Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Can anyone explain the right's insane obsession with where Caitlyn should pee?

transgender symbol
The vectors of trans access and conservative Christian insanity overlap in trajectory and magnitude. Some of this is ginned up by organizations more interested in donations than public policy but this is only possible because the engine of discrimination is fueled by fear. Some of that might be expressed as “what if my child …  ?” Denying the very existence of gay and transgender people is the wish-it-away approach. Non-conforming sexuality is relegated to confusion which means that they (LGBTs) just need to be set on the right path to Jesus' heart. Consider last night's editorial in the Washington Times, a publication that is owned and controlled by the Unification Church. It begins:
”Growing up” once meant learning to use your head, appreciating the common sense that seeing is believing. Now a boy can stand in front of a mirror and see a girl, and vice versa. But when the mind refuses to accept what the eyes see, the path ahead leads to self-delusion, which has become the national sport. The contemporary culture encourages the acceptance as real the notions that are demonstrably false, and “gender identity” has become a subject beyond the reach of common sense.

It is just common sense. Of course. Unfortunately for conservative Christians, we humans are more complex than they can appreciate. Yet the simplistics are selective. If they have cancer they might be treated by angiogenesis inhibitors — 21st century drugs which work by blocking the blood supply to the tumor. They would raise their hand for that stuff. Both hands! All of a sudden those atheist Jewish scientists are heroes. Their work demonstrates God's love. Faith answers all questions. Sure.

The same people are fundamentally unwilling and incapable of appreciating scientific advances in our understanding of sexuality. They do not care. When it comes to our sexuality, scientists are part of an evil global cabal. We have seen intelligent conservative Catholics with advanced degrees willingly dismiss decades of peer reviewed research in human sexuality by prominent investigators. They do so because some eunuch at the Vatican, whose erudition is limited to theology, made that decision for them.

Mark Regnerus (a zealous Catholic convert) comes along with a preposterous approach that is not only funded by Witherspoon Institute but designed by Witherspoon to achieve a predetermined conclusion. In spite of all its obvious flaws and rebukes including one from Regnerus' own professional association, that is research that they embrace because it conforms to the dictates of the Vatican. Gays are crappy parents ergo they should have have been permitted to marry. They lost the argument yet Regnerus persists.

Denying science is also a defined specialty of Evangelical Southern Baptists. While the Catholic Church seems to accept Evolution as reality, serious people, evangelical Christians, are running around teaching children that the universe is some 6,000 years old. They even have fucking museums with 21st century display technology showing dinosaurs with saddles because dinosaurs and man were cohabitants of Earth until, I think, the Great Flood or some other divine intervention. Do we really even expect these folks to understand gender dysphoria? Their gay boys are always just waiting for the right girl to come along, at least until they come out. What was that about “common sense?”

Enter ADF

Alliance Defending Freedom is invested in anti-LGBT rhetoric. They have a unique economic model. The more money they lose (through unpaid pro bono legal services), the more money they make (through donations). That is why they attempt to take every case, no matter how lame, all the way to the Supreme Court.

They are upset, or claim to be upset, over G.G. v. Gloucester School District. We now know that G.G. is Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who will be a junior at Gloucester High School in the fall. Grimm was excluded from using communal bathrooms. Gavin was actually able to use the boys' room for a few months until some ignorant parents complained. Then he was relegated to using the teachers' facility, having to request a key to pee. Exactly what threat Gavin posed to anyone is inexplicable.

On April 19 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in Gavin's favor. The Court held that Title IX protects the rights of transgender students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity. This is an end-of-world event for the mullahs at ADF. In addition to activist judges, they are blaming the Department of Education:
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) clearly has an agenda to redefine what it means to be female and male, and its efforts are wreaking havoc on states and school districts nationwide.

The Gloucester School District in Virginia is the latest victim of the government's campaign. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled against the school district in a case involving a female student who demanded to use the male restrooms at her school. The court’s ruling was based upon statements from the DOE telling schools that Title IX, which bans sex discrimination, "extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity..."
For starters, DOE is the Department of Energy. The correct abbreviation is ED. You would think they would know that. They cannot bring themselves to properly describe Gavin as a transgender male and then use appropriate pronouns. God would not approve.

More importantly, ED does not have some sinister agenda to redefine gender. Just in passing I see conservatives re-tooling anti-gay rhetoric to anti-trans rhetoric. Maybe they will have better luck this time around. I doubt it. What ED recognizes is what science recognizes; Gender is not always binary. Moreover, gender dysphoria is a real condition. Doctors and psychiatrists are capable of determining what is a phase in contrast to what is dysphoria. Research also demonstrates that the earlier in life people transition the happier and more successful in life they will be. Gavin did not decide to be a boy anymore than anyone else makes a decision about their gender.

And when it comes to common sense, do the lawyers at ADF honestly believe that Gavin Grimm volunteered to be an object of ridicule? Come on. Moreover, this is only ”wreaking havoc” for conservative Christians (although I suspect that Hasidim have the same self-contrived problem). A high school with 1,200 students might have a couple of gender non-conforming kids. Deal with it. What is the big deal? Privacy? About the only compromise is the privacy of anonymous ankles in stalls. Get a grip! What is it about anonymous ankles that makes this more important than poverty or functional illiteracy or the inability of eighth graders in the Bible Belt to grasp algebra?

Nevertheless ADF claims that the ruling doesn't say what the ruling says:
“In truth, Title IX makes no such requirement,” explained ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “DOE’s interpretation is completely off-base. What the law says is what matters, and the law explicitly allows separate restrooms and locker rooms. The DOE oversees but cannot change Title IX, which only Congress can modify, so the agency has no legal basis for forcing schools to open restrooms to students of both sexes.”

Under Title IX, it is an extremely remote possibility that states or school districts will lose funding for enacting laws and policies that require students to use the restrooms and locker rooms of their biological sex. And this isn't just a theory. Prior to the misguided decision in Gloucester, every federal court that has ever examined this issue has concluded that it does not violate Title IX to maintain separate restrooms and locker rooms on the basis of sex. In fact, the Gloucester lawsuit has been going on since June 2015, and the school district continues to receive all federal funding to which it is entitled.

School districts have a responsibility to protect the privacy of all of the students in their care. Gloucester School District did just that when it adopted its common-sense policy to maintain separate bathrooms and locker rooms for male and female students, while providing private accommodations for students uncomfortable using the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex.
ED has now made a determination that has been upheld by a federal court of appeals. That is the law in the Fourth Circuit and there will be other cases. ADF is very petty. They refer to transgender kids as “students uncomfortable using the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex.” It is Christian supremacy arrogance and, ultimately, it will be their undoing.

Meanwhile for the next nine months we are probably not going to accomplish anything in Congress. All that could change next January. In 2008 I supported then Senator Clinton because I thought that she was ahead of Obama on gay rights. If we are registered and if we all do what we should do, that will be President Clinton in January along with the Senate (and possibly the House) in Democratic control. We might have to nudge some disaffected young Sanders supporters. Not voting is the same as voting for Trump. Republicans win with diminished turnout.

With a democratically controlled Senate, President Clinton can reshape the Supreme Court and restore sanity for decades to come. It's up to us, our friends and relatives. It is the ultimate and satisfying “fuck you” to ADF and Liberty Counsel. More importantly, the lives of some LGBT kids can be better, even in awful places like Alabama and Mississippi.

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