Facts Be Not Proud

Bizarre socio-political and pop culture trends tend to spread only when nobody really questions them. This is why, for example, we have a deeply stupid and expensive system of employer-provided health insurance in this country, and also why Country Crock was so insanely popular for a long period of time. Nobody ever stops to think, “Hey, is this even a good idea? Why do we do this?”

The same is true of transgenderism, which thrives upon—indeed, which is built almost entirely upon—a populace that is either uninterested in (or else fearful of) questioning the orthodoxies of transgender philosophy. I belabor this point on this blog from time to time, only because it feels somewhat important as both a political and a cultural matter: there is no other phenomenon that I am aware of, other than perhaps Biblical creationist fundamentalism, that is so hostile to logic and factual inquiry.

(Even that, however, is an inapt analogy, because creationists are nowhere near as monomaniacal and aggressive as are transgender activists; even at their “worst,” Biblical fundamentalists almost always ask that, in the public sphere, their beliefs be taught alongside of evolutionary biology rather than in place of it. Transgender activists can brook no such compromise: to them, teaching medical facts in the way they were taught universally up until about six months ago constitutes nothing less than a Nazi-level hate crime event.)

I thought about this deliberate hostility to logics, facts and rational inquiry when I read a dispatch from the Daily Wire that addressed “what it means to be transgender.” At its heart this is the most necessary question surrounding the transgender phenomenon: what does it mean to be transgender—how do you define transgenderism? The Daily Dot does so in the following way:

Gender identity is the innate, internal understanding that one has of their own gender. It’s the subconscious realization that one is a man, a woman, or doesn’t fit neatly into either of those categories.

Traditionally, Americans have treated sex and gender as interchangeable terms, but they do not describe the same things. Whereas “gender” refers to how one perceives themselves, “sex” describes the physical build of a person’s body. A transgender person’s gender does not align with their assigned sex at birth.

Here is the fundamental untenable conceit of transgenderism writ large. Notice that the Daily Wire‘s definition of transgenderism draws a strict demarcation between “gender identity” and “sex;” the former is a perception, while the latter is a physical fact. If this is true—and this is as good a distillation of transgender theory as any—then it fundamentally makes no sense. How, after all, could a “perception” ever align (or mis-align) with physical fact, particularly when the perception and the physical fact “do not describe the same things?” Put another way: imagine you heard someone say, “My gender identity doesn’t match my earlobes,” or, “My self-perceived gender doesn’t line up with my wrist muscles.” These two things are not merely different by degrees; they are different by qualitative categories. You can’t match up two radically dissimilar concepts, nor, consequently, could they ever be “not aligned!”

The Wire goes on to point out that some scientific studies point to a physiological component to the transgender experience: “A transgender man’s and a cisgender man’s brain structures mirror each other in important ways, and the same goes for trangender women and cisgender women.” But this does not address the confusion surrounding transgenderism, it deepens it. If “sex” and “gender” indeed do not describe the same thing,  after all, then a neuroscientific explanation of gender still does not address the fundamental irreconcilability of the two categories; nor does it explain why one physical component (brain structure) should take precedent over another (phenotypical sexual characteristics).

It is mildly maddening to attempt to discuss this stuff, chiefly because it is, from the start, an absurdist pseudo-theory presented as scientific fact. The crazier and less reality-based a cultural phenomenon is—and the more institutional and cultural support it has, as is increasingly the case with transgenderism—the harder it is to confront it with any degree of effectiveness. Imagine someone came up to you and said, “Clouds aren’t actually  made of water; they’re made of quacky ducks and cotton candy farts.” How would you engage such a person, someone whose train of logic is so demonstrably divorced from reality that they believe that? Moreover, how would you fight against such a perception if, increasingly, colleges and celebrities and politicians and media figures all, one by one, began to accept the quacky-duck-and-cotton-candy-fart theory of cloud formation? Where do you start chipping away at such an impenetrable brick wall?

