I am attracted to trans women. I am pro-LGBTQ and pro-individual rights. But I fear we are headed towards the star trek episode of genderless / asexual society in some ways. I am grateful as a man for my male acculturation to have to privilege to rebel against that nurturing to embrace the feminine side that was lacking that upbringing. But I can only make a claim to health and coherence in my identity through an understanding of that binary within myself. “An artist needs a surface to hit.” I feel pity for people raised in an oversexed society who will be pushed into ambivalence through not finding bounds to enjoy play and exploration within and around.
I have issue listening to Jordan Peterson talk because his framework is so different from my own. He thinks he’s out saving the world, but to quote one of the most important films of the 21st century ‘If you send someone to save the world, you should make sure they like it the way it is.” – That’s Vin Diesel, aka XXX in the film ‘XXX’. He paints trans people as a part of a ‘movement’ which he characterizes as evil – watch the above video for proof of this – which is about the destruction of values and never about the creation or upholding of values. In his framework there is no happy trans individual, there is no trans love, there is not that possibility. This is why people characterize him as a villain in the same way he characterizes trans people – as villains. His foregone conclusion in most discussions it that being trans – or attempting to become trans or explore the idea even – is bad.
Peterson’s arguments mostly stem I feel from a position that he feels he is losing in today’s world and wants to protect his position from losing more. I feel most of his arguments are based in this. I feel he is arguing for himself, not on the behalf of children he wants to protect. Which, is fair. I’m doing something similar. I see him as a threat to the future of openness and creativity. So, here we are. I engage with him when I must because he keeps coming across my feed and getting in my face. I want kids to be healthy and safe and grow up healthy with positive lives, sex life included. The best way to do this is a conversation and I don’t think it’s one that is being had outside of some books I’ve read.
If you want to look at transhumanism and humanism in the same way I feel the modernist / postmodernist debate could be framed as encroaching issues on traditional ideology. Here’s some good books – I find this writer’s thoughts very close to my own – she is a humanist approaching technology as the complex network of identity accosting threads that it is. Internet intellectuals aren’t going to be the ones who save your soul if you are alive enough to recognize the threats you do face.
N. Katherine Hayles – How We Became Posthuman
N. Katherine Hayles – My Mother Was a Computer
Semiotic Flesh – Information and the Human Body
Peterson’s debates are shallow or off base in the sense that his lens only views trans identity as pathological and never as potentially healthy or the identity of a loving whole person who simply doesn’t share his ideology – largely based in his personal dislike of the idea of transgender people and his underlying claim that they are a threat to some ideal that he wants to protect. I have not seen him address the existence of trans adults who are happy with their choice to transition, only coming at the idea of trans from its perceived casualties and ‘victims’. In this sense he is not debating trans identity, he is arguably even trying to make trans identity stronger and – from sympathy with some of his points he does manage to coherently argue – reduce the harm some trans people undergo when they choose to transition. It’s just a messy way of helping people by saying they don’t have the right to attempt to be who they want to be or attempt to become healthy. His characterization of choices of sexual expression as ‘tampering with the sacred’ or ‘attacking God’ are harming people though because it leads people to believe other people are evil because they are making choices different than their own. These ideas deserve better and so do those wrestling with them. If your crusade Professor Peterson is religious based enforcement of gender norms and authoritarian control of others’ bodies as the video above makes pretty clear is your mission, please let your followers know where you are coming from.