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Writing for Quillette Ended My Theater Project

It was suggested that I apologize, and that an apology might help. This wasn’t an assurance, but an idea—if I walked back what I had written, there might be a way forward. I looked around the table at these four women who knew me too well to believe that I would apologize for something I had written. Before each of us sat the full length script on which we’d spent several months collaborating. I’d formed this theater collective precisely to make a play based on a killer idea I’d had, and I’d asked each of these talented, thoughtful, intelligent, creative women to work with me.

We were only in the first few months of what was meant to be a year-long residency in a theater space in downtown Manhattan. What I wanted most of all was to develop this project. By the time it was suggested that I apologize, I knew full well that I wouldn’t, and that the project, the theater company, and the residency were all dead in the water.

At issue was an article I’d written for Quillette, entitled “The Transhumanism Revolution,” about three undercurrents of transhumanism presently circulating beneath Western culture: bio-hacking or grinding, AI, and trans gender ideology. I’d brought the article to the attention of my theater collective when it was published in July 2018, and to everyone else I knew via my social media feeds. However, it wasn’t until two weeks prior to what would be our final meeting, in October 2018, that the article made a modest splash in the downtown indie theater community of which we were a part. When it did, I let the collective know that some people were taking issue with my views on transhumanism, and that they should let me know if they wished to discuss it. The members of the collective were confused. Transhumanism isn’t exactly a household proto-philosophical concept. Instead of knocking me down, the women I worked with tried to reassure me. I waited.

The lack of heterodoxy in Western universities has been extensively documented. When I appeared on the podcast Cosmic Tortoise to discuss the article I’d written, the host asked why I would dig into trans ideology, when it is mostly localized on college campuses. But I argued that many of the extreme ideas that percolate in universities then boil over into the arts, and, in the arts, dogmatic positions on gender identity are now the norm. Trans ideology has been met with a loving embrace, complete acceptance, and fighting words for any who dares to disagree in public.

I have been writing on the issues of gender, gender identity, and trans ideology since the premiere of my play How to Sell Your Gang Rape Baby* *for Parts in 2013. Gang Rape Baby (as we nicknamed it) was directed by the same person who was now suggesting that I apologize. It was performed by me and another co-founder of the collective, produced by another member of the collective, and stage managed by another. In other words, we had all worked on this play which had not been shy about my refusal to adhere to or espouse orthodox ideas about gender identity, gender roles, or the notion that men can become women. The difference between that show and the work I was doing then and the work I have been doing of late, is that no one had complained before. No one believed that my radical feminist black satire about selling babies which result from gang rape for their organs was hurtful at all—not to babies, not to women who had been gang raped, not to transgender bosses who accidentally tuck their skirts into their panty hose, use women’s bathrooms, and get breast milk sack implants. Not to anyone.

In the arts community, as well as in universities, it is assumed that a specific gender, racial, sexual, or community identity determines opinions. It is widely believed that traditionally dominant identities produce opinions and ideas that must be considered suspect (i.e. those of the deplorable white women who voted for Trump), and taken with a tablespoon of salt. This is especially true when those ideas or opinions are interacting with ideas or opinions that are considered the purview of those whose identities have been historically disenfranchised. The higher up the privilege ladder you are perceived to be, the less you should have to say about any group occupying a lower rung. For example, my perceived identity as a cis straight white woman is a clear indicator that I should neither have nor express opinions about trans queer white men.

Women like me aren’t supposed to say that men aren’t women. We’re supposed to believe that some men are women. We’re supposed to believe that these men who really are women really believe that they are women, and that we should believe it too. Women like me are not supposed to speak about female erasure, because trans erasure is more important. Women like me aren’t supposed to express the opinion that womanhood is defined by more than mere appearances or performance. We’re supposed to defer to those men that really are women and respect their perspective of what it means to be a woman more than our own.

“You’re punching down,” my director announced from across the table, our scripts and a selection of snacks between us. She said that she’d been contacted my members of our theater community who had let her know that I had hurt them. These theater people wanted to make sure that she knew about the article I’d written and what people on social media were saying. The director reviewed the thread on my Facebook timeline from July, and determined for herself that I had participated in “trans erasure,” and hurt people by equating medical gender transition to rapidly growing trends in AI and body hacking.

In point of fact I wasn’t punching anyone. I was writing in an attempt to convey a somewhat complicated idea about what human beings are and what we are becoming. This is a topic that interests me greatly, along with the vexing questions of how we ought live. These questions have been hugely influential to my research, my art work, and my writing. They are the questions that had spurred the creation of this script and the theater collective I had co-founded to make it happen.

“You are cis gender,” she informed me. “You need to educate yourself.”

“I am not cis gender,” I replied.

Women like me are supposed to understand that we are privileged to be women in women’s bodies. Did I get that right? Privileged to be females who are perceived to be females? Is that it? Wait, privileged to be women who like being women? Maybe that’s it. We’re supposed to understand that it’s different for those who don’t like being in women’s bodies. Or who don’t like being in men’s bodies. I am supposed to understand this because I am a “cis gendered” woman.

For someone like me, who is identified as (as opposed to identifying as) a cis straight white female, to have ideas or opinions relating to trans ideology that are contrary to the progressive narrative recited by rote is already enough for me to be chastised by my community. I knew this, and I often kept quiet during conversations with others in the arts community when these topics arose. But, by espousing them in public, and then doubling down on social media, I had crossed a line drawn to keep my identity separate from certain contentious subjects.

If anything, it is the knowledge that I don’t identify with those things stereotypically female (high heels, makeup, being quiet while the men are talking) that has led me to believe that what society defines as belonging to the domain of women or the domain of men are not what make women and men what they are. Instead, it is our bodies that have the job of determining male and female, and the mind that is free to do as it pleases no matter the confines of the physical form. Yes, the physical form has its limits, and we ignore those limits at our peril. In college, I knew a PCP user who once uttered this truth: if there’s two of you, you can fly;  if there’s one of you, well then you can’t fly. Because ideally one of the two will remember that the body has limits, and no flight capability.

“I don’t want to debate this with you,” my director said.

And that, of course, is the problem. No one wants to debate trans ideology. No one wants to talk about it at all other than to say it’s literally as glorious as unicorns shitting rainbows. I explained that I have no problem with pronouns, or bathrooms, or how people want to live, but that I don’t accept the identifier of “cis gendered,” I don’t think kids should be transitioned, and I don’t believe men can change into women or vice versa. I believe being a femme man doesn’t make you female and that men should be more accepting of their femme brothers. I argued that gender is performative and sex is innate, and that gender is not the soul, living somewhere deep inside us waiting to be realized.

“Don’t judge people,” my director advised, and went on to remark that I’d “really hurt people, you made them hurt, especially in a week where Trump said they didn’t have the right to exist.”

My exploration of the ideas behind transgender ideology was painful for people. But it was only a discussion of ideas. Because I had written about the ideas behind the social movement of individuals chemically and surgically altering their bodies so that they appear to be a member of the opposite sex, I was no longer welcome in the feminist theater company I had founded, and no longer welcome among those I had thought of as friends. Exploring a new idea in a longstanding philosophical debate regarding the interconnected nature of human mind and body was hurtful because it did not uphold the delusion that biological sex is malleable. I had committed apostasy against the new gender religion.

All of us around the table had attended liberal East Coast undergraduate universities, and had four graduate degrees between us, two of them held by a professor and a friend of over 20 years. This was an educated group. Stumbling into any downtown indie arts enclave will land you in the presence of enough degrees to warm the planet right out of existence. In the arts, bachelors degrees are standard, masters degrees are commonplace, and progressive orthodoxies are strictly enforced.

The basis of this enforcement is a kind of groupthink, derived from a politics of compassion, moral relativism, and privilege theory. Divergent opinions are not censored, they are self-censored. Artists who disagree do not speak up. To do so is to risk losing funding in an industry that relies almost entirely on philanthropic donations from organizations that routinely signal their virtue to one another, the artists they supposedly serve, and the progressive milieu at large. Artists who value their careers and industry friendships will not express views that put those things at risk. But I did. I knew what I was doing when I wrote it, although I must admit that I thought more highly of my intimate colleagues’ tolerance for controversy than was exhibited at our last meeting, or since.

Do we really think our era is so fraught and divisive that we must abandon our principles in order to achieve something that we absolutely will not achieve if we abandon our principles? It is neither reasonable nor possible to force everyone to believe a given ideology. People can be forced to espouse it, primarily through punitive measures such as imprisonment, blacklisting, gulags, etc., and social measures such as the denial of funding, denial of camaraderie, and denial of resources. But they can never be forced to believe it. It is to precisely this kind of ideological authoritarianism that my work has been opposed since I began writing.

The other women had been pretty quiet up until now. An old friend spoke up.

“Do you think you’ve done something wrong?” She asked.

“No,” I said.

“Then why would you apologize?” She asked.

“I wouldn’t,” I said.

And I won’t.


Libby Emmons is a writer and theatre maker in New York. She is co-founder of the Sticky series and blogs at You can follow her on Twitter @li88yinc

Feature photo by Andy Ngo.


  1. Gay_Marc_in_Sydney says

    THIS (below): my exact same views and position, articulated perfectly.

    “I explained that I have no problem with pronouns, or bathrooms, or how people want to live, but that I don’t accept the identifier of “cis gendered,” I don’t think kids should be transitioned, and I don’t believe men can change into women or vice versa. I believe being a femme man doesn’t make you female and that men should be more accepting of their femme brothers. I argued that gender is performative and sex is innate, and that gender is not the soul, living somewhere deep inside us waiting to be realized.”

    • Richard says

      Hi. Can you define what a “femme man” is? I haven’t heard that term before?

      • @Richard: femme man is also new for me, femme is ” woman” in French language, I remember, in my youth, adults often started speaking French to one another if they wanted to communicate on something not apt for the kids ears (in those times, sex was the number one of such items), maybe a remnant of such habits??

      • I think she just means a man that is more feminine. You have very masculine men and very feminine men. Masculine men are often seen in a better light. We should accept everyone no matter where they fall in this spectrum.

        • Stephanie says

          We already do accept everyone no matter how feminine or masculine they are. We might generally prefer masculine men, but it’s for good reason. Those are the kinds of men we count on to do all our hard work and to protect us. The work masculine men do can be done by no one else, so they naturally get and deserve recognition for that. The feminine guys who stay home with the women and children during war should not expect special accolades.

          • puddleg58 says

            I think this is true. If we read European history there are many epicene, androgynous men in positions of power, men with high voices or dainty walks were not excluded.
            This was not the same as homosexuality being tolerated or power being shared with women; it’s the same double standard as today.

          • “to protect us.” or attack us. Remember, the only reason you need a homme man to protect us is because there are so many homme men who attack us.

          • Jim Michelson says

            “The feminine guys who stay home with the women and children during war should not expect special accolades.”

            Feminine guys like Trump.

          • Helly says

            Yes they should.
            I award them a posthumous alclade now.
            Thank you to the conscientious men.
            But they couldn’t have stayed home because they’d probably end up in prison.

          • Charlie says

            Men who served in the Gestapo , concentration camps and execution squads were weak men; Himmler being a perfect example. The desire to inflict cruelty on others, to be spiteful, sly and cunning, is far more common in the weak. Those who enjoy tough contact sports and the rough and tumble of life; who have developed robustness, resilience and fortitude and are cheerful in the face of adversity, tend not to be cruel, spiteful,deceitful and sly.

            A perfect example would be to contrast the cowardly men and men ( Gestapo who enjoyed torturing prisoners, especially women). Yeo- Thomas GC said the only decency he received while being tortured was from a German guard who wore WW1 combat ribbons.

