The Transgender "Issue"
Even people who support transgender rights have been looking in the wrong direction.
People I respect a lot have been talking on podcasts, news panels, and editorials about how there needs to be a solution to the sudden problem that’s arisen because of transgender children.
I cannot speak with authority on behalf of transgender people, as I am not myself transgender, and I do not know anyone who openly is. But I do know that transgender people are people, and in this country, people have rights. The most fundamental right anyone has is to be who they are. To live.
But there are people who object to certain people enjoying those rights. They believe that it's sinful not to accept the biological conditions that were present at your birth, citing Christian scripture as a basis, even though there is none. It seems to me that a number of opponents of the rights of LGBTQIA+ people claim that these classifications of gender, sexuality, and identity are taken by choice, and are therefore invalid, given that sex and gender are assigned at birth by examining the genital organs of the newborn.
Many, many people object to this line of reasoning, and claim instead that the the trans identity is something they were born with. This is valid, and probably true in many, most, or even all cases-- again, I'm a straight, white male without any strong connections to communities outside my own experience, so I simply cannot speak authoritatively on the thoughts and lived experiences of "nonconforming" people --but in my opinion, arguing in terms of whether identity is chosen or assigned at birth allows the oppressors to dictate the narrative, because it cedes the extremely flawed point that "chosen versus born this way" is a substantive question to resolve. It's not. It's simply logically unsound in a free society to grant or revoke fundamental rights, based on choice or assigned-at-birth conditions.
Whether someone is born a certain way or chooses a certain way is-- and this is very important --none of your damn business.
It's strategically fraught too, because I honestly have no idea why anybody ever thought the concept of identity choice was a reasonable basis for the belief that an identity can be invalid for someone. As Americans, we are taught and trained that our choices are what make us American. The operative word here is "freedom." Having a choice on one's personal identity is as fundamental of a right as any other right guaranteed in the Constitution.
If someone's choice to be trans is not harmful to anyone else, there is no reasonable basis for legally prohibiting it. With this in mind, the only "transgender issue" in our politics today is that the constituency of bigoted busybodies in the Republican electorate is large enough to prompt Republicans holding or seeking office to pass or support laws that explicitly oppress transgender people. The “issue” is that there are powerful people using cruelty to gain a political advantage. There is no net positive effect of these laws, which is probably why federal judges have been striking them down. It's safe to say there is no net positive effect of any law that takes away the rights of people to do unharmful things.
What these laws do accomplish though is the establishment of a standard and a dividing line. If you support these laws, you are automatically given credibility among America's Christian evangelists who find more in common with Vladimir Putin than with Joe Biden. If you support these laws, these people will vote for you. That's the bottom line. There are deplorables to dance for, so the GOP is all-in on performative oppression. The problem is that nobody seems to be calling it what it is: performative nonsense.