Trans Ideology and Making Sense Make Sense Again

It is not a value judgment to say that trans men and women fall outside of standard biological norms. The flaw in woke ideology is the belief that the bad feelings this statement creates in those individuals can and should be of paramount importance. It is one thing to ensure that trans men and women are protected from discrimination. It is another to attempt to eliminate the real and necessary cultural distinctions of man and woman to attempt to ameliorate that discomfort. 

A large part of woke ideology revolves around the unreasonable idea that we should construct a society where no one’s feelings are hurt. It can’t be done, but nevertheless they work diligently trying. The world is a harsh and difficult place, and societies must promote hard-won cultural norms that allow people to live together harmoniously. 

But when social norms encourage people to ignore basic characteristics of human biology, they are untenable and even counterproductive. 

Sucht is the case with the ever-expanding LGBT etc. acronym. It reflects a feelings-based belief that human sexuality exists on a spectrum, and posits that those who don’t feel they fit in the male/man and female/woman areas of that spectrum in fact become a different thing in reality because nothing is more real than those feelings. The ongoing addition of letters to the acronym may accurately represent the feelings and even mental state of some people, but it does nothing to alter the underlying science or reality. 

Once you allow the term “woman” to represent anyone who decides to be identified as such, you have made the word biologically and physically meaningless. 

What is a man if not an adult male human? You can’t go by external characteristics because they can be as varied as with women. Absent meanings for man and woman that are not rooted in external characteristics, you have nothing. 

A woman is an adult female human and the defining characteristics of that start with biology, chromosomes, and reproduction. Those are identifiable and immutable. The external characteristics are not identifiable, and are very mutable. You cannot simply adopt some currently fashionable external characteristics and voila . . . you are a woman. 

The Left’s attempt to establish a feelings-based social order also does not present a workable solution for a functioning society that must acknowledge and operate with the reality that men and women are different at a fundamental level. Societies must have norms and customs based on the overwhelming majority of people who conform and live their lives based upon those realities. It cannot have norms and customs that are infinitely granular and attempt to treat those who do not easily fit in those categories with their own individualized adaptations. 

That does not mean we cannot or should not respect individuality. It simply means we cannot reorganize our society in a way that revolves around feelings in open defiance of the conflict with reality that it creates. 

So, what to do? 

I am not trying to be inaccurate when using the word norm in two ways, both to describe cultural practices and also to describe certain human characteristics, like sex and gender, that define the largest number of humans. This isn’t a deep dive into a statistical and sociological argument about the precise meanings and other more accurate words. This is shorthand so we can discuss the current issue. 

How can we deal with the people who do not fall into the broad societal categories? The first thing is to eliminate the trendy idea that norms should be massaged to ignore the fact that the vast majority of humans fall into the binary categories of men and women. This stems from the binary nature of human biology having almost exclusively males and females. Societies have historically recognized this and organized based on these inherent differences. t. 

We can use, out of polite deference, the single term “trans people”: Males who decide to transition to live as women can accurately and respectfully be called trans women and similarly females who live as men can be called trans men. This will not satisfy the absolutists or those who want to remove discomfort and offense from daily life. But societies can and must make logical choices to satisfy the largest number of people and create a sustainable way of life.

This still leaves the thorny issue of pronouns in play. It seems fair that if we make these categories of trans man and trans woman a norm, then there should be new pronouns that reflect their choices. This will still leave uncomfortable times when that will still have to be explained. So be it. Life is not a bed of roses.  

Relegating trans men and women to their own category with their own pronouns is a middle way between what we had before, and what the Left is currently trying to achieve: the total annihilation of the difference between biological men and trans men and biological women and trans women.As far as the even smaller subset who identify as non-binary or other parts of the acronym, we can take this incrementally and deal with men and women first. There is not a perfect solution to balancing the most deeply defining individual characteristics with the needs of a functioning society. Let’s keep the biologically and culturally sound norms and transition to some additional adaptations as it makes sense.

About Jim Hanson

Jim Hanson is president of Security Studies Group and served in the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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