The Recklessness of Subjective Gender Identity

It’s 2018 and the traditional gender binary is under attack, continually derided as oppressive and unjust, an extension of apparently tyrannical heteronormativity. A new ethos of gender ambiguity, involving the famous “gender spectrum” appears to grow stronger every day and finds new footing in an increasingly unsure Western culture.

Over time, that binary has stretched and widened due to progressive efforts to encompass entirely new categories of gender expression and identity with the expectation that all were to be treated with the same air of legitimacy that one might confer upon the age-old male and female gender identities.

That one of the most time-honored, enduring and reliable fixtures of our culture has been crossly tossed aside by so many as theoretically “incorrect” should be mildly disturbing. Where does this idea come from? Some respect — and some thought as well — should be given for a belief so ancient and ubiquitous as the male/female gender binary.

Exceptions throughout history could certainly be offered up, but by and large, throughout the vast majority of millennia there have existed clear, perceptible differences between the sexes as well as an implicit understanding that to tamper with one’s biological sex identity would perhaps be to needlessly tamper with something that couldn’t (and shouldn’t) be truly, honestly tampered with.

There’s no doubt about it: gender mutability is currently in vogue. The topic of transgenderism graces many a news headline with a surprising frequency that simply would not have occurred to the same extent even a few several years ago. Transgenders are the current poster children of the progressive movement — a sexual minority in need of “normalization”.

But we should be posing the question: “Why all this proselytizing about normalizing something that technically speaking, is abnormal?” Because let’s not pretend gender fluidity is necessarily natural and wonderful and just as mainstream as heteronormativity — it’s simply not. It would be a mistake to peddle a false narrative like that.

Many years ago homosexuals (rather than transsexuals) were the leftist charity cause. It is widely known and cited that as of 2016, approximately 0.6% of the U.S. population identified as transgender. Relatively small, right? Well, it’s a bit jarring when compared to the percentage arrived at several years prior by the same researchers. In 2011, 0.3% of the population identified as transgender. One could easily make the claim that such a jump was due to a growing climate of acceptance, but could this adequately explain a doubling? That’s worthy of some thought.

Progressives have taken great pains to structure a moral framework around transgenderism. For example, acceptance of the new normal is “moral” while a healthy dose of skepticism is thought to be “discriminatory” and thus, “immoral”. The language used is telling. Essentially, the legitimacy of transgenderism has been couched as a “civil rights” issue. And anything short of acceptance and unquestionable agreement in regards to it is taken to mean an outright rejection of someone’s “humanity”.

Transgenderism is also not something that we shouldn’t bother questioning or subjecting to perfectly reasonable scientific critiques. Transgenderism is supposed to be a medical issue — a mistake by the hands of nature — yet it is remarkably silent on using scientific claims to bolster its activism. Why is this? Perhaps because little exists. And that’s probably because it’s not biologically credible and cannot holds its own in this sphere. Its credibility disintegrates in the face of science.

As it is, transgenderism is treated as a failure of the body to produce physical sex characteristics in alignment with the mind. The reverse narrative is never put forth, though it rationally makes more sense, no? Which does make me wonder: Where did this assumption come from — that the biological body was incorrect and the mind is incontrovertibly correct? That’s a wild claim to make!

I would also argue that transgenderism acceptance is not some especially humanitarian form of liberalism, although this is the current propaganda push. The prevalence of it may actually be a symptom of cultural sway, the mark of a culture palpably ambivalent, whose former convictions have become watered-down.

This idea — central to transgenderism — that one is whatever they prefer to be has no credible, scientific roots. It’s entirely ontological and implies that what is technically subjective can be treated as objective. That’s quite a leap, isn’t it? To claim that what you are is what you would prefer to be?

There’s enormous political pressure to accept this subjective-gender-identity nonsense and to regard it as legitimate and true. But what are the grounds for this? This trans-acceptance logic assumes that the transgender/ambiguous person in question can essentially create truth.

