A remarkable and revelatory debate took place on IFI’s Facebook page on Sunday between me and Alan Mills, the executive director of the Uptown People’s Law Center, who received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Ivy League Brown University and his law degree from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. I don’t want to speak ill of the irrational, so I will let you figure out what this debate reveals.
It all began with this question from another commenter: “Does it create a better environment if 1 percent of the students are uncomfortable getting undressed and dressed for gym class, or 99 percent of the students?”
Mills responded, “Would you apply the same test to racial segregation? Why not?”
And the debate was afoot.
Laurie: I would think that with an Ivy League education and law degree from Northwestern you would have greater facility with analogies.
First, in order for your analogy to work there have to be some points of correspondence between opposite-sex “identification” (or impersonation) per se and race or skin color per se. There are none.
Second, there would have to be some points of correspondence between racial segregation everywhere and sexual segregation in private spaces where sexually differentiated humans undress. There are none.
Segregating races in buses, restaurants, and housing was based on false beliefs about the races. There are no ontological differences between races that meaningfully bear on riding buses, eating in restaurants or being housed. In contrast, sexual segregation in restrooms, locker rooms, shelters, semi-private hospital rooms, jails, and prisons are based on real ontological differences between biological men and biological women. Moreover, these differences meaningfully bear on undressing and engaging in bodily functions.
If sexual segregation per se is as intrinsically evil as racial segregation per se, then there should be laws prohibiting all sexual segregation. Is the Uptown People’s Law Center fighting for the eradication of all sex-segregated spaces?
Alan Mills: This is not about sexual segregation. It is about insisting that biological differences justify discrimination. That is EXACTLY what racial segregation was about. Just like sex, there is indisputably a biological difference between white and black skin. The question is whether that difference in biology justified treating people as second class citizens.
Laurie: Yes, the issue is precisely about sexual segregation—sexual segregation in high school locker rooms.
You evidently didn’t understand my argument, so, I’ll try again.
I did not argue that there are no biological differences between blacks and whites. I argued that those differences did not bear meaningfully on riding buses, eating in restaurants, or being housed. In contrast, the differences between men and women do, indeed, bear meaningfully on private spaces. In fact, those real differences between men and women are the reason sex-segregated spaces exist. The reason drinking fountains exist is decidedly not to recognize racial differences.
Nice try with the “second-class citizen” comment, but treating all men as men and all women as women does not constitute treating any man or any woman as a second-class citizen. Treating sex differences as real and meaningful in contexts where sexually differentiated humans (who are often strangers) undress does not constitute treating anyone as a “second class citizen.”
Not all forms of “segregation” (a loaded term chosen by leftists for its political loadedness) are created equal. I’ll choose a better term: separation. Not all bases on which humans separate are analogous. Some forms of separation are not merely acceptable but good.
Racial segregation was based on erroneous and pernicious beliefs about white superiority and on white hatred of blacks. Sexual segregation in private spaces is based on the true belief that boys and girls, men and women are biologically different and that those differences are meaningful when it comes to being unclothed. Such separation does not reflect any animus of women toward men or vice versa.
Again, biology is irrelevant to the acts of riding buses, drinking at fountains, eating in restaurants, and being housed. Racial segregation was based on animus. In contrast, biologically based sex segregation is relevant to undressing and engaging in personal bodily functions. Separate facilities for men and women when undressing or engaging in personal bodily functions are based on these real differences—not on false beliefs or animus. The reason women don’t want men in their locker rooms is not based on sexual hatred.
So, I’ll ask again, if you believe sexual “segregation” is as intrinsically evil as racial segregation, are you fighting for the end of all sexual “segregation”? How do you justify leaving some sexually segregated spaces? Would you allow some racial segregation to remain legal? Using your deeply flawed analogy, would you allow some “whites only” spaces to remain if some whites wanted them?
Alan Mills: You specifically said that trans women unlike any other women need to use special changing areas—segregated from all other women. Sounds exactly like racial segregation to me.
