Bethany Mandel has a lengthy essay up at the Federalist which already has the LGBTQRSZXYXYC3PO community up in arms. (But then, when are they not?) The title was what originally caught my attention… How The Trans Crusade Made Me Rethink Support For Gay Marriage.
That immediately sent up a red flag for me because those are two debates which I see in very different lights and conflating the two seems problematic from the start. But as it turns out, that’s not really what Bethany is doing at all and the concerns she shares are valid ones. (I’ll be getting to those in a moment.)
Just as a reminder, when it came to the gay marriage question I always took the small government approach. I don’t “support” gay marriage any more than I support traditional marriage. I support my marriage and the rest of you are pretty much on your own. But I believe it’s clearly beyond the mandate of the government at any level to demand a permission slip (a license) or extract a tax (even if you call it a “fee”) from two consenting adults just so they can hold a private ceremony before family and friends which impacts no other citizen. Personally I think the word marriage should be struck from the tax codes entirely and from nearly all other laws as well. I understand that many other conservatives of good faith hold a different view based on religious beliefs and I respect their right to that opinion. We can agree to disagree.
The ongoing debates over transgender issues are another matter entirely and far more ominous in terms of fundamental rights, privacy and a disregard for science. Ms. Mandel and I seem to be mostly in the same camp on that one, similarly starting with a perspective born of all those pesky old facts which are rooted in science. There are two genders in normally formed human beings (or sexes if you prefer… the two words are interchangeable no matter what the SJW crowd tries to tell you) and anyone’s gender can generally be determined by a quick anatomical inspection or a scan of their 23rd chromosomal pair if there’s lingering confusion. People suffering from gender dysphoria are not being helped when society attempts to normalize their condition.
The author and I differ on a few minor points. For example, I have zero problem referring to anyone by their legal name if they choose to change it and neither gender has any sort of ownership of particular names. Mandel and I differ slightly on the pronoun question because, like her, I don’t refer to people by the opposite gender pronoun when they simply decide that’s what they are. But if you go the extra mile and have disfiguring surgery on your tender bits to make it permanent, well… that doesn’t actually change your gender but I’ll throw you a pronoun at that point just to recognize the dogged determination you’ve shown to your cause.
But with all that out of the way, I wanted to get to the area where there actually is some crossover between these two debates. It all comes down to the ferocious nature of the social justice warriors who want to impose their views on everyone else, even at the expense of the privacy rights and free speech of others. As Bethany notes, this brings us back to the now legendary and foreboding warning which Erick Erickson issued in 2013 titled, You Will Be Made to Care.
That came all too true in the aftermath of the gay marriage debate and it’s already showing up in even more alarming proportions in the transgender wars. Mandel expands on the effect this has had on those who disagree in this passage.
The Left has shown the totalitarian manner in which it exacts support, or at least silence, from everyday Americans. We’ve seen how lives were destroyed in the wake of the gay marriage debate, how many individuals were shouted down into submission by the side that proclaims itself to be “open-minded” and employed the slogans “No H8” and “Love Wins.” For many conservatives, including myself, the lesson has been learned.
With every tweet aimed at publicizing and shaming my position on transgenderism, the progressive Left is solidifying my decision to call Bruce Jenner by his given name instead of the name he has chosen because of a condition that mental health professionals once took seriously. Playing along with delusions isn’t a kindness to those suffering from other psychological conditions, and it isn’t a kindness for those with gender dysphoria either.
You see, I don’t view the two debates themselves the same way because it is beyond question that a given percentage of the population is gay. It’s really not up for debate. (Either that or you guys have been doing an incredible job of faking it for millennia.) But there is absolutely zero scientific evidence to support the idea that there are any “genders” out there beyond the two we know of and can define through routine medical science. Someone wanting to “feel” a particular way is no problem to me at all, but going back to the tradition of You Will Be Made To Care, giving that one inch leads to activists taking the proverbial mile and dealing out a lot of damage along the way.
Forcing photographers, bakers and caterers out of business because of a deeply held religious view on marriage was bad enough. But in this new battle we see medical science being co-opted and corrupted to the point where children are being injected with unnatural chemicals to halt the normal physical maturation process and encouraged to engage in social behavior which could cause serious psychological damage down the road. And mandates being issued in schools are resulting in even more confusion and potential emotional issues for children growing up in reality based homes who are suddenly confronted with authority figures spouting fantasies at them.
So in the end, I suppose I’m not entirely agreeing with Mandel to the point where I’m rethinking my position on gay marriage. But her piece still serves as a reminder that we can’t afford to take this transgender question too casually and hope to simply “live and let live.” The previous actions of fringe leftist activists and the politicians they control have proven that you will not be afforded the same permissive option in return. And the damage resulting from this drive to somehow normalize gender dysphoria is very real and it’s already taking place all around us today.