The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):


  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”


Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I don't “get” transgender!

A few years ago, in this state (Maryland) there was a referendum on permitting gay marriage. At one point I signed a petition in favor of marriage equality, and as a result I was put on the e-mail mailing list of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, and ultimately on the mailing list of their affiliate, the Human Rights Campaign. Since I agree with a lot of what HRC stands for, I have no problem with that, although HRC's strong advocacy of Democratic Party candidates leaves me behind; there are other issues, more important to me than gay rights, which keep me on the Republican side in most elections.

Lately I have been receiving e-mail from HRC about the recent laws passed in Mississippi and North Carolina curtailing gay rights, and most of what HRC says makes sense. But in one way, I agree with what these states have done, and that part of the laws would meet with my approval if I were a legislator or executive involved with a state lawmaking process.

The laws state that a person must use the bathroom appropriate for the gender named on his/her birth certificate. I see nothing wrong with such a provision. I really do not understand why a person who is biologically male can call himself a woman, or one who is biologically female can call herself a man. In other words, I cannot understand transgender.

Bruce Jenner has fathered a child, so he is unquestionably a male, regardless of whether he dresses in drag or chooses to call himself “Caitlyn.” And in general the real test of someone's gender comes down to one thing: Is there a Y chromosome in his/her genome? (I deliberately use that rather than a test of the number of X chromosomes, because it is a known fact that people with unusual genetic makeup like one X and no other sex chromosome, or XXY, are biologically whatever sex the presence or absence of a Y chromosome determines. See the article on Klinefelter's syndrome, for example.) Apparently Bruce Jenner and his ilk have some new definition of “female” or “woman,” which allows them to claim they are; I would love to see that definition.

If Bruce Jenner dresses up in female attire, he is just a man in drag. If some day he has his male parts surgically removed, he will still be only a castrated male. This does not mean he cannot do these things; only that he can never become truly female.

And what does a man who likes to pretend he is a woman gain by being considered one? He does not gain the opportunity to marry a man; he already has that right, via the Windsor decision. He does not gain any other right that women have, either. Unless, of course, you count the right to use the ladies' restroom in those states that have not passed bills like the one to which I am referring.

Some men are attracted to men rather than women, and some women to women rather than men. (And some men and women are attracted to both!) Allowing them to marry the partner of their choice does not hurt anyone. Certainly, it does not prevent straight people from marrying their opposite-sex partners. So marriage equality is a reasonable thing. Anti-discrimination laws are also good things, as nobody should be treated unfairly just because of whom he/she loves. But there is a real danger that someone might claim to be transgender, just to get a free peek at the opposite sex. (In my younger days, I had an immense curiosity as to what a female body looked like!) While if a “transgender boy” (who is really a girl) is forced to use the ladies' restroom, or a “transgender girl” (who is really a boy) is forced to use the men's restroom, they only get to see bodies like their own!

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