Wednesday, January 4, 2017

ADF is suddenly a proponent of women's rights if it serves to denigrate trans folks

Jordan Lorence
Jordan Lorence holding the world's smallest violin
Conservative Christians believe that a woman's place is in the home tending to chores, cranking out kids and subservient to men (preferably barefoot and pregnant). Alliance Defending Freedom is a conservative Christian legal organization. Jordan Lorence, one of ADF's lawyers, writes for their blog: “Minneapolis School Program Demonstrates How Transgenderism Hurts Women’s Progress and Can’t Survive Its Own Logic.” We'll see about that.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune published an article about efforts to provide equal opportunity for young women in a local public high school. The article unwittingly exposes how transgender ideology undermines these efforts to help women. 
Conservative Christianity is an “ideology.” Being transgender is to experience a natural variant of human sexuality.
St. Anthony Village High School near Minneapolis has an all-girl shop class. This class excludes boys, the article says, so that girls can learn to use power tools and make things without males looking over their shoulders. …
Before this guy goes any further it is important to note that, since 1993, Minnesota has protected people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Minneapolis has strengthened state code to preclude discrimination based upon:
A person's actual or perceived self-image or identity as expressed through dress, appearance, behavior, speech or similar characteristics, whether or not traditionally associated with the person's physical anatomy, chromosomal sex, or sex at birth.
Therefore, that all-girls shop class might very well include a transgender girl. The other girls would be fine with that. In other words, Mr. Lorence's argument is demolished before he can spout much more conservative Christian idiocy. A transgender girl in Minneapolis is, for all intents and purposes, a girl. Nevertheless, tedious as it is he (and I) will continue. According to Lorence:
There are 21 girls in the all-female class. Only two girls signed up for the same class when it included boys. The article points out that the girls typically want to make furniture, like coffee tables and wooden cribs, while the classes dominated by boys push projects like hovercrafts and automated drawbridges.
Eureka, boys and girls have different interests — sometimes. A transgender girl is most likely to have interests comparable to the other girls. I fear it is a concept that Mr. Lorence will never grasp.
The article is written from a "classic" feminist perspective. The argument goes that because women have not received equal opportunity in the past, it is acceptable for the public school to restrict the shop class to females only.

Important to note is the presupposition that girls are objectively different than boys. The author also assumes, like all rational people do, that school officials can determine who is a girl and who is a boy.
Yes, school officials are perfectly capable of determining the gender of pupils. A trans boy is a boy and a trans girl is a girl. It is not terribly complicated. Most sane, rational people don't struggle with this proposition.
But what if a boy who identifies as a girl signs up for the class? Can the school officials exclude him from the all-girls class because he would, like any other male, create the unwelcoming atmosphere for girls that the class was created to avoid in the first place? What if a student claims to be non-binary…gender fluid…neither male nor female? What shop class can that person attend?
The conservative Christian brain is apparently hard-wired to define a transgender girl as “a boy who identifies as a girl;” seven words in place of just two. In point of fact, a transgender girl would be perfectly welcome by the other girls unless one of them happens to have the unfortunate coincidence of being Jordan Lorence's daughter. Come to think of it, even she would probably not object. She would probably get it. Lorence then confuses being genderqueer with gender fluidity. He is hopelessly at sea when gender does not conform to scripture. Lorence did his undergrad at Stanford so he is not stupid. His law degree is from University of Minnesota so he is familiar with the nondiscrimination statutes. Why is he so bewildered?

Yet, to answer Lorence's rhetorical question one must first accept that fact that there aren't that many gender nonconforming kids. They constitute a tiny percentage of the population and are, thus, easy to accommodate. Someone signing up for the all-girls shop class is doing so as a girl and would have the interests of a girl which is why she is signing up for the class in the first place. She poses no threat to the other girls and none would be perceived.
Transgenderism must ultimately undermine the basis for women’s equality, because it rejects the truth that sex is biological, objective and inborn, and replaces it with the claim that sex is subjective, arbitrary and self-defined. As is becoming increasingly clear, the more our society embraces transgenderism and rejects obvious and important distinctions between males and females, it will disrupt worthy efforts to provide equal opportunity for women.
Lorence's notion of truth is defined by scripture in contrast to science. Ultimately transgender women are women and expect to be treated accordingly. There is no argument based on feminism that somehow alters the scientific fact that some people have gender dysphoria and that the only treatment known to medical and social science is to affirm their gender. Feminists accept a transgender woman as one of their own. There is no reason not to.

Transgender people have a much higher suicide rate than the general public and they are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. The minority stress model provides the best explanation for those differences in mental health. When it comes to stress, Mr. Lorence is a carrier. He lacks the self-awareness and empathy to understand the harm that he is prospectively doing. His demeaning trans children constitutes unacceptable conduct from a grownup who should know better.

Now, where do I sign up for that class that builds hovercraft? I have some neighbors to terrorize.

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