|Skating Across This Immature Age|
|Opinion - Looking Glass|
|Monday, 28 September 2009 14:00|
Fairfax, VA, USA. Those of us who live in a democracy have much to be proud of, given the thuggish record of authoritarian regimes. But every democracy requires continuous engagement with securing liberty and extending the benefits to all of its citizens.
That is, if and when reason is allowed to prevail. Our society cultivates immaturity and a superficial intellectual engagement with issues. As it happens, we live in an age when immature behavior is rewarded, not penalized, and the deliberate distortion of opposing views becomes internalized and substituted for the truth.
The difficulties we experience when making the case for attention to the medical and legal needs of people born transsexual occurs within a punishing context stacked against any challenge to the status quo. That stack of givens originates from a cross-section of social and political elements. It includes the cynical manipulations of politicians on the Left and Right, the derisive and all-too-familiar dismissals from transgender activists, and — unhappily — silly conflicts cooked up by people born transsexual who haplessly turn on each other to prove who is the least transgender of all.
Under such conditions, the task of opening a genuine and civil dialogue daunts even the best of us. The worst among us can persist without principle and deflect our democratic trajectory toward a fearsome destination. There is a way out of this mess, but it requires a dedicated navigation across the status quo of this immature age..
Clutching Old Dispensations
When we aggregate into groups, decisions must be made by individuals with limited knowledge, whether of facts or options. The accurate and timely exchange of information is crucial to the formation of a common base of fact to ensure informed and rational decision-making. However, groups that demand a rigid ideological view to qualify for membership make collective choices that are the result of pre-qualified interactions among many partially — and wrongly — informed participants that are impervious to facts.
This is a classic example of the human tendency to clutch old dispensations and reduce public debate to a kind of cultural doggerel: prepping an ox to be gored in the name of reminted traditional or even radical values (provided the ox belongs to someone else). No wonder good manners have deteriorated to the level of a bad television sitcom where the characters avoid intimacy, yell, and slam doors, aching for the deus ex machina to hoist them out of their self-made dilemmas.
The Predation of Transgender Ideology
One part of the problem derives from insistence by TG activists that all of us are part of their group whether we like it or not. Any deviation from TG group norms is therefore viewed as separatist and irrational. The misplaced movement rhetoric is intellectually empty and very annoying, but no surprise given the prolonged adolescent behavior that hides under pedantic vocabulary. The atmospherics remind me of snooty high school cliques that enforce in-group mediocrity to avoid the challenge of growing up.
Early on, we at TS-Si were open to building meaningful coalitions founded on mutual respect to advance key issues in common without sacrificing principle. However, we long ago found the price of admission is way too high: we must validate the transgender without reciprocation.
This sort of thing fuels suspicions among TS folk who resist TG inclusion. Could the near-obsessive behavior of so many TG adherents have some cause beyond mere coalition-building? The TS folk suspect a darker motive is afoot, such as recruitment into causes with values they do not share (pick one: political sympathies, attitudes about family life, religion, differing opinions on equal rights, and so on).
And that is trying to see a wholly rational basis for the antipathy.
Now, I do not argue that "understanding of TG positions" is an easy task. There are important policy matters at stake, but TG activists commonly avoid rational argument and substitute invective for discussion. That leaves the heavy lifting to others. The effort is way too disheartening for serious consideration if the only outcome is a continuous validation of transgenderism.
Some people born transsexual persist in their coalition-building and I wish them well — provided they do not undermine the health and security of transsexuals for the sake of their ego-driven process.
Medical Necessity & The Leaking Umbrella
We have basic objections to linking the transsexual birth condition to both GLB and the "T" in GLBT.
All of this has resulted in a very tense situation that stymies initiatives to obtain research attention for transsexual folks, improve medical practices, secure legal protection, and provide a variety of needed social services.
Sometimes, distinctions make a difference. One of the fundamental reasons for identifying the transsexual population is to ensure proper medical care. People who obscure the differing medical needs of transssexuals do so at the peril of flawed outcomes for transsexual patients. As long as the surgery as option canard persist, it increases the difficulty of getting safe and sufficient regimens in place for hormones and surgery. This is particularly true of the vulnerable poor and dispossessed.
