The shortsightedness of critics calling people who want honesty in relationships ‘transphobic’ is staggering. Let’s follow the trail to the logical conclusion.
In a piece for The Odyssey, Tiffany Berruit writes that transgendered individuals do not have to tell their potential partners they’re transgendered, and expecting them to do so is “transphobic.” Berruit begins by talking about 26-year-old Jennifer Laude, who was murdered by Joseph Scott Pemberton after Pemberton learned Laude was actually male. Bruitt says:
As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is “lying” if they don’t come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was “raped” because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as “allies” tend to feel similar.
Their argument is that they aren’t not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren’t attracted to.
The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn’t be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren’t attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren’t attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.
Let’s break down this argument. Berruit puts “lying” in scare quotes, as if concealing one’s identity from a potential sexual partner isn’t, in fact, lying. It is. And by the left’s own standard, such lying – even about more trivial matters like one’s job – may constitute sexual assault or rape. In an article in Vice, Joyce Short met who she thought was the perfect man: single, Jewish, and with a degree from NYU. Except none of that was true and Short began to push the notion of “rape by fraud” claiming that “All lies that undermine a person’s self-determination regarding their reproductive organs are a form of assault. In October of 2016, a Kansas City man was arrested for rape after telling dozens of women they would star in pornographic films and those women agreed to have sex with him. Prosecutors said the man was a serial rapist. If Short is the victim of rape for being deceived, isn’t Pemberton as well?
The left’s definition of rape has broadened over the past several years to include practically any unwanted advance or gesture – to the point where “stare rape” is a thing. Goshen College classified “verbal harassment, whistles, kissing noises, heavy breathing, sly comments or stares” as “assaults on any woman’s sense of well-being” in a web page titled “What men can do to stop rape.” And the push for “affirmative consent” on campus has grown too (with disastrous results); this requires an active an enthusiastic “yes” to every step of a sexual encounter or else the interaction is rape. How does concealing one’s transgender identity comport with any of that? It doesn’t.
Being trans isn’t a “mere physical quality” as Berruit argues. She’s ignoring the very real fact that attraction goes beyond physicality – there are mental and emotional connections that drive a relationship and are often equally or more important than the sexual component, especially in long-term relationships. Berruit sees no problem in the basis of a sexual relationship being rooted in deception; she also argues that the only basis for a rejection of such a relationship is purely physical, and not because of distrust or a sense of betrayal on the part of the person who was lied to by a transgendered potential partner.
The issue is not that people are disgusted with transgendered persons; it’s that – on an innate level – a non-surgically-altered transgendered person is still biologically female or male, even if outwardly they’ve adopted a different gender identity. It only makes sense then that a heterosexual male would not, in fact, want to be in a sexual relationship with a biological male who identifies as female, any more so than a heterosexual woman would want to be in a relationship with a biological female who identifies as male. The left argued for years that sexual orientation, including homosexuality, was innate and unchangeable; now they’re demanding both hetero- and homosexual individuals enter relationships with transgendered individuals despite this innate sexual orientation. They are, essentially, demanding gay men become straight or risk being labeled “transphobic.”
The left has failed to make what they consider sufficient inroads on trans acceptance. Despite a warm reception for Caitlyn Jenner, the success of shows like “Transparent,” and more open discussion about transgendered individuals, the fact remains that most people – gay or straight – are not innately attracted to someone who is still, deep down, biologically male or female. So rather than rely on science (they can’t) or persuasion (it’s not working), the left is resorting to shaming and bullying to force acceptance of their preferred social cause into the most intimate facet of our lives: who we do and don’t sleep with.
Biological gender is not a social construct, as Berruit claims. The “gender binary” is not some made up concept meant to keep men and women in their places – genetic differences between the genders exist and cannot be erased simply because we wish. In fact, the push to reassign genders to men and women who feel they were born in the wrong body is far more binary than the supposed “basis of European society” – the trans movement, and Berruit herself, is essentially arguing that trans individuals undergo the medical procedures necessary to physically match their gender identity and then…enter ersatz male-female relationships that make up the supposed “gender binary” social construct they so adamantly oppose.
The push now to make not entering a relationship with a transgender individual “transphobic” will also do significant damage to the larger gay rights movement, simply because people do not like to be bullied and told what to do. There is a wide latitude for tolerance in our society; most people don’t care whether you’re gay, straight, bi, or trans up until the moment those things interfere with their daily lives. When Target announced it would allow customers to use the bathroom of their chosen identity, over the questions and concerns of other customers, they saw a massive pushback that tanked Target stock and damaged the brand. It can only get worse when the left is now publicly shaming people for who they do (and don’t) want to sleep with.
Featured image: By James Cridland (CC)