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Home/Rod Dreher/New York Celebrates A Lady Penis

New York Celebrates A Lady Penis


A passionately Democratic friend of mine is socially liberal, but more focused on economic policy. He has been steaming with anger over how the leadership of his party and the Left in general prioritizes culture-war issues, at the expense of creating what he considers to be a more economically just society. He is not a cultural conservative at all, but he thinks that the Left is screwing up its opportunities to rebalance economic inequality by taking on and emphasizing divisive culture war issues that alienate many people who are otherwise open to the Democratic economic message.

With reference to the failure of Biden’s Build Back Better, he texted a link to this New York magazine cover story yesterday, saying:

The Democratic agenda, midterm possibilities and credibility for a generation took a massive hit over the weekend. Look at what New York Magazine thinks is important enough to be their featured story.

Naturally I had to read the thing. Here’s the first line of the personal essay:

On the day I heard that my penis would be huge, I sobbed.

Oh boy. It’s popcorn on the aisle at the Prytania time. Let’s read on:

Phalloplasty in general, it was clear, was hard for people to accept. “Well, I will love you no matter what, sweetie,” a cis female best friend of mine said when I told her I was transitioning, years before — “as long as you don’t get a dick.” One flatly demanded, “Don’t get a dick.” It was, another transmasculine person I used to know said, disgusting, insane to want and to have a surgeon make a sensate phallus out of your arm or leg or somewhere and Frankenstitch it to your body, to go so far out of your way to opt in to a tool, perhaps the tool, of so much suffering. Most transmasculine people didn’t get one. The seminal print transmasc magazine was named after not getting one: Original Plumbing. I saw transmasculine support groups shut down and go silent more than once when someone brought up the procedure, and later, when I was that someone, I was twice invited to leave “with other people who might want to talk about that.” Whatever magical spectrum of unicorn gender expression was otherwise being embraced, it ended firmly before needing a socially, culturally, politically, historically, personally, emotionally, medically complicated dick.

But I did. And I couldn’t outrun it any longer. Literally: The day I gave in and admitted that for me it was penis or death came after a last-ditch bout of denial in which I drove 1,400 miles in three days only to have to acknowledge, devastated, at my destination that I couldn’t avoid it anymore.

Give me a lady penis, or give me death! It’s the cry of a revolutionary — a revolutionary whose cause has been taken up by the elites of American society. Did you know that the US military will pay for its troops to get lady penises? 

More:

It has happened at least once that someone did die. I was fully ready to, by which I mean I’d just spent nearly the last of my savings, which I’d burned navigating the emotional-mental-social-medical-legal-extreme-marginalization mindfuck shitshow of transitioning, on a burial plot just in case. One of the nodding heads in the group belonged to a nonbinary white person who was still horizontal in recovery from having had, a week prior, the worst happen, which was that after their procedure, in which all the fat and skin had been stripped from their left forearm from wrist to nearly elbow, along with major nerves, an artery, and veins, and then shaped into a tube and connected, in careful layers, to skin and blood vessels and nerves in their pelvis, their new penis had failed.

It died. On them.

But here they were, already getting ready for their surgeons to harvest a whole other part of their body within the month with zero hesitation. Because those three days they’d had their penis, they said, before being rushed into an eight-hour surgery that couldn’t save it — the feeling of it, even just for one moment, even still bloody and painful and packed with stitches: worth it. And I understood that immediately when, after a yearlong surgery waiting list and a deep quarantine and an anguished prerequisite COVID test I would either pass or lose my date over, I woke up last December in a hospital bed and before even glancing toward my lap, the room spinning from anesthesia and my lungs partially collapsed from four and a half hours on surgical ventilation and hundreds — plural — of stitches and a 40-square-inch hole in my thigh where I’d been skinned down to the muscle, I could suddenly feel, in a way I could never have fathomed, that this was what being alive was.

Life itself is having a Frankenpenis? This is worshiping a phallic god. This is mental illness. But see, Gabriel Mac, the author of this piece, is the emblematic figure of our time: we are committed to conquering Nature through technology, defying its limits, no matter what. When the philosopher of science Michael Hanby said that the Sexual Revolution is just the technological revolution applied to the human body, I wonder if even he imagined that he would live to see such a vindication of his insight as Gabriel Mac.

I’m not going to quote much more from the piece, which you should read for yourself. What is astonishing to me about it is how utterly obsessed this woman is with her pseudo-penis. She writes:

After my discharge, which included a grueling car ride wearing mesh hospital underwear packed full of gauze to keep my penis propped as close to perpendicular to my body as possible, I spent the first hour in bed singing top-volume falsetto Alicia Keys to my penis.

