When I was six, I found out that people could yell at me, beat me, do anything they wanted to me, but they couldn’t get inside my head and PHYSICALLY make me obey.
Which of course MUST have made me the most fun child to parent ever. At least my parents had their revenge as I think #2 son was born knowing I couldn’t “make him.”
The thing is, people still haven’t given up. And they’ve gotten way more subtle in their attempts.
And it’s all being done in the name of “if you don’t do this, you’re the evil one who hates people and makes them subhuman.”
You know, I never even thought about “compelled speech” until I heard Jordan Peterson use the expression. I was just locked in “You can’t get inside my head and make me think what you want.”
I don’t hate intersex people. I don’t hate trans people. I don’t even dislike them as groups. Honestly, I couldn’t care less if they’re trans or not, gay or not. I don’t like or dislike groups as a whole. I mean there are probably even some communists who are okay, though there’s probably some kink in their psych that makes them want to hurt people and take their stuff. Or maybe they’re just indoctrinated.
People to me are individuals.
And for the whole trans question, I think that the idea that one is trans is being pushed on a whole lot of people, including people who don’t have the apparatus to fight back, like children and emotionally disturbed people.
This doesn’t mean I hate trans people or don’t believe there are people who are trans. Of course there are. There have always been, more or less, throughout the history of humanity. And some acted on it, and some conformed and some lived some way between the two, as with any human who sticks out from the vast mass.
Yes, they are very few (and I’m not talking about intersex people, who also exist but are even fewer) which doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Or that they didn’t have a really tough time when humanity lived in poorer societies which enforced conformity more. This doesn’t make them special. Everyone had a tough time back then, one way or another.
Nowadays though being trans is a fad, and like all fads it’s being pushed on people who would not be trans in any other time or place. This is not the first or the last time this happened. Did everyone forget the child abuse (let alone satanic child abuse) fad of the eighties. Dear Lord, if you had any problem at all someone would tell you that maybe you were abused as a child and suppressed it.
Again, not saying child sexual abuse doesn’t exist. Though repression doesn’t, at least not in the way we think (or at least recovered memories don’t.) OTOH the human mind is an imperfect instrument, so it’s perfectly possible that people who were sexually abused very young don’t remember it. Most humans remember nothing before 7. And a lot of people are iffy till about 19. And as you get older, you forget other things and people, traumatic or not.
What I’m saying is that at its height it was deployed willy-nilly to explain all human traumas, problems, flaws and neurosis. In the same way that “being trans” is now being deployed.
This is not an “if”. We know it’s happening. Most of the teens who decide they’re trans (having given no indication of it before) are kids who are unpopular, weird, stick out. And don’t say “Well, that’s because they’re trans.” Some of them, sure. Most of them? They’re Odds, and rejected by their age peers, though they’d be fine if they were in a place with people of all ages. Most of us, I daresay, were like that.
And in the eighties they’d be told they were probably sexually abused as children and just didn’t remember it. Which I’m sure some were, but not even close to all.
People on this blog, in general, know about sticking out. And it has nothing to do with abuse or trans or sex in general 99.9% of the time. Those are just convenient excuses that become fads. If you can convince yourself it’s that, it’s much easier than “I was just born weird.”
So, to recapitulate: I believe trans exist (duh) and I don’t bear trans any sort of ill will, or hate, or really anything. I just don’t care. Each person must make his or her way through life as best they can and provided they don’t interfere with me and how I want to live, I don’t care.
So, you’ll say, why don’t I call them by their chosen pronouns? Why do insist on making this a binary world that has no place for them?
[Puts thumb and forefinger on either side of nose and inclines head in a sinal salute.]
Look, bub, if the world isn’t binary, it’s the world inside your head, which I neither can know nor guess. Hold on to that, okay, because we’ll return to it.
First, most people who are trans are “transitioning” that’s where the term comes from. The vast majority of them is either male and wishes to be female or vice versa.
If there are no “binary” definitions, and if people are all the same inside, despite of what their body is, you cannot — CANNOT — by definition be a woman trapped in a man’s body or vice versa. On account of our insides being all the same.
