I have a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBT kids. The group was started in June 2014 and has quickly grown to over 1,000 members. We share a lot of information and support with one another. This “answer to Michael Brown’s open letter to Bruce Springsteen” was written by, Alise, one of the members of that group.
(If you are interested in joining the private Facebook group for moms of LGBT kids email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Moms Facebook Group” as the subject.)
Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. This is the eighteenth installment in the “Stories That Change The World” series.
Answering Michael Brown’s Open Letter to Bruce Springsteen – by Alise
There’s an open letter to Bruce Springsteen making the rounds. In case you missed what prompted it, The Boss canceled a concert in North Carolina following the passage of HB2 which, among other things, demands that trans men and women use the bathrooms that align with their sex at birth, rather than their true gender.
I’ll be honest, I don’t have any strong feelings about boycotting a state. It feels a little too big, a little too hard to nail down. I’m going to guess that gay and transgender people have jobs there that are hurt by large boycotts, and I’m not sure how we help the LGBTQ population by damaging the economy of their state. I understand the desire to bring attention to the problem, I’m just iffy on the logistics of most boycotts.
But back to Michael Brown’s open letter to Springsteen. I feel okay answering this on Springsteen’s behalf, not because I know his exact thoughts, but because, shockingly enough, I don’t think the letter was actually written to Bruce so much as written about transgender people. And like most protective moms, I’m having a hard time letting some of the accusations made in this letter go, especially when they seem to be born of ignorance rather than actually seeking understanding.
First, how do you know if someone is really “transgender” or not? Is it determined entirely by how they feel about themselves? If so, do you think that it might be hard to make laws based entirely on how people feel? Did you ever stop to consider that?
I find this fascinating, since the entirety of HB2 is based on how people feel about LGBTQ people in general, and transgender people specifically. We don’t THINK they’re really who they say they are, so we make a law to protect the FEELINGS of those who FEEL like they’re at risk.
Second, what’s the difference between someone with “gender dysphoria” (or, as it used to be called, “gender identity disorder”) and someone, say, with schizophrenia or “multiple personality disorder” or some other psychological condition? In other words, if a man is a biological and chromosomal male but believes he is a woman, is he actually a woman, or does he have a psychological disorder?
If he does have a psychological disorder, should we try to treat that disorder or should we celebrate that disorder? And is it right to call biological males who feel they are women and biological women who feel they are men “freedom fighters”? Perhaps that’s not the best use of the term?
This is a classic case of begging the question. Brown asks if being transgender is a psychological disorder then continues to operate under the assumption that it is a psychological disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM-5, however, “gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.” The answer is readily available to those who are willing to look for it.
But perhaps I’m being too abstract here, so let’s get really practical. Let’s say that a 6’ 4” male who used to play professional football and who has secretly agonized over his gender identity for years finally determines that he must be true to himself and live as a woman.
Do you think it might be traumatic for a little girl using the library bathroom to see this big man walk into her room wearing a dress and a wig? Should we take her feelings into account, or is she not important? What if that was your granddaughter? Would you care if she was traumatized? And when you speak of “the human rights of all of our citizens” does that include little girls like this?
This is where we get to the heart of the story. Cis men who are deeply uncomfortable with trans women. Because I have yet, in any of my reading about transgender people using the “correct” bathrooms, come across anyone raising concern about trans men being forced to use women’s bathrooms. There is no concern for the trauma of a little girl running into someone like Buck Angel in a public restroom. There is no concern for someone’s daughter or granddaughter seeing Aydian Dowling washing his hands when they come out of the stall.
The alarms being raised for the safety of our women are red herrings to distract us from the inherent sexism that rears up when ….
Go here to read the remainder of Alise’s answer to Michael Brown’s open letter to Bruce Springsteen.