A Post Woke Approach to Trans Issues
Let’s find a way to move beyond the current stalemate.
Today, I want to talk about what a post-woke approach to trans issues might look like. As I previously described, a post-woke approach is one that acknowledges the errors of woke culture, specifically addresses those errors, but is not based on just being reactionary to the woke position. Rather, a post-woke approach is constructive, and aims to provide a better alternative.
The woke approach to LGBT issues is deeply rooted in postmodern queer theory, and thus inherits the postmodern obsession with language. This obsession has been detrimental to trans people. It has created endless meaningless culture wars that has generated nothing but backlash towards the trans community, and it has served to distract from advancing public understanding of gender dysphoria and trans lives. For example, most trans activists insist on using ‘cis women’, while most anti-woke people insist on using ‘biological women’ to describe the same people, and both groups often turn hostile if they hear the other terminology being used. I personally think this ‘disagreement’ is really petty, because it wouldn’t change a thing about the lives of trans people objectively. Another example is how some activists seem to find fault with a lot of conventional gendered language that has been used for a long time without problems, even among the trans community.
A post-woke approach to trans issues must move away from this obsession with linguistic correctness. I’ve generally used the terms I think would be best received by the people I’m talking to in each instance, but it is tiring to have to think about this all the time. I think we all need to be less sensitive about which particular terms are being used, and focus on the actual things people are saying.
A post-woke approach to trans issues should also uphold the core post-woke values of decency, fairness and genuineness, because, as I said before, these are the values that will heal the wounds brought on by woke culture. Here, both the woke and anti-woke approaches have fallen short.
The woke approach has allowed free speech to be compromised by putting everything in terms of power and oppression, and this is neither fair nor genuine. A post-woke trans discourse should restore the respect for free speech and freedom of conscience, and nobody should be afraid to voice their genuine concerns in good faith. Extreme versions of woke culture has also pit trans people against non-trans people, and this definitely has to end.
On the other hand, the anti-woke discourse has, especially recently, uncritically adopted elements of gender critical ideology that are certainly not decent or fair to trans people. For example, the insistence that only biological sex matters and gender does not is effectively erasure of trans people, or at least trivialization of trans issues, and is not a compassionate stance. Trivialization of gender dysphoria is literally cruel to trans people. The pressure on trans people in anti-woke circles to deny the importance of their own gender identity is also incompatible with encouraging everyone to be genuine. A post-woke approach should not treat trans people like this, given that decency, fairness and genuineness should equally apply to everyone.
A post-woke approach should also bring back the sincere intellectualism that both wokeness and anti-wokeness have destroyed. The culture warrior style approach on both sides to the ‘what is a woman’ question is incompatible with a truly scientific and sincere approach to the matter. A post-woke approach would uphold sincere and open-minded discussion, and allow trans people’s actual experiences with gender dysphoria to be heard and considered fairly. Currently, the woke side represents postmodern queer theory, and the anti-woke side increasingly represents gender criticalism. Both ideologies essentially amount to an erasure of gender dysphoria by people with an unscientific worldview. A post-woke trans discourse would end this injustice.
Finally, a post-woke approach should allow the required space to discuss trans rights reform, so we can come up with constructive solutions that work to improve the lives of trans people, while also satisfying the reasonable concerns of other parties. From time to time, I’ve been asked about what trans rights I want exactly. I can tell you that, in general, my wish is that trans people get an equal opportunity at employment, and have basic needs like housing and health care satisfied on an equal basis as other people. I can also tell you what is not on my trans rights agenda: firstly, I don’t want the language wars to continue. Secondly, I don’t care about things that only affect a very small number of relatively well-off trans people, like elite sports. Finally, I don’t demand or expect every women-only space to open their doors to trans women. I respect that people have freedom of association, and I’m certainly not going to force my way into a club that doesn’t want me there. However, beyond these principles, I can’t tell you exactly what trans rights reforms are needed, because I don’t know exactly what barriers are faced by other trans people in their quest for employment, housing and health care. This is something we need to discuss and work out together. As long as the requests for reform are reasonable, and the concerns of other stakeholders have been adequately dealt with, I hope that the good people out there will be open to necessary reforms to improve the ability of trans people to access employment and the basic needs of life.