My thoughts on this subject have been evolving for around five years. Here’s what I got.
First: acknowledge that not only is this likely to go before SCOTUS, but that it *should* do so, because all this unresolved conflict is inevitably going to trickle down on the very exposed children involved with all this. I agree that they are the victims, though I don’t agree with transactivists as to exactly how they are victims. Also acknowledge that the trans rights legal people are likely to win. They have the money, skills, connections, funding, and reputations, and they may well have the Court, without a major sea change in public perceptions. ACLU alone has over 500,000 members and has an annual budget of over $100 million, and 2,000 volunteer attorneys. Lambda Legal notes here, about the recent Texas court ruling, that
Five civil rights organizations who had submitted a joint amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the lawsuit – Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of Texas; National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); Transgender Law Center; and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) – issued the following statement in response to U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling:
A ruling by a single judge in one circuit cannot and does not undo the years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination. This unfortunate and premature ruling may, however, confuse school districts that are simply trying to support their students, including their transgender students.
So let us make it clear to those districts: your obligations under the law have not changed, and you are still not only allowed but required to treat transgender students fairly.
The scope of this injunction has no effect on the ability of other courts or lawyers representing transgender people to continue to rely on the federal government’s interpretations of Title IX or on prior decisions that have reached similar conclusions about the scope of federal sex discrimination laws.
The court’s misguided decision targets a small, vulnerable group of young people – transgender elementary and high school students – for potential continued harassment, stigma and abuse.
Also, I think it is completely pointless and also is marginalizing to argue from the point of view that all transgenderism, transsexualism, is culturally and medically created (though I still suspect it is, the history argues for it) as long as we live in a culture that engages in so much enforced gender scripting. It makes it extremely difficult to sort out what is happening, and it’s unrealistic to expect most people to be interested in or even capable of understanding the analysis supporting this position.
So my position is to stop expecting the law to change when it’s supported by cultural values and medical practice. The weakest link is medical practice, go after that. Insist on something besides self-diagnosis of transgenderism based on gender stereotypes and a sense of being uncomfortable with one’s self. Insist that the possibility of co-morbid psychological conditions be addressed, and also that the possibility of patients’ evolving same-sex orientation be discussed, as a disproportionate number of gender dysphoric kids turn out to be gay, and not all homosexuals work out their orientation prior to adolescence. In fact, many do not, what with living in heteronormative cultures that do not freely encourage and support the idea of same-sex attraction as healthy and wholesome and generally normal and not freakish.
Insist, in other words, on a proper diagnostic process, not just treating all this like nose jobs. Treatment with testosterone, especially, is hazardous, and nobody really knows yet what extended off-label use of puberty blockers does to children.
Also fight back against this endless reducing the age of consent, which is pushed because “they’ll pass better.” These are children, not modeling clay.
Gender abolitionists get criticized for being extremists, but if we can’t all, transactivist and abolitionist alike, agree on it being wrong to misdiagnose people, and that this actually happens, and that transgender regret is a thing, and also social contagion, and that children are highly impressionable; then who is being intransigent here? Who is being extreme?