Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Brown,
I hope you will forgive me for my somewhat strange and convoluted salutation. There is a reason I have begun in this fashion, which I will explain towards the end of the letter, but I want to first explain the nature of my correspondence.
I understand that on Monday of this week you signed into law a bill allowing some Californian public school students to choose which restrooms they use – male or female – and whether they participate in boy or girl sports. Now I am not a Californian, nor an American, nor do my children attend a state school, so the law will not directly affect me in any way. As a British citizen who home educates his children, you may well feel that this issue has nothing to do with me and I should keep my opinions to myself as I sit some 5,500 miles away over the other side of the Atlantic.
However, though I be neither Californian nor American, nor a user of the state school system, I am a user of restrooms and I have children who use restrooms too. And since you have almost certainly set a precedent in your actions, and it will not be long before similar laws find their way around the globe to all public facilities, the issue is not one that I and my family are unaffected by. So I hope you will excuse my geographical and educational non-credentials and accept my credentials as a concerned user of restrooms.
My aim in writing to you is not really to question the law you have signed, as such, but rather the thinking which has driven it: transgenderism. I suppose that if one were to accept this as an unquestionable fact, then the decision you have taken would be a logical consequence, although of course you could have tackled “the problem” equally well by building transgender restrooms everywhere instead of imposing transgenderism on everyone else. However, I guess you will have ruled this out on the grounds that if the size of California’s debt grows any larger, you might have to ask Microsoft to design software capable of handling sums that big. It is the issue behind the law – the supposed fact of transgenderism – that I really want to question you on.
Let me start by asking you a simple question. Are you a man or are you a woman? No this isn’t a trick question. Nor is it designed to be a particularly difficult one either. I am guessing, from all that I have read of you, that you would describe yourself as what we call “a man.” Good so far, but this leads me on to a second question: How can you be sure you are “a man”?
Now I guess that you are fairly sure that you are indeed “a man,” but I’m intrigued to know how you arrived at this conclusion. Is being a man an objective status which can be established through the existence of a “Y” chromosome and also through certain physical characteristics? Or is it a subjective thing that depends on the feelings of a person and can change with time?
What of the claims that it is an objective status. I have five children, three boys and two girls, with a sixth child due next year. With our first child, the moment he was born the midwife said, “It’s a boy.” Now without going into too many details, it appeared to us that she had a very good reason for coming to this conclusion, and when my wife and I saw the thing which she based her deduction on, I have to say it didn’t occur to us to dispute the issue.
The midwife at the birth of our second child came to the opposite conclusion. “It’s a girl,” she said, and her deduction also seemed to be based on just one observation – something that again my wife and I decided not to query. And so it has been with every child since. Each time the midwife at the birth has declared authoritatively on the sex of the child, as if there were some kind of measurable and physical sign that put the issue beyond all reasonable doubt, and each time my wife and I have unquestioningly accepted what they have said, having viewed the evidence for ourselves.
Let me ask you: do you think those midwives were wrong to make their authoritative declarations? Do you think they were propagating a falsehood by using an objective observation to declare the sex of the children? Do you think my wife and I should quibble with the midwife at the birth of our next child, asking indignantly, “but how can you be sure?”
Now let’s examine the other possibility – that one’s sex is subjective and down to the feelings of each individual. Quite apart from the fact that we seem to be the first people in the entire span of human history to have discovered this possibility – which will either lead you to believe that our ancestors were all ignorant and stupid, or you might come to a somewhat different conclusion – there are a number of other issues which I would be glad if you could come back to me with answers.
Firstly, if gender is subjective rather than objective, how do I know that I can trust my feelings to tell me which sex I really am? Have you ever had an opinion that you have held strongly only later to find out that you were wrong? Wrong objectively, that is! Have you ever been misled by your feelings? Undoubtedly you have, which ought to tell you that subjective measurements of issues such as this are not likely to be as reliable as you might think.
Secondly, if gender is not an objective status, how on earth do you personally know what gender you are? You think you’re a man? How do you arrive at this conclusion? If it is by some kind of objective, measurable test, then you must rule out the possibility of trandgenderism, because sex is fixed. On the other hand, if it is by some kind of subjective feelings a person has, then you must rule out ever truly knowing what sex you really are. You might be a woman trapped in a man’s body, but supressing the truth about yourself.
Thirdly, if gender is subjective, how do I know what gender you are? You say you’re a man and objectively I can see that this is true. But if sex is determined subjectively, how do I then know that you are a man? Am I allowed to subjectively decide that I don’t believe you are a man, but are in fact a woman living in a man’s body? And if I did, would my subjective thinking make any difference to your status?
Finally, if our gender is subjective, why not our kind too? What makes you human? Are there certain objective, measurable features that make you human, or can you just decide that because you have always felt like a badger all your life then a badger is what you are? If not, why not?
I said I would explain my opening salutation – Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms – towards the end of my letter, and I now intend to do so. Whilst the plethora of titles may have stuck you as somewhat bizarre, I just wanted to reassure you that this is not because I am unaware that the title you normally go by is Mr Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown. No, I am fully aware of this. However, if you really want to play the game of tolerance, diversity and transgenderism to the full, I feel it my duty not to describe you in terms which I have no way of knowing the truth thereof. On your terms, I have no way of knowing even what kind you are, let alone what sex you are, and so hedging my bets and describing your gender status with as many different variations as possible seems the safest route to take. But thankfully we don’t live in a Universe built on your terms and I am assured by the objective measurements God has established in his Universe that you are indeed what we call “a man.”
Jerry, this is a bit of a mess, isn’t it? This is what the Bible calls “confusion” and I’d say that you have just stirred up the pot of confusion just a little bit more. You are old enough to remember days when life really was much simpler. Men were men. Women were women. And girls could go to the restroom without having to fear that there might be predatory males masquerading as females in their midst.
Yet on the basis of an entirely false premise, you have signed a piece of legislation which not only has the potential to mess up many more children than are currently being messed up by propagating the falsehood that they can change their sex simply because they feel a certain way, it also has the potential for sexual predators and voyeurs to use law to their advantage. Am I being alarmist, or are you being naïve? Time will tell.
In attempting to protect “transgender” students, you have not only helped consign them to living their life as a lie, but you have also risked the safety of a host of other children out there. So when will you resign? Will it be when the first messed up “transgender” kid commits suicide because they were led to believe a lie about themselves as a result of your legislation? Will it be when the first sexual harassment or abuse case emerges as a result of the law you have signed? Or will you repent and repeal the law before such situations arise?