The Corrosive Impact of Transgender Ideology

Jul 6, 2020 by

by Joanna Williams, Civitas:

In less than two decades ‘transgender’ has gone from a term representing individuals and little used outside of specialist communities, to signifying a powerful political ideology driving significant social change. At the level of the individual, this shift has occurred through the separation of gender from sex, before bringing biology back in via a brain-based sense of ‘gender-identity’. This return to biology allows for the formation of a distinct identity group, one that can stake a claim to being persecuted, and depends upon continual validation and confirmation from an external audience. All critical discussion is a threat to this public validation and it is often effectively curtailed.

However, this is only half of the story. The total number of transgender individuals remains tiny. That transgenderism has moved from niche to mainstream tells us more about the rest of society than it does about transgender individuals. People in positions of power within the realms of media, education, academia, police, social work, medicine, law, and local and national government have been prepared to coalesce behind the demands of a tiny transgender community. Previously authoritative institutions now lack confidence in their own ability to lead and look to the transgender community as a victimised group that can act as a source of moral authority. However, this, in turn, erodes sex-based rights and undermines child protection.

The expansion of transgender rights has gone hand in hand with an expansion of state and institutional (both public and private) regulation of speech and behaviour. This highlights a significant difference between today’s transgender activists and the gay rights movement of a previous era. Whereas the gay rights movement was about demanding more freedom from the state for people to determine their sex lives unconstrained by the law, the transgender movement demands the opposite: it calls for recognition and protection from the state in the form of intervention to regulate the behaviour of those outside of the identity group. Whereas in the past, to be radical was to demand greater freedom from the state and institutional authority, today to be radical is to demand restrictions on free expression in the name of preventing offence.

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