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(For a thoroughly parent-friendly guide to explaining this issue to teens and preteens, see “Challenge 28″ at CriticalConversationsBook.com.)

It’s disturbing. It’s ridiculous. It’s mad. It’s hilarious. I don’t know whether to argue, laugh, or cry. All three, I think.

From The Hill via The Stream (hey, that was fun to write!):

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is expected in September to finalize regulations that would allow people to stay in homeless shelters based on the gender they identify with.

The reason, according to Human Rights Campaign government affairs director David Stacy, is to protect transgendered women from facing discrimination. Presumably he thinks discriminating on the basis of gender identity is a bad thing. Presumably he said this with a straight face.

To Laugh

Here’s the funny part: This HUD rule would discriminate on the basis of gender identity. It would commit the very error it’s intended to solve. It’s patently, hilariously mixed up.

Here’s why: Let’s suppose Terry, who has male genitalia, wants in to the shelter. Will Terry be admitted under these rules? It depends on whether Terry identifies as male or female. Terry’s right to access to these shelters will depend strictly on Terry’s gender identity.

And that, my friends, is discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Do you see it? The anti-discrimination regulation discriminates in precisely the manner it’s supposed to prevent. This isn’t just about the HUD rule: every regulation designed to eliminate that sort of discrimination through “equal access” is a joke!

Are you laughing? why not? Don’t rush through without taking the opportunity — it will do you good!

To Cry

But let’s be careful what it is we’re laughing at. Men whose gender identity matches their sex “assigned at birth” (that’s the PC way to say it) haven’t experienced the same pain as people whose gender doesn’t match their birth-assigned sex. True. I have great empathy with that pain, that dysphoria, and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to laugh at that part of it. That’s not what’s funny.

And it isn’t all that’s not funny. I’ve been a part of helping two women enter a shelter recently to escape abusive relationships with men. I’ve seen terror in their eyes. They wanted a safe place to be — with no men around, for a while at least. HUD’s rule would tell these traumatized women that if someone walked in the door who looked a lot like a man, but says he/she/ze/zir is a woman, they would damn well have to forget all the terrifying associations they’ve had with men, and accept “her” as one of them. And if they were to find that difficult, well, shame on them for being so intolerant!

Persons with gender dysphoria are not the only ones whose pain matters. I want to cry for the women who need an emotionally safe place to be for a while, and who would no longer be guaranteed one under this HUD rule.

To Argue

Back to the earlier point: it’s high time we quit taking all this garbage about “gender identity discrimination” so seriously. We’ve got ourselves so tied up in knots, trying to prove ourselves innocent of the 21st century’s highest crimes — discrimination and intolerance — we’ve forgotten how ridiculous people look when they try to pin those charges on us. Intolerant? Us? Look at them! Discriminatory? Us? They’re making regulations right and left with gender identity discrimination written right in them!

We conservatives have plenty of arguments against this madness. We need to keep them sharp. I’m arguing here, after all, along with the laughter and tears. But for all their common-sense reasonability, they haven’t been having near enough effect.

To Make a Difference

We ought never forget to cry over all the pain and confusion. We need to stand strong with our arguments.

But maybe we should learn to laugh over the policy madness, too. It may be the saddest joke on the planet, but it’s still a joke. And knows: maybe laughing at it would make a difference for a change.