I don’t know about you, but I turn to science fiction and fantasy to escape America’s politicized outrage culture, not to look for it. I’ve long been a fan of Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Avengers, and — more recently — The Expanse. Each of these franchises has political elements, of course, but none of them comment on current hot-button issues. They focus, instead, on more eternal themes.
Yet wokeness is increasingly smuggling its way into the fiction I enjoy so much. Marvel is planning to insert LGBT characters, and the Star Wars: Aftermath books did so, too. Early reports about Amazon’s TV show that takes place in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings universe suggest that the show is going for a far more sexualized style, and that may well include LGBT themes, as well. The Expanse features a lesbian pastor and the main character has seven parents who each contributed DNA.
Legacy media outlets may celebrate these LGBT characters as victories for “diversity” and “representation,” but these themes alienate conservative Christians like me. While I find the insertion of homosexual characters slightly annoying, any rush to celebrate transgenderism — the embrace of nebulous “gender identity” over against concrete biological sex — repulses me a great deal.
So when I saw that the official Star Wars Facebook account not only celebrated the “Transgender Day of Visibility” but pushed a book about “trans non-binary Jedi,” I couldn’t help but shudder.
In honor of #TransDayOfVisibility we’re proud to unveil an exclusive cover highlighting Terec and Ceret, trans…
Of course, part of this is hilarious. Disney is falling over itself trying to go “woke,” so it wasn’t enough to just call these Jedi “transgender,” they also had to be “non-binary,” too. Never mind that “non-binary” (rejecting gender stereotypes) arguably means the opposite of “transgender” (embracing the gender stereotypes of the gender opposite one’s biological sex).
Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that gender dysphoria (the painful and persistent condition of identifying with the gender opposite one’s biological sex) exists and that people who suffer from it deserve sympathy and help. Gender dysphoric people commit suicide at higher rates. Their struggles are real.
That does not mean that the answer to gender dysphoria is transgender identity, however. While transgender activists often muddy the waters by pointing to intersex people, transgenderism is not about those unfortunate enough to have been born with two sets of genitals. Transgenderism pushes the idea that a person’s biological sex — determined by chromosomes from the moment of conception — is less important or less real than his or her sense of “gender identity.”
This is not just false, it’s dangerous. Transgender policies involve allowing biological males into women’s shelters and women’s prisons (where some men have proceeded to rape fellow inmates), letting biological males (who enjoy natural advantages) compete against women in women’s sports, and medical confusion that has led to at least one death. People who grew to reject their transgender identity have lamented the damage they did to their own bodies in pursuit of a false identity.
Transgenderism is dangerous, but activists claim that anyone who opposes this ideology is contributing to the suicide of gender dysphoric people. As it turns out, there is no evidence that transgender surgery improves mental health outcomes. It remains unclear whether gender dysphoric people are more likely to commit suicide due to gender dysphoria or due to societal rejection. Even in countries with high rates of societal acceptance, high suicide rates persist.
I can argue about this issue all day, but I really don’t want to have to worry about it creeping into my favorite movies and TV shows. It’s not “inclusive” to push woke orthodoxy on a diverse audience. Many of us just want the lightsaber duels and space battles — let’s leave modern politics out of it.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.