Let’s talk about the difference between identifying as something and identifying what you actually are, because transgenderists like to think that it’s totally legit for anyone to identify as anything and they also think that everyone constructs identities for themselves. Nope!
I don’t “identify as” a woman or a lesbian, I just am a woman and a lesbian. I did not construct an identity of myself as a woman out of a desire to be one, I just know that I am one because I know what a woman is (an adult human female) and I am an adult human female. Before I was an adult, I was a female child, also called a girl. This is not because I had an “identity” as a girl, it’s because I was a girl.
Sometimes I want to ask transgenderists if they even believe in material reality. Do you know that there is a physical world that exists outside of our imaginations and that there are things in it that we can touch and see and measure and observe and study?
Humans come in two sexes, male and female, and that’s how we reproduce. Male refers to the sex that produces the smaller gametes, which in humans are called sperm, and female refers to the sex that produces the larger gametes, which in humans are called ova. This is something that we can observe about human beings because we exist in material reality. If you choose not to believe the facts that are right in front of you, then that is just denial and/or lying.
When I call myself a woman, that’s because I am of the sex that produces ova, and no, I haven’t cut myself open to see if there are ova in there, I just know there are because the only reason I could have been born with a vagina that began to pass blood at puberty is because I have ova and a uterus inside my body. That’s the only way that could happen.
Transgenderists will claim that so-called “TERFs” have created an identity out of our biology and that it threatens our identity when others identify outside their biology. No, it doesn’t, because we haven’t created “identities” out of our biology, we are just naming our biology. It is just there. It’s not an identity, it’s a reality. Saying “I’m a woman” is naming the reality that I have a female body. Nothing that transgenderists do or say can threaten to change the fact that I am female. My body is not an idea or a feeling, it is something real and no idea or feeling can change that.
In the past, I was open to viewing the words “man” and “woman” as social categories that weren’t always connected to biology. However, after a lot of thought and study, I found that there was no way to define the words “man” and “woman” when you disconnect them from their actual meanings of adult human male and adult human female. Transgenderists who attempt to define these words just provide a word salad that does not make a clear distinction between man, woman, and human. If man and woman mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean, then there can be no coherent meaning assigned to them. The reason words exist is to communicate ideas; if a word communicates nothing then it’s useless as a communication device.
There is a social category of “man” and a social category of “woman” that exist. For example, a female who is living in the social category of “man” is doing so based on making body modifications so that she resembles a human male and also performing the behaviors that people expect from males, based on our culture. I understand perfectly the way this social category operates; however I disagree that people should reinforce stereotypes about how men and women behave and I disagree that people should make radical body modifications that can cause physical harm and I disagree that we should have to lie about what sex someone is. I don’t think that the whole world needs to pretend we don’t understand human reproductive anatomy in order to protect the feelings of people experiencing gender dysphoria. If someone is a female with dysphoria, then the reality of her situation is that she is a female with dysphoria, not a male. Same vice versa.
Why do I feel this way? Because (1) the stereotypes about men and women are harmful and must be abolished, (2) radical body modification is harmful and doesn’t even necessarily help, therefore it is a bad strategy, and (3) people should not lie about their sex because it is significant what sex someone is in many social situations such as when dating or conducting intimate relationships, when giving medical care, when collecting demographic statistics, etc.
Even someone who chooses to make body modifications in order to alleviate gender dysphoria should be capable of naming reality; there is no reason why he or she should pretend that his or her birth sex never existed or why other people need to pretend so.
So getting back to “identifying as” something, I don’t agree that anyone should “identify as” anything. You should only name what you actually are. Identifying as something other than what you are is lying. I wouldn’t really care whether a complete stranger is lying about themselves–people have a right to talk nonsense if they want—but when they start legislating lies and using lies to take away women’s rights I’m gonna be pissed.
Related to this discussion is the question that I sometimes get asked which can take any of the following forms: ‘Why can’t other people have their identities and you have yours’? or ‘Why can’t you respect everyone in the LGBT community’ or ‘how can you expect people to respect your identity if you don’t respect theirs’? So let’s jump right into this one.
No one has to validate my “identity” as a lesbian, because this isn’t an identity I have constructed for myself. I am female and attracted to females; this is actually located in material reality and can be directly observed. The word “lesbian” only exists to describe my actual situation, it’s not a concept that exists outside of me that I aspire to be. My female biology is an observable fact. The fact that I live in an apartment with another human with female biology is an observable fact. The fact that we have one bedroom and one bed, which we both sleep in, is an observable fact. So is the fact that we kiss each other, say “I love you”, leave each other loves notes, spend holidays together and file our taxes as a common-law couple. If someone chooses to look at the facts and conclude that I am not a female homosexual then that person is simply a liar.
If someone is male and calling himself female, I don’t have to take that identity seriously because that is not true. Someone male cannot be female, it is scientifically impossible. He may have an ‘identity’ as the social category ‘woman,’ but I am allowed to disagree with the way that the social category of ‘woman’ is constructed because it harms me as an actual female.
The man who “identifies as” a woman is dependent on other people playing along for his “identity” to be real. He cannot realistically be said to be “living as a woman” if everyone around him acknowledges he is male. No one should be forced to play a game of “let’s pretend” if they don’t want to play. We should not have to validate things about other people that aren’t true. You can identify as anything you want, but if I can see that you’re talking nonsense, I’m not going to take you seriously.
In a certain manner of speaking, I do respect all the members of LGBT. I respect the rights of homosexuals to live their lives as homosexuals, I respect the rights of bisexuals to live their lives as bisexuals, and I respect the rights of gender nonconforming people to wear the outfits they want to wear without losing their civil rights. I do not agree to call a man a woman but if a man wants to wear a dress he still has the right to housing, education, employment and health care free of discrimination. I wish I could say the same thing about the trans community’s attitude toward lesbians. I wish that the trans community could disagree with our theories on gender without denying us the right to assemble, to speak and to organize. It’s plain to see where the disrespect actually is.
Identity politics can be a useful thing or a pointless thing. Accurately naming your location in a system of oppression is useful in demographic research, in social sciences, in social work, in discussions of human sexuality, etc. But pretending to be something you are not is another story altogether.