A matter of language

Midwives Alliance of North America:  comments that say that men can’t give birth are transphobic and will not be tolerated.

How could I have not realized before how hateful and fearful I have been!  Of course men can have babies, since gender is just a matter of self-identification and what one believes is one’s “true self”.  Just thinking to oneself “I am a man” doesn’t affect the reproductive potential of an ovaries-and-uterus-endowed person.

Of course, at least in medical contexts, it can still be important to know if a man or woman belongs to the class of people with uteruses and ovaries who at some point in life might become pregnant.  Even when not pregnant, they differ in important ways from other men and women.  For convenience, we could have a word for these people; let us call them “uterines”.  Only uterines can become pregnant.  This is not hateful; it is tautological.  We can have another word for the other medically important category of men and women born with penises who at some point in life might impregnate a uterine–call these people “seminists”.  Which category a given person belongs to could be called its “procreaclass”.

I now agree with the feminists that whether one is a man or a woman should have no bearing on one’s social roles, on how one is treated by anyone.  In fact, it shouldn’t even be anyone else’s business to know whether I identify today as a man, woman or nonbinary, and it is senselessly intrusive to put this information on public records.  On the other hand, whether one is a uterine or a seminist has a number of consequences.  The much greater physical strength of seminists has led many to incorrectly believe that there is something distinctly ghastly about violence committed by men against women or that there should be separate athletic teams for men and women.  In fact, gender should have no bearing on social relations–that would be sexist.  Taking procreaclass into account on the other hand, is common sense.  Fortunately, while no one has any way of knowing anyone else’s gender (until that person reveals its preferred pronoun), people are remarkably good at distinguishing seminists from uterines.  Furthermore, whereas many college persons identify as various alternate genders, people who fail to fall into one of the two main procreaclasses are vanishingly rare.  Lastly, procreaclass can easily be identified at birth.

It goes without saying that I now must accept same-sex marriage.  After all, what if I should tomorrow re-identify as a woman?  Would I stop being married to my wife?  No, I agree with the liberals:  gender identification has nothing to do with the marital relationship.  Procreaclass, on the other hand, certainly does affect the nature of a relationship.  Only uterine-seminist couplings can generate offspring.  Thus, whereas other marriages are primarily about affirming love, uterine-seminist marriages are primarily about establishing paternity.  For other marriages, liberals are perfectly right to object to the traditional strictures of monogamy.  Why demand continued public recognition for a love that has died?  However, one does have a legitimate grievance against an unfaithful opposite-procreaclass spouse.  These unions naturally have different expectations and duties.  They need a name.  Let us call them “genetons”, the name meant to suggest the basic quantum of reproductive potential and society’s interest in granting them the impression of Democritian indestructibility.  Only a seminist and a uterine can form a geneton.  This is not hateful; it is tautological.  Like the atoms of Democritus, genetons tend to bind to form larger wholes such as tribes and nations, in addition to producing all their inhabitants, so we may reasonably concern ourselves with the health of these unions, while taking a more libertine attitude toward other marriages.

One Response

  1. Myself and many of my friends are waking up to discover that what we thought was sane middle of the road reality based thought now makes us brutal, hateful transphobes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: