Trans Realist
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Trans Realist

The Lessons of What Is A Woman from a Trans Perspective

The backlash is not inevitable. We need to turn the ship around.

Image from Pexels

Welcome back to Trans Realist, a project where I have a conversation with my fellow trans people, about what could be done to make our lives better in the real world.

Ever since the release of Matt Walsh’s film ‘What Is A Woman’ a few months ago, there has been a lot of discussion about trans issues from the perspective of what is shown in the film, and it has not been good for public understanding and acceptance of trans people. The film takes a ‘just asking questions’ approach, and highlights the most controversial and weakest arguments for trans rights, so as to portray trans people and trans rights in a very bad light. As I previously said, the film itself is not very scientific, and it does not feature in-depth analyses in biology, evolutionary science, or clinical medicine. However, given how weak the so-called pro-trans arguments presented were, Walsh’s side seems to win by default, on the basis of common sense. The fact they mock our side for not being able to answer ‘what is a woman’ isn’t because they have the most scientifically sound answer. Rather, it is because they can demonstrate that some of the answers given by people on our side fly in the face of common sense, and have no basis in any kind of scientific method either. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.

Even before ‘What Is A Woman’, the polls were already showing a substantial backslide in support for trans people in both the US and the UK, and the trend does not look like stopping or reversing any time soon. The effect of a film like ‘What Is A Woman’ then, would be to further accelerate and solidify the backlash. If things really get to the point of no return, trans people will needlessly suffer for a generation or more. Therefore, we need to try and turn things around, and do so quickly. There is no time to waste.

Some trans activists have argued that the current backlash is inevitable, and eventually their actions will lead to some kind of ‘liberation’ for all of us. However, nothing is inevitable, nor is there evidence that the current pain will lead to any kind of future utopia. This is basically accelerationist philosophy, which has no factual support in history, and is also inherently against justice and decency. Instead of entertaining unproven fantasies about the future, as trans people living in the here and now, our priority should be to improve trans lives, or at least prevent things from getting worse, in the here and now. To do this, we need to have effective arguments against the onslaught of anti-trans propaganda coming from gender critical activists and right-wing culture warriors alike. There is no substitute for having convincing arguments that are rooted in objective, observable reality.

To develop effective arguments against anti-trans propaganda, and arguments for trans rights reforms that can potentially gain widespread support, we need to be able to think and talk freely. The trans community has effectively been put in an ideological straitjacket by ardent activists, who attempt to silence or ‘cancel’ every idea that contradicts their supposed philosophy of liberation, which is rooted in postmodern queer theory. The attempted cancellation of several high profile trans people over the years, and their ultimate bowing to the activists’ position in some cases, has served to solidify the control of postmodern queer theory over the trans community. Many people might privately disagree with the queer theory program, but they dare not speak up against it in public. As I had explained in the past, the problem with postmodern queer theory is that it is completely detached, and to some extent even in denial of, empirical scientific reality. The Foucauldian view that knowledge is always historically contingent and shaped by power, which lies at the root of queer theory, is basically incompatible with a commitment to objectivity. This is why arguments from an objective, empirical, or biological viewpoint have often been met with hostility from the queer theory activists, and hence made semi-taboo in the trans community. This has ultimately led to the proliferation of non-sensical ‘arguments’ in the pro-trans discourse, like the ones shown in ‘What Is A Woman’, as well as a profound inability to answer our critics with facts and sound logic.

This is why I have been publicly challenging queer theory, and the set of ideas it is based on, including postmodernism, Marcuse’s pseudo-Freudian ideas, and critical theory more generally. Over the years, I have even extended this project to include related ideas that are not LGBT-specific, like critical race theory, so as to highlight the common faults within these ideologies. However, my arguments have sometimes been quite academic, and some people have pointed out that this is of limited effectiveness in the real world. This is why I have increasingly engaged with real world events in recent months. I have long argued against cancel culture, especially in the trans community, and I will continue to do so. I have also begun regularly responding to anti-trans arguments using facts and logic. Contrary to popular belief among the activists, it is almost always useful to engage your opponents. More debate leads us closer to the objective truth, and should be welcomed.

TaraElla is a singer-songwriter and author, who recently published her autobiography The TaraElla Story, in which she described the events that inspired her writing.

She is also the author of The Trans Case Against Queer Theory.



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Author & musician. Moral Libertarian. Disrupting the woke vs anti-woke echo chambers and making the West truly liberal again.