To the Editor of the Telescope:
The Palomar College Committee to Combat Hate (PC3H) and the campus LGBTQ Pride Center write in order to register our dismay at the “Pro” position regarding the “great bathroom conundrum” published in the Telescope on March 13. The article contains a great deal of biased and discriminatory language as well as misinformation that can be damaging to our transgender community on campus and deliberately misleading for Telescope readers.
To begin, the assertion made in the article that transgender people are mentally ill is false. In order for a medical provider to provide medication and treatment to a patient, no matter what the illness, a code must be selected out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. This does not necessarily signify deviance; it signifies only that a person is being treated for a medical condition, such as gender dysphoria. Medical diagnosis should not be used as a means to target individuals. Moreover, the views of Dr. Paul McHugh, cited in the article, have been overwhelmingly rejected by the psychological community. In addition, the statistical information referenced in the article is from a study that is severely flawed, and the authors of the study clearly state that their findings are not supported by findings in other studies.
A member of our student transgender community further notes that not only is the article insulting to other trans students, but it is also unfair to those who do have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Not respecting the basic rights of transgender students with the justification that they could possibly have NPD is cruel and oppressive. Transgender students’ facing backlash for wanting legal protection to simply use the bathroom is all too reminiscent of the fights for civil rights in the 1960s.
The language used in the article also seems to incite public fear of being sexually assaulted. The student writer states that the Family Policy Center (FPC) has a “legitimate concern” that sex offenders will claim they are transgender in order to have access to young people in bathrooms. Not only does this claim incorrectly imply that all transgender people are sex offenders (when the vast majority of sex offenders are straight cisgender men); it also proposes a situation that has never been shown to have occurred. In fact, the academic literature indicates that the transgender population is much more likely to be the victims of sexual violence rather than the perpetrators. In addition, the FPC is a group that has fought at great length to limit LGBTQ rights and freedoms and is associated with other groups such as the Family Research Council that are listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Before the establishment of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, transgender and non-gender-conforming students were harassed no matter which bathroom they used. Unfortunately, this harassment continues today, and articles such as this one serve only to encourage such behavior. Transgender people are not mentally ill, nor are they sex offenders. They are people just like anyone else and simply want to use the facilities in peace.
Palomar College Committee to Combat Hate
Palomar College Pride Center for LGBTQ Resources