In recent months I have increasingly been called on to give advice to my school clients regarding the rights of so-called transgender students. The Civil Rights Division in my state (Colorado) has imposed a very strict legal regimen on schools regarding these students, and what that regimen lacks in subtlety it makes up for in predictability. The law is, essentially, this: Transgender students get whatever they want. Does that boy want to use the girls’ restroom? Then he gets to. Does he want to change clothes and shower in the girls’ locker room? Then he gets to. Does he want to wear dresses? Then he gets to, etc., etc., etc.
Progressives – such as those who dominate the Colorado Civil Rights Division – have declared war on reality, and one of the casualties of that war has been legal recognition of the self-evident scientific fact that human sexuality is binary and fixed. I am sure our progressive friends will dispute this self-evident fact – just as they have disputed that the law of noncontradiction and 2+2=4 are self-evident. That someone disputes a self-evident fact does not mean it is not self-evident. It means that person’s reasoning is disordered. I will not “argue” for this self-evident fact, because to argue for a self-evident fact is to concede implicitly that it is not self-evident, that it can be demonstrated by appeal to more basic precepts. If someone disputes that 2+2=4, there is literally no reasoning with them, because they have rejected reason itself.
Until ten minutes ago the American Psychiatric Association recognized in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) that rejection of the binary nature of human sexuality was a mental disorder called gender identity disorder. The latest edition of the DSM, however, has ejected gender identity disorder and replaced it with a new term, “gender dysphoria.” Gender dysphoria is anxiety over gender identify issues – not the gender identity issue itself. And the recommended treatment is not to try to get the patient to square his views with reality but to get him to become comfortable with his rejection of reality.
But a man is not a woman and never will be, even if he is surgically altered. A woman is not a man and never will be, even if she is surgically altered. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.
Recently one of my clients asked me, “what if one of my staff members refuses to call this boy a girl or refuses to use feminine pronouns when referring to him?” What indeed? The boy is not a girl. It is one thing for the Colorado Civil Rights Division to require the school to allow him to act as if he were a girl. But it is an entirely different matter to require members of the school’s staff to actually say (either expressly or by implication through use of feminine pronouns) that he is a girl. It is one thing to allow the little boy to lie; it is something else to require a staff member to participate in the lie. So what is the school to do? Must it fire or otherwise discipline a staff member who refuses to participate in the lie that a boy is a girl?
This issue has not been adjudicated yet in Colorado, but other jurisdictions have spoken. The New York City Commission on Human Rights, for example, requires employers, landlords, and all businesses and professionals to use an employee’s, tenant’s, customer’s, or client’s preferred pronoun regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth. The New York Commission not only celebrates the lie; it requires others to join it. I am reminded of O’Brien’s interrogation of Winston in 1984:
‘You are a slow learner, Winston,’ said O’Brien gently.
‘How can I help it?’ he blubbered. ‘How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.’
‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder.
If you were hauled before the New York Commission, you might say “How can I help seeing the self-evident binary nature of human sexuality? There is male. There is female. There are no other options; to force me to say otherwise would be to force me lie.” To which some functionary of the Commission would respond, “You are a slow learner. There are many genders. You must try harder.”
At that point you will be faced with a choice. You can stand firm, refuse to participate in the lie, and accept the consequences. Or you can, like Winston, learn to love Big Brother.
As for me, if I am ever faced with this choice, I will resist the tyranny as Alexander Solzhenitsyn did — through personal non-participation in lies, and I will accept the consequences, just as he did. I will leave you with an excert from Solzhenitsyn’s Live Not By Lies dated February 12, 1974 (the same day he was arrested):
When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: ‘I am violence. Run away, make way for me — I will crush you.’ But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally — since violence can conceal itself with nothing except lies, and the lies can be maintained only by violence. And violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies — all loyalty lies in that.
And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, we will be obstinate in this smallest of matters: Let them embrace everything, but not with any help from me.
It’s dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.
No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.
And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his ‘progressive’ views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general — let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.
You say it will not be easy? But it will be easiest of all possible resources. It will not be an easy choice for a body, but it is only one for a soul. No, it is not an easy path. But there are already people, even dozens of them, who over the years have maintained all these points and live by the truth.
So you will not be the first to take this path, but will join those who have already taken it. This path will be easier and shorter for all of us if we take it by mutual efforts and in close rank. If there are thousands of us, they will not be able to do anything with us. If there are tens of thousands of us, then we would not even recognize our country.
If we are too frightened, then we should stop complaining that someone is suffocating us. We ourselves are doing it. Let us then bow down even more, let us wait, and our brothers the biologists will help to bring nearer the day when they are able to read our thoughts are worthless and hopeless.
And if we get cold feet, even taking this step, then we are worthless and hopeless, and the scorn of Pushkin should be directed to us:
‘Why should cattle have the gifts of freedom?
‘Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash.’