When Sons Become Daughters: It’s Time to Admit That Reflexive ‘Affirmation’ Has Been a Mistake

Jun 22, 2021 by

by Angus Fox, Quillette:

“What are your preferred pronouns?” I ask Rene Jax, somewhat in jest. The answer: “Your Imperial Majesty. Look, you call me what you want. I don’t care. My friends say I’m half this and half that.” Rene (a real name, unlike the pseudonyms I’ve generally been using to describe others) is a 60-year-old male-to-female post-operative transsexual who looks both like a woman (hair, clothing, style of glasses) and a man (hands, Adam’s apple, jawline). My question felt farcical to both of us because Rene has written openly about the pathway that led to transition—and then to regret.

I decide on “he,” since the more we talk, the more I become convinced that our points of agreement and dispute are grounded in the common experience of male sexuality. In some ways, it’s a coin toss. But he likes to tease me, and we’re becoming friends, so I think we can both live with the potential impoliteness of male pronouns.

Rene’s prolific output has included not only autobiographical fare, but also polemics on a wide array of subjects. Perhaps his most well-known work is Don’t Get on the Plane, a 2017 book that implores those toying with the idea of sex reassignment to accept the fundamentals of their biology. (The subtitle is “Why a sex change will ruin your life.”)

[…]  In progressive circles—and even among many doctors—it’s become taboo to mention the negative medical consequences of sex reassignment. American detransitioner Sydney Wright puts the situation in stark terms: “I tried my best to find books that discussed the issue critically and offered opposing views, but all I found were pro-transgender authors. That left me with the obvious conclusion: If all the ‘experts’ were in favor of transition, why not do it?” (A detransitioner is someone who reverses his or her former transgender identification or transition.)

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