Beaton: Are transsexuals in the bathroom?
The Aspen Beat
North Carolina recently passed a law prohibiting transsexuals from using the public bathrooms of their chosen gender. No Y chromosomes are allowed in the women’s bathrooms. Lola, that means you.
I have three confessions relevant to today’s discussion. First, I’m a political conservative. (“No way!” you’re saying.)
Second, I consider myself a Christian. (Whew, I feel relieved to come out of the Christian closet, but now I fully expect the local Christianophobes to shun and ridicule me — in the name of diversity and tolerance, of course. Oh well.)
Third, I’m the father of two daughters. They’re now more able and adult than their dad, but I can remember when they were vulnerable young girls in need of my protection.
So I must support the North Carolina bathroom law, right? Wrong.
I see three problems with the law. The first is a practical one. How will it be enforced? Will policemen/women at the bathroom door perform gender checks?
And how exactly will those checks be accomplished, given that some of the persons targeted by this law have had surgery and hormone therapy to conform visually to their chosen gender? Will chromosome tests be performed on the spot?
What if the person has to go really bad? Will they be allowed to go while awaiting the chromosome test, but then be tracked down and arrested later if they fail it?
Or will we issue gender IDs by performing chromosome tests in advance and then demand the IDs be shown in order to gain admittance to the bathroom? (“Papers, papers, please.”) If so, wouldn’t a person intent on violating the law simply borrow an ID?
In short, this law is not enforceable. Unenforceable laws invite abuse by the justice system by making everyone a suspect while making no one a criminal.
My second objection to the law is that creates more problems than it solves. Imagine the brouhaha if a transsexual woman who is dressed to look like a man complies with the law by using the woman’s bathroom, or vice versa.
Is that person supposed to use neither bathroom? Or is that person simply not supposed to exist?
The fact is, they do exist and they are already using your bathroom right now without your knowledge. Those bathrooms have survived, and so have you.
Which brings me to my last objection to the law. I don’t see the need.
One can imagine transsexuals engaging in acts of perversion in bathrooms used by children in a way that is injurious to the children. But that’s as far as it goes — imagining. In the real world, there doesn’t seem to be an epidemic of such perversion.
After all, transsexualism was not invented yesterday. Transsexuals have been around for a period of years and probably eons. During that period, they’ve done their business in their chosen bathrooms without disproportionate acts of perversion.
In any event, sexual perversion that injures children (or adults) is already a crime, whether it’s committed by a transsexual, homosexual, heterosexual or asexual. We don’t need to make it a special crime if it’s committed by one or the other.
So why was the law passed? My guess is that the legislators were repulsed by transsexualism, or perhaps just thought that a posture of revulsion was good politics, and so they wanted to make a statement condemning it. The way legislators make statements, unfortunately, is not to make statements but to pass laws. Welcome to big government.
That’s not to say the concern about transsexuals in personal settings is utterly unfounded. For example, transsexuals in school locker room showers is more complicated. But let’s not draw the line on bathrooms where people are free to just shut the door to the stall, and ordinarily do.
One final comment. Medicine sees transsexualism as an internal mismatch. The person’s psyche does not match his or her anatomy, chromosomes and hormones. Such a person undoubtedly is distraught by this mismatch, and my heart goes out to him or her.
They need help. The question is, what kind?
They’re stuck with their chromosomes. But with injections and surgery, their hormones and anatomy can be changed to match their psyche. That’s the politically correct medical therapy for a transsexual these days.
Experts recognize, however, that an equally valid medical approach is the reverse — to treat their psyche to match their anatomy, chromosomes and hormones.
Each approach is fraught with its own complications, side effects and failures. One approach is probably best for some patients and the other for other patients. Recognize that the surgical approach is generally irreversible.
I lack the expertise to advocate one approach over another for any particular patient. I only hope that in deciding which approach to undertake, doctors and their patients do not substitute political correctness for good medicine.
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