Miriam Ben-Shalom, a lesbian Army Reserve veteran who was the first person the Pentagon reinstated for being discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” sharply criticized those who encourage trans children and adolescents to transition before they are adults, the Washington Blade recently reported.
“As a teacher I care about my students and I believe it’s abuse,” said Ben-Shalom. “In this culture you cannot vote until you’re 18. You can’t drink until you’re 21. You can’t have a credit card of your very own that you applied for until you’re after 18 years of age. How the hell is it that you’re going to allow kids in kindergarten and 11-year-olds take all kinds of chemicals?”
There’s some merit in this, as studies show that some children who identify as transgender stop doing so once through puberty, when they may start to see themselves as gay young men or lesbian young women instead (as referenced in an earlier post).
Somewhat more problematically, the story continues:
“I don’t care if a biological male wants to wear a dress and put on a wig and put on make up,” she said. “That’s his choice and as long as whatever he does doesn’t hurt another human being and whatever else he does is with a consenting adult human being, I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t care.”
“I do have a problem with their insisting that they’re something that they are not,” added Ben-Shalom.
The Blade notes that organizers of the Milwaukee Pride Parade last year invited Ben-Shalom to serve as their grand marshal. They rescinded the invitation after they discovered “anti-trans” comments that she had posted to her Facebook page (Ben-Shalom denies she is transphobic).
In Texas, controversy is swirling around high school wrestler Mack Beggs, born female but who identifies as male and is taking testosterone that has increased his muscle bulk. Under Texas policy, he must compete in women’s wrestling, where’s he’s winning handily, and some say posing a physical threat to the girls he’s going up against (performance-enhancing drugs don’t bar one from Texas high school competition if they have been prescribed by a physician). According to press reports:
In an interview with ESPN this weekend, the 17-year-old junior discussed being forced to wrestle girls when he would rather wrestle boys, how it felt to win a state title, and what he thought of those who felt he shouldn’t be allowed to compete in high school sports at all. The prep governing body, the University Interscholastic League, passed a rule in 2016 that uses a student’s birth certificate to determine student athlete participation in sports.
“It’s not like I’m doing this because I want to, like, call myself a boy and just dominate all these girls,” Beggs told ESPN. “What do I get out of that? I don’t get anything out of that. I was put in this position. Change the laws and then watch me wrestle boys.”
This week, Beggs won the girls regional championship after a female opponent forfeited the match.
Virginia high school student Gavin Grimm, born female but who now identifies as male, is suing to use the boys restroom and locker room. The school district offered him a private restroom and changing area, which he rejected. The Supreme Court has remanded the case to be reheard by a lower court after President Trump rescinded Obama’s order that students nationwide be able to use public school facilities based on how they gender identify.
I can’t find the cite, but I recall reading about another high school transgender teen boy, born female, who was requesting to use the boys restroom, except that he was more comfortable using the girls restroom when he was menstruating.
The left’s response, to let anyone use any restroom and locker room based on how they self-identify, isn’t going to work. The right’s response, to limit intimate facilities to birth certificate gender, isn’t going to work. This is a social issue that will have to be played out over time and through the courts. While I hope reasonableness prevails, the history of the culture wars doesn’t particularly lead to optimism.