Bigotry from an anonymous source should be unacceptable — even for The Federalist. We can easily dismiss the content as not credible. However, many of the readers of this outlet are willing to accept anti-LGBT material with little consideration for its authorship. The anonymous post in question is titled: “Trans Conference Celebrates Getting People Fired For Not Calling Men Women.” I will assume — simply for the sake of simplicity — that anonymous is female.

Anonymous projected her bigotry in the headline. She insists that a trans woman should be considered to be, and addressed as, a man which is deliberately offensive to that trans woman. Presumably anonymous is yet another Christian who doesn’t believe that transgender people exist. She seems to think that her approval or disapproval of trans people is somehow relevant to their lives.

Anonymous claims to have attended a trans conference because “I wanted to learn the perspective from transgender individuals personally.” It is important to note that we do not know any details about this conference. Where, by whom and when are unknown. It is perfectly possible that she did not attend a conference and that it is just a rhetorical device. If she did attend one, she certainly didn’t learn anything.

Chromosomes Don’t Do or Mean Anything

The day began by educating us that gender binary (that is, the idea that people are born either male or female) was “societal lore,” like Santa Claus or the Boogieman. We were given a reference card to put in our wallets, detailing which questions we’re allowed to ask a transgender person and which questions were forbidden. Questions like “What pronoun do you use?” and “May I correct someone if they use the wrong pronoun?” were acceptable, while “What are you?” and “Are you a boy or a girl?” were not. We role-played these conversations, encouraged to think about “who’s inside the body.”

It’s not all that complicated unless someone is attempting to make it so for the purpose of ridicule. Chromosomes usually determine our inborn sex and usually which genitalia we will be endowed with. Some people experience having a gender that is not congruent with their sex. According to the American Psychiatric Association those people have a condition called gender dysphoria. Depending upon the severity of the discomfort some of those people will be transgender. Trans people have every right to be treated courteously and respectfully. If nothing else, civility dictates that we not ask trans people questions that are designed to reflect the personal disapproval of the questioner.

I was fascinated to learn that there is a pecking order within transgender culture known as “privileged trans.” The first tier of a privileged transgender is someone wealthy enough to be able to afford the full gauntlet of surgeries to appear as a man or woman. Unprivileged transgenders must settle with cross-dressing and shaving. However, the highest level of privilege is someone who is both wealthy and already has certain physical attributes of the preferred sex, such as feminine facial features, a low voice, or broad shoulders.

I have never heard the term “privileged trans.” There is a dichotomy in treatment which is created by economics. Some employer-provided insurance does cover hormones and even sex-affirming surgery. Most people, however, are on their own when it comes to treatment for gender dysphoria. That is in spite of the fact that gender affirming therapies are the only medically approved treatment. Those treatments should be included in every health insurance program.

Later on:

I learned it’s illegal in my state to refuse to use someone’s preferred pronoun. Almost every presenter had a story of a time they got a coworker, employee, or boss fired. A speaker (pronouns xe, xyr, xemself) passionately told us of a time when xe had an older coworker who referred to xem as “ma’am.” When xe repeatedly told him xe preferred to be referred to as xem, he responded that he couldn’t, because he had been brought up to be polite and use sir and ma’am.

She is probably referring to workplace discrimination. Most transgender people are content if others use pronouns consistent with their presentation. Some people (probably a small minority of trans people) prefer alternate pronouns. In polite society we address people as they choose to be addressed. Deliberately not doing so is a means of arrogantly demonstrating disapproval — usually for religious reasons. Anonymous and others need to get a grip. Trans people neither seek nor require the approval of others. The man that anonymous refers to claimed that “he couldn’t” use preferred pronouns. That is a lie. He can but he chooses not to.

Being “outed” is a constant fear for a transgender, whether it is your voice or stubble that gives you away, or a coworker or document. One speaker pointed out that while bathrooms represent the most obvious way to be outed, using a male bathroom is also a gender-affirming cathartic act. Ultimately, transgender people want to even be in stealth to themselves, with their birth certificate as the final reminder of the gender they are born with. Currently only four states in the United States allow people to alter their birth certificates to retroactively change reality.

Judgmental much? Gender is reality. She will never get that but it is a medical fact. And, yes, trans people want to look as consistent with their presentation as possible. What the hell is wrong with that?

Even after being trained, I still have questions. If gender is not biological, then why do we think someone who claims to be trans-black is crazy? Under what moral standard do we prosecute polygamists? Why don’t we consider depression or suicide adequate lifestyle choices? Why is transgender considered a fulfilling life but those with Downs Syndrome should be aborted? Apparently, the only thing society can agree on is that nothing’s worse than being a straight, white man.

When the APA defines racial identity dysphoria I will reconsider my rejection of the notion that someone can be trans-black. I have no idea what polygamy has to do with this. Depression and suicide are not “lifestyle” choices. That is just stupid. For some people being transgender alleviates some (or all) of the discomfort of gender dysphoria. That, too, is a medical and scientific fact. Reproductive choice is irrelevant. Straight, white, presumably Christian males are not being victimized by anyone. Add absurd to the stupid. It serves as a pretty good reason why this post is anonymous. Why The Federalist would publish it, it another story. If you wish, you may contact Ben Domenech, the publisher and ask him.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.