A FAILURE OF COMPASSION, BUT
NOT IN THE WAY WE’RE TOLD
Buy stock in companies that make plumbing fixtures or porta-potties. With privacy in the stall or at the urinal becoming a thing of the past, businesses will be adding restroom facilities like crazy. This is the age of the single-seater.
The Obama Administration’s gender directives — and resistance to them at the state level — have sparked shootouts over sex-segregated bathrooms that are saturating the news.
All the reports invariably begin by focusing on some child who identifies as “transgender” and has experienced feelings of being “in the wrong body” since early childhood.
One such recent story on a local TV station told of a little girl whose parents allowed her to transition to being a boy at age four. The mother and father were moved by her preference for “boy things,” believing they owed it to their daughter to support her quest for her “true self.”
Let us consider the human drama illustrated here.
Back in an earlier (more clear-seeing) time, this little girl would have been thought of as a tomboy, the description then given to girls who viewed their brothers, male cousins, or neighbor boys as possessing a certain wildness they found appealing and wished to share in.
During my 1950s childhood, a character like Annie Oakley would have been a heroine to such girls (her weekly TV adventures portrayed so perkily by the charming Gail Davis).
Following the normal progression of things, most of these girls would have eschewed skirts and dresses in favor of blue jeans, dolls in favor of cap guns — that is, until puberty kicked in and they gained an entirely different perspective on the wildness of boys.
Under no circumstances would they have considered themselves entitled to use the men’s room at the local five-and-dime. Neither would they have been thought of as particularly conflicted. Mom and Dad might have been irked over Daughter’s refusal to be photographed in that cute pinafore Grandma sent, but they figured she’d eventually grow out of her tomboy phase.
Now, does this describe the progress of all 1950s females with boyish leanings? Of course not. Some young women experienced genuine sexual disorientation or gender confusion — as did some young men, for that matter. But if they did, it would have been the result of family stresses, of imbalances in parental relationships, of sexual abuse, or of some other distorting condition.
The difference between the ’50s and now is that in those days all the conventions of society were aligned toward encouraging young people to grow into their appropriate gender roles. Sometimes those encouragements were not gentle; occasionally they could be harsh and unforgiving. But they were overwhelmingly consistent, based on a blend of moral influence and social pressure.
That those parents in the recent local news report could consider allowing their daughter to take such a life-altering step as transitioning to being a boy at age four reflects a profound confusion about human nature, even about reality itself — not to mention about the meaning of parental love.
The kindest interpretation one can put on their decision is that they have been so rattled by the constant drumbeat of gender propaganda that they simply don’t know what feelings girls commonly experience in childhood or what is required of parents in guiding their daughters to maturity.
A somewhat less charitable interpretation is that they really wanted a boy all along. But I’ll go with the kinder one.
As Catholic commentator George Weigel wrote on the occasion of last year’s Supreme Court gay marriage ruling…
“The foundations of our culture have eroded; now, the New Normal insists that literally everything is plastic, malleable and subject to acts of human will. The result is a moment of profound moral incoherence in which understandings of human nature and human happiness that have stood the test of experience for millennia are being discarded as mere rubbish — and those who resist trashing the moral patrimony of humanity are dismissed as irrational bigots, religious fanatics, or both. This New Normal is willfulness on steroids, especially when that willfulness involves human sexuality. Nothing, it seems, constitutes aberrant behavior — except the public defense of traditional virtue.”
Today we are constantly told that we must be compassionate toward the transgendered: Morality requires that those who identify themselves as on the opposite side of the sexual divide should be free to discover and express their true selves.
Yet (as the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen observed) people tend to be confused about what is true compassion and what is actually false compassion.
The compassion toward transgendered individuals being promoted by the Left is clearly false, in that it’s not really about promoting equality, but rather about disrupting social norms for the ideologically driven purpose of change.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see lawsuits brought against businesses that shift from men’s and women’s restrooms to single-seaters. I can’t imagine on what premises such suits would be based, but some clever ACLU lawyers will think up a useful rationale.
However, this compassion is also false in another way. It’s false toward the transgendered themselves. Because while it proclaims that society must aid them in their self-discovery, it’s really insisting that society abandon TGs to lives of anguish and frustration — without the merest effort to nudge them toward clarity and peace.
“There is a great danger in the current rush to accommodate the self-assumptions of everybody experiencing conflicts in sexuality or gender identity, especially young people. It may seem a good thing to want to make straight the path to someone’s true self. But it’s often the case that people don’t really know their true selves. It can even be that the struggles we wish to eliminate are the very encounters that help people come to terms with who they really are.”
The great bathroom war is only…apparently…about loss of privacy or compromise of personal safety. That’s the aspect of the story people grasp most readily (even a lot of people who are sympathetic to the gender-equality argument).
The real heart of the issue is that the Left’s calls for compassion actually represent a tremendous failure of compassion — especially compassion toward children.
That would make a much bigger news story.
If only we could get the media to cover it.
Here’s one of the funniest graphics to show up in my Facebook news feed. But Canadian conservative journalist Judi McLeod raises some pointed questions about why the Obama years have seen a sudden upsurge in children declaring themselves transgendered. From Canada Free Press…
Author Danusha Goska sees the bathroom wars as clear exploitation of the transgendered for ideological purposes. Writing on American Thinker, she warns TGs…
“The Left is using you. The Left doesn’t care about you. The Left cares about taking down Western civilization. You are merely the tool, in the same way that they are using Muslims and African Americans and women. They are using you in the same way that they once used my ancestors, the so-called ‘white ethnics,’ the immigrant Poles, Italians, and Jews who arrived in America a hundred or so years ago and were recruited and then spat out when they refused to relinquish their families, their patriotism, and their God.”