It’s a simple chemical reaction: Apply fear to ignorance and you get hatred. We’re seeing far, far too much of it lately.
Here in Massachusetts, the state legislature has been debating whether to pass a bill granting citizens the right to enter public bathrooms according to their true gender. I recently heard one misguided legislator insist that if the bill passed, women and girls would no longer be protected against assault.
I understand what this guy and many other people who’ve said similar things are afraid of. What I think we need to get at is why they’re afraid.
First things first: People tend to fear what they don’t understand. And most people don’t understand even the most basic things about what transgender means. Like idiot Mike Huckabee, they think that some horny male teen might say, “Gee, I feel like a girl today,” and he’d be granted access to the girls’ locker room. They think trans individuals are just deciding to say they’re not who they appear to others to be, and they think this can be done on a whim. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Trans individuals go through several corners of hell before—IF—they manage to get their lives going along on a relatively even keel. They don’t wake up one day and say, “Wow. Think I’ll make an arbitrary decision today that will alienate family, friends, current and prospective employers, and my dear friend NC Lt. Governor Dan Forest.
Lt. Governor Forest says North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is based on facts. But he doesn’t say what those facts are. So how about if we provide him with some?
- The suicide rate among the trans population is over 40%. There’s nothing whimsical about that.
- According to Planet Transgender, world-wide a trans person—almost always a trans woman–is murdered every day. Again, no whimsy.
- Trans individuals are not assaulting anyone in restrooms; they're the ones being assaulted.
- Men who want to attack women will not go to the trouble of pretending anything; they’ll just attack.
- Joshua Kennon sums up perhaps the most salient fact this way: “It is possible that your body, your brain, and your reproductive system could all be different biological sexes, or in some cases, biologically one sex but physiologically wired as another sex.” In other words, if I look like a man but know I’m a woman, my brain structure is female—AND SO AM I. (See below for a partial list of websites with documentation/studies supporting this fact.)
Mike Huckabee, NC Lt. Governor Dan Forest, NC Governor Pat McRory, Ted Cruz, and countless other individuals might insist that they are not filled with hatred for trans individuals. But this position merely places them on the wrong side of another pestiferous fact: People tend to fear what they don’t understand. And when you add the heat of fear to ignorance, hatred is the result.
The ignorant have admitted that they’re afraid. The cisgender women on the wrong side of this issue say they’re afraid to go into public bathrooms. The cisgender men transfer their own fear of "the other" onto their wives and daughters and say “their females" are in danger. Moreover, all these people are doing their best to engender fear in everyone else, with stunts like the ill-named American Family Association’s recent project in which they send men into women’s restrooms with the deliberate goal of terrifying women and girls. And they’re proud of it. But other than the AFA, what is there to fear? It's this: ignorance.
We know these fearful people are ignorant, because otherwise they wouldn’t be afraid. If they spent a fraction of the time trying to understand transgender issues as they do “protecting” themselves from trans individuals, they would have learned—just as easily as I have—this FACT: A TRANS WOMAN IS A WOMAN. She is not a man who pretends to be a woman, and she is not a man who thinks he’s a woman. And she’s just a person. No need to fear her.
To quote Dickens' Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come about the two desperate, frightened children under the hem of his robe: "This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it. Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end."
Hatred is the hallmark of one organization in particular that has accepted the baton of persecuting trans individuals: the KKK. And they’re exploiting fear and ignorance to recruit others into their ranks. Fearful, ignorant people are desperate to isolate, ostracize, condemn, and otherwise persecute trans individuals. They’re fighting to codify this isolation by passing laws such as North Carolina’s HB2. Whether or not they feel the hatred they’re generating, there is no doubt that the objects of their hatred feel it.
Please. Don’t let this evil chemistry spread any further. Take a lesson from Charles Dickens and call out the ignorance; it will calm the fear. And there will be less hatred, making the world a better place for all.