How to Build the Post Woke Trans Movement
It could be up to trans people to break the stalemate
Previously, I suggested a possible post-woke model of trans discourse, which will hopefully lead to a more productive discussion and a pathway forward for trans rights reforms.
Such a discourse will put the focus back on gender dysphoria and the everyday needs of trans people like employment, housing and health care, and move away from the language and philosophy wars.
Today, I want to talk about how we might build such a movement. I actually think that trans people are in the best position to help bring this about. Let me explain.
Trans issues have gone truly mainstream, whether we like it or not. 2022 is the year in which trans issues have truly become a routine part of national level politics, as seen in the US Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the Australian federal election, and the British Conservative Party leadership election.
Unfortunately, in each of these cases, it is trans skeptical forces which have brought the issue up, and there is no reason to expect anything different anytime soon.
In the face of this, trans allies, many of whom don’t exactly understand the nuances of trans issues either, have often reflexively taken up the talking points of the loudest activists to argue back. What they don’t understand is that these activists don’t always represent the reality or the interests of many trans people. In some cases, these talking points have actually been unhelpful for us, and have given gender critical activists further ammunition to use against us.
Lost in all of this is an actual understanding of trans people’s lives and needs.
Without an intervention from people who actually understand what it is like to be trans, I can’t see the current stalemate ending. As trans people, we have a full understanding of what it is like to live with gender dysphoria, and what it is like to live in this world as a trans person. Therefore, we are well positioned to bring this conversation back to reality. Of course, it won’t be entirely easy, because the loudest voices on both sides are backed by a level of money and organization that the trans community simply can’t match. However, many people are actually very interested in what trans people have to say, so we at least have an avenue to make ourselves heard.
The next problem then would be how many people we can reach. Again, we are at a heavy disadvantage here, given that the culture warriors have bigger platforms than us. However, things often start small and snowball to get bigger over time.
The important thing would be to first get the message out, and get the discussion started. Every single bit helps. For example, when we see the language wars heating up again, we can gently remind people that these things don’t really help trans lives, and suggest re-orientation towards priorities like employment and health care. When we see heated philosophical discussions that treat trans issues as abstract hypotheticals, we can try to bring the practical reality of gender dysphoria back into the picture. Replying to what other people out there are saying can also be a useful way to insert our voices into the conversation, and to challenge existing misconceptions on both sides. Bit by bit, we can change the conversation.