The new transphobia: Having "genital preferences"

There’s a really great interview over at the Weekly Standard this week which I wanted to point out for you. Jonathan Last spoke to Ryan T. Anderson, author and Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He’s also the author of a new book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. Last describes this as, “the most important book yet written on the subject.” The interview covers public perceptions of the transgender debate, separating fantasy from reality, both in terms of medical science and social justice advocacy in the LGBT community.

They cover a number of important aspects of this topic, particularly the need for everyone from both the left and the right to have some compassion for people suffering from gender dysphoria, particularly considering the frighteningly high rates of suicide among people dealing with this affliction. Anderson also reveals some startling findings, particularly the reality that a majority of people with gender dysphoria aren’t actually public advocates, but people looking for help. The problem is that the extremely vocal advocates from the LGBT community have coopted the “movement” (for lack of a better word) and are probably generating a backlash against the people they claim to be trying to help.

Late in the interview, Last asks if, from a purely political perspective, total victory is inevitable for the forces of transgenderism. Anderson’s answer is eye-opening and he also relates a recent incident where one of the aforementioned advocates goes several bridges too far in defining what constitutes “transphobia” in her community. (Emphasis added)

Two friends of mine on the political left have given me cause to believe that transgender activists may have overplayed their hand and provoked a pushback. One of these friends is a twenty-something man who, with some bemusement, pointed me to the viral video du jour in which someone who describes herself as an “intersectional feminist,” a “queer girl,” etc., declared that having “genital preferences” is transphobic, and that “preferences for women with vaginas over women with penises might be partially informed by the influence of a cissexist society.” And no, this was not satire.

The video lecture went on: “If you’re a woman who only likes women, go ahead, identify as a lesbian! But some women have penises. And if the fact that some lesbians might be attracted to those women offends you, it’s because you don’t think trans women are real women.” My friend objected to being judged transphobic and cissexist merely on the grounds that he dates biological women only. And when lesbians are accused of bigotry because they prefer women who don’t have male equipment, you have to wonder how long the “L” and the “T” can be held together in LGBT advocacy.

So this is actually going on out in the LGBT activist community. I was only just beginning to get used to the use of the word “transphobic” and now I’m supposed to learn how to spell “cissexist?”

But the real trip down the rabbit hole in that story is the fact that people are apparently, with a completely straight face, insisting that straight men and lesbians are supposed to be dating some of these “women with penises.” And if you refuse to do so, you’re transsomethingorother and just generally a bad person. This is part of the new marching orders on the left, apparently, and if they honestly believe that it’s going to sell well across most of America then they are crazier than they already sound.

That idea about generating a backlash (or “pushback” as Anderson describes it) is cropping up in a few places already. In case you didn’t notice the headlines about this, actress Rose McGowan has gotten herself into some trouble with the LGBT community. She recently got into a shouting match with a man identifying as a woman at a book signing event, after which she cancelled the rest of her scheduled public appearances. Apparently McGowan was insufficiently senstiive to the situation of “trans women” in terms of the recent sexual assault conversation so she was badgered in public in an attempt to shame her.

Do you suppose anyone converted McGowan to their cause in that fashion? Probably not. And as Anderson seems to suggest in this interview, that may wind up splitting the “T” out of the “LGBT” grouping eventually.