Friday, September 13, 2019

A "Traditionalist" Federal Judge Gets It - Why don't other people?

Judge Michael H. Watson
Judge Michael H. Watson
via Wikipedia
On Thursday U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson ruled in favor of four transgender people suing Ohio for the right to change their birth certificates. The case is not settled as the ruling only denied the state's motion to dismiss. However, the judge clearly understands the issue. In his ruling Judge Watson wrote:
Assuming the allegations in the complaint are true, particularly plaintiffs’ assertion that ‘gender identity is the critical determinant of sex,’ the court is not convinced that Ohio law prohibits plaintiffs’ request.
Is that not at the core of transgender issues? When natal sex and gender identity are incongruent, gender identity prevails. Otherwise, gender dysphoria would not exist. It seems so obvious. Yet some people are oblivious.

I called Judge Watson a “traditionalist.” Allow me to explain. Watson was appointed by George W. Bush in 2004. Back then his confirmation would have probably required “blue slips” from both Republican senators to get out of committee. Those were Mike DeWine (a religious conservative) and George Voinovich. DeWine gave the nomination speech on the floor of the Senate.

Watson is now 62 years of age. He was born in Ohio and received both his BA and JD from Ohio universities. Watson spent three years in the Air Force and six years in the Ohio Air National Guard. While in college, he married his high school sweetheart. Watson had a full-time job as a court bailiff while he was attending law school.

Judge Michael H. Watson is Midwest white bread (he even looks the part). He is a common-sense conservative. The four transgender plaintiffs in this case are a long way away from prevailing but this is a start. They know that the judge at least understands what is at stake.

It is terribly unfortunate that so many people refuse to comprehend the reality of trans people. They pretend that gender, as a separate construct, does not exist. They pretend that some sort of therapy exists to talk people out of, what they insist on calling, “gender confusion.”

Most odious is the idea that public policy should reflect the view of religious conservatives that the existence of transgender people poses heresy because of a conflict with scripture (Genesis 1:27).

In this case, Ohio is one of just two states prohibiting transgender people from obtaining revised birth certificates. They have been fighting, tooth and nail, for nearly 18 months to sustain a policy that doesn't affect anyone other than the transgender people who are not served by their government. Where is equal protection in all of this wrangling? What peril do these trans folks pose to anyone?

More pragmatically, how does the State of Ohio justify to taxpayers expending all of these funds to litigate this matter? What's in it for the citizens of Ohio?

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