Now, this clambering towards subjectivity and movement away from objective truth is nothing new. The transgenderism/gender identity obsession bears the obvious stain of postmodern influence. There’s currently a bit of a Western obsession, currently, with gender mutability and with generally stretching the gender binary to include an astonishing multiplicity of gender identities.

This profusion is an indication of the progressive notion undergirding the transgender question: If nothing is the answer, then everything is the answer. The rejection of the gender binary in favor of a boundless spectrum is symptomatic of a philosophical discomfort with rigidity, structure, and technically speaking, objective truth. Because all of the former are roundly rejected as “problematic” according to modern progressive doctrine, there is left only one option: Everything is the answer. It is decided a never-ending, all-inclusive gender spectrum must be the solution.

To progressives, anything that has a definition is oppressive because anything that can be defined is inevitably exclusionary. And anything that is “oppressive” to the leftists is categorically wrong. And that’s why the most radical of them can’t stomach the gender binary and thus, completely reject it.

This view may help explain why a progressive transgender would think their, by definition, subjective conception of gender identity is objective and therefore “right” and heteronormativity which is by definition, “exclusive” and binary (because it excludes ambiguous types) is therefore “wrong”. This ideological perspective is penetrating so much of our politics and is so quickly changing the cultural landscape in ways that are troubling.

At this point in time, I would argue that we should not be throwing up our hands at transgenderism, pleading the following: “Who cares, if it’s their life and it doesn’t affect mine, who am I to critique them? Let them live their most comfortable lives.” One of the reasons this movement matters is because it is creating a culture wherein people are increasingly not in touch with reality and that really, really matters.

Recall that behind transgenderism is the same postmodernist ideology that subjective opinions trump any sort of objectivity or reality. The gender fluidity/transgender movement doesn’t have to do with becoming less prejudiced people — that’s a very shallow, superficial, guileless way of looking at it and the way it is painted in the media. It actually has to do with an arbitrary refashioning of reality itself and that’s no small thing. There’s sweeping consequences to that.

New transgenders crop up every day and they’re often confused and depressed and yet people wildly clap their hands for them and encourage them to radically artificially restructure their bodies and minds to align with a capricious preference that they’ve arrived at.

Changing one’s gender is a profoundly serious thing. I can’t begin to know what it might be like to feel as if your physical gender doesn’t fit your mental conception of yourself. At the same time, the political and cultural encouragement to go through with something like a sex change is so worryingly strong — as if few people are taking into account how potentially impactful and damaging it could be if the sex change turned out to be a misstep and a regretful undertaking, as often turns out to be the case, particularly with those pushed into forging ahead with it at alarmingly young ages.

There appears to be less caution and concern involved for the people who find themselves disillusioned with their biological gender. Caution would be rational, would it not? Especially for so radical a change? Instead, there’s untold praise and cheerleading — which raises suspicions that the current popularity of the transgenderism movement has little to do with the well-being of the individual people themselves and instead, everything to do with the fulfillment of leftist ideological aims and political objectives.

When people defend transgenderism, who are they really speaking for? Are they more concerned with what is “best” for those gender-ambiguous people or are they pouncing for a means to publicly blazon themselves as “good,” “accepting,” and “progressive” people?

All this said, the statistically surprising phenomenon of rampant gender dysphoric behaviors actually has strong political and cultural roots. (And that’s significant when supposedly a desire to change one’s sex is implanted in an individual from birth, as the narrative goes.)

Of its sins, the transgender movement is silent on using medical/scientific evidence to support their legitimacy. It masquerades itself as credible and logical, papering itself up with thin defenses such as “gender is a social construct” and asserting that gender is a spectrum and one’s opinion on their gender identity is fact.

The fact is, this trend of gender mutability serves progressive ideological aims. It may also be an indication of cultural ambivalence and the reasoning behind it may constitute a small, but telling symptom of our society’s philosophical floundering.

Writer of economics, psychology, and lots in between.