Most conservatives are fighting the wrong battles as it pertains to bathroom laws. We’re making the mistake of addressing this logically; applying logic to a debate with liberals is like giving a chemistry lesson to infants so they’ll eat their Brussels sprouts.
It should be noted that I specifically called out “rules” rather than “laws.” Laws are simply rules that are established and enforced by government, so the concept doesn’t encompass everything at stake with this crucial topic. This is definitely about laws, but it’s also a cultural issue. Now that President Obama is making a decree and threatening to withhold funding from states, it’s political beyond the laws as well.
The debate should not be over gender. I’ve made that mistake myself and while the individual debates were easy to win, a cultural shift is happening that would overpower the victories we could win by debating that particular issue. In other words, it’s time to stipulate that there are more than two genders. I know what you’re thinking because I have a hard time accepting it myself. We won’t win that battle. Moreover, it’s not even important whether we win that particular battle or not. The real battle must be centered around shifting the rules to pertain specifically to sex rather than gender.
Give them their identity. A conservative case can be made that one can identify any way they choose as long as doing so doesn’t do harm to others. We shouldn’t try to fight whether or not someone is allowed to identify as a particular gender, race, religion, ideology… anything. If a man wants to identify as a woman, so be it. His gender will now be female. His sex, however, is still male.
The distinction between gender and sex is the difference between preference and physiology. Public bathrooms should be divided by sex. If Bruce Jenner wants to be called Caitlyn, so be it. If she goes through the transition and becomes a woman, so be it. However, her sex is still male even if medically she has transitioned. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how many hormones or operations she has to make her appear to be a woman. She still possesses the core of maleness. As it pertains to rules, there is nothing that can be done to change the fact that she was born male.
If a man has operations to put horns on head head and graft fur onto his skin, he’s still a human. He might identify as a bull, but his core is still human.
If we continue to fight this war from the perspective of identity, we will lose. Soon, we’ll start seeing 6’9″ boys identifying as females so they can dominate in girl’s basketball. We’ll see boys identifying as girls to shower with them. We’ll see different iterations of abuse of these laws that I can’t even fathom right now. This is the blurring of the lines that we should have all seen coming. When lines become arbitrary and physiology is replaced by identity, the lines will no longer simply be blurred. They’ll disappear altogether.
It’s challenging for conservatives, particularly Christian conservatives, to accept that gender identity can be determined by personal preference, but we must. I had a hard time until recently even acknowledging that Bruce must now be called Caitlyn and she is now a woman. Then, I realized one important component of both conservatism and Christianity. Individual freedoms should be protected when they do no harm to others. By falling back on that perspective instead of dwelling on whether or not there is perversion at play, it’s easier to reconcile something that we may personally feel is absurd. Are there many different genders? Yes. Why? Because allowing it does not affect others.
By accepting gender identity as a reality in modern society, we’re now allowed to focus on the issues that absolutely can affect others. I don’t care if a man identifies as a woman. She can wait before entering a bathroom that has my daughter in it. If she can’t, there’s going to a problem. She can identify as a woman all she wants. I’ll happily defend her right to do so. Since her sex is male, she cannot use the same restroom as females. She can’t shower with them in school locker rooms. She can’t try on outfits with them at Target. Her sex is male. That should be the defining component as it pertains to rules. Otherwise, the rules become enablers for harm to be done to others.
The path for conservatives is to pick one line – sex as determined by birth – and draw it as the singular component of all rules that pertain to the sexes. By fighting the gender battle, we’re accepting that gender has a place within the rules. It shouldn’t. It has its place culturally, but when rules are being set, our unwavering platform must focus on sex.