Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dreher Rages In Support of Gender Police

[Content note: anti-trans bigotry, gender policing]

Welp, Rod Dreher is at it again with the anti-trans crusade at his blog.

First things first, he begins with the preening male conservative equivalent of a trigger warning/content note (caps and bolds in original):
"Below, a video that went up on Facebook on April 19. DO NOT WATCH THIS AT WORK. The language directed at the police is foul and abusive. But if you can handle cursing, you need to watch it. I’ll describe it below."
I use content notes, so I'm not knocking the practice. Rather, my point is that his own content note shows that for all their railing against "PC culture run amok" social conservatives have their own versions of political correctness. And, I've interacted with such people long enough to know that their moral outrage about swearing, especially if engaged in by "females," usually far exceeds their moral outrage at certain (what they deem) societal undesirables being treated indecently.  Saying fuck, shit, or (lord help me) pussy while female is akin to inflicting upon society a human rights violation of the first order. But verbally bash gay or trans people? Shrug.

He continues:
"In the video, a very masculine-presenting teenager is asked by police to leave the women’s restroom. The person, who has a deep voice, says she’s a woman, and not going anywhere. She gets very aggressive: 'I’m a f–king female. Do I have to tell you again?'"
The police ask the teen for her ID and, when she says she doesn't have it, the police remove her from the restroom. Dreher links to the video, and adds his own commentary:
"I saw the video on this FB page. Read the comments for an example of the unshirted rage of these people."
"These people." Hmmm.  I guess it's something that he at least calls them people. Credit where it's due. Dreher goes on to justify the decision to remove the, what he calls "alleged lesbian," from the restroom:
"[If you don't remove her] you might have let a man stay in the women’s bathroom — a public toilet — making women who didn’t know this person was a lesbian very uncomfortable, and even make them feel unsafe.
.....This country is crazy. It is instructive to read that Facebook page, and to see how berserk so many of those on the cultural left are — as if the cops had behaved like stormtroopers instead of like reasonable people trying to protect the public safety."
The reasoning, such as it is, behind Dreher's argument is twofold (a) trans women are actually men and (b) men in women's restrooms pose an inherent threat to women.  Funny how this particular example works out though, isn't it?

In this case, he finds it justifiable for the police to have removed a cisgender woman from the ladies because some other women might have merely felt unsafe by what they might have thought was a man but really wasn't. The risk, by his own logic, was not there because neither a man nor a trans woman was present.  Thus, in practice, we see that the policy does not address actual safety of women, but perceived safety and even that's questionable. For, it is Dreher who editorializes, inserts himself, and simply imagines, on women's behalf, that women might be scared.

At his blog, Dreher speaks often of a so-called Law of Merited Impossibility, alluding to his belief that Christians like himself are at imminent risk of widespread, brutal persecution. Under this "law," he claims that liberals don't believe such persecution of Christians will ever happen, but if it does, we liberal types will think that those bigoted Christians will deserve it.

This "law" looks like 100% projection.

What was at first a policy of keeping trans people out of gender-appropriate restrooms becomes acceptable to more broadly apply, so that anyone who doesn't properly perform gender becomes suspect.  And, well, I guess those people deserve the policing and abuse, what with being so unhinged and angry.  I mean, did you hear they even swear sometimes? (Caution!)

Dreher's illogic becomes even more apparent when watching the video. In it, you see that the woman is in a line of many people in what appears to be a very crowded restroom of people coming and going.  Indeed, other people in the bathroom were telling the police, "That's a girl! That's a girl!" suggesting they were hardly threatened. It is difficult to imagine at what point this "potential man"/"alleged lesbian" would get away with raping a woman in the bathroom. What I'm saying here is that I'd do more listening to actual sexual assault experts on this matter, many of which condemn anti-trans "bathroom bills" for putting trans people at risk for violence and not actually protecting cisgender women.

Indeed, we scratch these policies even just a little bit and we mostly get the putrid smell of incoherent gender policing, coupled with threatened, fragile masculinity. The disgust at the "mouthy""masculine" "lesbian" and her cohorts is practically dripping from Dreher's mocking temper-tantrum.

Here's your content note
Yet, rather than recognizing the flawed logic, rather than seriously engaging counter-arguments to his point of view, he acts as though the other side ("the cultural left") has no legitimate argument for all this bathroom business. As though trans people don't actually have to ever piss or shit when they're out and about. And if they do, well, too bad. It's their fault for being trans, and the rest of the world shouldn't have to accommodate that - they deserve no bathrooms! (And hey, did this lesbian ever get to pee, by the way? I hope so).

Well. Many people in his comment section rightly took Dreher to task, although he mostly responded with the typical whining that people didn't READ what he ACTUALLY WROTE so WAH! So, he posted an "update" to his piece, erm, clarifying:
"Maybe living with that degree of social anxiety [of people being able to use "whichever gendered bathroom they want"] is worth it to you so transgenders, genderfluids, genderqueers and all the rest can pee wherever they like, whenever they like. But it’s a big damn ask for women."
Okay player.

First they come for the "transgenders," and then see how the list of who it's justifiable to exclude from public restroom access expands. (Hey, by the way, did you all hear that The Handmaid's Tale is coming to Hulu?!)

Now, here I have to ask, why the potty obsession, which seems so fashionable in conservative circles at this particular moment in time, with an election looming?  With so many defenders of traditional morality being exposed as sexual hypocrites or predators themselves, are we looking for a new social wedge issue or does the topic serve the purpose of being p0rn for prudes? By "monitoring" "deviant" gender and sexual behavior, some conservatives can consume that behavior while also signaling their own virtue by publicly rejecting it.

Here: I do not reject any of this.
On a final note, if we assume the very best intentions on his part, well, as a woman, I don't want or need Rod Dreher, or any other concerned-ass citizen, to exclude trans people from women's restrooms on my behalf, for my defense. Mostly, because I live in the real world where trans people don't actually pose a threat to me in the potty.

The fact is, I have shared restrooms with trans people (when I've even known they were trans) and I have literally never felt unsafe. But, for me, trans people aren't an abstraction. They're not a symbolic evil or sign of societal decay and decadence. They're not "men trying to be women" or "women trying to be men" or predators hell-bent on attacking women in restrooms.

They're human beings.  And, I'm of the opinion that when one understands that simple concept, one also understands that therefore trans people's concerns and perspectives are worth contemplating beyond a knee-jerk reactionary level that dismisses the whole debate itself as evidence of how "crazy" modern society is about gender.

But, you know, I'm a swearing lesbian who likes a prison show featuring trans, lesbian, bisexual, and otherwise gender-non-conforming women too, so I'm sure that discredits my entire argument in the view of some. Scribble that on your goddamn content note.

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