Dumb arguments against legal protections for transgender people

Woman looking into another stall in a bathroom, just in case.
Keeping one’s priorities “straight.”
A couple weeks ago I started writing about the Dumbest Arguments Against Anti-Disrimination Laws. It took me no time to reel off a longer blog post than usual, and I hadn’t covered everything, so I ended that one with a “To be continued…” then wrote part 2 to post the next day. Even then I wasn’t quite finished, because there is an even more dreadful level of stupidity achieved by people arguing against transgender anti-discrimination laws.

So, let’s dive in…

Men who want to sexually assault women will dress like women to get into bathrooms and commit their sex crimes with impunity!

This is dumb on at least five levels:

  1. There is no special sensor on the door to bathrooms that only allows people wearing “gender appropriate clothing” into said bathroom. Neither do most public or semi-public restrooms have a guard posted at the doors. These hypothetical bathroom assaulters have the means to sneak into a women’s restroom without needing to dress up as a woman. Passing laws that say transgender people can’t be discriminated against will not make it any easier for guys like that to sneak in.
  2. Transgender anti-discrimination laws don’t neutralize criminal laws against sexual assault. If this hypothetical would-be rapist did attempt to assault someone, or succeed in assaulting someone, it’s still a crime. They would still be subject of arrest, and no judge is going to throw out the case because the defendant claims he’s transgender. So this whole “with impunity” bit is false as well as dumb.
  3. The kind of rapist who hides somewhere, waiting to jump out at a victim is more myth than reality. About 84% of rapes are committed by friends, relatives, or people otherwise acquainted with the victim before the assault. And a significant number of the so-called stranger rapes in official statistics aren’t entirely stranger rapes either, because the FBI and other agencies classify sexual assaults involving multiple attackers as “stranger rape” if one of the attackers or any person who otherwise assisted the attackers (acted as lookout, for instance) is someone the victim didn’t know in advance.
  4. The kind of man who is a serial or otherwise “random” rapist would rather die than be seen as less than the most macho of men. Seriously, the only people who can even imagine this claim are incredibly clueless about the social price guys pay for doing anything that makes them seem unmanly. This is the equivalent of people who don’t understand the rejection, humiliation, and hatred heaped on children and adults when others suspect they might be gay. Just as non-gender-conforming boys and girls do not willingly subject themselves to all that abuse, serial rapists aren’t willing to endure the social consequences (imagined or otherwise) that comes with “being like a woman.” The kind of guy who treats women as an object to taken, used, and disposed of at will has such deep-seated misogyny that the suggestion that they might pretend to be transgender would probably make them fly into a homicidal rage.
  5. The people who make this argument are often the same people who claim that anti-discrimination laws aren’t needed because discrimination is already illegal. The fact that this reasoning completely contradicts all of their arguments specifically against transgender discrimination just whizzes right over their heads.

Bottom line: these kind of assualts do not happen now, the enactment of these laws do not make them any easier to happen, so they will not happen. And if you check out part 3 of this series, you can see the statistics of the several states that have already enacted these laws (one all the way back in 1993), and the fact that in all that time, there has not been one single instance of anyone attempting to rape someone this way. Zero.

Boys who want to harass girls/peek at girls naked/et cetera, will claim to be transgender just to get into the girls’ restrooms at school!

  1. Go back and re-read item number four above.

    Now google “transgender teen suicide” and read some stories about the horrible treatment, bullying, harassment, and so forth that any kid who admits they are transgender or otherwise appears gender non-conforming.

    Now google “gay teen suicide and read more stories of the way kids are made to feel less than human, deserving of nothing but contempt and hatred, et cetera.

    If you can read all of that, and then with a straight face claim that some kid who isn’t actually transgender is going to subject themselves to that just to get a peek at his female classmates, you have a serious mental deficiency.