            When it came to female members of the concentration camps guards and Gestapo, a high proportion were lesbians.

          • Frank Frivilous says

            I agree with her co-worker that she was “punching down”. It appears to be too easy to ridicule the apparent victims of this agenda rather than take on it’s main sponsors. Of course, we all know what happens to journalists who do exhibit such bravery.

        • And who is this “we”, that “should”, accept everyone no matter…, etc? Who gives YOU the right to be arbiter of my conscience?

          Get thee to a nunnery…..and begone with injunctions, whose purview doesn’t esteem to make declarations of intent, for “us!”

          I am certainly, for one, NOT going to abuse my common sense, by admitting that a man can become a woman, or, vice versa.

          That as THEY say, is a no-brainer.

      • Gordon Hardy says

        A femme man describes a female-to-male transgender man, often with female mannerisms.

        • Larry Siegel says

          Can’t we just speak English? I think she meant a feminine man, not all the stuff you said. But I could be wrong.

      • Ullyses S. Pants says

        Just read the Asia Bibi article, then this one. The contrast is … hysterical:

        “I was arguing with feckless posers about trannies, and somebody said that somebody got butt hurt. Now, a play that twenty people would have seen will no longer be produced. BLOW WINDS! CRACK YOUR CHEEKS!”


        “I have been imprisoned in a bass ackwards Islamist theocracy for a decade on false charges under constant threat of brutal lynching. Everyone in my family, my lawyer, and even the judges who tried me have been threatened with death. Two people who spoke out for me were actually murdered. I am trapped in the country still and may die at any moment. The country formerly known as Great Britain (now known as Diverse Britain, a Moral Superpower) crapped it’s pants and won’t give me asylum ….”

        I think we might have a case of “first-world problems” here.

        • Such a good point. I’m very often struck by how upper class/intellectual class the whole SJW movement is (look at the article itself and the company the author keeps). As someone who lives in an urban area and who is nonwhite, it is glaringly obvious how, well, spoiled, so many of these people are. And so so oblivious about how good they have it. I also really really really resent that they think they have a right to not only speak for me, but if I disagree, *I’m* the problem. Yeah.

        • Indeed Ulysses, I noted the resemblance already in a comment here below, before the piece on Asia appeared. Conclusion: nothing human is lacking in all us ordinary people on this planet, whether in the West, or in the East, we are all universally similar and have the same roots, especially where group behaviour is concerned. Sad but true.

        • Constantin says

          @Ulyses S. Pants – I would posit that the right time to address a problem is in its incipient stages. The stories differ much in consequence but much less so in substance. I thought it was noteworthy for the author not to prostitute her soul and recognize the uniting thread of her work and ideas. I think it would be a grave mistake to lough over such stories because the consequences are not yet as dire as in some “shit-hole countries”. After all, our first concern should be of not becoming such a country in the first place, less Asia Bibi and others like her will have no escape whatsoever. 🙁

    • Aerth says

      Right? But it is nothing new, extreme Left is known for turning against their own once previous enemy is vanquished or subjugated. When Bolsheviks won the revolution in Russia and failed to invade Europe, they started looking for enemies among themselves

      • Morgan says

        According to democrat president Lyndon Johnson… “The difference between Liberals and cannibals is that cannibals eat only their enemies.”

  2. Good for you to stay strong and question this ideology. Really sad that it ended your project. So many people are scared to speak out, but actually agree with you. I am so glad Quillette is here as a sane outlet. I’ll check out your transhumanism article next- a topic that greatly disturbs me.

  3. Daniel says

    This surreal interaction so aptly described is inevitable whenever you seize a lie, wave it furiously around, and then charge into the breach, in the manner of Tennyson’s Light Brigade.

    The problem with lies, is — by definition — they don’t match the real world. The problem with “pronouns, bathrooms, or how people want to live” is that they don’t match the real world. It may not bother you, but then dishonesty doesn’t bother all sorts of unprincipled individuals.

    You may say that others have a right to live their lives without interference from a bunch of traditional-minded busybodies. That’s not the point. The point is that lies need to be called out. So here is me:

    “Ladies and gents, the emperor has no clothes.”

  4. “All of us around the table had attended liberal East Coast undergraduate universities,..”

    Well, that’s really the source of the problem, isn’t it? (And I say this as a graduate of one of those universities.)

    Also, the fact that those people gathered around that table likely had undergraduate degrees in the arts or humanities or maybe, at best, in one of the squishier social sciences probably didn’t help matters, either.

    These kinds of inane controversies and ridiculous ideologies don’t as easily generate among those who are accustomed to sorting through empirical evidence and prefer intellectual rigor to the exploration of emotion.

    Or do I unfairly stereotype?

    • annaerishkigal says

      Unfortunately, this whacky ideology is now infecting the hard sciences. My husband, an electrical engineer at a large tech research company, had to undergo mandatory “ethics training” to tell them what they were supposed to think about gender identity, including the fact they are obligated to “out” any coworker who expresses a “contrary” opinion about these kinds of progressive values.

      The legal profession is similarly infected. Our state-funded public defender’s office umbrella agency sent a “confidential” memo around last year, asking attorneys who took cases for their office whether “anybody at your law firm has expressed opinions that disparage or call into question race, immigration status or gender identity”, among a boatload of other progressive “sins” and informed us we had an obligation to out them so the state could deny that law firm funding until all of those lawyers were fired. “Expressing hateful ideas, such as those expressed by President Trump” was one of the “sins” on the list.

      • All of high tech is falling under the spell of PC dream thought. Reality be damned. Our eyes are not to be trusted; you can’t investigate anything human because it’s all hierarchical victimization to see and think and speak about it.

    • I was more taken aback by the number of degrees discussed. Student loans are a problem for many, but if folks struggling with debt are getting soft degrees and then putting on plays about selling the parts of a dead baby born from a gang rape, I couldnt care less about their debt. It makes me think of the tax dollars spent subsidizing those degrees. Not only that, but these folks can increase the interest rates for broad student debt, making loans more expensive for people doing real work instead of playing make believe.

      We are all out of our (apparently.highly educated) minds.

    • ga gamba says

      “All of us around the table had attended liberal East Coast undergraduate universities,..”

      Well, that’s really the source of the problem, isn’t it? (And I say this as a graduate of one of those universities.)

      Indeed. She still has the neck to title her essay Writing for Quillette Ended My Theater Project.

      An alternative and I think far more accurate title would have been My Poor Choice of Friends and Colleagues Should Have Taught Me Something. It Hasn’t.

      Ms Emmons asks: Do we really think our era is so fraught and divisive that we must abandon our principles in order to achieve something that we absolutely will not achieve if we abandon our principles?

      Principles??? What principles? Prior to asking that question Emmons writes: Divergent opinions are not censored, they are self-censored. Artists who disagree do not speak up. To do so is to risk losing funding in an industry that relies almost entirely on philanthropic donations from organizations that routinely signal their virtue to one another, the artists they supposedly serve, and the progressive milieu at large. Artists who value their careers and industry friendships will not express views that put those things at risk.

      She, like everyone else in the performing arts, knew full well that many out-of-fashion voices were being censored, be it self or not, and for a long time. Yet, she did nothing. She wasn’t challenging that. They happened to be voices she disagreed with ideologically, and if they were zero funded, well so be it and more potential funding for her and her cohort to tap. She happily participated in the suppressive system and willingly took the advantages extended to her. It favoured her.

      It’s only after she’s been bitten by the mad dog, one she happily accepted running around biting others until it turned on her, that has her finding principles and moaning about others lack of them. The Road to Damascus this isn’t.

      She was playing power politics for years. The system as it is exists does so because of the complicit like Emmons.

  5. Peter from Oz says

    ”really hurt people, you made them hurt, especially in a week where Trump said they didn’t have the right to exist.””
    I have never heard such childish garbage in all my life.

    • ShipAhoy says

      And it’s no coincidence that the people who disseminate this silliness curate a childish appearance as well.

    • I found this quote interesting as well. It’s not only childish (“you made them hurt” –a boo boo!), it’s implicitly false.

      1. What does she mean ‘people were hurt’? In what way? They heard an opinion that they disagreed with? They are really as fragile as all that? It makes them sound mentally ill, not merely childish.

      2. “in a week where Trump said they didn’t have a right to exist.” The Left does this all the time now–just outright lies. It takes a comment from Trump, then either misquotes him or quotes him out of context and then pretends the misquote is the truth, then repeats as though it were true. Trump never said trans people didn’t have the right to exist. That’s just an outright lie. But on my FB feed I saw people repeating this lie as though it were true. It leaves me wondering: Why do they need to lie? Trump says many things that are at the very least gauche. It shouldn’t be all that hard to repeat things he *actually* says that one dislikes. But no.

      Why the lie then? It’s deeper than manipulation. It’s just the same as their views on gender: Reality doesn’t conform to the vision they want–so they change reality. They have zero problem with this. For them, the narrative itself is the truth. This is why they’re so fragile. Reality bombards them and must be excised at all costs – otherwise the narrative collapses, the victimhood pyramid collapses. They don’t have facts or stats on their side, nor even coherence, so they must fight with bullying and frantic censorship.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Well said d.
        I get the impression that these entitled people are so used to fact that technology is quickly making life so much easier, that they think somehow social problems are just practical problems that someone else, usually government can solve with ease. The fact that the social problems aren’t solved must mean that we conservatives are evil blockers.

      • “For them, the narrative itself is the truth. That is why they’re so fragile. Reality bombards them and must be excised at all costs…”

        I think this is one of the reasons for their over-the-top reactions. What if someone told them “Two plus two equals five”? I think they’d shrug and go on their way. At some level they must know their position is a charade and to intrude upon their pretense is emotionally catastrophic.

  6. Gerasimos says

    Slightly OT… A friend of mine came up with a brilliant (I think) idea regarding bathroom signs. Are we still at two types of genitalia? Because if we are, his idea of labeling bathrooms “Penises” and “Vaginas” is genius.

  7. jimhaz says

    I’m not sure what i’d do if anyone was to refer to me as CIS gendered – the majority of people I know would never have heard the term. It would not be pleasant.

    • I find it ridiculous, but honestly feel anyone can refer to me as they please. Otherwise I would find it more difficult to defend my choice to call a man he and a woman she, as I determine.

    • “cis” is used almost exclusively as a derogatory term. It’s bigoted speech, and when you hear someone use it it’s a solid indicator that that person will be looking to silence any dissenting opinions.

  8. Libby, I happened upon your article solely due to Andy Ngo’s appearance on The Buck Sexton show. I must say Well Done. Your personal experience with shame/ shunning is what many fear will happen to them if they voice their traditional views on gender. I believe a majority of people view the subject similarly, but don’t welcome the violence, vitriol, and outright craziness that is observed by folks that defy simple common sense, and choose lunacy.

  9. Katherine says

    You’re not just writing for Quillette, you’re writing for Quillette extremely well 🙂

  10. Russell says

    “Don’t judge people,” my director advised…

    …He says as he judges you…

    This would be funny if it weren’t so sick and sad, illogical and irrational.

    • Emmanuel says

      I was thinking the same thing. The people who tell you not to judge other are always the most judgemental themselves.

    • peanutgallery says

      People frequently misunderstand the popular bit in the bible about judging. It’s about hypocrisy, not whether or not you should judge things. You can’t live if you make no judgements.

      • peanutgallery – You can have opinions/preferences all you want, but judgment implies a verdict and resolution according to some standard (law, biblical teaching or whatever the tyrants in charge represent). And you can judge non-human items all you want. Hypocrisy is behavior opposite of your judgment.

