A Needs Based Model for Trans Accommodation
Trying to find a way through the polarization on trans issues.
Welcome back to Trans Deeper, a show where we take a deeper look at what people are saying in the trans conversation, and whether their claims are valid or not.
Today, I want to look at the issue of how trans people can be accommodated in society, while the needs and concerns of various stakeholders are all taken into account and addressed. Right now, a healthy conversation around this is largely absent, unfortunately.
I think the biggest problem we have right now is, there are not enough people who are committed to a what I would call a needs-based model for trans accommodation. As with other social issues these days, too often, the conflicts between different stakeholders are highlighted, and people are pitted against each other. The broader culture war atmosphere means that people on both sides tend towards digging into their positions, and fearing that giving anything up to the other side would be an admission of defeat. However, this is actually not a good way to resolve problems, since it would just lead to perpetual stalemate and increased polarization. We really need some fundamental change in the discourse.
I believe the best way to get the change we need is to start talking about a ‘needs based’ model for trans accommodation. In this model, we need to be committed to being truly compassionate and considerate about the needs of everyone in formulating policies and solutions. The actual needs of people also need to come before philosophical or political commitments at all times. Whenever there is a conflict of needs, there has to be a discussion rooted in compassion, where everybody’s needs are taken care of. And we will usually find that such conflicts are very resolvable, with some reasonable compromise, as long as everybody is willing to be considerate.
I think those of us who want a good resolution to the current culture wars over trans issues should actively push for a needs based model. We should do it at every opportunity, especially when others are seeking to inflame the conflict on either or both sides. We need to do our best to remind others a better way is possible.