Just recently, we were summoned by a publication of no small pop-culture stature to refer to Bruce Jenner as “Caitlyn”.
It seems to me, that in both cases, the summons is grounded in the individual’s personal sense of their own identity – be it sexual or racial.
This presents me with a number of real questions:
- Why is it that when Rachel Dolezal identifies as trans-racial, I am supposed to applaud her resignation, but when someone else identifies as trans-gender, I’m supposed to applaud their transformation?
- If gender is truly malleable, then why not race?
- Why is it that I’m “compelled” (in the name of “civility”) to recognize someone who identifies as trans-gender, but not compelled to recognize someone who identifies as trans-racial?
My final question is a bit more abstract, and I haven’t reflected on it very deeply. Although it might be wrong-headed, I suspect that it might be worth asking. My final question is this: To what extent is a man, woman, or person belonging to a particular gender or race a physical embodiment of their own gender or race’s historical sorrows, labors, loves, and sacrifices?
It seems to me that if history is intimately related to gender or race in any significant way, then history might be a bit more difficult to produce than the shape or color of one’s body.
Sometimes simple is beautiful.
Keep it civil, please.
Call Me Caitlyn by Alastair Roberts
Sex and Gender: A Beginners Guide by Rebeccah Reilly-Cooper / A thought provoking article that argues against the recognition of transgenderism from a feminist perspective (HT: Alastair Roberts)