A similarly disproportionate response to a problem can be seen in the cultural left’s obsession with transgender rights over the past year or so.
In the six months leading up to last June’s Obergefell Supreme Court decision grounding the right to same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution, a new struggle wrapped up with sexual identity exploded on the scene. Suddenly transgender rights-advocacy was pervasive in the news, with Caitlyn Jenner’s visage plastered all over television screens and websites, and mainstream media outlets devoting story after story to the injustices faced and regularly endured by the transgendered.
All of us should refrain from and discourage cruelty. A person whose gender does not conform to culturally grounded norms of male and female no more deserves nastiness and ridicule than any other human being. But that doesn’t — or shouldn’t — mean that those norms themselves need to be completely erased or stamped out from American public life by, for example, doing away entirely with gender-specific restrooms and locker rooms. Avoiding gratuitous cruelty is one thing. Overturning social norms that suit 99.7 percent of Americans in order to make 0.3 percent of Americans feel somewhat less marginalized is something else altogether. That transgender activists feel entitled to push for such accommodations is a sign of sexual moralism run amuck.