In my book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, way up front, a couple of pages into the introduction, I write of the political choice in most western societies - where the left supports various causes, and so does the right, but a couple of decades late to the party. And I wonder what else "conservatives" will be playing catch-up to in another 20 years:
Not so long ago, I might have suggested transsexual rights. But, barely pausing to celebrate their victory on gay marriage, the identity-group enforcers have gone full steam ahead on transgender issues. Once upon a time there were but two sexes. Now Facebook offers its 1.2 billion patrons the opportunity to select their preference from dozens of "genders": "male" and "female" are still on the drop-down menu, just about, but lost amid 50 shades of gay – "androgynous", "bi-gender", "intersex", "cisfemale", "trans*man", "gender fluid"...
Oh, you can laugh. But none of the people who matter in American culture are laughing. They take it all perfectly seriously. Supreme Intergalactic Arbiter Anthony Kennedy wields more power over Americans than George III did, but in a year or three he'll be playing catch-up and striking down laws because of their "improper animus" and wish to "demean" and "humiliate" persons of gender fluidity.
As usual I underestimated the brazenness of the enforcers. The Toronto Sun reports:
VANCOUVER -- Nine intersex and transgender people along with the Trans Alliance Society have filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to remove gender from birth certificates.
Morgane Oger, society chair and a trans woman, said by removing the gender markers off birth certificates, intersex, trans and gender non-conforming residents will no longer be born into discrimination.
"We're trying to get it so that if you want to find out somebody's gender, you ask them and you can ask them to declare it," she said.
"You can ask them to have some sort of process to talk about who they are, but you don't tell them to come up with a document based on a two-second inspection at birth."
Ms Oger is right. It is a two-second inspection. In the first minute of my own children's lives, the doctor glanced down and said, "Congratulations! It's a girl" - or boy. It's one of the great rituals of childbirth across all time, all societies, along with all those somewhat tedious folkloric invocations during the preceding nine months about how "carrying high" or low means it's a lad or lass.
But, whatever it may be in the womb, it can no longer be a girl or a boy once it pops its head out. The plaintiffs in the British Columbia case include the young translady Harriette Cunningham, who's only 12 but is already a serial litigant. Two years ago, she successfully took the province to the cleaners to make it easier to amend the "gender marker" on your birth certificate. Having won that one, you'd think the kid would have some middle-school science project to get back to, but, as she told the CBC, "I'm not done yet."
No kidding. A year after her first victory, she's back to demand the complete elimination of "boy" and "girl" from government birth records. I spent a week enjoying the charms of the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal myself, back when they dragged Maclean's into court for publishing my "flagrant Islamophobia". Always fun to hear "expert" witnesses flown in from Pennsylvania and Quebec discoursing on my prose style for an entire day. We won that one - although, as you can tell from the judges' tortured attempts to justify their acquittal, they would have loved to convict us but figured they couldn't stand the political heat and just wanted the whole thing to go away. The Soviet-style troika of judges - cischairperson Heather MacNaughton, plus their honours Tonie Beharrell and Kurt Neuenfeldt - were as unprepossessing a bunch of jurists as I've ever encountered, until I got to the District of Columbia Superior Court. The legal abolition of "boys" and "girls" would seem the way to bet.
Ms Oger's point is that assigning categories of "male" and "female" based on the delivering physician sighting a penis or a vagina is grossly discriminatory. Yet not so long ago even proponents of "sex changes" believed that being a boy or girl was something to do with having the right bits and pieces. I've noted before that there are three times as many male-to-female transitions as female-to-male - because, one assumed, of the famous sex-change surgeon's line that "it's easier to make a hole than a pole". But that was the bad old days, and in the 21st century it's not your father's sex change. I was told recently that some 60 per cent of transgender persons now retain their original genitalia. Mr Chaz Bono does not have a penis but Miss Harriette Cunningham apparently still does, and who are you with all your outmoded binary assumptions to draw any conclusions therefrom? As I remarked to The National Post's Joseph Brean a few weeks ago:
I was amused to see that the annual "V Day" production [of The Vagina Monologues] at Mount Holyoke College has been canceled because of its "extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman". Hence, this Guardian headline: "Vagina Monologues playwright: 'It never said a woman is someone with a vagina'..." The revolution devours its own: Less than 20 years after Eve Ensler "empowered" women by "reclaiming" their vaginas, it seems a woman doesn't need a vagina at all, and it's totally cisgenderist to suggest you're not a woman if you're hung like a horse.
