Trans Pushiness: You Don’t Have to be Wrong to be Bad; You’re Just Bad
Hey, folks, this is almost exciting. I’ve discovered a new principle in the gender world: You can “misgender” a person, and you’re never wrong — not wrong at all! I’m not sure there’s even such a thing as being wrong about it!
Don’t get too excited, though. It’s only almost exciting. Misgender someone, and you’re a bad person. You may not be wrong, but you’re still bad. Very bad.
I’m not making this up. It comes from long experience with trans activism. Most recently, though, I find it in written complaints from a couple of trans persons.
See How Bad You Must Be?
One of them, Sam Dylan Finch, writing on a “queer” website, says you’re bad in ten different ways. It starts with you being an arrogant you-know-what, thinking you know her better than she knows herself.
That’s just the beginning. You don’t care about her sense of safety, and you’re okay with hurting and offending her if it makes you more comfortable. That makes you one of those rotten types who never think about anyone but themselves.
Get her pronoun wrong, and you’re telling her she’s an inconvenience to you. You don’t want her being honest about herself, and if she is, you don’t want to listen. You’re no ally; you’re not someone she can trust. This isn’t just disrespect, it’s teaching others disrespect.
See how bad you are? Bad, bad, bad.
What’s fascinating, though, is what’s missing for her list. Do you see anything among her complaints that says you’re wrong? I don’t mean morally wrong; she’s got that covered with all the ways you’re bad. I mean factually wrong, as in, “Actually, really, factually, I’m male. You keep getting that fact wrong.” That’s nowhere to be found in her long list of complaints.
It’s All Your Fault!
Tracey Anne Duncan’s complaints at Mic.com are similar. Misgender him, and you’re suffering cognitive failure, but it’s not that you’ve reached a wrong conclusion, it’s “trouble with memory” and “brain fog.” You’re “too caught up” your own life “to devote the necessary effort to communicate respectfully.” You’re having trouble learning.
And it’s your fault, even though as Duncan admits, “I’ve changed my name three times in three years. Even now, I use a different name in my private life than what is listed on my professional writing.” Get it wrong, and what it ultimately means is that you don’t care.
It’s Her Truth, And You’re Bad to Ignore It
So Duncan and Finch agree: I misgender them, so I must be bad. But neither one says I’m actually wrong. Finch comes closest when she says misgendering her means I’m saying her “identity isn’t real”; that I’ve heard her truth, but I’m ignoring it. So maybe I am wrong, but if I am, it’s with respect to her truth.
To that I say, “Tough beans, Ms. Buddy.” She thinks I have to live by her truth? What if I shoot right back and tell her she has to live by mine? She’d have no grounds for telling me I was wrong. All she could do is throw more insults at me.
That’s how she’s playing it here. I think it’s all she’s got. And if that’s the game, I could insult her right back, telling her how pushy she’s being, telling me how I need to live my life around her. I’d have every grounds for it, too, because her way of playing it is all about the insult and the pushiness.
I don’t want to play it her way, though. In a battle of one person’s “truth” against another’s, there’s never a winner. If one prevails over the other, it’s by pushing harder, not be speaking truer.
Could We Please Start With Facts Instead of Accusations?
I want out of that morass. The first way out of it, though, is to call it what is. She throws around accusations of character deficiencies because it’s the best game she knows how to play. If she gives no thought to what’s factually right or wrong, it’s probably because she has no category even to put it in.
She thinks her mental perception of herself rules over all other beliefs, opinions, or facts. I think she’s factually wrong about that. That’s neither a moral challenge nor an emotional statement. It’s me disagreeing with her on the facts.
I’m convinced that transgenderism goes badly wrong on a lot of facts about the fundamental nature of reality. The movement as a whole is wrong about what it is to be human, what it is to be male or female, and the meaning and significance about rare exceptions to the usual male/female experience. Gay and trans activists are wrong about the best way to support and raise children with emotional/relational questions, and the best way to build a solidly functioning and free society. Ultimately they’re wrong about the decisive role God has in determining all of the above.
I’m not denying that we have moral disagreements, too. But for me the moral question flows from the factual question, whereas Finch bypasses that and goes straight to moral and emotional matters. They’ll make you morally wrong without bothering with whether you’re factually wrong.
Let’s Put It On a Factual Level
Gender activists push and bully and make demands with all the confidence of those who are sure they’re right, but their reasons for being so sure always come down to feelings: their feelings, which are right without need for any explaining what’s right about them; and the feelings they’re sure we conservatives have toward them, without any reference to the fact that we might be basing our opinion on something completely foreign to them, our understanding of what is true.
I don’t expect a column like this to show that our view is true and theirs is wrong. I’m not even starting that part of the conversation. I’m just trying to put it on the table.
Just once I’d like to hear a trans activist say, “I get that your disagreement isn’t purely emotional. I hear you when you say that your problem with our view of life and reality is that we’ve got an inaccurate picture of what reality is. I’d like to explain why I think that’s wrong. Not emotionally wrong, and not (primarily) morally wrong, but factually wrong.”
I’d love to hear one of them explain their view of the facts — not emotional “facts,” character “facts,” or “my truth” sorts of facts, but facts grounded in reality we can actually talk about together. It might be a hard discussion. Truth is hard enough to come by in the best of circumstances, but I don’t know how many of them even have a category for it.
Until I have that discussion, though, I really don’t care what accusations they throw at my character. I pay very close attention to charges based in fact. I haven’t heard any from them yet.
Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the recently released Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.