Next Step: the Transgender Debate
Right on the heels of the major victory for the “LG” part of “LGBT” with the homosexual marriage law of last year; now the “T” part of it has filled political debate and social media, with a controversy I saw coming years ago, of which bathrooms transgender people use. Of course, it has fired up conservative Christian leaders, who I’m sure feel “bum rushed”, with one concession to what they see as an “immoral” lifestyle forced on them right behind another.
When I read of what they’re claiming Obama is doing and the statement “How the world has changed! Who would have believed a day would come during my lifetime when …“, it takes me back to the 80’s, when Christians were still fighting abortion, pornography, fornication and evolution, declaring these things as proving the nation had “fallen” into total sin and become the new “sodom”. They condemned homosexuality too of course, but all of that was nothing compared to the news of these past two years, where its total acceptance has actually become the law of the land, but now this other sexual ‘deviation’ is come to the forefront right behind it. Not only that, but in both issues, the ages of people making these decisions as to their “preferences” have gotten surprisingly young! Younger than 10, even!
What’s striking to me is the rhetoric coming from both sides of the issue.
James Dobson: Kill Transgender People Using Public Bathrooms
“If this had happened 100 years ago, someone might have been shot. Where is today’s manhood? God help us!” From this, the “bottom line” is “Dobson is dangerous”.
He’s not actually saying “let us kill transgender“, and it’s not really honest to spin it that way. HOWEVER, it IS holding up the “old days”, which Conservative Christians always extol as ideal as far as “morality” and stuff like “manhood” (brings to mind Archie Bunker’s “Those Were the Days” song), even with all of the horrors that did occur back then, which is what’s indirectly implying that killing them is some sort of good thing.
To me, this similarly indirectly suggests that perhaps society was better with racism. After all, Civil Rights occurred in that same 60’s decade that God was supposedly “thrown out” of society with the school prayer ban, and then of course the sexual revolution. The same religious conservatives who claimed America had “turned away from God” with these two acts, at the time were generally silent on race issues, but if you looked under the surface, especially with the coded “dog-whisle” rhetoric that began during the period, you clearly see they were on the side of discrimination, seeing blacks or their influence as a central part of societal degradation, including the sexual revolution itself, and through their forms of music, seen as “sensual”, which also became ever more influential during the same time, as well as social programs made to benefit them, which came to be blamed on all the nation’s financial problems in addition to encouraging the people’s “laziness” and other bad behaviors. You have many, in attacking these programs, who claim the blacks were actually better off before the 60’s, and including even the slavery era! That hardscrabble looking Duck Dynasty man even claimed this, in recent years!
So the “silence” of conservatives was hiding their true belief, which they could then vigorously deny if confronted. They didn’t actually say blacks should still be oppressed or enslaved. But it was very remotely implied.
So this is why people will look at this statement about transgender people in the same way.
Still, “In short, Dobson is giving Christians permission to shoot transgender people using a public bathroom” is an even further stretch that is even less true. Just like you are taking their statements to imply something totally exaggerated, they then take your statements like this to prove you are all “liars” who are “falsely slandering” them (i.e. aiding their massive “martyrdom” complex), and that becomes their means of dismissing everything you say, as an “attack” and plot to “destroy” Christianity!
And then, again, Christians should stop implying that the violent and hateful/bigoted ways they did things in the “old days of the rugged frontier” were always better or right.
“Politics” as usual
The proof that this is political and not theological, is that while “5000 year old definition of marriage” would be theological (based on Genesis, of course), it always comes back to “Western Civilization”. Western Civilization (the European-based or ruled cultures anchored by the Greco-Romans and the Teutons, including eventually the Anglos) was not what was created in Genesis; it was the whole world (and the 5000 year mark or 1000 years after the commonly accepted 6000 year old creation, which would occur between chapters 5 and 6 according to the popular Archbishop Ussher dates, is still before the Flood and the spread of humanity leading to the modern nations).