The ideal scenario would be this: most people (who, in their heart of hearts, probably know better anyway) will slowly but eventually become deeply embarrassed at championing such an obviously false proposal, and—bit by bit—public and private support for such claptrap will eventually fade, like the mystical movements of the early 20th century or the denim crazes of the early 21st. But it may take a while yet, particularly when you consider both the militancy of cultural progressivism and the shrieking media chorus that swells every time a parent has misgivings about his little girl going into a bathroom with a grown man. In any event, I invite any of my readers who are on board the transgender train an opportunity to convince me, in the comments section of this post, that the transgender theory described by the Daily Wire actually makes even the slightest bit of sense. If you can do so, I’ll dedicate an honorary blog post to you as congratulations—a dubious honor, to be sure, but nonetheless you’re welcome to print it out, frame it, and show it off to your grandkids some day.

17 comments

  1. David

    Hmmm, it is with some hesitation that I approach this subject, primarily because I am so unenthusiastic about people who are willing to undergo radical surgical procedures in order to achieve some simulacrum of resemblance to the sexual identity with which they wish themselves to be identified. In addition, there is the fact that I hesitate to associate myself with any particular “train” of adherents to an ideology, such labels tend to evoke the stereotype of lemmings rushing towards a cliff.

    I find it much easier to accept a transvestite than someone who puts themselves under the knife for emotional rather than physiological needs. I would like to think that transgenderism would be markedly reduced if society were more tolerant of the multitudinous differences in behavior in the human species but that is merely opinion on my part. Anyway, given my position as what might be described as a social libertarian, I’ll take a stab at justifying transgenderism. Note: many of the links I provide are to secondary as opposed to primary sources. In virtually all of those instances, the articles I cite have links to more primary sources & studies than I could readily link to in this response. Once I found that many of the primary sources I found were included in those articles along with other links to scholarly studies I felt it would be more convenient to link the articles than directly to the studies since this topic has been discussed Ad Nauseum in so many forums.

    While there are a significant number of physical variations of the dominant bi-polar division of the sexes. Physical differences & psychological differences do not necessarily coincide. There are numerous studies that indicate significant differences in brain function between the common heterosexual individuals & individuals who identify themselves as LGBTQ. Of course one could argue that discernable & definable physiological differences doesn’t mean that it should be socially or legally acceptable. There is also a good body of evidence that in at least some instances psychopathic behavior is associated with brain function. Just because there is a physiological basis for someone’s behavior doesn’t mean it should be sanctioned by society. However, in the case of transgenderism, I do not see that the typical trans individual should be considered a danger to society. A danger to some people’s concepts of proper behavior perhaps. No doubt some individuals may be annoying at times (but then aren’t we all?) but not a danger to the ability of others to live their lives without hindrance.

    Regarding the bathroom issue. Most of the concern here seems to be about the risk of a trans individual abusing our daughters. I can’t help but note the similarities between this argument & the arguments against racial integration. Let’s face it, one of the most effective tactics in opposition to racial integration was in stoking the fear that our white daughters might become attracted to & have sex with black boys.

    First, I want to point out that the evidence that exists for abusive bathroom behavior on the part of men does not provide any substantial evidence that these predators are LGBTQ individuals. There will always be too many instances of sexual predation but there is little evidence that the incidence of pedophilia & predation has a higher incidence among the LGBTQ community than it has in the population as a whole. Sexual predation often has little to do with sexual desire & everything to do about power. Realistically, the male trans individual is much less likely to abuse your daughters than he is likely to be abused by men when going to the men’s bathroom. Of course, in all of the fear mongering, there is no mention of LGBTQ women going to the men’s bathroom because that would not incite the same level of fear.

    There are already numerous laws on the books that exist to protect people from sexual predators. Bathroom laws just make no sense because, realistically, how would the authorities even go about strictly enforcing such laws? Are we going to have chromosomal checks at bathroom doors? Heck, I’ll even admit that once or twice in my life I’ve used a ladies room (with a lockable door) in an emergency when the men’s room was dysfunctional in some way. It wasn’t that I was looking to assault anyone. If anything the opposite since the potential smell if I didn’t get to the bathroom in time would have been an assault on anybody nearby. Pardon my poor sense of humor but so long as the person using the bathroom isn’t making a nuisance of themselves beyond someone’s being upset by their mere existence how much does it really matter? I realize that most of us consider the discharge of bodily waste to be something best performed in private. I agree, & so long as the people doing so are not invading the privacy of other bathroom users I think we should not pursue this issue any longer. Do you really think making Kaitlyn Jenner use the men’s bathroom in the bar is going to significantly improve the safety of women?

