Skip to main content

The Art of Stealing Valor: Neither Oppressed nor Marginalized

If transwomen are women, at what point does a person born male who identifies as a woman become a woman? What are the steps? Is it with surgery? Is it after a specific time on hormones? Is it just when he feels like it? What would a person born male and a person born female have in common that they can both be called women? If a person born male can be a woman, what does "woman" mean? Asking these questions is often portrayed as erasing trans people (meaningless) or transphobic. How do trans people benefit by redefining "woman" to include men? How are they hurt if we refuse? If someone is "hurt" by a reality they dislike or cannot accept how does it benefit society to pretend that our reality is different? It's a discourse for controlling discourse, and by extension for utilizing power to control our shared reality. 

What makes this especially perverse is that people with clear psychological delusions are having their delusions affirmed. By delusion I mean that there are a number of people who truly believe that it's possible to change sex through cosmetic surgery and pharmaceutical hormones. This comes with the expectation that the rest of us also take on and believe these delusions. This may sound especially harsh to anyone who hasn't questioned trans ideology, but "gender identity" is all in the mind of the individual. If a person feels that he "was born in the wrong body" that's an entirely psychological perception. No one is born in the wrong body. This is true whether the body is obese, underweight, disabled, tall, or short. Yet, we're led to believe that it is possible to be in the wrong body if one is born male or female and believe your sex is incorrect. 

Trans ideology/activism has been tied to the interests of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people while being used to undermine the interests of those with same sex attraction. The feeling that one's self perception is incompatible with biological sex is described as gender dysphoria. TRANSitioning through cosmetic surgery and cross sex hormones to live socially as the opposite sex was one treatment for dysphoria. The ideology now posits TRANS as an identity that one is born into, like being gay or Korean, not something done as a treatment for dysphoria. It's no longer necessary to have gender dysphoria to be trans. It's not clear what makes a person trans aside from saying that he is. Would it be wrong to suggest that one thing common to everyone trans is a degree of self-loathing? It's not an attack on trans people to suggest that if someone feels so uncomfortable in their skin that they need to change it through surgery and hormones they despise an aspect of who they are.
The reason that this matters is that trans activism isn't focused on challenging that self loathing. It's focused on fighting against reality to validate that self loathing. We are led to believe that this is the only way to support a marginalized group. It's the opposite. It's condescending and infantilizing. Would we do this with any other delusion? We don't say of people with body integrity identity disorder that "transdisabled people are disabled people." Not to mention that this is no marginalized group. Is membership in any other group one might call marginalized based on self identification? The idea that people who identify as trans are oppressed by society, rather than reality, is used to obscure that increasingly "the rights" claimed for trans people are in direct conflict with the rights and hard fought protections of other groups.

I have suggested repeatedly that trans activism works against the interests of trans people. Its function seems to be to turn public attention against trans people. This is the inescapable conclusion of considering the eventual consequences of the argument for "gender affirming therapy" for children, and the idea that transwomen belong in women's bathrooms and prisons.

There are no positive arguments for including transwomen in women's prisons or bathrooms. The ironic idea is that male spaces are so dangerous for transwomen, who are male, that they need to be included in women's spaces for their own safety. To ask about the danger those males pose to women is to be accused of transphobia. The implication is that one is accusing trans people of being sexual predators. It's not a stretch to suggest that sexual predators will self identify themselves into spaces with the women and children vulnerable to them. It has happened repeatedly in the US and the UK

A study of UK prisoners found that half of all transgender inmates were sex offenders or in highest security prisons. A 2019 prison survey found 1 in 50 males identified as trans, 2% of male inmates while .5% of the general population identifies as trans. A survey of police forces across the UK found that of those responding a majority record males as female if they identify as trans. This includes rapists. So when The Daily Mail reported in January 2021 that the number of female pedophiles had doubled in the UK one must ask if that's because of an increase in women predators or an increase in sexual predators identifying as women. It's not clear from news reports, since the media, like UK police forces, records how the predator identifies rather than their natal sex. One consequence of the ambiguity around prisoners and their gender identity is that some predators are released because judges are unsure where to send them.

I would personally want to clearly distinguish myself from people who may look like me who sexually prey on children. It's incredibly striking that trans activism is more interested in dismissing rather than clarifying the distinction. In the US, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to prevent a woman from learning how many male prisoners were housed in women's prisons. She also sought the number of female prisoners who identified as trans who had requested transfer to men's prisons. It seems that the ACLU is more concerned about the right of transwomen to be in women's prisons than the safety of women under state control.

Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes produced a segment on trans healthcare. It featured a number of detransitioners, in this case, people who had undergone transition with hormones and some degree of surgery who regretted the transition. A common theme of the detransitioners and several featured medical professionals was the ease at which patients were able to begin transition. 

One of the young women featured in the 60 Minutes piece, Grace, was interviewed on another platform about her conversation with her former doctor. The most striking thing about the conversation as she recounted was that doctors have no idea who should transition. In no other area of medicine are patients treated on the basis of their own self diagnosis. In the interview she contrasted her diagnosis for ADHD with the diagnosis of gender dysphoria which led to permanent physical changes:
It was a weird contrast to how it had been to be assessed and treated for ADHD. I had also gone to a doctor specifically because I thought I might have ADHD, just like I did with gender dysphoria, but in that case, they had a robust battery of tests that they did. When that was done, I had to wait until I had my eating disorder into remission until I got given any medication.
By contrast, my doctor asked me basically one question--
Her: Why do you want to transition?
Me: Being a woman isn't working for me anymore.
-- and then gave me an informed consent form to sign, and that was it. She diagnosed me with gender dysphoria based on my uninformed opinion. She also wrote me a letter for my double mastectomy five month in. No questions asked.
The tragedy of adult detransitioners will only be compounded by the number of children self identifying as trans and being given an experimental treatment regimen likely to leave them infertile. We can expect that the number of detransitioners will grow exponentially with the exponential growth of children having their gender affirmed. As those voices multiply the reaction of horror with what is happening to confused children will only grow stronger. The broad institutional capture of gender affirming therapy can only avoid the conclusions of medical professionals in Sweden and Finland and judges in the UK for so long. They all concluded that gender affirmation for children was unethical and should be avoided unless under very specific circumstances. The general public will eventually arrive at the same conclusion. If this happens before the institutional consensus does, medical transition bans for children may come to be seen as an incredibly minor political response to trans activism.


Popular posts from this blog

'Anti-racism', All Trap, No Honey: A Discourse About Discourse

One of the things that prevents me from writing more often is the sense that I'm just writing the same thing repeatedly from a slightly different angle. In a nutshell, all I'm saying is that moral idealism substituted for material goals will not lead to justice, but is an argument against materialism. I'm a dumb person's low rent Adolph Reed Jr. translator. I'm a "class reductionist" who understands that when the discourse is reduced to just class there's nothing as important as food, water and shelter that's left out. I often find myself contending with people who insist that there is, unable to name anything. They don't understand that they're making an argument against economic redistribution, or they don't care. There are no concrete manifestations of systemic racism or any oppression that are not dealt with through economic redistribution. When people say that economic redistribution won't end racism, what they mean is that

Anti-racism - Class = Status Quo: The Neoliberal Argument Against Coalition

I was approached a few months ago around the idea of collaborating to make the progressive case for reparations. I've said before that while the idea of reparations is morally appealing I don't believe in them as an immediate political project. It's not clear to me that it's possible to build a coalition around a reparative justice focused on just 13% of the population. Encouraged by a recent Twitter conversation that included economists Sandy Darrity and Darrick Hamilton where they suggested that saying reparations will never happen is cynical I've begun trying to think of them as an eventuality and lay out the steps to reaching them. Doing this has made clear that our understanding of reparations as a form of compensation to the descendants of the enslaved is not the reparative justice that we think it to be. If we were living with the kind of understanding of justice that made reparations possible we would not be a nation where war, healthcare, education, and cr

The Stories That Break Us, The Stories That Bind

Remember the mass shooter who planned and executed an attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando possibly because of his own unreconciled sexuality? It never happened. The mass shooting at The Pulse nightclub definitely happened, but the narrative around it was wrong from the start. I'm a poor consumer of mainstream news and still I was left with the erroneous impression that the sexual orientation of the victims was central to the event. It's understandable that even without consuming media one would conclude that this was an anti-gay hate crime. The victims were gay it happened in a gay nightclub. The story , like most of reality, is more complicated than the narratives we use to contain it. This illustrates the problem with a media more concerned with getting out the first just-so story that confirms our impressions and prejudices. It's worth pondering the ways in which this damages us. In the wake of the shooting, the media and public focused on certain details, many of which