By tying it all on “Western Civilization”, you basically confirm to the world that you are not speaking on behalf of the God of Creation, but rather your own “culture” with its presupposition of “exceptionality”. This is why no one is listening to you, and have regarded your belief system as manmade. Why should they order their lives by it, then? (Which is what is essentially being expected in preaching against the lifestyles).
My own perspective
In pop culture, the most famous transgender person when I was growing up was tennis star Billie Jean King, who went male to female in the 70’s, IIRC. That was really the only one I knew of.
Like with regular homosexuality, any gender issues were like the worst abnormality a person could have, even in a secular black community. The rap “New York, New York” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (in ’83, at the end of the “message rap” era of early hiphop they had inspired with the previous year’s “The Message” that this was the followup to) has the line
“Down in the Village, you might think I’m silly, but you can’t tell the women from the men sometimes…
‘Sugar and spice and everything nice’, but when you get ’em home, ain’t no tellin’ what you find”
Even in the “Roxanne War” that would occur a couple of years later (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/the-roxanne-war-complete-chronology-of-hip-hops-greatest-saga), one entry claims the girl Roxanne was actually a man who “turned sweet” from being raped in prison, and suffered from the “disease” [this is a spoof of “Doctor Ice’s” rap from the original “Roxanne, Roxanne” track which they rapped over the instrumental on] called
“‘Sissy homotosis’, meaning ‘chopping off his meat’;
that’s a special operation that changed what you see.
He said ‘ooh [feminine voice] that’s what I need, chile’.
Gave me his number; said call me at three…”
(This then is what would happen on later rapper Tone Loc’s fictional story “Funky Cold Medina” with his realization “‘Sheila’ is a man!“).
I would ocasionally see androgynous looking females, and wonder if they were these “freaks” who went and changed their sex. (This was also mentioned on the Nona Hendrix song “Transformation”).
Forward to the new millennium and the Transit job, everyone had heard about one dispatcher who changed from male to female (and they had to replace his red male employee pass to a blue female one). In fact, it was said he did it to be with a lesbian, who ironically then dumped “her” (and we were also warned to get the pronouns right, around her). In School Car (which included a very outspoken older gay male, returning to the job reportedly, to collect benefits for his partner, which became a big fight later on), on telling us about the dispatcher, I heard the graphic details about how a penis was turned into a vulva. (Splitting it down the middle and “turning it inside out”, etc). I was still an evangelical futurist, that believed all sex “deviations” were perverted “offenses” against God that must be condemned in our doctrine, and repented of (renounced and turned from) in order to be “right with God”; so it further confirmed to me how “sick” it was.
I did see this person at times with no problem, and she eventually since retired. It was the first confirmed transgender person I had seen.
Shortly after, you had Cher’s daughter Chastity Bono take the opposite transformation, from female to male (adopting the name “Chaz”).
The next one in my life was actually an online typology friend, who was my type (INTP, and also possibly a Supine in Inclusion), and was very prominent on one of the boards. It took a while before I even realized she was a “transwoman”. They did a really good job on her face (with a set of bubbly cheeks that to me defines female facial beauty), and you really can’t tell by pictures. She began a “blog” thread on her journey (and I think an offsite blog as well), cluminating on the big “clear-on-the-other-side-of-the-world” trip to eastern Asia for the final, “bottom surgery”.
During this time, I began seeing the term “cisgendered” a the opposite of “transgendered”, and “cis-male” or “cis-woman” as opposed to “trans-male” [i.e. “FTM”] and “trans-woman” [“MTF”])
We are “friends” both on the board and on Facebook/Twitter, and met on one of our NYC typology meetups, which she came up to from the mid-Atlantic. (This was right before the operation trip). I even discussed with her a phase I was going through a few years ago, which ties into what I was discussing here: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/solar-vs-lunar-in-gender-dynamics-and-individuation regarding the midlife “anima” issues. I certainly felt a part of myself that is jealous of the experience of “the other side” (which the anima/animus complex is partly about), though I knew I would never want to go and change over like that. (And the person said I seem like a “red-blooded heterosexual cisgendered male” which of course, I never doubted anyway).
