Viewpoints is a SpokaneFāVS feature where our writers respond to a weekly question. Readers are invited to participate by posting in the comment section below.
The Obama administration is standing behind its directive to allow public school students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. According to USA Today by invoking the sex discrimination law — Title IX, “the rules carry with them the threat of federal enforcement — including a loss of federal education funds.” Many oppose this directive, saying Obama has gone too far.
We put it to the FāVS writers.
Do you agree with The Obama Administration’s decree directing every public school in the nation to allow bathroom access on the basis of self-identity, not biological sex? Why or why not?
I oppose the the Obama Administration’s decree directing every public school in the nation to allow bathroom access on the basis of self-identity, not biological sex.
“If you draw a giraffe, you must draw him with a long neck. If, in your bold creative way, you hold yourself free to draw a giraffe with a short neck, you will really find that you are not free to draw a giraffe. The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits. You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump: you may be freeing him from being a camel. Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end.” -G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
To begin bluntly, I am staunchly against President Obama’s choice (attempt, more like) to decree that all public schools on the basis of self identity, for more reasons than one, and none of which have anything to do with personal feelings toward people identifying as transgender (if you are tempted to think I’m “transphobic” or “anti-trans” please re-read the last part of that sentence).
- First, a sitting president should never have, claim to have, or try to have that kind of power over a country like America. Do we only believe in “power of the people” when it’s convenient to us? An imposition like this one not only is rash and rooted in unsound reasoning, but sets a very, very dangerous precedent for the future. Do we only prefer a decree of this nature when it’s in agreement with our values? To say “yes” to either question, and to assume that all will be well as a result, is to live in a sad state of delusion.
- Second, I believe this rule will only be abused, and will become a far greater headache than a balm. Using this logic, a male predator could easily enter a ladies’ restroom, and be perfectly within his rights to be present there by claiming that he identifies as a woman. This has already happened many times, and if we think it will stop, it is again a sad state of delusion we live in.
- Finally, why the hell not just mandate that public schools additionally offer a unisex restroom? Would that not solve the same problem?
Joe Newby: It puts children in danger
No. It’s perverted.
Now that I’ve done my “Silent Cal” impersonation (Google it), let me explain just a bit.
The Bible tells us that God made human beings in two primary forms — male and female; not the 71 flavors Facebook and others apparently want us all to accept.
Science also tells us that the vast majority of all humans are either born male or female.
Before being dismissed as racist, sexist, homophobic and a tool of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, common sense used to dictate that those with male parts use the men’s room while those with female parts use the ladies room.
Alas, things aren’t so simple these days, with the elimination of common sense and the refusal to accept science. These days, anyone who thinks there are two genders are dismissed, compared to ISIS and threatened with death. Just ask the four UCLA students who recently had the audacity to make this point at a campus event.
In its ongoing quest to fundamentally transform and destroy America, the Obama regime has to achieve two primary goals. First, it must divide Americans by any means necessary. Second, it must codify every perversion known to man.
It has succeeded in both of those goals, leaving one to wonder what’s next? Incest? Pedophilia? Bestiality? All of the above? Who knows?
Sadly, it has now put our children in danger.
Fortunately, I no longer have children in the public school system, but if I did, I would pull them out in a New York minute and home-school them, at least until the day common sense is allowed back in schools.
Jan Shannon: We are called to protect people from discrimination
As a Christian, pastor, mother, and grandmother, I am personally and professionally invested in this issue.
As a Christian, I try to love our neighbors as ourselves — including those who may seem different from us. Like many people, there was a time when I didn’t know what it meant to be transgender. The idea of a person being born one gender but knowing themselves to be another can sound unusual at first. I first met a transgender person four years ago, and learned of the discrimination they face. Now I see the suffering of these folks, people whom God loves.
As a mother and grandmother, I hear the fear of those who support discriminatory bathroom legislation. Most people don’t know much about transgender folks, and new things can be scary. When we’re scared, it’s important to know the facts. Washington law enforcement leaders and the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs say permitting transgender people to use public facilities is not a threat to anyone’s safety, and that these ‘bad bathroom bills’ will encourage strangers to confront anyone in public facilities and violate our privacy and safety. Here in Washington, this issue is near at hand. Proposed Initiative, I-1515, would roll back discrimination protections for transgender people, opening floodgates of harassment and physical harm for a community that is already marginalized and in constant danger.
