Contra Mozilla

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Transvestites Dilemma

Transvestites present us with a dilemma: what pronoun is proper for the occasion? The Bradley Manning kerfuffle--or is it the Chelsea Manning boondoggle?--is what brings this particular question to mind. The recent New Mexican Supreme Court ruling does not have me feeling particularly tactful towards the queer community; and I will say that if same-sex attraction is "queer" in the sense of being relatively strange, then the desire to actually become a member of the other sex must rank as queerer still. One wonders if there will come a time in the not-so-distant future that men will desire to become, not women, but androgynous beings capable of both begetting and conceiving: the feminist revolution will be complete.

After that, only a change in species entire becomes more strange (and dare I say disordered), but I suppose I wouldn't be surprised.

And so I return to my previous question: what become the proper pronoun to refer to a transgendered person? The politically correct thought-police will insist that we use the gender to which that person switches, but that doesn't quite sit right. A man who wakes up and decides to be a woman doesn't actually become a woman, however he may mutilate himself; nor does a woman who undergoes some specialized surgery and hormone therapy simply become a man. On the other hand, neither does our hypothetical person remain a man as before, or a woman as before.

Thus, neither "He" nor "She" seems correct--the old pronoun may be more nearly so, since these things are apparently reversible, though whether fully reversible or not is something else. But a woman who tries to change her sex doesn't really become a man: such a person is not eligible for marriage [1] nor for ordination (which is apparently not limited to Catholics). To use the "new" pronoun would rather tend to give some credibility to the claim that the person really has successfully switched sexes; to use the old one would tend to suggest that nothing has changed at all. The other option, I suppose, is "it," but this would make the person out to be inhuman, which is also not quite right. They may be mad, but a madman is still a man. Also, I should add, hey have added a layer of offendedness to those who choose the wrong pro-noun. By this, I mean that there are some who try the sex-change but want to keep the old pronoun, others who undergo no change but try switching to the new pronoun (hence a certain law in California), and others who do both: and each is uniquely offended when those who do try to get the preferred pronouns right fail.

I tend to rather disfavor the politically correct demands that we refer to every group by their own preferred title [2] unless notified otherwise by the PC Thought Police to be a bit grating. It's not that I oppose letting people pick their own name for themselves (if reasonable), but that some groups are constantly changing the acceptable name. First it's negro, then African-American, then person of color, then black... First it's homosexual, then gay, then queer, then gay again, and now (apparently) queer again... Indian, then redskin, then Native American... In the words of a friend, it's the verbal equivalent of a secret handshake. You must use the correct (ever-changing) noun to refer to the favored/victim group to show that you are sufficiently sensitive to their feelings. After so many changes, I tend to stop playing along and then pick my own nouns for them.

The queer community is the worst of the lot, since (unlike with the other groups listed) each name they pick for themselves tends to take on an "unclean" meaning.  I think at this point that they have looped around to picking one of their own rejected terms as being correct--or maybe it was rejected in one region and then embraced in another--but there comes a time of frustration when one decides to simply call them Sodomites and be done with it.

The Transvestite/Transexual/Transgendered (see what I mean) subset of the queerly-lettered community in turn views themselves as the victims within the victim community. It's no longer merely the wrong choice of nouns which is offensive, but but of pronouns.

I will therefore conclude with a palate-cleanser, by linking to two rants worth reading: one by author John C Wright, the other by political commentator PJ O'Rourke

[1] I can't imagine that this was the original meaning of Christ's exception of divorce in the case of non-chastity, though I think it probably counts.

[2] The biggest exception to this is the pro-lifers, who must at all costs be called either "anti-abortion" or "anti-choice,' but never pro-life;

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