The titantic clash of protected rights

As I’ve said before, I truly pity transgendered people, those born with a hormone wash at odds with their body’s actual equipment.  I wish them no harm and believe that they should be protected from the sometimes venomous prejudice that follows their gender confusion.  Nevertheless, there is no doubt that elevating their needs to the sacred status of protected rights creates enormous inconveniences and pressures on everyone else, not to mention a whole bunch of risks to both the self-identified transgendered and those caught in the backwash of their protected rights:

Two San Rafael parents are upset by a school policy that allows students who identify as a different gender to use the restrooms and locker rooms assigned to that gender.

Mark and Elizabeth Swanson say the rule creates the potential for students to be placed in uncomfortable situations.

“This policy provides the opportunity for boys in a junior high school setting to have to change in the midst of a young woman, from whom they would be separated only by a curtain,” Mark Swanson told the district board at its meeting Monday. “I’m in favor of protecting the dignity of transgendered individuals. But that creates a difficult situation for those boys. It imposes upon their modesty and privacy.”

But San Rafael school officials say the policy is in keeping with state law, which treats gender and sexual identity as protected statuses. Unless students would be subject to “unavoidable nudity,” they could be asked to share a restroom with a student who is biologically of the opposite sex.

To do otherwise would leave the school district open to lawsuits, attorney Dora Dome said.

“A subject’s discomfort does not have the same legitimacy on a legal basis as supporting the rights of an individual,” said Dome, the district’s legal counsel. “Based on a substantial legal record, the district must allow access to transgendered students.”

The above clash, of course, is not surprising.  This is what happens when government starts handing out “protected rights” like candy on Halloween.  It initially seems like a cheap way to satisfy various interest groups, but quickly devolves into a battle to the death amongst those simultaneously clutching their protected rights like shields and wielding them like swords.

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  • Charles Martel

    (I’ve always despised the imposition of a grammatical — and later po-mo — term, “gender,” on what used to be called sex.)

    That quibble aside, I have to compliment Book on her characterization of what’s going on here as “handing out ‘protected rights’ like candy on Halloween.”

    The problem is that most supposed transgenders are deeply confused people with massive psychological problems. The more extreme ones eventually resort to self-mutilation via the surgeon’s knife, only to find that their lives as newly minted men or women are just as screwed up as before.

    Johns Hopkins University, which used to perform these mutilations, stopped doing so several years ago after it became obvious that they were operating on psychotic people.

    This is not to say, as Book points out early on, that some people are born with confusing sexual characteristics, such as undifferentiated genitalia, which can be the cause of great suffering. For those unfortunates, every consideration should be extended.

    But for some 12-year-old kid to decide that she’s now a boy (or vice versa) is a slippery slope to the absurd.

    Oh, to be 13 again and able to tell my teachers that I identify as female and just gotta start taking pees with the other girls!

  • expat

    I wonder whether we are seeing something like a repeat of the multiple personality debate (see Wikipedia). I won’t say that transgenders don’t exist, but it seems that all the attention and special rights offer disturbed young persons a recognized excuse for and way to call attention to their distress. Perhaps we do more damage by making them cannon fodder for advocacy groups.

  • Indigo Red

    It’s unfortunate that government intrusiveness doesn’t share the Halloween candy benefit of being x-rayed to discover any hidden dangers.

  • Ymarsakar

    My ability to kill anyone I can reach with my hands is all the dignity and privacy I need, Book.

  • Mike Devx

    I’ve stayed away from the transgender debate.

    It’s bad enough being gay, and hearing all of that debate. For me it comes down to, “Why am I gay”, and no one yet has a provable answer. That’s very troubling, because I’d like to say it’s just my genes, but I have to accept that it may be a natural dysfunction. Or even a corruption – though I couldn’t find a thing in my past to pin it on THAT. But there’s no provable answer.

    So I ask in all honesty, is there really ANY proof that “transgenderism” is genetic? Since I’ve stayed away from it, I have no idea of the level of “proof” out there. Is there really any, any at all?

  • Mike Devx

    I guess it would help me out of someone would explain the scientific investigation behind Book’s opening statement:

    >> As I’ve said before, I truly pity transgendered people, those born with a hormone wash at odds with their body’s actual equipment. >>

    What is this hormone that has been discovered that is at odds with the body’s otherwise natural actual equipment? Are we talking about unusually high levels of estrogen in a man, or testosterone in a woman? Is that specifically the cause of transgenderism – the insistent belief, which may be a reality (or not) that a man is trapped in a woman’s body, or vice versa?