    • I caught the same thing. Didn’t the Director just judge you to be a CIS white female? Assuming that the director isn’t “CIS-white” anything, you should just them to be a cis-white-male/female and see what they say, since clearly it is what others judge one to be that matters, not how that person identifies since you were judged CIS-white-female while not identifying as such.

      If you do decide to open that Pandora’s box, please post it on YouTube for the enjoyment of others! It would very much be like that play post-election where they revisited the Presidential debate with an actress (cis-white-female) mirroring the words and mannerisms of Trump while an actor (cis-white-male) mirrored Clinton. The audience was left shocked when they realized that all of their interpretations of the debate were completely skewed, with things like “because he’s a guy/because she’s a girl” versus the reality once gender was removed.

    • Gordon Smith says

      The comment “I am mint judgemental “ is an extremely judgmental phrase. I ask people how they know they’re not judgmental. The only reality as they stumble with the answer is that you know because you judge others as being judgmental.

  11. Jezza says

    I was at a gay pride parade (as a spectator) watching the herd go by when one placard in particular caught my eye. It really stood out among all the spangles and glitter. It boldly proclaimed “I stick carrots up my bum and I’m PROUD!” I had a lightbulb moment. In all the frenzied posturing, this one guy had broadcast to the world not only his desire but also his inability to relate to another human being. He was being uncomfortably honest. He was declaring himself to be a complete emotional cripple in public. I stopped laughing. Then I realized that that was what all the other marchers were doing in various degrees – declaring their inability to relate to the opposite sex. They were ALL emotional cripples. I became very depressed. They had to resort to delusion and pretense to soothe their pain. My contempt turned to pity. Who am I to throw stones? Their condition is permanent, never to be cured. Is it any wonder they display such hatred and envy of those of us who enjoy the fuller life? How would you like to travel through life saying, ” I want to but I can’t”, longing to be whole, knowing you never will be?

    • Pando says

      Intuitive dysphoria; Why were you depressed? They weren’t longing for something; Expressing what most of us believe is the PAST. Permanent? Sit still; take a deep breath and look around. Nothing is permanent.

      • George G says

        I mean the psychological insight not the bum carrot sign

    • That reminds me of a similar experience during the gay parade in Utrecht Jezza, there passed a boat with people on it with banners of ” Poly Amory”, I hadn’t the slightest idea what that could be, and looked it up with help of Google. So, now I know, but still don’t understand why they should expose this intimate propensity (I think it is) on a boat, together with soulmates (I guess it were, or maybe colleagues, supporting this habit?). I also see often on TV people with different feelings,with certain diseases, overweight, or dementia, or whatever, proudly exposing how they are or how they live together with normal people, and, again, ask myself, why expose? I think, it all started with Oprah Winfrey! Just come forward with your misfit, you are just normal anyhow, and belong to us nevertheless! I think, normal people are starting to have a hard life, because, nothing interesting to show!!

    • Stephen J. says

      I was at a gay pride parade (as a spectator) watching the herd go by when one placard in particular caught my eye. …It boldly proclaimed “I stick carrots up my bum and I’m PROUD!”

      Well, at least he’s gotten to the root of his issues.

    • Sorry if I’ve misinterpreted this – are you suggesting that all or most people in a Pride march are ’emotional cripples’ who can’t ‘relate to the opposite sex’? If so I just pray you’re trolling…

      • That’s exactly what I also immediately thought, after reading it, Dave, because, somebody busy with a carrot with himself can’t be compared with gay people (5% of all people) in a love relation with somebody from te same sex, of course. But maybe it’s not strange that such ideas play in the heads of older men with little empathy for all those funny and different and what not all propensities of modern young people. The times, they are a’çhanging, after all.

    • Many gay people are perfectly happy and living their lives to the fullest. There is nothing to be cured from. I see your point about frenzied posturing but I really disagree with your generalizations.

  12. Pando says

    Please, don’t apologize; Intuition and the collective response of all that is Human has enabled you. Never apologize; Rather, Educate…………… Which you are doing…..BTW…. It’s not enough that we speak out anymore; We must, beyond reason, Mirror a moment.

    Your doing it; Relax and steady yourself; We are aware and embrace you. P.S. YOU CAN and we will help you if needed.

  13. Andrew Leonard says

    Divergent opinions are not censored, they are self-censored. Artists who disagree do not speak up. To do so is to risk losing funding in an industry that relies almost entirely on philanthropic donations from organizations that routinely signal their virtue to one another, the artists they supposedly serve, and the progressive milieu at large.

    What this amounts to is a case of deterministic demand.

    Deterministic demand occurs when a customer or recipient or collective of buyers receives something they value substantially more than the value outlaid. In the case of an industry that relies almost entirely on philanthropic donations, the outlays are relatively small, but the potential impact of the donations on personal careers can be huge.

    By default, deterministic demand drives down quality. The classic example being rent controls – if you can rent a place for less than it would go for in a free market, the landlord lets the place deteriorate.

    In Libby’s case, the quality of the product is determined by her (and her associates), so the downward pressure on product quality cannot occur. In cases like these, there is a different result – the determinism allows a personal or group agenda to form. The agenda could be anything, but in this case it is the obedient acceptance of progressive ideology.

    There is no way to escape the effects of agendas that arise in the case of below cost transactions, where content creation is involved and that content is created by second or third parties. In fact the agendas themselves are deterministic, in that they can be completely unrelated to the hosting market, and in that sense are created ex nihilo.

    People in agenderized domains have a choice of putting up with the demands and overheads that agendas impose, or alternatively becoming full fee paying customers or self-financiers.

    Deterministic demand as a driver of agendas can be clearly seen in the case of social media companies and subsidized public education.

    • stretch23 says

      I love this economic analysis. Thanks for providing a fresh perspective.

    • Andrew Leonard says

      Jonathan Kay tweets:
      I can’t ditch twitter completely since I use it to find new writers. but this thing with @MeghanEMurphy is the last straw in terms of me taking @Twitter seriously as a neutral platform. its admin now has an agenda, and is punishing & threatening ppl who even point that fact out

      Here’s your choice Twitter users:

      • free to use

      • generally provides positive value

      • the provider does not use the platform to advance an agenda

      Pick two

      The combination of the first two causes the formation of socio-political agendas. There is no parallel universe in which this does not occur. Positive value coupled with zero cost causes a spillover from the economic domain into the social domain. Attempting to prevent this spillover – that is, containing the agenda forces within the organization – would cause internal social breakdown. Public and political pressure on Twitter, Facebook and Google has already caused this to occur, to a small extent.

      Note that attempting to fight these agendas is kind of futile, while demand for the services continues. The agendas formed by deterministic demand are not of those pushing them (not part of their political essence or identity), they arise due to the particulars of the economic situation. In a sense therefore, the agendas drive their hosts, rather than the reverse (and as the host perceives).

      In the future, regulation of social media platforms will consist of laws that prevent the companies from obtaining more than 50% of their revenue from advertising (as an example). That would mean they will have to start charging account holders.

  14. E. Olson says

    Why don’t you write a comedy about how crazy and intolerant the transgender movement is? Perhaps use the example of sports competitions where a Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner type stomps all over real female athletes who have trained hard their whole lives only to be beaten by a man who thinks he is a woman – I imagine the pre/post competition locker/shower room banter could be hilarious. I expect you would get a great deal of funding from “non-traditional” sources who are tired of all this transgender BS. Given the number of “starving” artists out there, I would also expect it shouldn’t very difficult to find a cast willing to swallow whatever NE liberal arts qualms they have about such a production.

    • God Zilla says

      I submitted a tweet on a timeline on the topic of men invading women’s sport. The example I used was Michael Phelps returning to competition as a self-identified woman named Michaela. Without having to do any real training, he would win all the gold medals and set new world records in all his races for the next 20 years or more. Once he was bored with winning, he could simply revert to identifying as a man. No harm done, apart from destroying women’s sport.

      According to Twitter’s new rules, anyone referring to Michaela’s previous record-breaking career as Michael would be banned permanently for deadnaming or misgendering. According to Twitter, Michael Phelps would be an entirely different person than Michaela Phelps. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine this ideology spreading to all social media and from there to all written works, thus erasing the reality that the two are one and the same person, with punishment meted out to those who do not obey the new rules.

      We will soon all live in the alternate reality of the trans cult if this keeps going. It will be theatre of the absurd come to life, a combination of Kafka and Orwell, a new world order where no dissent is tolerated. “1984” was a cautionary tale, not an instruction manual.

      I think we are due for a ground-breaking play that exposes the trans cult for what it is: an absurdity. Funding could surely be found from non traditional sources, including adult human females who are actively resisting being obliterated by this juggernaut of transformative social change, the stakes of which can be glimpsed (transhumanism) but have yet to be defined.

      Males cannot be women and females cannot be men. Sex is a physical, biological reality. Gender is a social construct. It gives society its structure and underlies all of our endeavours. Unfortunately, rigid gender stereotypes of femininity and masculinity that are harmful to us all in one way or another, have come to predominate. There is a need for them to be deconstructed, as evidenced by the transgender phenomenon that is sweeping around the world on social media.This will bring some discomfort, but not anywhere near to what transgenderism will bring if left unchecked to continue to create its own reality.

      All of us have a stake in how to adress this situation, and our voices must be heard. The transgender movement must not be allowed to shut down all discussion and silence those who disagree with it, in order to dictate how this profound social transformation will unfold. We need to come to an agreement that some people believe that they do not fit in either category of male or female. Perhaps the less socially disruptive solution would be to create a new category of human with equal human rights, free to express their identity however they wish. But we have to talk about it.

  15. Pando says

    Want to Bake Bread with me? Truly. it’s that simple……………..

  16. Pingback: Quillette Spotlight - Libby Emmons - The Intellectual Dark Web.

  17. Never apologize. Apologies make everything worse, because now you have officially admitted that you did something wrong. Before that it was in question. Now that the error has been admitted, everyone can officially move on to the next stage – punishment. Of course, some had moved on to the punishment stage anyway.

    Those who violate the tenets of the religion of equality are Nazis. Those who have any doubts about the tenets of the religion of equality are also Nazis. For now the punishment is wrecking your career and making you miserable. Later, once the re-education camps are completed up in Alaska, you’ll be sent to Alaska to rot or freeze to death.

  18. Your article seems extremely mild and moderate.

    The fundamental assumptions of a seperation and independance between mind and body is nonsense, they are a closely coupled and interdependant system. This is why transgender ideology is so bizarre. I have no problem with an adult who wishs to take hormones and have sugery to change their body towards that of a different sex. In doing so they they will necessarily affect their mind as well. It is a very big decision with irreversible consequences which should not be taken lightly but it is a decision they have a right to take. What it is not is correcting a situation in which a female mind is trapped in a female body or vice versa.

    The idea of seperating the mind from the body and enabling consciousness to ‘run’ on different hardware if it is ever thechnologically practical would require a simulation of the human body or a quite profound and massive change to that consciousness.

    What has happened to liberal arts culture and academia that philosophical and political arguments and points of view outside a narrow view of society as consisting of a heirarchy of victimisation and oppression is no longer possible?

  19. Allyria says

    As a femme guy who believes pretty much as you do, I would like to say thank you for speaking up and thank you for not apologising. And also screw you to the people who are mistreating you for daring to have an opinion. These people hurt more others than ever will hurt them. And if that’s how they’re going to play then they really don’t deserve to exist.

    • There it is again, -don’t deserve to exist-, that’s exactly the problem, the new sharia of the western world, it is still among us, see here below (and above, of course).

      • dirk – Indeed. You can disagree with the PC foolishness, but to suggest they shouldn’t exist is a bit too close to Nazi and other genocidal agendas, such as those mentioned often in the bible.

