If you want to know what I think, it is that he is a man, and no matter what he does to himself, or pays people to do to him, he is a man.
The emperor, in short, was born with male genitalia. He still has it, too, apparently. (It's tucked away for the "iconic photo" in drag-queen fashion.) Why? Could it be that he wants the option of changing his mind? And when that happens, will everyone suddenly start calling him "he" again? I am suspect, however, that the collective disappointment over the disappearance of his imaginary friend may be too much for him to make the "brave decision" to do that.
Naturally it is all very sad, but sadder still is the collected will of the thousands to force thousands upon thousands of other people to bow to a lie. Truth is what is, not what a person--or the mob--wants it to be. It is determined by the INTELLECT, not the will.
There are, of course, people born with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. These are males who are born with what look like female bodies. To be very brief, I have a friend with AIS, and she had no idea until she was in her twenties. She was raised as a girl, and when she went in at 16 to have certain inner parts removed, she was told she was having a hysterectomy. She was told the pills she had to take were to prevent menopause. A change of doctors led to revelations as to what was in her medical file, and suddenly things that had been unclear became clear. She also began to keep an eye out for other women who might be, like her, an AIS male.
So, although I am a firm believer that there are men and women, and men are the people who have a Y chromosome, I also recognize that NATURE (under God) through AIS sometimes chooses to give male babies female-looking bodies and, these bodies being indistinguishable from female bodies without an internal examination, everyone treats these male babies like girls. They are socialized as girls. They might as well be girls, albeit girls who can't (usually, anyway) have babies when they grow up. I continue to think of my friend as a woman--a woman who is also an AIS male.
Well, if you can't get your mind around it, imagine her when she found out.
"Do you think of yourself as male or female?" I asked her one day, many years after the revelation.
"I think of myself as me," she said.
That struck me as a brilliant answer. At any rate, the fact that she has AIS is not something she shares with many people these days. It's just one of those things. She never changed her name, or her body, or her mode of life, or anything much at all. She certainly didn't go to the newspapers about it! After a brief flurry of interest in her condition, she continued to live the life nature chose for her.
I don't really think we can say the same for the hero of the hour. But I am not particularly cross with him. Celebrity can do bizarre things to people, and he has been a celebrity since he won the Men's Decathlon in 1976. No, my anger is reserved for those who are brainwashing the simple and lambasting the strong into saying that a man--a man whose physical feats and siring of children could be done only by a man-- a strong and healthy man--is now a woman because he and--above all--they say so.
Did you read Simcha Fischer's post on the subject? (I think she posted it yesterday?) I'd be curious to know what you think of it.
I do really appreciate the fact that it's always a good thing to remind ourselves that we are dealing with human beings, who are not our mental patients, or whatever, and we ought to be kind and charitable.
But I was bothered by the idea that it was okay, and maybe even laudable, to call people by pronouns of the opposite gender if that's what they prefer.
Names I don't have a problem with. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with giving a boy a name that's usually used for a girl, and vice versa, so I'm happy to call people whatever name they wish to be addressed by. (Although in this particular case, I like the idea of referring to him by last name instead. :)
But pronouns? Especially considering the fact that you don't use gendered pronouns to refer to someone while you are talking to them (Who says 'Hey, he!' instead of 'Hey, you!'? At least in English?) I just don't see how it is either productive, charitable or even morally acceptable to lie and call someone a she when he is really a man.
To be fair to Simcha, she did say that she understand people who just can't bring themselves to call him 'her' (Although that still seems to insinuate that the better thing would be to call the person by the other gender, so it still kind of bugged me!), but to me it seems so much more important than that. Publically accepting the use of 'she' to refer to 'trans-gendered men' (and vice versa) seems like it would make it ridiculously difficult to then argue that you don't actually think that he is a woman, and trying to change your gender is wrong, etc.
Words are important.
Or am I missing something?Delete
I think we are getting to the point where we have to be brave, just tell the truth, and don't back down. If someone asks me to leave a party because I refer to a man who wants to be thought of as a woman as "he", then I will gladly leave the party.Delete
I am a "free Narnian" and, not to put to fine a point on it, my experience of being a woman..... Actually, I am not even going there. I find men claiming to be women--unless they have AIS and basically grew up as women, treated as women by everyone, and living through 90% of women's unique experiences--deeply offensive.
