Trans People Are Not An Ideology!
We need to talk about the dangerous trend of lumping trans people in with ‘wokeness’.
Today, I want to talk about a worrying trend: some people are increasingly using trans people and trans issues to signal a rejection of the ‘woke’ or the postmodern agenda. And it often takes the form of a general rejection of the ‘trans phenomenon’ or the ‘trans ideology’, as if the existence or validity of trans people are inherently tied to excessive ‘wokeness’ or postmodern theory.
Let me say this: trans people have always existed in this world. We are simply a natural occurrence, we don’t need justification from any academic theory. Indeed, many trans people like myself believe that the academic theories around gender are a distraction at best, and are harmful to proper understanding of trans people at worst. Needless to say, we are not fans of the academic theory at all. Which makes it all the more painful for us to hear descriptions of the ‘trans phenomenon’ or the ‘trans ideology’ lumped in, almost reflexively, with things like critical race theory, postmodernism, the ‘oppression olympics’, and so on, a practice that is increasingly common especially among conservative commentators.
I understand that there is a lot of frustration with postmodernism and critical theory driven cultural activism out there. However, please don’t take it out on trans people. Please understand that many of us are also very frustrated about the cultural discourse around gender. Contrary to popular belief, not all of us agree with every radical idea around gendered language and norms out there, and we certainly don’t have a collective agenda of imposing such ideas on the rest of society. The truth is, we are sick and tired of being used as a political football by people on all sides. All we want is to live our lives in peace. All we want from society is an understanding that we are human too. Like many other people, we have our own issues, and we transition and live the way we do because it is required for us to find peace in our everyday lives.
Being trans is not inherently a political thing, and painting it as so is very unfair.
Some people say that they are able to separate what they call the ‘trans ideology’ (which is really gender theories invented by postmodern academics) from trans people. However, the problem with calling it the ‘trans ideology’ is that it creates the widespread impression that trans people are transitioning for ideological purposes. This idea has led some people to believe that they must ‘stop’ the so-called ‘trans phenomenon’, by opposing trans rights, and slowing down trans acceptance as much as possible. This means we don’t even get a fair hearing from society. People are essentially conditioned to be biased against what we have to say even before they hear it.
I guess the best policy is, if you have an issue with something, just say what it is, directly and unambiguously. I understand that postmodernism often has controversial things to say about trans people, but that is not what trans people are, and not what trans lives are about. If you have a problem with postmodernism, just say so. If you have a problem with certain ‘new norms’ around gender proposed by activists, just say what you’re concerned about. Perhaps you’ll be surprised at the number of trans people whom you’ll find common ground with.
And whenever you hear someone referring vaguely to something called the ‘trans phenomenon’ or the ‘trans ideology’, the best thing to do is to ask for a clarification. Because trans people are not a political phenomenon, and we are certainly not an ideology.