Monthly Archives: May 2016

Religion and the War in Bathrooms (Locker Rooms, Changing Areas, Showers….)

 

As everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows by now, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has directed all US public  schools to open their heretofore sex-segregated facilities, such as bathrooms, to members of the other sex who claim to be trans. Note that a claim is all that’s needed. No psychiatrist’s letter, no evidence of hormones ingested or surgery survived need be produced. Just the claim.

 

The famed Johns Hopkins University Hospital stopped doing trans surgery many years ago. Doctors there discovered that surgery did not solve the patients’ problems. They were just as depressed, just as likely to commit suicide. They merely looked different, and had to take hormones to maintain that look. Surgery, in other words, made no difference to the patients’ health. In fact, because of surgical complications and those arising from hormone use, their lives may have been shortened.

 

In the New York Times today is another article on the extraordinary position the DOJ has taken – linking sex to gender. Juxtaposed against it is an article elsewhere, discussing a rumor that Caitlyn Jenner may de-transition back to looking like a man, due to a sustained sexual attraction to women and a religious belief that same-sex dating is wrong. Trans-ness is clearly not akin to the legally protected category of genetic sex. One cannot change sex – every cell in one’s body contains the same telltale chromosomes (most often, XX or XY). But the naming of one’s gender identity can be fluid.

 

The trans population is very very small. Most of them are man-to-woman, and most opt to retain their penises. In contrast, the pool of genetic females is huge, over 50% of the American population. Yet the DOJ is willing to toss them under the bus in order to satisfy the desires – not the needs, but the desires – of a tiny percentage of genetic males. Predators who are truly trans clearly number quite few. But predators who are genetically male are numerous, and like all predators – jackals, for example – will do anything to gain access to victims for their own voyeuristic and/or assaultive ends. Such as claim to be trans in order to gain access to the private spaces of girls and women. If you scoff at that idea, you have not really thought it through, not with the attention to detail used by predators. You are, in fact, naïve.

 

One factor no one has yet mentioned in this discussion is religion. The DOJ is either ignoring religion or pretending it has no application here. Yet religion – though it can be changed – is also a protected category within the discussion of civil rights. In the US, whose Constitution mandates the separation of church and state, we take a dim view of forced or urged religious changes. So the right to practice one’s religion – with some adjustments for public safety – is well-protected.

 

Very well, imagine I’m a female student at a public high school, and I am terrified of the DOJ’s edict. My Muslim family is strictly observant. I am not allowed to even talk to boys for fear of endangering my purity, and the idea of a genetic male seeing me disrobed in the changing room or shower frightens me, because my particular form of Islamic practice not only forbids that, but also encourages my father to punish me for undressing in front of a boy. Yet my high school will not provide accommodations for me to slip in and out of gymwear (which my religion considers already immodest in its design, so I wear trousers underneath) in private. My PE teacher says I must accept this genetic boy. “Suck it up,” are her exact words.

 

My father, however, will hit the roof. Not only am I not permitted by the school and DOJ to practice my religious beliefs as I have been taught, I fear my father’s wrath. I will be lucky if he simply beats me. He might go farther. I might become a so-called “honor” killing victim.

 

Now imagine I am a different female student at the same public school. Last year a male classmate raped me. Perhaps I told people; perhaps I kept silent. Yet the memories haunt me: the smell of him, his eyes, the way he made me look at his penis before he rammed it into me. It was horrible, it was trauma, and since then I regard boys — any boy — as potential attackers. It is tough for me to get through the fifty minutes of my crowded chemistry class without feeling sick. A genetic male, no matter his claim of trans, in what has been the one place in this school where I am not confronted by boys, makes me physically ill. I feel re-violated. If I do not find a way to escape this dreadful situation, I may have to end the pain permanently by committing suicide.

 

So, DOJ, what now? Still think the desires of a tiny trans population should override the need for safety and a feeling of privacy held by millions of genetic females? Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness – since happiness cannot co-exist with voyeurism, assault, or PTSD – are fine concepts for everyone except genetic females? What type of disordered thinking is that?

 

In New York City some years ago, having hidden a camera within a stuffed toy, a worried parent discovered her child’s nanny was physically abusing the infant, who was too young to talk. This was the first case of “nanny-cam” to come to public attention. People were outraged.

