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VOICES: Transgender deserve happiness, success

I hoped someone else would respond to Kathryn Jean Lopez’ (March 21, 2021) homily against treating trans humans equally with others. Perhaps a Christian, or someone more religious or spiritual than I. But, no.

I’m a poor choice: I disagree fundamentally with her unabashed desire for a theocracy. She posits that important public issues (e.g. abortion, sex education, treatment of non-cisgenders by government, public businesses, sports, etc.) should be decided by someone’s interpretation of ancient texts; for her, the Vatican’s view of the Bible. I’m opposed to any theocracy, whether Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, etc.

I believe public issues should be decided here, not Rome or some other foreign place, through robust public discussion of who will be affected, how, what are the costs and merits, etc. Morality – of anyone’s view – is part of that debate, but no book or tome or ism or other self-declared “truth” should preclude listening to scientists, gathering facts, and giving all viewpoints a fair hearing.

I’d describe myself an American Constitutionalist. The Constitution is unequivocally against theocracy, even if the majority might want one; under its approach public issues are decided in our local councils, state legislatures, and the Capitol, by we the people (subject to the Constitution’s limits), not by the Pope, an Ayatollah, Chief Rabbi, or even the Dali Lama, bless their souls.

With my antipathy to her political basis, it won’t surprise that I disagree with Lopez’ view on transgenders. She assumes there are exactly two sexes. Scientists disagree. For a start, humans have several genetic combinations beyond XX and XY.

Lopez would have our diversity assigned by external genitalia at birth. What about those with both, or with parts that are poorly developed?

And crucially, on what basis do we choose external genitalia to define one’s gender, rather than the person’s mental/emotional orientation (equally a genetic expression)?

Her’s and many theologies (not all: the Jewish religion, interpreting basically the same Old Testament, recognizes at least six distinct genders) have an answer: variations of “Because I said so”. Rationality and science do not.

Lopez jumps from her flawed premise to questionable conclusions. Allowing trans women to compete in sports is “unfair to women.” But there have been thousands of sex-reassignment surgeries (about 11,000/year currently in US), so there are thousands of trans who are at and have passed through their peak athletic years. Name any sport in which trans athletes have more than a nominal presence. Hmm.

There are scientific reasons for that lack (read Shades of Gray: Sex, Gender and Fairness in Sport at barbellmedicine.com), including (for male-to-female trans) significant loss of muscle mass and having to take drugs which lower testosterone. Trans competitive athletes generally do about as well in their new classification after transition as they did before in their old. Testosterone, BMI, and muscle cross-section size are inferior predictors of performance than are nutrition and training regimens.

Oooh, she complains, impressionable youths are being misled when we “glamorize transitioning.” Again, where are all those former macho ROTC football linebackers who wacked off their johnsons to impress their peers? Or, those demure flirty-eyed Ms. Luna USA-types who, seeking glamour, decided to grow body and facial hair, biceps, and gain a package? C’mon, Kathryn, give us an argument which isn’t ludicrous.

Next, Lopez invokes those unfortunate youngsters who are supposedly traumatized by seeing incomplete trans in their athletic showers or bathrooms. Are we back to Victorian shibboleths? Our mental hospitals would be overflowing if each sighting of genitalia by the young led to mental infirmity. Don’t women’s bathrooms have stalls, anyway? Another Chicken Little problem.

About 1.4 million people in the US identify as transgender; it is not a trivial issue. I commend Kathryn for appreciating the extreme discomfort trans people feel. Over half of male-female trans attempt suicide before their transition; about 1/3 of female-male do.

My view: our trans population is as much a work of any Creator as any other human. Jetisson your immature “ick”. Let’s give them an equal chance at happiness and success as any other of us.

•••

Jed Somit is a resident of Kapa’a

10 Comments
  1. Rev Dr Malama April 6, 2021 6:27 am Reply

    Aloha and a reminder that this is Hawai’i Ne.
    The Cultural acceptance of Mahu goes way, way beyond your Constitutionalist posturing and no amount of fancy terminology or ANTIQUATED grammar can change your apparent ignorance of where you live and the Hawai’ian beliefs of equality.
    I humbly ask our honest American residents to try to understand that you are not the authority over we the people !!!
    Mahalo Ke Akua,
    Kahu Malama


  2. John Patt April 6, 2021 7:42 am Reply

    I respectfully disagree with my friend Jed Somit’s assertion that “For a start, humans have several genetic combinations beyond XX and XY.” Almost all combinations outside of XX and XY are fatal in utero. Those few that manage to survive are not able to reproduce.


  3. WWJD... April 6, 2021 8:48 am Reply

    What would Jesus do… LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!


