A reader sent an extraordinary e-mail, and gave me permission to post it as long as I didn’t identify her. She signed her real name, and I can confirm that she is who she says she is in this letter:
Your recent post about leftists being pushed right by transgender activism and gender identity politics was laughed at by a lot of commenters who think a hyper-liberal woman is unlikely to turn conservative. Well, the joke is on them, because I am one and I am far, far from alone.
I was as far left as you can get without being a full-on Marxist. I thought prostitution was empowering, polyamory was fine, witchcraft was a positive spirituality, and that men who identify as transgender were my sisters. I voted Greens and Democrats all the way.
Transgender activism is usually what tips us over to the right. I faced persistent, public, sexually graphic harassment for not being a good enough trans ally, and that didn’t tip me over the edge. Which is really crazy, but that after long public discussions about the imagined deformities of my genitalia, and ridiculous libel aimed at ruining my career by the transgender community, I still supported them.
The tipping point is referred to as hitting “peak trans.” Usually this involves an illogical or dangerous statement you simply can’t force yourself to accept. For me, it was that we could no longer say “women’s health.” Because “men have uteruses.”
Now changing the terminology, which is very useful, does not mean you wouldn’t have to disclose to your doctor that you are on hormones, puberty blockers, or had reassignment surgery. Just like you have to disclose asthma, allergies, or heart conditions. It provides no useful function beyond enabling the delusion of less than 1% of the population that believe, despite all scientic evidence, that they can change their biological sex.
I started to see the tail wagging the dog, often violently. I began to research the issue quietly. I learned about the dangers of children transitioning and the very real difficulties they face as adults. The numbers of inmates, especially those convicted of violent sexual crimes, transitioning and being allowed to move to women’s prisons is alarming. Friends who had also hit peak trans were speaking up and receiving death threats against their families. Not just threats against themselves, but threats aimed specifically at their children.
Remember the flourishing of feminist bookstores in the 90’s? Those are gone. Remember Women’s Studies? It is now Gender Studies and lipstick-wearing men are leading feminist organizations. Lesbian and feminist events are being shut down by transgender activists. Last year a workshop on “The Disappearing Lesbian” was shut down because pointing out that transgender activists are silencing lesbians is transphobic.
The children are the worst part. I was one of the people applauding Jazz for being an openly transgender kid when the tv show launched. Now I am horrified that this young man will never experience puberty, is flooded with artificial hormones, and is going to have immature genitalia for the rest of his life. Studies show that gender dysphoria in children and teens goes away as they mature. No studies show that transitioning improves mental health. Parents are losing their parental rights because medical professionals are grooming their children to become transgender if they show any traits that do not for the gender stereotype of their sex (boys playing with dolls, or girls preferring trucks).
Women like Shannon Thrace discuss the heartbreak of a husband’s transition, how they lose their spouses for narcissists aping some degrading stereotype of womanhood. Women, both liberal and conservative, have fought to be heard and treated with respect. To see men talk about how they are better than women simply because they wear heels and lipstick, and have a perverse need to be desired as a sex object, is so degrading. These men believe that a proper women is as aesthetically flawless, smiling, and submissive as a Playboy bunny, and in aiming for that ideal men and women will find them irresistibly desirable. The fact that most people do not find them attractive, especially straight males and lesbians, makes them angry. They feel they are owed your lust, and if you are not interested you are a bigot. So much for consent culture!
Women who care about the safety and well-being of women and children are discovering the left no longer cares about them. When they try to find a place where their values are respected, they are often surprised to find it among conservatives. More than surpised. Shocked.
My friends and I went from sharing articles by Olbermann and Maddow to following Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson. Our female role models became academics like Dr. Deborah Savage who actually acknowledge biological reality in their examination of gender.
Some of us are loud and proud in our views, risking threats. Others are quiet, fearful of losing our jobs if we make a comment online, which we never feared as liberals. I’m one of the quiet ones. As much harassment as I received from the transgender community as an ally, I simply don’t have the strength to deal with it as a critic and risk being doxxed.
But it isn’t just politics. We used to hang out with Reiki masters, witches, shamans, and a miscellany of hippies who advocate nudity, polyamory, moral relavitism, and postmodern deconstruction of everything. Now we go to Mass. We pray the rosary. Our lives are changing for the better as we re-examine our beliefs and find community that shares our values.
Just like you, Rod, we get messages from friends who are realizing the left does not have their best interests in mind, but don’t want to be ostracized and harassed by making any public comments. There is a sort of social media Underground Railroad supporting women moving from left to right, giving them both the information and privacy they need to process such a significant change.
I’m not merely an “anecdote.” I’m real. And you can publish this as long as you leave my name off of it. I need my job and I don’t deserve to be eaten alive by liberals who only value women who are conforming to their ideology.
P.S. The Benedict Option is a fabulous book!
Thank you, reader! And may God give you strength and community. It will be a good day when women like this no longer have to live in fear of these bullies. In the meantime, though, I hope readers like her can take comfort in knowing: you are not alone.
It’s interesting to me that this reader was pushed into Catholic Christianity by all this, from paganism. I would like to know more about this (and reader, if you’d like to explain it, of course I will protect your identity). Could it be that she realized that within paganism (and liberal Christianity, and within American liberal culture more generally), there are insufficient resources to push back against the trans insanity? That’s just my guess, but it makes sense to me. If you have built a spirituality and a cultural politics around the absolute sovereignty of the Self, then how do you say no, we will not cross this line? What, exactly, is there to keep you from stepping off into the abyss?
(I invite my pagan friend Franklin Evans to weigh in on this question from his pagan perspective!)
I’m in transit now to Budapest, but I look forward to watching Shannon Thrace’s speech at TEDx in the Netherlands. See it below. From what I could gather about it in the short time I had before boarding the plane, she is a left-wing feminist who believes (correctly, I think) that transgenderism is a manifestation of capitalism unbound. I could be wrong about this; I’ll check out her talk when I can. One thing I saw on her blog: she was so grateful that she could give this talk in the Netherlands, where she doesn’t have to fear assault by transgender activists. To the very great shame of the United States!