It isn’t the gender identity that we have invisibly between our ears that is going to cause us any issues. It is how we express that gender identity that will get reactions from people. – Amanda Ryan, Gender Mosaic, Ottawa
To really understand why I would want to carry a baby, you kind of have to, unfortunately, dismantle some of the stories that have been told about what it means to actually be trans. – Trystan Reese, a biological (and pregnant) woman who identifies as a gay man
Talk about Gender Identity is intended to break down the male/female binary as an objective referent for law and public policy. – Douglas Farrow, The Right to be Yourself? Gender Identity as the Baptism of Autonomy
No public sphere remains, once we have left the body behind and invested everything in the privacy of our minds. – Cracking the Gender Code
For an in-depth analysis of the issues raised by Gender Mainstreaming and the far-reaching implications of transgender ideology, take time to view The Politicization of Gender: Disfiguring Western Culture.
Notes and commentary on the advance of Gender Mainstreaming in Canada
With the Prime Minister receiving a prize highlighting his "unparalleled commitment ... to demystify the realities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals for the general public across Quebec and Canada,” and with the announcement of his government's intentions to change the Criminal Code and the Human Rights Act on matters related to "gender identity," another religion and public policy issue recently emerged onto centre stage in Canada. Mr Trudeau's government moved swiftly, as it did on euthanasia. Demystification meant brushing aside any concerns about the philosophical, psychological, or even legal questions raised by the legislation that was tabled. Just get it done. And now it is done. On 15 June 2017, Bill C-16 cleared the Senate. The Attorney General tweeted triumphantly: “Proud that Bill C-16 has passed in the Senate. All Canadians should feel #FreeToBeMe.”
The Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould is more right than she knows. By the letter of this law I can decide to be a woman rather than a man; by the logic of this law I could decide to be Wilson-Raybould. I am already, in a manner of speaking, Attorney General, and so are you. We are each of us in charge of law and order now, for the very idea of law and order has been made to reside in the inner recesses of our own (incontrovertible!) individuality, to what "we have invisibly between our ears."
Yes, that's a recipe for chaos, for the unraveling of law. But, arguably, it belongs to a program of legal revision and social change to which a few people, at least, have given a great deal of forethought, a program laid out, for example, in EGALE's white paper on the just society. This is the program behind the program, some say, and its leading idea is that we ought to regard as grossly indecent anything that reinforces the idea of gross indecency. Viewed from that angle, the "gender identity and expression" bandwagon appears as a vehicle of convenience for advancing a much larger and quite different agenda. If there's anything to that, there's a good bit more "demystification" to come.
In the House, no attempt was made to look at the bigger picture. The vast majority of members simply assumed, with the Prime Minister, that they were advancing along the inevitable arc of history. C-16 cleared second reading with only 40 dissenting votes and sailed through committee without amendment, before passing third reading on an unrecorded vote. It went on to the Senate without public hearings, which would have been embarrassing since hardly anyone had got even as far as sorting out terms and definitions, much less begun to think, say, about what delivering a speech or reading Hansard or writing constitutents might be like under a kaleidoscopic pronoun regime. Meanwhile, the OHRC mandarins were already pontificating about supposed linguistic obligations in the public sector that they themselves had fabricated without regard for the law or the constitution, while the Ontario legislature was churning out five GM-driven bills in as many years. So C-16 doubtless seemed to many just a bit of catching up that didn't require serious attention.
The new legislation, we have been told, is "about ensuring that all people — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — feel safe and secure, and empowered to freely express themselves... Far too many people still face harassment, discrimination and violence for being who they are." Now "being who they are" generally means, in this context, a claim to being what they biologically are not, which some consider nonsense. But how "empowered" will these latter, dissenting folk feel to express themselves freely? What sort of pressure will be brought to bear on them to keep their views to themselves and to pay linguistic obeisance to the new ideology by, for example, supplying pronouns on demand? C-16 doesn't rule anything in or anything out.
Worried about that, Senator Plett proposed an amendment: “For greater certainty, nothing in this Act requires the use of a particular word or expression that corresponds to the gender identity or expression of any person." His amendment failed, however, underlining concerns that the new legislation will be used both to suppress free speech and actually to compel certain approved forms of speech. That would bring the Criminal Code into conflict with the Charter, and honest citizens into conflict with the law. We shall see. We shall see also how C-16 interacts with other legislation, such as Ontario's Bill 89, for example, which contains provisions that appear to threaten parental rights and freedoms in the matter of care for children with gender dysphoria. Doubtless we won't wait long to see C-16 being used institutionally to justify constraints on speech and various exercises in re-labeling, not to mention hiring and budgeting, etc. We won't wait long either to see it tested in court.
