For my U.S. History class, I had to write about a current event (synopsis + my opinion) in a discussion board. I chose to write about “Lila” Perry (I can’t find his real name anywhere). Why? Because I like to rock the boat and because I’m a conservative bigot [/sarcasm].
I’d like to share my views on this issue (while morals did come into play just a tad as you’ll see, my main focus was on science and logic).
If you don’t feel like reading four discussion posts, head on down to the bottom for a basic summary.
Here was my original post:
Synopsis: At a high school in Missouri, a “trans-gender” boy wishes to share the girls’ locker room because he believes that he is actually female. Not surprisingly, actual girls weren’t a fan of sharing their locker room with a boy (the fact that he wears skirts and a wig is inconsequential), so they staged a protest to fight for their right to privacy.
Opinion: Before I state my opinion on this issue, I’d like to say that I understand this is a heated topic and there are strong opinions both ways; however, I believe that a healthy discussion is the best means of understanding an opposing view. I appreciate (and enjoy) respectful debates.
With that said, my opinion is as follows (we will take a look at this on two different levels: scientifically and logically): Perry should either use the boys’ locker room or a unisex restroom. Scientifically, men and women are more than body parts. They are fundamentally and intrinsically different – both physically and mentally. Personally, I find it insulting for a boy to say he thinks he is female. First off, our brains are totally different. We respond to issues differently. We feel things differently. It’s science.
A woman’s clothes does not a woman make. Would a wolf in sheep’s clothing be considered a sheep? I think not. Would a person who thinks they are a cat be considered a cat? No. They would get help and possibly be placed in a mental institution.
Similarly, as in the case with Bruce Jenner, to exchange body parts and call oneself female is utterly degrading and infuriating. This action states that women are merely body parts – a mindset I resent.
Furthermore, logically, for Mr. Perry to claim that he is female because he wants to be and trump hundreds of other girls’ rights to privacy is simply ridiculous. One person ought not to infringe on other people’s rights because they want to. It doesn’t make sense and that is not what freedom is about. That is abuse of freedom. In America, we are focusing too much on what people feel, which is entirely subjective. We ought to focus on what is logically sound.
No one agreed (I wasn’t really expecting them to). But I got three responses. Ironically, all three were female. I wish I could say that I was surprised they would be comfortable advocating for boys and girls sharing a locker room based on feelings.
Here are their responses:
Hi Rana, so I read your post, and I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you. First of all, I feel like I should point out that you using male pronouns when referring to Miss Perry, who obviously wishes to be referred to with female pronouns, is incredibly disrespectful. Whether or not you agree with someone’s choices, they deserve the same level of respect as any other human being.
Secondly, I see that you made a point to say that body parts aren’t all that make a woman, and I absolutely agree with you. What makes a person a woman is if they personally feel that they are, in fact, a woman, regardless of the physical gender the were born with. And in regards to your point that men and women think differently, obviously that’s true, but our thought processes don’t differ so extremely that just by observing the way someone thinks couldn’t judge whether or not that person was male or female.
Finally, I don’t agree with you statement that Miss Perry is transgender simply because “(s)he wants to be and trump hundreds of other girls’ rights to privacy.” I find it incredibly hard to believe that Miss Perry came out a transgender in an effort to impede on the privacy of other women. Considering the fact that she would most likely be in danger if she was to use a men’s bathroom, I would say this is more about conserving her own privacy rather than diminishing someone else’s.
I understand your refusal to use the pronouns that Miss Perry prefers on your belief that saying you’re a girl when you weren’t born one isn’t scientifically correct. Although it’s your choice how you think about this matter I ask you to think of this in Miss Perry’s emotional view. I also ask of you to remember that we are all people no matter our gender identity. At the end of the day science matters, but I also think people’s emotions matter and for someone to go through the ridicule of not simply being called their preferred pronouns is a little rude. Transgender kids go through a lot more criticism in the life and quite frankly they are still people so just try and be nice to all people because we’re all just trying to get through this thing called life happily.
Also I do think that Miss Perry should just use a unisex bathroom if her school has one. If Miss Perry’s school doesn’t have one in convenience with her school schedule then I believe she should talk to her teacher or principal to find a solution that works for her. I do not think that she should be forced to use the boy’s bathroom due to the fact that teenagers and kids can be straight up cruel. There are little things we can all do to help make other people’s lives better and in doing that you’ll get the gratification of seeing someone be happy for the littlest thing that you never knew would affect someone. I think that what I’m trying to say is that even when you don’t agree with someone and their beliefs try to put yourself aside and think of someone else’s emotions, because your one word could be the push that send someone crumbling down. Anyways have a fantastic day!
