Call It What You Won’t

As profoundly weird as it is, I was not all that surprised to see that the Boy Scouts have finally relented and are allowing “transgender boys” to join the organization; by “transgender boys,” of course, they mean, “girls who believe they are boys.” Admitting girls into a social group that by definition excludes them seems to be a bit of a stretch, though we should not rule out the possibility that the Scouts are just trying to make up for a recent precipitous decline in membership.

The transgender movement is an odd one, not necessarily because of its pathology—it is a delusion, and a heartbreaking one at that, but there are many heartbreaking delusions out there. Transgenderism’s unique place in the our socio-political hierarchy stems primarily from the privileges it is accorded: no other mental illness is so celebrated, so revered, and indulged on so massive a scale. The Boy Scouts’ capitulation is not even the worst of it. Consider this news out of Great Britain:

Guidance put together by the doctors’ union the British Medical Association (BMA) says that using the term ‘mothers’ could upset intersex and transgender men.

The advice was part of an internal document to staff outlining a raft of common phrases that should be avoided for fear of causing offence.

On pregnancy and maternity, it says: ‘Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas about the roles of women and men.

‘Though they have shifted over time, the assumptions and stereotypes that underpin those ideas are often deeply-rooted…’

‘We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers’.’

To be perfectly fair, it is commendable to want to accommodate, to the greatest degree reasonably possible, people with biological abnormalities like those who were born “intersex.” Just the same, there is a real patronizing condescension at work here: the assumption that intersex individuals—-who, by some estimates, make up one-half of one-tenth of one percent of the population—are incapable of understanding or accepting the reasoning behind the widespread usage of the term “expectant mothers,” an idiom which refers to what philosopher Peter Kreeft calls a “truth about the species” rather than a “quirk of the specimen.” Do we believe those with intersex conditions are so outrageously fragile that they can’t understand why we would use such a term to describe all but a categorically minuscule number of pregnancies?

That being said, it is the deference to transgender ideology that is truly astonishing here—the idea that we must modify our socio-scientific language in order to conform to a psychological illness. In individual, extreme cases—wherein a doctor has decided that a “transgender” patient’s delusions should be indulged rather than ameliorated—you could understand such an impulse. As an industry-wide policy it is absurd on its face. Women get pregnant. Men do not. This is as well-known and ironclad a scientific fact as any, and as such it is not open for any real debate, political or otherwise, at least not without engaging in a kind of wild anti-scientific quack mysticism.

As with those of abortion, the politics of transgenderism demand a kind of outright rejection of scientific fact in favor of little more than literal fantasy. As always, the immediate victims of this flight of fancy are the mentally ill men and women whose illnesses are being indulged by a silly and reckless social craze. Yet victimized as well are two other important things: rational discourse and even, as we see in Great Britain, scientific integrity. Who would have thought that, in the second decade of the 20th century, the phrase “Men can’t get pregnant” would become both a political scandal and a challenged scientific assumption? And who will dare to predict what absurdities will come next?

One comment

  1. Robert Riley

    Just as every hospital worth its salt, as the saying goes, previously tripped over themselves to be seen to be a “Centre of Excellence” in “Women’s Health” or “Breast Assessment” or “Women’s Mental Health” or a few other areas of health care services that feed into current trends, mark my words there will soon be the rush by hospitals in big and smaller cities alike to be seen to be a “Centre of Excellence” in “Transgender Health.” My own local hospital has a plethora of signage and arrows pointing the way to the “Breast Workup Clinic.” Do women really … relate to this in any way? Or do most women quietly think to themselves, “I don’t want anyone ‘working up’ my breasts.”

    The observant among us will, of course, note that few if any hospitals seem particularly interested in identifying themselves as a Center of Excellence in Men’s Health, Men’s Mental Health, or even the more work-a-day cases that make up the VAST majority of what hospitals do and the types of patients/cases they see.

    My local hospital has been on a kick for a couple of years now to promote how “inclusive” they are, how “multicultural” they are, and how “LGBT friendly” they are. I don’t happen to think there is anything wrong with BEING inclusive, multicultural or LGBT friendly in a public hospital environment: What I take issue with is the apparent need or desire to talk about it, advertise it, broadcast it, hold press conferences about it, put up posters to proclaim in, where badges and ribbons to “raise awareness” about it, and blah blah blah blah blah. It’s a large regional hospital (400 beds) in a small semi-rural city (pop. 80,000) that is 95%+ white, Judeo-Christian background, and heterosexual. It’s a bit comical, to me, to see/hear the local hospital waxing poetic about how hip to the times they are when … really … having a single black doctor, a pharmacist who wears a hijab, and Lucas the flamboyant gay receptionist that EVERYBODY knows doesn’t really add up to particularly multicultural or, frankly, much of anything other than what it should be … a group of hospital employees who are doing their jobs competently.

    *Oh, and while I described the hospital as “large regional” and the city as “small semi-rural,” combined with certain other comments, I know – for a fact – that if I were to make such a comment in the local newspaper (they’ve blocked all commenting about two years ago in order to shut down opinion that disagreed with their editorial positions), for example, the faux outrage would be so predictable and comical: There would be the hospital “public relations” dept or “Vice President” of something or other writing to the newspaper to “clarify” the hospital’s stature, structure, and importance – they will want to clarify, for example, that it isn’t just a large regional hospital but, rather, a world class centre of “health” … blah blah blah … Then there would also be someone like the hospital “Vice-Chair, Equality & Inclusiveness Committee” who would need to chime in with a list of just how many employees AND volunteers at the hospital “identify” as X, X, and X, and finally there would be certain city officials and others who would need to re-affirm (to themselves) that this is NOT a “rural” or even “semi-rural” city .. it is a “hub of innovation, blah blah blah” with an orchestra, and music festival and big city this and that .. and just happens to be located in the middle of thousands of square miles of rural and wilderness landscape. Well .. to further clarify … that all assumes that anyone even has the time and/or the local newspaper has the space … because around these parts it is 24/7 “raising awareness” and run, jump, walk, row your boat, walk the fashion runway, cut your hair, sit in a chair, “challenge,” dance, “take back the night,” and whatever other spectacles people can do to be attention whores under the guise of “making a difference” or charity work. Heck … this is the city where a group of ADULT MEN picked up some garbage along a community trail and had to have the local media along to “report” on it.