When my partner Charlie got pregnant, we were awash in excitement, but there was one thing we weren’t looking forward to: shopping for maternity clothes. As a genderqueer butch, Charlie is not excited about struggling to hunt down the closest approximation of menswear on racks of belly-paneled leggings and empire-waist dresses.
Around the time Charlie gets pregnant, we hear about a Kickstarter for this awesome new company called Butchbaby & Co, which is going to make clothing for pregnant butch and masculine-presenting people. There is a moment of elation before we get to the part about how you can’t actually buy their clothes yet. It’s kind of worse than if they didn’t exist at all.
I know a lot of people still aren’t hip to the concept that genitals don’t determine gender, and men and non-binary people can get pregnant, but even if only women ever had babies, do we really have to assume that every one of them is so freaking femme? There’s only one maternity store at the mall near us, and it is a festival of pastels, florals, and unnecessary ruffles. I wouldn’t even wear some of this stuff, and I wear pink cowboy boots.
So they go shopping for Charlie — a woman who presents as a man — can find some duds. The mall is a vale of tears:
The next step is maternity jeans. We spend an afternoon at the mall trying them on, but Charlie hates every single pair. “Why are the pockets so small?” he fumes.
“All women’s pants pockets are unreasonably small,” I explain.
“Because the patriarchy wants us to depend on men to carry our keys for us so we’ll never be truly independent. Or everyone just assumes women will have purses.”
The patriarchy isn’t quite finished inflicting its satanic sartorialism on this couple:
Then there’s the formal wear problem. We have three weddings to attend while Charlie is pregnant, each about six weeks apart, so they’ll occur when Charlie is three totally different sizes. If anyone is considering a contemporary rewrite of Dante’s Inferno, I really recommend “shopping for butch maternity formalwear” as a new circle of hell.
You laugh at this stuff, but it’s getting mainstreamed bigtime. I talked the other day with a friend who teaches at a Catholic high school, and who said that the parents of his students have no idea how normal all of this is to their kids. When you get to the point at which as staid an establishment institution as National Geographic is promoting an ideology that declares male and female to be obsolete categories, you know the culture is deeply disordered. Nat Geo writes in its current cover story:
But people today—especially young people—are questioning not just the gender they were assigned at birth but also the gender binary itself. “I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy,” Miley Cyrus told Out magazine in 2015, when she was 22, “and I think that’s what I had to understand: Being a girl isn’t what I hate; it’s the box that I get put into.”
Members of Cyrus’s generation are more likely than their parents to think of gender as nonbinary. A recent survey of a thousand millennials ages 18 to 34 found that half of them think “gender is a spectrum, and some people fall outside conventional categories.” And a healthy subset of that half would consider themselves to be nonbinary, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In 2012 the advocacy group polled 10,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens ages 13 to 17 and found that 6 percent categorized themselves as “genderfluid,” “androgynous,” or some other term outside the binary box.
There’s a photo in the long piece of a 17 year old female who identifies as male, and who sports chest scars from where her breasts were surgically removed. We are permanently mutilating our children before they are even old enough to have the right to vote.
The federal government, many provinces, and some municipalities and school boards in Canada are introducing or strengthening regulations and legal protections for gender identities. The Ontario Human Rights Code, for one, protects “people from discrimination and harassment because of gender identity and gender expression.” It further decrees that “trans people should be recognized and treated as the gender they live,” and that “organizations should design or change their rules, practices and facilities to avoid negative effects on trans people.”
This includes the trans demand for everyone to use their invented pronouns. A Q&A on the OHRC site says that “refusing to refer to trans people by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity, or purposely misgendering, will likely be discrimination when it takes place in a social arena covered by the Code, including employment, housing and services like education.”
And, just what are these pronouns? Well, to start: There is ne (nominative) /nem (objective) /nir (possessive determinant) /nirs (possessive pronoun) /nemself (reflexive). For instance, you could say that Ne laughed and that I called nem. Other sets include Ve/ver/vis/vis/verself; ey/em/eir/eirs/eirself; ze/zir/zir/zirs/zirself; Xe/xem/xyr/xyrs/xemself; tey/ter/tem/ters/terself.
If you are unsure of usage, there are many websites to guide the uninitiated through this minefield. And, if you won’t or can’t learn all the pronominal permutations, your may be accused of using oppressive language, which in turn could lead to an appearance in front of a human rights tribunal or a criminal charge under the hate crime law.
If you doubt it could go that far, consider this:
– Trans activists at the University of Massachusetts organized a ‘Sh*t In’ last month to protest lack of gender neutral bathrooms. They occupied bathrooms around the campus and vowed to stay until their demands were met. UMass already has over 200 single-stall gender neutral bathrooms and is currently building an additional 50. It’s not enough for activists who also want the hiring of a professor “who is an expert in the study of critical transmisogyny from an intersectional perspective.”
– Dawson College in Montreal opened their first two gender-neutral bathrooms in 2015 and the Dawson Student Union gave out #IllGoWithYou buttons. “The wearer of a I’ll Go With You button is a public volunteer, a buddy who can be counted upon to give peaceful support, act as a buffer, or speak up to any harassers in defense of the trans person’s right to use the restroom in peace,” the DSU explained, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “bathroom buddies”.
– Continuing and Professional Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto put on a webinar on “an introduction to gender-neutral pronouns for educators.” The seminar, taught by Lee Airton, a lecturer in the Masters of Teaching Program and the founder of They Is My Pronoun or TIMP, a blog about gender-neutral pronoun use. In an article for the Globe & Mail, Airton said that “I’ll be the first to admit that my pronoun can be silly sometimes, that it can cause confusion, prompting the need for clarification.”
– In November 2016, Jillian Bearden, a 36-year-old biological male (who now identifies as a transgender woman) won the women’s division of the El Tour de Tucson bike race in Arizona. In June 2016, a teenage male won a girls’ track meet in Alaska. And the International Olympic Committee ruled this year that transgender athletes can compete in their preferred gender category without having undergone sex reassignment surgery. (Men will have to be on female hormones though.)
– The Teacher Education for All! (TEFA) initiative at the University of British Columbia (UBC) will incorporate LGB/T2/Q inclusion into teacher education in the province. This will include workshops on Trans Literacies for faculty, staff and teacher candidates. Here is the bio of one of the workshop facilitators: “K, who uses the pronouns they/them, is a queer, non-binary second-generation Chinese settler raised in unceded Coast Salish territories, they put energies into QTBIPOC communities, writings, and activisms. They most recently facilitated a student directed seminar titled “Voices from the Margins: Critical Perspectives on Race, Sexuality, and Settler Colonialism” (GRSJ 425A), focusing on WOC and Indigenous feminisms, queer of colour and Two-Spirit critiques, and art-based activisms. Outside of school, K is a photographer whose work is framed in community representation, accessibility, and social justice.”
Here are some other questions we should be asking. Will a small group of post-modern activists force us all to change our language? Will doctors be forced to treat gender dysphoric kids with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones? Will the public go along with people using the change room of their choice? Will women accept more and more boys and men in their athletic competitions? Are we really going to give trans activists full control over all issues related to sex identity? Is ‘misgendering’ really a crime?
And what’s next on the activist agenda? In this world of identity politics on steroids, more and more victim groups are popping up – and all of them “intersect” together. There are people who classify themselves as “transabled”. Alexander Baril of Dalhousie University told the National Post that “we define transability as the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain physical impairment. The person could want to become deaf, blind, amputee, paraplegic.” Seriously? Self-mutilation to obtain a new identity? Will this be the next group added to the protected human rights list? Don’t bet against it.
