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Fundamental questions at the heart of HB2 debate
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 10:38
Special to the Daily Planet


Pete Kaliner is the host of a daily radio talk show on Asheville’s WWNC (570-AM) that airs from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. This column features posts from his daily blog.

The following was posted on Feb. 24:

This exchange between FOX News host Tucker Carlson and Democratic Party adviser Zac Petkanas hits on several core questions that are never addressed in the debates or reporting over bathroom access.

In summary...

Q: Is there a biological anchor to determine sex?

A: No.

Q: What is the standard, then, for determining sex?

A: It’s whatever a person claims to be. Your gender identity determines your gender.

Q: If I’m a scientist and I want to know if you are a man or a woman, how do I determine that?

A: You should ask a transgender person to help you on that.

Despite Petklanas’s protests, Carlson is asking legitimate questions that are usually unchallenged assumptions in the transgender debate. For example, there is no discussion about legal tests in North Carolina’s HB2 debate. I suspect that Petkanas’s inability to answer these questions is, in large part, why they are never examined.

As such, it’s instructive Petkanas was simply incapable of offering a standard to determine sex. 

I should note here, that for purposes of this post I am conflating sex with gender because that is what the Obama Administration did in its reinterpretation of Title IX. I recognize that the argument mostly associated with transgenderism is that sex and gender are not the same thing.

Petkanas provides a standard is solely determined within one’s own brain. This means there is no universal standard to determine sex. 

This is radical.

It matters.

Here’s why...

Q: If I say I am a man, does that mean I can play on a women’s sports team?

A: Yes.

The logical and expected ramifications of idea requires the obliteration of all existing boundaries when it comes sex-segregation. 

Carlson also offered other areas where women and men are treated differently: prison and government contracts.

These are not small issues. And contrary to Petkanas’s assertion otherwise, the prison scenario has already occurred.

Further, the contract preferences that women-owned businesses enjoy is also fertile territory for exploitation. After all, there are businesses that claim to be women-owned, but are only so in name. The system is already being exploited. It’s ridiculous to assume it would not gamed under an expanded regime.

If there is no standard to determine one’s sex, there is no way to determine if a man is fraudulently claiming to be a women simply for such an economic benefits.

The paradox that this creates has implications across other aspects of our lives, too.

Q: If I can determine my own sex, can I determine my own race?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: It’s about inherently who people are. 

This is where Petkanas’s argument veers into a dictate of what is and is not “inherent.” The implication is that he shall decide what is - and what is not - real. If sex is not inherent, then how can race be? How could any genetic characteristic would be?

And here is the danger in this type of argument.....

“In the end the party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”
— George Orwell, “1984”
The Daily Planet's Opinion: April 2017
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 10:31

Gladys Knight, husband give Canton terrific lift

We thank Gladys Knight (an Asheville-area resident and Motown Records legend) and her husband William McDowell (an entrepreneur and Canton native married to Knight since 2001) for their willingness to give back to —   and restore history for — Western North Carolina. 

Specifically, Knight and McDowell — in 2013 — purchased a dilapidated 20,000-square-foot segregation-era high school (listed in Haywood County property records as in “very poor” condition and adjoining 6.5 acres — located in the Gibsontown community southeast of downtown Canton — at auction for $80,000. 

The couple plans to turn it into a $5 million community center by 2019, if the Reynold High School Community Foundation meets its fundraising goals. To that end, the RHSCF announced in mid-February that the proposed Reynolds Community Center would provide childcare, exercise and performing arts facilities, a food pantry, substance abuse counseling and musical instruction. 

Of course, the musical offering is no surprise, given Knight’s multiple Grammy Awards and long-standing reign as “The Empress of Soul.” The peak of her singing career was in the mid- to late 1960s with Gladys Knight and the Pips, her iconic Motown soul group.

The foundation said it will be seeking grants and federal funding, sell pavers with the donor’s name inscribed on them, even (possibly) sell naming rights to parts of the facility and hold some charity concerts at which Knight would perform — most likely in the Asheville area, but her fundraising concerts for the center could possibly be national in scope.

We heartily agree with Canton Mayor Mike Ray’s recent assertion that “this would mean so much in bringing our communities together... and promoting it for all people.”



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