I’ve recently found myself doubting any possibility of there being fair compromise or even middle ground between the rights being claimed by transgender activists, and the existing rights of children, women and homosexuals. This is as much to do with the coherence (or lack thereof) of transgender ideology (despite protests there is no one central ideology, I suggest there is a core belief and what follows from this is largely a matter of degree) as it is to do with the way this ideology is enforced, through silencing debate and now as we have seen, physical violence. My over-arching concern is that most of the negativity of transgender activism, from the colonisation of ‘female’ to the rampant sexism and fetishisation of womanhood pales into insignificance when we look at what transgender activism is doing to children.
The Core Beliefs of Transgender Ideology are Themselves an Obstacle to Compromise
The world of transgender is not a monolith, and there is a huge variety of personal and systemised beliefs, however these seem to follow from the following core beliefs which appear to me to be common to significantly most who claim to be transgender:
- We all have a ‘gender identity’ which is innate. This ‘gender identity’ can be at odds with the physical embodiment of our sex;
- This ‘gender identity’ has more weighting to our sex than the physical embodiment of our sex; and so it follows that
- ‘Trans women are women and trans men are men’.
The concept of ‘gender identity’ is of course just thoughts and feelings. Rebecca Reilly-Cooper has suggested gender identity is analogous to Wittgenstein’s ‘beetle in the box’ as it has no outward physical manifestation. As similarly argued in Nagel’s ‘How Does it Feel to be a Bat’, “our own mental activity is the only unquestionable fact of our experience”; all we can know is how it feels to be ourself. This is known as subjectivism. The claim to innate gender identity is equivalent to saying humans have a knowable state of whether they are male of female (I would suggest maybe through a dimorphic male/female brain) but this can be independent of biological sex. The corollary to this is that for transgender individuals, personality determines sex.
Philosophical analysis aside, the reality is that the concept of gender identity collapses into the statement ‘trans women are women’, and this is the foundation of most of their other claims to rights, spaces and validity. It is also the single most defended claim in transgender ideology, so much so that no debate is allowed:
This is not a coherent statement and, of course, we are not allowed to challenge the claims that make up this statement, and if we do we are ‘transphobic’. Statements like this are not isolated and they do, if anything, properly represent what has become mainstream ideology: ‘trans women are women, no debate’. The one pleasure I can draw from this idiotic reasoning is it allows me to again reiterate the words of John Stuart Mill and his influence, Harriet Taylor, from chapter two of ‘On Liberty’:
However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.
‘Trans women are women’ is dead dogma. Reading a little further could almost make one believe Mill anticipated the intellectual desert of transgender ideology:
Such persons, if they can once get their creed taught from authority, naturally think that no good, and some harm, comes of its being allowed to be questioned. Where their influence prevails, they make it nearly impossible for the received opinion to be rejected wisely and considerately, though it may still be rejected rashly and ignorantly; for to shut out discussion entirely is seldom possible, and when it once gets in, beliefs not grounded on conviction are apt to give way before the slightest semblance of an argument. Waiving, however, this possibility — assuming that the true opinion abides in the mind, but abides as a prejudice, a belief independent of, and proof against, argument — this is not the way in which truth ought to be held by a rational being. This is not knowing the truth. Truth, thus held, is but one superstition the more, accidentally clinging to the words which enunciate a truth.
If you can’t challenge or debate ideas, you can’t defend them, and this you end up not knowing why you believe what you do: transgender ideology is a faith-based position. Again Mill is our go-to:
If the intellect and judgment of mankind ought to be cultivated, a thing which Protestants at least do not deny, on what can these faculties be more appropriately exercised by any one, than on the things which concern him so much that it is considered necessary for him to hold opinions on them? If the cultivation of the understanding consists in one thing more than in another, it is surely in learning the grounds of one’s own opinions. Whatever people believe, on subjects on which it is of the first importance to believe rightly, they ought to be able to defend against at least the common objections. But, some one may say, “Let them be taught the grounds of their opinions. It does not follow that opinions must be merely parroted because they are never heard controverted. Persons who learn geometry do not simply commit the theorems to memory, but understand and learn likewise the demonstrations; and it would be absurd to say that they remain ignorant of the grounds of geometrical truths, because they never hear any one deny, and attempt to disprove them.”