    Just asking – because I do not know what causes a man to believe he is a woman, or a woman to believe she is a man – and specifically how that relates to the hormone in question. Scientific answers, please.

  • Bookworm

    No scientific investigation behind my statement, Mike. It’s based on my own personal experiences. (There may be scientific investigation. I just don’t know of it.)

    When I was at elementary school, there were some boys who preferred playing with the girls, girl-style and, to no ones surprise, they came out of the closet in college. None consider themselves transgendered, just gay, but all displayed feminine traits early. I don’t know if this was a result of home life or hormones, but it was noticeable.

    Likewise, when my kids were in preschool, one of the boys in their school was already hyper-feminine. All he wanted to do was play with and like the girls. Again, I don’t know if it was nature or nurture, but in attitude he was strikingly unlike the little boys. I also knew a couple of girls who were tomboys squared, and who formed a bond in kindergarten that is still as strong (and, I suspect, now, sexual) in their late teens.

    I find the unconscious behavior of small children more compelling than the more conscious behavior of adults when it comes to my suspicion that hormones play a role in things.

  • Ymarsakar

    I wouldn’t presume to speculate on what exotic cocktail mix of hormones is responsible for feminine behavior and instinct in boys or aggressive dominance in females, but I can say what my own particular mix of adrenaline and endorphines, and god knows what else, produces.

    Early on in my life, there was a physical discomfort I felt whenever I even thought about telling lies. It was so abhorrent to me that oftentimes I would allow accept punishment I could have easily lied my way out of rather than to lie or shade the truth or oftentimes I would get so tangled up with confusion when the lies of others convinced authority figures to go against me. This was a result of internal dynamics and beliefs on my part: beliefs not that truth mattered but that it should matter, with no explanation of why or of what benefit it was to anyone. I saw plenty concerning the benefits of lies. Once in fifth grade I went to check up on some plants in plastic cups and bottles the class had finished and now put on display next to the room’s exit. It was only me and another girl around the display. When I started reaching to turn one of the cups to see whose name was on it, she hit me on my arm. I was surprised and shocked and through my own actions or hers, the teacher was called into adjudicate. She, the girl, said that I had hit her. I, of course, could not explain the level of deception that I had just seen, for it was painful for me to even think about lying and thus it was not something I thought about much and much less something I could explain or justify to defend myself. And yet, something inside of me, totally independent of any family teaching or life experience as I had known it, valued the truth and was contemptuous of dissimulation.

    Whether the origin came from nature or nurture or some mix of both, is irrelevant. What matters is that it is; it exists as an inner drive and one that cannot be ignored. I have never felt one scintilla of attraction towards men or boys, but I know very well the conflict which develops when one’s inner nature meets the nature of society.

    However, what this tends to mean is that I feel no real sympathy for complainers, pissants, and whiners. They want to complain about how society has not given them a fair shake and how society needs to compromise and then when society attempts to make an accommodation, civil unions for example, that compromise is deemed unsuitable. For someone like me that has known the darkest of blood lusts, which require inner discipline to control, their situation provides no real excuse. I remember being around liars and con artists, when simple practicality and common sense would demand that I adopt their methods, and still I resisted. I resisted until I learned the philosophy that separated the virtue of honesty from always telling the truth, wherein I learned that ethical conduct does not always involve telling the truth to enemies of humanity. The relief I felt when finally I could start to reconcile my inner instinct with how the outer world worked was immense. I no longer had to sacrifice my vision of the good for honesty or vice a versa. It should be obvious by now that I’m one of those people that can’t stand the good guys losing because they allowed “honor” to get in the way of efficiently killing the evil. One’s duty is clear in this respect.

    The study of how hormone affects extreme behavioral traits is not something science is particularly good at studying because it requires science to find people like me and then check my blood during various “episodes”. This cannot be done with any real accuracy if I know what they are doing. And nor can it be done with any great accuracy because the bias will already be there when they start “choosing” the selection. How will scientists know which person is reacting because of his hormones, his nature, his nurture, his personality, or just simply due to Pavlovian conditioning learned through life experiences? They won’t know until they start studying a random sample. And yet, hormones are strongest when people are young, so are they now going to stick needles in kids and then wait 20 years for them to grow up and see if they are gay or not? I doubt that.