Mirror, Mirror: Who Is Least Transgender Of All?
Another belligerent debate is underway as various people who claim to be born transsexual assess who is and is not a transgender person. By extension, they judge the content of blogs, websites, news outlets, and more in terms of the perceived aid and comfort given to the transgender opposition. (For most, read transgender enemy.)
The skepticism and suspicion is born of frustration from communicating with hostile transgender activists who spread mis- and disinformation about transsexualism. Way too many TGs are in the habit of trolling the internet, trashing discussions, and manipulating information to fortify their biases.
Scanning the internet, I often find transsexuals taking ill-advised positions that were not well considered in the first place. The displayed attitude of the most energetic of transsexual zealots reveals a lack of in-depth consideration of the issues. By not carefully thinking through the situation, then just firing off rants and screeds when provoked, we wind up with representation that does far more harm than good. Saying that does not imply we should supinely put up with the TG nonsense directed at transsexual people, but it does argue for a calmer and more measured approach.
Too often, some transsexual adherents approach the problem with a set of pre-conceived notions that condition any attempt at understanding the situation of particular TGs. This is particularly true when the discussion is muddied by disagreements over such unrelated issues as abortion, age of transition, parenthood, employment, and equal rights without regard to sexual orientation.
So now many on the transsexual/HBS side have resorted to the means and methods of their traditional TG opponents and turned on each other. They accuse people of being transgender (or running a TG website) in their search for punishable apostasy. Sometimes, the accusations are based on no more than expressing common humanity with transgender individuals.
It escalates from there: TS-Si was accused of being transgender and supporting the GLBT umbrella because we exhibited at Pride in Washington, DC and transgender people were in attendance at the same event. This took on special urgency for the critics because of participation by gay and lesbian people. It hardly mattered that we were there to help counterbalance TG propaganda. Our support for gay rights, exploited sex workers out in the street, and others in need is enough to misrepresent us as TG. Wrong.
Civil Rights & Civic Intolerance
This intolerant trend has been in evidence for a long time, of course, but reached a particularly savage intensity in recent months. This matters first of all because it is wrong. Beyond that, it is counter-productive. And now, weary me, it has descended to the level of terminal boredom with the whole lot.
On behalf of TS-Si and myself, I can say without qualification that we support the civil rights of all people, without regard to class, ethnic origin, sex, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other arbitrary criterion. We implement our Mission Statement without deference to phobias and bigotries. I also can say that we are not a transgender organization, nor does our website engage in either transgender identification or sociopolitics. But we do recognize the human dimension and sympathize with those who are troubled — for any reason.
We receive a lot of correspondence — mostly routine and respectful — but some few folks have embraced the dark side of classist, racist, and homophobic bigotry. Some of our most offensive correspondence comes from post-ops who unfailingly target the straight male TGs as fetishists, sexual deviants, and perverts. Sometimes, the whole group of ordinary transgenders get painted with that brush, even those who are merely "masculine" females or "feminine" males trying to make their way through life.
We do not side with bigots of any kind, nor do we characterize the TG opposition as "deviants/perverts". And we very certainly do not endorse any of the destructive phobias. To the contrary, we step up and oppose bigots whenever and wherever they appear.
And our columnists, oh wow. Alternative viewpoints, even if only a matter of nuance or style, are punished by insecure transsexuals who demand their own recognition while engaging in bullying rhetoric against those with whom they disagree or mischaracterize. The contradiction eludes their ken. And if there really is some basis for disagreement, merely providing a reasoned riposte isn't enough. Some people with a transsexual history seem hell bent on demonstrating their adolescent resentment of adult conversation.
We can and do publish dissenting views without necessarily agreeing with them, just as we can read with comprehension and respect the dissenter, even in disagreement.
The misbehavior of spiteful critics strains my equanimity. Well, we will not stop, nor will I pause and wipe the tears of every small-brained purveyor of immature nonsense, whether they be transgender or transsexual. We aren't here to win any awards, take any abuse, or focus attention on ourselves. What matters to us are the people who matter: individuals correcting the misalignment of their brains and their anatomical sex, smoothing the way toward surgical correction.
I have no particular interest in people who demonstrate they have no brains at all.
|Last Updated on Monday, 17 January 2011 22:24|