The acceptance of non-binary and fluid gender identity recently took major steps forward in California and Oregon. For some, the progress is glacial. For others, it’s sex run amok.
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.
Among the firestorm of articles about "bathroom bills" and "protecting our children," there are some sobering statistics that have come to light.
I’d like to say that my work has helped society move forward toward acceptance, and many people tell me it has. But as this progress continues, I’m beginning to feel a little left behind. I’d just about wrapped my mind around the concept of transgender and was getting really good at using “she” and “her” for trans women, and “he” and him” for trans men, when I started to see articles about the movement—largely on college campuses at first—for a whole host of other pronouns being insisted upon by people who don’t identify with the binary categories.
Dr. Ben Carson seems to be in the process of disappearing from that stage on which the GOP presidential wannabes gather every so often. But even if his campaign is running out of steam, some of the things he has said—specifically about LGBTQ people—represent fallacies that he points to as reasons to decry marriage equality and transgender rights. In a sense, he’s like the canary in the coal mine, except that he only thinks he’s dying.
The voters in Houston, Texas recently set LGBTQ rights back. The irony is that they didn’t do it because they have a problem with gays. Their problem? Bathrooms. The cause? Lizard brains.
This setback was the rejection of HERO, or the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which would have put in place state-based anti-discrimination prohibitions already covered by federal law, would also have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, for which there is no federal law.