Sunday, 17 April 2016

Has Political Correctness Finally Gone Too Far?

Daphne Shaed
I mean, what exactly IS a tranny cyborg, anyway? Apparently it's one of these. I've had my e-face slapped on Twitter for standing up for transsexuals because I generally stand up for the underdog (it's an Irish thing) but increasingly I find I'm coming round to the point of view of the kind of people I'd generally cross the street to avoid.

WARNING: I don't pull my punches, so if you're easily offended, off you trot and have a nice cup of organic chamomile tea. Do NOT read this post.

I am basically conservative, that is to say, I'm not particularly keen on weirdness and have no desire to accept it as normal.

When the boundaries of normalcy are broken


The trouble with embracing flat out weirdness till it becomes the norm is that we fallible human beings then have to find new parameters of appearance, attitude, and behaviour to describe as weird. Agitators come along and campaign until their pet cause has been socially accepted, there's another seismic shift, and a new normal has been achieved. This means that we then find that the outer limits of the outright ooky have now crept closer and what was once considered to be "not in my neighbourhood" now lives next door.

Our Furry friends


I'm not even joking, I'm friendly with a man who wants to be able to make it possible for people to change species by hacking their own DNA. He's a Brony. The kind of weirdness he wants to enable doesn't end with people who look like Dennis Avner (AKA Stalking Cat), that's the beginning.

The parallels with gender identity disorder, upon which the hypothesis was modeled, were striking: much like some transgender individuals report being born the wrong sex, some furries feel a disconnect with their bodies, as if they were stuck in the wrong species. The condition, which Gerbasi et al labeled “species identity disorder”, had a physiological component too, with many reporting experiencing phantom body parts, like tails or wings.- It's not about sex, it's about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures, by Kim Wall for The Guardian

Now imagine these people being able to grow tails, etc. My friend actually has, and wants to make it possible. I have already pointed out that the best they are likely to achieve is to become an arthritic, cartoonish avatar of the creature they'd prefer to be, given that leg bones and fingers would have to be shortened in many cases to permit a four-legged gait, and that most people would be loath to give up the dexterity of our human hands for walking on collagen-padded paws. The end result wouldn't just look wrong, it would be wrong, a failed effort at looking more like the creature identified with because the structure of the human body is entirely different to the structure of the animal body.

Gender schmender


This is the tweet that inspired this post:
As a general rule I'd have posted a "Don't be so mean, you don't know what she's going through or where she's coming from" response but look again. Okay, we've changed our gender identity. Okay, we've changed our religion, but that bit about the cyborg is a step too far. Now read this person's blog post on what it's like to be transgender and wanting to use public facilities:

Recently a transgender woman, Brittney Remington, was denied access to the change room facilities at a pool operated by the City of Victoria.

...We need to think about desegregating these spaces altogether, but that is for another discussion. (Where do intersex persons change? Where do agender, gender queer, gender fluid, gender fucks, and gender outlaws change? At Crystal Pool it is a first-aid closet apparently).

This is the dangers of rainbow washing. Similar to green washing and other promotional techniques that are used to give institutions or products the appearance of following a set of guidelines informed by a popular ideology. Rainbow washing occurs when businesses or institutions use the popular symbols and icons of the queer movement to appear accepting and benign. - City of Victoria needs Anti-Oppression Training, by Daphne Shaed

Have you noticed the prominence of Captain Winky in those pics of Daphne in underpants? The idea is to challenge our ideas of gender normalcy. The explanation provided by at least one feminist is "autogynephilia," a sort of dysmorphia in which men become aroused by the thought of having female characteristics. I'd never heard of it before.

As I've already said I'm not a fan of the radical feminists because they're often downright nasty and won't accept any views that don't dovetail with their own so it's impossible to have a civil conversation with them. Today I found I sided with them in their outright revulsion against trans people because some of them appear to be more interested in getting attention and sympathy (while making fools of those of us who want to be nice people) than in living according to their personal identities.

How political correctness stifles debate


I have never been a fan of political correctness. I honestly believe it limits our personal freedoms of speech and expression and that ultimately it straitjackets political discourse instead of promoting a more harmonious society. It does this by setting limits on the words we are permitted to say for fear of causing offence to specifically protected groups.

Years of political agitation using emotional arguments about the suffering experienced by trans people has convinced the public that we need to accommodate them, to accept them, and to Not Be Mean to them. I suppose that in return we expected that they would switch from one gender norm to another, i.e. from fully male to fully female, but that's not the way it works. What often happens is that, for one reason or another, the injections and operations stop and the individual is left with the physical characteristics of both genders. Don't do a search on the term "shemale" if you value your sanity. That said, I'm torn. There are three things I know about transgender people and their struggle:

  1. people can be very mean to them
  2. they're not actually the gender they claim to be
  3. it's hard to tell when someone's just pulling a fast one

People can be very mean to them


Transgender suffering is real. To come out as transgender is to risk losing everything you have.