Of couse, what further sparked off this current debate was another celebrity, that no one would ever imagine, as he was a symbol of manhood, athlete Bruce Jenner, making the change a couple of years or so ago!
Their [apparent] perspective
So like with basic homosexuality, there must be a lot more to it than just some “sex perversion”. I of course think of ‘what everyone would think’, and it would be permanent, and I won’t want to live the rest of life as what to me is “someone else”. I myself believe that you should not alter the body God has given you, and still cringe at that whole procedure, and all the money and going far away to a strange place to have it done, and then all the things that can go wrong with the operation. But I realize that I cannot project this feeling onto others, and tell them how to “get over it”, or whatever.
So now considering that this person has my same type, which includes the perspective of “extraverted Feeling” as the “inferior Function” (which is also what the anima/animus connects to), which is the perspective that led me to think of what others (the “environment”, which is what makes the function “extraverted”) would “feel” (i.e. judge as “bad” or “good) about it, she had to be going through an awful lot to go against the grains of what her family background (which is fairly “conservative Christian” at that) thinks of it (leading to a divorce), in addition to anyone else (religious or secular) who knew her her whole life and may think it’s crazy, or at least to fear they might think that. I know I could never do it, even if I thought I might be a woman.
Anyone of any type (including those for whom extraverted Feeling is “shadow” or totally unconscious, where their primary Feeling is introverted, meaning individually assessed) can be afraid of what others think. But when the function is in that “inferior” position, you are particularly “vulnerable” in that perspective. You may not give into it a lot, as it is the diametric opposite of your dominant perspective (in this case, “introverted Thinking”, which is individually assessed logic), but you do deep down “aspire” to it, and hence, it being so frail and touchy.
So for this person to go through with all of that, there must be some sort of real psychological legitimacy to it, or at least, I can’t tell them what they should do. So now, I believe the issue is likely hormonal, as I also believe with sexual “orientation”. The hormones shape both orientation and identity. Christians think this contradicts us being created as individual “souls”, but created by God as tripartite entities (1 Thess.5:23), we are affected by the physical body/brain chemistry. The condemnation for the affects of those things we can’t help is from man’s own partaking of the “knowledge of good and evil”, and Christ’s whole mission was to remove that condemnation, not transform us into behaviorally “ideal” beings for the purpose of qualifying for Heaven.
God’s Perspective: Law and Grace
Under the “Law” outlined in the Old Testament (which did overlap with the New Testament until the final “end” of the old “age”) God was addressing this ill-gotten “knowledge” by making a lot of seemingly “personal” or even harmless and unhelpable things “unclean” or “unfit” (basically, “odd”), which then signified “unholy“. This included such common and natural things as menstruation, leprosy, human waste in itself (as when improperly covered), pork and shellfish as food, and even going as far as mixed fabric garments! (Many of which the church has glossed over, and not explained well, leading to strong derision of the Bible from much of the “science”-savvy modern world. In the case of the latter two, the Church then claims “the Law is done away with”, but only for commands like those, while sabbatarian sects will counter with the inconsistency of that position; yet all agreeing on sexual issues). In particular incidences, commands were so strict regarding things like how to carry the Ark of the Covenant in a cart, or what kind of fire to use in sacrifices. Priests entering the main altar had to have a rope tied to them, to be pulled out from having been struck dead if they did something wrong.
So sexual issues such as homosexuality and transvestitism were strongly condemned in the Law. Transgenderism wasn’t, but of course would be an extension of those.
The Gospel (which the New Testament Christians had an “earnest” of, but were waiting for the fullness of) was about an essential reversal of “knowledge of good and evil” through grace; which is God not counting those sins (transgressions of the law that defines good and evil) against them (2 Cor. 5:19). Much of the post-apostolic Church did not realize that the end of the age was the destruction of the Temple in AD70 (which was still relatively “shortly” as promised by Jesus and the rest of the New Testament, and where the whole Law was mediated from, but had gone corrupt by its leaders —who were just as susceptible to transgressions as everyone else, but used their position to oppress others with the Law). So they eventually came to think the “end of the age” (which was often interpreted as “world”) meant the end of the entire physical globe, or even universe. Physical creation, including physical humanity, were themselves “fallen”, and needed to be “renewed”, or else destroyed.
