June 14, 2023
A recent cover of the hyper-woke New Yorker magazine featured a transgender person. The Boston Children’s Hospital defines gender dysphoria as “a conflict between the sex you were assigned at birth and the gender with which you identify.” Its symptoms include a “strong dislike of your sexual anatomy,” and it can lead to “suicide attempts.” If you bar medical interventions to children suffering from this condition, new woke hero Zooey Zephyr castigated the Montana state legislature, “that is tantamount to torture.” It is said to be, at least in part, an organic, biological condition and would seem to belong in the family of mental illnesses. Indeed, “GD has been found to have a higher prevalence in people with psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder.” However, it is simultaneously a woke dogma that gender dysphoria “is not a mental illness” but, on the contrary, “is a matter of diversity, not a pathology.” Diversity is of course a good thing—something to be celebrated. But schizophrenia is not celebrated, so why gender dysphoria? In my book, I’ll Burn That Bridge When I Get to It!, I commented on the woke world’s perverse and perverted fetish of transgender persons:
The woke crowd has found a new mascot: transgender people. During the George Floyd protests, the New York Times emblazoned on its homepage, “Black Trans Women Seek More Space in the Movement They Helped Start.” Angela Davis homes in on “trans prisoners” as the “group that is perhaps more criminalized than any other group.” If one is going to play the “oppression sweepstakes,” it might be supposed that a Black youth locked up for life for a crime he didn’t commit is also a worthy contender. To listen to woke programming, you’d think the two most burning issues confronting Humanity are climate change and transgender bathrooms in North Carolina. During the first days of the catastrophic Ukraine war, fashionably woke news anchor Amy Goodman decided to boldface the plight of “trans Ukrainians unable to leave because their gender identity on their passport did not match their gender identity.” It might be supposed, however, that all manner of people with special hardships and handicaps had trouble fleeing. Albeit not as kinky, flight couldn’t have been a cakewalk for the wheelchair-bound either. Woke presenters positively drool over a guest who is transgender, as if it was the next best thing to being crowned Homecoming Queen. We’re all supposed to celebrate. But celebrate what? Is it a celebratory occasion if one is born with a wrenching mismatch between soma and soul; if one undergoes long, agonizing and costly medical procedures that, in general, are as effective as hair plugs and breast implants in repairing one’s genetic make-up? No doubt, S.P.U. (Surgeons and Pharma United!) is breaking out the bubbly. But why the rest of us? A transgender person deserves maximum compassion, for sure. I refuse, however, to hop on the woke bandwagon. I can already hear the objection: Isn’t celebration an act of compassion? Call me a skeptic. During the German occupation of France, Sartre recalled, Parisians would conspicuously embrace Jews they passed in the street. The Jew, Sartre observed,
knew at once that he had become the object of a demonstration of tolerance, that his interlocutor had chosen him as a pretext for declaring to the world, and to himself: “Look at me, I have liberal ideas.”
The reader, I trust, can connect the dots. The woke crowd latches onto the furthest-most limits to manifest just how cutting-edge, how much better and purer, it is. Gays and lesbians are so passé, so humdrum. At its worst, the woke cult of transgenders is a cross between voyeurism and morbidity, a fascination with the sexually bizarre, a politically correct version of snuff pornography. It’s at the “intersectionality” of the lassitudinous culture of the Hamptons and the depraved sexual ennui of Hollywood. It’s most emphatically not the lived life of 99.999 percent of humanity, including transgender persons, who modestly aspire to the dignity of labor and the joy of love, not to be present at or put on display in a prurient freak show.
What could be more titillatingly transgressive among the super-sated yet stimulus-starved leisure class readers of The New Yorker than genital mutilation?