Narelle Henson: Traversing 'trans' arena tricky at best

Stuff 2 June 2017
Family First Comment: Another superb column by Narelle Henson – she really should replace Lizzie Marvelly in the Herald (although Narelle may make too much sense!)
But regarding the tricky trans arena, Narelle succinctly says:
“Of course, the only way to avoid the war is to hitch the bandwagon back to biological identity, and admit that feelings don’t tell the full story about any of us. But somewhere along the line biological identity became offensive. This means, of course, that we are all stuck on the bandwagon, and headed right for a battlezone.”
If you’re wondering how headlines on transgender groups can make the news at the same time as headlines on gender-neutral school uniforms, you’re not alone.
It seems obvious, really, that we can’t have a society in which both co-exist. After all, being gender-neutral means “not identified with any gender”. Transgender means “identifying with the opposite gender”. You can’t have no genders and be an opposite gender at the same time.
This is just a sneak peek of the utter confusion into which the identity bandwagon is rapidly rolling us.
Take, for example, the story of Rachel Dolezal, the woman who brought “transracial” into the public imagination. If your true sexual identity, or gender identity was based on feelings, she argued, then why not race?
Rebecca Tuvel, a philosopher who wrote a paper in March arguing that very same point, was vehemently denounced by hundreds of fellow academics for – get this – “epistemic (thought) violence”. The controversy led to the eventual retraction of the paper, and got so big it now has its own Wikipedia page.
Last year we were introduced to the idea of being “trans-species” by Nano, the woman who identifies as a cat. Luis Padron also used the term this year to explain his feelings about wanting to become an elf.
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