Gender and sex are two different things. If a cis-boy feels that he wants to become female, it doesn’t matter what biological body parts, or sex he has. There are three different categories that makes up gender:
1) How said person feels about themselves. If a cis-boy feels that he is a girl, or that he was meant to be a girl, then it is only morally and logically right to use the pronouns they specify. In Miss Perry’s case, these would be she/her pronouns. It is the same as calling a teacher Mr. or Mrs., or even something as simple as calling a girl, who believes they are a girl, a boy.
2) How said person expresses themselves. This means how they dress or appear. There are two different sides of the scale, and then an in between. There is feminine, masculine and androgynous. Androgynous is in between masculine and feminine.
3) How said person feels towards others. This includes sexuality, which is another whole debate in itself.
To sum this up, gender and sex are different. Gender is not based on your sex, but the mindset of “if you don’t have female body parts, then you’re not female” has been instilled by society. You don’t need to have a female’s body parts to be considered a female. It is all about who you think you are.
I was only able to reply to the first one on the discussion board before the due date came along and here was my response to it:
Thank you so much for your well thought out and respectful reply. I enjoy a good debate so let me refute the main principles behind your ideas:
1) I ought to respect one’s wishes whether or not I agree with them.
Well, maybe. But I think it depends on what those wishes are, don’t you? Ought I to respect the wishes of, say, someone like Hitler and not marry another red head (because he did ban marriages between two red heads for fear of them having demonic children)?
My main argument against this idea is two fold:
a) A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. I won’t call Mr. Perry Miss Perry because he is still a boy. He is still male regardless of how he feels.
b) I can respect and love a person (and I do respect Perry as well as you) without conforming to their every wish. I won’t encourage something I disagree with and that’s what I would be doing if I called Mr. Perry Miss.
2) If someone feels that they are a woman, then they are. Logically and scientifically, this is a ridiculous notion.
My main argument here is this:
a) Feelings are irrelevant. They really are. They are fleeting, misconstrued, and do not determine truth. The philosopher Francis Bacon believed very strongly that the senses ought not to be trusted because they are so dependent on subjective feelings (which are very finicky) and, in that area, I agree.
Furthermore, you failed to respond to my points about a wolf in sheep’s clothing as well as the “if I felt that I were truly a cat” point. If I felt that I were actually a cat, people wouldn’t take me seriously.
3) Mr. Perry’s belief that he is a girl is actually more important than all the other girls’ rights to their own privacy.
I’m sorry, but I fail to see the logic here. You are essentially saying that hisfeelings trump the actual girls’ rights to privacy. Furthermore, my point wasn’t that his rights were less important than the girls’. I was simply observing that his feelings apparently mean more than the girls’ right to privacy.
Inherent rights vs. subjective feelings. What would you say has more weight in this debate?
I also said that he had the option of using a unisex restroom. He has options but he chooses to impose his feelings on the rest of the school. As a girl, I would not want a male body changing beside me in the locker room regardless of what was going on in that brain. He claims to be discriminated against, but as the first article I provided stated, girls’ and boy’s locker rooms are for the exact purpose of segregation. And if we are not to separate people based on their gender, then on what? I know boys who would take advantage of this relative belief system and abuse it.
It’s all justification for immoral actions, in my opinion.
Honestly, I don’t care about feelings. I care about logic and science – both of which support my stance on this issue.
Thank you for your response, [name]. If you would like to continue this discussion, I am totally up for debate!
I’m pretty sure I responded to all of their arguments (even those last two that I didn’t have a chance to reply to personally).
Their argument: Feelings. Think about how he feels. Think about how your callous logic and hardhearted morals make him feel. Your harsh words and thoughts could tip him over the edge and you could be responsible for making him crack. Essentially, you’re a bully.
My argument: Feelings ought not to trump logic, science, or rights. See my response above. 😉
See, relativity is a dangerous thing. There is a vast difference between being tolerant of other beliefs and accepting them.
Acceptance of this mindless worldview is one of the most intolerant things we can do because it forces other beliefs and respect for those beliefs out of the picture.
It forces other beliefs to the side to favor another one – the very thing these “tolerant” people claim to abhor. It’s quite contradictory and hinges entirely on immediate feelings.
I will love + respect a person, but I will never put aside my morals in favor of their feelings.
Love + peace,