  2. David

    I’m not sure why “shame” should have anything to do with this conversation except as an attempt at enforcing a particular set of values but, upon a 2nd reading of your post, I realize that I addressed the wrong question. Your question really has nothing to do with transgenderism. Your question has little to do with self-perception vs physical reality. You are really just engaging in semantics. I made a mistake in responding with references to scientific data about brain function when your concern was about word usage.

    Your concern is primarily with the fact that the terms gender and sex aren’t truly interchangeable. It is comparable to the usage of the terms race & ethnicity. These are terms that are often used interchangeably but they do not have identical meaning. Race refers to a set of physical & genetic characteristics that are associated with people with different geographical origins. Ethnicity refers to a social group that shares a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like. The two terms can be used interchangeably but they do not have the same meaning. Similarly gender is not the exact same thing as sex. Gender can refer to the physical characteristics but it also refers to ones sense of identity in terms of common societal norms. These are norms that have changed across cultures and across time. Native American men wore more make-up than Native American women & were not thought in any way less masculine for doing so.

    So, allowing that you appreciate that gender & sex are not 100% interchangeable terms, you next pose the question to “explain why one physical component (brain structure) should take precedent over another (phenotypical sexual characteristics)”. I agree, why should phenotypical sexual characteristics take precedence over brain function? Why should either take precedence? So long as the individual who feels a tension between the two isn’t denying other people their rights who cares how they express it? Furthermore, if they decide that changing phenotypical sexual characteristics will help them feel as if their brain structure & phenotypical sexual characteristics are more in alignment & the marketplace is willing & able to accommodate the change, why should there be restrictions in making changes that still conform to what is generally acceptable in society? (I only throw in the last qualifier because of my concerns about people who want to express more unusual identities – nothing sexual but click at your own risk).

    • Daniel Payne

      You have failed again—rather than offer a coherent practical or scientific explanation for transgenderism, you have simply engaged in feel-good sophistry: “Hey, if it’s not hurting anyone, what does it matter?”

      In a rare but necessary turn of events, Trial of the Century will be placing your name on the wall of shame *twice!*

      (Also, I never proposed any “restrictions” on anything. For goodness’s sake, for the thousandth time: read my blog posts carefully before you comment on them.)

  3. David

    Daniel, my 1st post provided a scientific explanation for transgenderism based on differences in brain function. My 2nd post provided an explanation on the differences between the terms gender & sex. The critical sentence in your blog post is: ” If “sex” and “gender” indeed do not describe the same thing, after all, then a neuroscientific explanation of gender still does not address the fundamental irreconcilability of the two categories; nor does it explain why one physical component (brain structure) should take precedent over another (phenotypical sexual characteristics).”

    I address all the issues that you raise with facts. Your claim: “then a neuroscientific explanation of gender still does not address the fundamental irreconcilability of the two categories” does not make sense. It would appear that you are engaging in circular reasoning whereby you will not accept that there might be more than 2 categories because by definition there are only 2 categories. Perhaps it is a case such as that encountered by the kittens who couldn’t see horizontal lines because they were raised in an environment with only vertical lines?

    You don’t dispute my facts you just claim failure on my part because you don’t like the outcome. If you are incapable of accepting the fact that the universe isn’t the way you would like it to be then perhaps we have no basis for conversation.

    • Daniel Payne

      Good grief, David, you did absolutely no such thing as “address all the issues…with facts.” Your first post was, in true David form, a rambling, incoherent run-on of an argument that made a very vague and half-hearted gesture towards physiological transgenderism (while referencing intersex, which isn’t even transgenderism!) before inexplicably delving into the bathroom issue—which wasn’t a main or even tertiary point of my original argument!

      Your second post was a rehashing of the linguistic transgenderism argument with a grand finish of, “If it makes them feel good, they should do it.”

