GENDER DYSPHORIA

A few years back the feminist philosophy journal Hypatia published a paper by Rebecca Tuvel in which she wondered, if one can be trans-gendered, why not trans-racial? So one has to either deny one can be trans-gendered, or else deny that the two cases are analogous. Why? Because if I can be trans-racial, why can’t I be trans-abled? “I’d like to take out the garbage, Sweetheart, but I self-identify as quadriplegic.”

What this shows is not that I couldn’t genuinely self-identify as a woman, or as black, or as disabled, but that that self-identification can’t require that others treat me as such. And not only because we’re worried about dirty old men dissimulating as trans-women in order to gain access to the women’s shower room, or dissimulating as black in order to qualify for affirmative action hiring, or dissimulating as disabled in order to get out of one’s fair share of the household chores. Rather it’s because women need a refuge from the male gaze when doing their ablutions. It’s because self-identification would render affirmative action programs impossible. It’s because the garbage has to be taken out every Thursday morning.

So whether you’re feeling disabled or not, “Get off your ass and take the garbage out!” Whether you’re feeling black or not, “No, these programs are for people who really are black!” And whether you’re feeling like a woman or not, “Get the fuck out of our shower room!”

Are social justice warriors (SJWs) right that these various trans-phobias do violence to people genuinely suffering from these dysphorias? I have no doubt. Do I think they’re right that we should honor the demands of these various trans communities? I do. But only if the SJW will turn up every Thursday morning to take out my garbage.

2 thoughts on “GENDER DYSPHORIA

  1. Self-identification of gender preference is now the law in Canada at both the federal and provincial level. So now self identification does require institutions and places of business to treat others as whatever they choose to identify as.

    About six months ago I attended a seminar at the University of Toronto. Outside the women’s washroom there was a sign saying that although this is a women’s washroom if you identify as a woman you can use that washroom. This is in order to comply with the applicable law.

    The problem with such human rights laws is analogous to the problem when governments print too much money. It creates inflation. We also have rights inflation when governments create more rights than people can exercise without infringing upon the rights of others. Creating too many rights results in conflict between people legally entitled to exercise those rights.

    Whenever a government is granting new individual rights through statutes it should not simply add rights to existing rights.It should also consider the impacts of the new rights on the existing rights and avoid legislating conflict.

    Until they do this with gender there will be conflicts, which the courts and human rights tribunals will have to decide with Solomonic wisdom. As they haven’t acquired Solomonic wisdom yet, they keep giving the baby to whoever shouts the loudest. I suppose that’s better than cutting the baby in half.

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    • I’m a mere philosopher of law, whereas Andrew Roman is an actual lawyer, so I’m sure my command of the law pales in comparison to his. Still, he seems to be suggesting that if someone were convicted of rape, he could nonetheless insist on being sent to a penitentiary for women. I realize that the law is sometimes an ass, but I’d be very surprised if it were THAT much of an ass. So perhaps I misread what Andrew was saying. There’s a difference between self-identifying as a woman, in which case Canadian law many require that he/she be treated as such, and CLAIMING to self-identify as a woman. Is Andrew telling us that the law accepts the latter as sufficient for the former? Can you clarify this for us, Andrew? – Paul

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