Klavan On The Culture

Jenner's Gender Exposes Leftist Nonsense

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It’s not my intention to make fun of Bruce Jenner. I tried to transition into a woman once myself — and would have done it too, but she called the police. I probably should have asked her permission first.

Joking aside, the former gold medal Olympian is, by my lights, free to be whatever surgery can make him. My attitude toward other people’s sex lives was best phrased by Ebenezer Scrooge: “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly.”

That said, since our media will focus on this absolutely meaningless and ridiculous event rather than on, say, Barack Obama’s malfeasance abroad and lawlessness at home, let me just make a few observations.

Leftists have made a cause of transgenderism, but transgenderism makes a nonsense of many leftist tenets. For instance, leftist feminism depends on the assumption that there is no inherent difference between men and women and that therefore any inequality in their lives must be the product of bigotry and should be corrected by law. But if there is no inherent difference between men and women, what can it possibly mean to be transgender? When Jenner tells an interviewer: “I am a woman,” how does he know? Since, until he started fiddling with it, his body was a man’s body, he can only mean that he feels a mental or spiritual difference within him that he identifies as womanly. I only wish that more feminists felt that!

But if there is a difference between men and women — and, like, duh — it is entirely possible that in some matters the difference favors men. Men, for instance, may be better at scientific thinking, or cracking stupid jokes that are somehow hilarious, or writing great poetry, or abusing themselves and others for purposes of sexual gratification without any emotional blowback. Once you admit there is a difference, it is not cruelty or bigotry to note the results of that difference or to behave in accordance with them, always taking variations in individuals into account.

Secondly, it is many leftists’ absurd boast that they believe in science more than conservatives do. Mainly they think this because many religious conservatives feel the book of Genesis trumps the theory of evolution whereas leftists understand that Great Devil of Black Goo in ground rise up to destroy Mother Gaia in Global Warming Apocalypse unless make big sacrifice of Constitution to Holy Government. Or something. But the science on transgenderism is very unsettled. In a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Dr. Paul McHugh, the former chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University — the first American venue to offer transgender surgery — reported that outcome studies on those who underwent the surgery were not positive. His belief is that transgenderism is a mental disorder:

The transgendered suffer a disorder of “assumption” like those in other disorders familiar to psychiatrists. With the transgendered, the disordered assumption is that the individual differs from what seems given in nature—namely one’s maleness or femaleness. Other kinds of disordered assumptions are held by those who suffer from anorexia and bulimia nervosa, where the assumption that departs from physical reality is the belief by the dangerously thin that they are overweight.

With all due (and genuine!) sympathy for those who feel their gender was wrongly assigned by their creator, this idea seems worth testing and exploring before allowing little Timmy to become little Betty just because he’s going through a play-with-dolls phase.

And finally, Jenner’s specific case exposes for the fraud it is the self-flattering notion leftists hold that they are more tolerant than right wingers. Jenner’s announcement that he was not only a woman but a conservative Republican set off the usual stream of brutal anti-gay Twitter speech from the left. (My pal Gay Patriot has details but the language, be warned, is what you’d expect.) I know I’ve said it before but it bears much repeating: leftists are not more tolerant of transgenders, gays, blacks or anyone else. They only use their issues to destroy freedom and acquire power — and they only tolerate those who agree with them.