Jumping in on this conversation way late, nevertheless, it interests me since I took a graduate seminar in Greek history through the viewpoint of gender studies, and also because I finally have a few minutes to orchestrate my thoughts.
Originally Posted by AtlantaDan
The drive, I believe, isn't coming from typical "leftist elites"; instead, it has been driven from academia who created a construct of sexuality and then worked to implement it in among their students. The construct draws from several elements, including feminism, gender studies (which is different, for those of you who are wondering), postmodernism, history/historiographic studies (see Foucault), and various social sciences. In some ways, it has been orchestrated, and in some ways it has not—much as any other academic discipline is both orchestrated and not orchestrated. So, what is this construct?
The first step is separating biology from the concept of gender. Gender refers to the roles society has separated into categories. In traditional Western thought there has been two roles, masculine and feminine, or male and female, and those roles have been identified by biology. The problem, however, is the reality is quite different than that. For instance, children are a third gender. They were given neither masculine nor feminine roles (although training into those roles did occur). They played, had fun, and did generally whatever until the parents began to train them, usually as they approached sexual maturity. The old, unmarried woman held another gender often referred to as "Spinster." The spinster was thought of as a-sexual and caring for her own needs regardless of the traditional male-female roles.
The second step, once biology is separated from gender, is to deconstruct the roles assigned to each gender and make them available for anyone who desires to obtain those roles. Most of us would actually agree with 90 percent of the actions in this step, such as allowing women to vote, to run for office, to participate in the work place, etcetera. However, many of us would also disagree with the last 10 percent or so, which is taking roles general assigned to men based on elements associated with biology, and making them available for reassignment as well. This ability to reassign has been enabled by science and the medical world through surgery, hormone "therapy", and other such things.
The third step is to reconstruct through choice. Each and every person has a choice to accept or reject any gender role placed on them, as it is only a societal role and not driven through biology. In other words, it is the ultimate fulfillment of self-determination and self-agency.
So, that is the construct that has been built and then pushed into society. There are, however, several problems with it.
1. As with most academic constructs, it ignores reality. For instance, those who are genetically male are hardwired to, on average, have more physical strength the those who are genetically female. Certain roles in society occur because of that reality, such as a fireman—not because women are unable to fight a fire, but because (again, on average), a much larger majority of men will be able to carry that two-hundred pound human over their shoulder down the stairs and out the door to safety than women.
2. It has confused the issue of plumbing with the issue of sexuality and gender roles. A bathroom is not about sexuality or gender roles. It is simply about plumbing—proving the best opportunity to relieve oneself based on the plumbing one has. In short, urinals are a heck of a lot easier for men to use than a toilet, and a toilet is a heck of a lot easier for women to use than a urinal.
3. It has ignored the fact that, for instance, for many who who remain within the traditional gender role of female that is associated with plumbing in many instances, having one who chooses a gender roles opposite of what plumbing would normally indicate enter into their bathroom is intimidating and unsettling. Not to mention the types of abuse of the system
this construct opens itself to.
4. The construct takes to be true, a priori, a complete dissociation between plumbing, gender identity, and roles. Why I agree that 90 percent of the roles associated with a gender are purely societal and has no basis in current reality, the same can't be said for procreation and the biological imperative to mate and further the species. Yes, science has recognized the chromosome that is responsible for switching over the body from female to male after the fourth week of gestation sometimes forgets to switch over everything, leaving a female brain in a male body, or a male brain in a female body (or any such mixture of male and female). But that only accounts for a small number of people. From both my personal experience counseling others, and from conducted studies, it is well known those dealing with gender issues OFTEN are forced into that place by abuse, and more often than not, sexual abuse. It is something this new gender construct completely ignores to the detriment of millions.
So, who has pushed this construct? It comes out of both academia, and the postmodern idea of rejecting defining metanarratives and instead, allowing individuals to define themselves. For the most part, that aligns with the left within the United States. However, because of the element of self-determination and self-agency, there is room for libertarian conservatives, which is why IMO, you see certain conservatives on board with these changes.
What does that all mean?
The same as usual. It is messy when academic constructs meet real life.