The Universal Notebook: Trashing the transgender travesty

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The rise of ignorance and intolerance in America is nowhere more apparent than in the burning non-issue of which restroom a transgender person should use.

Love and the law should make it obvious: the facility assigned to the gender the person identifies with and lives.

Ignorant and intolerant people – ranging from former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who lost his job at ESPN for spouting off about transgender issues he knows nothing about, to Gov. Paul LePage, who should lose his job for prohibiting the Maine Department of Education from promulgating rules to guide schools about transgender rights – have made a big deal out of nothing more than their own unfounded fears and sick minds.

In Maine, we have a state law and a Maine Supreme Court decision affirming a transgender person’s right to use the restroom of their choice. Now we have the president of the United States saying the same thing. But that didn’t keep our benighted governor from signing on to an amicus brief in a Virginia trans toilet case that reads in part, “There is no authority for twisting equal protection to force schools to ignore the biology of urination and the privacy of adolescent boys’ reproductive organs.”

Talk about sickos.

LePage earlier joined the trans bigot brigade by refusing to allow the DOE to make enforceable rules for schools to protect the rights of LGBTQ students. The need for those rules, which the DOE and Maine Human Rights Commission had actually developed before LePage stepped in, was made abundantly clear in the 2014 Maine Supreme Court decision in the case of a fifth-grader denied access to the girls’ bathroom at an Orono elementary school.

“Where, as here, it has been clearly established that a student’s psychological well-being and educational success depend upon being permitted to use the communal bathroom consistent with her gender identity, denying access to the appropriate bathroom constitutes sexual orientation discrimination in violation of the (Maine Human Rights Act),” the decision reads.

The court’s decision also notes that the Orono school had a workable plan in place that was helping young Wyatt Maines make the difficult transition to becoming Nicole Maines, but the plan was derailed when a conservative Christian got wind of it.

It seems the grandfather of one of the male students at the school was a member of the Maine Christian Civic League. When his grandson told him that Nicole was using the girls’ room, he ordered the boy to follow her in there on two occasions.

“My grandpappy says we don’t have to have any faggots in our school,” the boy told Nicole.

Did I mention the rise of ignorance and intolerance? How any man who would do or say such a thing could possible regard himself as a good Christian is way, way beyond me. May God forgive him.

Fortunately, Nikki Maines eventually found her way to Waynflete School in Portland, where she was accepted and embraced. She is now in college and has become a pioneering transgender activist.

The transgender travesty in this country is that it’s transgender people who are suffering, not the prejudiced prudes who can’t deal with reality. It’s the transgender youth who are not safe in our schools. But perverse fantasies have the holier-than-thou hypocrites believing that drag queens are about to invade the girls’ room to molest little girls.

But don’t take the word of this liberal Yankee that the transgender bathroom controversy is a complete crock. I refer you to a wonderful YouTube video that went viral a month ago and now has 570,000 views. In it, Tennessee comedian Trae Crowder, calling himself the Liberal Redneck, simply destroys anti-trans knuckle-draggers like Schilling and LePage.

“You do know that transgender people have existed forever, right?,” asks Crowder. “What bathrooms you think they been usin’? How many times you hear about what you’re worried about happenin’, happenin? Hardly not. Never.”

That’s right, Gov. LePage, it’s just not an issue. If there are sexual predators in your bathrooms, they are not transgender.

Crowder correctly charges that those who get all worked up about the transgender bathroom non-issue simply lack the capacity to understand it. They are freaked out because they can’t imagine what it must be like to be a girl trapped in a boy’s body.

“The rest of us are trying to ensure that the next generation, you know, your kids, grow up in a world that’s a little more open-minded,” concludes Crowder, “and that’s happening, whether you like it or not.”

Amen to that.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.