A Few Thoughts on Paul Scott

22 Jan

When I read about Paul Scott (see previous post), I had a knee-jerk reaction against him–the same anger, hurt, and sadness that flare up whenever I read something hateful about the LGBT community. I take it personally.

When the smoke cleared I realized that not only was I incredibly angry at Scott for the comments he made, but also amazed by the arrogance of it all. How can opponents of trans rights claim to know enough about the trans identity to create laws and policies about it? How on earth does someone like Paul Scott understand the relationship between sex and gender better than thousands of trans individuals–well enough to say “You can have cosmetic surgery or reassignment surgery, but you are still that gender”?

As someone who considers herself an ally to the trans community and strongly pro-trans rights, I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know enough about it. I’m lucky to have amazing trans, gender-queer and otherwise gender-deviant friends, but what I don’t know could still fill a book. I learn from these people every day–and even then I can appreciate that the limits of my own experiences will keep me from ever understanding all there is to being trans. Like a lot of allies to the trans community, it’s something I struggle with and try to be sensitive to.

So when someone like Paul Scott, who has clearly never struggled with his feelings about gender identity and deviance or had a real, open interaction with a trans individual, comes out with policy proscriptions based on what he seems to know as truth…well, that blows my mind. Someone else’s identity, and their rights, are not a matter of my opinion or some public official’s intolerance. I can’t agree with Scott’s assertion that “if you are born a male, you should be known as a male.” The statement could perhaps, though be modified to say that if you identify as a male you should be known as one–

and if you identify as a hateful bigot–well, then, by all means.

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