The British musician Sam Smith recently announced that he “feels just as much woman as he is man.” Well, okay, then. It seems like it was enough just a few short years ago that Smith’s hit single about a one-night stand with another man was transgressive enough for everyone. But these are heady times: it isn’t enough for Sam Smith to merely have the sexual preferences of women, his “gender identity” now has to encompass womanhood as well. Neat trick.
I’m not quite sure what this means in practical terms, but it seems like it might turn primarily on Sam Smith dressing up in high heels every once in a while—because, y’know, that’s what women do. In truth, Smith himself doesn’t really seem to understand his newly-announced woman-ness; “I don’t know what the title [for it] would be,” he says. At Teen Vogue, a magazine whose chief contribution to public discourse in the past year has been instructing thirteen-year-olds on how to stick things in their rectums, Brittney McNamara explains how we should interpret Smith’s nameless “gender identity:”
Sam Smith said he’s “as much woman” as he is a man in a recent interview. While it’s great that Sam felt comfortable opening up about his gender, he was clear that he doesn’t have a title for exactly how he identifies — in fact, he used those exact words.
“I don’t know what the title would be, but I feel just as much woman as I am man,” he said to the Sunday Time [sic]. Yet after the interview was published, Refinery29 points out that many were quick to label Sam’s gender identity, despite his clarity that he doesn’t have a label for it.
“That would all be fine if he had ever actually said he identifies as non-binary,” Kasandra Brabaw wrote for Refinery29 about publications saying Sam identifies as non-binary. “But Smith actually explicitly says in the interview that he isn’t sure of what label he’d use for his gender identity. And if he’s not ready to use a label, we should definitely not be forcing one on him.”
I guess that makes sense, at least by the logic of gender ideology, which thrives on this kind of incoherent resistance to rational discourse. Though on that note, it’s worth pointing out that, in the Sunday Times interview, the word “gender” is not mentioned even once. So why assume that Smith is even referring to “gender identity?” Maybe he doesn’t even have a gender identity, and his feeling like a “woman” is simply some other internal quality unrelated to gender. Why force a label on him?
I kid—but only very slightly. The same impulse that leads a man to declare that he “feels just as much a woman as a man”—the same relentless desire for ever-more-transgressive and ever-less-explicable ontological radicalism—also drives gender ideology to invent increasingly meaningless and incoherent ways of explicating itself. I think very soon the idea of “gender identity” itself will become too limiting, too constrictive for an activist base whose chief political aims are obfuscation and incomprehension. Within a few years it is conceivable that transgenderism—the idea that a man can “identify” as a woman, say—will very likely be dismissed by large swaths of the LGBT community as an outmoded and bigoted concept. I’ll bet money on it—hell, I’ll set up a PayPal to take bets.
I recently had a discussion with an eminent and respected psychiatrist who has dealt with this phenomenon for decades now. His own estimation was that it is little more than a psychiatric craze (“This happens once every 20 to 25 years,” he told me) that will eventually fade away as its self-evident absurdities become obvious to more people. I think that’s probably right. Just the same, it is a reckless ideology that can wreak a lot of havoc in peoples’ lives before it finally fades to dust. In a staggering interview at 4thWaveNow, a mother (a self-described “liberal, progressive, feminist parent”) shares a glimpse of the insanity she witnessed as her daughter considered “transitioning” to a “man:”
At my daughter’s request, we went to the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, where we met Jazz Jennings and ate pizza with hundreds of transgender kids and their parents. Dinner conversations between parents were clearly divided between stories of natal boys who’d “always been this way,” who “always liked pink” or sparkly princess dresses; who liked to play with dolls and wanted to wear nail polish, and born-girls who, on the cusp of puberty, often friendless, suddenly came out as “trans.” My daughter made a lot of new friends that night, some of whom now, two years later, have been on testosterone for a number of years; some have had mastectomies…
Ultimately, what brought her to the realization that she is not “in the wrong body” (about two years later), were endless, ongoing conversations about sex-based norms, gender roles and expectations, misogyny, and homophobia, between her and lots of other people, mostly women. NO ONE fits neatly into any stereotype associated with their “identity.” She came to understand that her suffering wasn’t because her body was wrong; she was suffering because growing up is hard! To her, “being trans” explained a lot of her discomfort and anxiety, but she came to realize that it wasn’t actually “being trans” that caused any of it…
She realized that her friends had healthy bodies but that their therapists, their friends online and in real life, and sometimes even their parents, were supporting them in the belief it was their bodies that were wrong because they didn’t match their personalities, their preferences, who they were supposed to love. When she realized this, she got angry. She felt tricked into believing there was something wrong with her because she didn’t want to be ogled by teen boys, or wear dresses, or because one of her favorite things was to talk about the difference between aquatic and terrestrial isopods.
Therapists, friends, parents, Internet hysteria—all of these people and things play a role in the zeitgeist we have before us, the cultural groundswell that has led young women to cut off their breasts and has put young children on synthetic hormone treatment in order to feed their delusions. If and when it finally collapses, it will not be pretty: a great many people, young and old, will realize that they have been “tricked into believing there was something wrong with them,” and they will have a simple question for everyone who encouraged their sickness and led them to mutilate themselves irreparably: “Why did you let me do this to myself?”