A note on gender politics

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In recent months IÕve noticed a curious trend: Liberals seem to be ÒevolvingÓ on issues related to oneÕs sexual decisions. In May, President Obama said that his position on gay marriage was Òevolving,Ó meaning that once vice president Joe Biden endorsed expanding the definition of marriage off prompter, Obama was forced to as well.

Similarly, NPR stated that it too had ÒevolvedÓ concerning LGBTQ issues: In August, the media organization announced that it would henceforth refer to the recently convicted information leaker, Bradley Manning, as Chelsea Manning and accordingly, use feminine pronouns to refer to him.

Wikipedia.org followed suit and, consequently, upped the insanity. Bradley Manning doesnÕt have a Wiki page, but Chelsea does, with politically correct pronouns to boot. With Mr. ManningÕs picture at the top right and feminine pronouns strewn throughout the article, I couldnÕt tell if I was reading a Wikipedia page or a droll Uncyclopedia article.

Bradley Manning never followed the legal channels in order to change his name, so all of this politically correct claptrap is unwarranted. But the issue of legalisms isnÕt what bothers me.

It strikes me that, if Mr. Manning wanted to be called Steve, Wikipedia and NPR would not have obliged him, as such a minor ÒevolutionÓ isnÕt quite edgy or ÒprogressiveÓ enoughÑor conducive to getting attention. TheyÕd evolve if Bradley felt like a Chelsea, but not if he felt like a Steve.

Perhaps IÕm just not progressive enough to believe that euphemistic language, psychological babble and Orwellian obfuscation can supersede the biological sciences. National Review columnist, Kevin Williamson, cleverly noted that when female DNA was discovered at the site of the Boston Bombing, investigators didnÕt ask the genetic material which gender it preferred.

But the insanityÑand popularityÑof this delusion get worse: Some are now calling for the army, which now imprisons Mr. Manning, to provide him with hormone therapy and, eventually, a sex-change procedure.

Danielle Kaufman wrote in the Huffington Post in August that this makes sense. After all, Kaufman argues, ÒIf Chelsea Manning had been born obviously completely female in genitals and genetics, but with club feet, would there be any debate about whether the foot deformity should be treated?Ó

IÕm not going to ponder the question of how many people with club feet pass basic training in the army, or entertain the dubious claim that the army is even responsible for sex-change surgeries, but KaufmanÕs comparison is largely of apples and oranges, body and mind.

Adhering to KaufmanÕs logic, those who are anorexic should receive liposuction surgery because their perception of their body doesnÕt match the reality. Indeed, according to Kaufman, transgendered people have a problem with their bodies, not their minds. The penis with which Mr. Manning was bornÑthe same type of genitalia with which approximately 50 percent of the population is equippedÑis a ÒdeformityÓ (KaufmanÕs word). His mind couldnÕt be better.

I am led to wonder how far this delusion can be stretched. If Mr. Manning claimed to be a stegosaurus, would the army then be obligated to install bony plates in his back? Would he be given a tail to ward off potential predators? Would NPR ÒevolveÓ to the point where they might claim he was born during the Jurassic Period?

Not only is this ÒevolutionÓ silly, itÕs downright sociopathic. Some studies show that one in four people who undergo sex-change surgery are unhappy after the procedure. The British National Health Service found that 18 percent of those who undergo sex-change surgery attempt suicide, a number almost identical to the percentage who commit suicide because they are denied the surgeryÑ20 percent. ItÕs fair to propose that, whatever this evolution brings, it wonÕt actually help those suffering with feelings of gender confusion. 12