My thoughts on guys who pretend to be women

I’ve been trying not to have any.  It’s not that the topic is unusually unpleasant.  I just have this feeling that the moment my opinion of transsexualism changes from instinctive revulsion to a reasoned conclusion, something in my soul will be lost.  There are some things you’re supposed to know without having to think about them.

While trying to avoid it, I’ve stumbled onto the topic by accident.  Some time ago, I wrote a post about interspecies romance.  (Go ahead and read the link if you like.  I promise it’s not about that guy who screws horses.)  The original motive was to defend some cartoons I like from the charge of softening kids up to the idea of gay marriage.  I argued that romances between humans and mermaids or fairies or elves or Martians work not by undermining gender differences but by treating them as real and species-transcending.  Ironically, one crosses an unbridgeable gulf not by making it narrower, but by making it wider, by making the difference between (say) Beauty and the Beast even greater than a species divide.  However, one could change the accusation and say that these stories prepare kids for the idea of gender switching.  If Zefram Cochran’s cloud monster can change species for love, why not…?

Actually, there’s even a story in Ovid’s Metamorphoses about a woman disguised as a man who falls in love with another woman, gets changed into a genuine man, and lives happily ever after.

We tend to think about transexuals (when we must) as just a more extreme form of homosexual gender nihilism, as if there’s a straight line which proceeds from feminism to homosexuality to gender reassignment.  But that’s not quite right.  While GLB and T are both going against the natural law on sex, they’re not going against it in the same way.  Feminists and gays really do form a continuum, in that they’re both rejecting the idea of normative sex roles.  “Men and women are the same from the neck up; business should have nothing to do with gender; marriage should have nothing to do with gender”–you get the idea.  The trannies are actually rather different.  They do strongly believe in distinct masculine and feminine essences, and they expect that whether one is a man or woman has a profound affect on one’s life.  After all, if men and women are the same, what’s the point in switching?  Just like a story like The Little Mermaid wouldn’t make sense if the difference between humans and mermaids is just a social construct.  What’s more, these guys who think they’re women must regard sex as more than just “plumbing”, as feminists sometimes dismissively call it, if they can imagine that they’re “really” women even before they have their dicks…you know.

They’re making an error, but it’s not the same error as the gays’, even though for strategic reasons they attach themselves to the same rhetoric.  I would actually say that transexualism, were it a distinct ideology, would be less dangerous than homosexualism, because it doesn’t attack gender complementarity.  True, its normalization means some very bad things.  Creepy men hanging out in women’s locker rooms.  Confused children being given hormones to screw with their sexual development.  But the normalization of homosexuality means redefining marriage, undermining the connection between legal and biological parentage, and forcing Christianity underground.

In fact, we primarily disagree with the transexuals, not on moral principles, but on two matters of fact.  First, we disagree that before their mutilation they were really women and not really men.  Sex has a spiritual dimension, but it is grounded in biological function, and the spiritual aspects proceed from this physical basis.  We are not dealing here with genuinely difficult border cases like hermaphrodites.  Someone who cannot become pregnant but who can impregnate a woman is certainly a man, regardless of how he feels about it.  Second, we disagree that hormones and surgery turn him into a woman, as opposed to a mutilated man.

One can still pose the hypothetical question of whether it would be immoral to change one’s sex if it could be done by every physical marker, say by a sorceress with magical powers to pop one’s mind into another body with the opposite sex, perfectly formed and reproductively capable.  (Of course, if you’re a Thomist and regard the soul as the form of the body, you will probably insist that this is metaphysically impossible and will deny that one can even construct a meaningful hypothetical case of sex switching.  For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Thomism is wrong.)  I tend to think that it would be, because it would betray an improper attitude toward one’s sex, something that should be taken as a calling from God rather than a matter of picking and choosing.

12 Responses

  1. […] My thoughts on guys who pretend to be women […]

  2. I think a liberal would say that gender identity is a made up thing, but it is a made up thing that is subjectively important to some people, so you should be able to adopt it if and whenever you wish.

    This is in some tension with the idea that such distinctions create oppression of one group by another and should therefore be done away with, but it is in the same ballpark. Both view being male and female as fairly arbitrary. They differ on whether one should allow those distinctions.

  3. RE: Pre-modern sex transformation

    Can’t much speak to the Greeks etc., but will give you the skinny on Native Americans, who include stories (and sometimes practices) of sex transformation as a not insignificant part of their traditional culture.

    Traditional Native American culture, like most pre-modern cultures, tends to be highly essentialist. A Native person will tend to say something like “Eagle has returned” not “The Eagles have returned.” And there is a real sense of men being men and women being women, with a strong divide between the two. Yet, in the art and stories, transformation, especially from one species to another, is a major motif. And there is, of course, there is the notorious presence of Two Spirit individuals, who span the male/female divide.

