some controversial non-discrimination legislation–most notably in Houston, TX and Charlotte, NC. In the battle for the “right” to be able to legally discriminate against people who are transgender, things have gotten pretty ugly. Franklin Graham (whose Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is headquartered in Charlotte) is quoted as saying:
“This law would allow pedophiles, perverts and predators into women’s bathrooms. This is wicked and it’s filthy. To think that my granddaughters could go into a restroom and a man be in there exposing himself … what are we setting our children and grandchildren up for? There’s not a public restroom in Charlotte that would be safe!”
The Charlotte ordinance making sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes ended up being voted down 6-5. And when Houston made a similar ordinance, the voters were treated to probably the most horribly inaccurate, blatantly trans-phobic pieces of propaganda this country has ever seen… Leading to yet another defeat for transgender folks in this nation. Behold, this steaming pile of excrement:
This kind of demonization of people who are “gender non-conforming” is so very sickening. These disgusting attempts to link people in the LGBT community to pedophilia and preying on kids needs to be called out for what it is: The same sort of evil and false propaganda that painted the Jews as Christian baby-murdereing vermin. About 4.6% of the U.S. population has reported attempting suicide, but that number climbs to 10-20% percent for lesbian, gay or bisexual people. By comparison, 41% of trans or gender non-conforming people surveyed have attempted suicide… And the false demonization and alienation of people (who are just looking for a safe and appropriate place to pee) is part of the reason why. Anyway, if sexual predators wanted to prey on kids by laying in wait to abuse them in public bathrooms, they could… Do you think someone planning a first degree felony is going to be dissuaded by a misdemeanor? Beyond the LIES, it doesn’t even make sense… as Matt Baume lays out here beautifully:
Before I explain to you why these laws (attempting to force people who are transgender into the opposite restrooms of the gender with which they identify) are COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE… A bit of my own journey: Like most kids who grew up going to church and a Christian school, I grew up believing that people weren’t “made” gay. I believed that LGBT people probably got that way because choice, or doing something wrong, or some sort of abuse. It didn’t make sense that God would make a person gay, and then have being gay be a sin… That wouldn’t be right. Then, at some point, I thought about intersex people (my word for it at the time was “hermaphrodites”) who were born with both male and female sex organs… And I thought, “If our hardware can be born mixed up/confused, why wouldn’t our software be able to be mixed up as well?” That seemed to make sense to me… but that was before I really knew ANYTHING about people who were actually intersex. Here’s an amazing video about what it’s like (three videos, I know… JUST WATCH!):
So there is a difference between someone’s sex and someone’s gender. Sex deals with biology and genetics and sexual organs… Gender is more about complex issues of identity, and refers to behaviors, expectations, activities, and roles within society. Sex deals with male and female, where gender deals with masculine and feminine. Many people–especially those who live in very black & white worlds–believe that gender is nothing more than (as “Coach Dave” wrote about ) a matter of “plumbing.” Many people think, “It’s easy to figure out… grab the baby, look between its legs, and if there’s a penis there, that kid needs to go to the boy’s bathroom… forever. “ Not only does that binary way of looking at things refuse to take into account the intersex kids in the video above, but it also refuses to consider the amazing complexity of gender.
There are many resources available for people who are actually interested in finding out more about the beautiful spectrum of human sexuality and gender (none better than actually TALKING to as trans or gender non-conforming person)… But as always, the people who allow for the possibility of a complex spectrum are probably the sort of folks who already get it. Whereas, the “Black & White,” “Adam & Eve, not Adam &Steve,” “Penis=Baseball/Vagina=Pink Dresses” thinkers are probably not interested in discussing “complexity.” But for those of you who made it this far, I have a few last points of common sense. Here is the first one:
This is a picture of a transgender man named Aydian Dowling. Aydian was born female, but transitioned to male later in his life. This guy is way more ripped than I have ever been, and if these laws pass making it illegal for people to use the restrooms with which trans people identify, Aydian might be standing next to you washing his hands as you check your makeup. To my female readers–When cities and states pass ordinances requiring people to use restrooms in accordance with their sex assigned at birth, you end up with situations like this:
And I am not very pee shy, but it still might get a little awkward using the urinal with her standing behind me, putting on her makeup:
So, I get it… You’re at the stage of human consciousness where complexity and uncertainty are both very frightening. You’re thinking, “If I’m wrong about this, what else might I be wrong about?!?” And it’s a very scary thing to consider that the binary, “either male or female–THAT’S IT” way you’ve been taught to understand sex and gender might be incomplete. And you’re probably not ready to examine the possibility that people who are transgender and gender non-conforming might be part of God’s beautiful spectrum of this wonderful thing called “humanity.” But can you at least admit–after looking at these pictures–that these stupid laws would put people in WAY more awkward unsafe positions than just letting people use the stall of the restrooms they identify with?
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