The case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy catapulted to the forefront of the transgender bathroom debate, will now be heard by the Supreme Court.
I do sympathize with Grimm, who wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece that he did not choose to announce to the news media that he is transgender. It was done for him by the school district–although I take that assertion with a grain of salt, in that all stories have more than one side.
I take more than a little issue with the Post publishing Grimm’s story as if it’s the engraved truth on two tablets, including some things are are most certainly a matter of a high school boy (who is biologically a girl)’s opinion.
But now that I am visible, I want to use my position to help the country see transgender people like me as real people just living our lives. We are not perverse. We are not broken. We are not sick. We are not freaks. We cannot change who we are. Our gender identities are as innate as anyone else’s.
Difficult truths are tough to swallow for the young and ideological. Transgender people might be transgender for a lot of reasons, but that doesn’t mean their identity as someone whose mind departs from their body’s God-given biological sex, written into their DNA at a profoundly unalterable level, is innate. In fact, the word carries with it meaning that contradicts Grimm’s usage: it means “inborn, natural, or intrinsic.”
Be that as it may, now the entire issue of whether young Grimm must use a unisex single-stall bathroom or the boys room, for which he is not particularly well equipped (at least to use the urinals), will be left to the black-robed jurists of the Supreme Court.
This case can have far-reaching implications–or not–depending on how narrowly or expansively the justices rule. But it will affect how future cases are handled, and how executive orders like President Obama’s yoga master interpretation of Title IX to force schools to allow transgenders to use whatever facilities they want while non-transgenders are forced to use only their sexually prescribed facilities, will be received.
Where I do agree with Grimm is in his final thought:
I hope the justices of the Supreme Court can see me and the rest of the transgender community for who we are — just people — and rule accordingly.
In the end this is about people. Grimm dresses like a boy and to the casual observer is a boy. Him walking into the boys’ room is not at all unusual unless you knew him as a girl. But that’s a more personal issue than a societal one. Looking at this from the view of people versus law, the simplest “rule” is: if you look and act like the gender for which you represent in your public life, and you don’t intend to expose your naked self to others who don’t care to see you, then by all means walk into the restroom comporting with your public image.
But if you are a man walking into the ladies’ room at Target sporting a camera or a recording cell phone, claiming to be transgender, common sense would dictate that you’re a predatory freak. If you’re a 16-year-old boy wanting to run on the girls’ track team, and change with the girls, shower with the girls, you aren’t really thinking clearly, because those other girls are surely uncomfortable with seeing a penis-equipped female prowling their locker room (not to mention the Title IX absurdity of a stronger, faster boy competing against girls).
These are not legal issues so much as people issues for society. We’ve had people around for many years (as long as history). We should not rely on eight (or nine?) black-robed oracles to resolve every issue of common sense. If the Supreme Court is being challenged to look at Grimm and the rest of the transgender community for who they are, we should be able to challenge and encourage them to look at the whole of American society for who we are–just people–and rule accordingly.