In any event, there is more to the new-style Gender Mainstreaming than making people feel safe and secure in their so-called gender identity. There is an entire program in sexual re-education. Take this, for example: who_2.pdf. Is this where we want to go? If so, we will find ourselves mired, sooner or later, in a culture of systemic child abuse that will dwarf anything experienced in the past.
It's perfectly normal? No, it's not. Nor does it mean to be; that's the point. "The new 'normal' is that there is no normal."
Some are beginning to think we are already half-way to systemic abuse under the new "cult of Transgender." Making schools "safer" doesn't just mean eliminating a certain kind of bullying, if we can; it means open doors for promotion of sexual perversion to young children and susceptible adolescents. Anti-bullying campaigns have been married to "safe sex" campaigns, and safe-sex campaigns into fronts for advertising anything-but-safe-sex. But don't think of advertising that, not before children's bedtime. Why not? Because the same material taught to them in schools, without parental knowledge or consent, is deemed unfit for public consumption by the advertising standands people. And so it is.
Pope Francis warns against an insidious "ideological colonization," particularly among the indigenous peoples of the developing world. Gabriele Kuby, who does not share Judith Butler's view that biological sex is a "normative fancy" imposed by "a regime of heterosexual hegemony," recounts the history of a global revolution that aims at a hegemonic regime of its own.
We’re not far from the day when a child will be taken from a loving home simply because the parents refuse to believe that their little girl is actually a little boy. We’re already living in the days when telling your girl child that she shouldn’t undergo treatments that will render her infertile and painfully mutilated is deemed to be intolerant. – David French, The Tragic Transgender Contagion
Please, leave the kids alone. - Margaret Wente, Why are some gender activists denying science?
Here's how C-16 modifies the current list of prohibited grounds of discrimination: "identifiable group means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability."
We started down this path when we added sexual orientation, giving that term the meaning not merely "same-sex attraction" but behaviour based on that attraction. Nevertheless, it was argued at that point that biology is destiny, and that sexual orientation is somehow akin to race. It isn't, in fact, and we're now admitting that by adding the underlined expression, for which the mantra is "Biology is not destiny."
Bill C-16, like its predecessor C-389 and look-alike bills elsewhere, effectively endorses Andrej (now Andreja) Pejič's thesis that “to be perceived as what you say you are is a basic human right.” In that way it is an anti-body bill, which leaves the Criminal Code and the Human Rights Act internally conflicted; for colour, race, age, sex, etc. are biologically determined, whereas "gender identity or expression" is a repudiation of biology. What we have here is a new Gnosticism. (Is that 'gnosis' tattooed on Reese's belly?) This Gnosticism puts the very idea of rights in doubt, as I have pointed out elsewhere. See, for example, this commentary on Britain's proposed Gender Identity (Protected Characteristic) Bill 2016-2017: uk_gender_identity_bill.pdf
Rather than viewing the [recent legal] innovations as affirmations of gender, then, the perspicacious perspective is to see them as rejections of sex, and therefore the body—and therefore any objective reference point for human identity. By extension, we can say a claimed legal re-invention of human identity will have innumerable implications for the state’s attitude towards human behaviour. The notion of 'gender expression' is already waiting in the wings at the theatre of the absurd. – Daniel Moody, Bodiless: The Sexless Revolution Accelerates
Perhaps the leading opponent in Canada of Gender Mainstreaming is a clinical psychologist and professor (with a McGill PhD) at the University of Toronto, Jordan Peterson. Prof. Peterson, as everyone knows, has spoken out repeatedly and at length. While he has many defenders, he also has some very noisy enemies. Some time ago he was told by university officials that he must not address the subject any more, and that he must conform his classroom language to the gender-identity agenda. He refused, and has continued to expend enormous energy exposing the ideology underlying that agenda. It would have been so much simpler (if cowardly) just to knuckle under and memorize a chart like this:
Figure 4 Pronoun Reference Sheet
She Her Her Hers Herself
He Him His His Himself
They Them Their Theirs Themselves
Ze Zir Zir Zirs Zirself
Xe Xem Xyr Xyrself Xemself
Ze Hir Hir Hirs Hirself
Per Per Per Pers Perself
Actually putting this to use, of course, while trying to make sense of it, would require unlearning the psychology Prof. Peterson has studied and developed, which would have to be replaced by an entirely new and different, far less coherent one. It would also require abandoning the idea that universities exist as homes for vigorous debate about competing psychologies and philosphies, etc., and replacing that with the idea that universities are merely places for disseminating propaganda. Is it not interesting that in an era in which universities are more and more reluctant to invest in teaching real languages to students, they are more and more willing to demand that people master this freely invented stuff?
