Not having read Abigail Shrier’s book, Irreversible Damage, The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, the only thing I know about it comes from its description.
Until just a few years ago, gender dysphoria—severe discomfort in one’s biological sex—was vanishingly rare. It was typically found in less than .01 percent of the population, emerged in early childhood, and afflicted males almost exclusively.
But today whole groups of female friends in colleges, high schools, and even middle schools across the country are coming out as “transgender.” These are girls who had never experienced any discomfort in their biological sex until they heard a coming-out story from a speaker at a school assembly or discovered the internet community of trans “influencers.”
Unsuspecting parents are awakening to find their daughters in thrall to hip trans YouTube stars and “gender-affirming” educators and therapists who push life-changing interventions on young girls—including medically unnecessary double mastectomies and puberty blockers that can cause permanent infertility.
This isn’t a novel concern, that young women with a greater need to be cool than be themselves indulge in permanent harm for lack of the ability to grasp the future meaning of their actions. Peer pressure is powerful, and there are few things more hip among a certain cohort than to be as much of an outsider as possible.
Of course, if they are transgender, then they are. If they’re not and are engaging in permanent self-mutiilation to find acceptance and validation, then this is a dangerous trend. But is it a trend, or are there simply more transgender people than was previously realized and they are now coming out and becoming the people they want to be? These are fair questions, and Shrier’s book raises them, as do people who dispute Shrier’s book. So let’s have that “uncomfortable conversation” people keep talking about?
actually what we could do is find copies of Abigail Shrier’s book IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE in our local libraries, rip out the interiors without consent, and install the texts of our own propaganda before sewing the jacket back up. stop this rubbish from reproducing itself
As that’s fairly complex, UC Berkeley English Prof Grace Lavery offers a simpler solution.
This might be chalked up to one “educator,” but for the fact that it comes on the heels of a call to arms by an ACLU lawyer and one of the foremost transgender activists, Chase Strangio.
Not to begrudge Strangio’s view that the ideas presented in Shrier’s book are anathema to his views about transgender people, even if they are grossly hyperbolic in the sense that raising any issue is tantamount to denying their existence or putting them at risk of physical harm, two arguments that perpetually appear and are entirely emotional and fundamentally irrational. Strangio has long been zealous for his cause, which is fine. Hey, that’s his cause and he’s allowed. But zealous to a fault, as in demanding the destruction of anyone who dares oppose his position, the most extreme position possible.
And to be fair, outside of the woke cohort that’s come to mindlessly fetishize transgender people, it remains a very problematic and troubling concept for many. And the hallmark has been shocking intolerance, both of people who refuse to accept the premise that gender dysphoria can possibly be real and those who hate people like J.K. Rowling for not accepting that there is no distinction between biological women and transgender women, anatomy and chromosomes notwithstanding.
The problem isn’t that there are differing views. The problem isn’t that those holding differing views can’t find common ground, and reject any possibility of there being any legitimacy to any view other than theirs. The problem is that opposition devolved into a jihad, a religious war calling for the destruction of their enemies. And so we’re back to burning books.
Ironically, this may well result in the Streisand Effect (h/t Mike Masnick, because he earned it), and a lot of people who would otherwise never have heard of Shrier’s book or considered buying or reading it will do so. Why the unduly passionate never consider this consequence remains something of a mystery, as the louder their screams, the more interest they generate in whatever they’re screaming about. Go figure.
But book burning.
When Chase Strangio first announced that stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas was a hill he would 100% die on, it raised two questions. The first was what exactly that meant, as some argued that he didn’t mean what he said, as in burning books or worse, but merely expressing the depth of his opposition to the book and to any ideas challenging his.
The other question was how a lawyer for the ACLU would make such an argument. While Strangio isn’t the ACLU’s spokesperson, his stance reflects upon them just as would an attorney for the ACLU stating publicly that the First Amendment does not protect hate speech. Okay, bad example.
And that bad example is the problem, that as has been discussed here at length, the ACLU has forsaken a principled approach to civil rights in favor of zealously defending the rights of those it agrees with and approves of. As for those it does not, such as people who don’t share Strangio’s views, there is no tolerance because they are wrong.
To the extent there was ambiguity in Strangio’s twits, there is none in Lavery’s, an English prof of all people, even if at Berkeley. This isn’t an intellectual argument about whose position is right or wrong, or even whose position deserves to be considered. While Shrier’s argument about young women getting caught up in the fashion trend of the moment and, in furtherance of their demonstration of either dedication to the cause or a need for validation and acceptance, do serious, even permanent harm, to themselves, is hardly a small matter.
Should we not be concerned if highly impressionable young people engage in self-harm? If that’s not what they are doing, then the answer will be “No, this isn’t a concern.” But the obvious fear is that it is true or the zealous advocates wouldn’t be as vehement in their outrage that they might lose a sycophant to rational reflection, the recognition that young women should not be encouraged to have a double mastectomy to be one of the cool kids among their woke classmates.
But book burning to prevent discrimination, to own the moral high ground? This is why I fear the left has become the more insidious problem.