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Saturday, March 11, 2017

At the risk of being labeled a bigot, the Transgender issue raises some questions which deserve to be answered.

Link: The truth about Transgender Suicide.

When I was younger, persons who were convinced that they should have been born as the opposite sex were call Transexuals.  I'm no fan of labels, and this particular word is a good example why we should avoid them when possible.  Its an ugly and very limiting word.  Most of society lumped the Transgender community in with Transvestites (another gross word) and Homosexuals.  The simplistic manner in which we labeled and grouped these folks is not only an embarrassment, its a shame.  But we've come a long way towards understanding how different people can be, and how essential it is that discrimination based on sexual identity or preference becomes a thing of the past.  That being said, I'm finding myself at odds with the campaign to give self-identified Transgenders the option to use the public bathroom of their choice.

As of right now, the State of Texas is working its way through this controversy, with the debate focused on the public school system.  Should students be allowed to choose which bathroom to use, Male or Female?  The progressive argument is that since Transgenders are born in a body of the wrong gender, they should have the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to their correct sex.  The State of Texas is arguing that the system as it exists today works just fine, and needs no changes.  Texas is one of thirteen states that are in litigation regarding this issue.  To many people, particularly in conservative areas, its a question of, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Apparently, up to now, Transgender folks have been using the bathroom that corresponds to their birth gender without much trouble.  If the law is changed to allow for persons to use the bathroom that corresponds to their "true" gender, exactly how to do we know who is being sincere and who is taking advantage of the opportunity to invade the privacy of persons of the opposite sex for prurient motivations?  This issue seems to be particularly disturbing to parents of pre-teen and early-teen girls.  What is to stop a pedophile from claiming to be Transgender, only to enter the ladies restroom for voyeuristic purposes?  Is it possible for Transgender persons to be issued a pass or a license from a medical professional, that would allow authorities to distinguish between legitimate Transgenders and sick perverts?  This does not strike me as a viable solution; I can't think of anything more offensive than requiring people to show some form of identification/pass in order to use the public facilities.

Some folks have argued that the time has come for unisex bathrooms.  I like this idea, as long as the original options are still available.  Maybe the State of Texas should consider requiring schools to provide three options: male, female, and unisex.  Unfortunately, Everytime this option is suggested, the progressive groups shoot it down.  They argue that Transgenders are not unisex; they are male or female, just like the rest of the population, and that they should have the legal right to use the bathroom that is meant for their gender.  Personally, if a person who is physically a female but identifies as a male chooses to use the bathroom I am using, its something that I could get used to, although I would hope that they would have the good sense not to sit/squat in the urinal.  I would hope that any physically male who identifies as female and chooses to use the woman's restroom would at least be dressed as a woman.  Heck, with a little effort, they probably wouldn't even be noticed.  Most folks avoid eye contact in public restrooms anyway.  But the issue is much more complicated than avoiding eye-contact or deciding what equipment should be included in which restroom.  Its an issue of privacy, and it seems that the more our society attempts to address gay and Transgender issues, the easier it becomes to ignore the sensitivities and privacy of the great majority of Americans, who, the last time I checked, were not gay or Transgender.

The United States military separates male and female living quarters for a very important reason.  There is a real concern that an unhealthy fraternization would take place in unisex living quarters, which would prove a great distraction for our soldiers.  Also, if men and women shared showers, you can bet that some serious "right to privacy" issues would be raised.  Women value the right to chose which men get to see them naked.  Now that "don't ask, don't tell" has been tossed out, exactly how will the U.S. military protect the rights of the male soldier, and who gets to see him naked?  No doubt some of his bunkmates will be gay, and there is no way to guarantee that certain men will be the subject of voyeuristic intrusion.  Before we tackle the issues of Transgender soldiers, shouldn't we resolve this problem of privacy?  Maybe the answer is to make all bathrooms unisex, with separate, locking showers and toilets.  I guess this would address the potential Transgender soldier problem as well, although some of the details will still present quite a headache for Uncle Sam.

One aspect of the Transgender lobby argument really causes me concern.  Everytime the issue of Transgender rights are discussed in a public forum, someone claims that Transgender teens across the country are resorting to suicide because they see no end to their suffering.  This claim bothered me so much, that I started asking people I know about their High School years.  I couldn't find one person who recalled a Transgender person committing suicide in High School.  In fact, no one could remember a gay student committing suicide, which is also something that gets repeated frequently.  I went to Judson High School in Converse, Texas from 1981 to 1984, and we had no suicides during that time period, at least to the best of my recollection.  My mother and sister are retired teachers, and they couldn't recall a Transgender suicide.  Another friend has been teaching High School Math for roughly a decade, and she can't remember a Transgender suicide.  I have included a link from the Huffington Post which goes on and on about Transgender suicide, but never mentions any real statistics.  The only actual figure mentioned is that "forty percent of Transgender persons have attempted suicide", which really clarifies the root of the problem.  People attempt to commit suicide for many reasons, including as an effort to get attention.  Don't misunderstand; many times people have to resort to desperate measures in order to break through the indifference or fear exhibited by family and friends.  Regardless, I can only imagine how many of the "forty percent" were trying to make a statement, or get loved ones to be more aware and involved.  In my book Mukhabarat, Baby, I addressed the issue of suicide from a very personal perspective, and I'm not afraid to say, that anyone who truly wants to commit suicide, will succeed.  So the issue here really isn't about Transgender teens killing themselves, its about young people searching for a way to communicate with their loved ones, and getting an accepting, considerate response.

Two weeks ago, a young man who was in the process of clinically transitioning from female to male, won the Texas High School State Championship in wrestling for his weight classification.  His achievement was monumental, finishing the entire season without a loss.  Unfortunately, if the young man had undergone a blood test, he would have been disqualified because of the high amounts of Testosterone in his system.  You see, the young man was completing in the women's division.  Before the season began, he requested that the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) allow him to complete in the male division, but this request was denied.  No doubt the UIL was thinking "one high-profile crisis at a time, please".  So the young man chose to compete regardless, and the results are now part of history.  Off the record, more than a few of the young lady wrestlers competing this year expressed disenchantment and confusion.  Any one of these young lady wrestlers would have been disqualified if Testosterone were discovered during blood testing.  At the end of the day, the process was turned on its head to accommodate the circumstances of one individual, to the detriment of who knows how many others.  The young man who ended up with the Championship should have discontinued the Testosterone treatments during wrestling season, and if that wasn't possible given the clinical requirements, then he should have voluntarily removed himself from competing.  When he made the decision to begin this life-changing process, it should have been understood that some things may have to be sacrificed.  Our culture is obsessed with removing any and all obstacles for persons who, like Transgenders, are dealing with extremely difficult and complicated issues.  But sometimes its necessary to face the extra challenges, as a reminder of the importance and value of the end result.

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