Sunday, October 02, 2016

Good Cause, Muddled Argument

The first item in the Philadelpia Gay News LGBTQ Youth Supplement is an essay titled "The case for gender-neutral bathrooms in Philadelphia high schools." The argument is less persuasive than it might be because of the author's insistence on trying to frame it in ideological terms that don't really fit, as I argue in the letter-to-the-editor below.

Matthew Zarenkiewicz advocated for a good position in his recent article, but muddled the argument by trying to conform it to ideology bearing little relation to reality.

He claims current practices are "derived from misogyny, heterosexism and homophobia," yet fails to specify how. It's true the main objects of traditionalist fears are (transgender) women. But they're feared not
because they're women but, on the contrary, because they're perceived to be men.

For comparison, consider another story in the news recently: the way some airlines discriminate against men by forbidding them, but not women, to sit next to unaccompanied minors (http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/14/travel/unaccompanied-children-flights/index.html). If you peruse this story, you'll find no mention at all of gay, bisexual, or transgender people, and women figure only as perpetrators, not victims of discrimination. Yet the underlying issue here is in fact the same as with resistance to gender-neutral bathrooms: namely, the bigoted view of male sexuality as inherently predatory. Zarenkiewicz does mention this attitude in his piece, but fails to name it. It has a name, but its name isn't misogyny, homophobia, or transphobia -- it's MISANDRY. Learn the word, folks!

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