The LGBT community, of which I am a grumpy part, has recently mounted a concerted assault on the concept of gender. Since I have all that is required to form an opinion on the subject, I have, and here I am, sharing it with the world.
Firstly, I am a practical-anarchist-liberal, which means that I enjoy living in a liberal society, I enjoy tolerance, I prefer pluralism (as long as it is rational), but I understand the social powers that sometimes make them unattainable. Sometimes, that is to say – usually.
I also understand human psychology. How it is hard for us to accept someone different in our midst since different means ‘enemy’ – evolutionarily speaking. The pressure of modern living makes us seek an escape in simple thinking, so we abandon pluralism and tolerance in favor of tribalism.
I understand that. Just like I understand that liberalism, like any other ideology, is bound to undergo the same radicalization as any other ideology when forced into a corner. The more existential pressure we experience, the more we need those stories, those memes, that tell us pleasant lies about ourselves and about the world.
So, concerning genders: evolution has ‘created’ 2 sexes, male and female, to enable a certain type of genetic manipulation – not to facilitate evolutionary change per se, but to keep shuffling the coding for certain proteins that play an essential role in protecting us from parasites (microbes and such). If you want a more educated explanation of this mechanism you might wanna read The Red Queen by Matt Ridley (explaining the Red Queen Hypothesis).
Cultural behaviors – genders – evolved on top of this biological infrastructure. Men and women are biologically different. This does not mean they are not equal as human beings, morally speaking, or that one sex is better than the other. It just means that men are better at some tasks, and women – at others. Men are better suited to be warriors, women – to nurture, to be mothers.
And those are just the highlights, of course. And, of course, this does not mean that the members of one sex group should be prevented from attempting to perform tasks that are considered to be the expertise of the other group. But this is my liberal thinking. Evolution – social evolution, in this case – might prefer to do things differently, and the practical part of my philosophy must accept this fact. It would be nicer for us, as individuals, if things could have been done differently, if we could create a society where no one would be enslaved or abused. But we must understand why our ancestors failed at this instead of just blaming them for it, just like we must understand how and why it’s happening again, why our liberal world may have been no more than a passing illusion, in history.
Anyways, this is not the subject of this post. I merely wanted to say that, while I respect the rights of all people to live according to their beliefs and their sexual preferences, I refuse to introduce scores of new words into my language (and build many new bathrooms in all public places) to accommodate their need to feel good about themselves.
Many members of the LGBT community – just like all human beings have done throughout history – cannot accept the idea that their life is not governed by ultimate, universal truths. They can’t say to themselves “I am different, and that’s OK”, not anymore. They must change the definition of reality so that it includes them in what is defined as ‘normal’. If they can’t fit into the existing genders they must redefine genders, tell us they have no biological meaning, that they are only a result of how a person feels about themselves, or something along these lines….
In the same manner, most average straight people – ‘cisgenders‘ – cannot accept the idea that any other sexual preferences than theirs are valid sexual choices and that people having those preferences are not the enemy. The same psychology is involved here. Must be a universal principle….
But, I’ve lived long enough to know better than to argue against people’s beliefs. If it makes them feel better, why shouldn’t they keep doing it? Do we have a better alternative to offer them? Do we even fully understand the mechanism we intend to be screwing with? I don’t think I do.
But I refuse to make my life more complicated to satisfy the psychological (and religious/ideological) needs of any group – and I do view this issue of multiple genders as a religious/ideological issue. If they constitute 3 percent of the population, I am willing to adjust, say, 3% of the relevant vocabulary, to their needs, and install a third bathroom in every public building, for members of all the genders that don’t feel comfortable using any of the other 2. And I will be tolerant of any behavior that causes no harm to others. But that’s it.
The second that a group of people holding any belief system – and this is directed most obviously at religious groups, but not only at them – begins to force me to change my ways in order to accommodate their religious needs, then we have a problem.
(To be honest, though I’ve been directing my fire at the LGBT community, in this post, there are other groups that deserve much more of the same)