So the very fact there are trans people means that we’re something inside, as well as outside. (Biology would tell you the same, due to how hormones shape mind and thinking, but that’s something else again and there are slips in that mechanism.)
If you say you’re trans but you’re really identifying as an ornate building which is also a wingless dragon, you’re not trans. You’re not transitioning between anything to anything. I’d say that you’ve just let yourself get carried away and captured in the world behind the eyes, but that’s neither here nor there. Provided you’re polite and decent in your interactions with me, and don’t go around with your front door open and your claws showing, I couldn’t care less. I might look at you in horrified fascination, but so is most of the world. And that’s fine. I for instance suffer of the illusion that I’m a writer. It makes me happy and it bothers no one. (Much.)
But then we get back to the whole matter of pronouns. Why am I so mean and cruel that I won’t call people xyr, xer, violin, little flower or purple octopus? They identify as that. Why am I mean.
Whenever someone says we should ban abortion someone hauls out the technicalities question. Having grown up in a country where abortion was banned the whole time I was there, I can tell you the technicalities are correct: you can’t know when a woman becomes pregnant, unless you police periods. You can’t tell if a woman suffering a miscarriage induced it. Even if you know she drank an herbal tea, you can’t be sure she did it on purpose. And we won’t mention how many people “accidentally” miscarried during “exams.”
To police that you’d have to become worse than the Stazi. So the law wasn’t perfect or anywhere near. What it did by and large is keep abortions to very early in the pregnancy and — if a medical professional was involved — keep them safe and rare (because the professional wouldn’t want to get caught, and fubbing it would mean he was caught.) There were also a vast number of unassisted abortions, which I suspect STILL go on even when it’s legal, because the woman didn’t want to be seen talking to an abortionist (yes, everyone knew who they were) or even didn’t want her husband/mother/neighbors to know. These were less safe, particularly because abortifacient herbs are often heart-attack inducing or worse. For the record, though I heard a lot of things, I NEVER once heard of clothes hangers used. It always makes me wonder if that was even ever true. There are less crazy implements, and any woman wishing to open the cervix would have access to them, having (presumably) access to a kitchen.
So, now let’s apply the technicalities to “using the pronoun someone chooses.”
There were (we haven’t gone to a place recently, and the other the clerk has moved on) a wait person and a clerk at two places we patronized that I couldn’t place in terms of gender to save my life.
This BTW causes anyone to stare and gawp even if they try not to, because it’s an ape thing, at a deep instinctive level. If you can’t tell what a person are, now, you’re going to be embarrassed. In ape-days it called from completely different reactions and guessing wrong could cost you your life.
So not knowing what someone IS is uncomfortable, and you try to grope for clues. These two people had no clues. So I would catch myself telling my husband things like “Honey, just give her the bag.” or “I told him but he didn’t hear me, I think.” which was ….disturbing and embarrassing and caused these poor people to blush.
The fact is, I wasn’t trying to be mean, it just came out of my mouth, more or less randomly. Would it be easier if I’d called them xer or xyr? WHY? How would I know if this person was actually some version of trans? They might be pretty males or ugly females who have no idea how sexually undifferentiated they are. (Both were very young, so it’s possible.) Calling them either xer or xyr under the circumstances would just be another way of being mean, wouldn’t it?
Okay, so call that person them! Yeah, that’s brilliant. Except that like xer or xyr, you’re saying “I don’t know what you are.” Or possibly “I think you have multiple personality.” Or in certain circumstances “They’re seeing other people who aren’t here.”
The technical question is very important. With all the good will in the world, in the real world of people, how do you know what someone wishes to be called? How can you guess?
