Thursday, December 12, 2013

An Open Letter to "Jurist"

 To whom it may concern:

In reference to the column posted by Jurist here, by Dean Broyles concerning California bill AB 1266, I'd like to offer some points for your consideration.

The writer is presented as one who brings some expertise to the subject which he is addressing, however the assumption appears to be in considerable error as he seems unaware of several very relevant points. Among those are the following:

1. The law he references (AB 1266) is new but the policy is not. Several major metro school districts in California, as well as many others nationwide including in such conservative leaning areas as Texas, already have in place policies which are substantially the same as that laid out in 1266. Indeed, the board policy of some entire states (Massachusetts, and as has been shown in recent news stories, Colorado to name just two) lay out a very similar policy. Some of these have been in place for close to a decade. 

How is it that our writer is unaware of this? Or does it not support his case for outrage that said policies have not, in fact, resulted in any harm. How can he build a case that 1266 is "dangerous" if he has to admit that after many thousands of occasions in which trans girls share a restroom with cis-girls, nothing harmful has transpired.

2. The writer quotes "facts are stubborn things" and then proceeds to make a fact-claim that directly contradicts ACTUAL scientific evidence. It is scientifically demonstrated that some persons apparently female from birth were in fact born with XY chromosomes, and some persons apparently male from birth were born with XX chromosomes. That's before we note the existence of XXY individuals, and a host of other intersex conditions which defy the writers wooden binary misconceptions. To be clear, I do not speak here of the self perception of gender but of actual biologically observable and verifiable physical facts. Intersex individuals are rare, but then so are transsexuals.

3. Existing policy would again be instructive on his next mistake. He speaks of "transient" opinions, yet all existing policies lay out the terms and conditions for transsexual accommodation and none of them give space to a transient "mood."  The one who professes trans status needs to have a consistent and relatively long term cross-sex presentation and professional consultation supporting. The oft propagated myth of "a kid does not know what he wants" and "boys will claim to be girls for voyeuristic purposes" fail in the face of the history of how these policies are enacted and applied on a daily basis.

4. He waxes at length about what he professes as the lack of scientific evidence that people are born homosexual or trans (how is it that people of his political stripe can never speak of a trans issue without distracting themselves with the obsession with homosexuality, which is not at all relevant to the subject he is ostensibly writing about?) and in so doing ignores a multitude of solid scientific research studieswhich demonstrates that transsexualism is a biological condition present from before birth. See for reference the impressive data base of links collected here:

5. There is a clear, verifiable, documented track record of how these policies work in practice. If the man has questions (dumb questions thought they seem to be) it would seem logical that a trained lawyer would be conversant with the concept of doing the research necessary to find the answers, since it is easily available.

A. As stated above, the policies do not allow for "gender of the day" nonsense that Broyles and his peers imagine.
B. All these policies lay out the stipulations under which an accommodation is granted, involving the input of the parent, health care professionals, and school staff.
C. The "exposed to the genitals" argument is vapid, and silly, given that students do not, one hopes, routinely compare their genitals in the rest room and policies elsewhere make provisions for privacy in the one area in which it might present an issue - the locker room/shower - and this, wisely, both out of sensitivity to the cis child, as well as the trans child (something the author is apparently unaware of - a male-to-female transsexual does not LIKE her penis, WANT her penis, or want anyone to KNOW about it. they are exactly the LAST people one should expect to casually or proudly display their genitalia for viewing). Later in the column the writer advocates for the wisdom of the local school, and here it is in practice - witness the lack of news stories, law suits, or outraged hyperbole citing actual cases of "exposed genitals" in the public schools in which these policies are already in place.
D. Again, he supposes "opportunism" and predicts a bright future for litigators, yet in spite of the standing policy in place in all the major metro school districts in California for years, resulting in tens of thousands of these interactions, PJI still pleads fruitlessly for a plaintiff willing to go to court to challenge AB 1266. One is forced to wonder about the author's connection to reality, not the trans child's.
E. the "religious freedom" argument is as irrelevant as it would have been 50 years ago had some teacher claimed a religious belief that blacks and whites should not mingle. First, teachers et al are asked every day to set aside their religious doctrines - consider the Pentecostal teacher who spends every day teaching girls who cut their hair, wear makeup, and wear pants. Religious liberty is a vapid smokescreen in this context.
To say nothing of the fact that the supposed "doctrine" that a transsexual is sinning is based on a VERY thin Scriptural reed.

6. The false-face pretense that such students should be treated with "love dignity and respect" is contemptible. For the trans person, the ONLY way to treat them with respect is to acknowledge their stated gender identity as valid. you cannot "lovingly" "respect" a person by  asserting you know their mind and they do not.

7. Given that transsexuals number something like .1% of the population, and the majority of those still closeted (sometimes even from themselves) the hyperbole that accommodating the one child in a few thousand who needs it is going to tear down the whole structure of human society is laughable.

In summation, let me offer a very specific conclusion. In reading your "about" page, I find the following passage:

I argue that this column is the very definition of "mere punditry" - Before even completing the second paragraph he's descended into buzz-words and scare tactics. Some examples:

"This dangerous legislation"
"purportedly enlightened"
"what it means to be a "girl" is becoming confused when genetic material is dangerously dumped into the elite culture's gender-blender."
"postmodernism's notions of extreme personal autonomy and radical sexual liberty."
"appear to be heavily influenced by the desire of many radical secular-progressives to..."
"How would they know if the child is being sincere or cleverly perverted..."
"we must vigilantly resist the popular temptation to allow truth and common sense to be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness"

In short, I submit that if the quoted passage from your "About" page is sincere, you have no choice but to withdraw Mr Broyles column, if not actively publish your regret at having published it. I acknowledge that it is reasonable to be concerned about the legal implications of AB1266 and express, rationally, those logical concerns. what Mr Broyles has offered is neither reasonable nor rational, but hyperbolic punditry that fails, in my opinion, to clear the bar you have set for yourselves in terms of content.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

Tammy Rainey