Seeing as how this is a politically pessimistic time in American politics, we thought we’d remind people that it is, indeed, getting better.
Ten years ago, the doom and gloom brigade said the following would never happen: The election of a non-Caucasian president, the legalization of gay marriage, Universal Health Care, and recreational marijuana legalization. So even though the current administration is intent on burning all that progress to the ground, we can show that progressive policies can at least happen, and while they may get setbacks, they can not be held down for long.
Too bad some people haven’t gotten the memo. Texas is the latest state to raise yet another fuss over whether transgender and cisgender people can use the same can, with the latest bathroom bill. It’s started by religious leaders, of course. There’s so many of these going around now that bathroom bills need their own category on Wikipedia.
Why Can’t Religions Get Over Sex And Gender Already?
Virtually every major religion in the world seems to have a bee in its bonnet about sex and gender. There was once actually method to this madness – hear us out. Earliest scriptures in Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) date from approximately 500 BCE. Without muddling too deep into ancient history, take a chart’s word for it that the world human population at that time was between 115 million (1000 BCE) and 188 Million (year 1). Think about it – at this point, what we now consider the population of a country like Japan was once the entire number of humans in the world.
On such a sparsely populated globe at the beginnings of recorded history, when people were just loosely collected into wandering tribes, rules about sex made more sense. Quit wasting your time diddling around and make babies, they said, we have to compete with the other tribes! What’s more, life expectancy at that time was closer to 40 years than our current medical technology affords. So it was pretty urgent; an ovary or testicle not deployed was an ovary or testicle quickly wasted. The fact that there were, indeed, ancient civilizations which collapsed and disappeared goes to show that there was some merit to these ancient proclamations.
And like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice broomsticks, the laws set forth in ancient religious texts have continued to do their job, far beyond the point where they were useful. As of this writing, we now have 7.5 billion people. Hello, can we back off on the baby factory yet?
Before we leave the subject of scripture, we should point out that mentions of LGBT behavior literally date to the beginning of history itself. After all, Moses couldn’t have known to hand down laws against gays unless there were people being gay right then. This proves a second point: LGBTs have been with us for thousands of years; while so many religions, governments, and various groups have tried to stamp them out, yet we still have LGBT people.
There Must Be a Reason
The fact that LGBT people pop up in all cultures, from all continents, throughout history, whether they are repressed or welcomed, in pretty much the same percentage (roughly ~ 4%) tells us that there must be some natural cause.
There’s a whole website devoted to just those questions, LGBTScience.org. To quote one researcher: “Nature loves variety.” Nature is also messy. One of the most deep-seated flukes of the human brain is that we have a compulsion to sort things into nice, neat categories, which nature seems determined to thwart. The Earth does not revolve around the sun in exactly 365 days, there are neither one nor twenty distinct species of sea gull, and light sometimes wants to be a particle and sometimes wants to be a wave.
When it comes to gender, orientation, and gender identity, nature is messy here, too. There’s a whole host of chromosomal abnormalities which can mess with gender. Studies of transgender people have found variations in brain structure that differentiates them from their cisgender peers. There are even documented cases of human chimeras, which means zygotes mingled together to produce one living organism. In fact, a 1996 UK study found that blood chimerism (two different blood types in one body) is actually more common than we once thought. When people speak of being “a woman trapped in a man’s body,” that can figuratively be the case.
All of which is not to pathologize LGBT people. In a healthy society where variety is understood and tolerated, there’s no reason why people of any gender identity and orientation can’t live perfectly happy lives.
When Will We Finally Grow Up About Sex And Gender?
We’re still getting there. Some countries are getting there faster, but the United States has still gained a lot of ground in the human rights field in just the past decades. As the video says, it does get better – just keep pushing.
The present author would like to conduct an experiment sometime: Pass a new law mandating one single gender. Since all of us are born with at least one X chromosome, that makes us all female; the rest is all superfluous genetic noise. There, now we all have to use the same restroom and live with it. Sure, we’d be uncomfortable and awkward for a few years, but then we’d all get used to it, and then we’d never, ever, ever have to have this discussion again!
Besides, my law would make us all lesbians. Isn’t that hot?