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Against the Gender Theory Transcult
Transsexual woman displaying her palm with the letters "XY" written on it at an outdoor demonstration July 2005, in Paris. Wikimedia commons.
My very first job, apart from a couple of weeks of research for an academic while a student, was in the (since abolished) Commonwealth Employment Service (CES). Having with the above research-in-Fisher-Library brief exception, never ever having held paid employment, and having spent 18 years in full-time education, my first job was advising people on their job prospects during the 1982/3 recession.
This was a bit of an insight into public sector allocation of resources.
I saw a wide range of folk in my 13 months or so working for the CES. Quite the education for the young me. Those jobseekers included a rather tall male-to-female transsexual (as the term then was, and still should be).
This was a bit outside my experience, but I was mostly just curious and did my best to be friendly and helpful. I had something of a “it takes all sorts” reaction.
Anyway, I must have made a positive impression, because I had at least one other such jobseeker explicitly ask for me. Apparently, I was pegged as being “so sympathetic”. Which I took as a compliment really.
Later reading made me aware that various cultures have had some sort of trans identity. Not merely as ways of categorising same-sex attraction but as a genuine embracing of a feminine identity by someone born male. While “passing women” were a thing, male-to-female trans is far more common across cultures than female-to-male: as it was until very, very recently in contemporary societies.
This background of knowledge has not made me more sympathetic to what I now refer to as the Gender Theory Transcult, but less. As does having spent recent years diving into evolutionary biology, primatology and evolutionary anthropology. We live in a golden age of the anthropogenic sciences which why the systematic ignoring of what it can tell us is so reprehensible. (Considering what consilience with the anthropogenic sciences implies for social science, the humanities and our understanding of ourselves will be a theme of this Substack.)
Way back in February 1999, Martha Nussbaum (a serious scholar) published a withering takedown of Judith Butler, The Professor of Parody. According to Google Scholar, the essay has had 893 citations. It also had little or not effect on the march of Gender Theory, of which Judith Butler is the best known proponent.
Why stuff of remarkably poor intellectual quality has become so influential is another topic this Substack will cover.
But, in the meantime, the above provides background to my first post on Substack, hosted on Helen Dale’s Substack: At what point do we notice the misogyny of transactivism?