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The Privacy for All Students campaign is inappropriately named because transgender students are excluded from the "all."  But the group, which began in California to fight for the repeal of AB 1266 (a bill passed to ensure education equity for transgender students)  and has already gained the support of the National Organization for Marriage, is gaining more support around the country from conservative groups around the country.  Most recently throwing their support behind the repeal is the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

Brandon McGinley of the PFI has penned a screed entitled Saving Our Locker Rooms, in which he details the dangerous "[e]fforts to remove gender distinctions from public facilities".

In my home state of Pennsylvania, official legal guidance published by the city of Philadelphia on its gender identity ordinance declares that discomfort with sharing personal facilities with those of the opposite biological sex stems from “unsubstantiated fears and discriminatory attitudes” that employers are bound by law to attempt to “eliminate.”


So McGinley proposes what he claims are "cogent, rational arguments against non-discrimination laws" that would benefit transgender people.  I do not think the word "rational" means what he think it means.

Sex-segregated personal facilities exist because there are some very particular ways in which men and women remain different, and always will be different.  We need not go into detail to observe that men and women have different experiences in restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated places because of the differences in their anatomy.  Separating the sexes in these facilities allows for distinct physical accommodations proper to the needs of men and women, but more importantly it allows for camaraderie among those who share the whole life experience of manhood or womanhood—among those who are the same.  Advice, help, humor—there are some things that only those of the same sex can fully understand and appreciate, and which would not only be awkward but senseless to discuss with someone of the opposite sex (other than, perhaps, a spouse).

Secondarily, these personal facilities also implicate parts of the body that are particularly sexual in nature, even if nudity is not present.  Personal facilities are sex-segregated in order to reduce their sexual nature.  Healthy and professional non-sexual relationships between men and women depend on banishing the specter of sexuality from public facilities—even placing to one side the threat of harassment and general boorishness.


Zack Ford of ThinkProgress exposes how McGinley's argument erases transgender people.
McGinley’s argument requires the assumption that everybody in the locker room presents as the same gender and is attracted to the same (opposite) gender, thereby erasing not only transgender people, but all LGBT people.  Apparently locker rooms are sexual spaces where people talk about sex, so anybody whose anatomy or orientation violates the norms of that space is somehow making it “awkward” and “unsafe.”  According to McGinley, such “visceral discomfort” can be “explained rationally,” thus justifying arguments against transgender inclusion.

Ironically, it’s this very argument that explains why the law is important for protecting transgender students.  How people’s gender is perceived in the locker room will directly impact how safe they feel in that space.  A transgender woman — who looks, acts, and dresses like a woman — would likely feel incredibly unsafe in a men’s locker room.  She wouldn’t be seen as the “opposite sex” when it comes to “advice, help, and humor” in a women’s room; in fact, she could probably relate quite well with the women there.  There’s also no reason to believe she’d be lesbian, nor should that matter since McGinley doesn’t seem to be arguing against allowing gays and lesbians to use locker rooms.  His argument doesn’t provide a solution for transgender people; it just tries to discount them entirely.

--Zack Ford

Indeed McGinley's argument exposes one of the main reasons that transgender students should be allowed in the locker rooms of the gender they live as.
more importantly it allows for camaraderie
McGinley fails to care whether transgender students are allowed to participate in that comraderie, which is an essential piece of growing to be a well-rounded individual…which is one of the purposes of public education.

Frank Schubert, leader of the campaign for repeal, has released an insert to be distributed in California Churches

Certainly, it is wrong whenever a child suffers discrimination and bullying for any reason.  We have laws on the books to guard against that.  But it’s also wrong to use our laws to frustrate and deny great natural and moral truths.  One such truth is that men and women offer unique and complementary contributions to human flourishing.  Society is better served when those contributions are encouraged, not when the uniqueness of being male and being female are stripped from societal norms and we’re guided into a genderless future.  This is especially true when, as with AB 1266, children are used as weapons in a culture war.
You see…equal rights based on gender identity would mean you would no longer have a gender…because we all know when you endorse equality based on the trait of gender, people who are not gender-variant will somehow suffer.  Indeed, we transpeople will surgically remove their gender.
The reality of transgender people is also a great natural and moral truth, but it’s not one that these groups are willing to acknowledge.  Given their eagerness to discriminate against transgender students, it’s ironic that they worry that an individual claiming a trans gender identity “needs no evidence.”  The mere fact that they have the courage to open themselves up to such degradation and stigma should be enough to merit them the benefit of the doubt.

