January the eighth, twenty nineteen

I’ve been thinking a lot about transgender people recently. Genderqueers, too— which I was surprised to learn isn’t a slur.

This is explains why I never get the reaction I expect when I yell out the window at someone “GENDERQUEER!” and they yell back “YES THAT’S ACCURATE”.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about those good-natured folk who are trying very hard to get the rest of the world to be inclusive of transgender and genderqueer people. I’m going to introduce a new term that wraps up those two mouthfuls: gender-weird.

I think the spirit of the movement is great — it’s essentially making people that have things pretty tough a little bit happier — who would argue with that? But I think they’re failing pretty thoroughly at their goal.

The way they talk about their handy guidelines for being inclusive reminds me of economics in the 70’s. That is, they make the assumption that everyone is a rational actor and will abide by a well defined set of rules, once laid out.

Imagine you want to save some whales, so you send a pack of boats out into Japanese waters to hunt down those that hunt down whales. You get all up in their business and manage to chase them away — and as a bonus, get a selfie with Bubba Blue who you saved from a lifetime of working in a soap factory — if I understand the whale supply chain correctly.

Now, imagine that your actions have made it very difficult for this one ship to do it’s job of rounding up the fatsos of the seas. So they send more boats. And actually you’ve somehow levelled the whaling playing field, so other people can get out there hunting whales too. And now more whales are dying.

What would you do? You’ve got that tangible story of Bubba, a life saved, and all the extra whales dying aren’t your fault, really, are they?

It would be a pretty tough decision to say “Going head-to-head with the whalers is resulting in more dead whales, so fuck it, we’re out. Back to the drawing board.”

But that’s the only sensible thing to do. To acknowledge that actually we’re getting way more push-back than we were expecting, perhaps we’re pushing the wrong buttons.

This is what the gender activists need to do. They’ve made gender-weirdness a ‘discussion point’, which has attracted the sort of people that are probably not normally in their support circles.

An interesting thing happened: the exact same TED talk was posted twice, under two different TED accounts, a year apart.

Take a look at those positive comments on the left, vitriol on the right, and notice the upvote/downvote ratios.

This is exactly the same video, one year apart.

I think the second comment on the right sums it up: “People are sick of this”.

“I identify as a toaster do you accept me” is just silly but I wanted to type it out in case you didn’t read that far or the text was too small on a phone.

And it’s worth noting that all the positive comments on the left have double-digit claps, while every negative comment on the right has triple digit approval ratings.

I don’t want to claim that the only variable that changed between these two videos is that yet another year of aggressive gender-activist-nonsense has passed. There was nonsense when the first video came out in 2017, after all. It may be that Jordan Peterson shared a link to the latter and his adorable fans showed up en masse (to be clear, I reckon that a subset of his fans are transphobic, not that the man himself is). Or it may have been posted on a Friday night when a lot of angry lonely boys were at home alone watching YouTube.

But I think either way, it paints a pretty vivid picture of public sentiment, and it’s pretty clearly getting worse.

(Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m sick of this. After all, I watch so many transgender-life videos on YouTube that I accidentally watched the same one twice. )

I would like to ask a gender-activist: who will take responsibility for the attitudes on the right? I think it’s a cop-out to say ‘bigots will be bigots’ and keep on keeping on with your enraging activities.

These people aren’t just being bigots, they’re sick of this — and the ‘this’ is the message that they need to change, to be more ‘inclusive’.

I think being a bigot is like being lactose intolerant. They might walk around with a quiet disdain for milk, but will remain mostly civilised.

But as soon as you start pouring milk down their throat, there’s going to be a violent reaction.

The thing that I keep seeing pop up, again and again, is the topic of “preferred gender pronouns”.

Hilariously, the politically-correct people have their heads so far up their own asses that they’re now looking down their noses at themselves and have decided that ‘preferred’ is a bit offensive, and ‘personal’ is now the politically correct version of this politically correct term.

An example from a university of how you would discuss Xena if Xena’s PGPs were ze/hir:

Xena ate hir food because ze was hungry.

I mean, fucking hell.

Read that quote, then read the YouTube comment saying “people are sick of this”; it’s not rocket science to connect the dots.

I think the issue is that well meaning people are generally idiots. They’re useful idiots if the goal is to ‘raise awareness’, but they’re not very good at assessing whether their well-meaning activities are having unintended side effects.

They’re more about the doing than the doing good. I mean, look at PGP — this idea that we should call people whatever pronouns they like. It seems inclusive, that’s great, but if you look at the idea critically, it crumbles apart like, um, the world trade center when those planes flew into it.

First of all, how many people does this apply to? If I’m born a girl in a boy’s body, and then at some point decide to make the switch, I’m going to do several things. I’m going to stop shopping in the men’s section and move to the women’s. I’m going to get some boobs. And, crucially, I’m going to change my name. And if I’m not an idiot, I’m going to change it to a girls name.

