Transactional Transgenderism

There's a new book out: When Harry Became Sally – Responding to the Transgender Moment, by Ryan T. Anderson, which is one of the first rational (which is to say "conservative") looks at what I call "transactional transgenderism" that I've come across.  This book was reviewed – and the author interviewed – in National Review, and that interview got me thinking. 

Mine is a lowercase-"l" libertarian philosophy, which is different from the uppercase-"L" Libertarian Party philosophy.  That libertarian philosophy suggests that as long as people don't hurt others by acting on their beliefs – or as long as they don't try to impose their beliefs on others – those people (i.e., all of us) ought to be free to be and do – and especially to believe – what they want.  That libertarian philosophy is why I don't care which sex individuals think is really theirs, just as why I don't care if two gay men or two gay women can get married.  Their actions do not hurt, or even reflect negatively on, my love-based "traditional" marriage to the ever wonderful Lynn. 

What people think of their sex is their business, not mine.  More important, their beliefs will not become my business, unless and until they start trying to impose those transactional transgender beliefs on me, or – worse – demanding that I embrace (or at least honor) their beliefs.  That's where they cross this libertarian's line.

This gets to the heart of the nature of "belief," as enshrined in the Constitution.  The First Amendment gives all Americans the freedom of their beliefs, and while that freedom is specifically addressed to "religious beliefs," it extends to all aspects of our lives, including our political beliefs and our own personal takes on transactional transgender beliefs.  The First Amendment promises us the unabridged freedom of religious (and other) beliefs.  Going a step farther, the First Amendment also forbids the government (and by extension, the rest of us) from taking actions that deny any individuals their beliefs.  Bottom line: The First Amendment prevents any one set of beliefs from being viewed (at least as a matter of public policy) as more important, or more natural, than anyone else's set of beliefs.

This brings us back to what people think of and what they expect (or demand of the rest of us) when they think of their own sex.  If someone born male chooses to think of himself as "herself" – a female – that doesn't impinge on my life, my beliefs, or my actions, though it indeed does run contrary to my beliefs.  But so, too, do the religious beliefs of those who are not Christ-centered Christians.  Yet Muslims, Mormons, Zoroastrians, Scientologists, and Jehovah's Witnesses (among others) all have the God-given and constitutional right to their own differing beliefs.  And – to borrow (and paraphrase) a phrase popular among those who affirm the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech – despite the fact that I don't share the beliefs of those groups, "I do not share your beliefs, but I would fight to the death to preserve your right to those beliefs."

Getting back to transactional transgender beliefs, I do not care that a male individual wants to believe himself to be a herself, nor would I ever act to deprive him of the right to that belief.  However, his belief in himself as a woman should stop at the point immediately before where his beliefs infringe on my own. 

So, for instance, that person's or group's transactional transgender belief should not entitle any individual to demand so-called sex reassignment surgery paid for by my tax dollars, which would infringe upon my own beliefs.  If they can pay for that surgery on their own, it's none of my business, any more than is any other kind of plastic surgery – but if they expect me to pay for it, they are violating the essence of the constitutional protection of the majority from the will of the minority, just as that minority is protected from the harsh demands of an outraged majority. 

In addition, that transactional transgender belief should not entitle any individual to use a public-access restroom that is intended – and properly marked – only for use by people of a certain specific gender.  However, if the owners of those public-access facilities also want to create gender-neutral restrooms, that is fine by me.  In that case, nobody's beliefs are being infringed upon – no harm, no foul.  However, that creation of a third kind of public-access restroom should be a private decision – for the government to impose the cost of creating gender-neutral bathrooms would be a specialized tax based on a minority's beliefs, which is not constitutionally acceptable, as was recently shown in the Supreme Court Obamacare ruling regarding Hobby Lobby and birth control and abortion coverage in employee health insurance.

But that notion of gender-neutral public-access restrooms is not what the transactional transgender activists are demanding.  They want the unfettered right for people born as males to use public-access restrooms assigned for exclusive use by women – not because they have passed some rigorous examination to prove they are actually transactionally-transgender females, but because of their unproven but claimed belief that they are actually women trapped in men's bodies.  The protection of women – especially girls and teenage young women – from the very real potential to be emotionally scarred (let alone raped or sexually assaulted) by a man pretending to be a woman is far more important to a society dedicated to protecting its children than is the potential and purely hypothetical "harm" to a male who is "forced" to use a public restroom dedicated for the exclusive use of males.

I find it compelling that those active in the transactional transgender "rights" movement have not demanded gender-neutral public-access restrooms, which would address the concerns of all but the tiniest minority of bigots who would rather punish certain minorities than accommodate them.  That would be a simple solution, but instead of embracing the logic of such a move, those transactional transgender activists insist on their unfettered right to impose their minority beliefs on the rest of society, regardless of the potential for harming children or adults not ready (nor should they ever have to be ready) to accept the primacy of a self-proclaimed minority.

