Sit To The Left

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Sit to the left, Stand to the right

This may not be your favorite post. Hell, it won’t be my favorite post, but it has been on my mind recently and it felt like now is as good a time as any to talk about it. If you disagree with what I am saying here, please engage in the conversation, we aren’t doing anybody any favors by refusing to listen to and speak with each other.

Most of us have been exposed to this debate, in one way or another, in the past couple of years. Most of us, probably, have been exposed to it through sensational headlines and outrageous tidbits on the internet, or vitriolic sound bites on what we call our national news or our favorite YouTube channels. Most of us think it is a bit ridiculous. It doesn’t directly affect me or my family, it doesn’t really make a difference in real life, it doesn’t really matter that much, I am not a member of the Trans Community.

Thing is, folks, there are Trans members of my community. Gender is a social – I hate to say construct, so I’ll say convention – is a social convention. Gender is best defined as how you express yourself to the outside world with regard to your sexual identity. For most people in contemporary society, gender falls in line with biological sex, and the two are undeniably linked, but it is not always a dichotomy and it is not always simple, in fact it’s rather complex. If you’re interested, by the way, I feel pretty much the same way about ethnicity and race, so go ahead and warm up your post-modernist, lib-cuck, SJW insults now, folks, I’ve been called it all and I relish it.

Many people will say it is a ridiculous conversation to be having. Well, it is ridiculous! There’s no  way around it. It is absolutely ridiculous that a nation, an entire hemisphere, a large portion of the globe itself, can be captivated by a thing as silly as this. It is ridiculous that politicians reach out to us to try and gain support using this as a platform; using this issue as a way to signal above and across all the noise that they truly understand our lives and the perils we face in this modern age, and that they have our best interests at heart. It is ridiculous that we devote so much time and energy to yelling at the top of our lungs what amounts to This makes me uncomfortable! It is ridiculous that our society seems to be preoccupied by something so individual and largely innocuous. It is ridiculous that this is more talked-about than the things that are having a direct, negative impact on our lives.

I listened to a debate the other day about whether or not Jordan Peterson has had an overall positive impact on society. I happen to think he has had a net-negative impact, but I would love to have an in depth conversation with anybody who thinks otherwise. If you don’t know who Jordan Peterson is, I would not recommend wasting your time. He is very skilled in the arts of nonsense and snake-oil sales, and does an awful lot of dog-whistling for folks on the other side of the aisle. He came to prominence during a debate over basic human rights and equality in Canada. There was a bill that was up that would bar any government employee, official, or representative from discriminating against or maltreating any individual on the basis of gender. Jordan Peterson made a big stink, misrepresented the bill itself and exaggerated the impact it would have, and gained himself some internet fame; all by throwing a fit, like a petulant boy in the schoolyard who has just been told that his No Girls Allowed club is no longer allowed. Why are we collectively obsessed with gender, with sex and sexuality? Why do we allow it to be the reason we do inhumane things to one another?

We start conversations about morality and ethics in our public spaces fairly often. We also share a proscription on getting too deep into these conversations – the polite person does not discuss politics or religion, so we often leave them unfinished and unresolved. In these public talks about morality and ethics, we often pretend they are simple, black and white issues that are easily laid out and decided with common sense, and that anyone who disagrees with us can safely be called reprehensible and labeled The Enemy. We happily start the dialogue and get just far enough to justify calling someone else a nasty name, but go no further. Despite the fact that this country was built on progress, so many people who claim to be patriots are deathly afraid of progress and cling to the past, their safety blanket, in the sacrosanct name of tradition. Conversely, there are many people who call themselves progressives who refuse to have a conversation with anybody who doesn’t already share their perspective. Makes sense, does it not?

Many people see gender as a sacred thing. Why? I mean, it is important to most of us, at least on an individual basis, but why do we let it become a barrier to living a happy life? I really don’t get it. I understand that people get uncomfortable about it, and I think men could really come a long way if they understood the fear that I’m sure a lot of women feel, when they are all alone in an unknown environment, the fear of being violated and abused and violently penetrated. I think that that fear is a large part of many men’s homophobia, or hetero-supremacy as I prefer to call it. I understand that many people have rich cultural traditions dating back as far as we can see that revere sex and sexuality, or rather shy away from it, but how in the world does that justify the legislation, or simply the normalization, of refusing people the right to express themselves individually? A healthy person doesn’t have to look and act just like you to be healthy.

Many of us adopt the stance that our identity trumps all others, that other people must not only respect it, but defer to it when we are speaking about it; and that if they don’t we can automatically include them on our list of deplorables. I do this, I get slightly upset when I see somebody who doesn’t look like I think they should look talking about punk rock or hip hop or skateboarding or even science fiction books. I get it, but I am able to recognize and correct it in myself, and I know I’m not some mythical social genius, so I get pretty upset when I see people unwilling to do it themselves.

I’m starting to ramble here, it’s been a long day, but I’d like to take one more stab at it.

There are some very vitriolic conversations being had these days. I wouldn’t even call them conversations, more like shouting matches. Unfortunately, they receive an outsized chunk of our attention. Advertisers and pundits need to get their views up, and nothing beats controversy when you’re trying to get captive eyeballs, so despite the fact that most of us get along with each other fairly well, you’d think we were in the middle of a civil war if you relied on any one outlet or one type of media to form your opinion. One of the bigger points of contention is the general move to a more enlightened stance on gender, something that only affects the individual in question and not anybody else in any way. Many people are afraid of this, they cite traditional cultural reasons for their resistance, but it’s pretty plain to see that most of it is born of fear. We, the human race, are capable of amazing things. We are intelligent, we are emotional, we are beautiful, but we are capable of some pretty horrendous things too, and we tend to do those horrendous things when we are overtaken by fear. We are consumed by debates that are foolish and facile and futile, and the more time we spend having them the less time we spend making any actual progress toward a better world. Let’s stop being so hyper focused on something that I really can’t comprehend, why do you care how someone else presents? Let’s start working together to solve the problems at the root of the issues that nobody can deny we’re facing.

Thanks for stopping in, folks, I appreciate your time and attention. Go out and be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be!

 

 

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