Monday, 25 January 2016

Transgender Rights

So interesting issue:

It is a classic case of the rights of the individual versus the rights of the many. "Gender", I leaned in my university anthropology class, is socially determined, not biologically determined. A person's "sex" is their biology- it's what their DNA says about them. I have met quite a number of transgender folks, especially while living in Toronto. Those I met who feel so inclined were lovely, thoughtful, and insightful people. I'm sure that was born by years of intense internal struggle and suffering. In Alberta there is all kinds of talk about this issue at the moment as a bill is being brought forward to allow folks to use whatever bathroom/change room they wish (based on which "gender" they identify with).

I just thought I would pass on a couple articles:
One about a young 7 year old person and their conflict with their school.

A friend of mine posted this in response:
"Back in May, a mother wanted her daughter to be treated like every other little girl in the school. Based from a conversation I had with a friend who's been supporting this family, the Edmonton Catholic Trustees handled this situation in an embarrassingly deplorable manner. What could have been a fair and civil discussion on something so important turned instead into an ugly confrontation of bully tactics and manipulative gestures aimed at shutting down the discussion. Things got so severe that David Eggen was called in to settle the matter on behalf of the government. However, Eggen dragged his feet to actually do anything in hopes that the Trustees running the Catholic School Board would come up with a comprehensive policy that was fair and protective of human rights for future students who might face the same obstacles. When that didn't happen, the government presented a set of "guidelines" for the ECSB to follow. For some, this was not strong enough while others claimed it was "totalitarianism". Since then, many questions have risen: Why does an entire separate religious school board even exist? Is it time to rethink that? Why weren't parents consulted on the guidelines? Can children exploit these guidelines for their own sexual desires? How does a school support parents with transgender children? Do transgender kids become bigger targets for bullies?
There are so many questions and concerns that have arisen from many sides of this discussion. As I try to navigate through all this, I have to remember the humanity of the children we are talking about. Gender Dysphoria is new to me. I don't fully understand it but I don't dismiss it. Regardless of what we believe or think, I'm convinced it's still important to consider the dignity, worth, and courage of these children who are at the very centre of our debates and to put ourselves in the shoes of the parents who are also trying to figure things out. Here is a very brief story of a boy in Saskatoon that brings me back to a place of understanding and compassion."
And someone responded with this article and the following:

"Thanks for sharing, ... It is a complex issue indeed. I too was moved with compassion when I watched your link. I feel though that I need to appeal to that same sense of compassion towards women who feel uncomfortable with this new law, many for very justifiable reasons (please read my link). Of course this could apply to men as well but I feel women are more vulnerable.
When watching the story you posted it is very easy to think, what's the big deal? Why can't we be compassionate and just let this poor kid use whichever washroom he wants? This is what the new regulations are all about, right?
Except that this little child is 7 years old. Though he may be gender confused, he isn't a sexual being yet. Junior high and high school things start to change. Now, I am in no way saying that transgender people are all sexual predators. However I believe these new guidelines suddenly make it very easy for a male who IS a sexual predator to gain access. (case in point Christopher Hambrook in Toronto posing as a transgender and then sexually assaulting two women).
So anyways, all I'm saying is, please look at the other side of the coin as well. Women who feel vulnerable in this world, parent's who are concerned about their daughter's safety, also have a right to compassion."

Some are proposing individual change rooms/bathrooms for those who wish to use them. As a shy teenager that was sometimes the target of bullies, I personally would have appreciated this. I witnessed the worst kinds of bullying in change rooms. In my experience I didn't see this in response to gender confusion, but I can imagine it happening.

What about bathrooms based on "sex" rather than "gender". Instead of bathrooms for "men" there are bathrooms for "penises". That's wouldn't solve the issue, but "penis" is more clear in our culture than "men". 

Others are wondering about what kind of door this opens up in terms of who is desiring whom in the change rooms and how does everyone stay safe?

Do 11 year old girls in the change room at the swimming pool have the right to not see adult male genitals? How does that interact with the individual rights of transsexuals? Sometimes I wish I had the right to not see some of the things I've seen in a change room at the pool (some dudes are way too comfortable in there). If someone is transsexual, but still heterosexual by desire, does that change the story (identifies as female, but still sexually attracted to women)?

No doubt those who are confused about their gender suffer in ways I'm not aware of, and for that reason alone we need to listen, care for, and protect them. It is never a question for a Christian as to should we love or not? Yes, we are always to love. I'm not sure that always means "getting things your way". Love for my children sure doesn't mean they get things their way. 

More thought and prayer required....        

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