  20. codadmin says

    ‘…standing on rooftops…’

    These people are fascists!

  21. But, after all we are making progress, there was a time that transgressionists were simply burned at the stake, and not even asked whether they would apologize; denying yes, this chance was often given, and if you denied or recalled your blasphemy, you were free again, but some didn’t and went up in flames. Remember, this is still so in many muslim countries, death penalties on blasphemy still exist, even now. Thanks to God, we have outlets like Quilette, and the apology culture, without severe sanctions.

      • codadmin says

        It only appears like progress because they haven’t got total power…yet.

        • augustine says

          “It only appears like progress because they haven’t got total power…yet.”

          Your reference to this misapprehension of “progress” is profound.

          Assuming the worst, I am consoled by the fact that they don’t know what to do with progress now, and they won’t know what to do with total power if they ever get it.

  22. Under what circumstances should (or can, might) people apologize? Has it to do with truth or falseness? Don’t think so, maybe sometimes, but mostly it is related with fear of hurting somebody’s feelings, for whatever reasons. In some cases, apologizing is polite, civil conduct, but in others it’s just cowardness.

    • Contemplating somewhat longer on this: apologize in hierarchic conditions (the boss, parents, church leader) mostly is caused by fear of future personal harm or dismissal, apologize to beloved is to repair your love relation or friendship. Whether you are wrong or right, doesn’t matter at all. In politics (and maybe, so many other situations) it might be fear of losing power or votes, as was the case here last week with our minister of foreign affairs, offending Surinam, his apologies were exactly the opposite of what he really felt and thought, but the political damage was partly undone).

      • And another good reason to apology I just now saw on my TV. Dolce-Gabbana apologizing to the Chinese population for a quite innocent ad where a Chinese lady was eating pizza with chopsticks. The Chinese were furious (why? would we be angry because of a chinese ad with westerners eating chow mein with a fork?), but the idea is clear: you better apologize to not loose potential clients: truth, background, wrong, good or bad doesn’t matter at all, not even intention does, just do it, and quickly, before damage is felt.

        • (which reminds me of a chinese ad for washing powder where a negro came out, after a turn in a washing machine, as a blanc chinese youngster, this time it was the Western world that got angry, and apologized the chinese firm)

  23. May I be reminded, for the umpteenth time, why people are on social media? I still struggle to understand.

  24. A C Harper says

    “…it’s literally as glorious as unicorns shitting rainbows.”

    And still the Emperor has no clothes.

  25. Gary Sweeten says

    In the 60’s and 70’s we rushed headlong into eliminating the10 Commandments and thus all Guilt. Refusing to steal or kill or commit adultery was too confining. So, out with the Big Ten! Now we have 8 Billion Commandments because it is possible to “Offend” anyone at any time for any reason, clear or unclear. All a person must say is, “You offended or hurt me” and I am in danger of being extracommunicated from the “Church ofPoliticalCorrectness” since every sin is a Mortal violation of the gods of the “Should”. We Should never speak in ways a protected group finds wrong. No detailed definition of my crime other than the perception of those watch dogs of Shoulding Correctness.

    Even the most educated and celebrated icons are not exempt from public Shaming and caning before a gleeful crowd of former fans. The only answer is developing crowds of fed up reasonable people who will fight the insane before they get any more power.

    • Kent Gold says

      @Gary: “The only answer is developing crowds of fed up reasonable people…”

      In order:

      “The only answer” – This sounds like fundamentalism to me.

      “Developing crowds” – This sounds like veiled demagoguery to me.

      “Fed up reasonable people” – This seems like a contradiction in terms to me. A fed-up person is the opposite of reasonable. A fed-up crowd is worse. They usually seem to end up hanging someone.

      “Reasonable people” – Vulcans? I have met people I thought were behaving in a reasonable manner … temporarily. I’ve never met a “reasonable person,” in the sense that they weren’t also sometimes quite unreasonable. I’m not sure “reasonable people” is a robust or useful category.

      • Peter from Oz says


        I can just see you in the midst of an invasion pontificating on reasons why you shouldn’t do anything, lest you be seen to be doing the wrong thing. Meanwhile, your town is overrun and you and your family becoem casualties of war.

  26. George G says

    @ Gary Sweeten

    don’t forget there is also their Deity: Asa who they invoke each time before speaking.

    Asa black lesbian Wakandan feminist
    Asa trans women demi dolphin

  27. Charles White says

    The Merriam-Webster defines ‘cis-‘ simply as being on the same physical side. ‘Trans-‘ defined as opposite sides. The terms make no sense with respect to gender studies, but, then, neither do gender studies period.

    I learned in organic chemistry there is cis, trans, but also ortho. As in cis-chloro-toluene, trans-chloro-toluene, ortho-chloro-toluene. Ortho being between cis and trans. I wonder when another nonsense gender term, ortho-genderism, will appear and what it will be defined as.

    • Stephen J. says

      When it does, people who do it will only be accused of Ortho-ing those they don’t like, and many articles will be written on the evils of Ortho-ization.

  28. TarsTarkas says

    Just wait until the Otherkin (people believing that they are animals and imaginary monsters trapped within in human bodies) clamber over the transgenders and Muslims on the intersectionality ladder. To be followed by plantkin, machinekin, etc. etc.

  29. Richard says

    As a father of a biological daughter who now is 25 yo and wants me to forget the facts and reality of her entire upbringing and substitute in all memories of her now as a male, this is quite painful.

    Currently her mother and I pay for well over half her living expenses have purchased her a condo near to us and she now is demanding more money for insurance which I assume is for some life changing surgery – well no thanks to that kiddo you are on your own for that.

    The psychiatrists and counselors are useless and encouraged her to become a man because of what is discussed in this article. The college she attended and graduated from all encouraged her to become a man and activist and used her as an example in her classes.

    The holidays are absolutely brutal and I told her last year if she searches our home again to find pictures of herself in our home as a female child or female young adult again to destroy that evidence, well, please don’t come for Thanksgiving or Christmas again.

    This movement is utter non-sense and is dripping with Post Modern Marxism and self hatred. We live in the greatest time ever for mankind, more wealth, less poverty, longer lives, healthier lives, more energy, cleaner air, more fresh water, more trees, movements to clean the oceans, more education, more food, and on and on and on and our terrible academics and so many others turn out children espousing such a hatred for the very system that created all of what we have.

    It’s just flat out pathetic and weak. And I as a father of this am just sickened by all of it. This is not the child I raised – I was not perfect but I taught my daughter to love herself and others, to forgive herself and others, to be good and strive for beauty and nobility and to be honest.

    Today I cannot fellowship with her, we can barely communicate, what are we to talk about? I can’t even call her the name we gave her, I cannot use pronouns in talking with her. I cannot even hardly look at her as she tries to grow a beard and her voice is so metallic sounding from the years of testosterone, it is utterly heart breaking and sends me off into depression for hours and days at times. But still I get up, go to work, take care of myself, my neighborhood and all of it, my home…

    The painful part is to hear my friends, coworkers, neighbors, other family brag about their children getting married, having children, doing good things, etc…as I smile and say “that’s awesome” while I cry inside painfully aware of my reality and theirs.

    It’s just pathetic, it’s regressive not progressive, it’s paganism, it’s the worst of the worst…

    Remember me as you applaud such things….

    • FightingToGetHerBack says

      I am so sorry, Richard. My daughter will turn 18 next year and I fear I will be facing the same horror as you. I have tried everything — from consulting with therapists from around the world, autism specialists, cult experts — and there seems to be absolutely nothing that can get her to understand that she has been victimized by an ideological movement. She has been brainwashed by society.

      I have been living this nightmare for four years and have spent much of this time desperately trying to get more media attention to the medical industry that is capitalizing on this dangerous trend.

      For what it’s worth, I share your anger and your frustration and your pain.

      • Richard says

        I will not lie about reality and known facts, I do try to not offend her, if she were a stranger off the street presenting as a man is one thing and I would comply, but this is my daughter, I changed her diapers and all of it….I have been on this road for nearly 9 years now.

      • Gordon Smith says

        Vicki – this is his “lived experience “ give it a break.

    • Dark Matter says

      Richard, your story is heartbreaking. The idea of your child seeking out old photos with the specific intent of destroying them…well

      I can only speculate on what details you’ve provided, but I would encourage you to remember that gender dysphoria is a recognized mental disorder. Though my guess is that a substantial number (possibly the majority) of people succumbing to the trans-furor have done so due to the social contagion aspect, it’s entirely possible that your daughter’s situation stems from innate neurological factors. By assuming that her condition can only be the result of social influence, and not neurochemistry, you may be causing the situation to become far worse.

      I might be entirely wrong – again I have no idea what has gone on in yours or your daughter’s lives aside from what you posted, or what the findings of the professionals you sought help from were. And I certainly believe that either way, the social climate likely made an already difficult issue far worse for both of you.

      Regardless, I hope you and your daughter are able to find peace.

    • Tina Rose says

      My heart breaks for you. Having to deal with the situation you find yourself in must be excruciating. And it’s really not fair of him to be doing the things he is doing to you, like destroying old pictures. Your memories. But I will tell you that, like so many members of our community, he hated who he was. Its not an excuse, but your son never wants to be reminded of the time he lost. The time that you found to be so precious.

      And he is your son. So even if you don’t like who he has become, still love him, and make sure he is safe as best you can. You don’t have to pay for everything, but to have a place to live and food to eat, is life. I daresay that even if you tried, and even if he could find the words to explain it all, you’d never truly understand what it’s like inside his head. I didn’t before, but now I know.

      My choice was to transition, or to die at my own hand. A false choice, really. And so I happily live a whole different life, asking very little from society at large, but to be treated with basic human dignity, and to be left alone to live the second life that God has given me. Some days are painful and filled with loss, but not with hate. Mostly it is wonderful.

      Maybe he will find that kind of peace someday. I hope so. As a father myself, I know that I want that for my children, no matter what.

      • George G says

        @ Richard

        Thanks for sharing, its easy to forget that this issue is causing real damage to people out their away from the computer screen. Good Luck to you.

  30. FightingToGetHerBack says

    Thank you for sticking to your principles and for sharing your story. Very few would have the courage.

    You wrote: “But I argued that many of the extreme ideas that percolate in universities then boil over into the arts.”Unfortunately, this has percolated well beyond the arts and into science, education, business, law, and most concerning, medicine.

    Medical students are taught gender ideology. For example, this pediatric hospital does not identify children by biological sex because that would be transphobic. They call them “gender markers.” The new medical trend now is to ignore biological reality, and cater to subjective feelings of identity instead:

    Scientists are using examples of rare chromosomal/genital defects to argue that sex is not binary.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics has ignored serious concerns of parents and other professionals as they continue to advocate for dangerous puberty blockers and hormones on young people, which they euphemistically label “affirmative care” which really means, you-are-who-you-say-you-are:

    Nearly every major medical and psych organization in the US supports this model.

    If parents don’t agree or question that maybe this identity is the result of peer influence or part of a normal adolescent identity crisis, they are told their child will be at a higher risk of suicide. I know this from first-hand experience.

    My daughter was taught this ideology at school several years ago and she, along with many of her classmates, became convinced they were trapped in the wrong body and need medical interventions to become their “authentic selves.” She knows several minors who (with their parents’ blessings) are taking testosterone. One of her classmates had a mastectomy at the age of 16. Here is an example of a commonly used teaching tool for young children:

    When this first began, I could not find one single therapist who questioned her new sudden identity. I had no where to go for proper therapeutic support.

