Truth in falsehood

Children who identify as trans should be allowed to transition. They should get puberty blockers if they need them. I write this post to create common ground with people who disagree with that statement. It is not working when people say, “But that’s a boy, not a girl”. Much of society supports the trans child, however conservatives and evangelicals object, however radical feminists analyse. It is difficult for the trans child, they will face mockery or violence, but official guidelines, at least, support them. Trans children are becoming more visible, and as people become aware of the possibility more will transition. It is the best way they see of dealing with their problems.

Even if you think the child is deluded and wrongheaded, would you agree that s/he is seeking to be well in the world, as best s/he knows how? The parent wants what is best for the child. The child explores what is possible and tries something which appears to increase health and freedom. The child might explore any type of fantasy in play, but before they identify as trans at school it is a fixed, settled clarity which has survived the parents’ shock, and perhaps objections.

A trans girl has some idea what girls are like, knowing many of them since nursery. At least, the “trans critical feminist” should admit that identifying as trans has some value for the child which outweighs the difficulty of persuading their parents and the bullying and mockery they face at school. Perhaps they feel they do not fit in, in their birth gender. Rather than simply insist that the child stop, why not find what value the idea has for them? What else would fill that void?

If gender is an oppressive Patriarchal concept, not all feminists accept that it oppresses men too. It certainly oppresses gay men. Homophobia is in part a dislike of the gay man not being “manly” in the right way. Perhaps some heterosexual men and boys can suffer similar oppression. The feminist might not have enough empathy for that, finding her strong personality demeaned and devalued and simply seeing men as beneficiaries. Could anyone want to be feminine? Surely not. And yet, apparently, we do.

Something which is obvious to me is impossible or ridiculous to them. “The World’s gone mad, and we should at least be able to challenge it when we think people are not speaking the truth” said Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas. For her, the truth is that child is whatever gender their gonads indicate. She wants to claim that I am a man, and not a woman. Can I perform a similar exercise on her?

I agree that reality is objective, at least in part. There is a reality outside myself which I know in part. I can come to know it better, and my statements can be closer or further from it. Thus far I am with her, but if she believes “trans ideology” is as wrong as, say, global warming denial I disagree. I might come close to sympathising when I imagine my “Why is nobody listening to me!?” moments, but that does not mean there is common ground.

I could feel that not reacting angrily might reduce the heat and conflict in the situation. I would rather win her over than bludgeon her into silence. However accusing me of “not speaking the truth”- in context, she means the trans folk- merely blocks dialogue. She might say we started it.

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