Over and over, Gabriel Mac keeps talking about how she either had to have a penis, or she was going to die. I believe her, in that I believe she was so obsessed, so mentally ill, that she fixated on mutilating her body to create a Frankenpenis, to the extent that life was not worth living without it. She described her body, pre-penis, as “a body that feels simultaneously dead and like an eternal wellspring of agony”. Again, I believe her. She is mentally ill, and in real pain. Later, she writes about a friend telling her how much nicer she is, post-op:

But when penis is self, as penis is a gift to self, it’s a gift, too, to others.

Penis is self. There is the core of identity politics: the idea that the human being, in all her complexity, can be reduced to an organ. The penis. The vagina. The skin and its shades.

Gabriel Mac decided to keep her vagina as well as her new penis. She calls herself a transmasculine gay man with a vagina and a penis. She construes this as her rebellion against, well, everything in our society. She writes:

If there was anything I had learned in transitioning, it was that what was right for me was rarely what, according to my patriarchal, heterosexist, racist, capitalist acculturation, “made sense” — which, obviously, could only be to live as a sexually available cute-lady vessel capable of carrying white babies.

Read the whole thing. It is important to understand that Gabriel Mac (meaning a person like her) is a hero to the cultural Left in our country, which, having gained control of the institutions of American society — including, as you have been reading on this blog, the US military — is setting out to compel all of America to accept that Gabriel Mac, a suicidal, phallus-obsessed, mentally ill woman who now has both a Frankenpenis and a vagina, is, in fact, a man.

We are mad. We are decadent. And we are going to fall hard. Once again, MacIntyre:

A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of that imperium.  What they set themselves to achieve instead–often not recognizing fully what they were doing–was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness.  If my account of our moral condition, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point.

How will you and your people get through the coming fall? This is why I wroteThe Benedict Option and Live Not By Lies. The day is coming for all of us — and is already here for many Americans — where you will not be allowed to deny in any way that Gabriel Mac is truly a man. What will you do then? American children are now being taught in many schools that Gabriel Mac — a bespoke hermaphroditic woman who, in a blasphemous parody of the Genesis creation story, had flesh and fat removed from her thigh to make a “man” of herself —  is a man because she identifies as one. These same children are being propagandized by schools, by social media, and by popular culture that they can be whatever gender they want to be, no matter what Mom and Dad say.

You might wish to believe that you can get away by ignoring this phenomenon, ascribing it to the cultural fringes. You could not possibly be more wrong. The ideology that celebrates what Gabriel Mac has done to herself is normative among American elites, and that means that it controls the future of our society. This ideology is coming for you and your kids. You had better wake up now.

The New York cover story is not just freakery. (Nor, we should say, is Gabriel Mac’s pre-op dysphoria a phantom illness; anybody driven to contemplate suicide deserves compassion.) What we have to face is that this kind of phenomenon in the media intends to destroy the gender binary. To my knowledge, there has never been a civilization that destroys the gender binary. If we keep going down this insane, suicidal path, this one will not last, nor will it deserve to. There are civilizations in this world that want to live. We, increasingly, are not one of them.

UPDATE: A reader who is also a professor follows the logic to its insane conclusion:

Read your post about Lady Penis.  But given the unassailability of identity claims in the culture, why believe there’s any such thing as a penis qua penis to begin with?  If male and female are reducible to subjective identity beliefs and nothing more without remainder, why not extend the same analysis to penises and vaginas? The gender bending non-binary woke tell us that men can have vaginas and women penises, but does not that assume that vaginas and penises are particular things, each of which shares a universal form, e.g., penisness and vaginaness?  But doesn’t this just smuggle in the very gender essentialism that we are told is false?  Consequently, why could not someone say that her conventional penis is really a vagina? If a pre-op transgender woman is a woman with a penis, why can’t a post-op transgender woman say that her conventional looking surgically constructed vagina is a penis? And why not vice versa?  The fact that Gabriel Mac thinks of “his” phalloplasty-made “penis” as a penis is nice for “him” now.  But suppose a year from now Mac says, “Yea know what, I can’t help but think of my phalloplasty-made `penis’ as a vagina that merely has the appearance of a conventional penis. So, I am a transgender man with a vagina.”  Now suppose there’s another person, Mac2, who goes through all the same procedures as Mac and is otherwise identical to Mac but, unlike Mac, continues to think of “his” phalloplasty-made “penis” as a penis.  Whose right Mac or Mac2?  Under all the premises of gender bending non-binary wokism, both are right.  But in that case, penises and vaginas, as objectively real human parts with their own universal forms, are as obsolete as men and women.

UPDATE.2:“Gabriel Mac” is the nom de trans of a woman who went by the name “Mac McLellan” when earlier in her journalistic career, and who claimed to have been so traumatized by doing a story on gang rape in Haiti that she staged her own violent rape to help her deal with it. This woman is very, very disturbed.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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