    And now, she plans to medically alter her body. In the US, an entire industry has sprung up over the past ten years that is more than happy to help her do so, including Planned Parenthood:

    There are no safeguards. Even the legal system is using ideology to undermine parents’ rights and determine custody cases.

    here are very few brave enough to speak out because this has become a political issue.

    Many colleges, especially the most selective, are filled with more and more students suddenly declaring their new “trans” identities & quickly taking hormones and surgeries to present as the opposite sex. Most every elite college in the US offers full medical transition services on the college health plan:

    What most don’t realize is that transition services are offered under an “informed consent” model. There is no mental health assessment. There is no special test to determine if a person is “really” transgender. There is no way to know whether these risky and irreversible medical interventions will be regretted. But common sense says they will; FirstDoNo Harm says these doctors are committing violating their most sacred oath.

    I fear for my daughter. I fear for our future as a society. Please continue to speak out.

  31. I’m a woman. Probably somewhere on the autism spectrum– not enough to need a diagnosis. The teen school years were hell. Always the massive drive for conformity, that I was not capable of grasping or getting on board with. I don’t do makeup. I don’t do heels. I don’t do tight clothes. I don’t understand female social hierarchies, and was constantly violating implicit social rules I knew nothing about. I was incapable of fitting in, of conforming to rules that were nowhere explained or put in writing. I was perpetually excluded, ostracized. Those were lonely years, and miserable.

    The current progressive social moment, to me, looks like an immature, conformity-mad, high school female social hierarchy on steroids. The apparent rules change by the week, but are nowhere written down. And YOU MUST CONFORM or be ejected. Except now it’s not sitting by yourself at lunch or never getting a birthday party invite. It’s not being considered for a decent job for which you are qualified, because you wrote something that broke an unwritten rule 15 years ago, before it was even a rule yet. It’s being fired because you “made someone uncomfortable”. Where are the rules about that? Where is the handbook on how not to make people uncomfortable, ever? It’s having your reputation savaged by mobs of internet vigilantes you’ve never met, because somewhere, sometime, you said the wrong thing.

    I was so glad to get out of high school. I could wear jeans every day and nobody cared… turns out the Conformity Overdrive was just a weird side-effect of teenage hormones, and the adult world mostly doesn’t care. Things get better when you grow up. Things are supposed to get better when you grow up.

    I finally got to a place in life where I am judged on my competence, and my peers appreciate and respect me for my honesty, skill, reliability, and work ethic. I really, really don’t want to go back to being “out” because I can’t figure out the exact right combo of chunky-heeled loafers, opaque taupe tights, corduroy skirt and neutral cardigan from Express. Except social-signalling via cheaply-made mass market clothing has metastasized into social-signalling via… geez. Did I mention I’m on the spectrum? It has something to do with very specialized victim groups, a ritual vocabulary, unnatural hair colors, and yelling loudly when offended, I think? There appear to be a subset of extremely socially-adept, morally-labile people who can navigate it well. And just like high school, they’ve determined that the rest of us must be the underclass, and kept in our place.

      • Well, 30+ years ago when I was in school, the girls that shunned make up and high heels didn’t view them selves as “non-girls” just as “tomboys” It didn’t require any special pronouns or labels because it wasn’t abnormal. It only became abnormal when it was politically advantage to create a label and Intersection for activists to leverage for power.

    • Claire's Landing Strip says

      Slightly dramatic, no — and these are the people who are rebelling against — whether you agree with them or not — really rigid social values like a woman’s place in work and home, white supremacy (which is a thing), sexual objectification of women, cis hetero-norming, gender, the single-family home, etc., etc., — this is important. We need a society where being white/male/Xtian, European/nuclear family/cis/het is NOT venerated or seen as the norm or normal — it erases people.

      You have no idea and you’re not really thinking — or you’re thinking very narrowly. The bigger oppression are the big norms and mores. I think the SJW crowd pushes it a bit too far, sometimes — the proper response to someone being trans should be “I’m trans, and I want to dress and live like a woman.” (without making essentialist claims about who is a woman) and the other person say, “You do you.” (without making essentialist claims about men and women) and have it end there. Period.

      And a person’s hair color has nothing to do with what they thing. That’s stupid.

      • @ Claire’s:

        You’re missing the point. The little corduroy skirts from Express weren’t what it was all about in high school, either. They were social signalling. Currently, rainbow hair-colors are social signalling conformity to the “in” crowd. It’s only rebellious if you’re the only one doing it, and you’re taking a social risk for doing it. Right now, having blue hair is extremely conformist, and rewarded within the “in” social group. It’s the new Express wardrobe. Right now, among progressives, your hair color really *does* have to do with how you think, because it signals you’re part of the correct crowd.

        I’m against really rigid social values myself, because I’m incapable of conforming to them. It’s one of the key traits of autism: we can’t read nonverbal social signals and respond to them in the socially expected/appropriate ways. Everybody else has the rulebook built in, but we have to figure it all out by painstaking observation, like a biologist studying the social habits of antelope. It seems to me that as the progressive activist movement gains traction, it is creating an increasingly complex, inscrutable, treacherous, and (to non-neruotypical folks at least), dangerous social environment, where everybody is expected to signal the right things, or be suspected of overt or covert bigotry.

        But I’m autistic. I suck at social signalling. There doesn’t seem to be room for me in the new social milieu, which is not content with merely not-caring what people do in their off-time, but seems to want everyone to loudly and enthusiastically approve of it, using a formulaic ritual vocabulary and an unwritten, unacknowledged set of visual signals of “ally-ship”. It’s like a religion, except with religion, the rules are written down, and don’t change much. They can be studied and learned even by the socially handicapped. This… not so much.

      • Stephanie says

        You can predict the opinions of woman under 30 with pink/purple/blue hair with a high degree of certainty. Well-known NPC.

        “You do you,” is a good approach to dealing with people who are different. We already have a society that’s institutionalized this attitude, and nowhere else are people more free to live as they like. But the freedom to live as they like isn’t sufficient for the disproportionate number of trans people who have comorbid mental conditions, for whom external validation is constantly required. The argument isn’t over whether people should do as they please so much as it’s about how much the rest of society must make exception to accommodate demands for special privileges.

        Distorting the definition of “woman” is one such accommodation we cannot abide without seriously compromising our protections for women and our identity as a science-based (rather than religion-based) culture.

      • Peter from Oz says

        ”white supremacy (which is a thing)”
        Yawn, yawn.

      • @Claire: “We need a society where being white/male/Xtian, European/nuclear family/cis/het is NOT venerated or seen as the norm or normal — it erases people.”

        Why? Why do “we” (who is “we”?) need a world where being white male Christian Europe nuclear family is not venerated? What do we have in its place then? What *is* venerated? You do know, for instance, that many non-European, non-Christian, non-white families venerate the nuclear family too, right? Or do you imagine that European Christian culture has a copyright on nuclear families and most people being straight?

        When you say “it erases people,” what do you mean besides emotion? How is one ‘erased’? By whom?

        I speak as a non-Christian, non-European female who 100% disagrees with you; I’d like to understand what the basis is for you saying this–but not with emotion and dogma or anecdotes (I’m not religious at all) but with facts and stats.

    • Very well said. I totally agree. I’m a woman and non-autistic but never was in those groups, never understood them, and loathed them. But I’ve felt this more strongly this year, that this SJW/intensely conformist Far Left movement is a very feminine movement, like on steroids–it reminds me very much of a group of upper class mean girls in middle school/high school.

      • I do wonder if it isn’t just a bunch of HS losers getting to college and deciding they want a piece of the “exclusive clique” action… and morphing into something 10x worse than the idiocy they’re imitating. “I’ve been rejected, now I get to do the rejecting!” It’s a common enough phenomenon: abused becoming abusers etc.

  32. Farris says

    My stars! It appears this woman has a totally vulgar opinions our trans community. A lady simply does not publicly express such notions. I may just have a case of the vapors if she is allowed to continue working on our play.

  33. “All of us around the table had attended liberal East Coast undergraduate universities, and had four graduate degrees between us, two of them held by a professor and a friend of over 20 years. This was an educated group.”

    Are they educated though? Or, are they simply credentialed? I suspect the later is more likely. I know in my undergraduate it became obvious rather quickly that the easiest route to a good grade was to parrot my Professors opinions back at them. So, even if you don’t agree, its the path of least resistance to do so. After wearing the mask for long enough, you start to take on the aspects of that mask. It took sometime into my MA to start seriously reading outside of course’s to get a more nuanced, measured, and diverse set of opinions. So, even as I near the end of my MA, I feel as if I am only beginning my education, even though I will be fully “credentialed”.

  34. Nate D. says

    Kudos to the author. I’m amazed that so many women, even progressive women, sit idly be while trans men invade the spaces their mothers fought for. When Jenner was crowned Woman of the Year, I thought:

    “If I was woman, I’d be pissed off. This person has never had menstrual cramps, never birthed a child, never had their nipples ripped to shreds by a nursing baby, hasn’t had to use their wits to jockey for space in male-dominated spaces, hasn’t faced the conundrum of balancing motherhood with career, hasn’t had to fight any of the battles 2nd wave feminist fought for, … basically hasn’t faced any of the unique struggles a women must face in her quest for a life well lived. This person has simply chosen to live out an idealized version of a glamorous woman, and we’ve labeled him the apex of female achievement in 2015.”

    Why aren’t more progressive women telling trans men to “stay in their lane.” <– they love that line. "You want to be trans? Be trans all day long, but don't claim that whats going on in your brain somehow qualifies you erase the lines on the road." They'll tell a white woman she can never understand what it means to be black. They'll tell a white male he can never understand what it means to be disadvantaged. But they don't have the cojones (pun intended) to tell a person born with a penis that they can never truly appreciate what it means to be born with a vagina. It's so inconsistent. (And the explanations I've heard for dismissing this inconsistency are at best weak, and at worst, outright lies muddied up with pseudoscience.)

    Again, kudos to the author for her consistency in this matter.

    • Claire's Landing Strip says

      This is definitely the weak link in the chain for the SJW crowd. They’re also insisting that a woman is born a woman, that expressions of clothing and hair make a women — all kinds of problematic shit.

    • Personally, I hope this trans-insanity escalates, and ‘woke women’ get a taste of their own medicine. I hope they all kill each other.

  35. Stephen J. says

    There are some emotional experiences more painful than losing the respect or love of friends or family over an inability to agree on what is true, or on what truths need to be proclaimed — but not many. I commiserate with the distress and applaud your integrity.

  36. Stephen J. says

    “Do we really think our era is so fraught and divisive that we must abandon our principles in order to achieve something that we absolutely will not achieve if we abandon our principles?”

    This is the classic Devil’s Bargain, or Magician’s Bargain: we pay a terrible price to accomplish some nominal good only to find that the payment of that price has robbed us of the ability to enjoy or benefit from the good.

  37. Good for you. Your personal integrity is worth more then any theater project. You’re personal integrity is worth more then any career really. You can always find a new line of work you can’t regain integrity once its lost.

    • D-Rex says

      Kevin, while I agree with your valuing of personal integrity, we should acknowledge that in this instance as is common, it has come at a cost. And the cost was not trivial for the author. “You can always find a new line of work ” devalues the time and effort that she put into her dream that now seems to be forever beyond her grasp. This is no small thing.

  38. Charles G says

    I’m also part of the art world, although far from it at the moment, and have wondered if I’d ever be able to work again, publish again, anything again after writing for Quillette. I’ve pondered over this for months, mostly because Quillette is the only forum/journal that I feel at home with/respect anymore. The actual bravery of the author should go record, and will hopefully go down in history as another uncompromising voice in the battle for the human spirit against authoritarianism.

