Today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:
Do you believe that a person’s gender is inextricably tied to his or her sex at birth, or do you believe that a person can legitimately identify as a gender different from his or her birth gender? Why do you believe what you believe?
Easier one today than last week. Let’s illustrate this with a name. You meet somebody called Elizabeth. She goes by the name Lizzy.
You don’t go calling her Betty, because that happens to be your preference, do you? You respect her choice, and you call her Lizzy.
Same with gender, far as I’m concerned. That is also the “why” – we respect their choice. That’s just being tolerant. It’s their choice, not ours.
That’s my gut feel. However, I can think of caveats.
First, people go 90% by what they see. There are all sorts of memes about hidden disabilities for example, and while we might wish people’s perception to be wider, that’s the way it is.
So, if you were born male, say, I don’t think you can get too hung up if somebody refers to you as “he”. I doubt there is any malice behind that, it is just someone making an error. There may be certain areas where you’d expect people to be more aware (for example a specific trans-gender organisation), but I think in general, you can’t blame people.
The second issue, you have somebody who identifies as a different gender. They commit a crime. Do you send them to a men’s prison or a women’s prison?
I don’t know the answer to that one.
Okay, prison is quite extreme, but it illustrates the dilemma. It’s the same as, say, do they use men’s or women’s changing rooms at the swimming pool.