Promising Signs That Gender Mania Is Losing Steam
Three utopian projects obsess the left: environmentalism, racism, and androgyny. Climate affects us all, racism affects millions of us, but genuine gender dysphoria is extremely rare. And yet the obsession of radical gender ideologues with de-sexing human beings, and the lengths to which its advocates are prepared to go—speech codes, science subversion, erasure of women’s sex-based rights, repudiation of parental rights in children’s health—has conferred the same importance and sense of urgency as that which surrounds climate and racism throughout the anglosphere.
But a string of rapid successes has bred over-confidence, which in turn has led gender ideologues to mistake temporary compliance for doctrinal acceptance. In their continually escalating demands for special entitlements, trans activists have poked the sleepy bear of tolerance too often. Unpleasant aggression has eroded sympathy for a nebulous cause. Reasonable concerns for women’s and children’s eroding rights are growing. Most important, fear of being labelled “transphobic” is receding, a sure sign that gender mania is losing steam.
Three recent auguries offer grounds for hope of a return to reason.
The most dramatic was the self-defeat of Nicola Sturgeon, who on Feb. 15 resigned from her longtime position as Scottish National Party leader. A no more devoted foot soldier in the trans rights movement could be found than this gender absolutist.
Sturgeon could not be shaken from her stubborn but epistemically untenable dogma that a “trans woman is a woman,” in spite of evidence that her fellow Scots are the most trans-skeptic of United Kingdom residents. Thousands of protesting women failed over years to accomplish what a two-time rapist did within days. Only after appearing in court on a rape charge did Adam Graham announce his rebirth as a woman named Isla Bryson, then successfully request transfer to a women’s prison. This was perceived by virtually all observers as a transparent gaming of the system Sturgeon had put in place by clearing away guardrails against imposterism. The episode exposed the absurdity at the heart of gender mysticism, galvanizing outrage with a pent-up vibe to it.
Sturgeon caved, and declared a “pause” for review of her policy, an admission in the eyes of observers that the “misogynists”—her word for gender critical feminists and their allies—had a point. The collapse of certainty in the entire movement that her wobble represents was exposed in all its incoherence in a widely distributed interview, during which the poor woman, babbling inchoately, could not bring herself to say that a trans woman was not in fact a biological woman.
Second is the restoration to the status of decent human being, by no less an authority than the New York Times, of writer J.K. Rowling, who in 2020 became a lightning rod for vicious condemnation by trans activists for her statement, “it isn’t hate to speak the truth” that sex is dimorphic and immutable.
For years, the LGBTQ-supportive Times had toed the party line on radical gender ideology. Then, in June 2022, doubtless emboldened by the review that led to the closure of the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock clinic in London, the NYT published an article by Emily Bazelon, “The Battle over Gender Therapy,” in which the problems associated with early affirmation of gender dysphoria were objectively explored. Detransitioners, a thorn in the side of activists, whose voices are rarely showcased in mainstream media, were paid respectful attention.
That led to a long open letter to the Times from over 1,000 contributors as well as the “countersignatures of 23,000 media workers, readers and subscribers to the newspaper,” which pointed to multiple examples of NYT’s alarming forays into dissidence, and which sternly instructed the Times to desist from any further counter-revolutionary activities.
The NYT’s response was, essentially, a snub of the letter-writers in the form of a rousing defence of Rowling, clearing her entirely of all charges of transphobia. Rowling never conceded an inch to her haters, and in fact, her counter-offensive, Beira’s Place, a female-only crisis centre, is—to the chagrin of the trans activists—off to a promising start. As North America’s progressive media bellwether—and a principal conduit for the gender dogmas they are now stepping back from—the NYT’s imprimatur on Rowling’s exoneration cannot be over-stated as a harbinger of cultural change.
Finally, we have the testimony of courageous whistleblower Jamie Reed, former counsellor to young people at the Washington University Transgender Clinic at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, a pediatric clinic whose practices mimic over 100 other gender clinics in America. Her Feb. 9 testimony in Substack’s The Free Press promptly went viral. Reed’s account must be accorded special weight, because she is “politically to the left of Bernie Sanders” and herself gender-nonconforming, married to a transman.
Reed worked at her clinic for four years as a case manager responsible for patient intake and management. During her tenure, “around a thousand young people” were processed. “The majority of them received hormone prescriptions that can have life-altering consequences—including sterility,” she wrote. Reed left because she “was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to ‘do no harm’.” What is happening to these youngsters, Reed says, “is morally and medically appalling.” The clinic’s “lack of regard for the rights of parents” was also disturbing.
The article is revelatory and damning. Much of the anecdotal material is sickening. The portrait Reed paints reveals systemic willingness to sacrifice children’s health on the altar of gender mysticism. Reed is not the first insider to expose the insalubrious details of ideology-governed professional irresponsibility in her field. The salient point is that her exposé has arrived in a more receptive climate, and people no longer fear retribution for circulating it.
People go mad in herds, and only recover their sanity one by one. But there is evidence all around us that this particular madness has peaked. The herd is slowing down. Now is the time for the “ones” to redouble their efforts.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.