  39. Alphonse Credenza says

    The far left destructive purportedly utopian political agenda has displaced real theater in most of the U.S., and the New York City scene is by far the worst affected. Theater has been moribund there for nearly 40 years, replaced by this crap, for it is ideological claptrap from start to finish.

    American cultural life has been infected with the plague of self-referential, social justice nonsense like this. Non-stop ideology, supported not by ticket sales, but by government grants which prop it up. The equivalent of Piss Christ on the boards, paid for by taxpayers, at the behest of political actors who have no theatrical talent or ability.

    So dreary, so maudlin, so “revolutionary,” so totally ugly, base and crude that there is no content that inspires. But these “artists” think they are genius! Anything but. They are the reincarnation of the East German ideologues in the arts and garbage like Hamilton is their revolutionary opera! Horrendous that we in America have been reduced from great skill, inspiring work, top talents, to this!

    • Claire's Landing Strip says

      lol — just burn the paintings and bury a coffee can of your money in the backyard already, crotchety dude.

  40. “I was no longer welcome in the feminist theater company I had founded…”

    I’m curious how appropriately you and your feminist allies think James Damore was treated at Google.

  41. R Henry says

    Ours is the Post-Reality, Post-Truth era in which Stacy Abrams in Governor, Jim Acosta is a Journalist, and Bruce Jenner is a Woman.

    • It would be utterly UnAmerican to dispute the results of our elections! (every Dem in Sept/Oct 2016)

  42. TofeldianSage says

    Oh boo hoo. Does anyone else recall what it was like to be a man in the 70’s and 80’s and to try to express your opinion about issues women considered their own? Do you remember being told that you had no valid opinion on the matter and that you were a prime example of what they loathed the most? Do you remember the name-calling and denigration?

    Fast forward 40 years and it’s the very same story, except now you’re the loathsome one. Its the sequel, little sister, and now you’re the villain. Is anyone surprised? Does anyone have sympathy? Not me. What goes around comes around.

    • Finally. So many posts here going on about how ‘brave’ the author is. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. No sympathy from me.

  43. Ken A. says

    Maybe it’s because I’m a simple country boy from the wilds of north Georgia, but this article didn’t make a lick of sense to me. Just for example:

    “At issue was an article I’d written for Quillette, entitled “The Transhumanism Revolution,” about three undercurrents of transhumanism presently circulating beneath Western culture: bio-hacking or grinding, AI, and trans gender ideology. I’d brought the article to the attention of my theater collective when it was published in July 2018, and to everyone else I knew via my social media feeds. However, it wasn’t until two weeks prior to what would be our final meeting, in October 2018, that the article made a modest splash in the downtown indie theater community of which we were a part. When it did, I let the collective know that some people were taking issue with my views on transhumanism, and that they should let me know if they wished to discuss it. The members of the collective were confused. Transhumanism isn’t exactly a household proto-philosophical concept.”

    Well, I’ll readily attest that transhumanism isn’t a photo-philosophical concept amongst my friends and family. Maybe if we went to to “indie theater communities” we’d have a clue about what in the heck you’re talking about, but most of us have other things to do. But thanks for writing!

    And what the heck is “grinding”? I’m sure I don’t want to know!

  44. Ken A. says

    I’ve been trying hard to secure a position as a Greeter at my local Walmart but they keep turning me down, supposedly because they say I “act funny”.

    The real reason I know is that I post frequently on Quilette and therefore am not so-called “politically correct.”

    I’m planning on writing up an article about this real soon, hopefully get it published here near future! Watch for it! Thanks!

  45. Thank you for standing up to these people. I know it’s hard, because I’ve done it as a parent, in public school, in a city that’s a bastion of leftist postmodernist intersectionality made law.

    If this is what has become of the arts, as it has become so of the news, then I wish the theater community, Hollywood, and the major news outlets the slow death of irrelevance. I will not cry when these moribund and coopted vestiges of once-great news and entertainment industries drive themselves off the cliff. People will find new venues for making art and entertainment and disseminating news.

    I won’t cry when the public schools stop spreading this either. But that’ll be a longer day in coming. Because they have a back door into our public purse.

  46. Claire's Landing Strip says

    The key to the issue: you should never punch down. There’s too many places to punch up to punch down. When you punch down — like most of the reprobate pants-pissers who congregate in this forum, you betray your emphasis — it says more about you than them.

    Why are you spending your fucking time dwelling on someone else’s genitals or how they dress or if they match? Do you just gotta make your opinion known? LOL. We’ve heard it. Anyone who has studied any of this knows it — hell, I mostly agree with you — but writing for Quillette not ONCE but TWICE shows that you’re willing to align with cryptofascists in a zeal to grind a certain axe.

    The IDW/Quillette orbit is busy on the daily making sure that you don’t believe there are any punchups to be had — that you never look again at power imbalances or critique things in that way. And their endgame is to reorder society back to the dark ages. You make a statement when you decide to play on this team.

    Maybe just punch up or shut up?

    • Nate D. says

      @ Claire’s Landing Strip

      I think most of the people who comment here are not really interested in punching up or punching down, per se. That is Critical Theory’s m.o. and most of the people here, while empathetic and open minded, don’t march to that drum.

      This is why Critical Theory is a self-defeating premise that is destined to die (and hopefully it won’t take too many actual lives with it when it does). If Critical Theory is so obsessed with punching up, horizontal relationships (equality) can never actualize. There will always be a militant demand to form a hierarchy. If C.T. is how you see the world, your going to have a serious case of cognitive dissonance when equality is actually achieved. And if you make your living perpetuating this theory, you’re going to be out of a job. Better to keep stoking that hierarchy and pushing equality into the proverbial future.

      Furthermore, this is why there is such a race to the bottom to out-victim each other. If you can out-victim your neighbor, you can rest cozily below him on the hierarchy. It’s much safer at the bottom because people, as you’ve clearly shown, are strongly discouraged from punching down.

      I think most people who inhabit these comments are more interested in punching logical fallacies, irrational thought, pseudoscience, etc. whether it’s above or below – or beside.

      (On another note, it’s not fair for certain groups to march around demanding special treatment because of their genitals, and then to belittle those who question them for “dwelling on someone else’s genitals.”)

      • Heaven forbid a cis-white-male-Jew “punch down” on a transracial-transqueer who hates Jews and publicly calls for their extermination from the planet in the name of the FourthRightNow

    • codadmin says

      @Claire’s Hairy Strip

      Quillette is ‘punching up’ though. You are the sort of fascist who, no doubt, got the author sacked in the first place.

    • some dude in wisconsin says

      “Why are you spending your fucking time dwelling on someone else’s genitals or how they dress or if they match? Do you just gotta make your opinion known?”


      Most of us don’t care about the “genitals” issue. What we do care about is being told what to think and the codifying of a “belief” that informs what our children are taught.

      And take your “cryptofascists” and shove it where the sun don’t shine. It’s polarizing language like that that IS the problem, motherforker. (see the polarization happening?)

    • I get what you’re saying about “punching up” and “punching down.” But in this case, it’s a bit unclear as to who’s “up” and who’s “down.” She shouldn’t have had her project ended over publishing an article on Quillette, whether or not I myself agree with her angle in said article.

      But I do agree with you that Quillette loses a lot of credibility through their pieces on transgender issues. For instance, show me a legitimate, serious publication that will publish an uncritical review of an anti-transgender book by a conservative Catholic. Just because the nonsense isn’t postmodern doesn’t mean that the nonsense isn’t nonsense.

      The author is entitled to her opinion and theories — just like the conservative Catholic or the Islamist is entitled to his superstitions.

      However, you would think that a crowd that prides itself on facts over feels (e.g. Quillette readers) wouldn’t fall so hard for the “gender is performance” trope. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that gender has a biological basis; if it didn’t, the anti-trans crowd would be write.

      But honestly, I don’t know if Quillette writer other than Jeffrey Tayler actually has the chops to get published anywhere else.

      • >> “I don’t know if Quillette writer other than Jeffrey Tayler actually has the chops to get published anywhere else.”

        Steven Pinker has written for Quillette. He is not only published elsewhere, but was just included in the NYT 100 notable books for 2018. Jordan Peterson also has written for Quillette and his “12 Rules for Life” is current sitting at #6 in top selling books for 2018 on Amazon. Those are just 2 very, very obvious contradictions to your ridiculous statement but I’m sure there’s plenty more.

        Talk about abandoning “facts” for “feels”…

        • Well, now I now that there are two, Pinker and Tayler. But generally, Quillette writers aren’t exactly thought leaders — or even skilled writers. Peterson is just a Reza Aslan with a different set of apologetics. Postmodern nonsense, indeed.

          But the point about “facts over feels” is that Quillette gets its panties in a bunch over transgender issues, while ignoring the science and research surrounding those. I don’t see how that’s so different from conservative religious craziness or SJW nonsense, to be honest.

    • You seem angry. Regardless, I would love to hear an honest attempt from anyone to answer this question:

      What exactly is a “cryptofascist”?

    • @Claire, What the hell is “punching up”? This is a more complex question than you seem to realize. Aside from your implicit assumption that words and opinions equal violence (“punching”” and btw as someone who lives in an urban city where we hear gunshots every day pretty much, I find that obsession with words as violence to be extraordinarily spoiled, self centered, and privileged) –aside from this, you obviously view human beings as members of a group, *and* each category they belong to falls on an unspoken linear hierarchy. (Otherwise your ‘punching up or down’ comment would not make sense). So:

      1. I disagree that people’s most important quality is their group membership(s).
      2. Who determines where on the vertical hierarchy the group membership falls? Is this written down so we all can see it, or is this just something we’re all ‘supposed to know’ and if so, why and how? Why do they have power to put someone at a certain position on the hierarchy so it’s clear whether they’re punching ‘up’ or ‘down’ and I do not? Or is it the wealthy/highly educated who have the most say? And in that case, aren’t they implicitly being exactly what they criticize most?
      3. Why is social class never considered? I posit it’s because this movement stems from the upper class/educated class who is accustomed to power to the degree that they dont’ even see their own power. I find that undemocratic and infuriating. Do you? For instance, if I as a lower income person criticize and upper class person who earns 10 times my amount, am I punching up or down? Says who?
      4. If you say you represent groups (eg if you are gay you speak for gays, or if you are white and defend Blacks, all as a monolithic groups) who gives you that power? Did anyone elect you or are you just the richest and most tapped into power? What happens when I disagree with you? I’m nonwhite for instance and female—what if I disagree with you? Why is my opinion worth less than yours?

      What is a ‘cryptofascist”? Define. Why are you not one?

      As far as your other assertions–I believe there are power imbalances. Of course there are. There always are and alwyas will be. But there are many different sorts of power imbalances. You are only looking at a very narrow subset and ignoring the rest .

      Finally the only people spending time dwelling on someone’s genitals are the Far Left (I love the cursing btw–this is an interesting thing SJW folks do, to show they’re passionate, I guess, or angry and therefore purer?). Prettty much everyone else – except some traditionalists I disagree with – couldn’t care less. What we object to is a) refusing to let women speak and define ourselves b) equating speaking with violence and c) acting as though a trans person (and why is it *always* the male to female that demand the concessions, but not the female to male?) is somehow ‘low’ on the hierarchy and therefore has vicitimhood sainthood that allows them to be as aggressive and demanding as they want. I just want to view them as individuals and will respect their pronouns totally. I will listen when they share their experience. I will love them as themselves. I’m sure I speak for a great many people. I’m an individualist. So why do you get to define the situation and not me?

  47. ClosebutNoCigar says

    While I’d like to side fully with the author, I also feel like she now reapeth with she soweth (and continues to sow). You don’t get to to ride the oppression train and then piss & moan when you discover that YOUR stop is no longer the destination du jour & that you’re now but one of many, less popular stops en route to a nebulous, ever-changing end of the line.

