Nonbinary Reality Check
If you feel the need to label 99.9+% of humanity as “cis” then you may have an axe to grind
I see it every day. Go to any social network and people are announcing that they just came out as “trans.” Their profiles include “they/them” as their referential pronouns of choice.
I read an article on here (not about gender issues) in which the writer referred to one of his professors at university and described him as “cismale.” So I checked his profile. Yup, “nonbinary.” I can hardly think of any safer presumption than gender congruity.
As I write the Republican party is opening a new front in its failing culture wars, going after girls’ sports teams and demanding gender verification in what must be the most urgent national issue since flag-burning.
“Trans” is all the rage.
The Actual Data
According to medical judgments one in 30,000 male births and one in 100,000 female are diagnosed as gender-dysphoric. This is a stringent medical definition and of course it is very strict and narrow, as a legitimate diagnosis has significant social and legal consequences, not the least of which could be eligibility for gender reassignment surgery.
So it would be prudent to assume that a lot of people are dysphoric but fall short of the strict medical criteria. Ten times that number? OK. One in 3000/10,000
But a hundred times that number? One in 300/1000? I doubt it.
And what we are seeing claimed in some demographics is more like a thousand times that number, one in 30/100.
Not buying that.
Look At Me! Look At Me!
The world is full of people who will do or say anything to get an extra ration of special attention. I see the great majority of this “trans” phenomenon as exactly that. People who don’t conform to outdated gender roles suddenly have the option of declaring themselves members of a new order, of belonging to a movement, and claiming that they are finally liberated to be their true selves. For a few, this is true. But for many times more it’s just a ruse to get attention.
It so happens I have known about a half-dozen genuine transsexuals, real ones, many of them scheduled for surgery, and dated two of these. And in the candor of post-coital intimacy we’ve talked about the issues in their lives. What you need to know, dear reader, is that they sounded nothing like these “nonbinary” types with their pronoun scolds and their fanatic division of humanity into “cis” and “trans.” As if we aren’t bifurcated in enough ways already.
In fact when it came to the pronouns they could not have been less interested. “He” now, “she” post-surgery. End of topic.
And for the record I support real gender-dysphoric people. You can raise my taxes to cover their treatment and surgery and I won’t object. And I could repeat this in every single paragraph in this article and still most responses are going to be “your (sic) transphobic.”
But I have no use whatsoever for the neologism trendies and their pronoun scolds. “They/them” in a profile is an instant plonk.
“Gender is a Social Construct”
Sure it is. Without the intolerance of our culture and its rigid gender roles, gender stereotypes, and gender identification would disappear. All this binary-ism is learned!
That was sarcasm.
Ask a four year old boy, “are you a little girl?” and see what kind of response you get. He hasn’t had time to internalize any “social construct.”
This one really makes me roll my eyes.
Leave English Alone
Ever since the postmodernists and their “heteronormative phallocentrism” we have been deluged with inane attempts to change the language in a way that brings more attention to fake issues. Let’s review a few of these; this is what really motivates me here. Because honestly I could not care less if people want to identify as one of 1500 new genders, as long as I don’t have to listen to them talk about it. I came out in 1974 in a city where gay meant crossdresser and I had my fill of this stuff very quickly.
The implication of course is that people who see gender as a binary matter, male or female, are simpleminded if not defective. I have another word for such people: “correct.” While psychological gender identification spans something of a continuum, biological gender is indeed binary; male or female. A man with GID who has had reassignment surgery and uses the feminine pronoun still has a Y chromosome and is biologically male. Courtesy demands we honor her identification but don’t you dare alter her Wikipedia page to say she was born female because that’s a lie.
The vagaries of gender identification are indeed mysterious and probably poorly understood; there is no doubt however of the reality of gender dysphoria and those people are suffering and achieve peace and fulfillment by living as the other gender. They have my full support.
On the other hand the hangers-on with their “they” and their “cis” have my full contempt.
The suffix phobia comes from the Greek word φόβος and it translates to “fear.” As with “homophobia” the word is unrepresentative of reality. In 2020 the Human Rights Organization notes 44 murders of transsexuals attributed directly to their gender identification, not in pursuit of theft or other tangential reasons.
This is not fear. This is murderous hatred. And, please, spare me the “hate begins with fear” quip, that is dumb. The suffix -phobia trivializes monstrous bigotry, reducing it to an echo of the 50s image of a terrified woman standing on a chair screaming “Eeek! A mouse!”
The correct word would be transmisia, the other one homomisia; these words are slowly entering use as the inaccuracy of the phobia words becomes more insulting, more galling. The suffix here is more familiar as a prefix; misanthropy, misogyny, misandry. Let’s not pretend that people stalk and murder out of anxiety. Transsexuals are being murdered by people who hate them.
Cis and Trans
Borrowed from aromatic organic chemistry (benzene rings with substitutions hanging off, adjacently and oppositely), some people feel the need to identify the vast majority of humanity that is gender congruent by a label. I have a hard time imagining a more determinedly fanatic outlook, not even gun nuts are so obsessed.
Ninety-five percent of the population is right-handed. So unless we are talking about restringing a guitar for a southpaw it is safe to leave handedness unspecified. I don’t think anyone ever made a left-handed pencil sharpener. And that’s 5% of us. Unless the topic is handedness, nobody needs to call out that someone is right-handed. It may be presumed.
Ninety-seven percent of the population is heterosexual. Your writer is gay. Unless the context is sexual orientation it is never necessary to point out that a person is heterosexual. It may be presumed.
But 99.998% of the population is gender-congruent according to medical statistics, or 99.98% if one allows that ten times as many slip through the strict medical criteria. Yet we are demanded to drop gender pronouns, to reshape all our presumptions about gender, we are called “transphobic” if we hesitate in choosing a pronoun, and the “nonbinary” attention-grabbers feel it necessary to identify that 99.99% as “cis,” when the presumption of not being transgendered is about the safest anyone could ever make. Yet that writer I mentioned in the introduction felt it necessary to mention that his professor was “cismale.”
This is really dumb.
I already wrote at length about this elsewhere and don’t want to repeat all of it
But for those who don’t want to read another entire article here are the essential points
- The singular “they” is unacceptable and unnecessary; there is no grammar that requires it. See the article for examples. Use “people” instead of “someone” and it goes away. “They” is plural and its use as a singular has never been uncontroversial, and it isn’t now.
- The generic “he” goes back centuries and has never oppressed anyone. Change it to “she” if you like
She who hesitates is lost
But settle on one, and stick to it.
Genuinely dysphoric people deserve our support and acceptance. Attention freaks cashing in on the latest fad … don’t. They dishonor those whose issues are real.