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Say No to Pronouns
And yes to reality.
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If you haven’t already been asked to declare your pronouns, it’s only a matter of time. Sooner or later, your employer or some other organization you’re affiliated with is going to suggest that you include them in your email signature or announce them along with your name at the beginning of meetings. We’re told that this is to “foster an open culture that is supportive of the LGBTQ+ community,” and that it’s a “small, proactive step that we can all take to help create a more inclusive workplace.”
The practice is especially prevalent on social media, where, along with a Ukrainian flag symbol, pronouns are the ultimate mark of moral enlightenment. Vice President Kamala Harris features “she/her” pronouns in her Twitter bio, as does the notorious AOC, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg includes “he/him” in his.
Then there are the singular “they/them” pronouns used by “nonbinary” people who identify as neither male nor female.
According to a recent YouGov poll, 27% of Americans say they personally know at least one person who goes by gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” instead of “he” or “she.” U.S. adult citizens under 30 are especially likely to know at least one person who uses gender-neutral pronouns: 43% do, compared to 20% of Americans 65 and older. Democrats are also more likely than Republicans and Independents to know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, as are Americans with more formal education.
And let’s not forget the growing list of bespoke “neopronouns.” According to the New York Times, a neopronoun “can be a word created to serve as a pronoun without expressing gender.” Examples are “xe/xir/xirs,” “ze/zir/zirs,” “ey/em/eir,” etc. With neopronouns, a person’s pronouns don’t need to reflect the gender binary. Gender essentially loses almost any connection to the physical world and is instead treated as a creation of the individual.
A subset of neopronouns is “noun-self pronouns.” The Times explains that noun-self pronouns are “a pre-existing word … drafted into use as a pronoun. Noun-self pronouns can refer to animals — so your pronouns can be ‘bun/bunself’ and ‘kitten/kittenself.’ Others refer to fantasy characters — ‘vamp/vampself,’ ‘prin/cess/princesself,’ ‘fae/faer/faeself’ — or even just common slang, like ‘Innit/Innits/Innitself.’” That’s right: a noun-self pronoun doesn’t even need to reflect the fact that you’re a human being.
Neopronouns and noun-self pronouns reflect the modern Left’s “expressive individualism” in which internal and psychological phenomena determine one’s identity. And because Critical Gender Theory holds that our sexual and gender identities are no longer expressions of our biological sex and bodies, a person is free to identify not only as the opposite sex, but as no sex at all, both sexes, or nonhuman things like animals, objects, fictional characters, or even abstract concepts. With the human body no longer a determining factor in one’s identity, “I am a woman trapped in a man’s body” becomes just as plausible as “I am a wolf trapped in a human body.” As a construct, it’s exponentially limitless.
If you had any doubts about how far the virus of Critical Gender Theory had spread, surely they’ve been put to rest after watching the clips above. No longer confined to university humanities departments and hermetic internet communities, this postmodernist nonsense has made considerable inroads into mainstream culture, thanks in part to a highly sympathetic media environment.
Because most of the criticism of pronoun declaration has come from the Right, this issue has become yet another culture war battle, an ideological litmus test misrepresented by the Left as a simple question of whether one is on the correct side of history.
Activists claim that playing the pronoun game is just a way to be polite and inclusive. I disagree. I believe that this ostensibly benign practice is really about forcing people to conform to a regressive set of ideas — gender ideology — that’s upending age-old verities and harming society by sexualizing children and dramatically curtailing freedom of speech and thought. To understand why, one must be familiarized with gender ideology’s dogma.
In her book Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, Helen Joyce explains the notion of gender identity as “something like a sexed soul.”1 Proponents take the view that each person has an innate gender that transcends physiological considerations; they claim that the terms “man/boy” and “woman/girl” — and their corresponding “he/his” and “she/her” pronouns — refer to a person’s gender identity, while “male” and “female” refer to the “social construct” of biological sex.2
While common sense would seem to suggest that a woman is defined as a female human adult, gender ideology contends that a “woman” is an adult of either sex who simply “identifies” as a woman.3 The definition of “woman” is therefore as fluid as can be imagined.
But what, pray tell, does it mean to “identify” as a woman? According to evolutionary biologist Colin Wright, gender activists believe that being a man or a woman requires embracing normative stereotypes of masculinity or femininity, respectively, or the different social roles and expectations society imposes on people based on their sex. Ergo, a female who doesn’t “identify with” the social roles and stereotypes of femininity4 isn’t a woman; and a male who also doesn’t conform to the social roles and stereotypes of masculinity isn’t a man. Instead, you’re considered either transgender or nonbinary. As Wright tells it, according to this line of thinking, certain types of anatomy are incompatible with certain personalities, behaviors, and preferences.