The reality is that the fundamental problem with much transgender ideology is that it is intellectually indefensible and this is why questioning the central ideas are categorised as hate, thus making sure the intellectual well is well and truly poisoned. If you are categorising disagreement as hate (‘transphobia’): when your central claim is untouchable, unassailable, how can we possibly have any honest or productive discussion or debate? By bullying, ostracising and abusing apostates, isn’t this belief system taking on the characteristics of a religious cult?
Can Trans Women Be Women?
I’ve spoken about this a lot. I think that what it is to be ‘a woman’ is a whole life experience, based upon female reproductive biology and thus living in a world dominated by men. I don’t think that men who are born and male socialised can authentically experience ‘what it is to be a woman’; our authenticity is compromised because of our male biology and our socialisation. This is not a judgement, it’s an observation; we lack the fundamental biological experiences of what makes an adult female and we do not grow up as females in a world of men.
Of course, some of us have the self-awareness to attempt to deconstruct our male socialisation. Nonetheless, the corollary of this defeats any objective of ‘becoming a woman’; having reached that point where we can recognise how our lives are different to the lives of women, the insight we gain from this precludes us from making any claim to being a woman of any kind, rather we can see that the social context of ‘woman’ is based upon the sexism, objectification and oppression that women are born to endure, and that it is a crass appropriation for males socialised as men to emulate this.
Of course, some males are socialised as women and experience what it is like to be a woman in a words dominated by men, these women are those born with CAIS (complete androgen insensitivity syndrome); they are perceived as female throughout their lives even though they are chromosomally male and lack a female reproductive system. CAIS women are a great example of how ‘gender identity’ is unlikely to be innate. These women usually find their shocking truth in their teenage years, having lived and been perceived as girls and women since birth. Instances of CAIS women becoming transgender males are rare.
Why we can’t have nice things
The axiom of transgender ideology is that ‘trans women are women’ and this is unassailable. In the real world, the effect of this is to mean that males should be granted rights as females even though they are males who are sexually oriented towards females and usually have a functioning male reproductive system (a PENIS).
What could possibly go wrong, other than convicted rapists being put into the female prison estate, or predatory males gaining access to vulnerable women in accommodation for victims of sexual abuse? This happens, and it’s a direct result of laws based on the liberal fancy and fantasy of gender identity. We also have a new wave of testosterone-fuelled younger transgender activists who cannot defend their arguments who instead rely on violent rhetoric and abuse instead of a coherent argument.
It is a huge problem in that the price of bringing representatives of the transgender ideological position to debate is often set as the presupposition that ‘trans women are women’. This position is dogma, and it is impossible to have a fair discussion about the rights conflict of women and transgender males without recognising differences.
Women are being put in an unfair position by males who are claiming to be women despite having benefitted from living a good proportion of their lives as men. There is not just an absense of commonality of experience, there is an absense of reality and, ironically, empathy; for men who seek to become what they love, they sure don’t give two fucks about women. This ideology is being used to attack women and instrumentalise women against each other. What more evidence does anyone need to how malignant the men’s sexual rights activism of transgenderism is?
I’m going to be bold here and present this as a solution, mainly as I’ve written, talked and argued about how to fix transgender ideology incessantly for years. We need to recognise that:
- human beings are sexually dimorphic mammals;
- ‘transwomen’ are biologically male (if we aren’t, then what do we transition from/to?);
- human beings are subjected to sex-based socialisation which begins at birth (what does this say about transwomen who cannot accept this?);
- the lives of transwomen are different to the lives of women (by this I mean women born women, again what does this say about transwomen who cannot accept this?); and
- rape and death threats directed at lesbians and other feminists are wholly unacceptable.
- disagreement is not hate, on the contrary, it is how our ideas and communities evolve;
- where there is disagreement, please stop ‘poisoning the well’ by making accusations of genocide or other histrionics;
- lesbians are not bigots for declining males as sexual partners, whether pre- or post-operative;
- we need debate and this be based on facts, not lies about suicide rates and ideation, or murder rates; and
- transgender activism must stop instrumentalising children and in particular young lesbians.
We need to have this conversation. We need to get past the bullies and the bigots. Let’s make it happen.