Sunday, May 22, 2016

NYT: "Transgender Americans" See Their Personal Battle Become A National Showdown

   This is all really bad IMO.
   Standard disclaimer: it's impossible to be taken seriously the the cultural powers that be without anteing up with your liberal credentials... So: I'm mostly a liberal. I also think that the public restroom question raises genuine questions. My mind isn't make up about the practical question of public restroom sex-segregation...but I'm inclined to be against a precipitous change in public policy on this score (in either direction).
   I've just been reading Gallileo's Middle Finger, in which Alice Dreger--a historian and philosopher of science and activist for the intersexed--recounts the campaign of personal destruction led by transgender activists against a psychologist who formulated a theory they didn't like. The author describes the tactics she herself used as an activist for intersex causes, and the transgender activists used against Bailey. Bits of the NYT story hint at similar tactics, especially this part:
   The sweeping directive to public schools seemed to come out of nowhere. In fact, it was the product of years of study inside the government and a highly orchestrated campaign by advocates for gay and transgender people. Mindful of the role “Whites Only’’ bathrooms played in the civil rights battles of more than half a century ago, they have been maneuvering behind the scenes to press federal agencies, and ultimately Mr. Obama, to address a question that has roiled many school districts: Should those with differing anatomies share the same bathrooms?
   The lobbying came to a head, according to people who were involved, in a hastily called April 1 meeting between top White House officials — led by Valerie Jarrett, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser and one of his closest confidantes — and national leaders of the gay and transgender rights movement. North Carolina had just become the first state to explicitly bar transgender people from using the bathrooms of their choice.
   “Transgender students are under attack in this country,” said Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based advocacy group that is active on the issue, summing up the message he sought to convey to Ms. Jarrett that day. “They need their federal government to stand up for them.”
Ms. Jarrett and her team, he said, listened politely, but “did not reveal much,” including the fact that a legal directive on transgender rights that had been in the works for months was about to be released.
   When — or precisely how — Mr. Obama personally weighed in is not clear; the White House would not provide specifics. But two days before that meeting, scores of advocacy groups sent Mr. Obama a private letter, appealing to his sense of history as he nears the end of his presidency, in which he has already advanced gay and transgender rights on multiple fronts.
   The picture here is one of prolonged behind-the-scenes maneuvering by one side in the dispute, and then an apparently sudden decision by the government. The idea wasn't floated ahead of time for public discussion, no time was allowed for national deliberation. Hell, even I wasn't aware that this issue was being pushed seriously by anyone until about two years ago.
   These are similar to the non-rational rhetorical tactics described by Dreger: blanket the internet with the arguments for your own position, push your arguments to liberal/sympathetic journalists, set the terms of the debate, etc. In this case, pushing "gender identity" and "social construction" as pivotal concepts has been crucial. And, as Dreger notes, relentlessly pushing the (questionable, ideologically-motivated) theory that the transgenderism is a matter of "males being trapped in female bodies" (or vice-versa), as opposed to Bailey's theory that a large percentage of men who categorize themselves as transgendered ("trans women") are actually motivated by a sexual fetish for thinking of themselves with female bodies. Incidentally, Dreger's points about tactics predict that Wikipedia would be a prime place to push the transgender activists' preferred theory--and it is. I can't find a single mention of Bailey in the article--which reads like something written by an activist, not a dispassionate observer/encyclopedist.
   This is all bad, bad, bad. There are reasonably important questions here, and we're being pushed toward a pre-ordained conclusion advocated by a small group of activists and others. We're being asked to overturn a long-standing and reasonable aspect of the culture without discussion, with the politically correct preference of the far left being imposed from on high. Perhaps they're pushing the right solution...but I certainly wouldn't bet any money on that. And even if the policy proposals--or, rather, diktats--accidentally happen to be right, this way of creating and implementing policy is contrary to fundamental principles of liberal democracy. Merely declaring the existence of obscure and implausible new rights does not change that.

(And a big fat facepalm at the phrase "transgender Americans")


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