Dr. Jordan Peterson is the Canadian clinical psychologist and University of Toronto professor under siege for refusing to use these made-up, fake pronouns that the SJWs demand. From a must-read interview with him:
My primary interest has always been the psychology of belief. Partly religious belief, and ideology as a sub-category of religious belief. One of Jung’s propositions was that whatever a person values most highly is their god. If people think they are atheistic, it means is they are unconscious of their gods. In a sophisticated religious system, there is a positive and negative polarity. Ideologies simplify that polarity and, in doing so, demonize and oversimplify. I got interested in ideology, in a large part, because I got interested in what happened in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution in China, and equivalent occurrences in other places in the world. Mostly I concentrated on Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. I was particularly interested in what led people to commit atrocities in service of their belief. The motto of the Holocaust Museum in Washington is “we must never forget.” I’ve learned that you cannot remember what you don’t understand. People don’t understand the Holocaust, and they don’t understand what happened in Russia. I have this course called “Maps of Meaning,” which is based on a book I wrote by the same name, and it outlines these ideas. One of the things that I’m trying to convince my students of is that if they had been in Germany in the 1930s, they would have been Nazis. Everyone thinks “Not me,” and that’s not right. It was mostly ordinary people who committed the atrocities that characterized Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Part of the reason I got embroiled in this [gender identity] controversy was because of what I know about how things went wrong in the Soviet Union. Many of the doctrines that underlie the legislation that I’ve been objecting to share structural similarities with the Marxist ideas that drove Soviet Communism. The thing I object to the most was the insistence that people use these made up words like ‘xe’ and ‘xer’ that are the construction of authoritarians. There isn’t a hope in hell that I’m going to use their language, because I know where that leads.
I was also quite profoundly influenced by [Alexsandr] Solzhenitsyn’s book The Gulag Archipelago. People say that real Marxism has never been tried – not in the Soviet Union, in China, in Cambodia, in Korea, that wasn’t real Marxism. I find that argument specious, appalling, ignorant, and maybe also malevolent all at the same time. Specious because Solzhenitsyn demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the horrors [of the Soviet system] were a logical consequence of the doctrines embedded within Marxist thinking. I think Dostoyevsky saw what was coming and Nietzsche wrote about it extensively in the 1880s, laying out the propositions that are encapsulated in Marxist doctrine, and warning that millions of people would die in the 20th century because of it.
You’ve painted a pretty bleak picture for the future.
There are bleak things going on. To start with, Bill C-16 writes social constructionism into the fabric of the law. Social constructionism is the doctrine that all human roles are socially constructed. They’re detached from the underlying biology and from the underlying objective world. So Bill C-16 contains an assault on biology and an implicit assault on the idea of objective reality. It’s also blatant in the Ontario Human Rights Commission policies and the Ontario Human Rights Act. It says identity is nothing but subjective. So a person can be male one day and female the next, or male one hour and female the next.
How do you see the future of public discourse in this country if we don’t reverse course on things like C-16?
I have no idea. I think that we’re in a time of chaos and anything can happen in a time of chaos….
Read the whole thing. I am going to quote more of it in a separate post. It’s a stunning document.
If you think you are going to avoid this ideologically-driven chaos in your kids’ school, you are dreaming. It is widely disseminated in the popular culture. We laugh at the idiocy of the fringes, like the travails of a pregnant woman angry that she can’t find men’s clothes to accommodate her swelling belly, but as Dr. Peterson can attest, this is no laughing matter. He knows where that leads.
UPDATE: Reader “matthew” just posted this:
As a teacher in a public school system I have already witnessed the first gestational growths of this radical biological thinking. But the reality is that most of my administrators are simply too ignorant of the ideology behind these movements to even be able to clearly articulate why they would be in opposition of any mandates being forced on the district. And so they either will capitulate, or already have caved to the pressure to accept that this is the new normal. And their ignorance or lack of will for fear of losing their career makes it all that much easier for the outspoken activist(s) in the district to continue pushing their own agenda.
But what concerns me even more is how blasé about all of this most of my christian friends are in regards to having their own children in the public school system. I have talked to one friend recently who assured me that he knows many good christian teachers in his kids nice affluent suburban school system, as if this will somehow shield his kids from the effects of all the other teachers he doesn’t know and students who his kids will be surrounded by for 7 hours a day, not to mention whatever ideologies those kids parents are either pushing or succumbing to out of a fear of being labeled as bigots. I know that he thinks his kids will somehow miraculously emerge unscathed because they go to church and whatever other fanciful ideas he has that somehow his kids being raised in a christian home will shield them from all of this.
Christian parents outside of some pretty small circles are blindly walking their children into a firing line that they will have almost zero chance of emerging from unscathed. And the church from what I can gather seems to be just as ignorant. The one institution that should be doing everything in its power to wake these parents from their comas is just as naively trusting in some sort of “godly cultural protection bubble” to shield what will most likely become a lost generation of christians.
The Benedict Option is nine weeks away from publication, and I’m already wishing I could add to it.