Has The Left Jumped The Shark With The Trans Biology Debate?
Updated: Apr 24, 2022
What we're expected to disbelieve about biological reality approaches QAnon-level credulity
Image by Anik Islam from Pixabay
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. - Daniel Moynihan, American politician, sociologist, diplomat, 1983
Has the American left finally jumped the shark?
Has it stretched its credibility and influence past the breaking point, as Donald Trump's Capitol coup attempt drove many thousands of voters to switch their affiliation to Democrat or independent last year?
The left criticizes the right for its non-commitment to facts nor clearly established reality, such as embracing Trump's Big Lie of a stolen election, along with its overall science-phobic denial or 'skepticism' of climate change and COVID vaccines.
Then there's the rise of QAnon: The into-the-ionosphere bugspit-crazy religious fundamentalist-fueled right-wing conspiracy theories so insane social media has been forced to ban them.
The left points its scolding finger at the sheer lunacy of what's become of the American right and the Republican party, but what about the log in its own collective eye?
The left is no less guilty of science denial. Let's remember how the left embraced the modern anti-vaxx movement's Big Lie linking vaccines to autism, captained by former Playboy Bunny Jenny McCarthy and then-partner Jim Carrey. They relied on their celebrity to influence and persuade others that vaccines harm children, their information drawn from a since-discredited medical journal article linking a childhood vaccine to autism. Some medical professionals question whether her own son was misdiagnosed, since he seems to have 'recovered' as a young adult, and autism isn't a condition one recovers from.
McCarthy, Carrey, and many other celebrities suffering delusions of adequacy have done untold damage to children who caught preventable childhood diseases because their parents were afraid to vaccinate them. Not to mention the later damage to the country as a whole when the right embraced vaccine hysteria last year, which has kept America firmly at the top of the global list for infections, deaths and hospitalizations.
Yoo-Ess - Finally #1 at something!Source: Bing COVID-19 Tracker
Today, there's a newer giant mother of a movement on the left insisting we deny the evidence of our own lying eyes, approaching the level of no less than the right's the-pandemic-is-a-hoax incredulity.
Ideology trumps facts in what may be the left's jump-the-shark moment, one that may drive as many away from the left as Trump's insurrection has become GOP voter repellant.
Until about twelve years ago, 'transgender' wasn't a word you heard much, and even less likely to encounter such an individual. I met four before the explosion in the late '00s.
Today, millions of people worldwide identify as transgender and others regularly state their preferred pronouns except, perhaps, those who need to do it the most.
The identification of what once seemed pretty obvious - who's male or female, man or woman - became far more contentious as certain trans-activists increasingly voiced aggressive redefinitions asserting that anyone who identifies as a woman is a woman.
Interestingly, transmen's participation is noticeably sparse in this debate. Perhaps because there's no strong push to be permitted into male-only spaces or to be accepted by natal males the way some transwomen have pushed to be included in women's-only spaces and accepted as 'one of us'.
What's mind-boggling is how quickly educated, formerly rational minds have assimilated the new assertion that a person with a penis is a woman, simply by demand.
Reality is not transphobic
'Transphobic' and 'TERF' (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) are the go-to labels hurled at those who insist biology is real, and that women need their own spaces to protect themselves from historically predatory men.
Especially in female prisons, where sex assaults by 'transwoman' prisoners of female prisoners receive far less press coverage than sexual assaults of transwomen prisoners.
I put 'transwoman' in quotes because out-of-the-blue convicted rapist transgender self-identification like the UK's notorious 'Karen White' seems a tad suspicious. It's hardly unreasonable to ask whether a new desire for a convicted sex offender to be transferred to a women's prison and be granted access to women might not be because he suddenly feels like a 'she'.
Bring this up, and one is accused of being 'transphobic' as opposed to, say, being 'anti-rape'.
Never is it acknowledged, by this small fraction of trans-activists and their supporters, that one can be supportive of the trans movement without necessarily agreeing to every assertion.
Just ask Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
She's become the most visible face of biology pushback against a movement she has otherwise clearly historically supported, merely because she asserts biology is real and people with a penis don't magically turn into women on their say-so.
