Columns

In the Face of a Real Crisis, Transgender Activism Is 'Elective' and 'Non-Essential'

Protesters seek repeal of a Mississippi law allowing religious groups and some private businesses to deny services to same-sex couples, transgender people and others on May 1, 2016, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Jeff Amy)

Over the past five years, Democrats and liberals have leaped over one another to champion the transgender movement, pronoun silliness included. President Obama tried to redefine “sex” in federal law to refer to gender identity, not biological sex. Democrats in the 2020 election cycle rushed to champion transgender activism, with Julian Castro pandering himself into insanity, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) posting her preferred pronouns, and Joe Biden calling trans activism “the civil rights issue of our time.” Left-leaning news outlets like The New York Times demonized President Donald Trump’s military policy as “erasing” people.

Yet amid the coronavirus crisis, Democrats and the legacy media have proven surprisingly hesitant to push the transgender talking points. Those who would constantly warn about how this or that “crisis” hits transgender people hardest are strangely silent on the issue now.

Sure, Biden and his only remaining competitor in the 2020 Democratic race, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), put out their obligatory tweets about the “Transgender Day of Visibility” on March 31. Besides that virtue signaling, however, Biden’s last tweet on the issue dates back to January — and he hasn’t focused on transgender issues during the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, as health systems the world over are struggling to scrounge up the personal protective equipment (PPE) to treat the sick and keep themselves safe in the coronavirus crisis, transgender surgeries have been postponed as “elective” and “non-essential.” In March, Vice News and NBC News ran stories complaining about the postponements, but in most of the media, they went unremarked upon.

Activists claim that transgender surgery is life-saving because, without it, people suffering from gender dysphoria will commit suicide. This is patently ridiculous. If a patient tells his doctor that he’s an amputee trapped in a normal body and threatens suicide if the doctor does not amputate his leg, he would be diagnosed with body integrity disorder and receive counseling to prevent him from cutting off his leg. The claim that he is suicidal would not force the doctor’s hand.

Gender dysphoria — the persistent and painful identification with the gender opposite one’s biological sex — is a real phenomenon, but the affirmation of a cross-sex identity and surgery to “confirm” it can do serious and irreversible harm. Many formerly transgender people have come forward, expressing their deep regret at having mutilated their own bodies.

Gender dysphoric people arguably need counseling to help them regain comfort in their biological sex, rather than surgery to make them resemble the opposite sex. Transgender activists, however, have launched an incredibly effective campaign bankrolled by billionaires and big pharma to bully medical institutions into endorsing transgender ideology and pushing “affirmation” and surgery as the only effective treatment. They have even demonized any counseling that might make people comfortable in their own skin, calling it “conversion therapy.”

The pursuit of transgender activism has driven the left into some very difficult positions. Liberals have tried to police speech, insisting that people alter their basic language to kowtow to a wide range of preferred pronouns. They have championed policies that violate the privacy rights of girls and women in bathrooms, changing rooms, and shelters. They have insisted on unfair rules that allow biological men to defeat women in women’s sports. They have championed dangerous experimental drugs for children with gender confusion.

In fact, a campaign staffer for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told Project Veritas that transgender activism is a distraction that can cost Democrats elections.

“At the end of the day, if we’re gonna prioritize pronouns over making sure people have a decent standard of living, that’s wrong. And it’s like when you come from where I come from, no one gives a f**k about a goddamn pronoun. People wanna know how you’re gonna create a job,” field organizer Angel Alicea said. “This is why we lose elections because we’re zeroing on sh*t like that.”

Indeed, the transgender activism is turning off radical feminists who might otherwise support Democrats.

“With civility and no ill-will: Please. Stop with the pronoun silliness,” Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first lesbian to be reinstated to the Army after getting booted for her sexual orientation, wrote to Warren. “Instead of pandering to the trans lobby, may I respectfully request that you look at what women are losing in terms of sports, safety, medical services, parental rights, and basic human rights, such as the right to privacy, not to mention the horrors of medical experimentation on children by trans-supporting Big Pharma and Big Medicine.”

Perhaps some liberals have learned their lesson. Biden will likely return to trans pandering once the coronavirus is over, but for now, it seems he’s keeping it in check.

Yet in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, transgender activism has taken a backseat. When Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Biden try to take advantage of the crisis, they push Green New Deal-style climate regulations and voting “reforms,” not transgender issues. It’s almost like transgender activism is a luxury for better days, jettisoned among the throws of a true crisis.

In other words, it’s elective and non-essential.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.