    Just look at some of the divisive, woe-is-us language you continue to trade in: “I believe being a femme man doesn’t make you female and that *men should be more accepting of their femme brothers*.” Like, it’s on to the heathen men to awaken, come out of the cave and pick up your slack. “I argued that gender is performative and sex is innate, and that gender is not the soul, living somewhere deep inside us waiting to be realized.” So sex IS the soul? That’s the defining measure? This is the very sort of store-bought Humanities tripe you’re decrying.

    • Oh I don’t know, try being a mid-20s to mid-30s male driving home at 2am from work. You will be endlessly stopped and subjected to DUI interrogations because that’s the profile the LEOs use to drum up their DUI-arrest stats. When a good % of younger males driving home at 2am are doing so from a bar, where they may have had a drink hours ago so you will get a > 0.000 BAC, and DUI arrests get you promoted to higher paying DUI task-forces, then you get profiled. Most states have a DUI “less safe” standard which is “anything between 0.000 and 0.08” just to justify such profiling/arrests. See, MADD lied and sold the story that 2 drinks/hour was fine, but left out that it takes 5-6 hours for them to FULLY leave the system, so folks drink 1 beer, drive home 3-4 hours later, and get profiled/arrested/charged with DUI “less safe” to generate revenue…but, that’s a discussion for a different Quillette article.

  48. joe daniels says

    This is what happens when you think the people who talk nonsense like “especially in a week where Trump said they didn’t have the right to exist” are your friends. All such people are dangerous bigots.

    • Yep, Trump never said that but hey, I saw it posted on Twitter by Left-Troll-Du-Jour so it must be true! I’m waiting for Borat to show Trump’s son being hatched from an egg with a tail, or Amy Schumer to be deplatformed for her old jokes about no longer dating hispanics because she prefers her sex to be consensual…/gasp! implying that hispanics are rapists?!?!? He called them all that, at least Trump only said there are rapists in amongst them (as numerous reports have pointed out, including testimony by members of the caravans/etc).

      Kemp suppressed votes in a county in GA! He was trying to shutdown polling places! Gleefully ignorant of that county having a Dem. majority board of commissioners, who place the board of elections members, in a county found by the DOJ in 2011 to be violating ADA standards in polling places….but that wasn’t in the MSM or ACLU stories.

  49. David Lee Off says

    Why not write a play about suppression of wrongthink? It is ubiquotous and prevalant, unlike gangrape, which is essentially nonexistent in places like Manhattan. As I have lived there since 1975, my very educated guess is that you are more likely to be assaulted by a rat in manhattan, than gangraped. But that was gist of her first play…

    It amazes me – it is still incredible to even fathom – how ungrateful these feminists are. The NYPD revolutionized law enforcement and reduced violent crime so much that it literally paved the way for artists to come back to nyc and “create”. The neigborhood she writes in was likely a hellhole 25 years ago. Still, she peddles fear.

    Hard to feel sorry for her. Hard feel sorry for any feminist, in general, who dares to go off script and then gets lit up for it. She knew the game when she signed up. Maybe she ought to listen to some of the men she encounters, rather than interupt them, as she proudly declared.

  50. Geordie says

    Gan and get a proper job among ordinary people, pet. Ye’ll be far happier.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Very true, Geordie
      The fact is that most lefties are really trying to get away from the fact that they aren’t up to being bohemians.

  51. Slightly tangential question that hits on an important intersection in the author’s three “undercurrents” (bio-hacking, AI and trans gender ideology) and the issue of biological sex being immutable. The author states her take on the issue by saying, “I don’t believe men can change into women, or vice versa.” It’s a pretty clear stance and most of the forum replies seem to agree with it.

    But try this thought experiment. Currently, all human beings die at some point. Not always from an accident or foul play, but because genetically we haven’t evolved to be endlessly self-repairing. It’s pretty easy to see why that would make little sense evolutionarily for a species, especially after at least half the members can no longer reproduce.

    So now think about bio-engineering. Let’s say in the near future we come up with a bio-hack that lets our bodies self-repair endlessly and we can keep on living (don’t get lost on the science side, it’s a thought experiment :-). So would all of you who say people can’t change their biological sex now go ahead and die because it’s not right for people to change their biological life expectancy?

    Some people might be cis-death acceptant, but I’m betting many people would vote tranny on this one and look for anything medical they could do to change their fundamental identity.

    Play with this thought experiment a bit more and you can come up with all sorts of things that in the not too distant future could potentially be changed about a person (height, weight propensity, intelligence, psychopathy, etc.). Is there some reason why some or all of these would be ok to change but not gender? If I’m heavy and can’t seem to lose the weight even with long term exercise and healthy eating, would it be wrong for me to change that if there were a medical treatment that could work?

    I’m not at all arguing there aren’t problems with trans ideology and that the articles’ discussion of the problems the author faced taking the stance she did aren’t problematic as well. And I absolutely get the concerns about making drastic biological changes (especially to children) based on feelings that change significantly over time.

    But I’m not so sure as we look forward to a world that might be filled with bio-engineering possibilities we’ve hardly imagined that deciding fundamental biological change is always wrong is the best position to stake out.

  52. It is bizarre, and hilarious, that trans activists feel that they can label you “Cis Gendered” because you outwardly present as a man or a woman. Are the same people not telling us that assuming someone’s gender and/or misgendering someone is violence? I propose we all refuse the label, if asked I am a gender almost the same as male, except with an utter disinterest in sports and cars.

    • dellingdog says

      You can choose to use the label or not — just as you can decide to call yourself “heterosexual” rather than “homosexual” if you’re attracted to the opposite sex — but that, nevertheless, is what you are. I agree that the term “cis” has limited utility since transgender people comprise a significantly smaller proportion of the population than gays and lesbians, but it’s becoming an established part of the English language. Sorry; the culture is moving in a more inclusive direction whether you like it or not.

      • @dellingdog
        Nah, I don’t think so. How about this deal: trans-folk stop using the term ‘cisgender’ (because it offends me) and I’ll stop calling them freaks/she-males/etc (because it offends them). Don’t care if you offend me? Ok, then I don’t care about offending you. Sorry, I’m done being ‘inclusive’.

        • dellingdog says

          M, you can use whatever derogatory terms you like. It’s a free country (and an anonymous message board). I oppose forced political correctness but I do support the principles of compassion and civility — that’s why I no longer use the terms “fag” and “retard.” I sincerely hope you’re being provocative and don’t insult trans people to their faces … but again, that’s your choice.

      • You almost never hear “cis” people use that word to refer to themselves. It’s almost exclusively seen as a slur towards other people. Personally, I know that once someone uses the word “cis” I (a straight, white male) need to be on red alert as that person probably hates me already and/or will be looking to demonize me to others.

        In other words, I dislike the word “cis” very much and find its use highly offensive. Not that this matters because I’m just a white guy and I’m not allowed to have opinions on things in this realm, and especially so with the kind of people who use the term “cis” in the first place.

      • Paul Ellis says

        Inclusive my arse. The point of intersectionality is to define exclusivity: “I’m more of a victim than you; my victimhood excludes you”. Inclusivity involves rising above differences, not increasing them.

        And while we’re at it, which bit of the rainbow includes me, eh?

      • The term cis makes no sense though, do you refer to yourself as a non-Synesthete? Or a non-Heterochromatic? No, because it is all but redundant. I am happy that the culture is becoming more inclusive, but most trans activism seems to be nothing to do with inclusiveness. Most trans activists are not trans and couldn’t give a fuck about trans people as far as I can see.

    • As Ben Shapiro says, “no wonder these rabid feminists die alone, with 87 cats”!!

  53. ga gamba says

    “We are Puss Collective and we are pissed. We are writers, directors, and performers, devising radical feminist dark comedy that defenestrates American culture and its underpinnings. We are off our backs and in your face. Now pay attention; you’ll like it.”

    When your collective collaborators got in your face, did you like it?

    Hoisted by your own petard, Ms Emmons.

  54. dellingdog says

    The First Amendment guarantees the right to express oneself freely; it doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences for expressing your views. I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for the author. She knew that she was operating in an extremely liberal environment and decided to publicly post an article that’s critical of transgender rights. Predictably, she faced unpleasant consequences. If I were a youth pastor for a conservative Christian church and wrote an article supportive of LBGTQ rights, I would probably be fired, too. In either case, you have to decide whether you feel strongly enough about an issue to endanger your position. There’s always the option of publishing anonymously if you’re convinced that your ideas are so important they need to be widely shared.

    • Peter from Oz says

      I agree with you that the First Amendment cannot protect you against the consequences of speaking freelly. But this is a moral argument, not a political one. Your analogy is faulty in any case, as the youth pastor would be a member of the church concerned and thus he has agreed to be bound by its teachings. If he writes an article antithetical to those teachings, he can expect consequences.
      However, the author of this article was not member of any trans activist group. She had not signed up to any moral code that would prevent her from expressing her opinion.
      But the Director had done so, by agreeing to join the collective, the director had agreed to act in solidarity with the others. If she is so pissed off she should resign or be sacked.

  55. Daniel Flehmen says

    “In the arts, bachelors degrees are standard, masters degrees are commonplace, and progressive orthodoxies are strictly enforced.”

    In biology, PhD’s are ubiquitous and requisite, and very few believe the appalling nonsense dutifully regurgitated by the transgenders and their apologists. Severe gender dysphoria must be a tormenting illness, but there is zero ZERO scientific support for any hypothesis other than that it is the result of mistimed hormonal events during fetal development. And that the vast majority of adult ‘transgenders’ are just ordinary garden variety homosexuals.

    One can only hope that the people who are today encouraging credulous PC parents to allow the chemical or surgical mutilation of their confused young children will spend many years rotting in prison once our society finally recovers from what we can only hope is the temporary insanity of modern progressivism.

    • dellingdog says

      “There is zero scientific support for any hypothesis other than that it is the result of mistimed hormonal events during fetal development. And that the vast majority of adult ‘transgenders’ are just ordinary garden variety homosexuals.” I agree with the first part of your statement but question your second claim. Many transgender people report that they tried living as homosexuals for a time but never felt right. Isn’t it possible that the feminization of male embryos’ brains and masculinization of female embryos’ brains occur along a spectrum? If this is true, gay men have partially feminized brains which causes attraction toward the same sex and (often but not always) effeminate mannerisms. Nevertheless, gay men identify as men and feel comfortable in their bodies. (Mutatis mutandis for lebsians.) Transwomen may have even more feminized brains, hence they feel like women trapped in male bodies. Regarding “mutilation,” you may want to check your sources. Although many states allow puberty blockers before the age of 16, sex reassignment surgery isn’t allowed until the age of 18 and typically requires extensive psychological consultation. Only a small percentage of trans people regret their decision to transition.

      I’d encourage you to talk to (or read about) parents of trans children. Most are not “credulous”; they genuinely want what’s best for their children and are struggling with immensely difficult issues.

    • “the vast majority of adult ‘transgenders’ are just ordinary garden variety homosexuals”

      Yes, exactly. I have kids in a “progressive” school, and watching the reaction to the transgender movement there has been appalling. Does your girl prefer a short haircut and sports? Prepare for everyone to constantly question her (and you) about if she is *really* a boy. Have a boy with long hair who likes to paint his nails? Same, in reverse.

      Why can’t boys just be feminine, and vice versa? I don’t want to tell little girls they’re not *really* girls simply because they don’t act traditionally “girly”. That seems wrong, and extremely damaging.

