Friday, April 29, 2016

Ted Cruz steps in the poo-poo of the politics of transgender use of gender-appropriate bathrooms

He hopes to come out smelling better than Trump in the Indiana primary, Indiana being a major battleground on the politics of bathroom use.

The New York Times has the story.

What's the issue?

... Mr. Trump said last week that people should be free to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” Mr. Trump was responding to the furor over a North Carolina law that stripped legal protections from gay and transgender people.

What is Cruz saying about it?

As Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seeks every possible edge to stop Donald J. Trump, he has seized on a once-obscure issue with a proven power to inflame conservatives: letting transgender women use women’s bathrooms.

Mr. Cruz mentions it constantly in Indiana, a state with many social conservatives that is all but a last stand for him in his fight to deprive Mr. Trump of the Republican presidential nomination.

In leveraging the issue, Mr. Cruz has raised the specter of sexual predators in women’s restrooms, which conservatives around the country have effectively invoked to defeat anti-discrimination laws — and which gay rights advocates denounce as a myth.

What's at stake?

I mean other than Indiana delegates.

The topic could surface in July at the Republican convention, where a fight is already brewing in the platform committee to overturn the party’s historical objection to same-sex marriage. In a little-noticed move this winter, the Republican National Committee called on states to pass laws limiting access to school bathrooms and locker rooms based on students’ “anatomical sex.”

And the states are doing it in spite of no evidence that use of bathrooms appropriate for gender identity increases sexual crimes.

What are the facts?

The first thing for us all to recognize is that facts do not matter. Facts fall and evidence fails in the face of religious zealotry ... and conservative demagoguery.

Here's just one example cited by the New York Times.

Gerri Nottingham, a nurse from Indianapolis, recalled Mr. Trump’s saying it would be too expensive to build separate restrooms, and she agreed. “If you’ve got that issue, just go home,” she advised. “You just have to plan.”

Ms. Nottingham, too, plans to vote for Mr. Cruz. She said she found it hard to accept that a person born one sex would identify as another. “I work in labor and delivery,” she said. “They come out one gender.”

Evidently, the thousands of research reports on the origins of gender identity do not hold sway with Ms. Nottingham. (I will do the gentlemanly thing and not comment on the quality of her training as a nurse.)

What are the facts? (I bravely persevere in the belief that facts do matter.)

Start with what the great font of human knowledge knows. Here is the lead from the WiKi entry on "gender identity."

Gender identity is one's personal experience of one's own gender.[1] All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a person's social identity in relation to other members of society.[2] In most societies, there is a basic division between gender attributes assigned to males and females,[3] a gender binary to which most people adhere and which enforces conformance to ideals of masculinity and femininity in all aspects of sex and gender: biological sex, gender identity, and gender expression.[4] In all societies, some individuals do not identify with some (or all) of the aspects of gender that are assigned to their biological sex;[5] some of those individuals are transgender or genderqueer. Some societies have third gender categories.

Core gender identity is usually formed by age three.[6],[7] After age three, it is extremely difficult to change,[6] and attempts to reassign it can result in gender dysphoria.[8] Both biological and social factors have been suggested to influence its formation.

See the WiKi entry for the references numbered above.

For more on the current research on gender identity see the review article in the American Psychological Association Monitor. You can find databases containing the scientific literature on gender identity at the National Center for Biotechnological Information, but beware: there are thousands of books and journal articles on the topic.

So the facts are these. Gender identity is a product of both biological and social factors. It is formed very early in life, and once formed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to change. Transgendered individuals are found in virtually every society on this planet and some societies even identify transgendered persons as a unique gender.

Here is one more challenge to the facts from Cruz and his zealous supporters (again from the Times' article).

Earlier, Mr. Cruz said, “If the law says that any man, if he chooses, can enter a women’s restroom, a little girls’ restroom, and stay there, and he cannot be removed because he simply says at that moment he feels like a woman, you’re opening the door for predators.”

A coalition of groups that fight sexual assault and domestic violence issued a statement last week saying that in the 18 states that protect transgender people’s right to use any restroom, there has been no increase in sexual violence.

Concluding challenges

One is to the readers: is there any reported instance of a transgendered (M2F type) sexually molesting a woman in a women's bathroom? Let me know.

Let's stop here for a few moments and ponder how our great nation got so involved with how you pee-pee and where you poo-poo. Maybe "limited government" now just includes a bunch of right-wing religious zealots out to stick their noses in your private parts. Maybe "limited" just describes the mental breadth and depth of those who subscribe to the concept.

Now a message to those zealots who are interested in my private parts and how I use them and whether they comport with my gender identity: you can kiss my a$$.

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