    The hormones they can get out of adults now may not be “extreme” enough to do anything for a scientific hypothesis. Now, it may be more psychosomatic and personality wise. You could inject estrogen or testosterone and see whether they affect aggression or not but you would also have to find out whether it makes women more attractive to women or men more attractive to men. And therein lies the subjectivity factor. Even if aggression was part of the results of testosterone, it would not necessarily make someone more attractive or less attractive on a gender basis. Once a person identifies with a certain gender, male or female, you ain’t gonna pry them off of it any time soon. Now it has become a personality issue. They see themselves as male or female, regardless of what society sees them as. And we all know how strong personality identities are. Hell, people identity themselves as Democrats and how much would it take to make them change? We know the answer to that. How much more for something more permanent, like gender?

    The studies are complex, as all human studies are, and prone to various errors: both on the part of the researched as well as on the part of the researchers. Then again, given how Americans seem to be able to find funding for any kind of research project (like seeing if more beer makes women more attractive to men…), I have no real theories as why such projects have not already been conducted. Or if they have, nor can I say what the results were.

  • Mike Devx

    Thank you, Book and Ymar, for your thoughtful replies. (It’s about time I had some time to get back in here and read Book’s new posts and all the comments to all the posts! Whew, where do people find the time when work consumes so much of it!)

    Having read both posts, the issues seem just as confused and muddled to me as ever.

    Book’s identification of “feminized” little boys who ended up coming out in college is certainly one facet of the discussion. Yet I have known friends and associates who aren’t exactly traditionally masculine in their mannerisms, nor are aggressive when making their way through the world, who are happily married and exhibit no signs of transgenderism nor gayness.

    Do drag queens all wish they were women, or do they just enjoy acting like outrageously flamboyant women? How many of them want to, um, modify their sexual equipment?

    Are all gay men who don’t act feminized just covering up, acting? I certainly do not think so. At sporadic intervals I discuss being gay with people who didn’t know, and they always exhibit surprise. “But you don’t *act* gay” is a usual comment, to which I just shrug my shoulders, because that assumption about gays is other peoples’ problem, not mine.

    It is clear to me that most of the gay subculture is feminized, and those who interact heavily within it are mostly required to adopt its mannerisms, and social patterning within their group results in widespread feminized behavior – within those groups. But that doesn’t seem to relate to a desire to modify one’s sexual identity itself to becoming female.

    So it’s still all a mishmash to me. I can agree with Book’s post on this, though:

    >> I wish them no harm and believe that they should be protected from the sometimes venomous prejudice that follows their gender confusion. >>

    I’m not interested in creating hell on earth for anyone. But as with Book, I don’t see a compelling need to pull the rug out from under our set of social rules, to upturn everything, just to make one small set of people more comfortable. There are many sets of people not exactly comfortable in this society of ours, and we don’t upturn the world for them, either. We just let everyone live their lives.

  • suek

    Someone has raised the question of the generalized use of estrogens for the purpose of birth control within the last 40 years or so. I don’t know if anyone has done any research on the topic, but I could see where there could be the possibility of heightened estrogen retained in the mother affecting the fetus in utero.

    Or maybe the percentages of homosexuals has been constant throughout history and we haven’t recognized it due to social suppression? If the latter, and if it _is_ genetic, then it would seem that the openess of the gay lifestyle could result in a strong reduction of the characteristic in the population within a generation or two. Interesting genetic possibility to consider…
    Recessive characteristics are the easiest to set within a population (assuming no harmful effects) and the most difficult to eradicate.

  • suek

    >>Someone has raised the question of the generalized use of estrogens for the purpose of birth control within the last 40 years or so.>>

    Oops…didn’t finish the thought. “…raised the question of whether the use of estrogens…has increased the number of homosexuals in the population.”

    On further thought – that might affect the number of male homosexuals, but it doesn’t seem to explain the number of female homosexuals…

  • Charles Martel

    It is clear to me that most of the gay subculture is feminized, and those who interact heavily within it are mostly required to adopt its mannerisms, and social patterning within their group results in widespread feminized behavior – within those groups. But that doesn’t seem to relate to a desire to modify one’s sexual identity itself to becoming female.