      It took some effort to discern what your arguments even were, given that you dress them up with so much endless and needless rambling. In any event, no: you didn’t address anything and you failed to even remotely explain the nonsense of transgenderism. You’re going on the wall of shame three times now.

  4. David

    You can critique my writing style if you like but perhaps what is really needed here is a clarification of exactly what is your question regarding transgender? I suspect that a good many of our communication challenges are due to the differences in paradigm. We all make assumptions about a great many things regarding the world around us. By the nature of them being assumptions we often don’t even realize we are making them but then we wonder why other people around us seem so dense. Several times in our conversations I have questioned if we were even talking about the same subject. Perhaps that is the case here. Are you just claiming that transgender doesn’t (or shouldn’t) exist? Are you saying that it doesn’t make sense for someone to be in a body of one sex & feel like they should be in a body of the other sex? Are you complaining that people shouldn’t feel the way that some people apparently feel? Is it just a matter that you believe that, in spite of our variation of experience, we should all conform to a limited set of expressions as defined by your interpretation of Catholic doctrine?

    • Daniel Payne

      As I wrote above, the most necessary question regarding transgenderism is “how do you define transgenderism?” I used the Daily Wire’s definition, a definition that is espoused by the transgender advocacy movement more or less as a whole. My point was that that definition, and the basic logical edifice underpinning transgender theory along with it, is meaningless nonsense that no serious person does or else should believe.

      You’ve been reduced to asking what “subject” we’re talking about because you’ve been utterly unable to satisfactorily answer the question I posed. If you have some better answer than the ones you’ve given, you haven’t provided it. In any event, I’m done discussing this with you—you’ve had more than your fair share of my time. And you’re going up on the wall of shame not four but five times now, just for good measure.

    • Daniel Payne

      As I wrote above, the most necessary question regarding transgenderism is “how do you define transgenderism?” I used the Daily Wire’s definition, a definition that is espoused by the transgender advocacy movement more or less as a whole. My point was that that definition, and the basic logical edifice underpinning transgender theory along with it, is meaningless nonsense that no serious person does or else should believe.

      You’ve been reduced to asking what “subject” we’re talking about because you’ve been utterly unable to satisfactorily answer the question I posed. If you have some better answer than the ones you’ve given, you haven’t provided it. In any event, I’m done discussing this with you—you’ve had more than your fair share of my time. And you’re going up on the wall of shame not four but five times now, just for good measure.

  5. David

    Daniel, I am not certain why you are so intent on using “shame” as a form of proscription. Shame is primarily used as a form of external control whereas Western though relies more heavily on the internal control of “guilt.” Why do you feel the need to control my expression?

    That being said, & understanding that you will not reply to this but at least you may actually read it for yourself, I see now that the reason I was unable to provide a satisfactory answer was as I expected, I misunderstood your intent because it made no sense to me. Although there may be some observable scientific characteristics associated with the phenomena, transgenderism is not the result of a scientifically quantifiable condition. It is primarily an emotional condition.

    While I understand that there is a vein of thinking in Conservative thinking that believes it appropriate to try & control peoples emotions & thoughts, controlling peoples thinking doesn’t make their thoughts go away. At best it just accomplishes repression & invariably repressed thoughts & feelings will always find some way to manifest, usually in unhealthy ways s.a. pedophile priests

    • Daniel Payne

      I feel obliged to point out that in your earlier post you claimed that you “provided a scientific explanation for transgenderism based on differences in brain function.” Now you’re arguing that “transgenderism is not the result of a scientifically quantifiable condition.” You just earned yourself a lifetime pass to the Wall of Shame!

      • David

        lol, Actually I do admit that it would have been more accurate to state that there are scientifically observable attributes that may be associated with transgenderism rather than a scientific explanation along the lines of: if such & such conditions are present then transgender will result.

        I think (& as I implied in my last post & similarly to what Kelly states) it would be more accurate to claim that transgender would occur as a result of a disconnect between phenotypical sexual characteristics & an internal sense of gender identity. Referring to your comment to Kelly, you seem to believe that it is not possible for an internal sense of gender identity to exist separate from one’s external sense of self. Clearly this is not the case or transgender would not exist. I could offer an explanation for transgender based on reincarnation but your religious dogma does not allow for that so I will not mention it further.

