Thursday, June 5, 2014

This poor child is confused, not 'transgendered.'

You may think you want the whole post pasted below for context. Trust me, though; no, you do not. Maybe it's that his overwrought writing style is increasingly grating on my nerves, but I  think that, in terms of the actual content, much of what he wrote was pretty vacuous and doesn't really even provide any meaningful context. Yes, we all know that he thinks the notion of a person being transgender is ridiculous (just look at the title of the post) and that this is another sign of the downfall of society. So, unless you are interested in reading a list of every negative word that Matt could find in his thesaurus, I don't think you want to subject yourself to most of the post.

Somewhere in there Matt does make a couple of points that are worth considering. I will focus on these paragraphs.

Matt Walsh writes:

It’s interesting, when you think about it. If a girl declares that she’s a lesbian, progressives would tell us that this identity cannot be modified. Actually, no, not quite. Identity can always be modified. A progressive might tell you that she cannot simply "pray away" her attractions to women, but that is another matter entirely. It is ingrained in her soul and nothing can ever alter it. Her sexual preference is immutable. Her sex we're actually talking about gender here, however? Fluid. Subject to change. And what if she ‘becomes a boy’ and still finds herself attracted to girls? By their standards, she’s just turned herself straight. But isn’t that impossible? So is she still gay? But if she’s still gay then she’s still a woman, which means she’s not a man, which means your sex can’t be changed. It must take some effort to get yourself so confused by something that is simple and straightforward! Let me break it down for you, Matt. This person chooses to identify as a boy (and therefore, should be referred to as "he"). He is attracted to women. He has always been attracted to women (well, as long as he's felt attractions of any kind). He is straight. He did not change his attractions; they stayed the same. The end.

Any of this making sense?  Stop feigning an inability to distinguish identity and cultural labels (e.g. lesbian) from personal/biological realities (e.g. attraction to women) and then yes, as a matter of fact, lots of sense.


Anyone? Ohh, I'm sorry. I forgot you can't hear anyone who disagrees with you.

Indeed, the moment you wade into liberal “gender theory” you will be violently assaulted by a gauntlet of glaring contradictions. [Which is not nearly as uncomfortable as being violently assaulted by a gauntlet of extreme and awkward language use.]

They tell us in one breath that it’s OK for boys to like pink and girls to like blue, and we should stop expecting our sons to play sports and our daughters to play with dolls. These are just social norms, they say. We should not subscribe to such archaic notions. But suddenly they proceed to derail their own narrative when they next inform you that a girl liking blue and a boy playing with dolls might actually be a sign that the girl is a boy and the boy is a girl.


Are colors and toys and sports irrelevant things that have been arbitrarily assigned to certain genders by an oppressive society, or is the color pink so connected with the female identity that a female’s aversion to it is an indication that she isn’t really a female?

Okay, finally you have gotten to your one valid question. Although, before proceeding, I should point out that the same question could be posed to you Matt. If colors and toys and sports are natural and immutable markers of biological difference, as you insist, then when some people have an aversion to the norms of their gender or do not fit gender stereotypes, does that mean they are really not that gender? (I believe I have asked you that question before.) Or would you say that any girl who doesn't like dolls and the color pink is just "confused"? (I guess that would fit with your general tendency to always see females as confused.... and dishonest.)

Anyway, to answer your question. IF we lived in a society where such constructions of gender did not exist (if we saw everyone as individuals and allowed them to pursue their own interests and aesthetics) then to a large extent, yes, the transgender identity would for many of its subcategories not be necessary. We do not live in such a world (in fact, as I noted before, thanks largely to its utility for marketing, more and more of what we produce and consume is markedly gendered rather than gender-neutral). Gender is very much a social reality, even if not a biological reality. (The same thing goes for race: although there's no biological basis for race, it is most certainly socially real.)