So, any trans person who people might think is a ‘he’ but wants to be called a ‘she’ doesn’t need to introduce herself as “I’m Alex, and my personal gender pronouns are she/her”. No, she can just pick a girls name and say “I’m Susie and it’s a real treat to meet y’all”.

The bonus for Susie is that half the people in the room now don’t think she’s a fuckwit for announcing her ‘personal gender pronouns’. I get the impression this doesn’t even register with the gender activists — the idea that maybe there’s a downside to having to tell people your PGPs.

OK, reason two that PGPs are pointless — the words he/him/his/she/her (I think I’m missing one there) are used most commonly when you’re talking about someone — and most often when they’re not there.

So, people are talking about Susie, about how he likes to …. woops, I mean how she likes to … climb trees.

Well if a tree falls in the woods… I think I’m making myself clear.

Reason three it’s all so silly: if a university wants to make it a rule that teachers must ask their students to introduce themselves with their PGPs, what percentage of interactions does that cover? Susie’s classmates will know that she likes to be called a ‘her’ — even if she had a five o’clock shadow and was called ‘Alex’. But what about the person at the coffee shop? The mechanic who fixed up her deteriorating window seals? The paramedics after suicide attempt number four?

None of them have processes in place to ascertain someone’s PGP. Because they’ve got shit to do. So your call to enquire about someone’s PGPs is pissing in the wind, making almost no difference in reality (the place where most living takes place).

Reason number four (I think is what I’m up to) that this is all a bit much for many people to put up with, is that the people that this actually applies to are a tiny faction of society. Maybe half a percent are trans, half a percent a genderqueer, with a third or so overlapping.

You just can’t design a society to be inclusive of everyone. You can’t make every doorway tall enough for every freak, you can’t make every pharmacy counter short enough of the teeny tiniest midget person.

Oh, wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone learnt a little bit of sign language — imagine the difference that would make for deaf people. They would feel super included. I’m tearing up a bit thinking about the gravity of the impact this would have on quality of life.

But it ain’t gonna happen. It’s a wonderful idea but do you know what you never see? You never see a TED talk about being deaf with a comment “people are sick of this” — that’s because no one’s shoving it down their throats. No one is forcing every student, bar tender and Uber driver to learn sign language, even though there’s a good chance they’ll never even meet a deaf person.

I’m not saying it’s not possible; you can have widespread inclusiveness for tiny minorities: we’ve got blind-person dots all over the place marking out steps and bus stops, braille in lifts, I’ve even got braille on my steering wheel. This is top-notch inclusiveness. But it doesn’t shame people for not caring enough, I, personally, don’t have any new rules to abide by, it’s shit that happens in the background.

By far the silliest aspect though, and I think this is my last one, is the idea of PGPs for people that are neither he nor she. Biologically this includes intersex people, where their private parts aren’t right, and people that are biologically very much one gender in particular, but they don’t really feel like that gender, and don’t feel like the other one either.

And this is where the idea that we need new pronouns like zir or fe or whatever, to be inclusive. I mean, it’s just idiocy. 10/10 for a nice idea, 0/10 for understanding reality.

I don’t feel like a male very much, or like a female very much. But people call me ‘he’ so I shop in the men’s department and get on with my life. I’m not going to make a whole big thing about it.

The English language is like 82 steam rollers being driven by drunk cows down a wet grassy knoll. You can’t change it, you’ve got no hope. We have he and she and his and hers.

You can say that you’d like to add some more, like ‘zir’ and ‘fe’, and maybe when you sketched out that idea on a blackboard with your gender-studies friends you thought hazaa, this will work!

But it won’t.

Be realistic. Because if you’re not being realistic, you’re being annoying. And if you’re being annoying, and you’re claiming to represent gender-weird people, then people are going to get annoyed at all gender-weird people. People that otherwise would not got annoyed. You are directly reducing the quality of life of these people — why are you doing this?

We have lots of words and phrases in the English language that assume you can see. We don’t have blind activists trying to outlaw ‘seeya’ in public buildings.

There are people with more than one personality, but we don’t try and change the English language to do away with the assumption that one body is one person.

What if I told you that my preferred pronoun was he …. when I’m Bruce. But on Tuesdays I become Sally and then you can talk about me behind my back using the pronouns ‘xi’ and ‘funkmaster’.

OK that’s about all. I have no outro. This is a rush job because it’s almost dinner time but I have to get something out to try and put a smile on Erica’s face.

Just, if you’re a gender-activist, fucking stop it, OK? You’re painting a target on the back of transgender and genderqueer people who just want to stay out of the spotlight and get on with their pretty tough lives.

You selfish cunts.

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