I shared a post on my Facebook wall on 1 March that signified my intention to remove myself from the sphere of gender politics. I am almost two weeks on from that, and after a process of evading Twitter and culling my Facebook notifications I realised this morning that my world is a better place without this being in my life.
My departure has been a long time coming, I’d been considering it for some months before the end of last year and with the completion of a fairly significant project I’d agreed to assist with, I was presented with an opportunity to find a natural indefinite break from this world.
The effect of being in a debate that is unrelentingly negative, vicious, rhetorically violent and presents arguments in black and white polarised terms, with a false dichotomy resulting in disagreement framed as hate, has had a deleterious effect on many of the things I care most about, and the associated personal cost is unacceptable.
Throughout my involvement in this, I have tried to motivate understanding, free and open discussion, and compassion; there is always another human being at the end of a computer screen and it seems to me this fact is too often lost from sight. The result is an undignified mess. As anyone who has ever met me will attest, my personal disposition is on the sunny side, and I like to live a full life that is fun and enjoyable. Involving myself in this debate has turned out to be incompatible with these simple values.
I don’t know how to ‘fix’ the problems that lie at the heart of the conflict that makes gender politics so toxic. I suspect wherever there is gender politics (or even gender), there will be toxicity. One thing I’m fairly certain of though is that this current vector of identity politics is part of a much larger vector of the regressive left, and ultimately I think that the regressive left will end up eating itself, there are so many reactionary and conflicting ideas which are foundational on something other than material reality, implosion is inevitable. I live for that day.
Being gender non-conforming is tough, society punishes us for this. It leads directly to the oppression and persecution of lesbians and other women and gay men, and promotes a culture that devalues the words, acts and lives of these in favour of men who perform whatever today’s concept of masculinity is. It is always about control. The concept of gender identity, or at least what we now call gender identity (which itself now seems a far cry from Stoller’s original conceptualisation) perhaps unintentionally underpins this hierarchy; it puts us all into an inescapable box. It seems folly to me for any progressive, liberationist or liberal to seek to legislate to protect gender identity when we could achieve a fairer, more tolerant and compassionate society by protecting gender non-conformity and do away with all the boxes. This would strike at the heart of so many structural problems and likely give both sides in this debate much of what they want.
I like to think I have done some good work and I’m proud of many of the things I have written and done, I certainly don’t regret anything other than the singular failure of the audience that I believe would most benefit from my words to engage with the ideas I tried to present. I don’t think this situation will remain so forever, and one day I think my work will find it’s intended audience, as sense and compassion triumphs over anger and rage. I have made, lost, and made and lost many generous, interesting and compassionate friends during my travels through this world. I wish you all the best, and I wish those of you who disagreed with and derided me to find your own peace.
As a final note, I’d like to recognise that it is my being male which allows me to be able to move away from this, and that it will remain mostly with women to argue and defend the views I support. Again, I don’t think this will be the case forever, and we will end up with a better world because of it.
13 March 2017
To see how utterly ridiculous the left has become, you only need to look at the adoration lavished by liberals/leftists and LGBT advocacy groups like Stonewall on men such as Danielle Muscato and Alex Drummond. In any political framework that acknowledges material reality, this level of outright stupidity is completely unsustainable.