Tempers are running high over the transgender bathroom debate. Who could have imagined a few years ago that we would need to discuss the appropriate destination for the body’s evacuative functions according to gender, or that the controversy would be addressed in terms of justice and human rights instead of common sense?
How, exactly, could this have come about? The Encyclopedia of Surgery claims that “the number of gender reassignment procedures conducted in the United States each year is estimated at between 100 and 500.” Though no doubt there are more self-identified transgenders who do not have surgery, the numbers remain socially insignificant. What then accounts for the prominence of this issue or the passions that it ignites? The answer is that, even though we are talking about the bathroom, the matter is actually a metaphysical one, touching upon the very essence of human beings’ relationship to reality.
For instance, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, speaking about the Department of Justice’s lawsuit to negate North Carolina’s law that restricts the use of public bathrooms to persons who were born of the designated sex (May 9, 2106), accused the state “of legislating identity and insist[ing] that a person pretend to be something they are not.” This touches on but begs the question: Truly of what sex are the persons whom the N.C law allegedly forces to pretend to a falsehood? What is the source of authority for defining of what sex they are?
Attorney General Lynch asserts that the N.C. law is contrary to justice. The classical definition of justice is to give things what is due to them. That depends entirely on what those things are. In other words, if you get wrong what something is, you will be incapable of dealing with it justly. Now it is nature that tells us what things are. For instance, if you think a man is a dog and you treat him as a dog, you will be behaving unjustly – because, according to nature, a man is not a dog. This is true even if the man thinks he is a dog, or in today’s parlance “self-identifies” as a canine. This would still not excuse the person who treats him as one. And it would be worse if the person attempted to graft a tail on the man who thinks he is a dog – even though the act might be out of commiseration to make the man feel more comfortable as a dog. As Loretta Lynch implied, it would certainly be an act of tyranny were a state to legislate that this or any man should relieve himself not in public bathrooms designated for men, but where dogs do. That is because, whatever anyone might say or do, that is a man, not a dog, and we must treat him for what he is rather than for something he is not.
But what is a transgender person? Attorney General Lynch said that we must not “turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans, for something they cannot control, and deny what makes them human.” Addressing the transgendered, she said that “you are still wondering how you can possibly live the lives you were born to lead.” Here is the nub of the issue. According to Lynch, transgendered people are “born to lead” lives other than what they are “born” as – as contradictory as this might seem. She asserts that this disposition to be something other than what they are born as is “something they cannot control.” In other words, although literally born female, a woman may be intended by some criterion other than nature to live as a man.
This article continues at [Catholic World Report] The Metaphysics of the Bathroom