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?