The fight for transgender people to use the public bathroom of their choice is presented as a battle of the Republican Right versus everyone else. Traditional values and the alleged threat to women’s safety versus respect for diversity.
Behind this debate two quite different demands are jammed together. One is the right of individual male to female (m2f) transitioners to live as women. The other is the ideological demand of transgender activists, and their mass media supporters, to be allowed to redefine womanhood itself: to demand that biological women accept being recast as a subset of womankind. The second demand is reactionary, for two reasons.
First, female biology has politics attached to it, most notably around abortion rights. The battle for abortion rights is also a struggle that reveals women’s oppression, since capitalist society does not allow women full control over their own bodies. Banning the word “woman” from abortion services, as trans activists have successfully demanded, puts one more obstacle in the way of women understanding the discrimination against them.
Secondly, it means defining women by the way that they stereotypically look and act, which is the only sort of womanhood that m2f transitioners have. In reality women become who they are through a lifetime of sexist socialisation that is gradually inscribed upon people with female biology. The trans trend is attempting to conceal this sexism from view.
Supporting transitioners’ use of women’s bathrooms will also carry a right wing, anti-woman subtext until these issues are publicly acknowledged.