Monday, April 18, 2016

NYT: "Transgender Law Makes North Carolina Pioneer In Bigotry"

link
   Uh...well...not really...
   Or, rather: it's less clear than the NYT makes it out to be. Many liberals have accepted the PC left's strange theory of "transgenderism"...and of course everything is easy and obvious and the left is always right and if you dissent you are a bigot...and all that...
   But it just ain't so. 
   First, public restrooms and locker rooms are segregated by sex, not by gender. They have never been segregated by gender. Men are adult male persons (as the OED makes clear), and women are adult female persons. Kids old enough to do so on their own use the same one they'll use when they're adults. Gender has nothing to do with it. If restrooms were segregated by gender, then all masculine folks--including masculine women--would use one, and all feminine folks--including feminine men--would use the other. But that's not the way it is.
   Second, the sex/gender distinction really is useful. It's useful despite the fact that extreme feminists and gender studies types are always shrieking about it. It's useful, and it captures an important and real difference. So it's too bad that (a) everybody completely ignores it, including the Times--and/or they just get it flat-out wrong, and (b) contemporary gender studies types have destroyed the concept gender so that now it is utterly incoherent and useless. (Short version of the actual distinction: sex: male/female. Gender: masculine/feminine.) 
   Third, the relevant part of the NC law just says that everybody has to follow the same rules about public restrooms: males in one, females in the other. That, in and of itself, is in no way some act of nuclear bigotry. "Gender identity" is a largely incoherent concept that's been cranked up specifically to get conclusions that the PC left wants in cases like this. It's not a real thing, and outrage that some people refuse to substitute "gender identity" for sex in such matters is just idiotic. It shows how far down the rabbit hole the Times has gone.
   Now...there are complications. If a male dresses and acts like females normally do, he might have trouble using the men's bathroom. Even well-meaning guys in there taking a whiz might be freaked out. And, of course, some guys are assholes. So there's that too. My own current view is that the least-disruptive policy is probably just: let people use the other sex's restroom if they can get away with it without causing a riot. It's not really a huge deal, and it beats the other three most salient alternatives:
(a) Giving up on sex-segregated restrooms completely (theoretically elegant, but actually nutty).
(b) Building a third restroom everywhere (too expensive)
(c) Going full SJW and declaring that men become women by wearing women's clothes and/or thinking of themselves as women, and/or having largely cosmetic medical treatments to simulate a sex change (since we can't, currently, actually change someone's sex.)
   So, the NC law might not be the world's best law. And if it was passed out of spite and/or assholishness...then its spiteful and/or assholish. But it is just nuts to pretend that it's off-the-scale prejudice simply to insist that everyone follow the same rules. Men who live as women are not women, and women who live as men are not men. And the law says that they have to follow the same rules everyone else does. And the NC law can be seen as simply recognizing what most of us agree with: we'd rather that strangers of the other sex not come into our public restrooms even if they make an effort to try to look like They belong there. Hell, I'm not all that wild about peeing in front of other dudes, actually. I'm used to it...but it's not like I like it. And I don't care all that much that sex-segregated restrooms are difficult to defend sub specie aeternitatis... That's the system, it's a good one for us, and it's understandable that some people don't want to change it simply because some other people are very insistent about a cluster of false and silly theories.  
   And none of this necessarily has anything to do with fearing violence against women. (Though that the PCs wouldn't fear this is weird, because they won't shut up about it in any other context...but their fear drops to zero here when it's eleven everywhere else...) The main issue is one of psychological comfort. And that's a perfectly reasonable consideration to bring to bear.
  But, be all that as it may, I am currently thinking that it might be best to just turn a blind eye to occasional violations of the restroom segregation rules.

4 Comments:

Blogger Pete Mack said...

Two issues.
1. People taking hormones of the opposite sex end up looking very different from their natural gender. Do you want people with genuine beards using the women's bathroom (and with breasts in the men's bathroom?) It is not obvious that this is even an enforceable law.
2. The whole bathroom thing was the least onerous part of the law. NC has pretty much gutted ALL anti-discrimination law, so you can in principle get kicked out of an apartment for being black, or "miscegenation"*, or for being Catholic, etc.

* already happened in Mississippi.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I agree with both points, and had meant to make that clear but probably didn't.

My current view on the least-disruptive solution: don't enforce the sex-segregation conventions (laws?).

As for the rest of the law...well, actually I did NOT realize that it guts ALL anti-discrimination laws...is that true? But I knew it had implications for ordinances preventing discrimination against homosexuals. Fuck all that, of course... I just meant to be speaking about the current uproar pretending the bathroom thing is predicated on some crazy, outlandish bigoted idea.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it also bars local governments from setting their own minimum wage. just all around, an awesome law.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Sweet.

10:42 AM  

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