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Religious Tolerance logo

The religious freedom to discriminate against
transgender persons in North Carolina:

Part 6

2016-AUG: Video of the NBA decision.
A review of how people define gender.
Canadian exhibition unveils gender-
neutral washrooms.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Coverage of the NBA relocation decision on ABC News:


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A review of how people define gender:

The traditional/historical definition of gender is that it is defined at birth and never changes during a person's lifetime. Everyone, except for intersexual persons who have ambiguous genital structures, are defined as being either female or male gender shortly after birth. That gender is then recorded on their birth certificate.

  • Cisgender persons, who constitute about 99.4% of the general population, identify themselves as being of that same gender during their entire lifetime.

  • Typically, the remaining 0.6% of the population who are transgender or transsexual identify as being of the opposite gender to their birth-identified gender later in life. A small minority of transgender/transsexual individuals either do not identify as being of either gender, or switch genders from time to time.

It is important to realize that there are two conflicting understandings about transgender persons and transsexuals that are currently in circulation:

  • The traditional/historical understanding, still used by many religious, social and political conservatives is that transgender persons are "gender confused." They suffer from a mental illness. They are in need of therapy. Conservatives refer to them according to their birth-identified gender, and use the corresponding personal pronouns: she, her, or he, him. They often use the name that the person was given at birth rather than the name that they prefer to use now.

  • The new understanding being used by human sexuality specialists and therapists, religious, social and political liberals, transgender persons and transsexuals is that gender can be more fluid. For transgender individuals it can change during a person's lifetime. The success rate of therapy to restore a person's gender identity to its birth-identified gender is zero, or essentially zero. They attribute the change in gender identity to sex-dichotomous differences in two recently discovered structures in the brain, which are not visible. They use the personal pronouns and name that match the person's current gender identity.

The NBA is not responsible for redefining "what it means to be male or female," as Perkins of the Family Research Council stated. The Association is simply making use of an existing, definition that happens to be different from that used by the FRC and by most religious, social, and political conservatives.

The disagreement between the two definitions are simply the most recent source of friction between the traditional understandings by conservative believers, and emerging concepts of race, sexual orientation, & gender identity that have been promoted by religious social, political and religious liberals, scientific researchers, mental health professionals, and various discriminated-against minorities. These conflicts were the basic cause of major conflicts in the past:

All of these have been settled, at least in law, in favor of equal rights. The current debate over gender identity and transgender persons may be the last major conflict of this type to be resolved in the future.

To summarize:

  • Most transgender persons in effect have two genders. The first is the gender with which they were identified at birth and was recorded on their birth certificate. The second is the gender with which they now identify. Just as bodies have external reproductive organs -- sometimes informally called "lady parts" and "male body parts" -- there are two internal structures in the human brain which take either a traditionally female or male shape and neuron density. These structures apparently cause the person to identify as either female or male. People do not choose their gender identity; it is apparently forced on them by these brain structures.

  • The vast majority of individuals are cisgender. The gender of these internal brain structures matches the gender of their reproductive organs. However, for the small minority of about 0.6% of all human adults who are transgender, the brain structures are of opposite gender to that of their reproductive organs. They quite literally have a female brain in a man's body (or vice versa). And so, they identify later in life as having a gender opposite to their birth-identified gender.

To further complicate matters, a small minority of transgender individuals identify as having no gender, or as being of both genders, or of switching genders.

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2016-AUG-24: Canadian National Exhibition unveils gender-neutral washrooms and new signage:

The annual Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is held in Toronto, Ontario during late August and early September every year. Even as the controversy rages in North Carolina about the HB 2 "bathroom" bill, the CNE announced that, over the next five years, they plan to install a number of gender-neutral washrooms. The signs on their doors will feature a symbol showing a half female on the left and a half man on the right. Under the symbol are the words: "We don't care:"

washroom sign

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Paul Blake & Avianne Tan, "NBA All-Star Game Moved to New Orleans Because of Controversial NC 'Anti-LGBT' Law,"ABC News, at:
  2. Nick Westoll, Canadian National Exhibition unveils gender-neutral washrooms, signage," Global News, 2016-AUG-24, at:
  3. German Lopez, "In landmark ruling, federal appeals court upholds protection for transgender student," Vox Media, 2016-APR-19, at:

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-AUG-20
Latest update : 2016-AUG-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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