Mi­nor­i­ty­ism In The West

Ex­tremes of lib­eral sen­ti­ment in cor­rect­ing his­tor­i­cal wrongs against trans peo­ple tram­ple on ma­jor­ity rights

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Ramesh Thakur

Western so­ci­eties, hav­ing lost their moral moor­ings, are be­ing tossed help­lessly atop moun­tain­ous swells of iden­tity pol­i­tics and gen­der wars. Sci­ence holds that sex is bi­o­log­i­cally fixed: XX chro­mo­somes means fe­male, XY means male. Ide­o­logues hold that sex and gen­der are fluid and self-de­fined based on feel­ings. In some Western ju­ris­dic­tions, it is now le­gal to re­write his­tory, sub­sti­tut­ing to­day’s so­cially con­structed gen­der feel­ings for yes­ter­day’s ob­jec­tively recorded bi­o­log­i­cal fact. Hos­pi­tals are ex­pos­ing them­selves to mas­sive po­ten­tial law­suits by agree­ing to trou­bled chil­dren’s re­quest, with­out parental con­sent, for ir­re­versible gen­der re­as­sign­ment treat­ment. Lawyers will pic­nic as new laws pro­tect­ing gen­der-des­ig­nated groups from dis­crim­i­na­tion come into in­creas­ing col­li­sion with ex­ist­ing laws and prac­tices to pro­tect bi­o­log­i­cal women’s rights in sports, clubs, gyms, show­ers, toi­lets, schol­ar­ships, phys­i­cal searches by po­lice and air­port of­fi­cials, even jails.

In the UK Freddy McCon­nell, a ‘tran­si­tioned’ male, un­suc­cess­fully de­manded to be reg­is­tered as her newly-born’s ‘fa­ther’ based on a gen­der-recog­ni­tion cer­tifi­cate that in law he is male. In Canada for­merly-Jonathan-now-Jes­sica Yaniv, with a his­tory of racist posts against im­mi­grants, filed 16 com­plaints with Bri­tish Columbia’s Hu­man Rights Tri­bunal against fe­male cos­meti­cians for re­fus­ing to per­form Brazil­ian wax­ing of male gen­i­talia. Some of the poor im­mi­grant women have shut­tered their busi­nesses from the stress in­duced by the hear­ings; some are con­test­ing the case. Trans-ac­tivists also seem blind to the irony of nail­ing a dead rat to the door of a tran­si­tion house for bat­tered women in Van­cou­ver, threat­en­ing a rape cri­sis cen­tre, and scrawl­ing a sign say­ing ‘Kill TERFS’ (trans-ex­clu­sion­ary rad­i­cal fem­i­nists), all the while ac­cus­ing crit­ics of ‘hate speech’.

Once so­ci­ety has given le­gal pro­tec­tion to a tiny mi­nor­ity against re­quire­ments to ‘prove’ wom­an­hood, they can­not be pre­vented from en­ter­ing gen­der-seg­re­gated are­nas. This cre­ates an acute prob­lem with re­spect to pri­vacy and com­pe­ti­tion in par­tic­u­lar, where male ad­van­tages fol­low the sci­ence of bi­ol­ogy rather than the ideology of fads. The pow­er­ful Ser­ena Wil­liams would likely fall out­side the top 500 of men’s ten­nis rank­ings. Martina Navratilov­a was at­tacked for trans­pho­bia for crit­i­cis­ing trans-ath­letes who in­vade women’s sports. When Cana­dian trans-cy­clist Rachel McKin­non won a ma­jor world cham­pi­onship, sceptics ques­tion­ing ‘her’ achieve­ment were ag­gres­sively at­tacked as ‘trans­pho­bic big­ots’. In the US state of Con­necti­cut, three frus­trated track-and-field girls have filed a civil rights com­plaint, claim­ing trans-girls com­pet­ing in girls’ sports vi­o­lated their rights and pos­si­bly cost them schol­ar­ships.

With­out pub­lic de­bate over the le­gal reper­cus­sions, so­cial con­se­quences and long term health im­pli­ca­tions of such fun­da­men­tal changes to the moral ma­trix of so­ci­ety, women are be­ing put in dan­ger for fear of of­fend­ing a tiny mi­nor­ity. Par­ents who want to pro­tect their daugh­ters – a pow­er­ful nat­u­ral in­stinct across all species – from po­ten­tial sex­ual preda­tors in women-only ‘safe’ spa­ces, or be­ing con­fronted with male gen­i­talia in girls’ chang­ing rooms, are vil­i­fied as trans­pho­bes to be pun­ished and re-ed­u­cated. The drafters of the Universal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights were clearly delin­quent in leav­ing out the hu­man right to crotch groom­ing by a beau­ti­cian of one’s choice of gen­der. We can but won­der what the fam­i­lies of vic­tims of lynch­ing by cow vig­i­lantes, of brides burnt for dowry, daugh­ters killed for be­smirch­ing fam­ily hon­our, or dis­si­dents tor­tured by North Korean po­lice, would feel about Canada’s first world pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with the jus­ti­cia­ble hu­man right to a Brazil­ian for male gen­i­talia?

Trou­bled trans peo­ple de­serve the same full hu­man dig­nity as ev­ery­one else. But, em­brac­ing ex­tremes of lib­eral sen­ti­ment to cor­rect his­tor­i­cal wrongs with a broken moral com­pass to ad­ju­di­cate com­pet­ing claims and es­tab­lish proper bound­aries be­tween dif­fer­ent groups, anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion ma­chin­ery to pro­tect small mi­nori­ties is tram­pling on the rights of ma­jor­ity com­mu­ni­ties. The much-needed open, mu­tu­ally re­spect­ful and civil con­ver­sa­tion to pro­tect ev­ery­one’s rights, needs and sen­si­bil­i­ties, is set aside by ‘de­plat­form­ing’ cen­sor­ship to si­lence sceptics.

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