Let me tell you a little secret about “transgender people.” It’s a two-part term. An adjective and a noun, and I’d like to talk about both of them.
The adjective – “transgender” – can be scary and foreign to a lot of people who have never had occasion to use it in their own lives. I’m a male who was born with the traditional boy parts, I’ve never felt like I was supposed to be something else, so the idea that someone COULD feel that way is quite alien to me. Does it weird me out? Sure, sometimes. It may weird you out sometimes, too, and that’s okay.
There is also a noun. The noun is “people.” This part of the term is just as important, if not more important, than the adjective. “People,” as in human beings. Sentient entities, with consciousnesses and consciences. Emotions. Real people. Actual people. Flesh and blood. People you’ve met. People you live with. People who deserve the same basic common decency, courtesy, consideration and benefits of the doubt that you give to all other people.
Here’s the secret: the adjective in front of the noun doesn’t change any of that. Even with the adjective there, they’re still people. If I get weirded out by that adjective, that is not an excuse to treat them differently. That’s my problem to handle.
I expect people to be able to choose their own bathroom. That doesn’t change if the people are transgender.
I expect people to be able to choose their own sexual and life partners. That doesn’t change if the people are transgender.
I expect people to have the privacy of doing whatever they want in their own bedrooms, and for that privacy to be reciprocated to me. That doesn’t change if the people are transgender.
And, most germane today, I expect people who are interested in serving their country through the military to be allowed to do so. “Transgender” is an adjective, not a physical or mental barrier to military service. If it weirds someone out, then a) it is incumbent upon that person to deal with that, and b) how can we ever expect that to change if transgender people are refused access to certain institutions?
Today’s announcement from the Commander-in-Chief is yet another giant step backward for this country. It is sad, embarrassing, cruel, and frankly primitive. It is founded on a belief that the adjective matters more than the noun; that being “transgender” takes precedence over being “people.” It is an appalling decision, particularly when you consider that many transgender soldiers stopped hiding their adjectives after they were told it would be safe to do so. Now, I assume, all those people will be summarily dismissed from military service – because the Commander-in-Chief is weirded out, and too much of a thin-skinned, bigoted whiner to handle it like a man.