Educator Donnie Grayson has labeled laws segregating bathrooms by the genitals people possess as “discriminatory… inflammatory… idiotic.”
Not so. Through millennia, human societies have recognized the importance and power of sex. The two genders, in tension and union, move men and women beyond self-centeredness and generate caring, vitality, power, creativity and even liberty. Man and woman together literally are the source of human life. Accordingly, civilizations have understood sex to be sacred.
Throughout history, societies have acknowledged the importance of sexual distinction. Modesty was one means of regulating and controlling the fire of sex so mankind could rise above the animal world and build civilizations that could endure and thrive.
At different times and places, some have tried to extinguish the fire by insisting that sex is a biological condition making man no different than the rest of creation. Ancient, totalitarian Sparta insisted that men and women mingle naked. There was to be no loyalty, no binding to anyone that superseded one’s identity with the polis. Procreation was for the state.
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Modern fascist regimes have insisted on the same thing. Karl Marx strongly opposed the ideal of enduring, persevering man/woman sexual union, seeing such as a great threat to worker unity. The upper strata of ancient Rome indulged in indiscriminate sex eventually confirming that rutting sex breaks down social cohesion and ultimately leads to an authoritarian state.
Today in the U.S. there is compassion for those, like the transgender, who are outside the bounds of what has been normal society. Society need not maintain any tension between social standards regarding gender relations and individuals desiring to be free of any segregation by sexual identity.
But the belief system of those calling for a new social/sexual order and for a brave new world of unisex bathrooms is rife with internal contradictions. Those with this new vision insist that gender is not a natural construct, but a societal one.
But that completely undercuts the self-identity of gays and the transgender, since everything and everyone could conceivably be rearranged by society into whatever is deemed desirous at the moment.
The new-order citizens insist, as does the U.S. Supreme Court, that gender is of no importance in a marriage, but gay couples refer to themselves as husbands and wives inferring enduring, distinctive gender roles. Gay college students request not to be roomed with someone of the same gender because of the possibility of attracting/disturbing/distracting sexual tension and universities accommodate them.
But the Obama administration had an Army general apologize to the public for stating the obvious before Congress that throwing together 17- to 20-year-old men and women with raging hormones would engender problems.
Insisting on a mingling of male and female forms is a profound diminution of sex, human intimacy and human dignity. Quite obviously the transgender person understands this regarding interior identities or would not care about what bathroom to use.
The unisex ideal is an affront to the once common, but now rejected, understanding of male/female relationships as building blocks of society and as fortresses against arbitrary power. It is destructive of social cohesion. Eventually it is libertinism lurking behind compassion.
Like many other moments of political/social division, dismissing opponents as idiots illustrates the belief system of American progressives who — unlike the ancient Greeks, Jews and Christians — consider human nature as not tragic and think that all moral concerns can be reconciled, if only all could see what they see.
James L. Hood, of Nicholasville, is a retired state worker who has taught American and Kentucky history in area colleges.
At issue: May 2 commentary by Donnie J. Grayson Jr., “Why get obsessed over who uses a bathroom?”