Ruminations on transgenderism

Just some random reflections on this topic, arising out of a comment I posted on another blog.

The very notion of “gender” is meaningless without the concepts of male and female. Aside from that, what could gender possibly mean?

So-called “third genders” are either a supposed neutral ground between male and female, or a boy raised as a girl or vice versa. But the notion of raising a boy as a girl depends on there being an external concept of femaleness to conform to, either innate femaleness or socially constructed femaleness.

If one who is biologically male identifies as a female, which femaleness is he identifying with? Innate, objectively existing femaleness, or socially constructed femaleness? If the former, where does it objectively exist? If only in his mind then it’s subjective, not objective, by definition. If not only in his mind, and not in his body either, but existing objectively nonetheless, then where is it?

If the femaleness that he is identifying with is socially constructed femaleness, then it can’t be something he was born with but must be learned as he grows up. In which case it’s hard to understand in what sense femaleness constitutes his true, objective identity as opposed to something he chooses to identify with.

Possibly what they’re saying is that something within the person makes the socially constructed femaleness he observes more congenial to him than socially constructed maleness, and maybe whatever quality within him causes that congeniality comprises the objective thing within him which we call identification with that gender. Possibly so. But it doesn’t follow from the fact that a man has something in him which causes him to identify with socially constructed femaleness, that this person is “really a female”. In order to draw that conclusion, you would have to assume that socially constructed femaleness is objective femaleness; but that’s a contradiction. If it’s objective then it’s not socially constructed.

If gender is socially constructed and not objective, then we have no basis for saying that the socially constructed femaleness of our time and place, to which the transgendered man feels drawn, is true, objective femaleness. It could be (according to the theory that gender is a social construction) that the socially constructed femaleness of our time and place, if transposed to some other time and place, would be considered maleness.

If a man finds the socially constructed femaleness of our time and place to be more congenial, to match up more closely with what he feels himself to be interiorly, that simply means that he has qualities within himself that the society of our time and place considers effeminate. It doesn’t follow from this fact that he is objectively a female.

3 thoughts on “Ruminations on transgenderism

  1. I don’t think your argument works, because it seems to suggest that there is only objective truth in physical realities. The notion of an essentially, objectively, verifiably masculine/feminine soul seems coherent to me. I believe there is a metaphysical femininity and masculinity, that truly exist, beyond social construct and subjectivity. In which case, the idea of a “man in a woman’s body”, or “woman in a man’s body” makes sense. The issue, I think, is if you accept that the soul is the “form of the body”, so that a male soul in a woman is as impossible as a cat’s soul in a rabbit.

    God bless!


  2. Thanks for commenting, it’s the main reason I do this.

    I am not saying that “there is only objective truth in physical realities”. (After all, God is Truth and is also non-physical.) Only that if a female “identity” exists in a man objectively, yet not in the body, then I’d like to know where it is, and how we know it really exists, before forcing our entire society to bend over backwards to accommodate the claims (seemingly outlandish on their face) of a very small percentage of the population, that their physical sex does not reflect their “real gender”.

    Granting your premises for the sake of argument, nevertheless secular transgender advocates are not arguing for special rights on the basis of the existence of mismatched, “metaphysical” souls. They’re claiming (as far as I can tell) that gender exists objectively within each person, but apart from physical makeup. They’re claiming this to be a “scientific fact”; and if it’s a scientific fact, then it can’t be dependent on proving the existence of objectively male and female souls, since such a thing could never be demonstrated by science, even in principle.

    If it’s a fact and if it’s (at least in principle) demonstrable by science, then I want to know specifically where the feminine identity claimed by a man is supposed to reside. If it’s only in his mind, then by definition I call it a subjectively existing thing and not an objective one. It’s an internal impression of his mind, not an external reality which can validly claim to command assent from others.

    Consider that Christians believe in God, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and consider them to be not merely real, but more real than any of us, since they’re the cause and source of all reality. Since we’re utterly convinced of this, even to the point of being willing to die rather than deny it, does it follow that the rest of society must accommodate itself to our wholehearted convictions? Christians are a much larger proportion of the population than transgendered individuals. If our utter conviction of the truth of the faith doesn’t merit the rest of society submitting to our demand that, e.g., adultery, fornication and sodomy be illegal, then why does the conviction of someone who is, to all appearances, a man, that he’s objectively a woman, demand my submission? Why must I believe him?

    The secularists demanded that the aforementioned prohibitions be lifted on the grounds that people are free to believe in Christianity, and its moral demands, or not. Yet are we not free to believe in transgenderism, and its moral and legal demands, or not?

    Liked by 2 people

    • There is, I’ve been told, an argument that transgender people actually have a brain that is neurologically of the other gender. This is the only scientific justification I can imagine.

      Ultimately, the ideology being pushed is based on the individual, and the idea that the individual is inviolable. So how I identify myself is up to me, and to deny me that is to deny my power over my own life. Therefore, forcing acceptance of such things is seen as acceptable self-defense. Religious beliefs on the other hand, make explicit demands on the individual. Religions (at least ours) understand people as communal creatures, and that the community forms us and gives us our identity.

      Liberalism is incredibly aggressive, because not seeing the violence of individualism against the community, they now believe they must defend the individual at all costs.

      For them, I belong to myself alone. For us, we belong to each other. I think this is the heart of the issue.

      God bless

      Liked by 1 person

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