For or against trigger warnings and safe spaces there is a constant trend in fighting for the rights of individuals that are marginalized or seen as different in today’s society and those that do not have the voice or capability to fight for themselves. This behaviour of fighting for those that can not fight for themselves – like children or animals. Presents an interesting discourse on what it means to be in a marginalized or group minority and how the law and society are needed to change this. In accordance to trigger warnings and safe spaces the debate has stemmed from the ideology and agenda of intersectional feminism and the continuing fight for the LGBT community. Though I ask how small do groups have to be in order to justify an appropriate reaction and measure for equality?
The social movement from the LGBT community started in the 1940s. This was a charge for equality and acceptance that is still being fought for today. One measure for this equality is based on the amount of people that are, identify, or know of someone that is a part of the LGBT community. In 2011 it is estimated that 8 million Americans which is 3.5% of the entire adult population identify in the LGBT community. In 2013 Australia reported that 11% of the population have a diverse sexual orientation, gender or identity. Within this fight for LGBT rights there has been individual fights for equality and justice around social issues. Australia has had the fight for transgender specific toilets (much like America and the United Kingdom). Brought on by the innocence of a child at primary school winning the legal battle to be recognized as a girl (being born a boy) though having to use the disabled toilet.
Activists have argued that even as an adult there is a transphobic atmosphere still around that needs to be addressed and this is the next phase in equality for LGBT. To deal with this issue it was put forward that to start making transgender and transsexual people feel welcome in society. There is a need to create transgender bathrooms or modify current bathrooms to be unisex or gender neutral. That are as accessible as regular male and female bathrooms currently are – such as in clubs, malls, theatres and parks. The feasibility and economical use of these toilets is seen to be unreasonable as the population of transgender people in the Australian adult community is estimated to be about 0.3%. 0.3% of Australia’s adult population is estimated around 54,000 people. The amount of toilets that activists are fighting to be created in order to justify an acceptance of transgenderism is seen to be over reaching as the geographical spread for trans is in main LGBT friendly areas that promote greater influence, activism, and a higher engagement of LGBT community members. The amount of traffic that is intended for a public toilet does not correlate to the small group of society that identify as trans. While the creation of neutral gender toilets is perceived to cater to the needs of everyone. The majority are reluctant to cater to this minority as they do not want to share bathrooms with the opposing gender, do not like change or see it as a waste of taxpayers’ money (or a waste for whomever is going to pay for it).
While the battle for equality is fought there are instances where the combination of a marginalized individual and the legality of the law are not clear and the change for the law to be accepting for equality is put at a greater challenge. Example of this is the case of perceived mental health and the function of standard societal morality in regards to Stefonknee Wolscht. A 52-year-old man who now lives his life as a 6-year-old girl in Toronto.
Stefonknee who was once called Paul, married to a wife and has seven children but now has moved away from that life and lives with adoptive parents in Toronto, Canada. Has come under the limelight of the public. While the issue of being a trans person is acknowledged there are aspects of Stefonknee’s identity that would challenge current laws and peoples personal understandings. The freedom to live how ever one wants, is up to the individual, how they identify, what they do and how they do it. It is all on them. But when what that individual chooses to be challenges the perception of what is normal to the majority then issues arise. Stefonknee as someone who is trans gender and trans age presents an interesting understanding for what social justice and acceptance offers larger society. Gender dysphoria is accepted as a medical issue that has been researched and understood (as best as it can currently). There is a known difference between a male and female brain. Though for someone to be trans-age; the science behind a medical justification is still to be discovered. (Even the internet has no leads for me and my Universities database of academic sources comes up with nothing that can justify this trans-age identity.)
With such a rare public case such as Stefonknee’s our perception of what it means to be accepting of marginalized people becomes skewed. With identifying as a 6-year-old yet gleefully mentioning that she makes out with bikers and has a full time job ploughing snow. Where does the law fit into this identity? On one side for a 6-year-old to have a full time job is against Child Labor Laws and for a 6-year-old to make out with bikers is Child Abuse. If we correlate the understanding that the difference of the brain makes people either a man and a women and Stefonknee further identifies as a 6-year-old girl where can people stand to make Stefonknee feel that she is not marginalized for the way she lives her life. When even science has no medical understanding for this identity. Science does claim that in order to develop your public-self you must become social about your private self. As self-representation is a reflection and also an aide with mental health. Which provides the understanding of why people would come out as “different” from the majority.