This article is dedicated to my awesome Irish coworker who moved to Vancouver half a year ago, and is very confused about why everybody here feels a need to identify as something other than human. Featured photo courtesy of gaysifamily.com
I first started hearing phrases like “gender is a spectrum,” “there are no biological differences between men and women,” “I identify as a panromantic demisexual,” and “that’s transphobic, please check your privilege” out-of-the-blue maybe three or four years ago. I refer to the Summer of 2015 as the year that everybody decided they weren’t male or female anymore, cause – at least around me – that’s when we saw the notion that there aren’t such things as men and women blow up in Vancouver.
For those who are still confused by what this movement is trying to say, I spent enough time hanging out with these people who subscribe to these views on gender to be able to explain their beliefs fairly clearly. This happened because my friend group of the time subscribed heavily to the modern gender theory when its popularity boomed, and quickly became obsessed with it.
What the radical Lefties are arguing is that masculinity and femininity are entirely social constructs with no basis in biology, that men have power and want to make sure women and “non-gender-conforming” folks stay out of power, that there is no correlation between gender and sex. They are calling for a complete deconstruction of gender and gender roles; what they want to replace them with and why they really want to do this is beyond me.
They say they feel repressed by ‘societal norms imposed on them,’ and they’re fighting for ‘equality.’ (See any of Jordan Peterson’s videos on equality of opportunity, which is desirable, versus equality of outcome, which is impossible). I would suggest many of them are bored and nihilistic, and decided being non-binary is a movement they can latch onto, a cause to fight for, to put some purpose in their lives – instead of finding purpose in something meaningful. I think a similar motive is responsible for the entire so-called social justice movement, but especially with the non-binary movement, I think a lack of self-identity is heavily influencing the situation.
To take a look at some numbers and at the magnitude of the local movement, I went through my Facebook friends list. My list compromises of the following:
- Cisgender men: 272
- Cisgender women: 358
- Transgender: (trans men, trans women and gender non-conforming): 74
- Gender non-conforming: 60
- Transgender women (born male, now living as female) 3
- Transgender men (born female, now living as male) 11
According to the Williams Institute 2016 survey, 0.58% of Americans identified as transgender (the term transgender is now a blanket term that signifies anybody who doesn’t identify with their birth gender). 9.5% of my Facebook friends list identifies as transgender, and if you dissected the friend list of Vancouverites more socially active than myself (many of my friends on Facebook are American, or from my very non-progressive high school. Only one of my high school friends identifies as LGBTQ, none of them identify as transgender), you’d probably find significantly higher numbers.
Going on this, let’s say that 9% of young Vancouverites identify as non-binary. That’s still 15 times higher than the American average. Why are the rates so high here compared to the rest of the Western world?
A phrase I’m hearing tossed around on Tumblr right now is ‘transtrenders,’ and it comes from an online group of transgender people who resent the rejection of traditional gender.
There is a vicious fight going on in gender discourse right now between people who believe being transgender is a medical condition, and those who believe being transgender is a choice. The former, known as transmeds or transmedicalists, are people who believe that being born transgender is a biological condition, and you are either a man, woman, trans man or trans woman. The other side is the side that believes gender is a spectrum and you can live your life however you feel ‘comfortable.’ Transmeds believe the latter are, as I described earlier, bored young people who decide being trans is trendy and fun, and about aesthetics. Lot of new vocabulary words? I’m sorry, I’m scrambling my head just writing this too. Here’s a cute diagram I found on Tumblr to help explain it:
The science and research, which is being heavily misaligned for being ‘transphobic’ in nature, also agrees that being transgender seems to be biologically determined and that ‘transtrending’ is a real phenomenon. It’s being called ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria.’
The brilliant Doctor Debra Soh, a former sex researcher, left the field as she found political correctness was playing a heavy role in determining what science could and couldn’t be researched. She’s now known as a writer, podcast host and free-speech advocate, especially as it pertains to science. On Joe Rogan’s show, Dave Rubin’s show, and in her article ‘Don’t treat all cases of gender dysphoria the same way,’ she talks about the phenomenon.
Rapid-onset gender dysphoria, seen primarily in teenage girls and university-aged young women, is characterized by a sudden desire to transition without any signs of gender dysphoria in childhood. It typically emerges after an individual has spent much time researching gender dysphoria online.
A 2017 study found an association between this phenomenon and having a friend (or multiple friends) identify as transgender, suggesting similarities to a social contagion. These girls frequently also have other mental-health conditions, like autism or borderline personality disorder, that should be the focus of concern instead.
This would really explain why in ‘progressive’ pockets we see high rates of this phenomenon, and the rest of the country seems relatively immune to it.
It’s also part of a “hey, me too” kind of culture. With the new fixation on social inequalities, many young people want to make sure they’re not identifiable as any sort of ‘oppressor.’ To the most extreme of young Vancouverites, being a straight white man is equivalent to being a Nazi. It’s a small minority, but they do exist. The people who subscribe to this notion choose being non-binary as a way out of their own ‘privilege,’ so they can feel oppressed too – and have something to complain about at parties. This article was called for by a girl I work with, who went to our other coworker’s barbeque party and was curious as to why everybody there identified as something she’d never heard of before and just wanted to complain about society – when the reality was, they were all individuals in their mid to late twenties, in post-secondary or working good jobs, living in a beautiful city during safe times.
Now, I’m not here to hate on legitimate transgender people. I believe they’re real, they exist, and that they’ve always existed. Also, they’re the ones who are really being fucked over by the current nonsense about gender that young feminists and ‘gender studies students’ are spreading. But all these radical new notions about gender can reach no end game other than dismantling society; they can have no constructive purpose.
To not feel exactly ‘male’ or exactly ‘female’ doesn’t make you neither – it just makes you a normal, complex human capable of resonating with traits on either end of the binary.
If you have any more questions about what I covered in this article, or would like more definitions of the terms used, please leave a comment down below and I’ll explain further as soon as I can.
-Senior Editor A.
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