A (Locker) Room of One’s Own

On Monday, about 150 high school students in Missouri walked out of class in protest of a male transgender student who wants to use the girls’ locker room. The boy, who goes by the name of Lila Perry, has masculine genitalia, making him what we would call a “boy.” He “identifies as a girl” however, so the female students are expected to make way for the boy in their locker room.

Perry wears wigs and skirts to school, and does not want to use the gender-neutral bathroom the school already provides.  “I am a girl. I am not going to be pushed away to another bathroom,” Perry said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

But Lila Perry is not a girl. He is a boy –not female, but male. The misunderstanding arises from the conflation of sex, of which there are two, and gender, of which there are apparently dozens. Facebook now offers 56 gender options to choose from, rendering the whole concept meaningless. Title IX, the 1972 law designed to prohibit sex descrimination in schools receiving federal funding, dates from a time when sex descrimination involved bias against those of one particular sex, or the other.

And while it is possible to feel sorry for the confused and solipsistic young man, his aggression against the girls in his school is well beyond the micro level. He seems certain that his preferences are more important that those of anyone else, that the girls must resign themselves to putting up with the boy in the locker room.  And when he shows up for school in costume, a school attended by girls who feel no need to wear wigs or skirts to be girls, even he must feel just a little bit inauthentic, must entertain a tiny suspicion that he is perpetrating a fraud.

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