    I think Mike’s observation is spot on. The feminized aspects of gay subculture are a centuries-old shorthand for communicating quickly and clearly, to both straight and gay, a person’s sexual orientation. I agree that there are very, very few homosexual men who have any interest in becoming women.

    A few years ago there was an Australian homosexual activist who made what I thought was a useful distinction. It bears a bit, I think, on the reactions Mike gets when people think all gays have the same set of mannerisms. He distinguished between “homosexuality,” which he said was simply a description of a sexual orientation, with no judgments implied in the label. The other was “gay,” which he considered a political construction, designed to indicate commitment to a specific, often transgressive, anti-traditional lifestyle.

    A lot of homosexual men I’ve met along the way fall into the first category and are very uncomfortable with the second. That’s one of the reasons why I so distrust identity politics.

  • Ymarsakar

    But that doesn’t seem to relate to a desire to modify one’s sexual identity itself to becoming female.

    Gender roles are mostly societal. In Greece, it was perfectly fine to be a homosexual or even pedophile. That was the accepted practice, in fact. The Greeks, cause they were a patriarchal family, kept their women locked in boxes and uneducated. This meant that Greek philosophy started getting into “love” and the sharing of one’s mind leading to a sharing of one’s heart fully. This set up a justification for homosexual relations since men are the only ones who can “think”, that means women are for creating children while men make better lovers and equal partners. Given the restrictions Ancient Greek and Roman Society, had, that was to be expected.

    There is a prototypical “gender role” that children are brought up in. Girls play with dolls and chat around while boys go do physical stuff, wrestle, run around, explore, and so forth. If a boy likes to play with dolls and feel more of an affinity to “chat” around with other girls and have tea parties with them, rather than go get dirty with the other boys, then that particular boy will grow up around the societal expectation that only a girl likes these things. Either they start to suppress these tendencies, because of external factors, or they accepted this identity and saw themselves as female rather than male. And females are attracted to masculine traits, one way or another. If homosexuality lets these boys an identity they can accept as their own, without trying to squeeze their way into the traditional male and female roles, they will most likely take it, if they have not yet suppressed their outward behavioral signs.

    Btw, the fact that a rather disproportionately visible number of gays have high pitched voices tend to argue that some weird mix of hormonal growth and genetics during the early childhood years produced a tendency for these people to feel outside society. When people feel outside the normal niches of society, they try to create their own. Lesbians then assign to themselves a new identity and gather around like minded people, same for gays. The fact that this seems compatible with their sexual desires, as well, may simply be a convenience rather than a cause. Voice tone doesn’t indicate masculinity, of course, but it does reflect hormonal influences.

    An interesting note on this subject concerns an encounter I had while I was waiting for a train. There were a couple of people milling around, both sitting and standing, and amongst them were two black men who were engaging in a conversation. Now they were facing the train tracks and talking to each other while standing up. Now, I am the kind of person that always wants to know what people are talking about around them. It is a derivative of being someone who likes to solve puzzles and produce analysis from disparate data points: immense curiosity. So I decided I was just going to pass behind them, turn around, and make a circuit back to where I was; I also like to pace when waiting and when not tired and when the wait time is less than 20 minutes. Now, as I was doing so, and I was within around 3 feet of them, one of the two turned around and stared at me. I didn’t quite understand why they turned their head to look at me, but I suspected it was because I started moving and he picked up the motion; it is what I would do. However, this guy tracked me until I was about to pass the two of em, and then said “please don’t get behind me (like that). I don’t like it when people come up behind me” in one of those stereotypical high pitched voices most attributed to gays. My response was to say nothing, turn around, and start heading away. The fact that I only vaguely remember the details of what I did is due to the fact that I was bored and was not really paying attention to much around me. The conversation I was moving towards was just something to pass the time. I was somewhat surprised by the reaction, but my interest was not stoked enough to say or ask anything. Although any questions or words I would have said would have been rather uncomfortable. Still, I didn’t pay much attention to their conversation, which now consisted of the other black guy asking the higher pitched voice one (amidst getting air out through his semi belly laughs) about his response to me. I suppose it could have been a funny incident, but the only thing of interest to me was the new tidbit of data I acquired. I went out because I was somewhat curious about the conversation they were having, even though I had ignored it up to that point (I already knew that guy had a high pitched voice but didn’t assume he was homosexual just on that data point). The new tidbit of data I acquired concerned what one of the black guys was thinking. He was thinking and worrying about people behind him. That was an interesting piece of data, although useless to me at the time (so I shelved it until now).

