Since sexual reproduction first appeared on planet Earth some 1.2 billion years ago, sex has been determined—not assigned—based on compatibility for reproduction. That 1.2-billion year streak will soon end at a school-board meeting near you. If you attend, bow in silence: you’ll be entering the temple of a new religion—albeit a temple with fluorescent lights and folding chairs, where establishment shamans hand down the new laws of nature with absolutely no consultation with nature. The calendar on the wall will display the year zero.
The new gospel requires school staff to say “she” even when they mean “he.” It lets boys play on girls’ sports teams and compete against other girls. It lets boys into girls’ locker rooms to change for swim class. Gender may be “reassigned.” Biological sex dissolves. Everything that once reflected sex is now said to reflect gender. “Transitioning” is this religion’s central sacrament.
How do gender priests transform the bread and wine of contradiction into undeniable truths? How do they claim to know that your children should be bound by their shocking new laws? Is it biology? Liberal ideals? Divine revelation?
No. Gender priests claim to find their new religion in the mysteries of language itself. In other words, word games. We should no sooner listen to a gender priest inspired by word games than to a medicine man inspired by astrology.
A sick establishment uses word games to force society to accept contradictions. That isn’t the theory of some Christian zealot or Reaganite culture warrior. It’s the theory of Herbert Marcuse, the late founder of the New Left. His 1964 classic One Dimensional Man inaugurated a critical theory still used by Marxists today—and gender religion would be far too much, even for a liberal like him.
The new gender religion is, in fact, a triumph of what Marcuse most despised—a bad kind of thinking he ironically called “positive thought.” Positive thought leads to a kind of word gaming called “positive language.”
Liberals of Marcuse’s time wanted society to change for the better. Marcuse taught that a society awash in positive language could never change for the better because positive language keeps a society from criticizing itself. For example, suppose the word “tasty” meant “whatever comes out of the kitchen.” All food would then be tasty—even bad food. The positive thinker affirms all food—hence the thinking is positive.
Priests of the new gender religion affirm all gender identities, even false ones. They play word games to do so, adding letters to the LGBT series ad infinitum. As comedian Dave Chappelle says, gender priests “make up words to win arguments.” That’s positive thought in action, and it keeps society from criticizing the new gender religion. Marcuse would see the surfeit of positive language orbiting gender religion as a red flag for a society that is getting worse and is too hypnotized to realize it.
Observe how the new religion conjures up its new laws from language. Consider the word “epicene.” Before the gender word games began, “epicene” described what today is often called “being transgendered.” Dating to the 15th century, “epicene” is an adjective for “having characteristics of the other sex.” But to say that a man is epicene leaves open the ability to make a critique of him and say that, although he has characteristics of a woman, he is not really a woman. An epicene man is still a man.
After about 500 years, around 1957, the gender word games began. The new word was “transsexual.” That’s just another word for an epicene person, but unlike “epicene,” it’s also a noun. With the adjective epicene, there must be an independent subject, man or woman. With the noun transsexual, the subject is the transsexual, neither man nor woman.
Fewer than 20 years later, around 1974, we got the current word: “transgendered.” Sex is reproductive, but there is no such thing as transsexual reproduction. To conceal the contradiction in the word transsexual, “sexual” got replaced with “gendered.” Gender has nothing to do with reproduction. It’s harder to claim that a transgendered woman is not really a woman because a transgendered woman is explicitly defined to mean whatever results from a so-called transition, regardless of the capacity to reproduce. As “tasty” could mean “whatever comes out of the kitchen,” a transgendered woman is whoever comes out of transition.
“Gender” is a word hardly used before 1974. Gender used to be a grammatical property of words in languages like Latin. Now, as Harvey Mansfield famously explained in his 2006 book, Manliness, gender has become a property of people, supplanting sex. There used to be manly men and womanly women; now, there are only masculine or feminine people.
Next will be a word eliminating the idea of change inherent in the prefix “trans.” With the new word, a transgendered woman will say that he was born a woman—that he did nothing to change who he was, so there’s nothing to criticize him for. Yet after all this, a “transgendered woman” is still just a 15th century epicene man and a “transgendered man” is still just a 15th century epicene woman. The changeover in terms serves only to make it harder for gender priests to lose arguments about who belongs in the ladies’ room.
The new gender religion claims no divine revelation for its teachings. It cannot even claim the liberal tradition of the New Left—a tradition which championed civil rights and even birthed a sexual revolution. The new gender religion can claim only linguistic astrology as evidence for its astounding claims. We all—secular liberals together with religious conservatives—must keep this religion’s new priests, hypnotic shamans in white lab coats, out of our schools.