However, in a hypothetical gender-less world, one could still imagine the existence of transsexual individuals who might want to transform themselves anatomically in order to feel comfortable with their biological sex. This has not been uncommon cross-culturally and historically (many people, I believe, are familiar with hijras, for example). Then of course, you must account for all the variety of the intersex individuals.

Notions of transgender/transsexuality have, whether you like it or not, reproduced themselves across time and space. This seems to indicate that the concept of 'transgender' speaks to some enduring, universal features of the complex interplay between the factors determining biological sex and cultural gender norms. It is more than just "confusion" or a sign of the decay of Western society.

If Ryland wants to be called "he" and dress like a boy - and if his parents treat him as a boy because it was deemed by professionals to be beneficial to his mental health - so what? Is that really going to be the thing that destroys our society? (And not, say, the quarter of American children who live in food insecure households?)

Who’s really enforcing gender roles and social norms here? I’d say it’s the people who call a girl transgender if she’d rather join a baseball league than the ballet. That is not why they call Ryland transgender.

Ryland showed signs of being transgender because she didn’t like girly toys and she didn’t like to wear dresses. My first thought is that maybe she’s a girl who just doesn’t like girly toys or dresses. But apparently girly toys and dresses are so important to the female identity that you lose the identity when you reject the toys and dresses.  That is not the reason why he is transgender. He specifically insisted that he was a boy, and it was not until the parents received professional assistance and guidance that he was identified as transgender.

By the way, using the wrong pronouns is extremely hurtful to transgender people. Though I suppose that knowledge would probably only egg you on...

The YouTube video displays photos of Ryland in cowboy outfits and Spider-Man costumes, while the text on the screen explains: “Ryland began to show an aversion to anything feminine.”

Hold on. Who says cowboys and superheroes are masculine? Society. We've been through this before. Who says a girl can’t be Spider-Man for Halloween? I don't know, maybe the same man who said he wouldn't let his son wear a My Little Pony backpack to school? I thought liberals would be the first ones in line to condemn any idea that a girl has to be a boy if she likes things that society commonly associates with boys. The definition of transgender is not liking things that society commonly associates with the opposite gender.

In fairness, I should mention that Ryland’s ‘true identity’ didn’t just reveal itself through her taste in toys and clothes. Oh so suddenly (after misleading your readers for multiple paragraphs) you are aware of this. She came out and said she was a boy. Ok, by your own admission, there is more to this than just that he "didn't like girly toys and dresses." She said it when she was two-years-old. She made fantastic and nonsensical claims about being something other than what she really is — much like, for instance, every single other toddler in the history of the world. Except that the professionals who evaluated Ryland decided that he was not making "fantastic and nonsensical claims" like every other toddler. The professionals that his parents consulted determined that this was different than, say, a toddler proclaiming she is an astronaut.

Yes, Ryland is very young - was very young when he started making statements about his gender. But young children receive very strong messages about gender and are confronted with a world totally organized around gender binaries from the time they exit the womb. You might not think that a child that young should have any understanding of gender, or their own sense of gender identity, but the evidence seems to demonstrate that you are wrong.


  1. I've been waiting for this! Sharing. :)

  2. I'm so glad you posted this. I'm sharing it, too. But for the love of chocolate ice cream and almonds....change the text color or change the background color. I had to highlight the entire article in order to be able to read it.

  3. I just want to agree that I've been waiting for this. Thankfully I haven't seen to many people sharing his blog post around social media, because this one is extra gross. Thanks as always for your analysis.

  4. I am so glad I discovered this blog. Someone I know posted the original article and I couldn't not jump in to point out the fallacies and ignorance that Matt is spewing forth once again.

  5. I think the author if this blog is confused about the world...

    ...and completely misses the boat on every point she's trying to make.

  6. After spending a solid hour steaming about Matt Walsh's narrow-minded take on dating (admittedly nowhere near his most disgusting pieces), this blog is instantly bringing me peace.

    Thank you. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you.