Skepto makes me think a lot. I honestly would need to write like a thousand word essay for each of his paragraphs if I were to respond to him properly, and it’s too overwhelming to respond to everything, so I just respond to what seems the most important. This comment about evangelicals made me chuckle, and I guess since I found it amusing I wanted to write about it.
I said: “The hatred evangelicals feel for both trans and gay people might be the exact same thing: homophobia based on someone either being gay or being perceived to be gay.”
Skepto said: “Ts ts, it wasn’t hatred. It was love and compassion and a genuine desire for them to come to find joy in the LORD, listening to His words of wisdom, and living the life He has planned for them which alone will give them freedom and inner peace.
(Which is written sarcastically, but also 100% serious. The people I grew up with genuinely believed that it was and is in gay and trans people’s best interest to not be gay and trans any more, just as you do regarding trans people. Good intentions simply don’t make for good actions, which is why it’s so important for people with good intentions to honestly listen to the people they’re trying to help and regularly critically re-assess what they are doing.)”
Okay, I’m still laughing. I can definitely hear the sarcasm and I feel the same way about people who talk about finding joy in “the LORD.” Like, you have fun with that, weirdo!
But seriously… Skepto finds a similarity between evangelicals having compassion for gay/trans people and wanting them to find joy in the LORD and me having compassion for trans people and wanting them to be “cured” by feminism. So I think it’s worth it to have a conversation about the difference between me and evangelicals.
The first difference would be that I don’t believe in “the LORD.” I consider myself an atheist. I think that we are likely here by accident and that our lives basically have no purpose and that when we die, we’re gone for good. I don’t think that there is such thing as heaven or hell (although a Trump presidency comes pretty close to hell I’d have to say) and there is no such thing as a soul and the only things that exist are what we can measure and observe. When someone takes organized religion seriously and believes there is a dude in the sky watching over us I think they’re as nutty as a fruitcake. I do make comments about “the goddess” occasionally but I don’t believe in a literal goddess, it’s just kind of an expression I use to be pro-woman. Like, if there was a creator, she would definitely be female. I think woman-centered spiritually is kind of nice, although I don’t think it’s literally real.
The next point would be the following: do I actually think it’s wrong to be trans? I have already answered that question here. I’m not going to copy and paste that whole post here, you can just go read it, but the jist of that post is that the question “is it okay to be trans” is too oversimplified, because “trans” means a lot of different things. In regards to FtMs who have dysphoria and who make body modifications, I don’t think they’re doing anything morally wrong, I think they’re just trying to deal with the situation they’re in. It gets very different when talking about someone like Stephonknee who is practicing a gross sexual fetish in public. I think what he’s doing is morally wrong. I can’t include trans people all in one blanket statement because I have very different views on different people.
My objection to body modification is not specific to transgenderism. I am just as against labiaplasty, Botox injections, liposuction, breast augmentation, and anything else women do to look like an “ideal” woman. The reason I don’t like that people make body modifications is sort of similar to the way some people think you shouldn’t solve mental health problems with medication. You should work on underlying psychological issues in therapy rather than medicating yourself, that sort of thing. Body modification is not a moral issue if you’re choosing it yourself, it’s just a strategy I disagree with because it constitutes an injury and I don’t think it addresses the underlying problem.
For the record, I’ve had depression since puberty, and I’ve been on medication twice, both times because I couldn’t actually live my life anymore and had to do something. I have been told that I should stay on antidepressants for the rest of my life, but I refuse, and I’m off them now. As long as I am relatively stable and doing okay I don’t want to be on medication, basically because I don’t want anything artificial in my body unless it absolutely has to be there. I’m not actually trying to eliminate the existence of transgender medical intervention, but I think it should be a last resort when nothing else works, and the default response to dysphoria should be to start with therapy.
Evangelicals want gay and trans people to stop being gay and trans… well again, since trans means so many things I can’t possibly make a blanket statement about that. In many cases it’s not actually possible to “stop being trans.” If you are someone with gender dysphoria you can’t just wave a magic wand and make it go away. (If you could, it would be people with dysphoria waving the magic wand themselves, not evangelicals or feminists, because they don’t want to be dysphoric.) There are some people in the trans community who don’t even have gender dysphoria and aren’t in any distress and just like wearing cool outfits and calling themselves by an identity label. I think those people are just being silly…and they can’t really “stop being trans” because…they’re not actually transitioning in any way so there’s nothing for them to stop doing, really. The main thing I think trans people should stop doing is they should stop taking away women’s rights. That has nothing to do with their personal decisions about their bodies, it has to do with their public activism.
So, about public activism. Evangelicals have a habit of taking away other people’s rights. They like to take away women’s reproductive rights and same-sex marriage rights. That’s because they think their version of morality has to be forced on other people. This is more similar to what trans activists are doing than to what feminists are doing. Trans activists are shutting down radical feminist events by sending in death threats until the venue cancels, they are no-platforming feminists who try to speak, they are taking away sex segregation in sports, washrooms, and locker rooms, and effectively reversing decades of women’s hard-won sex-based protections. Feminists are not trying to take away civil rights from trans people or prevent them from speaking, we’re just trying to protect women’s rights. You don’t see feminists shutting down conferences on transgenderism, or sending death threats to venues where trans people are speaking, or trying to prevent trans people from accessing services. The bathroom debates are where it gets sticky—I know that when a facility only has male and female washrooms, feminists will argue that trans people should use the washroom that corresponds to their birth sex in many cases, which leaves trans people feeling like they can’t use any washroom…but I also know that we generally advocate for the creation of single-user, unisex washrooms because we do want people to be accommodated, just not by letting the entire world into the women’s washroom. I find that feminists are pretty reasonable about having a conversation about how to accommodate everyone and looking for solutions. Certainly my goal is to look for solutions for everybody.
I don’t try to force my beliefs on anybody. People can either agree or disagree with what I say as they wish. I think my ideas are reasonable because they are reality-based and don’t rely on faith. I find the ideas of both evangelicals and transgenderists rely on faith rather than a description of reality. Evangelicals believe in God and transgenderists believe in gender identity—both subjective things that they claim to experience but that can’t be proven, measured, quantified, or described in any coherent way.
I don’t actually expect that any people with gender dysphoria will read my blog and be like “It’s a miracle! I’m cured! No more dysphoria!” It doesn’t work like that. I think feminist analysis just helps people to make sense of their situation. I write this blog because I like writing, in fact I love writing so much that I never want to quit, and I just hope that someone somewhere gains something from the analysis and can apply it to their lives. Some detransitioners who found feminism have said they no longer have dysphoria or that they still have some dysphoria but no longer identify as trans. That’s not because they became convinced that it’s “wrong” to be trans or that they should “stop being trans.” It’s because they were people who were suffering from sexism and homophobia in the first place and feminist analysis gave them a lens through which to see that, and then they went through a lot of self-exploration and healing that involved a lot more than feminist blogs—it was work they did on their own and it often involved meditation, exercise, and community with other detransitioners. Not everyone will find feminist analysis useful, and that’s that.
I don’t believe in dogma and adhering to group norms, I believe in promoting an analysis that people can use to make sense of the world around them. What people choose to do with that analysis is up to them. I am open to changing my mind, and if I ever see any compelling evidence that there is such a thing as an innate gender identity then I’ll believe it, but so far I have only seen evidence of sexism, homophobia, and mental illness that lead people to seek body modification.
All things considered, I don’t think I resemble an evangelical at all.