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Institutionalizing The Trans Revolution

A top Washington neocon hawk transitions from male to female
Giselle Donnelly (via AEI)

Just a note to observe that the transgender revolution is now entering its institutionalization phase, at least among the elites. The Washington Post today sympathetically profiles Giselle Donnelly, a senior national security analyst with the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute. Giselle used to be Thomas Donnelly, who — see here — has had a long career as a national security hawk in policy circles.

This paragraph of the profile jumped out at me. It’s about how Donnelly, having divorced his first wife, met the woman who is now his (her, whatever) second wife: Beth Taylor, a Navy veteran who runs a studio in DC that helps men transition to presenting themselves as female:

Giselle and Beth shared a love of national security, wine, gender fluidity and BDSM. They soon began dating, and last year they were married. Those close to them who missed this time in their lives will soon be able to see it up close and personal. For about two and a half years, a film crew followed them and documented their relationship, along with Giselle’s gender journey.

National security, wine, gender fluidity, and sadomasochism. American as apple pie.


AEI President Arthur Brooks and Vice President for Foreign Policy Danielle Pletka told me their decision to support Giselle was a simple one, since she’s the same person dedicated to the same principles that made her a good fit for the institution all this time. “We are proud that she is part of the AEI family,” they told me.

You cannot get more Establishment Conservative Washington than Arthur Brooks and Danielle Pletka. They are in the Inner Ring. And they ratify Thomas Donnelly having become Giselle Donnelly. You may think this is a wonderful thing, or you may think this is a terrible thing, or you may not know what to think at all. But you must recognize that this event happening at one of the top right-wing institutions in Washington is a very big thing indeed.

UPDATE: Let me explain a little bit more. A regular liberal commenter points out that Donnelly’s strengths as a national security analyst don’t depend on whether or not s/he is transgender or a sadomasochist. Donnelly was interested in gender fluidity and BDSM before transitioning, after all.

Of course that’s true — but beside the point. Only a tiny number of people will ever know who Donnelly is, or care about Donnelly’s work. There were no doubt people within conservative Washington institutions who were interested in gender fluidity and sadomasochism long before Donnelly went public. The point is that the Donnelly transition, and the way it’s being rolled out to the public, is enormously symbolic, and represents a meaningful shift in the Overton Window — that is, what is permissible to talk about and think about.

For one, ours is now a culture in which a predilection for kinky sex is no longer something that one keeps private, out of a sense of shame, or because one feared the judgment of others, but now just a quirky part of one’s identity. This is what happens when the masses read Fifty Shades Of Grey (125 million copies sold) and begin to think of kink as normative. Again, you might think this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the point is, it’s a major cultural shift.

For another, as I say in the headline, the Giselle Donnelly phenomenon represents the institutionalization of the transgender revolution. Think of it: a 65 year old man who has spent his life as a national security hawk working among conservative elites, as a fixture in one of the two most powerful right-of-center think tanks in Washington, now says he’s a woman, and presents himself as such. Those same elites — represented by Brooks and Pletka — embrace his transition uncritically. This signals to the rest of official conservative Washington that this is not only okay, but expected of them. If you are a social or religious conservative who objects to what kinkster hawk Donnelly has done, you are now officially at odds with the leadership of the conservative Inner Ring. You will find yourself marginalized — not openly, not at first, but it’s going to happen, and happen faster than you think.

To be fair, it’s hard to imagine that Brooks and Pletka would have reacted otherwise. On the LGBT front, the culture war has been lost among elites, even conservative elites. This has been true on homosexuality for quite some time, but I didn’t expect it would come so soon on transgenderism. But here we are. Transgenders are now the establishment, holding positions of power and influence inside the right-wing DC power centers, and celebrated in the pages of the establishment newspaper. Giselle Donnelly is the first, you might say, but the Rubicon has been crossed.

Once more, because this is really important: you might think this is a good thing, or a bad thing, or you might not know what to think about it. But you cannot deny that it is a major thing. This will become undeniably clear to most people two or three years from now.

Donnelly, recall, is a national security hawk who works for a hawkish neoconservative think tank. Men and women like Donnelly believe in an aggressive foreign policy. Social and religious conservatives have to understand that the American Imperium whose expansion Donnelly and his colleagues labor to bring about is one in which transgenderism is normalized, and a desire to inflict and receive pain for sexual pleasure is something to be celebrated.

Is that the imperium you wish to shore up? Think of MacIntyre. And think of The Benedict Option,, which I wrote as a guide for conservative Christians puzzled over what to do in the world as we find it today. These neocons are not the friends of social and religious conservatives. Yet they are the establishment.

You had better get that learned.

UPDATE.2: Here’s the trailer for the movie:

[vimeo 251537640 w=525 h=300];

Thomas Donnelly, before Giselle (via AEI)