Some transgender people have lost their families, their jobs, their homes and their support. Transgender children may be subject to abuse at home, at school or in their communities. A lifetime of this can be very challenging and can sometimes cause anxiety disorders, depression and other psychological illnesses. These are not the root of their transgender identity; rather, they are the side effects of society’s intolerance of transgender people. - Understanding Transgender People FAQ, National Center for Transgender Equality

It's not something you'd do lightly, you'd have to think about this very carefully. Although it's possible to get treatment on the NHS it's easier to go private and this has to be paid for. You might then end up in the sex trade prostituting yourself to pay for the treatments you want, a fact I learned during a quite civilised debate about prostitution on Twitter.

They're not actually the gender they claim to be


There's a plethora of videos on YouTube charting the transition of male to female and female to male identities. This is the view of trans people that most of us have about them; that they're so committed to becoming the gender they identify with, they're willing to part with their little friend to get a ticket to ladyland, and vice versa. That's actually quite easy to accept and to process; bloke in the wrong body gets it fixed till he's in the right body, and snip snip snip, your uncle Bob is now "Roberta." That can actually work in my head, we just have to make some adjustments to accept the new status quo, that's all. Okay, fine. But what happens when they don't want to choose to be one thing or the other? Gender fluidity (or genderqueerness) is a thing.

Genderqueer (GQ), also termed non-binary or gender-expansive, is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities which are thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity.[1] Genderqueer people may identify as one or more of the following:

  • having an overlap of, or indefinite lines between, gender identity;
  • having two or more genders (being bigender, trigender, or pangender);
  • having no gender (being agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree or neutrois);
  • moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid); or
  • being third gender or other-gendered, a category which includes those who do not place a name to their gender. - Genderqueer, Wikipedia

Okay, now we have a problem. These people also struggle, experience discrimination, and have to try to live in a world that won't accept them because our society is generally structured to cater for either one gender or the other so they run into problems when they want to use public facilities, etc. So now we have gender diversity education and support services to train the public in how to relate to people who can't or won't choose from a binary plate, as it were. And Heaven knows it's been hard enough for us to accept that people want to change the gender they were born with, but this... this is hard to deal with on a practical level. I mean, which toilet does an individual who feels like a Sheila on Saturday night but a Bruce on Sunday morning use? Political agitators are pushing for an end to gender segregation in public facilities in an attempt to solve the problem but the radical feminists are having none of it. This is actually coming back to bite them on the bum as their anti-male prejudice forms an unholy alliance with right wing conservative gender role enforcement.

Restroom laws targeting trans people are being used against people who don't conform to traditional gender roles, e.g. butch lesbians. One was recently manhandled, had her upper torso exposed, and was violently tossed into the street for having the temerity to wear trousers and short hair while using the ladies toilet at a fast food restaurant in Detroit. That's not okay. This young woman actually is the gender that she claims to be, she just doesn't conform to patriarchal ideals of femininity. Be careful of what you wish for, is what I'm saying.

It's hard to tell when someone's just pulling a fast one


Radical feminists just won't accept that there's such a thing as transsexualism at all, it seems, on the grounds of biology, but we women are more than just our bodies. That said, what do you do when an obviously male person walks into a women's facility claiming to self-identify as a woman just so he can perve on the women in there? Bear in mind that the subject is so utterly fraught, some people are in outright denial that people identifying as the opposite gender can do any wrong. Apparently the solution is a gender-neutral toilet but even discussing what to call it is a bit of a minefield.

Conclusion


That we live in an era in which our choice of identity is considered a right to be acknowledged is actually the problem. If you can self-identify as anything and demand that everyone else accept it as a condition of Being A Good Person, where the hell are the outer limits? I think we can agree that perverts and weirdos will always exist but I don't believe that intolerance and hate have any value in addressing them and the conundrums they create.

What do you think?

2 comments:

  1. I'm afraid I can't be of much help to you, because I'm as confused as you, and despite not really being bothered by anyone's personal choices that don't directly impact myself, this particular issue is one of those that certainly seems like it's got the potential to, whether I'm interested in it or not. And those are the dangerous ones. They invade the common conversation like the unruly party guest who jumps on the dinner-table, rips off all his/her/it's clothes, and starts impersonating Michael Jackson or whoever at the top of their lungs. You may not want to look or listen, but...

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  2. Oh, I know! Welcome to On t'Internet, David.

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