 

So was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). For several days, the ACLU’s spokesman (yes, it was a man) railed against the terrible injustices stacked against the poor nanny. Spied on! Hidden camera! Her right to privacy trampled! What was the US coming to when Gestapo-like techniques could be employed by anyone?

 

That ridiculous, absurd, dangerous ACLU response died when thousands of citizens – including longstanding ACLU members who mailed in their ripped-up cards – vigorously responded: The nanny was committing crimes, and the parents were well within their rights to discover how their child was being attacked and by whom.

 

The DOJ’s ukase here reminds me of when the ACLU sided with the nanny. It carries the same whiff of wounded outrage, and the same lack of research. Here, into the various ways genetic females might be hurt.

 

In law, one speaks of the “slippery slope”, how a legal decision can have far-reaching consequences unforeseen at the time.

 

Yet the consequences of the DOJ’s overreach are easy to forecast. All it takes is imagination . . . and empathy for genetic females.

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Of Course, It’s the Bare Shoulders! (Facepalm)

The past year has been enlivened and simultaneously made awful by report after report of girls’ clothing criticized, banned, and all but torn off them by school officials eager to note that nearby boys – and some male teachers – are critically distracted by a bare shoulder or the glimpse of a leg.

 

It’s sad. It’s ridiculous, It’s also terribly ignorant and naïve.

 

While these people — possibly well-intentioned on some level . . . the 19th century one — go after the local girls, to what must be the amazement and confusion of their male classmates, what in heaven’s name do they, the officials, imagine the boys have been watching the night before? Perhaps, in the case of early risers, that very morning before classes began?

 

Do they believe the male-owned phones and laptops were turned to Election 2016 news with its dueling speeches, lies, bravado? How about national tragedies like cyclones and floods?

 

Sports! Perhaps the boys were watching sports and reviewing how unlikely the Leicester City English Premiership victory really was – at 5000-to-1 odds, a bona fide miracle – or counting down the days until North American ice hockey’s Stanley Cup.

 

Think so?

 

Get real. Chances are good that an unhealthy proportion of middle-school and high-school boys are watching internet porn in their off hours. There, the featured bodies wear nothing at all.

 

If teenage guys are getting stiffies (haven’t they always?), it’s much more to do with their imaginations and what they watched on their iPads at midnight than what the girl in algebra class is wearing.

 

I offer for evidence a segment of J. K. Rowling’s highly praised The Casual Vacancy — in this section, the two high-school boys, Andrew and Fats, live in a charming small town in the west of England. One has teachers for parents; the other, a nurse and a printing plant manager:

 

“Andrew knew what naked women looked like, because there were no parental controls on the computer in Fats’ conversion bedroom. Together they had explored as much online porn as they could access for free: shaven vulvas; pink labia pulled wide to show darkly gaping slits; spread buttocks revealing the puckered buttons of anuses; thickly lipsticked mouths, dripping semen . . . Andrew was unsure whether he was more excited or repulsed (whips and saddles, harnesses, ropes, hoses; and once, at which even Fats had not managed to laugh, close-ups of metal-bolted contraptions, and needles protruding from soft flesh, and women’s face frozen, screaming) . . ..”

 

Who in their right mind would believe a classmate’s shoulder blade or lower thigh could distract after that?

 

Recall, too, that images once seen remain in the brain forever, especially images of horror or seduction.

 

In fact, it makes more sense to protect girls from the corrupting influence of boys and male administrators (the latter no doubt enjoying their own favorite online images) than the reverse. As witness, the rise in male adolescents’ requests for unusual sexual behaviors; the pressure on girls to audibly perform like porn stars; and the increase in labiaplasties, even in teenagers.

 

To those teachers and administrators who are all too willing to enforce what are sometimes ridiculous, humiliating dress codes that focus more on girls than on boys – shame on you! Take the log from your own eye before you object to the mote in another person’s. Recognize that, in the 21st century, what you object to has nothing to do with distraction – as if a knee could compete with “pink labia pulled wide to show darkly gaping slits” – and everything to do with blame and control.

 

Honi soit qui mal y pense: Shamed be the person who thinks evil exists where it does not.

 

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