Accept by default
For those of you who missed the previous newsletter, I’m making some changes as to the tone and content of this Substack. TLDR: More brief, casual posts.
One of the reasons the gender debate frustrates me so much is that I feel compelled to support (even, to believe!) in something before I am ready. I have spent years trying to understand - seeking resources, exploring trans forums and websites, reading god knows how many books - anything to satisfy the basic demands of reason.
I would prefer to understand. I would prefer to agree. I would prefer to join them on the “right side of history”.
Then, I can dismiss the unease in the pit of my stomach.
But try as I might, I cannot ignore the feeling that we are getting it all wrong.
What if this is not any kind of personal, biological disorder at all - something that can be managed neatly and clinically with the right prescriptions and operations - but instead a cultural unmooring?
What if the root of the “problem” lies not in the body - but in a compounding infrastructure of memes which gives meaning to some other, unformed psychological malaise? The suffering exists, yes, but are we quite sure we know what it is evidence of? Isn’t the history of medicine carpeted with wrong diagnosis - of entire fields rooted in completely erroneous assumptions about what ails us and how? What if young, healthy bodies are being carved and modified, normal development halted and permanently altered, all in search of a cure for an affliction that doesn’t exist?
What if biological sex is more than just another artificial construct to dismantle - what if it is fundamental to the healthy organization of human society?
What if we are making a mistake? Wouldn’t it be, in that case, a moral crime to default to acceptance without understanding?
Every time I bring up “gender” in conversations, my thoughtful friends bring up their various biomedical theories as to what is going on. Is it a problem with the “brain map”? Were the wrong hormones introduced at the wrong time in utero, causing an identity that doesn’t comport with the reality of the body? Are there parts of the brain that are meaningfully different - that instead align more with that of the opposite sex?
Nearly all have (as of yet) paltry evidence in their favor. The theories themselves often contradict each other in various ways, so either one is true or the other is. It is all very messy and abstract - but interesting to think about.
But they seem oblivious to the difference between them and gender ideologists. My friends are seeking the root of the misalignment - an explanation for (what appears to be) an unreasonable claim. But gender ideologists claim that there is nothing unreasonable about it at all.
Gender identity is innate and independent of biological sex, they claim. There is no need to determine the “why” behind someone’s crossed-sex identity (it is as useful as asking why some people are black and others white). No, it is not a disorder nor an illness - but simply a different state of affairs - one that requires acceptance, affirmation, accommodation. Further, identity does not need any substantiation other than a declaration - it is so if an individual says it is so. Humans, who are famously wrong about all sorts of things, would never be mistaken about this (existence of detransitioners be damned).
With the unrelenting zeal of billionaire-funded activist space and complacent administration by the managerial class - all ambiguity has been stripped from this devilishly complex topic in the public space. There is no debate, we are reminded. There is only tolerance or hate - the good people, or the bigots.
The choice is simple: which do you want to be?
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