--Zack Ford

Originally posted to TransAction on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Voices on the Square and LGBT Kos Community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I took a pass on reporting on... (32+ / 0-)

    ...the transwoman reporter who was publically dehumanized and humiliated at Eurogamer Expo 2013 by a comedian hired by XBox One, as reported at some of the gaming blogs, because  the reporting has led to her being viciously attacked through hr Twitter account and she has said she wants it to end.

    ...and the transwoman killed in Santa Monica, CA by a hit-and-run driver...and once again misgendered by the media.  Requiescat in pace, Unique.

  •  Unfortunately... (6+ / 0-)

    ... just found out a couple weeks ago I am well acquainted with Frank Schubert's sister. I know you can't pick your family and she is very accepting but still.... ugh.

  •  XBox One & Fraser Millward (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cooper888, rserven, jessical, LinSea, The Marti

    if you'd like to express your opinion to that comic:

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 04:22:52 PM PDT

  •  "Camaraderie" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rserven, annieli, VeggiElaine, The Marti

    My experiences as a high school trans girl in the boys' locker room me something very important: if girls could only overhear what boys say about them, the overpopulation problem would be ended. Sadly, recording technology back then was large, reel-to-reel tape recorders.

    •  We knew...but the fraternisation between the sexes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      guarantees that the war between us won't kill us off.

      And, to be fair....some of the best feminists I know..are men.

      I believe in equality for all of us.  And that isn't dependent on gender, but on heart, and compassion, and lifting our voices together and fighting for the laws to protect all of us.

      Your experiences in high school are, sadly, not uncommon.  That is part of what we work to change.  And yes, it pisses me off, too, that after all this time, we still have to do the work.

      All the best,

      We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we refuse to protect the weakest among us.

      by The Marti on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 10:03:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I went to college (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti, rserven

    the bathrooms in my dorms were shared by both genders. The building was old, built in a day when the university was male-only, and dividing restrooms by gender would force people to walk a relatively long way to the nearest one.

    At first, at 16, this was a little concerning. And then it was NBD. Just like someone's house, really.

    In some of the other dorms this was solved by putting a dial on the door so you could set it if you wanted to restrict it to your own gender.

    The showers had curtains and the toilet stalls had doors and in no time it was a complete non issue if one of my many brothers also wanted to use the facilities at the same time.

    The idea that same-sex locker rooms are completely comfortable for people is of course ridiculous. Lots of people would prefer some privacy as they change clothes, and kids in school are notorious for strategies so that they don't have to change completely or use the open showers. Build them with stalls and you're better off in all cases.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 08:46:06 AM PDT

  •  Jeebus F***ing Christ on toast! (0+ / 0-)

    I am so f'cking tired of this.

    Sometimes I really do want to go surgically remove something from these folks.


    In any case, cheers for Zack Ford.

    Maybe - just maybe - our foremothers and our forefathers came to this land in different ships. But we're all in the same boat now. - Rep. John Lewis

    by bluesheep on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 05:49:58 AM PDT

  •  What Brandon doesn't say (0+ / 0-)

    Is that he doesn't live in Philadelphia. As I do - and was one of the key people passing that 2002 bill and this years covering trans rights - let's just say that there hasn't been a single untoward or illegal occurrence by a trans person in the decade since its passage.

    And as we all know - trans people didn't just get bladders installed upon the passage of legislation and have been using public facilities since long before Brandon's father was a pup without any such incident - but many, many incidents have occurred with cis gender people in public facilities -  it's easy to see that if there is a risk, where it really is.

    And what are the benefits? Trans people have access to the same necessary facilities everyone else does. Trans people enjoy a modicum of respect and dignity. Trans people have a marginally easier time gaining and keeping employment. Trans people face a much lower risk of violence and sexual violence. Trans people are more likely to complete their educations. Trans people are more likely to contribute to the tax base rather than rely on public benefits.

    The cons? Brandon has a sad and his fee-fees are hurt.

    But - hey - that just Philly right? Well, no. Brandon lives in Pittsburgh; which passed similar legislation way back in 1996. No problems. 33 local laws in PA in places as "liberal" as Erie and Scranton and Allentown - no problem.

    All the way back to Harrisburg - in the middle of the state in 1983. No problems. Going back over 3 decades of successful implementation of legislation   - and NOT ONE PROBLEM.

    Which really - is almost impossible for any group. I ask Brandon to point to his own of religious leaders and see if they can meet that record. If they can - I'll talk.

    But - we all no the answer to that. So Brandon - you who are without sin.

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