Christians then were presumably left still running a “race” to full redemption, where they would be judged by their “behavior” at the end. “Holiness” (“without which no one shall see God”, Heb.12:14) was something we choose to have, though behaviors. (“Grace” then becomes the pardon of past sins, plus some divine “help” God gives us to try to stop sinning afterward. If anyone doesn’t abide by this, then they can be questioned as to whether they’ve been “regenerated”, or at least preached against as a “carnal” Christian. If anyone says they can’t do it, or even “struggles” too much, they must not really be trying).
But in the transition from Law to Grace, they did have to “take on” the covering of Christ’s blood, by “faith” (which was of course a “choice” of the “will”), while still abiding by parts of the Law (which of course involved “effort”, or more “choices” of the “will”), to avoid falling under the condemnation of or by that system. Once gone, the condemnation was gone as well, and “holiness” is what God sees when He looks at man through Christ (who is the one who lived the Law perfectly, and was the only man ever fully, truly “holy” in behavior, and thus able to take the penalty of the Law in our stead). In other words, the “firstfruits of salvation” Paul wrote to had a conditional temporary salvation where “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom.8:1). This was by “choice”; hence, the “walk” (and “flesh” meant trusting in their inheritance or their efforts at keeping the Law, as the following verses make clear). But this was only to last a short time (16:9).
The current issue
So if a person’s sexual behavior or identity is “odd”, then that’s the person’s own business, so long as it does not interefere with anyone else.
Which gets us to the next part of the issue, and what’s been making news so much these days.
What conservatives have been expressing their fears in terms of are that if we accommodate transgender people, by “allowing people to use the bathroom of the gender ther identify as” it will basically lead to “men walking into ladies’ rooms” and attacking women. “Do you want some man walking into the bathroom with your wife or daughter“, aggravated memes are often asking. Continuing Dobson’s statement from the article about the “day in his lifetime”, “…boys could meander into the private sanctuary of girls’ toilets, or that it would someday be a civil right for men to use women’s locker rooms and showers without permission or apology?”
But just what do you mean “men”? They’re obviously looking at the born gender of the person and refusing to accept the changed gender. The first thing I thought, was of my friend, who looks like a woman and uses ladies’ rooms. So anyone seeing this would just see another woman using the ladies’ room (even in the bottom “pre-op” state), and they have been doing so for years, and there was no known greater threat to women. As liberal memes are countering, why should you even know what they are in the first place?
They’re also pointing out, that it’s really telling that the issue focuses on “men in ladies’ rooms”, and that it betrays their own distrust of [all] men as [potential] sex-perverts, and the leaders of this battle, as usual, being men themselves. It’s ultimately themselves they are basically fearing! This is basically another projection of the darkness within themselves. They see it in imagined “others”, and then proceed to fight it strongly in them, but the way it ends up, the logic is off, hence not matching what others are actually actually doing or even aiming to do.
The plot thickens: more “genders” enter the picture!
However, I then also realized that part of the whole fight is not just acceptance of male-to-female and female-to-male transitions (which still maintain what’s called “gender-binary” definitions), but a move away from binary “genders” altogether.
Already, on one of the two type boards I have frequented for about 7-8 years, each member’s mini profile that appears on posts, includes gender, with the two standard blue or pink symbols for male and female, but also a gray circle for “undetermined” or “other”. While the MtoF person I discussed earlier now uses the pink female symbol, I see many with the gray circle! If they have a picture of themselves, they are usually very androgynous.
I also got to meet a person like that at a semiregular official typology meetup I began going to a few years ago. I had been on one of the boards helping a female I believed was ENTP, but having uncertainties about the type (largely around the T/F dichotomy, as many people, especially female T’s, often do). So I wanted to ask a female ENTP something about a particular part of their experience, to verify what I was saying to this person. (There was the ENTP female at the center of our earlier interest forum meetups I mentioned, and while she moved to Maine, we are still hooked up on Facebook, and I’m sure I asked her, but wanted to ask another person). At these new meetups, we have name stickers with our type, and so I see this female looking person who’s ENTP, and begin talking to her, but then she says she doesn’t really identify as female, though to me, she looked close enough, though basically androgynous.
