You don’t often see a presidential trip abroad which stirs up so many hornet’s nests as Barack Obama’s quick stop in England this week. Much of the controversy came over his comments about Great Britain’s place in the European Union, but he also got together with a group of British youths to talk about social issues. That was when he took a question (as the media put it) “from a person who claims no gender” named Maria Munir (Washington Post)
“Now I am about to do something terrifying, which is I am coming out to you as a non-binary person, which means that I don’t fit,” Maria Munir said appearing before the president and 500 British young leaders. Non-binary people don’t recognize any gender…
“I come from a Pakistani-Muslim background, which inevitably has cultural implications,” Munir said before asking the president about a North Carolina law that limits protections for transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual people and what he would do to protect those with no gender.
“We literally have no rights . . . I really wish yourself and [Prime Minister] David Cameron would take us seriously as transgender people,” the questioner said to Obama.
Wait… you “literally have no rights?” I realize this took place in England and we have no control over that, but the parallel to America is being widely cited in the media and she specifically referenced North Carolina. So at least in our country, exactly what rights are you being denied as a “non-binary” person? Our rights in this country are not gender specific, just as they aren’t race specific or bound to your religion, your height, your weight or anything else. The only ones I can think of where there’s even a question are marriage (which isn’t a “right” but has already been taken care of in the Supreme Court) and bathrooms, which do not fall under the Bill of Rights, but rather common decency.
Is someone beating you up or otherwise harming or threatening to harm you because of your “non-binary” status? That’s already against the law, and it’s equally illegal to beat up all of the boring old “binary” citizens as well. Are you being silenced by the government or barred from attending the church you belong to? Is someone telling you that you can’t own and carry a gun? (Okay, that last one is probably true depending where you live, but trust me… it’s not just you.) So what are these “rights” that you are being denied on the basis of your “non-binary” or “transgender” status or whichever of the rest of the 58 new gender definitions Facebook offers that you picked?
No matter how much of a political football this turns into, let’s try to keep a bit of perspective. There are two genders which are easily identified with a quick check of your 23rd pair of chromosomes if you’re truly confused. But here in America we’re very much into letting people do their own thing, so if you’re an adult and you want to claim that you’re a different gender, a Martian or a unicorn, feel free. But just remember that your right to “self-identify” as whatever you like does not immediately translate into the ability to impinge on the lives of others, particularly in matters of basic privacy, including the use of bathrooms, showers, lockers rooms or anything else. You share the planet with the rest of us and you do not get to redefine reality for all of humanity based on your whims.
And if someone else doesn’t want to go along with the way you “self-identify” you aren’t being deprived of any rights. There are people all over the world who actually have no rights and die because of it on a daily basis. Trust me… you’re not one of them.