Rights Talk Run Amok

The Supremacy of the Individual

How far has the drive for LGBT “rights” gone? Well just about over the cliff of sanity. Stay tuned to BreakPoint.

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John StonestreetColleen Francis made himself right at home in the locker room at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. The forty-five year-old student showered, used the sauna and walked around naked in front of the other people using those facilities.

Now if you’re having trouble squaring the name “Colleen” with the male pronoun “himself,” you’re not the only one. Those present in the locker room also had trouble with the combination that the locker room in question was the women’s room and “Colleen” is anatomically a male.

Thus when he showers, sits in the sauna, and walks around naked, Francis is exposing himself not only to his fellow students but students from local high schools and families who also use the college’s swimming pool and locker room. Thus, among the females he has exposed himself to are minors, some as young as six.

If you’re wondering, “Why doesn’t someone stop Francis,” well, they tried to, and that’s when the story became surreal. The swimming coach from the local high school and the mother of one of the team members called the police. When the police arrived Francis informed them that he was a transsexual and that, under Washington State law, he was entitled to use the women’s locker room.

If that sounds ridiculous to you, well, it worked. The coach apologized and the college informed parents that state law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of “gender expression or identity,” tied their hands. The best they could do was to provide screens for those made “uncomfortable” by Francis’ presence.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the parents of the children and has promised to take action if any of the girls is harmed, but absent a change in the law, it may not make a difference.

That’s because what’s happening in Olympia is the logical outcome of two very potent and destructive trends in American society.

The first is what Harvard professor Mary Ann Glendon famously called “rights talk.” This “talk” is characterized by “its legalistic character . . . exaggerated absoluteness . . . hyper-individualism . . . and its silence with respect to personal, civic, and collective responsibilities.”

Despite these deficiencies, it’s the “language” Americans, more than anyone else, speak when they discuss important issues, especially social ones driven by a culture increasingly marked by a sexual free-for-all camouflaged as sexual “freedom.”

The second trend is the transition from talking about the sexes to talking about gender. Until very recently a person was either male or female and the determination was based on objective physical criteria. While it isn’t always as simple as I just made it sound, the rule generally held.

Today, we speak in terms of “gender identity,” which “refers to a person’s private sense . . .  and subjective experience.” It doesn’t matter if Francis has had sex-reassignment surgery or not—all that matters is his self-identification as “transsexual.”

It’s not an exaggeration to say that there are potentially as many gender identities as there are people. And under Washington law, each of these is protected from “discrimination” by state agencies such as Evergreen College.

When Francis walked into the women’s locker room, he was a rights-bearing individual whose “right” to use the facility trumped any other interest. Even the mental and sexual health interest of six-year-old girls.

Obviously this is absurd, but it didn’t come out of nowhere—it is where American law and culture have been headed for some time. And there aren’t enough screens to cover this damage.

Further Reading and Information

College Allows Transgender Man to Expose Himself to Young Girls
Todd Starnes | Fox News | November 1, 2012

Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse
Mary Ann Glendon | Free Press | July 1993


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Thank You For Your Column
Mr. Stonestreet,

I first read about "Colleen" Francis in a column by Gregory Kane, who explained how "gay marriage" and other forms of sexual freedom lead to unintended, damaging consequences:


Your column is a great sequel to Kane's by exploring the origins of a culture in which Francis' behavior is celebrated instead of being a sign of a truly confused man in need of help. We truly need this information in order to engage society effectively as Christians.

Please continue to tell the truth in love and inspire other believers to do the same.

God bless.
Good idea... I will try to arrange to have Mary Ann Glendon on BreakPoint this Week early next year.
This is outrages me! How selfish of this MAN to think of his wants over what is ethically right and best for others, especially 6 year old girls. How perverted Washington is to hold his, mentally confused mind, rights over children. He can think all he wants to be female, but as long has HE has male genitals, he is a MAN and belongs in the man's restroom/lockers!!!
And if he truly wants the female gender, he would respect the rights of other women!! And they say California is full of nuts!!! For the love of God. This is NOT okay-IMHO!!!
Thank you for addressing this important issue.

An additional difficulty that I see is that our culture is so enveloped in the "Don't judge!" mentality (except, of course, when it comes to judging Christians or others who disagree with the trends of our culture) that everyone - non-Christians and Christians alike! - are terrified of saying anything about incidents like this because they fear being branded as bigots.

It's not a fear of being called silly names. Losing a job, being sued, having a professional reputation ruined for life - all of these are legitimate possibilities in our culture today, and well worth fearing. I assumed Christians would be willing to pay such a price for speaking up and standing up for what is right, but I have been so sadly mistaken.

The worst part? Not only are Christians too afraid to speak up, but then they join in the condemnation of those Christians who do. That's one twist I was not expecting!

I would love to see this particular point addressed in a future segment.
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