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  4.  » New Jersey Transgender Rights Attorney Discusses Maine Transgender Bathroom Litigation “Doe v. Clenchy.”

New Jersey Transgender Rights Attorney Discusses Maine Transgender Bathroom Litigation “Doe v. Clenchy.”

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2014 | Sexual Harassment |

“Or . . . I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Why is this even an issue?”

I meant that. I just don’t get it. I’m a straight genetic male. I get that I’m an attorney and I get that I have the benefit of a better education than most people because of my profession. But seriously, is it so hard to understand that in 2014, regardless of your educational background or your degree of urbanity (or lack thereof), that certain people are transgender? I mean, is there anyone who still doesn’t get it, other than for religious bigotry?

So let’s assume everyone reasonable “gets it.” Let’s further assume that regardless of whether or not most people are confused or even afraid (though I could not imagine why) of the concept of someone being a transgender, that they still understand that psychology sometimes produces gender dysphoria and that certain people have to change their birth gender to suit their emotional and psychological gender (the one that they feel inside from a pretty early age).

You get that? Does everyone get that? OK, let’s move on.

Most of the time, when someone changes their gender from their birth gender to the one they feel inside, they become a “straight” member of that new sex. For example, nearly every male to female transgender person I’ve met became a “straight” female after she began her transition. Before each person admits that they’re a transgender and begins the process of transitioning, I suppose that they’d be perceived by others as homosexuals who affect the behavior, clothes and (usually) sexual orientation of their eventually intended gender. That’s if you’re tied up in labeling everything.

So let’s talk about bathrooms and schools.

Over the years, we’ve had some cases where schools have been pretty damned ignorant – which is distressing but not so surprising for New Jersey – about the issue of bathrooms. For the life of me, I could never understand why, and I still can’t. Let me explain.

Let’s say that you’re a straight non-transgender person (either a student or a parent of a student) and you’ve just learned that student “X,” a male to female transgender, has announced her putative gender and her desire to transition and be considered a female student. She has a right by the way, under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, to insist that the school treat such a status with respect and with minimal aggravation to the student in question. It’s really not that hard. Now let’s assume you’re either a straight female student or the parent of a straight female student. You’re not really familiar, close-up, with transgender people. Your daughter isn’t. Maybe you’re a little concerned, though you’re not sure why, about this male to female student using the girls’ bathroom. Why?

I don’t understand that objection, because it doesn’t make sense legally, logically, emotionally or biologically.

If the straight female student is “nervous” about a male to female transgender, who presumably is going to prefer men, then why is there a problem with that “girl” using the bathroom at all? In fact, would the objecting student have any right to object if she became aware that a female student who is not transgender, but who was a Lesbian, was also using the bathroom? What’s going to be the student’s objection? That the Lesbian can’t use the bathroom because the student is nervous about whether or not the Lesbian’s going to be looking at her or secretly preferring her in her own mind? What school is going to countenance that silliness?

As long as a lesbian has the right to use the girls’ bathroom, so does the transgender. The fact that the transgender student was born with a penis doesn’t change the fact that the transgender, at least in their mind and in their heart, is a straight female. There’s no reason why a female can’t use the girls’ bathroom.

This is why I don’t understand why there has to be litigation over this. I don’t understand why schools have to be difficult about this. I don’t understand why they don’t just accept it and tell the students and parents who complain that there’s no conversation to have, and that the situation is over.

A young lady named Nicole Maines, a male to female transgender student, recently won a trial in Maine under the Maine Human Rights Law (which is certainly not as strong as the New Jersey LAD) wherein a school was ordered to allow this young lady to use the girls’ bathroom. This is a young lady, no different, in her heart and in her mind, than any other young lady using that bathroom, and less of a perceived sexual “threat” than a genetically born female Lesbian would have been (not that any girl could object to the Lesbian using the bathroom either).

Why was it necessary to have litigation at all? Who was the school protecting? Was it doing so truly or was this just a cynical ploy to keep the “majority” parents off the school’s back?

I just don’t get it, and I really never will. If I’m in the bathroom and I’m standing next to a female to male transgender person going to the bathroom, it’s just another dude using the john. If I am standing next to a non-transgender gay male, it’s just another dude. Everyone’s got to pee.

I just don’t get it.