  4. Bianka Tasaka April 6, 2021 12:06 pm Reply

    As a person from a Trans experience – Mahu wahine/Mahu kane
    We as individuals have the right to say what ever you’d like but saying things that your not aware or familiar about then it best to mind your own. Again like Rev Dr Malama stated “Cultural acceptance of Mahu goes way, way beyond your Constitutionalist posturing and no amount of fancy terminology or ANTIQUATED grammar can change your apparent ignorance of where you live and the Hawai’ian beliefs of equality.”
    Mahalo


  5. Lew Montoya April 6, 2021 12:28 pm Reply

    All I know is in a few hundred year when they for some reason dig up your body, it will reveal exactly what your were, not what you wanted to be.
    Heck, I wanted to be a NFL player but was too small, could of taken steroids but it is not natural and can kill you.
    Bottom line, you can always be what you want to be…….


  6. Mr.Ford April 6, 2021 1:14 pm Reply

    If you don’t like/respect God for what gender He created you than, why shouldn’t I do the same for you? He created you in pairs. There are pairs all around us to see that it was and is Him. Positive and negative, fresh water and salty water, dry and wet, night and day and, things we have no knowledge of. Nothing was created for sport or by chance. Dead grass to leaving grass; see how a dead field is and a heavy laden cloud comes and gives it rain and new life is given? Surely this will be easy for God on the Day of Judgment – to give you life again as He gave you life the 1st time out of nothing. As for Jesus, he supported the Laws of the Children of Israel and they made mischief, so much mischief that they made it that Jesus was a God and to a point where they say they killed Jesus and is burning in Hell AND they won’t say his name out in public. Don’t get me wrong and, may God forgive my ignorance but, there are Children of Israel who do recognize that Jesus was a prophet and a messenger but, Satan has rule over the evil ones and the chain of evil and its link goes all the way to sodemy and Lot’s wife.


  7. LTEreader April 7, 2021 9:51 am Reply

    John Pratt –

    RE: “Almost all combinations outside of XX and XY are fatal in utero.”

    Planned Parenthood:
    “There are many different ways someone can be intersex. Some intersex people have genitals or internal sex organs that fall outside the male/female categories — such as a person with both ovarian and testicular tissues. Other intersex people have combinations of chromosomes that are different than XY ( usually associated with male) and XX (usually associated with female), like XXY. And some people are born with external genitals that fall into the typical male/female categories, but their internal organs or hormones don’t. It’s hard to know exactly how many people are intersex, but estimates suggest that about 1-2 in 100 people born in the U.S. are intersex.”

    RE: “Those few that manage to survive are not able to reproduce.”

    “Whether an intersex person could get pregnant and carry the pregnancy and have a baby depends mostly whether they have a more complete set of reproductive organs. So if there is a fully functioning uterus and ovaries, then it’s theoretically possible to get pregnant and have a baby.”


  8. james April 8, 2021 6:12 am Reply

    Years ago, my wife and I went on a surf trip to Western Samoa. We learn of a societal cross gender tradition. They are called Fa Fa;s or Fa Fa Finis. In Samoan society, gender roles are shaped by society itself.

    With an emphasis on the group and family rather than the individual, Samoan families have for centuries raised males displaying particular effeminate traits as females.

    Said to have originated in a time when there was a lack of women to perform domestic tasks, this third gender evolved. Unlike many societies around the world where women are treated as subservient or insignificant, Samoan culture values their role rather uniquely.

    As Fafafini, they are considered a gender altogether separate from male and female, with distinct gender roles specific to them; different from those of either men or women. All societies have their norms and Samoa is a very Christian country. Keep an open mind and don’t impose your morality on others.


  9. Colin McCleod April 8, 2021 6:21 am Reply

    Michael Rectenwald describes this postmodernist nonsense succinctly:

    We see this playing in the social justice movement. And, contrary to what Russell maintains—that social justice has nothing to do with postmodernism—social justice ideology adopts the postmodern epistemology, and this adoption has consequences. Take transgenderism for example. When belief is unmoored from observation, and when such unmoored belief is institutionalized as it is today, it leads to the abolition of others’ rights, including the right to make statements about observable facts. One is compelled to acknowledge the self-described genders of believers and to use their self-assigned pronouns, or else. If one denies the self-declared gender of one’s child, one may lose custody, or may even be thrown in jail. Similarly, critical race theory, which derives its epistemology from postmodernism, posits “lived experience” above all other criteria. Statistics, historical evidence, etc., are of no importance. “Stories” become the only valid evidence, and such stories are unfalsifiable. When coupled with state and institutional power, such unmoored belief becomes dictatorial. Believe my lived experience, or else. You must take me at my word. You must accept my unfalsifiable stories.”
    Colin McCleod


  10. truth be known April 14, 2021 5:30 pm Reply

    There’s an easy solution to all this. Instead of the standard male and female bathrooms, I would propose there be three. Male, Female and Everybody Else. The Everybody Else bathroom may be used by any gender or mixture thereof. Actually a lot of European bathrooms are the “Everybody” variety and most everyone is comfortable with that arrangement. Athletic competition is a different animal however. I think women should be concerned that having male characteristics gives a competitive advantage. After all, there’s only 3 titles to be won; first, second and third place. On the flip side, I would have enjoyed having women on my high school wrestling team! Just sayin’.


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