From using terms like ‘chestfeeding’ to claiming campaigning against trans electoral candidates is transphobic, trans activism has changed from an earnest campaign for rights into a mission to replace evidence with emotions.
Feelings and opinions have displaced facts and evidence in many areas of the liberal arts. This is nothing new. A more recent phenomenon, however, is the extension of this trend into the realm of biology, which has fallen victim to the idea that men can become women—and vice versa—merely by reciting a statement of belief. It is an insidious movement that combines the postmodern contempt for objective truth with pre-modern religious superstitions regarding the nature of the human soul.
The subordination of science to myth was exemplified in the recent British case of Maya Forstater, who’d lost her job after pointing out the plain truth that transgender people like me cannot change our biological sex by proclamation. “I conclude from…the totality of the evidence, that [Forstater] is absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate,” concluded Judge James Tayler at her employment tribunal. “The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
From my earliest memories I struggled in a society delineated by sex. The rules were different for boys and girls, from what we could wear to how we related to society. Certainly, the expectations placed on me, as a three-year-old boy, were very different to those experienced by three-year-old girls.
Some of this was external – I was told that I would grow up to be big and strong – but we are all curious combinations of nurture and nature, and much was driven from within. I longed to be a girl from before I could speak in full sentences; without the capacity to explain my reasons, even to myself. But, at the same time, the taboo against wearing clothes marketed at girls was already hardwired into my mind.