Question: What “rights” aren’t Canadian middle-class men willing to accept when it comes to trans rights?
The short answer is almost all. However, there are few areas that conservative middle-class men are not prepared to say yes to. This essay will identify what these issues or rights are and why it is conservative men will make efforts to prevent them from happening.
Now, as will be my contention in the series of short essays I will be producing in the next few months, whether or not you can get men to publicly agree or acknowledge what these issues are, is something different and apart from how middle-class conservative men actually feel.
In the vast, vast majority of cases, they won’t speak out. They won’t because to do so brings on all sorts of personal and professional risk. But that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking it. And if they’re thinking it, it means they can act on it.
How they might act on said feelings or beliefs is another essay. We’re going to leave possible outcomes to the side for now.
Accepted Politics Regarding Trans Rights
If you’re still reading this, I’m going to assume you have at least a basic knowledge of the discussion of trans rights in the Western world. But just so we’re on an equal playing field, let’s point out a few collective political truisms that seem to be indisputable in most democratic states.
- Trans rights are here to stay. If they aren’t protected legally in most democratic states, they will be.
- Trans rights are backed by powerful political lobbies which are built upon the foundation of the lobbies that drove forward gay and lesbian rights movements. Having said that, as best as I can understand it, trans people are separate and distinct from gay men and lesbian women.
- Trans activist organizations by their nature are aligned with left-leaning, progressive political parties.
- Demographically trans people represent much less than one percent of any country’s population. In this regard, the movement’s political and media pull is extraordinary and could be the single most powerful social-political movement in all of history.
- Undoubtedly, over time, trans people have suffered from discrimination and abuse, and today they continue to suffer various forms of discrimination – both explicit and implicit. There is no doubt of this and it is wrong.
- That in the past five to ten years, the number of people transitioning genders had increased dramatically. Transitioning individuals are predominantly young biological women transitioning to male.
Okay, in my view, if you put one hundred people in a room, it’s my sense you can get 97 of 100 to agree with everything that’s listed above. It’s outside of these considerations where the debate is taking place.
Core Beliefs of Middle-Class Conservative Men
With these foundational pieces set, what are the issues that are no-goes for conservative middle-class men when it comes to the trans issue?
Before I answer this question, I think it’s critical to put forward how conservative men view the world. It is only through understanding this worldview that readers of this essay will understand why conservative men will hold the positions they do regarding the transgender movement.
Here are five key beliefs that are universally shared by middle-class conservative men in Western civilization:
- Foremost, they are protectors. Every day they wake up their number one job is to protect those they love.
- They are providers. Again, every day, the conservative man is motivated to get up out of bed and provide for their family.
- They can change but they are slow to. Conservative men are open to changing their views but it can take time to get there. Importantly – and this is very crucial – there are some things that conservative men won’t change their minds on. That’s what makes them conservative. An example of this is the idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI). Under no circumstances will any conservative man agree to give free money to a person who is perfectly capable of doing work.
- Outside of family and close personal relationships, meritocracy drives society. In all things, conservative men expect that the person who performs the best will get the thing they’re competing for. Whether this is sports or employment or business-related matters, meritocracy is hugely important for conservative men.
- Finally, there’s fairness under the law. For conservative men, everyone – and I mean everyone, is treated fairly regardless of the circumstances that surround the events that took place. Important: fairness is not necessarily equal. The conservative man is not against the idea of a criminal’s sanctions incorporating some kind of cultural consideration where the process to convict that person of their crimes was fair. The same applies in the case of affirmative action. Any given hiring process might look to increase the number of Black or Brown employees through a variety of means, but when the hiring process happens and decisions are made, it is crucial that the hiring process is above board and entirely fair to everyone involved.
No doubt if you’re a conservative man and you’re reading this essay, you’d say, but what about this? Or what about that? To these additional traits or values, my response is universality.
The five beliefs that are above are held universally across the ranks of middle-class conservative men. Indeed, there might be other values or beliefs that are extremely common among conservative men, but they are not universal. An example of this would be the right to life issue. Yes, a high percentage of conservative middle-class men believe that once a woman is pregnant, she should have the baby, but this view isn’t universally held by all conservative middle-class men.
All right, now that we’ve set the foundation that underpins the conservative man’s thinking, let’s delve into those trans “rights” I’m arguing conservative men should continue to resist.
Trans Policy Issues Middle-Class Conservative Men Can’t Support
Issue 1: Access to Girls/Women’s Change Rooms: Notice I say change rooms, not bathrooms. If a trans woman wants to relieve themselves in a bathroom that has stalls that ensure privacy, conservative men don’t have a problem with that. What we have a problem with is allowing biological men into a changing room where such folks can change and expose themselves in front of our daughters and wives.
Presently, my sense is that most school boards are going in the direction of providing transgender students a place to change that is neither in the boy’s or girls’ changing areas. This is the right call.
But lest you think I’m being alarmist on this issue, recall the situation at the LA spa back in the Spring of 2021, where an individual exposed himself to a wide age range of female patrons, including a least one young girl. When you open the door to this type of situation, you can expect that some small number of people will kick the door open and do whatever they please regardless of social norms and decency. The solution to this possibility is to keep the door locked, which means no biological males are permitted in biological female change rooms.
Issue 2: Placing Biological Men in Female Corrections Facilities: As I understand it, this is now the norm in Canada, some states in the US, and in the United Kingdom. And as you would expect, the policy is leading to abuse.
Let’s be clear on one thing. I don’t know what percentage of trans women will not be sexually interested in biological women, but it will not be all of them. It is my hunch that a significant percentage of biological men who transition, continue to be interested in women sexually.