We're told that people may not 'feel right' in the body they were born into and that's indisputable because no one knows how someone else actually feels. Before social media and celebrities lent a distinct air of coolness to 'coming out' as trans, a much smaller fraction of the population made real transitions, at least as far as they were financially able to take it, at a time with far less social and familial support and less public understanding of the more unique gender dysphoria, the kind you don't outgrow.
CC0 2.0 image by Tim Eytan on Flickr
Feelings are real, but not scientific, and they don't always accurately reflect established reality.
I once met someone who believed he was almost a literal Anne Rice-style vampire, except of course, he wasn't. We conversed in daylight, for one thing, and for another, he acknowledged he'd never drunk blood.
People believe conspiracy theories because they feel right or 'true'. It doesn't make them right or true. Consider the Flat Earth Society. Or Dr. Fauci about alternative methods to prevent or treat COVID.
So you can feel like a man or a woman, even though you weren't born that way. Fair enough, but on some level, one can't change one's biological reality. Which is why transwomen don't menstruate and transmen can't impregnate a woman, and some guy in Baltimore doesn't make an ash of himself when he walks around by day.
Biology is real
A young couple I know have proven it. They had a baby last year. One partner is non-binary (they) and the other is a transwoman (she/her). The non-binary partner carried a baby in their belly for nine months and gave birth the way women have birthed babies for millions of years.
I hadn't been sure whether the baby was their partner's. Although the penis didn't prove paternity the baby's eyes certainly did, when I saw the first photos. They were the transwoman's.
This miracle could only have occurred with a biological female and a biological male.
I accept them and treat them the way they want, because I like them. It doesn't much matter to me what their genes state, incontrovertibly. I can be tolerant because I hail from a lifetime of other 'identities', even though I've never believed or felt like I was one of those personas.
Additionally, accepting others' unrealities is comprehensible if you grow up in any sort of religious country. You become accustomed to highly unscientific beliefs you nevertheless go along with, if only to keep the peace.
Demonstrably questionable faith-based belief systems aren't always, and don't have to be, toxic. For all Christianity's faults, it's also promoted laudable moral notions of kindness, compassion, redemption, forgiveness, care for the poor and sick, turning the other cheek and yes, even tolerance. Christianity can recognize when it has erred in the past and self-corrected. It fueled and Biblically 'justified' the transatlantic slave trade, but it was Christian abolitionists who ended it.
For all its own faults, the fledgling trans movement forces us to question what we think we know about gender. Sincere trans minds ask how important gender is and whether it's fluid. It reminds me of earlier debates we had in college forty years ago about sexual preference, and whether humans are actually bisexual. Are we simply gay/straight/center-bi? I adopted the view I still hold today, that sexual preference is a spectrum, validated by a senior citizen friend who came out as a homosexual (to absolutely no one's surprise) late in life, despite having been married and claiming to be attracted to, and in love with his wife (whom he'd long since divorced).
We were told long ago some are 'born gay', and they can't change that, but that wasn't completely true. I know some who say they didn't know they were gay until they were older. Perhaps something within them changed. I knew an adult woman who was a lesbian until she started falling in love with men. 'Conversion therapy' doesn't change desires but unknown biological processes, or changes in the brain we don't recognize or acknowledge yet, may.
Photo by Baran Lotfollahi on Unsplash
Sex-based brain differences
Neuroscientific research invites interesting speculation on just how tabula rasa the left would like us to believe human brains are.
Decades-long accumulation of evidence for sex-based brain differences demonstrates there are, in fact, inherent differences in males and females and they do influence behavior. Its significance is up for debate, but a widely-read Stamford University article on brain researcher Dr. Nirao Shah's work concludes that in human brains, the influence of neither culture nor biology is set at zero.
Shah's research concerned neural brain circuits regulating specific behaviors, so he focused on aggression, mating and parenting differences between the sexes, since the behaviors are innate survival and propagation essentials.
He sought to identify the genes linked to sex-differing behavior and thereby identify the neuronal circuits underneath those behaviors.