  2. The other big flaw in this argument is: it isn’t the 1950s. Or 60s, or whatever era you grew up in when getting to see naked bodies was difficult. When I was at the age that these folks are imagining, you had to find your dad’s hidden porn stash (or the porn stash of some other older male relative or neighbor) in order to get a glimpse at naked bodies to satisfy adolescent hormone-driven curiosity. That was the dark ages. Now, kids that age have their favorite porn sites that they visit on the internet, where they can oogle all they want, and watch unrealistic depictions of sex acts to their heart’s content.

    And don’t fool yourself that, thanks to your strict controls on their internet habits and the net nanny software you’ve installed and so forth that your sweet, innocent child or grandchild hasn’t ever seen any of that. They have. They have found a way around whatever restrictions you’ve put in place. It’s just the nature of growing up.

    The upshot is, there isn’t anywhere near the scarcity of ways for hormonal pre-teens and teens to satisfy their curiosity or urges as there were “back in the day,” so even if some kid was willing to deal with all the ridicule and rejection that would come from claiming to be transgender, the motive you think they have simply doesn’t exist.

It’s an abomination! It isn’t natural!

Do we really have to explain separation of church and state, yet again? No matter how sincerely your religious beliefs are, you don’t get to enforce those beliefs on others through the force of law. Besides, I have looked and looked, and I can’t find any part of the bible that mentions transgender people. The closest you can get (without ignoring language issues and contorting your reasoning into a hyper-pretzel), are the admonitions against women wearing men’s clothing and vice versa. If you really think you can pass laws making it illegal for women to wear slacks, or men to wear kilts, I want to see you try.

As far as “natural” goes, well, there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary. There’s a small fraction of children born every year where the gender is not easily discernible. There’s a wealth of scholarship on the ethics of medical gender assignment on those individuals alone. There’s a whole lot of neuroscience about cases where the gender of the brain is different than the gender of the genitals. It’s a big, complicated series of topics that simply cannot be fit into a simple binary choice.

And even if you can’t accept that, there’s this: you know what absolutely is not natural at all? Antibiotics. Disinfectant. Ambulances. Eyeglasses. Transplant surgery. Guns. Refrigeration. Satellite-assisted farming techniques, modern fertilizers, soil analysis, and other methods of modern agronomy that are the only reason we can feed the billions of people who are on the planet. Satellite-based weather monitoring which allows us to more accurately issue tornado-, hurricane-, and similar extreme weather warnings.

I can go on. The point is that whether you think something is natural or not doesn’t justify not letting people live there lives in the identity they feel is true for them. Their being transgender doesn’t harm any of us in any way. So we don’t have an ethical right to prevent them from living their truth.

(To be continued…)

8 thoughts on “Dumb arguments against legal protections for transgender people

  1. It’s just SO frustrating! I catch my self asking “How can people be so stupid?!” But stupidity isn’t the biggest problem… Fear is. Fear makes people stupid. There. That’s the problem. Sigh. Until we fix stupid we cannot fix this ridiculous reasoning. Until we fix fear… stupidity will reign.

    Thank you for your writings and this blog. I can only pray they help dispel a little of both so that one day transgendered folks will feel as safe and secure as the rest of us from being unfairly discriminated against. Peace & Love, Ann

    1. The road from fear to hate seems to be paved with a whole lot of stupid. 🙂

      But in all seriousness, yes, is really about fear. Disgust, “ickiness” and similar feelings are all manifestations of fear. Some of them fear things that are different. Some of them fear things within themselves, and become angry and spiteful at people who have embraced the thing they fear and seem to be happy.

      One reason I think it’s important to call out the dumb is because people are given a pass on these ridiculous arguments. Some folks give them a pass because of religious beliefs that align with them, but a whole lot more people give them a pass because of a couple of misperceptions. The myth that balanced coverage requires you always present diametrically opposed opinions creates an idea in the minds of the public that experts are evenly divided on the issues, and if the experts are evenly divided, than these arguments must have some validity. The other misperception is a lot of people think it’s wrong not to respect all opinions equally. We have to respect people rights to hold their opinion, but you don’t have to respect the opinion itself.

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