AMERICA is certainly at the forefront of the transgender debate. It is made complicated by much of it playing out at state level. Welcome to a new world where you change sex as you cross a state boundary? I’m reminded of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy where you step through invisible holes to exist in different universes in the same physical space. We’re facing those two universes now. In one, science, reason, and ancient mores about the interplay between the sexes reign. The other, I still find it hard to understand the rules. There is a great deal about ‘how you feel inside’ – and this over-rides other people’s rights and concerns, as well as biological science.
In Colorado, from January 1, a new Bill, passed with bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans, allows people to change their sex on their birth certificate and other legal documents without any form of gatekeeping. I can’t find out whether there is any lower age limit, but the first person to make use of the new law was 13-year-old Jude, after whom it was named. With Jude, a biological male, now female in law, presumably there are no limits to the female spaces Jude can access, including school sports. The team behind this say their next goal is to effect the same changes at federal level.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, there is a Bill before the House which intends to limit participation in girls’ sports in public schools to females only. Have a look at this heartbreaking video of a young woman (in Illinois) facing the reality of boys-identifying-as-girls in her school locker rooms.
You can see the collision we are facing. What staggers me is that the people behind laws such as Jude’s continue to fail to comment on (or even see?) the impact on women and girls. If, in Colorado, a sex change comes about via a simple process of self-declaration for kids as young as 13, what hope is there for any protection of girls’ sports and spaces in Colorado? It is interesting that the local newspaper, the Denver Post, linked to above, simply does not regard this as worth commenting on when telling the story. The entire prism is the rights and concerns of transgender people.
Given how little concern there is for the rights of girls and women in all this, I am wondering whether we will see change only when trans people start to question whether they are going down the right path. As young Jude grows older and experiences the reality of the human lifecycle, confronts health issues and has to manage the interplay between his male biology and his female legal documentation, will he start to wonder whether life might have been easier as, well, just a man, living his reality? Perhaps he could have been an inspirational role model for other young men who would like to present in a somehow more traditionally feminine way.
More and more detransitioners are telling their stories. Here is a heart-rending story from a British man, with the graphic details of the sad, painful, and deeply invasive reality of his journey.
I’ll finish with his words: ‘There is, after all, an added issue here about respect for women born as women. Looking back, I sometimes think that I was insensitive, that in my rush to change identity I trampled through places which rightly afford women their own dignity and space. What really gave me the right to use ladies’ loos, for example? Most of all, we need to recognise that gender transition can, in truth, be a misguided attempt to escape the person you were born to be – and demand a halt to this dangerous headlong charge.’
Surely life is ultimately easier, less painful and kinder, lived in reality.