The Trans Case Against Queer Theory
In recent years, the influence of queer theory and adjacent ideas rooted in postmodernism and critical theory has distorted the discussion around trans issues. This has led to confusion about why trans people transition, and the decentering of the actual experience of trans lives in the public trans discourse. In turn, these developments have likely contributed to a slow down in trans acceptance and even backlash in some segments of society.
The fundamental reason why queer theory is bad for LGBT people is because it is ideological, i.e. it is rooted in certain philosophical commitments rather than empirical reality or the actual lived experience of LGBT people.
Queer theory’s refusal to accept at least some
level of essential meaning for ‘male’ and ‘female’ hampers both trans
people’s formation of a stable identity in themselves, as well as our
communication with broader society.
Queer theory insists that the existence of stable,
meaningful notions of ‘male’ and ‘female’ is inherently oppressive to
LGBT people, and LGBT identity should be defined by resisting this.
This model positions LGBT lives, particularly trans lives, as the
battering ram against long-standing mainstream understandings of ‘male’
and ‘female’, rather than as participants in a fair marketplace of ideas
seeking to better our understanding of the objective truth.