Lesbian Feminist Defends 'Misgendering'; It's Not 'Inhumane' to Tell the Truth
On Thursday, lesbian feminist Julia Beck shot down the notion that "misgendering" a transgender person is "inhumane."
"Acknowleding biological sex is not inhumane. It’s actually inhumane to force women to share intimate spaces with male people who call themselves women," Beck said. "So I don’t see any problem with calling someone male or female, man or woman, beause these are words that refer to biological reality. ... We need to acknowledge biological sex. Doing so is not inhumane."
The lesbian was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). She testified that the gender identity protections in the law undermine the central goal of keeping women safe from "male violence."
She also strongly objected to the idea that if a biological male identifies as a woman, everyone else has to refer to that person as female and use female pronouns.
"People who self-identify as transgender are human. They’re people. But that doesn’t mean that I have to kowtow to their identity," Beck argued. "I can still call someone who identifies as a transgender woman a man because he is a man, he’s male. And most men who call themselves 'transgender women' retain their male genitals."
"They pose a threat to women because male genitals can be weaponized," the lesbian warned. "Women are all vulnerable to forced impregnation. That’s just the facts of our biology. So it’s not inhumane to call someone according to their sex."
The issue of misgendering arose after Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) objected to Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), who asked whether people "might be gaming the laws pretending that they are women in order to attack women in — let’s say — a domestic violence shelter designed for women." Beck confirmed Lesko's fears, but Cicilline raised an objection.
"I think the suggestion that transgender individuals are pretending that they are a different gender is deeply offensive," Cicilline said. To this, Beck shouted, "sex!" The problem is not that some people are pretending to be a different gender, but that they are pretending to be a different sex.
For purposes of returning VAWA to its original intent and of defending women and girls, it is vitally important to maintain the distinction between sex and gender, Beck argued. She warned that allowing gender identity confusions to remain in the law would increase violence against women.
"If we cannot acknowledge biological sex or the differences of biological sex between the two sex classes, then there will be no protections for women on the basis of our biological sex," the lesbian reasoned. "Rates of violence against women I would expect to increase. Rates of forced impregnation, forced motherhood — which is a form of slavery — that would also increase."
"Gender obfuscates this reality of biological sex," so returning sex-based protections to the law and referring to transgender people by their biological sex rather than their gender identity ("misgendering" them) are important steps for legal and mental sanity.
Beck also touched on Title IX protections.
"Women are losing titles and scholarships, collegiate opportunities because men who claim to be women without any medical intervention whatsoever are competing against female athletes," Beck said. She referenced two biological men who identify as women who took first and second place in a track meet in Connecticut.
"We know that men are stronger on average than women. We know that men are bigger on average than women. And this gives men an advantage over women if we are to compete together in the same track meet," Beck said. "Two biological males actually stole scholastic opportunities from the further and further down raked female runners. These girls have now lost the opportunity to go to college."
"So yes, Title IX is bascially moot now because men can be women," she said.
Beck also testified that "women-only space is crucial for women to survive in this world." She recalled the first time she entered a female-only space. "I could stand tall, I could walk at night without my shirt on and without fear of being raped or molested or taken, groped. As a survivor of homelessness and rape, I value female space because it allows me to be who I am without fear of molestation or violence."
"If one male person is in a space designated for female people, all of those women will start to censor themselves ... because we fear male violence," Beck said.
Telling the truth about biological sex and "misgendering" transgender people is actually vital for women's protections, for women's sports, and for mental sanity. Americans should treat people who identify as transgender with respect, but they do not have to "kowtow" to their identities, as Beck said.
In the interests of protecting women and telling the truth, Americans should not fear misgendering. This should apply in all walks of life, from journalistic standards to social media. Companies like Twitter have declared misgendering off limits as a form of "violence." As a result, a radical feminist was banned on Twitter and called Twitter a "boys club."
"Many think gender identity is the next frontier of social justice but they couldn’t be more wrong," Beck argued. "Gender is based on rigid sex roles and superficial stereotypes that legitimize male dominance and female subordination." In this, she agrees with a rising chorus of lesbians and feminists opposing transgender activism — the London Pride parade last year featured a banner reading "Transactivism Erases Lesbians."
Erasing biological sex in favor of gender identity turns the hope for women's protections into a cruel mockery based on patriarchy and enabling male violence, Beck argued. She called this a "misogynistic Trojan Horse."
Fighting back begins at the most basic level of language. Americans should not be obnoxious to transgender people, but they don't have to kowtow to their identities, either.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.