The concept of “gender identity” is so nebulous, so completely subjective, that it can be used to describe literally anything. And it’s being used as a construct to tell first-graders that they can identify as animals and trees and clouds and what have you. All throughout our public schools system and often without the knowledge of parents. With the full backing of the president and the Democratic Party.
This is why what might seem like faddish folly is much more sinister: The new gender doctrines, which spread not just through online communities and influencers but increasingly through formal instruction within schools, have become omnipresent in the lives of virtually all young people, exerting a variable degree of influence and leaving few wholly untouched.
The Left is teaching young people that the rejection of traditional notions of feminity and masculinity is a medical condition (gender dysphoria) that requires treatment in the form of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries.5 These medical interventions can shorten lives, as well as negatively affect all kinds of other facets of development, including fertility, brain development, heart and sexual function, and bone density. When you socially transition a child, it increases the likelihood that these medical interventions will be lifelong. You make permanent what might have been temporary. This is known as iatrogenesis: the treatment creates the condition.
It seems pretty clear that for a certain segment of affluent white progressives, having a trans child is a status symbol. Unlike lower income families, they have the time and money for such things. And because Critical Theory has conditioned them to believe that they’re oppressors with no hope of escaping that label, they see transing their kids as a way to join an oppressed class for which they’re celebrated instead of condemned.
I can’t believe this needs saying, but encouraging young people to dissociate from reality, to believe that gender identity is immutable but sex is, and to permanently carve up their bodies in alignment with that gender identity in ways they could very well regret, is wrong. So, here’s a novel idea: How about you overpriced liberal arts school social justice Tumblr warriors stop fucking around with the kids.
When asked for your pronouns, decline.6 Nobody has pronouns. The concept is inherently illogical. You can’t “have” a pronoun any more than you can have any other word. Pronouns aren’t things to be owned. They’re not accessories. They’re parts of speech, and you don’t get to coopt language to serve your pet ideologies.
And the idea that we each have an inherent gender that has nothing to do with our bodies is akin to a religious conviction. Would we not be rightly appalled if an employer or someone else pressured us to proclaim our faith? Because the reality is that declaring one’s pronouns has become the most common way in which we’re supposed to pledge fealty to the new identity-obsessed religion that’s running rampant through our major institutions. To ask for someone’s pronouns is to set a test for others to do likewise.
Participating in these rituals empowers gender ideologues who’ve wrapped themselves in the mantle of moral absolutism, and aids them in their quest to renormalize society. To bend the knee is to legitimize this regressive set of beliefs that forces a subjective and manipulable view of one person’s self to become a defining reality for everyone else. Far from an innocuous act facilitating inclusion, playing the pronoun game serves as an implicit endorsement of gender ideology and its radical gospel.
These ideologues need to be reminded that there are no “personal truths.” There is only reality, and it exists independent of our wishes to the contrary.
Ask one of the WoQaeda to explain gender identity and they’ll go on and on in circular mysticism without offering anything of substance. These people could talk a raccoon right out of a tree.
When pushed to defend the idea that humans are not a binary sexual species, critical theorists lean on the “univariate fallacy,” which argues that any single exception to a rule nullifies the rule. If there are any exceptions to every human being male or female, even if they’re a tiny percentage of the population, then there’s no sex binary.
Note that the very question of “What is a woman?” has been deemed transphobic by the pronoun crowd, presumably because the answer inexorably directs us toward the reality of sexual dimorphism. Separately, if you haven’t seen Matt Walsh’s What is a Woman? documentary, I highly recommend it.
For decades, women’s-rights movements fought to separate womanhood from rigid stereotypes, but modern gender ideology reinforces those very same stereotypes. And traditional gender roles are problematized and deconstructed, rather than affirmed as equally valid identities.
Consider the implications for gay kids. They could be led to believe that what’s different about them is not that they’re attracted to their same sex, but that they may, in fact, be the other sex “inside.” Most kids with gender dysphoria turn out to be gay in adulthood, as the discomfort disappears with puberty. But the current treatment for gender dysphoria — mandated by the White House — is immediate affirmation, puberty blockers, then female or male hormones and sterilization. The emphasis is no longer about making sure gay kids know they’re no less a boy or girl for being attracted to the same sex and supporting them in their current bodies, allowing them to fully experience puberty and grow up gay.
And if faced with employer pressure to use someone else’s pronouns that don’t correspond to their biological sex, simply use their name instead. There’s nothing wrong or disrespectful about that.