I don’t know about you, and maybe I’m horribly unusual, but I’ve been called “sir” and “he” while wearing a dress. And so far as I know, the front mounted radar emplacements and all, I don’t think I look EVEN SLIGHTLY masculine. And I have at least one female friend who when dressed in jeans and t-shirt, and if you don’t notice (or dismiss as fat) the breasts, you’d think “male” without a second glance. None of my male friends are quite that pretty, but some are close. (BTW none of these people, ever, were subjected to a panty check outside a bathroom. Hell, older son who is … the opposite of gender undifferentiated at least once (when I noticed) used the women’s bathroom at a cafe. Not to make a point, but because he was thinking and walked into the first door. None of the people nearby, or the woman who went in after him said anything. I, who again am not even vaguely masculine, have made the same error while plotting or thinking of a story. I usually realize I’m in the wrong place when I see urinals. Sometimes I back out, sometimes there is no ah time to back out and I make for a stall fast. No one has ever said anything or demanded a panty check. AFAICT the bathroom thing was a solution in search of a problem.)
HOW do you know what to call people, particularly when it’s a made up pronoun? Are you going to require people wear little name tags with their pronouns? And if they leave the name tag at home and someone addresses the person by an unwanted pronoun, is that the speaker’s fault? Is he required to read people’s minds, as well as slice to an infinite amount which they might be today: an ornate building or a wingless dragon?
As for them, screw them. Them is plural. Yes, I’ve seen all the instances of “but it was used as singular before.” Outside of making meter and rhythm all the circumstances are AT BEST ambiguous.
In writing even he/she is more elegant than “them.” Not that it’s particularly elegant. And it gives rise to just plain bad grammar. More and more I’m seeing people say insane stuff like “That man, they did this or that.” Which frankly makes my skin crawl, because they are not “assuming gender” even when the person is A MAN. Which for an ape means is crazy, a kind of paralyzing insidious craziness. Bad crazy.
I came across this bad crazy of wanting to control what language people use, and the thoughts it enables was in the eighties reading how to write manuals: don’t use policeman. Use peace keeper. Don’t use fireman, use firefighter.
The people who think that if they change language and thoughts they change the world aren’t wrong, precisely. They’re just crazy. You can change the way people think and talk, but when the point meets flesh, nothing changes. Sure, there are women in the police force. There always were, at least in my lifetime. But when you need to separate two drunkards, a woman is far less effective. Police detectives, police clerks and police secretaries can be either sex. And as far as I can tell always were, even before the crazy got to the language. Firefighters… The only “progress” I’ve seen is letting women into the force with lower strength classifications. I don’t know about you, but if I’m trapped and unable to leave a burning building I’d rather be fireman-carried than dragged down the stairs by my ankles by a fire-fighter. Which would probably kill me.
You can change the language all you want to. It doesn’t change the world. It can just make people crazier and unable to understand the reality that’s about to bite them in the ass.
If someone is trans, I’ll call him/her what they look like. If that’s not their preference, so sorry, I’m not in their heads and I don’t give them right to be in MINE.
You don’t get to be inside my head and determine what I can and can’t think. And I despise that you’re getting me to use them for singular through its sheer ubiquitousness. Because it’s wrong.
I won’t give in to your demands, not if you scream, not if you hit me, and not if you cry and tell me I’m mean.
The rest of the world won’t give in to your demands. You can make western people unable to think, but I’d like to see you try this in the rest of the world. I’ll bring popcorn. And yes, that comment is hateful, because I have nothing against trans people but I despise humorless scolds of any sex, gender of ornate building identification.
Here, inside my head, I can think what I very well please. Most people know that. And the ones who don’t will wake up to it the more they’re called “hateful” by the people who want to control their every thought and speech.
Peterson is right. It’s compelled speech. And you don’t get to compel me. Or anyone, really.
The people being bullied now will eventually catch on. You won’t like it when they do.
I’ll call you what you seem to be. Yeah, sometimes I’ll be wrong. Sometimes people are wrong with me, which my husband and I think is hilarious.
If you make it your point of making sure everyone always addresses you as you wish and think what you wish, you’re a budding totalitarian.
You’re also annoying and should prepare to be disappointed.
Because TECHNICALLY what you want is actually in point of fact impossible.
You don’t get to violate people’s individuality, there, behind their eyes. No one does.
And that’s all.