There's a new book out: When Harry Became Sally – Responding to the Transgender Moment, by Ryan T. Anderson, which is one of the first rational (which is to say "conservative") looks at what I call "transactional transgenderism" that I've come across.  This book was reviewed – and the author interviewed – in National Review, and that interview got me thinking. 

Mine is a lowercase-"l" libertarian philosophy, which is different from the uppercase-"L" Libertarian Party philosophy.  That libertarian philosophy suggests that as long as people don't hurt others by acting on their beliefs – or as long as they don't try to impose their beliefs on others – those people (i.e., all of us) ought to be free to be and do – and especially to believe – what they want.  That libertarian philosophy is why I don't care which sex individuals think is really theirs, just as why I don't care if two gay men or two gay women can get married.  Their actions do not hurt, or even reflect negatively on, my love-based "traditional" marriage to the ever wonderful Lynn. 

What people think of their sex is their business, not mine.  More important, their beliefs will not become my business, unless and until they start trying to impose those transactional transgender beliefs on me, or – worse – demanding that I embrace (or at least honor) their beliefs.  That's where they cross this libertarian's line.

This gets to the heart of the nature of "belief," as enshrined in the Constitution.  The First Amendment gives all Americans the freedom of their beliefs, and while that freedom is specifically addressed to "religious beliefs," it extends to all aspects of our lives, including our political beliefs and our own personal takes on transactional transgender beliefs.  The First Amendment promises us the unabridged freedom of religious (and other) beliefs.  Going a step farther, the First Amendment also forbids the government (and by extension, the rest of us) from taking actions that deny any individuals their beliefs.  Bottom line: The First Amendment prevents any one set of beliefs from being viewed (at least as a matter of public policy) as more important, or more natural, than anyone else's set of beliefs.

This brings us back to what people think of and what they expect (or demand of the rest of us) when they think of their own sex.  If someone born male chooses to think of himself as "herself" – a female – that doesn't impinge on my life, my beliefs, or my actions, though it indeed does run contrary to my beliefs.  But so, too, do the religious beliefs of those who are not Christ-centered Christians.  Yet Muslims, Mormons, Zoroastrians, Scientologists, and Jehovah's Witnesses (among others) all have the God-given and constitutional right to their own differing beliefs.  And – to borrow (and paraphrase) a phrase popular among those who affirm the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech – despite the fact that I don't share the beliefs of those groups, "I do not share your beliefs, but I would fight to the death to preserve your right to those beliefs."

Getting back to transactional transgender beliefs, I do not care that a male individual wants to believe himself to be a herself, nor would I ever act to deprive him of the right to that belief.  However, his belief in himself as a woman should stop at the point immediately before where his beliefs infringe on my own. 

So, for instance, that person's or group's transactional transgender belief should not entitle any individual to demand so-called sex reassignment surgery paid for by my tax dollars, which would infringe upon my own beliefs.  If they can pay for that surgery on their own, it's none of my business, any more than is any other kind of plastic surgery – but if they expect me to pay for it, they are violating the essence of the constitutional protection of the majority from the will of the minority, just as that minority is protected from the harsh demands of an outraged majority. 

In addition, that transactional transgender belief should not entitle any individual to use a public-access restroom that is intended – and properly marked – only for use by people of a certain specific gender.  However, if the owners of those public-access facilities also want to create gender-neutral restrooms, that is fine by me.  In that case, nobody's beliefs are being infringed upon – no harm, no foul.  However, that creation of a third kind of public-access restroom should be a private decision – for the government to impose the cost of creating gender-neutral bathrooms would be a specialized tax based on a minority's beliefs, which is not constitutionally acceptable, as was recently shown in the Supreme Court Obamacare ruling regarding Hobby Lobby and birth control and abortion coverage in employee health insurance.

But that notion of gender-neutral public-access restrooms is not what the transactional transgender activists are demanding.  They want the unfettered right for people born as males to use public-access restrooms assigned for exclusive use by women – not because they have passed some rigorous examination to prove they are actually transactionally-transgender females, but because of their unproven but claimed belief that they are actually women trapped in men's bodies.  The protection of women – especially girls and teenage young women – from the very real potential to be emotionally scarred (let alone raped or sexually assaulted) by a man pretending to be a woman is far more important to a society dedicated to protecting its children than is the potential and purely hypothetical "harm" to a male who is "forced" to use a public restroom dedicated for the exclusive use of males.

I find it compelling that those active in the transactional transgender "rights" movement have not demanded gender-neutral public-access restrooms, which would address the concerns of all but the tiniest minority of bigots who would rather punish certain minorities than accommodate them.  That would be a simple solution, but instead of embracing the logic of such a move, those transactional transgender activists insist on their unfettered right to impose their minority beliefs on the rest of society, regardless of the potential for harming children or adults not ready (nor should they ever have to be ready) to accept the primacy of a self-proclaimed minority.