Australian Catholic philosopher Vincent Torley: Sex and phlogiston, an essay on intellectual crimes

Here, excerpt below:

When people are forced to adopt a totally wrong way of slicing and dicing reality, the very fabric of their thinking is warped, and intellectual progress is retarded.

Currently, the American public is being harangued by judges, politicians and “enlightened” government officials telling them that people should be allowed to use the bathrooms corresponding to the sex they identify with. The idea is that it is your feelings (and not your biological make-up) which determine your identity as a man or woman. If you feel like a woman, then you are a woman. Simple as that. Why, then, do we not use the maxim, “If you feel like an X, then you are an X,” in other areas of daily life? If you feel like a rocket scientist, then you are a rocket scientist. (Let’s see what NASA has to say about that.) If you feel like a Frenchman, then you are a Frenchman. (Try telling that to the people at the French embassy, and see if they’ll grant you natural citizenship.) And if you feel as if you’re grotesquely overweight, then you are overweight. On that logic, anorexia is no longer a disease: anorexics perceive themselves truly.

The American public have been told that there are two genders, but people are gradually coming to realize that this is an oversimplification. “Genderqueer” individuals may consider themselves to be members of a third gender. Alternatively, they may have two or more genders, or they may feel that they have no gender at all. Or they may have a fluctuating gender identity, making them genderfluid. Which toilet, we may ask, are these people supposed to use? Perhaps it is time to introduce single-user toilets everywhere: that would defuse the controversy.

If the notion of “gender” has any validity, then we would expect it to be found in the vast majority of human cultures. And indeed, there are many cultures around the world in which individuals can be found who fall outside the behavioral norms for their sex. In some societies, this breach of sexual stereotypes is deftly handled by creating a special social category for people who want to behave in a manner which is more typical of the opposite sex. But it would be totally unwarranted to infer that men in these societies who prefer to adopt a female sex role literally see themselves as women, or vice versa. What Western social scientists are doing here is imposing their own categories on people of other cultures. The reality is not that simple.

Some years ago, I recall hearing about a special category of men in Japan (where I live) who behave in an overtly effeminate manner. Were they gay, I asked? No. Were they transvestites? No. Were they trans-sexuals? No. None of our Western categories were capable of pigeon-holing these men. More.

Note: The Animal will be back soon too.