Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson reportedly said he believes being transgender just "doesn't make any sense."
Carson, a successful neurosurgeon, told the Hill during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that being transgender is just like someone changing their ethnicity.
"For someone to wake up and think that they belong to a different sex because they feel different that day is the same as if you woke up and said, 'I'm Afghani today because I saw a movie about that last night, and even though my genetics might not indicate that, that's the way I feel, and if you say that I'm not, then you're a racist,'" Carson told the publication.
He then implied those who are transgender aren't using common sense.
"It's the same kind of situation," he told the Hill. "What we ought to do is utilize our brains, utilize our common sense as human beings. We've known what men are and what women are for thousands of years. So we don't know anything, everything is relative — this doesn't make any sense."
Carson's comparison isn't just insulting — it's completely inaccurate.
Carson made the mistake of viewing gender as if it only exists in two binaries: male and female. Many people are nonbinary. Meredith Talusan, a writer and trans woman, explained this in a June 2015 essay for the Guardian:
"Trans people transition in order to be the gender we feel inside and, while there may come a time when posers will appropriate trendy trans culture for profit, right now, there's no advantage to transitioning when you're not trans," Talusan wrote. "Trans people don't even have the legal protections — like laws that protect access to housing, public accommodation and employment opportunities — that black people and other racial minorities have fought so hard to win."
This shouldn't be hard to understand. It isn't neuroscience, after all.