Thursday, April 21, 2016

Donald Trump, the pro-transgender Republican candidate?

Donald Trump, his wife Melania, and his children. New York Times/AP

In a town hall event on NBC's Today Show, Donald Trump said that he supports transgender people using whatever bathroom they want. New York Times. Trump was responding to a question about North Carolina's bathroom law that forces people to use bathrooms based on their biological sex, not their gender. Trump argued that the law was unnecessary due to very few complaints or issues before the law was passed. He also said that the backlash against the law has caused far more problems for North Carolina then the transgender ever did. The interview also name-dropped famous transgendered person, Caitlyn Jenner, with Trump saying that if she ever visited Trump Tower, she could use whatever bathroom she wanted. Trump's stance may hurt him among social conservatives. Already his main opponent, Ted Cruz, quickly condemned Trump's statements. 

My Comment:
This story is already getting buried due to the death of Prince, the musician. But I thought I should cover it because as far as I know Donald Trump has taken a stronger stance on this issue then any of the other candidates, Democrats included. This issue has really set him apart from the other candidates, especially against Ted Cruz.

So do I agree with him? I'm not sure. I do think he put forth a strong argument. The transgendered are a tiny minority of people. The estimates I have seen is that somewhere between 0.3 and 0.03 percent of Americans are transgender. That means that very few people actually are transgender. Presumably, there would be even less in a conservative state like North Carolina. If the numbers I have seen are correct then only between 30,000 and 3000 people are transgender in North Carolina, if the state is in line with the rest of the country. Not all of those would even try to use different bathrooms or even go out in public dressed as their preferred sex. 

On the other hand, I do think accommodating the transgender creates a huge loophole. I am thinking that there are probably only a couple thousand of transgender people in North Carolina. But how many people are willing to cross dress just so they can spy on people of the opposite sex and claim they are trans just to get out of punishment? Depends on who you ask. My guess is that it would break down on political lines with liberals saying there aren't any and conservatives saying that they are everywhere. I don't have any real numbers but I think that the number of people that would actually try this would be tiny, but similar to the number of transgender people in North Carolina. 

Of course, it wouldn't just be cross dressing perverts that would spy on people. Not every transgender person flips their sexuality as well. Some transgendered people are "lesbians", being attracted to their own gender. And some are pedophiles. But here is the thing. Natural women can be perverts as well! And given the tiny population of transgendered people, if your female child is molested by someone in a woman's restroom it's probably going to be a bog standard female pedophile, and not a transgendered person. 

So given all that is Trump right when he says this isn't a battle worth fighting? I am not so sure. The bathroom law was never about  the transgendered or even protecting children. It is about the culture war and virtue signalling. Most of the people that care about this bill, on both sides, have never even encountered a transgendered person. They just want to score points for their side.

Which is why I am not so sure that Trump is correct here. Even if he is right and the law is pretty much useless and isn't worth fighting for, it's still part of a larger battle between the left and right. Simply flying the white flag is not going to be popular, especially since this is a battle in a larger war. Remember, the LGBT law in North Carolina isn't just about bathrooms. It is also about limiting liability for people who refuse to participate in things like gay marriage. The law prevents stupidity like the pizza fiasco from last year. I think that part of the bill is definitely worth fighting for. 

But for the bathroom war? I am not sure at all. Remember, we are talking about a tiny number of people here. I've gone through my entire life and in almost 33 years, I have never met someone that I knew was transgendered. There were a couple of people that I have met that I thought might be, but that's two people in 33 years. I can't imagine that there are so many people like this that it's even an issue. Even if you buy the argument that men will dress as women for purposes of voyeurism or sexual assault, their numbers will be tiny as well, and not a significant increase from the threat that already exists. 

On the other hand I also think that all this acceptance for the transgender will make it more difficulty for researchers to find a cure. Right now our only option is to butcher the body to make it line up with the sick brain. Obviously if there was a pill or genetic treatment available to make the transgendered make them think that their gender matches their sex.  Even writing out that I think a cure should be found over sex-reassignment surgery makes me "transphobic" to the social justice community, even though I bare no ill will to anyone who happens to be transgendered and am willing to accept sex-reassignment as a stop-gap measure. Either way, it's clear I am conflicted on this issue. 

Politically I am not sure how much this helps and hurts Donald Trump. Obviously, acceptance of the transgendered is not high among Republicans so it might hurt him in the upcoming primaries. On the other hand, most of the people that care about LGBT issues on the right aren't voting for Trump anyways. And I think he is positing himself well for the general election. The Democrats were going to attack the GOP candidate as a transphobic asshole but now that line of attack is gone. And he might even get a few more Democrats that would vote for him now.

Finally, I think it is hilarious that Caitylin Jenner was name dropped. Jenner famously came out as a Republican and endorsed  Ted Cruz, much to Cruz's embarrassment. Since Cruz just bashed all transgendered people and Trump seems more accepting, Jenner might endorse Donald Trump. If that happens expect the world to explode from all the cognitive dissonance from all sides of the political spectrum! 

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