It then sunk in how serious this “third gender” was (and this, last year, and still before the whole current debate really blew up). It actually can go beyond just a third” gender”. With a whole bunch of fine variations, I see claims of up to 63 “genders”!
The term “queer”, which was originally a synonym for “weird”, which then became a derogatory term for homosexuals, then accepted as an alternative term by the gay community (especially since even the “orientations” can be “fluid”), now has spread from “orientation” to “gender” itself: “genderqueer“. (And hence, is sometimes added to the “community” acronym as “LGBTQ“).
This now really adds a new turn to the debate. It’s these “genderqueer” people who really are ultimately at the center of the debate, even if the conservatives aren’t specifically identiying them as such (they tend to lump all “queer” people into the same pot anyway, so it doesn’t even matter. They’re all “ruining” us as a nation). For again, they won’t even know a non-cisgendred person is in the bathroom with them with the first person I mentioned. But what bathroom does the second person use? (Our meetups were in a park, and there is some bathroom somewhere, but I didn’t see which one “they” [the plural pronoun really becoming popular as a singular gender-neutral indicator now, see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/3626 ] used).
Part of the debate is the need to create essentially a third restroom, which as I said in the Homosexuality article (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/homosexuality-in-light-of-the-chick-fil-a-controversy-and-all-the-other-debate-about-it), would be cost and insfrastructure prohibitive in most places. (Though many places do already have a third bathroom, for the handicapped). So it’s like this person has to choose one of the existing gender-binary facilities most of the time. But which? I think part of the law being passed (if I heard correctly) is that they can choose whichever. With the person I saw, who looked more female, that is not as much of a problem. (I imagine they are more the ones becoming “vulnerable”, as a female-looking person, if they choose to use a men’s room. I’m sure they will tend to gravitate toward ladies’ rooms). It’s the ones who look more male that are the problem, and (most importantly) also the fear of cis-males exploiting the law to pretend to be genderfluid, and then attack women.
Also, I think the current controversy, regarding several store chains, like Target, with “gender neutral” bathrooms, might not be about a third bathroom, but just abolishing separate rooms altogether, in favor of an “all gender bathroom”.
If that’s the case, then that’s an understandable problem. Though still, you’re not going to be in the same stalls as the next person, and so the point of those memes still stands. (I’ve also seen it pointed out that portable toilets, as used in outdoor locations, are already basically “all gender” bathroom stalls).
What do we do?
So I really don’t know what the exact solution to this is. It’s something where people disagree strongly, and won’t change their minds, and yet the “progressive” side has gotten the upper hand. The president enforced a strong ruling with stiff penalties for companies, that naturally makes him look like “King Obama”, raising the natural squeals of conservatives already claiming he’s a “tyrant” who has done so much to destroy what they see as the values of the nation. I could say that the liberals are at fault for not understanding people’s feelings and pushing these things too fast, but then it so parallels the race issue of 50 years ago and more, which also were claimed to being “pushed” on people too fast. (Conservatives really don’t know how much they shot themselves in the foot with that one and others, so now, any claim of “discrimination” will be seen as needing to be made right, and any opposition to it will be seen as bigotry that must be swiftly eliminated).
For now, I guess all I can do is point out to Christians, that though you think people are simply “deceived” or whatever, the issue is not about “Western Culture”, which is what you identify with, thus infusing “ego” into the matter, and thus making it not totally objective and about God (i.e. “theological”). Also, for the progessives to watch it with the exaggerations.
All of this makes it less likely for people on each side to take the other seriously. And it raises an emotional charge that clouds your vision (and hence, accusing the wrong people of the wrong things at times). Which then further damages your cause. So even if one side feels threatened in the bathroom now, and the other feels discriminated against otherwise, you all can still argue your case in the public sphere, but without so much hostility.