Trans Loyalty Pledge; TERF Loyalty Pledge
I was just reading about the ongoing war between JK Rowling and Transgender people.
I hate “bothsideism” when it pertains to arguments between the political left and right, because in my opinion it is a dodge of the manifest fact that there is much more that is destructive and hateful on the right side. But I’m guilty of doing a little of the both sides dance myself when it comes to this particular fight. Sorry, but I think I see points of sense on both sides.
In any case, my struggle to achieve an enlightened level of serene wisdom from which I can gaze down at this conflict is not what I wanted to talk about.
I wanted to talk about the rigidity that I’ve seen in the way the two sides approach each other. They both seem to have sort of a ‘statement of loyalty’ or a pledge of allegiance that, if you don’t say it, you are labeled the enemy.
For the Trans-friendly side, the phrase of loyalty that you MUST say or be branded a transphobe is, “Trans Women Are Women”. If you don’t say that in exactly that way, with no hesitancy, word substitutions, or additions, you are the enemy.
For the TERF side, the short pledge of loyalty that must be repeated with hand raised and while peering into a camera which is recording your every word (not really but it IS a serious line in the sand), is “Gender is a Fact”.
I’ve tried to find and read everything that JK Rowlings said that started the fiery conflict. and other statements by people that are much more militant about the “cause” of maintaining gender as an ironclad institution. And I’ve read a lot of statements from prominent people who are considered Pro-Trans community. I’m really trying to be educated about this very current issue that’s affecting a lot of lives and is a political minefield. I was fascinated watching Jon Stewart concisely lay out the case for maintaining gender-affirming care to the Arkansas Attorney General who had killed that program in her state.
I say all that to say that I am aware of how important this issue is, and how resolute and determined each side seems to be.
Which is why it was sort of a revelation to me when I realized that I don’t feel comfortable making either “loyalty pledge”.
I believe that trans women believe themselves to be women, and should be treated as such socially, legally, and however else. But when some people say with conviction that gender is real, I also believe that.
Is there a place in this world for people like me who are trying to live and let live? Or, when it comes to gender identity, do I and everyone else have to choose a camp, say the pledge, and march in step?