Now, add to this that in prison it is generally the case that you are prevented from having access to the other sex for intimate purposes for long periods of time. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going to take place.
And in fact, it has taken place. Since the policy of placing transgender women in prisons has been implemented, there are various credible news reports of female inmates being sexually assaulted or impregnated by transgender women.
Here’s a new flash folks. Sex for both men and women is a biological imperative. So much so that there is a percentage of the male population that will take sex from a woman whether it is consented to or not.
And it just so happens that this un-consenting population happens to be over represented in correctional facilities the world over. This being the case, why the hell would any policy person recommend to a politician that it would be a good idea to place biological men into a female prison? It’s a policy decision that is so stupid, it beggars’ belief.
As mentioned above, protecting women is a core belief of conservative men. Incarcerated women are no less deserving of this protection.
Issue 3: Biological Men Competing in Women’s Sports: Depending on what sources you delve into online there is a debate as to whether or not transgender women who have been on hormone therapy still have enough of an advantage in women’s sports that their participation is unfair.
The folks that are taking this position indicate that there is a range of performance levels in any sport and that the vast majority of transgender women would be within the performance level ranges of biological women, and therefore, such transgender participants do not have an unfair advantage.
But here are the facts:
- The best data on this issue demonstrates that depending on the sport, men have a statistical advantage over women that ranges from 11 to 66 percent. Eleven percent for distance/endurance sports and up to 66 percent for power sports.
- World Athletics (governing body for track and field), FINA (governing body for swimming), Union Cycliste Internationale, World Rugby, and Swim England have all banned trans women from competing internationally where these individuals transitioned after puberty.
- Lia Thomas, a moderately competitive male swimmer on Penn State’s men’s swim team, dominated female competition once moving to the women’s pool.
- Caster Semenya, a South African middle-distance runner who has won multiple championships and who has hyperandrogenism, which is characterized by higher-than-usual levels of testosterone, was subjected to a Swiss appeals court ruling that maintained a policy requiring her to reduce her testosterone levels to compete in the female ranks.
- Finally, I would point to your own common sense. Anyone who played high school sports knows there is a gap that becomes a chasm between girls’ and men’s athletics. Not coincidentally, this starts around the time boys hit puberty around 12-13, and largely finishes around the age of 18. If a male transitions at sixteen or later, I don’t need a doctor to tell me the athletic differences between the sexes gives the transitioning male a significant advantage, testosterone levels reduced or not. This is patently obvious.
Now as we consider trans women in women’s sports, let us revisit our middle-class conservative principles and see what applies. Immediately, protecting those we love leaps to the fore. Daughters – biological woman in sports – should not lose their place on a team or a place in a race because their spot was taken up by a trans woman. We’ve seen this outcome already on a number of occasions. Lia Thomas is only the most famous.
In addition to protecting our daughters and their right to compete and feel safe in the intimacy of their sports lives, I would add the principle of fairness. Obviously, it is not fair when a person has a biological advantage to compete in any sport. Not only does this advantage help the individual who is competing, but I suspect the knowledge of the advantage works against the mindset of the women who are competing against this person.
But is it the case that trans women should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports period?
My answer to that is as follows: where an outcome of an event or match is being recorded for historical reasons, the trans woman athlete should not be allowed to compete, OR, if they are allowed to compete in an individual-level competition, in the records for that particular event, the trans woman cannot be recorded as taking podium position from a biological female. It should also be the case that the biological woman who placed after the trans woman should be able to advance to the next level of competition along with the trans woman who placed ahead of her.
It might be that the trans woman wins the event and they stand on the podium as the winner, but in the official records for that event, the next fastest biological woman would be recorded as the winner, and at a time that is appropriate (not in the moment), the biological woman competitor would receive the gold medal or first place ribbon they won along with advancing to any higher state or provincial-level competition.
So there you have it. There are three specific areas that middle-class conservative men object to when it comes to the development of policies in support of transgendered people.
But in stating these three areas, I hope dear reader that you’ll acknowledge the many, many areas where conservative men are prepared to accede to various policy issues the transgender movement has advocated for. Bathrooms, pronouns, custody rights, document identification, employment protections, hiring practices (i.e., affirmative action programs), drag queen story hours, and medical procedures, among others.
For conservative men, the bridge too far is where our wives and daughters are being put in an unsafe situation or they will lose an opportunity – an opportunity I might add women have fought ferociously for over the course of the last one hundred years.
If you’re reading this and you’re a conservative man and you’re asking yourself what can be done to help those persons who are actively pushing back on the issues I’ve flagged in this essay, my answer to that question is to become engaged in some way.
I myself have taken this step. I’m not prepared to stay silent any longer. I’m writing about these issues on my website, I’m commenting online (I never did this before), I’ve joined a political party that reflects the values that are important to me, and I’m giving thought to running in my school board’s next election. Perhaps I’ll do other things.
The Bottom Line:
The bottom line in this – we have to push back politically to protect that which is important to us. If we remain silent, we’re going to continue to lose policy fights on a host of important issues, and in time, the country we love (whether that’s Canada, the US, the UK, or where ever) is going to look radically different than it does now. And to be clear, once the policy horse is out of the barn, getting it back in is very, very hard.
I’m only just putting my toes on the water regarding issues that are impacting conservative men. By way of this blog, I’ll keep you posted on how this journey goes. Despite this inexperience, I believe fundamentally that when we work together, conservative middle-class men can be a hugely powerful force for good. The challenge is whether can we mobilize and can we work together. This is to be determined.
Ryan Flannagan is the author of Take Whiteman, A CANZUK at War novel. Visit Ryan’s website: www.raflannagan.ca to learn more about Ryan and his writing.