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.