What do we do with really difficult issues? In America we have them out. Because we have the right to do so — given to us by the Founders, and noisily exercised ever since. We discuss things, debate them and in the process hopefully solve some problems.
But today there are people everywhere trying to shut things down. People who want to pretend that their view is the only view it should be possible to hold.
It happened again several times this week on the fraught topic of trans issues.
There is almost nobody who actually hates trans people. Almost no one actually wishes them harm. Ours is a very live-and-let live society, and if people want to dress or present one way or another then that´s hardly new. New York alone must count as the most colorful society anywhere on earth.
Yet repeatedly activists pretend that to even discuss this area is to commit a terrible harm. They pretend not only that the evidence around “gender dysphoria” is completely clear, but that it has zero consequences. The trans extremists try to pretend, for instance, that there is no tension at all between some trans rights and some women’s rights. Despite the fact that such tensions — and worse — keep emerging everywhere from college sports to the nation’s jails.
As though to prove that you can never be woke enough, on Monday Representative Rashida Tlaib attacked The New York Times. The squad member did so because she claimed that the Times was publishing anti-trans content. It was, she said “providing a platform for transphobic hate and propaganda with horrifying consequences.” She went on to claim that “Texas just entered NYT articles into evidence to push for the TX Dept of Family & Protective Services to take trans kids away from their supportive parents.”
As is usually the case with Rep Tlaib there are so many problems in that statement that it is hard to know where to begin. Though I would note one in particular. What exactly is a “trans kid”? Does anybody really know? Our society pretends to be radically certain and knowledgeable about this. But in fact we know almost nothing about it.
We have almost no idea why some people believe they are born in the wrong body. We have very little idea of when this is a passing feeling and when it might be a permanent one. And we have almost no understanding at all about the extent to which claims by children that they are trans are in fact a demonstration of “social contagion,” where one kid in a school comes out as trans and a whole bunch of others start to follow suit.
Yet Tlaib pretended to know all of this and more. She speaks about “trans kids” as though it is as straightforward and obvious as saying “ginger haired kids.” Not only does she want to keep up that misplaced certainty. She wants others to keep it up too.
So she must attack the most woke newspaper for daring to publish anything (and it hasn’t published much) which raises the minutest question mark over any of this.
Are there questions marks to be raised? You bet. Considering that the consequences of getting this question wrong means the medical neutering of children and their physical mutilation I would say that the question marks are very real indeed. But everywhere people like Tlaib are busy pretending otherwise.
On Tuesday this week the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on abortion access and the law. One of the people invited to testify was a professor from UC Berkeley (of course) called Khiara M. Bridges. Her “specialist” areas of study are “race, class and reproductive rights.” A well-known and vital specialism. During the hearing Bridges repeatedly referred to “people with a capacity for pregnancy.” Hawley understandably asked about this curious phrase. “Would that be women?” he asked.
In her response Bridges was as patronizing and rude as it was possible to be. Taking on the manner of an elementary school teacher she Berkeley-splained to Hawley: “Many women, cis women, have the capacity for pregnancy. Many cis women do not have the capacity for pregnancy. There are also trans men who are capable of pregnancy, as well as nonbinary people who are capable of pregnancy.”
Of course this is all a modern form of Jesuitical nonsense. “Trans men” who are still capable of pregnancy are still biological women. Nobody really knows what “non-binary” means, other than “look at me.” But anyone identifying themselves as “non-binary” who is also capable of becoming pregnant is also in fact still — wait for the big reveal — a woman.
Laughing nervously as people often do when they don’t know what they are talking about, Bridges then said: “So, um, I want to recognize that your line of questioning is transphobic and it opens up trans people to violence by not recognizing them.” She then went on to say that one out of five transgender people have attempted suicide and that “denying that trans people exist” causes this and much more to happen.
This is the same logic used by Twitter which now suspends peoples’ accounts unless they agree to the latest trans orthodoxy. All based on the same falsehoods that Tlaib and Bridges rehearsed this week. Which is that if you do not go along with an orthodoxy invented a couple of years ago you are actually committing violence.
Bridges condescendingly told Hawley that he should join her class. “You might learn a lot” she said. Hawley was too polite back at her. But the truth is that we are all in her wretched, dim-witted class now. All of America is being told to shut up and just get with the trans program. Otherwise we are killing people. Or making them kill themselves, or something.
What a way to have a debate. Or rather what a way to shut one down. And what an appalling way to approach an issue which — as American parents know — we have the right to think about and discuss.