Laurie: I specifically said no such thing. “Trans-women” are biological men (also known as men), and I specifically said that no biological men should use the private spaces of biological women, which is wholly different from separate lunch counters and drinking fountains for blacks and whites. While skin color differences have no meaning relative to eating, drinking or riding buses, sex differences have profound meaning relative to undressing. In fact, sex differences are the very reason we have sex-separated private spaces for men and women.
Trying a third time: If you believe sexual “segregation” is as intrinsically evil as racial segregation, are you fighting for the end of all sexual “segregation”? How do you justify leaving some sexually segregated spaces? Would you allow some racial segregation to remain legal? Using your deeply flawed analogy, would you allow some “whites only” spaces to remain?
Alan Mills: Gender differences are the reason, not sex differences. As I say, you are demanding that women who do not conform to your notion of what a woman should look like should be segregated, because it would make women who look different uncomfortable.
This is exactly the argument used for segregated neighborhoods, separate drinking fountains, public accommodations, etc.
Laurie: Leftists define “gender” as the aggregate of arbitrary socially constructed conventions that we associate with maleness and/or femaleness, both, or neither. Your claim about the reason for segregated private spaces is patently and demonstrably false in addition to being idiotic.
“Gender” differences are not the reason society created separate restrooms, locker rooms, shelters, dorm rooms, semi-private hospital rooms, jails, and prisons. Biological sex differences between men and women are the reason we have sex-separate private facilities for women and men.
I have never “demanded” that “women who do not conform to” my “notion of what a woman should look like” be segregated in private spaces. Rather, I am asserting that biological men should not be in the private spaces of biological women, which—as I have explained—is wholly different from racially segregated drinking fountains, neighborhoods, or restaurants. Skin color differences are irrelevant to eating and drinking. Whereas racial segregation was based on irrelevant biological differences and animus, sex-segregation in private spaces is based on biological differences relevant to undressing and has no basis in biological sex animus.
My father, my husband, my son, my sons-in-law, and my male friends do not want biological women in their locker rooms. My sister, my daughters, my daughter-in-law, and my female friends do not want biological men in their locker rooms. None of these relatives and friends believes they are superior to persons of the opposite sex, nor do they hate persons of the opposite sex. Rather, they know that sexual differentiation matters when it comes to undressing.
Trying a fourth time: If you believe sexual “segregation” is as intrinsically evil as racial segregation, are you fighting for the end of all sexual “segregation”? How do you justify leaving some sexually segregated spaces? Would you allow some racial segregation to remain legal? Using your deeply flawed analogy, would you allow some “whites only” spaces to remain?
Well, that’s where our debate ended. Alan Mills employed lousy analogies; grossly misrepresented my statements, actually lying about what I said; grossly mispresented history; and refused to answer direct questions. Figuring out whether he is obtuse or engaging in deceitful lawyerly rhetorical manipulation is above my pay grade. What I do know is his beliefs based on nonsensical analogies and lies are dangerous and destructive.
Once the term “gender identity” is added to antidiscrimination policies and laws, sex-segregated private spaces begin their slow but ineluctable death march. Banning discrimination based on both sex and feelings about sex (i.e.,“gender identity”) spells the end of all sex-segregation everywhere. If society can no longer separate humans according to either biological sex or “gender identity,” then there remains no legal rationale for retaining any sex-segregated private spaces for anyone anywhere.
For example, if a school allows one boy who “identifies” as a girl to use the girls’ locker room, there is no legal rationale for preventing normal boys (i.e., “cisgender boys) from doing likewise. The school could not prohibit normal boys from using the girls’ locker room based on the fact that they’re biological boys for that would constitute discrimination based on sex (In addition, they’ve already allowed one biological boy to use the girls’ locker room). And schools could not prohibit “cisgender” boys from using the girls’ locker room, because that would constitute discrimination based on gender identity.
Unless the masses of people tethered to reality and morality rise up and oppose this irrational ideology, this is the end of physical privacy, my friends, the end.
Listen to this article read by Laurie:
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