Sex-based brain differences were hardly unknown to science but they hadn't received much attention. Once they did, the left strongly denied there was any such thing as a 'male' or 'female' brain.
That's arguably true, although it's incorrect to say there are no differences. It conflicted with the left's traditional hostility to biological explanations for human differences, with good reason. Conservatives have traditionally used said differences to justify an appalling array of human rights abuses and bigotries, such as human slavery and the oppression of women.
Shah's research and many others demonstrate well-documented brain differences in men and women influencing sex-based human behavior. Environment and culture undeniably influence the way each individual grows up as well, but it too isn't the only explanation.
We don't have much understanding yet of the underlying reasons for why people identify as male or female or some position in between, but we can observe that 'identification' doesn't always match behavior, which can remain remarkably sex-based.
It begs the question of why certain transwomen activists sound and occasionally behave so aggressively male and traditionally misogynist or why they default to classically misogynist names against natal women who challenge them.
Many wonder why transmen are less on the front lines, why they're not pushing into male-only spaces, and whether a natal female brain has something to do with it, regardless of the biology/culture makeup. Good (original) girls don't make waves.
Some may not want to be defined by their birth body but they can't claim one is a man or a woman merely as 'identification'. Being one or the other in what is and always has been a largely binary world is skin-deep. Genes don't lie. Neither do genitals.
Why should we accept genuine, but unscientific feelings as the sole arbiter of reality?
Asserting someone is a woman because that's how she feels is clearly disingenuous when she's still got a penis and can grow a beard. Asserting that 'some men menstruate' is equally disingenuous; the menstruating 'man' is biologically a woman.
One's brain has to be logically crippled not to recognize the reason female athletes push back so hard on allowing 'transwomen' to compete in women's sporting events isn't 'transphobia' but because transwomen still retain their male-born physical strength and superior speed, giving them a biological advantage over natal females. It's why sports are gendered. There's no sport in knowing who the winner will be before the race.
A new scientific study released in December found that transwomen still run 12% faster than natal women after two years of hormone treatment (with only a 5% reduction in strength after one year).
Try explaining what a victory it actually is for your daughter's track team to be so woke as to allow a 'transwoman' athlete who beats out all the natal girls, every single time.
One wonders why transboys/men don't stampede to compete in male-only competitions.
When I was younger we laughed at willfully scientifically ignorant religious fundamentalists who denied the world was older than six millennia, instead created in six days. The most extreme believed the world was flat, because a holy book strongly suggested it was.
Today we laugh, sometimes through tears, at how willfully scientifically ignorant people are when they claim COVID vaccines 'haven't been tested enough' and haven't demonstrated safety. Many of these same people blithely get a flu shot every year and ignore the clear, in-your-face evidence worldwide that vaccines save lives and the unvaccinated wind up at Reddit's Herman Cain Awards.
Say hi to Hermie for us, Meat! Creative Commons 2.0 photo from Super Festivals on Wikimedia Commons
How much more in-your-face can you be than the biological reality that you can only change the window dressing, but not the genes?
We embrace others' identities every single day, however privately we might disagree with them, and they do the same for us. Our self-image and 'identity' may not synchronize with others' perception of us. 'White privilege' is a perfect example.
Think You Don't Have 'White Privilege'? It's Not Your Decision
We don't agree with each other on everything, yet we can still be friends with or love others, even if they're Antifa or a Trumper or believe that Hanson was the greatest, most underrated band in the history of the world.
Scientific denialism just makes one look ignorant. Facts are facts, and the truth is inconvenient.
People can see evidence with their own eyes.
Do otherwise sane, rational people consider how they sound when they insist 'transwomen are real women'? Or when they attack someone like J.K. Rowling for insisting, essentially, that the sky is blue?
People might pipe down privately because they don't want their lives destroyed by anonymous cowards on Twitter, but behind closed doors they whisper to each other how stupid the left is because it can't face a blindingly clear biological reality.
The left has jumped the shark and taken the genuine reality of gender dysphoria much farther than it needed to go. Biology is real. Genes don't lie. Everyone knows it.
Including, I'm convinced, deep down, the denialist left.