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 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 out the garbage!” 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.