The latest skirmish has revealed the inner contradictions of identity politics
Here in the United States, the transgender toilet wars are heating up. The latest battle concerns not Christians, however, but the political Left: The director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)’s chapter in Georgia has resigned, citing the organisation’s support for allowing transwomen (i.e. those who “identify” as female) in women’s bathrooms.
For Maya Dillard Smith, the director in question, the ACLU’S stance was simply hypocritical. In a statement, she said the left-leaning organisation was guilty of serving as a “special interest organization that promotes not all, but certain progressive rights”.
Apparently Smith had taken her young children into a public toilet and had to endure the presence of “three transgender young adults over six feet with deep voices”, who entered after them.
“My children were visibly frightened”, Smith said, “concerned about their safety and left asking lots of questions for which I, like many parents, was ill-prepared to answer”.
Under decree from President Barack Obama, public schools must allow transgender people to use the toilet corresponding to the gender with which they identify. The ACLU has supported Obama’s decision, which is based on Title IX, a section of U.S. federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in educational programs receiving federal funding. The ACLU has even sued the governor of North Carolina, whose state passed a law requiring that people in government buildings use bathrooms matching the sex on their birth certificates.
As we can see, the contradictions of identity politics are finally beginning to manifest themselves in these kinds of public skirmishes. Now we have not just Christians and conservatives fighting the Left in the culture war, but the Left fighting itself. It was bound to happen.
Here’s why. The Left assigns victim status to certain groups. In practice, this means one must never oppose, question, criticise, contradict, or blame the victim group. It also means one must always support whatever protective legal measure is proposed in the name of their group rights, regardless of how strongly it goes against established culture, custom, or law.
What happens, then, when the interests of two victim groups (in this case, women and transgender people) conflict with one another? The normal solution would be to shift blame to the official oppressor, which among left-wing culture warriors is the white, heterosexual Christian male.
But in cases like this, that isn’t so easy. There’s a big difference between an abstract question – “Should transgender women be allowed in female bathrooms?’ – and a concrete scenario: that is, being a female, walking into a bathroom and having a deep-voiced person with the wrong anatomy follow you in. The first is a moral debate that costs you nothing to have; the second is a very real circumstance with which you or your children may have to contend. And when liberals finally do contend with it, even they start to question their own wisdom.
Often you’ll find that liberals act very conservative when no one is watching.