There are nearly 35 million of us in the United States, and around the world, perhaps twenty times that number. For most of the world’s history, however, even from the time of the Neanderthals, we have been viewed with suspicion and distrust, and forced to mold ourselves to the larger society without apology.
Our dissimilarity appears shortly after birth, and as late as the baby-boomer years, concerned parents sought by nurture to overturn the insistence of nature. Words in every language shout that people like us are odd, even freakish. Nowhere in the history of the world, we were told as children, had any nation or society ever made special adjustments for us, and they never would. It would always be our problem to work around.
It didn’t seem to matter that some researchers claim people like us have a higher rate of dyslexia, ADHD, and most notably, mood disorders. Some studies, in fact, have shown that amongst schizophrenics, nearly 40% share the same trait while we represent about only about 10% of the population as a whole. This alone should explain things to my friends, family, and editors.
What am I talking about? Being left-handed, of course, and in the world of conservatives and people who lean that way, being a lefty has a certain stigma, especially when we share the trait with the likes of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. From Roman times, when togas had only a left pocket—for the useless hand—those who did not conceal their societal disability were viewed as sinister (from the Latin), underhanded, awkward, and sometimes, stupid.
In French, right is droite and left is gauche, and the words, “adroit” and “gauche” have found comfortable homes in English with their positive and negative connotations. The Anglo-Saxon word is lyft, which translates to, “weak.” The Germans say recht and links, the latter of which can also mean clumsy, while the Poles use lewy colloquially to mean “illegal.” Nice, huh?
In the small town where I grew up, there were no left-handed golf clubs, so play the “right” way I did, and our Little League team had no mitt for me. Dial telephones required right-handed dexterity, the Army preferred right-handed Sharpshooters, and the rest of society has never discerned why so many of us are not always in our “right” mind.
To drive the point home, when one is not wrong, they are “right.” Left behind, leftover, left out. Recently, I learned the cold water tap has always on the right side of the sink because in the early days of running water—when there was only cold—it was placed there for the convenience of the righties. One might think they made scissors and power saws dangerous for us on purpose. Will it never end?
Numbers do not always mean power, evidently. Now, the political lefties want to turn the restroom world upside down for a group one thirty-fifth the size of my personal minority. No truly reliable data exists defining the size of America’s transgender population, but one estimate by a UCLA demographer suggests it’s about 0.3 percent or less than one million U.S. adults. Yet, the newly converted Progressive crowd panders for their votes by dividing, then controlling us.
No one should trivialize or make light of the transgender matter, but left-handedness serves as a convenient vehicle to put this and other issues like it in perspective. To be sure, the Libertarian in me declines judgment about those who cross-dress, cross-think, or cross-feel, or who identify as the sex opposite from their birthform. Forcing the other 329 million of us to upend our public restroom conventions, on the other hand, is just as economically unfeasible to accommodate all of the transgendered in every situation as it is unrealistic for me to expect that toilet paper holders in every stall be installed more accessibly for lefties. Neither is it sensible for the 35 million of us to insist vehicles somehow incorporate shifts, starters, and controls that are safer for the lefthandy, and that light switches are installed on the left and right sides of doorways.
In one hospital waiting room, the crisis du jour has already been solved by making both one-holer toilets multisex, but in a million locations around the world, no such adjustment will suffice. The men’s restroom at any Cracker Barrel, for instance, and the millions more like it, are fortresses of at least, temporary, male unavailability to girlfriends, wives, or mothers-in-law, and I for one would rather Caitlyn Jenner use the other restroom than stand next to me at the urinal. Neither do I want her in the stall next to me in a place where any semblance of femaleness is definitely unwelcome. The solution, obviously, is for men truly identifying as women to maintain that identity and as unobtrusively as possible, use the stalls in the women’s restroom, and for women truly identifying as men, to enjoy the scents and sounds of a truly male venue, but in the stalls.
What happens in North Carolina will be resolved by others, but a better law might be to criminalize identification as the opposite sex for the purpose of committing a sexual assault, with heavy sentences levied upon those who involve a minor. If transgendered people wish the rest of us to respect them and their privacy, do we not have reciprocal rights, and shouldn’t some expectation of behavior be demanded of them—such as keeping their privates private?
Life was, indeed, simpler when Henry Ford decreed his customers could have any color they wanted as long as it was black. We’ve come along way since then, but if we must bend to every new splinter of society, then it’s time to accommodate the 35 million of us who might also demand our civil liberties. Right?