Four years ago, I lamented the coercive homogenization of how we think that was born of the morphing of “political correctness” into “propaganda compliance.” Part of that lament was the emergence of an internecine battle between feminists and transgender activists. Internecine, in that both advocacies represent traditionally victimized groups, and should thus consider each other allies.

One telltale of the success of an advocacy effort is the emergence of what one writer called “overstratification,” wherein allies and alliances fracture, and common causes are abandoned in favor of more granular (and selfish) aims. The emergence of TERFs (Trans-exclusionary radical feminists) is a visible example. TERFs opposed male-to-female trans persons joining in their activism and reaping the benefits of their success – for reasons that are an aside to today’s discussion.

Back then, I thought the squabble was an amusing aside, an “eating their own” example of the narcissistic self-absorption of some progressive activist movements. Four years hence, the breathtakingly rapid ascendance of the trans rights movement in the political sphere tells us that we should have heeded the TERFs’ warnings.

This excellent article by Brad Palumbo, a journalist at the Washington Examiner (who is gay and identifies as center-right, politically) details the growing rift between the current state of trans-activism and, well, everyone else. Transgender politics are no longer about acceptance, but rather about a wholesale redefinition of gender itself, in conjunction with a political, Lysenkoist purging of the concept of biological sex itself, wrapped up in a coercive worldview.

This is evident in the demand that biologically male (as in XY-chromosome) athletes be permitted to compete against biologically female athletes, if the former “identify” as women. That some academics have actually put forth “studies” (and I scare-quote the term deliberately, to convey their farcicality) that conclude there’s no difference between women and men who’ve gone through a year or two of hormone treatments speaks to the intent and intensity of this movement. It is obvious to any rational person that going through puberty with male hormones produces greater muscle mass, bone density, and cardiovascular capacity than doing so with female hormones, and no amount of post-pubescent “correction” will undo those structural advantages.

It is evident in the language of the proposed Equality Act, which would formalize and “protect” someone’s decision to declare as of “Gender_01,” despite all biological realities, and to the subordination of the rights of other citizens.

It is evident in the declaration that those who aren’t attracted to trans persons are engaged in bigotry. That, for example, a lesbian does not find a self-identified trans woman (who still has male genitalia) sexually attractive.

It is evident in the notion that it’s not only sane, but proper, to start a seven year old child on a life-long regimen of hormone suppression drugs, because it’s assumed that the child can self-identity his gender several years before puberty. We don’t allow seven year olds to do anything that requires the concept of “consent.” No work, no military service, no tobacco or alcohol, no driving, no contractual obligations, no debt, no sexual activity. And, yet, trans-activists allow a child’s proxies i.e. either a parent or some government busybody, to translate certain actions and behaviors into a declaration of gender and an implied consent to chemical treatments that will permanently alter that child’s body. What if the child is in a “phase?” What if the child is ‘merely’ gay? How can we consider that a seven year old’s current behavior is sufficiently indicative to warrant such a radical act as hormone suppression?

It is evident in the ludicrous-on-its-face proposal that prisons no longer be segregated by sex (a proposal advanced by that “moderate” Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden). Here’s one stark example of the TERFs being right. Women in unisex prisons would quickly become sex slaves, either raped by whoever managed to corner them or, more likely in my opinion, needing to become a concubine for a particular individual or group that’d protect them from other predators.

It is evident in the demand that the medical costs of transitioning be socialized, that health insurance companies cover pharmacological and surgical expenses, and that the military does so as well.

It is evident in the insistence that a high school student with male genitalia be permitted to use girls’ locker rooms, no matter the discomfort felt by female students, and in other examples of privacy subordination of those who aren’t on-board with the trans agenda.

None of this suggests that gender dysmorphia is not a real phenomenon, of course, nor does it suggest that a trans person should not be afforded the same rights and considerations as any other person in our society. The smallest minority is the individual, and protection of individual rights is one of the foundations of liberty and the libertarian ethos.

The trans movement, in its current state, is not about liberty. It is not about teaching and encouraging acceptance, nor is it about the removal of institutional obstacles (see: Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, anti-sodomy laws, gay marriage). It is about the elevation of the rights of and establishment of privileges for a very small subset of the population over everyone else, based entirely on self-declaration. In short, it is about coercion, the sine qua non of modern leftism.

Men and women are biologically different. That isn’t up for debate. This results in some societal difficulties for trans persons. Nothing within the realm of modern technology can make a person with an XY chromosome wholly female, nor a person with an XX chromosome wholly male. This doesn’t mean they should be made into pariahs, or cast out from society. We are at our best and most moral when we treat every person we encounter with the same level of respect and dignity as we ourselves expect and hope for. But, bending reality past the point of breaking is as wrong as engaging in bigoted behavior.

That – bending reality past breaking – is exactly what is being demanded of us by today’s trans movement. Male athletes competing against women, children being chemically altered before they even hit puberty, the notion that sexual attraction is something we’re taught rather than something rooted in biology and brain chemistry, and people with different sexual organs being the “same” but for social conditioning, all stretch credulity into the realm of absurdity. Yet, even daring to opine in opposition is a punishable transgression, and to fail to abide by the current narrative with full fidelity makes one an instant pariah in progressive circles and politics.

It cannot be stressed enough that the trans movement’s goals have changed from acceptance to a combination of coercion and supremacy. The rights of non-trans persons, where the intersect with those of trans persons, are to be subordinate. This flies in the face of every tenet of liberty and equality at the foundation of our society. We each have the same rights, and those rights are bounded by the rights of each of our fellow members of society. When a group demands that its rights be elevated above the rights of others, it breaks with our foundational principles. Nothing good can come of that.

And, when that group’s membership is wholly based on self-declaration, it is certain to foster resentment, abuse, and resentment born of abuse.

The trans movement has become a threat to both women’s rights and gay rights, due to its overreach and its morphing into a campaign of coercion. Coercion against biological realities, coercion against common sense, coercion against the equal rights of everyone else, and coercion against such basic liberties as to whom you feel attraction.

That it is also based entirely on self-declaration is also a problem – and one that proper trans-rights advocates must recognize and address. The problem is well illustrated via the barrage of mockery, including this “motorcycle that identifies as a bicycle” and this “man who identifies as a six year old dominates CrossFit kids’ class.” We can look to the Left’s failure to challenge earlier head-scratching self identification (e.g. Rachel Dolezal as “black”) as one source of the escalation that produced countless sarcastic memes.

Relying on self-declaration as the basis for coercion practically begs people to abuse the movement for selfish and illegitimate reasons. A mediocre male athlete can simply self-identify as a woman and become a record breaker. Someone carrying personal resentment for some societal slight, real or imagined, can “lawyer up” and assert discrimination. Against an employer, against a business (large or small), against a school, against anyone that has something he wants. With a strong likelihood that the social justice scolds and Twitter hordes will line up behind him, no questions asked. Given such temptation and potential for reward, it should surprise no one when that happens.

Finally, relying on self-declaration to the exclusion of biological reality fails a fundamental sanity check, virtually guaranteeing that the mainstream will react and reject, rather than considering and eventually accepting. The shame of it is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Acceptance was the original goal – as it was that of the gay rights movement, and that’s a proper and honest goal compatible with individual liberty. In proper “first clean your own house” fashion, it’s up to the trans acceptance movement’s advocates and leaders to call for a restoration to sanity.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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