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March 16th 2017 print

Peter Smith

Arthur or Martha, Why the Big Deal?

No-one wants women’s bathroom facilities invaded by strange men, but a transgender or transsexual person effectively has the gender they openly display and should be treated as such. Keep on arresting sleazy chaps lurking around women’s bathrooms and leave it at that

woman at urinalAn incident which occurred late year gave me a brilliant idea on nomenclature which I chose, out of modesty I suppose, to keep to myself until now. Let me remind you of the incident. It occurred on December 22 last year in the good old USA.

“My husband is chasing them down to harass them,” tweeted academic Matthew Lasner, on board the same domestic flight as Ivanka Trump, who was travelling coach with her three young children. The husband, Brooklyn lawyer Dan Goldstein proceeded to do the hassling. “Your father is ruining the country,” he reportedly exclaimed (though, go figure, her father was then still a month away from taking office). He went on to demand to know why Ivanka had the hide to travel on a commercial flight and not a private plane. Whether he was yelling or just a bit agitated at the time seemed to be in dispute. It doesn’t matter. We should all agree that he was extremely rude; and at Christmas time to boot.

These two wedded husbands (are you following) were, it was explained by the airline, ‘de-planed’ — a delightfully economical and self-explanatory addition to our English vocabulary in an era when numbers of words have lost their old utility. I admit, to my shame, to being an old-fashioned kinda guy, though I try to crawl with the times. I only slightly regret the loss of the words ‘gay’ and ‘queer’ (there are plenty of synonyms) and have no problem with gay and lesbian couples openly partnering.

I object to same-sex marriage, it is true. But my children do not and I fervently hope that their opinion will outlast mine — if you understand my meaning. However, if and when same-sex marriage becomes commonplace, wouldn’t it be advisable for the wedded partners to arrive at a more suitable word for their other halves. Just on its face it would be less confusing than a husband introducing his husband and a wife her wife.

Maybe a competition should be held among queer folk to choose a suitable appellation for same-sex wedded partners. I have no skin in the game, but how about: Will you Jim take Jack to be your lawfully wedded ‘swain’? That has a ring to it, I think, and would be just as suitable for Jill and Janet.

To save you going to the dictionary, my OED tells me that the poetic/literary definition of swain is a young lover or suitor. That’s kinda cool as it stands. It seems not much of a stretch to add a variant definition: to wit, to mean a spouse in a same-sex marriage.

Now you will spot that I haven’t covered the field of LGBTQs. Well, the way I see it, if a man or woman dresses and acts contrary to the gender on their birth certificate, they should be accorded the courtesy of the presumption that they are as they dress and act. In other words, man and wife would come back into play. And, yes, they should use the bathrooms of their chosen gender. It would be damn disconcerting as aman to have skirted, lip-sticked creature sharing one’s ablutions.

Here Trump has it right again. Don’t make a fuss about it. We simply don’t need special laws. No-one wants women’s bathroom facilities invaded by strange men. But a transgender or transsexual person effectively has the gender they openly display and should be treated as such. Keep on arresting sleazy chaps — those looking like chaps or patently feigning womanhood — lurking around women’s bathrooms and leave it at that. Of course, anyone acting inappropriately inside a bathroom would need to be dealt with as is done now under existing laws, but we simply can’t go looking up skirts on entry, in situ, or on exit to ensure they fit the bill. Nor, even if it is a tad less intrusive, can we demand people carry around documented proof of their gender or gender reassignment ready to display to bathroom police.

I have jumped from nomenclature to social policy. It is jump that must be made in this day and age. This brave new world has led to an explicit explosion of people types. They were always around but kept under wraps. The trick now, it seems to me, is to embrace les difference without throwing away the ancient capacity people have for applying commonsense.

Arthur is Martha if she convincingly deports herself as Martha and vice versa. No-one expects Aunty Martha to use men’s ablutions or Uncle Arthur not to. No need to get knickers or underpants in a knot. People on the whole are kind and generous and take it all in their stride, if they are just let alone.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [17]

  1. DRTBLYNCH@MSN.COM says:

    Each diploid human begins life as an egg inside their maternal grandmother, when their own mother is a 24 week foetus. This egg that is you makes a decision at fertilization to combine with an X or a Y sperm. Suppose you are a girl. Now if your egg had picked a Y sperm, then that would not be a male version of you: it would be your brother; so the only way that you can exist as you is as a girl. And it was your own decision.
    All these queer humans with scrambled brains and mangled anatomy actually need our pity and help. They are most definitely abnormal, ill balanced and unreasonable, and quite unsuitable for positions of power.

  2. LBLoveday says:

    “…swain is a young lover or suitor”. Careful, the ageist police may get you. I go for “paramour”.

  3. Bill Martin says:

    This article by Peter Smith leaves me bewildered, finding myself unable to share Peter’s sanguine attitude towards the subject matter.

    Those of us happy and comfortable with the gender nature assigned for us and confirmed with matching genitalia as well as the appropriate sexual orientation could not possibly come anywhere near appreciating the mental trauma experienced by those without such blessing. Compassion and understanding is very much in order. Parallel to such compassion must be the realisation that the proportion of such unfortunate people is infinitesimally small. The question, then, is how far must society, as a whole, go in catering for the needs of those few people? Is it appropriate to demonise the concept of natural male/female sexuality and pit it against those who deviate from it? Is it appropriate to “redesign” society in order to better accommodate the few at the risk of antagonising the overwhelming majority? The Safe School program comes readily to mind.

    Further doubts arise in connection with the subject matter. To what extent are the promoters of a borderless, nationless One World Order are behind the whipping up of gender issues as another of their tools to weaken and eventually destroy society and build their utopia upon the ruins?

    • Philby says:

      We had a so called transgender man in our location who wore a dress and believed he was a woman,a very ugly one at that. He went through hormone treatments to build up his boobs and was investigating having his male genitalia removed and replaced with a surgically inspired vagina. Well some where along the way the treatments he was receiving worked as he met a woman reverted back to being a man and has fathered children. The transgender period was a delusional state he went through and as far as I know he has not returned . In my opinion there are many reasons why we have male and female conveniences and we should stick to them, those who are confused (I agree small numbers) can use the disabled conveniences where they have privacy . Job fixed. The Marxist march to break down society conventions has to be stopped. Yes government should get out of the marriage game altogether.

  4. Tezza says:

    ‘Ablutions’ is the word your spell-checker robbed you of.

    • padraic says:

      Exactly. What is the big deal about going to a public toilet? Society has coped quite well with this world shattering issue in the past without people having nervous breakdowns or requiring the services of the legal profession. Not that toilet designations have not caused attention in the past. In his younger days my late father used to go bushwalking with friends in the Audley National Park in Sydney’s south. The park authorities had kindly provided public toilets with the usual signs “Men” and “Women”. He noted on one occasion that someone had used chalk on the “Men’s” sign so that it now read “Men”, “Gentlemen” and “Toffs”, presumably so that everyone was catered for and there was no uncertainty. But more serious than this is the practice of Corporations and Charities putting their names to newspaper advertisements, letters etc relating to political issues that divide the population. This phenomenon was covered well in today’s Australian. How can a commercial entity or a charity take a public position on controversial issues when they are there to serve the whole community on whom they depend for their sales or support? Are they being blackmailed financially by certain activist groups, threatening to withdraw their custom (i.e.cash) if the organisation does not follow the activist line? Look what happened to Coopers Ale? How would Qantas, CBA and others feel if half their customers said if you don’t change your political views and revert to your core commercial role we will won’t support you? This stuff could blow back in their faces and it would be a shambles. Commercial entities should focus on their shareholders and customers and not get involved in what is a discussion between voters and governments, irrespective of the issue. This is a worrying new development. Corporations and charities cannot vote – just stick to what you do best and let the citizenry set the democratic political agenda.

    • Peter says:

      Yes a spooky choice of word absolution(s) which I feel Word chose for me. We all need it of course as we regularly need ablutions – which you might notice was got right the second time.

  5. Jody says:

    The whole ‘debate’ is boring me comatose. There are people STARVING in Somalia (again) and the Thought Police are out agitating again to make sure we comply. That tells us all we need to know.

    • Bwana Neusi says:

      In 1960 there was a famine through much of North Eastern Kenya and Somalia. The Americans shipped in thousands of tons of yellow corn to feed those starving people. That corn was rejected because it was different to the white maize that the locals were used to eating. That is how hungry they were.
      Somalia then with a population of about thirty million could not feed themselves, The population has now grown to over seventy million and they still cannot feed themselves, but still demand culturally acceptable food aid.

      • Doubting Thomas says:

        According to Cecil Woodham-Smith in her book “The Great Hunger”, about the great potato famine in Ireland, many Irish starved in the midst of relative plenty because they would not (almost literally could not) eat the totally unfamiliar grain imported from the US to relieve the famine. Their diet until the blight had been almost exclusively potatoes. Try feeding starving animals with unfamiliar food. Many will die, because It takes time for enzymes to adjust to a strange diet. I suspect this to be at least partly the real problem in Africa.

  6. Keith Kennelly says:

    All those who foster the LBGTI agenda should be sent to Iran or Syria to do market research on their ideas.

    The Liberal Party of Australia should support the scrapping of the Marriage Act.

    That would end the of issue.

    Why do priests or governments think they need to sanction marriage?
    Why do couples need their imprimatur?

    What one isn’t natural?
    Births, Deaths, or Marriage.

    • padraic says:

      Government in Australia has to deal with marriage because it is in the Australian Federal Constitution (Section 51 [xxi]). There was a reason for including it, but I can’t remember why at the moment.
      In relation to the clergy’s involvement in marriage I think it goes back to the old days of the formation of the Middle Eastern religions where the secular rulers were not interested in the welfare of their subjects and their general behaviour was such that they were not in a position to tell others how to conduct their personal lives. They franchised that out to another group who became the clergy. Mon Dieu, you could not have the general public behaving like the rulers. The country would go to the dogs.

  7. Keith Kennelly says:

    It already has gone to the dogs.
    Time to try something else.
    We can vote to change the Constitution.

    • LBLoveday says:

      A proposed change to the Australian Constitution can only be voted on if it is first approved by Parliament to be put to the plebs in a referendum. The present dog’s dinner of Parliament can’t agree on putting a plebiscite promised by the government in its pre-election manifesto; what chance of them agreeing on a referendum?

  8. Ninderthana says:

    It says a lot about conservatives [of which I am one] that they are only concerned about transgender males entering women’s bathrooms. No one expresses any concern about transgender female entering male bathrooms. Why? When I post this question, I always get comments that say “Of course, trans gender females shouldn’t enter male bathrooms…”. However, this completely misses the point. Every time this topic is brought up by conservatives they always show concern for the women’s bathrooms being invaded and they almost never express any comparable concern about men’s bathrooms.

    I think that the reason most conservatives think this way is that they are still stuck in the mind set that females are delicate flowers who must be put up on a pedestal and that the role of males is to ride up on horse dressed as a white knight ready to protect her honour. In this antiquated world view, females are helpless victims who must be protected from the claws of monstrous males who are incapable of controlling their base lusts. This sick and twisted view of the world has got to change. If it does not, then we turning a blind eye to the young boys who will become the victims of predatory transgender females who enter men’s bathrooms. And despite what some deluded individual say, these women do in fact exist.