Here, by the way, is the handy reprogramming tool kit from which the above is drawn. If you want the full monty, or perhaps a game of monte (though there are more than 45), or if you are looking for material for a new Monty Python sketch, try this fuller (highly amusing) list of genders and this equally inventive list of pronouns. Here is a saner linguistic note.
Terminology for the perplexed
Sex: what your body (governed by its chromosomes) is and determines you to be; that is, either male or female.
Gender: traditionally, either (1) your sex or (2) your sex considered in its typical social roles; lately, (3) your chosen gender identity as opposed to your sex – that is, what you decide you are, independently of your body, as if you somehow are not your body or your body is not you.
NB: No definition of gender (meaning 3), can be offered that is not strictly circular and vacuous, with 'gender' referencing 'identity' and vice versa, as, for example, in the OHRC definition: "Gender identity is each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is a person’s sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex." The reason for that is that there really is no such thing as gender (meaning 3).
Gender Dysphoria: a sense of confusion or unease with one’s sex, or feeling oneself to be of the opposite sex.
Cisgender person: someone comfortable with their sex; that is, with their body.
Transgender person: someone not comfortable with their sex and seeking a different identity than the one provided by their body.
Gender expression: the way someone acts in order to establish or display their chosen gender identity.
Gender Mainstreaming: a coordinated strategy to see that gender ideology, whether feminist or trans, is incorporated into law and public policy.
NB: The biological binary, male and female, was de-emphasized in certain spheres of discourse in favour of the cultural binary, heterosexual and homosexual. The latter has lately been partnered by a new ideological binary, cisgender and transgender. The first in each of these binaries is regarded in GM circles as suspect. GM is a program for removing real or perceived domination of males (patriarchalism), heterosexuals (heteronormativity), and people who accept their bodily identity (cisnormativity).
With the above, compare what Senator Grant Mitchell had to say, when introducing C-16 for second reading:
Before explaining the bill, I need to define what is meant by a few key terms. The term "gender identity" refers to an individual's internal and personal experience of gender – their sense of being a man or woman, both, or neither. For most people, the sense of self as being a man or woman aligns with their anatomical and biological characteristics. For others, it does not. These people are referred to as transgender or trans people. "Gender expression" refers to how people publicly present their gender, through behaviour and outward appearance such as clothing, hair, body language and chosen name. "Gender identity" refers to who a person is in their very soul. "Gender expression" refers to how each person publicly presents their gender identity. A transgender person simply knows they are of a gender different from the one assigned to them at birth, the one indicated by the physical and physiological features of their body. They cannot live honestly or comfortably in their birth-assigned gender, where they are literally and profoundly uncomfortable in their own skins. If they can overcome their fear, they transition to their true gender identity. To do otherwise is to live in a continuous, often agonizing, confounding and alienating condition. In some sense, it is to live a lie. No one should ever have to do that.
Note especially the proffered definition of gender identity, which refers to whomever or whatever one "simply knows" oneself to be in one's very soul, considered without immediate reference to one's body. This normalization of gender dysphoria, just like the Gnosticism of old, works out its anti-body logic by spinning salvific myths, as you will discover if you read the rest of the remarks on C-16, attending closely to the story-telling that now substitutes for rational debate in both houses.
Note, too, that the doctrine of gender fluidity entails that no one is purely male or female; rather everyone exists somewhere on the spectrum in between. This makes maleness and femaleness (unrealizable) ideals. Yet it is the very antithesis of the gender fluidity and gender identity doctrines to say that people should aim at approximating one or the other of these ideals. The aim is to move people away from them into a murky (unisex) middle. Which is why story-telling must replace logical reasoning and rational debate.
To state what ought to be apparent to all, the stubborn facticity of sexual difference ensures that transgenderism is fated to forever carry on its back the sapping weight of contradiction. Consider: if John can become legally ‘female’ by filling in a form then the validity of his legal status is derived entirely from that form. But what does this mean for Tom, who only last year had the obviousness of his sex surgically smoothed down in an attempt to make his body fit his mind? Since John has undergone no such procedure is Tom ‘more female’ than John? No! They are legal equals. John can have his cake and eat it. Any surgical interference he might undergo in the future will be deemed elective, as per the Yogyarkarta Principles, the sacred text of the haters of sex. Meanwhile, Tom ceases to be legally female because of surgery and is outed as legally female despite surgery. – Bodiless: The Sexless Revolution Accelerates
Apparently genderbread is being fed to Canada's Armed Forces as the food of champions against heteronormism. Is this to be our New Model Army? It certainly smacks of a new, if inverted, Puritanism.
