The move to create a special status in society for individuals who desire to identify with the gender opposite of that which they were born seems to be gaining traction. Several Kentucky cities now protect gender identity as a civil right on par with race or ethnicity. Last year, a Louisville High School opened up female restrooms and locker rooms to transgendered boys. Now a petition is being circulated in a Madisonville-North Hopkins High School to create transgender bathrooms. That prompted state Senator C.B. Embry to file a bill to prohibit transgendered restrooms in public schools. So what are we to make of all this?
An excellent critique of gender identity by Carlos Flores was printed in the Public Discourse today. It challenges the basic pressuppositions of transgenderism and says what few voices dare to say:
Consider the following analogies. Suppose that a Caucasian man from Finland—call him Gunther—suddenly decided that he identifies as being of Sub-Saharan African descent. Suppose further that, in light of this, Gunther undergoes unusual procedures to have his skin darkened and his skull’s bone structure re-shaped so as to resemble that of individuals of Sub-Saharan descent. Would we think that such a person has suddenly become of Sub-Saharan descent through such procedures? Of course not, and his identifying as such does nothing to change this. His appearance as someone of Sub-Saharan descent might be very convincing. But, again, this doesn’t change the fact that he is not of Sub-Saharan descent.
Flores also questions whether sex-reassignment surgery is a legitimate medical practice:
Those in favor of transgenderism also (naturally) support gender-reassignment surgery as a perfectly legitimate medical procedure for individuals (including children) with gender dysphoria. Now, put to one side the fact that 70-80 percent of children who report having transgender feelings come to lose such feelings. Ignore, for the moment, the fact that individuals who undergo gender reassignment surgery are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than those with gender dysphoria who do not undergo surgery. Instead consider the following question: Can we reasonably categorize gender reassignment surgery as a medical procedure in the first place?
Flores raise some very good questions that demand answers. But perhaps a greater need in this debate is that more journalists and policy makers ask equally pressing questions. As uncomfortable as transgenderism may be to talk about, it will undoubedtly be more uncomfortable for the young girls who face the prospect of boys using the same restrooms and showering facilities.