On the other side of the ledger, the so-called "pregnant man", famously promoted by Oprah, is only pregnant because he retained his womb. Notice that most of the media were happy like Oprah to play along with the conceit of a "pregnant man". And observe, too, that we have now entirely inverted biology: You can be identified as a man or a woman when you're carrying a child, but when that child emerges from the womb it would be grossly discriminatory to identify it as a boy or a girl.
Having a male or female gender marker on a birth certificate is actually not all there is to this problem.
It's not widely known that actually a significant population inside of the transgender, and as well as intersex, population don't identify fully as male or female.
That's presumably the "bi-gender" and "gender fluid" and various other categories. How "significant" is that population? The "LGBT community" is estimated to be some three per cent of the general population, and the transgender component is a tiny proportion of the overalll LGBT community, and the "gender fluid" community is a tiny proportion of the general transgender population. But, in order to accommodate a tiny minority of a tiny minority of a tiny minority, everything must change for everyone else.
The argument of the great mushy middle of western civilization on all this stuff is: Hey, what's the big deal? What difference, really, does it make to you if the birth certificate no longer says "Sex: M" or "Sex: F"? As it happens, the lawyer for the trans activists is barbara findlay, QC. That's right: lower case. She eschews capital letters, although I notice she retains the majuscules for her QC. I wrote about ms findlay in my book Lights Out (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore, and, if I do say so myself, are very necessary in these troubled times):
If you want to know why she rejects capital letters, you should attend one of her 'unlearning oppression' workshops. The point is, if you're looking for a lowercase crusader who'll get your case to a higher court, she's the gal - the Queen's Counsel who's also BC's most celebrated queens' counsel.
This was in connection with a case in which she successfully sued a Knights of Columbus hall (you know, one of those joints with crucifixes and papal portraits all over the walls) for refusing to host a lesbian wedding reception. What's the big deal? What difference does it make? Well, ms findlay is perfectly upfront about that:
The lesbian activist... famously declared in 1997 that 'the legal struggle for queer rights will one day be a showdown between freedom of religion versus sexual orientation.'
That's how she sees it, and that's why she's winning. Or won, really - at least as far as homosexuality is concerned. So now she's moved on to transgender rights. Gay marriage wound up getting "father" and "mother" removed from birth certificates (in Spain, it's "Progenitor One" and "Progenitor Two", as I wrote long ago in America Alone), so now it's time to get "boy" and "girl" banished, too.
The radical left dreams big, and it wins big victories: As this columnist puts it, "The Trans Agenda Seeks To Redefine Everyone." Because, after the abolition of biology, what can't be redefined? That huge imbalance between the number of male-to-female and female-to-male transitions is a net demasculation, a remorseless transfer of human capital from the patriarchal oppressors to the ranks of their brutalized female victims, which tells you something about which way the wind is blowing:
The swollen ranks of the transgendered seem to have intuited that the jig is up for guys. Might as well check out of the guy business entirely.
Having done an impressive job of demolishing the basic societal building block of the family, the left has now advanced to demolishing the basic biological building block of the sexes. Taken in tandem with the ever greater dominance of women at America's least worst colleges and the dispiriting permanence of the "he-cession" down the other end in the dismal, pitiful redoubt of the "man cave", we're well on the path toward the de facto abolition of man, at least in the manly sense.
Hey, what's the big deal? What difference does it make? It's just one more piffling unimportant concession... As I wrote in Lights Out:
I have a lot of respect for barbara findlay, QC. She's admirably straightforward about what she wants and how she intends to get it. By contrast, the quiet lifers are deluding either themselves or us by persisting in the belief that one last retreat will do it and we can then draw a line. There is no bottom line--no line and no bottom, just an ongoing bumpy descent into a brave new world.