    Given that I don’t know any gays on a personal face to face setting, I didn’t know if I was giving some kind of “signal” or whether this guy was just always upset about having people behind him. Of course, it is a good thing this guy didn’t know my full potential, for then he would have backed away very very fast (maybe unto the train tracks even), for it wouldn’t have mattered, had I wanted to harm him, whether I was facing him in the front or the back. This may have contributed, somewhat, to my loss of interest in the two. Their threat potential went wayyy down at that point. And as people here should know, I am always more interested in potential threats than I am interested in normal people. For several years after 9/11, I studied nothing but sociopaths and psychotics like the 9/11 hijackers and Islamic Jihadists. I am not particularly interested in the psychology of the common man (I am interested in warfare, however, which requires a minimum level of comprehension of psychology amongst men), regardless of sexual orientation. Now the common woman, on the other hand, is an intriguing subject in matters of psychology. That, of course, may have something to do with the fact that I like women and they are rather mysterious on one level or another.

    This is an interesting incident to me because 1. most Men would not feel comfortable just saying out loud their insecurity in that fashion and 2. the guy had a high pitched voice and I had never heard any other man say anything like that before. Women, of course, will tell you to your face to stay away from them and give them their space. Either because they don’t like you, they feel threatened by you, or any number of other things going on. But men? Most men wouldn’t dream of appearing so insecure and they would never “ask” another man to give them “space” like that. Me, I wouldn’t ask for space because the closer they are to me the less work I have to do to get into their space and start destroying organs. Other men don’t ask because it becomes a social status thing where demonstrations of weakness means that you take a lesser social position (That’s kind of funny when you think about it. Fake liberals always talk about diplomacy being the stronger tool than deterence and intimidation, but fake liberals resort to intimidation far more than they do to the tool of diplomacy when it comes to their social status in society: Obama vs normal Americans).

    But as with Book, I don’t see a compelling need to pull the rug out from under our set of social rules, to upturn everything, just to make one small set of people more comfortable.

    No man or woman will EVER feel “comfortable” around other members of society unless that man or woman knows how to handle themselves in a violent confrontation. Now, normal men and women have such doubts and problems as well, it is just that they don’t also have the additional strain of gender role identification to add it on top.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Part of my education has been in psychology and it did teach me to respect the power of the psyche.

    The Rev. Jame Dobson, evangelical preacher and pediatric psychologist, has an interesting take on homosexuality.

    Dobson suggests that sexuality is both biological and psychological. His work with homosexual boys suggested to him that there is a phase in child development where children build their sexual identity and are very open to outside influences. He found that boys with homosexual tendencies came from families with very strong mother figures and that there was a lot of incentive for the boys to imprint their sexual identities from their mothers, because either their fathers were not present, or did not have a dominant male personality, or did not encourage their sons to develop “male” identities.

    I don’t know if this is true, but it would explain a lot of sexual identity confusion in our society. I found it interesting because imprinting behavior is so well established in other animal species (note the famous Konrad Lorenz work with geese I would also venture that I am hardly alone here on this blog to say that my adolescent and teenage years were marked by a lot of sexuality-driven angst (a la Catcher in the Rye) that took a while to sort out, at a time when society projected far fewer confusing message about sexuality than today.

    Ancient societies used to have long, extended rituals to train boys into becoming men. We don’t have that today.

    It is also interesting because Dobson, a prominent Christian Evangelist, attributes homosexuality to a value-neutral origin in a non-condemning manner. So much for that stereotype.

  • Mike Devx

    Danny (#13)
    I liked your post a great deal, it actually had absolutes to take hold of!

    A family whose sexual characteristics are dominated by the mother – resulting in homosexual boys – must be a very troubling idea to many!

    How do homosexual women arrive?

  • Danny Lemieux

    Sadly, MikeD, all I have to offer is anectdotal observations. The women I know (including in my family) who profess themselves to be gay were at some time abused by men, either physical abuse or emotional abuse, or ignored by them.