As a pastor, I oppose I-1515 and all other similar legislation across the country. As a pastor, I believe that these laws discriminate against the trans community and discrimination is never OK with God. Christians are called to protect people from discrimination, and treat others as we want to be treated. We’re all God’s children and we should all be treated equally under the law.
I fully support President Obama, and applaud his leadership on this issue. Civil rights are for all citizens, and none of us are safe until all of us are safe. I urge you all to oppose I-1515. Support Washington Won’t Discriminate.
John Hancock: Gender comes in many forms
I’m very judgmental of dogmatic, fundamentalist, opportunistic representatives that advocate legislated, public rejection and humiliation of people who have suffered plenty of such treatment already.
Here’s my thinking: Fundamentalists abhor uncertainty and ambiguity. They can’t abide it, because belief in absolutes requires certainty, unchanging interpretation and infallibility. That’s the standard by which they judge their prophets, holy books and rules to be superior. That’s the definition of fundamentalism. Beyond doubt, without error, without pragmatism, often without even kindness and feeling.
The settled issue of same-sex marriage has allowed energy to be directed toward a new, related target, making the issue of male/female bathroom assignment (coming soon to your city council) a central issue.
I think a lot of this spawns from ignorance. One good friend thinks that “transvestite” and “transgender” are synonymous. I ask, “Do you know any transgender people? Anyone with gender dissatisfaction that they’ve shared with you? If not, what’s the basis of your anger?”
Have you ever known a thick woman with really big hands, feet and whiskers? How about a childish, slight man with a soft voice and no facial hair to speak of? Did they seem like perverts to you? Sinners? Do you suppose they’ve suffered any stress in public restrooms? Employment? Family reunion? Did they choose this “lifestyle”? Would they feel welcome in your church?
Unless you’re a person who rejects science in favor of belief, it’s instructive to read about chromosomal anomalies. The simplicity of X and Y works fine in 6th grade biology, but it doesn’t describe everybody. And in the emotional world, who says you get to set the male/female standard for all Americans?
Gender comes in many forms. A transition memoir by a woman (who became a spokesperson for the movement), “Becoming a Visible Man,” speaks from her/his experience of five genders, not two. Some individuals feel somewhere on a personal continuum between unambiguous man and completely woman. The blended feelings and anatomy (far more common than doctors and parents acknowledge) of many people in-between man and woman (estimated by some at 10 percent), know that they themselves don’t fit the simple model of binary options. (Such anatomical unambiguity, with only two checkboxes, is now being called “medical status”, which seems to me legal, not medical, therefore determined by legislation, not by God)
Another true-life book that helped me understand the experience is “Becoming Nicole,” which is about a pair of identical twin boys who at a very early age diverge in their self-awareness. Mom and Dad respond differently. The reason this Maine family informs this national conversation is that Nick is a girl from the start, becoming one of the youngest sex-change Americans. All the arguments and current school practices (both helpful and harmful) now in the news appear in this book, including the bullying, the actions of other parents and school personnel and the necessity of lawsuits to win equal opportunity for Nick’s childhood safety and happiness. It’s heartbreaking. It’s real. Included are the stories of school policies and court battles, in which the dad finally decides to protect the happiness of both his children. The parents had plenty of beliefs, but those beliefs failed to help them understand their child. And many of the schoolmates were and remain more understanding and far kinder than their parents.
When did kindness become a politically defective and dangerous practice of the liberals?
My work in the arts and social services has included acquaintance with hundreds of skillful and unconventional people who found work they could fit in. The world I know is richer because of them. Their happiness matters, and I think they should have a chance to fit in with their own sincerity, not just the binary choice of male/female certainty.
Jesus said something like, “Get over yourself. Just love everybody. No matter what. And help them if you can. Even when it shocks your own sensibility. Only in this way can you truly know God.”
Readers, we want to hear from you too, but remind you keep the FāVS comment policy in mind: Seek out answers, move the discussion forward, assume the best in others — treat others as you would like to be treated.
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