Beyond Criticism

BY SAM WHITE

Earlier this week it was announced that the Conservative government is planning to make changes to gender identity rules, allowing people to change their birth certificate so that it records them as the sex of their choice, or even just assign themselves a biologically impossible X in place of boy or girl, all without consulting a doctor. Currently it’s necessary to have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and to have been in transition for at least two years, in order to record a change of sex. Under the new rules these requirements would be thrown out, redefining gender assignment as a non-medical personal choice.

This is sure to go down well with Conservative voters, who vote for the Conservatives because they believe in conservatism and want to conserve things. Things, perhaps, like science, women’s safety, and not pretending there are more than two genders because Miley Cyrus once declared herself pansexual.

But what are you going to do, start a petition? As it goes, a woman named Caroline Campbell did just that, on the 38 Degrees website, but within a day it was removed. Here are the website’s reasons for taking it down:

petition 1

Is Campbell an LGBT-discriminating hate monger? It certainly doesn’t look like it, if the entirely fair and relevant rationale she gave for the petition are anything to go by:

petition 2

Campbell later put up a new petition at change.org, where it is, at the time of writing, still accessible. But what does it say that 38 Degrees refused to carry it? It seems that anything prefixed with ‘trans’ or brightened up with a rainbow flag is beyond criticism. Because criticism has been recast as discrimination, labelled transphobic, and put in a box marked hate speech. It’s an authoritarian tactic which prevents open debate, policed by jobsworths who don’t know better, or who are afraid of being labelled as something-phobic themselves. You’ll see the same dynamic at play around discussions of Islam, where charges of hatefulness are levelled without restraint at even the most respected thinkers.

And what about the science behind transgender ideas, are the principles the movement wishes to enforce evidence backed? It doesn’t look like it. Humans are a sexually dimorphic species. Around 1% are born intersex, meaning they have an objectively recognisable combination of male and female physical characteristics. And an estimated 0.3% of the US population are transsexual. These are people who might undergo medical procedures to transition to the opposite sex, although genetics and reproductive abilities can never be altered.

The modern transgender movement’s reasoning is different, in that it isn’t concerned with medical or biological definitions, asserts that gender is merely a social construct, and proposes an ever increasing list of fantastically named gender categories. The assertion is that what they call gender identity—what you say you are—is distinct from and unrelated to biological sex, and that your gender identity trumps all else. At the same time, they’ve pushed the concept that gender is fluid, unfixed, and can fluctuate. You might be completely without gender, or perhaps you’re prone to switch unexpectedly, taking your pronouns with you. They insist that there are a multitude of genders, although there’s no agreement on how many. New York City has opted to legally recognise 31 different gender identities, which seems an entirely arbitrary number. How did they reach that consensus? Will they add more? What the hell does any of it mean?

We have YouTube activists like Riley J Dennis—who has constructed her very own science-free alternative universe—telling people it’s discriminatory if a straight man doesn’t want to have sex with a female-identifying man (which means, physically, a man). Biological imperatives don’t matter to Riley, since although the female-identifying man might appear a bit blokish, they say they’re a woman, so they are a woman, so they have a woman’s cock and balls. Incredibly, Dennis has no qualms about deploying accusations of transphobia to coerce straight people into having gay sex.

This dystopian corridor, in which turning down sex is a thought crime, is several million miles away from the original intent of the gay rights movement, which was about legal equality, liberation, and sexual freedom. That we should all be able to form whatever kinds of relations we like, with whomever we consensually choose, and that nobody should have the authority to interfere with that. It’s a noble, liberal cause which has greatly changed society for the better. But elements of the T now seem to have co-opted the LGB in order to bring about something altogether different.

Activists like Dennis might seem like cranks on the fringes, but the government’s proposed changes operate in complete agreement with their ideas. Deep rabbit holes of postmodern thinking, characterised by mind-wrenching absurdity, are being mainstreamed. Just think about some of the  logical extrapolations of the government’s proposals.

Male athletes will be able to compete in women’s sports. This is actually already happening in some places. A biological male won a women’s cycling contest in Arizona. Teenage girls in Alaska were beaten in competition by a male sprinter. Weightlifting has seen a similar story unfold. What reason is there to think that as objective gender categories are dissolved and unverifiable self-identifications become law, this won’t spread to all women’s sports, at every level? We’d then have nothing but male competition, while female athletes would be forced out of their own contests. It might not happen, but it absolutely could, and the logic of the changes proposed encourages it.

Or let’s imagine a man with criminal intentions, but who doesn’t like the idea of spending time behind bars if he gets caught. Given the choice, a women’s prison might seem like an easier option. Simple then, before embarking on any criminal endeavour, just fill in the necessary paperwork, choose to be female, or perhaps an enigmatic X, and should our progressively-minded con happen to get sent down, it will be to a women’s nick.

And who else might benefit? How about sex offenders? Women’s changing rooms, toilets, showers at the gym, saunas, all are immediately accessible to the man who has become—through the power of a single, unchecked announcement and nothing more—a woman. But of course, still, there’s nothing for women to worry about here. As Riley J Dennis and her allies will explain, those aren’t just any hairy bollocks, they’re a woman’s hairy bollocks.

Or is it all bollocks? Is it the uniquely puerile, irrational bollocks that only postmodernism can gestate and discharge, sparkling with glitter and rainbows, into a culture browbeaten into submission by a lifetime of progressive dogma?

You’ll probable notice something about the scenarios given above. While illustrating the precariousness of the entire transgender edifice they also show that on a practical level, dishonest men stand to benefit the most from the government’s proposals, and would do so at the expense of women. If these changes go through, then it’s women who get thrown under the bus, holding on to their fellow sacrifices, reason and reality.

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