Whether you believe transgender men are men or transgender women are women you cannot deny the basic fact that we exist. You may not like that a group of people exist. You may disagree with how a group of people either choose or are compelled by their specific biology to live. You may feel disgust or disdain. You may not and have a right to not like anyone you want but it is an observational fact of life transgender people exist. It is an observational fact of life that some transgender people take medical steps to change themselves in every technologically available way.
You do not have to like us, but we still get to live in public life.
You do not have to personally agree that doing so makes a person a man if born anatomically and chromosomally female. You do not have to agree that having all the procedures makes a person a woman if born anatomically and chromosomally male.
However, we decided as a society to be as liberal about this as Iran, or Thailand or most of Europe or most of Asia or most of Latin America, and all the well developed parts of Africa. We decided to draw a line between the rights of one person and the rights of others. For this reason, while you do not have to agree with, like, respect, or admire transgender people …. You do not have a right to impose on them your views.
Your right to dislike transgender people ends at the tips of your fingers.
Beyond the span of your arms, beyond that personal space around you nothing you think matters unless most of the other people around you agree. To make it plain, your right to an opinion on someone else’s body generally ends at the wall of the bathroom stall.
You have a right to use the wrong pronouns and call people out of their name.
Other people have the right to do the same to you. People around you have the right to think you are a jerk for doing that. Those people may have a right to sue you or file a complaint against you even under the terms of this white house memo. You don’t have a right to harass or bully people.
This is not just about liberalism VS conservatism, republican VS democrat.
One can find people on every side of the usual political divides who for their own reasons dislike transgender women. (Trans men rarely even figure on the radar of most people. Surprisingly it never occurs to them that a person who is female in body but masculine in brain might just want to live as a man.)
There are black conservative Christians who hate transgender women as much as white conservative Christians. There are trans-exclusionary-radical-feminist who are hard core leftist but believe that all people born with an XY chromosome set are out to rape them. Both groups agree on just one thing… somehow transgender women, male to female, are new… and the source of societies problems.
Transgender veteran at a protest against a transgender millitary ban. Photo credit Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA Wikimedia Commons
Indeed when Obama was in his first term with a veto proof congress laws that would explicitly protect transgender people were not passed. The reasons for this. On one hand groups like the Human Rights Campaign were somewhat anti transgender. Groups like GLAAD are named as they were because they were by for and about gays and lesbians. A lot of old line gay and lesbian people, shamefully in hindsight, bore very hostile attitudes towards transgender people. Furthermore, the transsexual/transgender community is partially at fault as well. Many of us if we pass… simply pass and live our lives. Before the internet removing all actual privacy that was viable. Now no one can have a real secret unless they drop totally off the grid.
In the great state of Illinois there is a law which specifically names transgender people for protection. This should have been done at the federal level. Take this as a wakeup call.
Brains, Not Bodies Define Gender.
As I have written before our brains have sexually dimorphic aspects of them. Gender is nothing more and nothing less than the expression of those parts of the brain. Sex is anatomy and genes. Neurology is anatomy and that neurological atypicality makes transgender people transgender. You can no more define us out of existence that you can define autism out of existence.
This is not an opinion there is plenty of research to this effect.