Let's Stop Republicans from using Transgender People as a Wedge Issue
Updated: Apr 2
The Democratic Party has been accurately described as the Party of inclusion, a big tent that represents a broad, diverse group of people. As a result of this diversely, members of the Democratic Party tend to have more empathy for all groups, especially those who have been historically marginalized and/or subjected to discrimination. While this inclusiveness, empathy, and support for equality are a great source of strength, these attributes can also be used to undermine and divide us. For example, Republicans have been quick to demonize an extremely small demographic group, transgender people. Transgender people are simply people whose gender identity (how they see themselves) may not match their biological gender (anatomy) at birth. It is commonly understood that transgender people can’t “choose” their gender identity any more than a person can “choose” their race, age, or sexual orientation; it is simply a part of who they are. If a transgender person prefers a name, pronoun use (he/she), and/or attire that corresponds to their gender identity, what is the harm in accommodating and respecting their wishes? Let’s face it, a lot of non-trans people also use preferred nicknames and wear non-traditional attire (clothing outside the norm). Demonizing a person for his/her gender identity is essentially no different than demonizing a person based on age, race, or sexual orientation.
As a moderate Democrat, I support equality and fairness for all groups, including transgender people. That said, it is important to emphasize that supporting one group cannot be allowed to extend into extreme positions that unjustly harm other groups. For instance, “women” sports are separated from “men” sports because the male anatomical body is usually much stronger than a women’s body (more muscle mass, etc.). It is blatantly unfair, and potentially dangerous, for adult biological males to compete against females in most contact sports (e.g. wrestling, boxing, football). To that end, Democrats should not support transgender people who were born male wanting to compete directly against women in contact sports. As far as the debate regarding transgender use of public restrooms, the common-sense approach is for ALL people to use the restroom that matches their CURRENT (not birth) physical anatomy. To be blunt, the “men” and “women” restroom signs are there to separate people based on genitalia, not gender identity. Once inside the restroom, a transgender person can choose to use a private stall, standing or sitting, in keeping with their individual gender identity. If properly communicated, this win/win compromise would respectfully resolve the issue without adversely affecting or offending any group. It is clear that, for numerous reasons, the vast majority of Americans still want our public restrooms to remain separate, not unisex.
ALL people are created equal, and have the basic right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Democrats need to continue to support all marginalized groups, including transgender people, as long as that support does not include adopting extreme, unreasonable positions that unjustly harm other groups. If the Democratic Party takes extreme, unpopular positions, Republicans will indeed be successful in using transgender people as a wedge issue to further divide us (and win future elections).