However you look at it, the genderbread ruse is no mere game. It's a full-scale Kulturkampf, with persons and institutions as its casualties, as I argue in The Politicization of Gender: Disfiguring Western Culture. In the same place I try to show how genderbread is not the right prescription for those who suffer gender dysphoria, and to offer an alternative. – DBF
More Links and Commentary
"Why was the triumph of same-sex marriage followed so rapidly by the opening of a new regulatory and juridical frontier, the recognition of transgender identity?" Harvard's Adrian Vermeule, in review of Legutko's The Demon in Democracy, provides an interesting answer.
Are supporters of C-16 able to give a clear account of "gender identity"? Is anyone able? And what has science to tell us about all this? As of yet, not very much apparently, particularly if we're hoping for something that will pin down "that gender identity that we have between our ears". Download the Mayer-McHugh study from The New Atlantis:
In reviewing the scientific literature, we find that almost nothing is well understood when we seek biological explanations for what causes some individuals to state that their gender does not match their biological sex. The findings that do exist often have sample-selection problems, and they lack longitudinal perspective and explanatory power. Better research is needed, both to identify ways by which we can help to lower the rates of poor mental health outcomes and to make possible more informed discussion about some of the nuances present in this field.
Yet despite the scientific uncertainty, drastic interventions are prescribed and delivered to patients identifying, or identified, as transgender. This is especially troubling when the patients receiving these interventions are children. We read popular reports about plans for medical and surgical interventions for many prepubescent children, some as young as six, and other therapeutic approaches undertaken for children as young as two. We suggest that no one can determine the gender identity of a two-year-old. We have reservations about how well scientists understand what it even means for a child to have a developed sense of his or her gender, but notwithstanding that issue, we are deeply alarmed that these therapies, treatments, and surgeries seem disproportionate to the severity of the distress being experienced by these young people, and are at any rate premature since the majority of children who identify as the gender opposite their biological sex will not continue to do so as adults. Moreover, there is a lack of reliable studies on the long-term effects of these interventions. We strongly urge caution in this regard.
– Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh, Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences, p. 115.
The New Atlantis responds to the lies and bullying of Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest LGBTQ lobbies, which has managed (according to recent reports) to cow Johns Hopkins into reinstating "gender reassignment" surgery, which for decades it has viewed as surgical mutilation.
McGill now asks potential research students throughout the university whether their proposed research takes into account “sex (biological) considerations” and/or “gender (socio-cultural) considerations.” Does this new bureaucratic interest in "gender" reference meaning 3 above, as well as meaning 2? If so, why is McGill now trying to keep stats on something that can't be identified and arguably doesn’t exist? I don't suppose it would have been influenced in the matter by anything merely ideological, would it?
In a bid for more diversity, the London Tube drops even the distinction between men and women, substituting Hello, Everyone for the traditional "Ladies and Gentlemen."
KLM drops the distinction between seat-belts that "click" and seat-belts that don't. There's a rather obvious lesson there, one widely observed with (sober) hilarity.
Advice from the Synod of Bishops of the Major Archbishopric of Kyiv-Halych of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church concerning the Danger of Gender Ideology.
The Church of England, for its part, remains rather in knots. It is looking at "re-christenings." So how will that go? "You, John, were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Will you, Jill, now reaffirm John’s baptismal vows?"
The Beeb, meanwhile, is pimping for polyamory. The strategy here is the old one: get it declared an orientation. Perhaps, if that doesn't work, polyamory (with a little ingenuity) will qualify under gender identity and expression.
From closer to home, an observation by the Not my Rights Movement:
Currently, LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA is believed to be the world’s longest acronym used to describe human sexual orientations and gender identities. Chances are it’s already been surpassed by an even longer acronym with the self-discovery of yet another person, or group of persons, with a unique gender fixation. It’s probably pointless to try to memorize what all the letters stand for, because theoretically there’s no limit to the proliferation of sexual identities. But some of them come with unique pronouns, and you had better learn those. Otherwise you might run afoul of new federal and provincial human rights and hate crimes laws.
Another observation from Daniel Moody, writing in The Federalist, on Why You Shouldn't Use Transgender Pronouns:
There can be no such thing as a non-binary pronoun because there are no non-binary sexes, and there can be no such thing as a neutral pronoun because there are no non-sexed bodies.
So, in answer to our question, we could not refer to John through some set of pronouns other than he/him/his even if we wanted to. Think of it this way: is it possible to permit males to enter the female restroom? No. Why not? Because as soon as we permit males to enter, the restroom ceases to be the female restroom. Sure, it still has the word “Female” on the door, but its function has changed. Likewise, pronouns cease to be pronouns as soon as we de-sex them. Sure, John can help himself to the linguistic husk of female pronouns—she/her/hers—but their previous content will forever be beyond his reach because their previous content was a female-sexed body.
