Probity void of humanity is not morality at all.

by Lucas Witherspoon

On August 12, California governor Jerry Brown signed into law Bill 1266, which is designed to offer special protections for transgender students in the state. Though the bill–nicknamed “The Bathroom Bill”–won’t legally take effect until January 1, 2014, it’s already been met with both impassioned support and rigid disapproval, with critics arguing it would allow for potentially harmful intermingling of the sexes in school facilities respectively designated for either males or females, such as bathrooms and locker rooms. Specifically, the bill states:

This bill would require that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.

Statistics have consistently shown that not only are LGBTQ students in general significantly more likely to be emotionally and/or physically harassed than their heterosexual counterparts, but that transgender students are particularly susceptible to persecution. Although states like Connecticut, Washington, Massachusetts, and Colorado have integrated policies designed to protect transgender students, California is the first state to pass transgender-specific legislation on a statewide level.

For the most part, the denunciation of this bill from critics is the result of what most transgender discrimination stems from: a lack of understanding. What dissenters are trying to portray the bill as is an excuse for a boy to one day wake up, decide, “I’m going to be a girl today,” and therefore would be allowed under the law to use the girls’ restroom, locker room, etc. Former presidential nominee Mike Huckabee echoed this misguided sentiment on his Fox News show, Huckabee, saying:

“If the child–a boy–walks in and says, ‘You know what, I really am feeling my girl’s side,’ he gets to go shower with the girls when he’s 14. I mean, I’m just thinking of all the 14-year-old boys I went to school with, and how many of them would have awakened with that revelation.”

What this absurd notion fails to take into account is that most transgender people don’t simply decide at random on a whim that they no longer want to identify as their birth-given sex. In fact, most transgender children have established their gender identity by age four. Even more eye roll-inducing is California assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s proclamation that, due to the bill’s passage, he will be removing one of his sons from the public school system after his son’s “horrified” reaction at the prospect of sharing bathrooms with female students, a highly skewed interpretation of the bill that amounts to an outright lie.

What opponents of the bill and a large portion of the population don’t understand about transgenderism is that gender identity is first and foremost determined by a person’s psychology, not physiology. Not only are foes of the bill protesting it with an argument that has absolutely no scientific basis, but there is also “no single reported incident of any misconduct” in districts where similar legislation has been introduced.

Laws designed to protect children who are notably and principally vulnerable to abuse when it does not negatively affect anyone else is not a moral infringement; rather, it’s a human obligation. Probity void of humanity is not morality at all.