Originally Posted 10/22/2015
As much as some radical feminists and conservatives may push back on this the reality is that transgender youth exists and they need support and freedom to be who they are. I understand that the issue of transgender youth is a contentious topic right now inside the LGBT community and outside of it. Many gays and lesbians are very concerned (as they should be) about tracking gender dysphoric youth into a solid identity at a young age as most gender dysphoric children will grow out of it at the time of puberty and many will be gay or bisexual. But gender dysphoric youth that will indeed grow up to be transgender adults deserve compassion, understanding, and healthcare devoted to the most positive mental health outcomes as possible.
I like this Chicago Tribune article as it acknowledges the comfort level of trans and cis girls by recommending privacy stalls for anyone that wants one.
There’s no reason privacy stalls can’t work without demanding that transgender students use them. They should be standard in all school locker rooms. We suspect they’d be particularly welcomed by transgender students whose peers aren’t as supportive as those in District 211. But if transgender students elected not to use them, the other students’ privacy wouldn’t be compromised. They could use the dressing stalls themselves. Respect, common sense and privacy curtains for everyone. It really could be that simple.
A lot of women have concerns that gender neutral bathrooms and allowing any self identified “women” into every private female space could lead to abuse. Some believe that so strongly that they don’t want any XY people to have access to these areas at all. I do not support that position as it makes life extremely difficult for transgender people, the vast majority of whom are decent and just want to live their lives in peace. However, women and girls deserve to have their privacy respected so I would not support teenage girls having to share bathrooms with teenage boys (not trans people) when teenage girls tend to be pretty self conscious about their body functions. This seems to be a policy public schools are moving towards to accommodate gender variant people. But it is important to acknowledge that teenage girls probably don’t want boys seeing what they do in the bathroom. Anyone that doesn’t acknowledge this is being one sided. I also don’t believe a person that calls themselves Joe, who has a beard and sometimes wears a skirt, and usually feels like a man, but is gender fluid and wants to access women’s locker rooms on the days he/she feels female should have that right. But I am in %100 support of people with valid gender dysphoria to live their lives with dignity. I realize that having gym personal making decisions about who has “valid gender dysphoria” is problematic. But I think in most cases it will be an application of common sense. A reasonable boundary would be to include people that are living and presenting full time in their desired gender. Many trans women do not want fakers harming their reputations so I believe preventing this is in everyone’s interests.
Here is a good article on the trans children issue in Reason. For bathroom panicking transphobes this article makes a great point. “Would girls be any more comfortable changing clothes alongside a girl who identifies as a boy, and is undergoing physical transition, than a boy who identifies as a girl? ”
So in conclusion my take:
- Allow trans children to live as their gender while continuing vigorous research in how to determine who will be a persisting trans child into adulthood and who will grow out of it. It may be best to wait until they are closer to puberty before living full time as the desired gender because research on this is so scant. And youth often change their mind at around puberty.
- Provide privacy stalls for youth in locker rooms and allow trans children with a valid gender dysphoria diagnosis to live as they choose.
- Don’t have teenage boys and girls use the same bathrooms.
- Have some common sense approaches to including respect for women’s privacy concerns regarding not wanting to have men abuse gender neutral policies.