Individual Rights

Do transgender rights trump women's rights? The Left needs to decide

Penny Young Nance

As the Left have attempted to stake their claim as the only group who represents and cares about women, they have also managed to simultaneously stab these same women in the back, betraying the very essence of their femininity and steamrolling over the uniqueness of the sexes in order to elevate their own agendas.

The debate over the role of transgendered individuals (people who identify as one gender but have the anatomy of another), has risen again in recent weeks, with President Trump's declaration that transgendered individuals will no longer be able to serve in the military. It will no doubt continue to be a hot debate as the culture wars rage on. The issue of gender dysphoria is real and painful and we must have love and compassion for them. 

But I fear they are being politically and monetarily used as the Left, always looking for a new group to exploit, opens new fronts in the culture wars.  Feminists should wonder, however, that if we reconstruct male and female to sixty-three and growing definitions, who is protected and who is hurt? Does this new idea of no binary definition of gender displace and demean the hard fought and won accomplishments of women?  

Consider the issue of women's sports. When men are allowed to compete as women, women lose no matter how hard they work.

I think yes. Consider the issue of women's sports. When men are allowed to compete as women, women lose no matter how hard they work.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was crafted to ensure that female athletes were not left out of sports and created a level playing field which encouraged excellence in competition. Congress and feminists understood that boys and girls are physiologically different and that boys vs. boys and girls v. girls was fair because of basic biological and hormonal differences.

Title IX has nothing to do with character, power, or intelligence.

Fast forward to 2016, when a boy identifying as a girl qualified for the Alaska State Championships in the 200-meter dash, displacing a female athlete for third place. The senior competed against girls as young as freshmen. Hardly fair.

In June of this year, a boy identifying as a girl was allowed to compete on the female high school track team in Connecticut and was lauded for placing first in two races. His time would have placed him last in the same races in the boys division.

Colleges offer sports scholarships for both genders based on high school accomplishments. But now, these scholarships have the potential to be monopolized by boys in both male and female categories.

Last month, it was announced that for the first time since all combat roles were opened to women in December of 2015, there are two female candidates in the Navy SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman program (SWCC) programs.

This watershed moment for women in the military has the merit to stand alone, but instead, the news story went on to undercut the success of these two women by saying that, in fact, the first woman to join an elite Navy force could be a transgender woman who came out in 2016.

Sports titles have been stripped from women, and military achievements by women are being given to men, but surely women can maintain their right to privacy and their respect as child-bearers, right? Wrong.

The women’s bathroom is no longer a secure place for women and children to go for privacy. Security is not so narrow as to imply only physical safety, it also encompasses emotional safety. The women’s bathroom is a place where women are vulnerable. To have a man present, no matter his self-perception, compromises that vulnerability. Talk about a need for safe spaces.

As if this is not enough, the Huffington Post highlighted a transgender individual holding a sign that read, “Periods are not just for women” while flaunting blood-stained pants between spread legs. If not so horrifying and disrespectful, it would be comical. Of course, periods are just for women and most of us have more dignity than to flaunt them for a political stunt.

By using a woman’s menstrual cycle, which indicates her unique role as a foundational creator and nurturer of life, these activists betray women and use her for cheap political props. This is an attack on a woman’s amazing biological ability to bear and give birth to children.

This is gender appropriation – stealing something precious that distinctly belongs to women, demeaning it, and distorting its purpose. Historically, women have fought to defend and protect their position and authority within society. Our spaces and institutions have value and therefore deserve respect and protection from encroachment of the entitled Left.  The emperor has no clothes and our pretending otherwise only degrades women. 

Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).