    The thing is, as Theresa Smith notes in her book on Ojibwe mythology, in Native American religion crossing over boundaries is, in fact, extremely difficult. Whenever, you hear of Nanabush or whoever transforming themselves into a stump or a rabbit, this is not routine, no matter how matter of factly it is presented in the stories.

    (This is characteristic of Native storytelling. The Mishebeshus are giant water snakes/lynxes that live in the waters of the Great Lakes and all the many smaller bodies of water in Ojibwe territory. They are enormous, terrifying mythological creatures. Yet, in the stories, they too are presented in a very minimalist, straightforward way. The tale tellers don’t go on and on about their great powers. It is assumed.)

    Similarly, maleness and femaleness in Native culture are real things. It is possible to pass from one to the other, but it requires enormous spiritual power. Hence, the uncanniness associated with people who successfully pull off the Two Spirit role.

    The important thing though is that this is not at all the same as modern denial of real sex differences. In the modern world, apparently all you need to be male or female is call yourself male or female. Sure, society may have created these roles, but, according to modernists, this is pure convention, so they don’t correspond to anything real in the world.

    [Steve Sailer commented: “So the notion of the shaman or artist who can transcend or at least get inside the heads of more than one essentialist category: living/dead, male/female, etc.?”]

  4. I don’t know what goes on in the heads of transexuals, but normalization of transsexuality will only add to the erosion of sex as a fundamental social category. Feminism argues that sex is unimportant outside a very small erotic and procreative zone. Homosexuality argues that the relevant categories are the several sexualities, and not the two sexes. Transexuals appear to be claiming that sex can change. I know they are sly about this and say they are only bringing their bodies into line with their essential sex, but the idea that sticks in the mind of the ordinary bystander is they have undergone a “sex change.” And if sex can be changed by surgery, a transexual is really no different than a fat man who decides to undergo bariatric surgery and become the slender fellow he always felt he was at heart.

    I do not think that transexuals are trying to erode sex as a fundamental social category. They appear to be a rather small group of unhappy men who are trying to make themselves less unhappy. But I do think they have been dragged into the limelight by people who understand their value as a “bloody shirt” in this mopping up phase of the culture war.

  5. If a bulemic came into a doctor’s office and asked for a medicine to aid regurgitation, or an apotemnophiliac came in and asked to have a leg removed, the doctor would correctly suspect a body-image disorder and refer them for psychological evaluation and the whole world would agree; but a guy comes in and wants to be pumped full of dangerous hormones and undergo mutilative surgery in order to pretend he’s a women, then somehow that’s different. Either prophet or Bonald once called modern society a “factory of damnation.” Indeed.

  6. This is a good distinction to draw, and you explain it well. It should be remembered that in the early days of what has come to be known as ‘the gay agenda’, transsexuals were NOT accepted into the movement. The various ‘queer rights’ organizations were more welcoming to pedophiles than to transsexuals who were deemed “too weird” and likely to hurt their public image. That’s right, groups like the ILGA welcomed the North American Man-Boy Love Association with open arms, but Bruce Jenner would have been kicked to the curb.

    This rejection has been overcome of course. Probably when they realized just how weak the ‘Conservative’ resistance was.

    Transgenderism is, more than the other sexual deviations and perversions, a kind of mental disorder of the clinical nature. It is no different to multiple personality disorder, and should be treated as such, certainly not by indulging the fantasies of the sufferer. What can be said however is usually these people only destroy themselves, with hormone injections and botched macabre surgeries. The other groups are on average far more malevolent.

    Now, we are seeing however the horrible side-effects of accepting this disorder as normal in our society. It is a vehicle for sick, sadistic people to torture children. I read an article about two ‘parents’ in Britain who were indulging their SIX YEAR OLD boy with fantasies that he was a girl, and they were going to surgically remove his penis. Now, I favor firing squads for such ‘parents’, but that’s just me.

  7. “if you’re a Thomist and regard the soul as the form of the body”
    True, but because of the effects of original sin, the soul is not always perfectly expressed in the body, or else correcting congenital (and hopefully someday, genetic) defects would be immoral.

  8. Transgenderism is, I think, mostly important because of the premise behind it, that psychology trumps reality. Indeed, it is only because our modern laws conflate medicine and psychology, that these operations are even legal.

  9. […] has a few thoughts on guys who pretend to be women. Thoughts on our present gynotopia—all is exceedingly […]

  10. Brilliant.
    Why I read this blog.
    Thank you.

  11. […] what else happened in 2016?  Somehow, believing that a man who cuts his dick off and puts on a dress does not thereby become a woman passed out of the Overton Window.  Given the magnitude of the […]

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