  6. Kelly Kapoopski

    I went back and reread the Daily Wire definition, expecting and half-remembering it to be nonsensical, but it is actually pretty clear. Let’s examine its first assertion, and some of your assumptions. Do you think that people generally have an internal sense of gender (I am a man, I am woman) that exists without the feedback from society or from the reflection in the bathroom mirror?

    • Daniel Payne

      No, I don’t believe that people generally have an “internal sense of gender,” anymore than people have an “internal sense” of being human. Like the old man said in The Road: “I don’t guess you would know it. You’d just be it.”

      In any event, by referring to “feedback from society” and “the reflection in the bathroom mirror,” you seem to be already straying from the Wire’s definition of transgenderism, which holds that gender is “innate,” “subconscious” and “internal,” i.e. unconnected to external feedback and/or physical considerations. Unless I’m mistaken in what you’re arguing.

      • Kelly Kapoopski

        You might be misunderstanding me; I agree that the DW’s definition states that a sense of gender is innate, and ideally free of external pressures (I imagine most activists would say that society CAN influence one’s sense of gender, but that this is unhealthy and contributes to one repressing one’s true identity).

        No, I’m actually asking about you. Perhaps wrongly, I assume that you think there are gender identities, but they more or less are informed by what you see when look between your legs. The point of the question was to see if you thought that there was something more innate to that sense, to see if you if you thought that men, inherently, “just feel like men.”

        • Luke

          So, allow me to stipulate from the get-go: the term “man” denotes a biological male, who we refer to as he/him; “woman,” biological female, she/her. These are just words we use to reflect hard truths, of which sex is one. The sticking point of the transgender argument—at least for me—is that I’m “supposed” to refer to a biological male as “she” because he wants me to. Since words matter, I will not do this, as it is categorically wrong. In the interest of comity, I would be open to not referring to this man as *anything,* if that would keep the peace. But, if pressed, I would not lie and join in the delusion and call him a woman. That’s my hangup.

          More to your point, I’ve always been confused as to what an “innate sense of gender” means. The argument goes that “gender” is entirely constructed, and thus all the sex-specific trappings of being “male” or “female” are bogus and we exist solely on one continuum of human behavior that is non-binary and indiscriminate. Ok, cool, whatever, let’s run with that; there’s nothing “innate” to being male or female. Why, then, do people still eventually “transition” to a different gender? What does that even mean? Aren’t you just abetting the same loathsome binary? If I’m a guy, and I say, “Nah, I’m actually a woman,” what makes me say that? Do I like cooking and nail polish and watching Soap Operas? So I must be a woman because that’s what women do? Well, that’s weird, right? That’s kinda just indulging in the same constrictive stereotypes that I thought we were railing against.

          Or I could be a man and say, “I like potatoes, and ink pens, and ceiling fans. So I’m a woman.” Ok, why? How does *that* make you a woman? We haven’t even gendered those things, so I’m not sure how this is evidence of, well, anything, except you like random shit.

          My point is, if literally nothing is inherently male and nothing inherently female, how the hell is anyone anything? What does is *mean* when a man says he’s a woman? He either says that because he feels inherently compelled to do things that are “womanly” (which we can’t acknowledge as “womanly,” because that’d be reactionary, right?) or because he just *is* a woman, even if there’s nothing to buttress that, even by our current narrow-minded standards. But, if that’s the case, why “be” a woman? Just be a person.

          It just seems to me that the only sensible goal of the transgender movement is simply to dissolve gendered distinctions entirely. Wouldn’t anything else just reinforce a binary?

          Also, how do you feel about transracialism? Is there any compelling argument against racial fluidity that doesn’t totally undermine transgenderism? I don’t see how there could be, but I’d like to hear someone try and make one.

        • Daniel Payne

          Ah okay I gotcha. No, I do not believe there are “gender identities.” I think it’s a concept that was developed to bolster silly and/or dangerous activism rather than reflect actual facts.

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