On one hand, if the gender critical feminists win, there will be social changes much more radical than the longest and wildest trans rights wishlist. On the other hand, if the reactionary Right wins, they will turn the clock back so far for women that trans people would be the least of any feminist’s worry. In other words, gender critical feminists and the reactionary Right are essentially willing to enter a de-facto alliance with their worst enemies, the people who would destroy everything they hold dear, just to oppose 0.3% of the population!
Anyway, what I found most important about this episode is that, once again, some people are out to pit free speech and trans people against each other. It really feels like last year’s Harper’s Free Speech letter drama is being replayed all over again. It appears that, the people behind the cause of ‘cancel culture’ are finding trans people to be good fuel for their cause.
Today, I want to talk about an ugly truth: there is a trans moral panic out there. People are scared that trans people and trans issues are going to upset the order of society. It’s like how there was a major moral panic around gay marriage back when I was in college, which saw the majority of US states, as well as other Western countries like Australia, moving swiftly to ban gay marriage.
So how do we deal with the trans moral panic? I think it’s important to look at what causes moral panics.
Free speech means that you are free to articulate any idea, in the free market of ideas. If you have read my other writing, you would know that I am a big defender of free speech. The way we take a stand for free speech is to be unafraid to voice our own beliefs, and hence take a meaningful stance, in the debate of ideas, even if unpopular. Deliberately refusing to use a trans person’s preferred pronouns is not this, however, because pronouns are not a debate of ideas, and no meaningful stance is actually being taken here.