It turns out that gender pronouns are not pronouns at all. They are a new thing trading under an old name.
Some time ago I wrote in The New York Times, as part of a forum on government policy, as follows:
Government should recognize what nature regulates – namely, the two chromosomal sexes that enable reproduction and other features of human complementarity essential to human society. Not to ground positive law in the fundamental fact that the human species is sexually dimorphic is a foolish attempt to legislate reality out of existence.
Government should not recognize, or attempt to regulate, individual or group psychologies. Which means that there should be no category "other" in the matter of sex. Nor should there be publicly approved and funded sex reassignment therapy, since it is not yet sufficiently clear what the relation between biology and psychology is in the matter of sex, and the therapy in question is highly invasive and even destructive.
There are, of course, irregularities in nature, but an irregularity is just that: it doesn't create a different sex. Even complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) doesn't make a man into a woman, though it results in female external genitalia. What some call “true gonadal Intersex” is a much more striking phenomenon, but it is the phenomenon of doubling or overlapping; it does not amount to a third sex. There is no third sex.
The law should be very accommodating of people who suffer from irregularities, and medicine too; likewise any decent human community, which should be both accommodating and compassionate. But for this purpose there is no need, nor indeed is it helpful, to set aside the fact that we are most definitely a dimorphic species, and that our flourishing as a species is dependent on that in all sorts of ways. That would not be to accommodate irregularities but to normalize them, as if nature were not basically regular and as if those suffering irregularities were not in fact suffering. It would be to treat the sufferer in such a way as to mistreat.
It ought to be borne in mind that faith in the regularity of nature is a conditio sine qua non for all scientific enterprise, and for moral reason as well. It should also be noted that most of the pressure on law, as on medicine and on social or political norms, does not come from people with chromosomal or androgen-related difficulties, but from social constructionists who oppose ‘gender’ to sex. The latter propound an ideology inimical to nature in general and to human nature in particular, an ideology which one has every right, and indeed a responsibility, to resist.
Ontario's Bill 28, the All Families are Equal Act, redefining parenthood and the family, begins to fulfill the predictions made on 9 April 2005 at the March for Marriage on Parliament Hill, attended by some 15000 people of diverse religions, regions, and parties, in protest against the impending passage of Federal Bill C-38: "In order to make homosexual unions more nearly equivalent to heterosexual unions, it is necessary either to find a way for the former to produce babies by technological means, or to deprive the latter of any special relationship to their babies. It is necessary, in other words, for the state to take control over human reproduction.”
Taking control is the Yogyakarta way. At the UN the fight for control was fight for control was centred most recently on the appointment of Vitit Muntarbhorn as independent Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) expert and the extent of his mandate (per HRC resolution 32/2) as SOGI czar. Muntarbhorn is inter alia a proponent of children's rights, meaning, some say, the rights of local, national, and international governing agencies to interfere (for SOGI purposes) in the raising of children. Muntarbhorn was co-chair of Yogyakarta, while Michael O'Flaherty was its chief drafter.
As for the Prime Minister, he is pondering, "as part of the great arc of history sweeping towards justice," gender-neutral identity cards. It may be wondered just what he knows of history or of justice, and whether he is prepared to defend publicly this obviously comprehensive worldview (to use the Rawlsian expression) that he thinks should dictate government policy. It may also be asked why citizens should accept this detaching of legal identity from bodily, biological identity. A gender-neutral identity card (whatever one thinks of identity cards as such) is a denial that one's body counts. Or one's child's body. What comes next, once this official Gnosticism has fully taken hold?
Who's too young for what? A simple lesson in our current moral insanity may be had by comparing this video with this. The Prime Minister, however, thinks it's a shame the insanity didn't set in earlier. Guided by EGALE's white paper on the just society, and promising to pay what they say is owed at no small expense to the taxpayer, Mr Trudeau tearfully apologized to the nation for the existence of natural law, which he declares to be "null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time."
Other ages have had their individual traitors – men who from faint-heartedness for hope of gain sold out their causes. But in the 20th century, for the first time, men banded together by millions, in movements like Fascism and Communism, dedicated to the purpose of betraying the institutions they lived under. In the 20th century, treason became a vocation whose modern form was specifically the treason of ideas. – Whittaker Chambers, Witness (50th ann. ed., 524)
Disclaimer: The perspectives that find expression on this site are those of the author in question or the site editor. They are not intended to be representative of McGill University or of any unit within the university.