Love the Narnian reference! :) That was one of my favorite in the series.Delete
And thanks!!! I wish more people understood that it is perfectly possible to speak the truth charitably.
I agree, booklover. I know nothing of psychological counseling, but I can imagine that it could possibly be necessary to humor a mentally ill person a little bit initially, in order to be able to help them--maybe? But to talk about that person to other normal, rational human beings using the language the mentally ill person chooses AS IF IT WERE TRUE strikes me as just ridiculous. Not to say dangerous. After all, we must preserve our own sanity!ReplyDelete
Yes, we must. Ever wonder why so many bedrock basics of human understanding are now in question? What parenthood is. Whether a father is necessary for his child's well-being. Whether a mother is necessary for her child's well-being. What marriage is. What a woman is. Whether a child can be the product of more than two parents. Etc. Etc. Etc.ReplyDelete
Seraphic, possibly silly question, but I am one of those generally uneducated about the faith but well meaning and (I think) pretty devout Catholics... where would you recommend I start reading to build my faith and fortify myself? I find that know in my heart so much of what's going on in society and the media today is wrong, but I cannot necessarily explain why in a coherent way and I want to be able to defend my faith beliefs. Okay, so I do know I should probably start with the Catechism. But are there particular books, or texts that you would point me towards?ReplyDelete
(Perhaps my question doesn't sound especially related to this post, but it is, and one I've been meaning to ask you for a while, especially with trying to grasp how to respond to all of the SSA stuff out there since Ireland and whatnot. I thought your take on this particular issue of Truth was very balanced and I agree that celebrity has coloured everything too much. Like the other commenters, I find myself troubled by the difference between delusional thinking or cognitive distortions and their associated emotional distress as we might see in a mental illness and... this. Where do we draw the line?
Thank you! (As always. Your blog has been such a source of comfort and education for me, especially over the last half-year.)
Don't have time to read the comments yet, but I will later. Looks interesting.ReplyDelete
All I'll say is that we are now in a world where we are forced to believe that someone with XY chromosomes could possibly ever be a woman, and also that people's pets are their 'children'. No joke. People literally refer to their dogs as 'my little boy' or 'my daughter'. They call themselves, with no trace of irony, the 'parents' of their pets.
AIS sounds terrifying and interesting. I guess rare too. And how dare they not tell your friend what they were doing during the operations.
Julia, she has wondered about that too. My guess is that they thought she would be psychologically damaged if she knew the truth. If so, it didn't occur to them how damaging it is to believe you have had a hysterectomy at 16 and now can never have babies! But I have to admit that my friend DID take the news well at the age in which she heard it. Still, no excuse for lying, and doctors have used AIS kids shamelessly in the past in their research papers. I read about one AIS woman who found herself in a textbook.ReplyDelete
This side of the Atlantic these delusions are in the paper/magazines weekly with Frank Maloney the boxing promoter. I thought it would be abortion, gay "marriage", euthanasia, polygamy, paedophilia. I forgot about the transsexuals or at least, didn't think anyone would take it seriously. I think most people are laughing but there's a point when it will not be pc to laugh or roll your eyes. Or pray for them , yes I know I should say a prayer for them. My concern is that if we take something as ludicrous as Jenner/Maloney seriously how soon are we going to have to fight to maintain the age of consent. This is happening one after the other TOO QUICKLY.ReplyDelete
I've been waiting for feminists to get upset. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/sunday/what-makes-a-woman.html?_r=0&referrer=ReplyDelete
Some points of vulnerability coincide with yours, amidst the insanity of the "obvious" good of abortion and contraception.
On another note, I'm interested to hear more about the vulnerability of women. I generally don't think of myself that way, either- perhaps because in high school I was stronger than my brother. But it is true that I am more physically vulnerable.
Generally I think the thing that makes us unique as women is that the ability to bear new life is at our literal core (and, for many many years, our temporal experience). This is central to our experience even if this is never realized (even the radical feminist above seems to agree, though she wants to eradicate it, while I think much of our strength lies in this capacity).
(Wish I could edit this now but I'm on my phone as we don't have real Internet so its rather difficult)