  56. Aldousk says

    I think that this confusing muddle of who is permitted to use which words to say what about whomsoever to whom, depending upon the parentages, personal affections and what not of the various speakers, hearers and objects should be carefully codified and converted into a card game. Tossing left-handedness into the mix would add another dimension of complexity, and the ever-changing and expanding identities, offenses, intersections, statuses and so on would provide it with a challenging dynamism.

    • dellingdog says

      Your reference to handedness is meant as a joke but it’s a silly analogy. Gender is fundamental to human identity in a way that handedness is not. It’s actually pretty simple: make an effort to use the pronouns that individuals prefer. Why not err on the side of being more compassion and considerate?

  57. Tranque says

    Quillette’s quite interesting articles are often very thought-provoking, but still typically very logical, based in common sense and science and fundamental reality. How is it then that the comments section below seem to invariably end up far into the weeds of borderline insanity, blind ideology and pure word-salad drivel. Frankly some people are so smart they’re highly inclined to be just plain ol’ stupid. Their high IQ’s make them capable of creating arguments within to justify all sorts of nonsense that fits the ideologies they choose to embrace.

    • That’s an interesting question. I’ve sort of wondered about it myself. I’ve noticed that a lot of the Quillette articles on this particular topic aren’t based on science or research, though.

      My guess is that, since transgender people are protected, etc. by the SJW crowd, they’re a natural target for people with a strong bent against SJWs. Add to that some of the iffy propositions made in the name of inclusion here (e.g. transgender women in women’s sports), and there’s some plausible deniability.

      I honestly think the species might be missing a sensitivity chip. The outrage here over transgender people, nonwhite people’s experiences of racism, and some women’s experience of sexual assault go a ways toward confirming my take. On the other hand, I know plenty of people who are selectively compassionate/PC (e.g. family member who didn’t believe Cosby could be a monster because he’s black) and selectively overly logical.

      I think Quillette is *far* from the terrain of good faith when it comes to transgender issues. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s really unwise not to report controversies, etc. just because a group is marginalized. But the focus isn’t even on those controversies; it’s on some kind of ideology that, if I understand the editorial board’s stance, seems to be uniformly held by transgender people.

      Meanwhile, while there’s a lot of whinging on this site about postmodernism, postmodern nonsense and the like, I have yet to see an article here that contests the basic science or research around transgender people. Time and again, studies have shown that gender is *not* a social construct, that it has a biological basis.

      None of which is going to be reason enough for a person to be sensitive, “accepting,” or anything like that. Nevertheless, I think it shows a real blindspot a lot of readers here have. As soon as they’re presented with information they don’t like, they become as unhinged as the SJWs in a “triggered” meme.

  58. Rob G says

    As someone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s the present public obsession over gender definitions is fairly astonishing – who would have guessed that a topic that once got not so much as a glimmer in the press would wind up with the surreal spectacle of tasmania seeing the removal of gender from birth certificates as a public good?

    Why such a marked sea-change in the space of just 60 or so years?

    Perish the thought that gender anomalies might be the cumulative result of years of industrial pollution – synthetic estrogens leeching from a planet wrapped in plastics – and this being one of many such sources.

    The scary thing is gender anomalies have been reported in the wild as well, yet here we are beating each other up as though the solution to gender anomalies depends solely on our impassioned political perspectives.

    It will be fairly embarrassing if in the longer run our focus on political solutions turns out to be have been focused solely on controlling how we talk about symptoms – rather than dealing appropriately with the underlying problem and its causes.

  59. Why problem Rob? Many fish and reptile species change of gender, depending on age, temperature or pH of the water, or the residues of hormones in waste water. Maybe, we see around us the beginning of a massive change in gender fluidity, due to some physical or psychological root causes. The times, they keep a’ changing! But yes, I agree, it would be nice and useful to know more about those causes.

    • Small difference between fish and men: fish sex change is automatic and biological, men’s change starts with feelings ( gender), and needs some extra chirurgical treatment.

  60. tavilipila says

    It is accepted if you are a representing an self proclaimed oppressed minority that you can lash out that you can be offensive to the perceived majority. As soon as you offend a self proclaimed oppressed minority you need to apologize. I suppose it also depends on whether people believe you actually believe the offensive opinion or statement or whether it is just attention seeking.

  61. E Taph says

    I’m quite literally a transhumanist, so I can’t say I was particularly in agreement with the original article, yet this happening is disturbing to me, even simply because the idea of granting people freedom to speak their minds freely precedes granting people freedom to do what they please with their individual bodies. If we never become accustomed to the former, we’ll never get to the latter either.

  62. The author touches on something that still fundamentally bothers me about the trans movement: at its heart, it is anti-gay.

    It used to be that kids who didn’t conform to gender roles were “rehabilitated” in various ways, and essentially told to change themselves to properly conform to gender standards. Things like “pray the gay away” camps made kids feel terrible about themselves and forced them to be something they’re not.

    In the 2000s, we collectively realized that this behavior is counterproductive, and made huge strides in just letting gay people be gay and not trying to reform them. This lasted for something like 10-15 years.

    But now, we have gone right back to the sins of yore. If a child doesn’t conform to gender roles, he/she is told he has “gender dysmorphia” and that his/her genetics don’t match gender expression. This ends with completely giving up one’s birth sex and possibly even “transitioning”, which literally involves ripping off one’s genitals.

    So we’ve gone from sending feminine boys off to camp to get them to be more “manly”, to sending feminine boys to the doctor, who diagnoses them, tells them they’re not *really* boys and were put in the wrong body, and then rips off their penis and gives them hormones so they resemble a woman. And somehow we think the latter will make people happier, against all common sense.

    Why do we go to such lengths to reform people whose only sin is not closely conforming to gender roles?

    • Not just anti-gay, I’d wager, but anti-human. I never conformed to stereotypical “girl” behavior, and dressed very masculine when younger. Still vastly prefer comfort over style. I didn’t turn out to be gay, in the end. Just happen to be a hetero woman who would rather do her own home and car repairs than farm it out to someone else. I hate it that the “trans” fad seems to reinforce the idea that there’s only one way to be a woman: fit the stereotype. I have yet to encounter a “trans woman” who isn’t into all the trappings of womanhood that I’ve always abhorred. But dammit, I’m not any less of a woman for not liking those things. I shudder to think, though, what would have happened to me if the activist crowd had got hold of me during my more impressionable, less old-and-cranky years.

      • I feel with you Cord, and think about the daughter of my nephew, preferring climbing trees, than sit and have tea and bisquits, her mother is very proud of her, as much as on the other, more girlish one (they are twins). Both live in Vienna. Does it matter? No!

  63. -Rip off the penis so they resemble a woman-, that’s the language, and immediately also makes clear where such a person stands. I,m happy not to be the physician, docter or nurse to advise or act. What hell, are these specialists suppose to tell, or advise to their patients??

  64. peterschaeffer says

    “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

    Applies to women as well.

    Quote from Tyrion Lannister (GRRM)

  65. Peter says

    This is what is confusing to me about the whole transgender arguments: On the one hand the current popular movement states that gender has no biological origin and that gender is not dependent on sex and people just pop out feeling one way or the other. But on the other hand we are saying that it makes sense to have sex changes to better align your gender with your sex. Why should your sex matter if gender is the only important factor. Why change your physical organs to male if the movement states that men are no different from women and vice versa?

  66. Susan Sweeney says

    Gee, a thestre project (which ostensibly is the SUBJECT of this rant to begin with) got cancelled? I don’t particularly care WHY it got cancelled, just that it did and I am glad. I wouldn’t go to any play with a title like “Gang Rape Baby” or one that dealt with such a subject and I think anyone who would write something like this is more than a little warped.

  67. darko x says

    Attempts at quantifying intelligence and mapping it against race are- almost inherently- unjust. Too many factors are involved. When we assume experimental failure and begin questioning methods, new ideas about the nature of intelligence begin to arise. Should the whole spectrum of gender phenomena be considered separately from environmental factors? Should we settle for a “best fit” politically correct notion? To explore, understand, and predict emergent systems we need to evolve and employ multiple viewpoints. Gender identification is as mysterious as the weather. (And far less well researched.)

    Cultural institutions need to endure the inevitable criticism novel ideas evoke, and make every effort to differentiate between politically motivated harassment and earnest inquiry, especially in independent work. Ms. Emmons was examining the nature of transhumanism in the Quillette, not standing on a soapbox on Christopher Street. Her motives for noting an apparent parallel shouldn’t be questioned. For it could come to pass: that she, alongside Sir Issac Asimov, will be esteemed for her pioneering insights.

  68. Aaron says

    I congratulate you for publicly stating your principles and then refusing to be bullied out of them.

  69. Scrambled Egg says

    I’m someone who would be labeled transgender, though I’ve come to despise the word because of its political implications. I’m also an artist. I’m also not offended by anything you wrote – in fact I found it very interesting and compelling! And while your ideas don’t line up perfectly with mine, I think a lot of what you say makes sense and we agree on many things.

    For example, the idea of “being born into the wrong body” is absurd in my opinion. I was born into the body I came with – there is nothing wrong about it. Do I wish my body more accurately resembled a woman’s? Of course. But it doesn’t make my body “wrong.” I’m in the minority with this viewpoint but I think it’s very clear that trans people are born with something in their brain that causes them to feel discomfort with their own gender. This, combined with the performative gender constructs that you mentioned, can cause extreme gender dysphoria and a strong desire to physically alter the body in a way that fits into the gender construct. So, in essence, I suppose I’m saying that the cause of being transgender is rooted in the brain – however I hesitate to call it a mental disorder.

    In my case, this was almost definitely something I was born with. Some of my earliest memories involve me feeling this gender dysphoria. As far as I know, there wasn’t anything that happened to me to cause it. Believe me, if I could find a reason why I’m transgender, I absolutely would like to know because it’s not a walk in the park being like this!

    I also completely agree with you on the word “cisgender.” It’s absurd that anyone should be forced to label themselves with this new word. You are a woman, and it’s CERTAINLY not a privilege to be a woman, and it’s silly to have to refer to yourself as a cisgender woman in order to be inclusive to trans people. For me, the use of that word actually excludes trans people because it immediately says we are not real men or women but something else.

    Another thing I 100% agree with you on is the way you rightly call out many transgender people for claiming to feel like a woman simply because they like Barbies, dresses, or other stereotypical female things. This is enormously offensive to women to deduce women to these stereotypes. I also completely agree that masculine men need to be more loving toward feminine men. I personally was never into Barbies or dresses, and I’m still not.

    Most of all, I completely agree with you about trans activists and other loud SJB’s (Social Justice Bullies). I witnessed what happened to you on Facebook. A SJB named Karl Saint Lucy saw your article from July. He then looked up all of his friends who were mutual friends with you, and then tagged each of them with this public message:

    “Libby Emmons is TERF trash married to a Republican dumbass. You should defriend and socially ostracize her…”

    This is hideous behavior by an immature, fascist bully. I am completely appalled by this behavior and I think that he and other activists should be ashamed of themselves. You absolutely have a right to your opinion. While some of your rhetoric was mean-spirited (eg “transgender bosses who accidentally tuck their skirts into their panty hose, use women’s bathrooms, and get breast milk sack implants.”) the majority of your argument was logical and sound.

    There needs to be an open dialogue about the transgender phenomenon because the science is definitely not settled on this. And as long as we publicly ostracize each other and use mean-spirited language, the divide will continue to widen.

    So, I hope you can see that there is a transgender person out there who actually finds many of the radical feminist ideas extremely compelling and useful. What I disagree with is that they can be mean-spirited (as can trans activists of course). Both RadFems and Trans Activists have engaged in doxxing and it’s not cool.

    A big thing I disagree with is the refusal to call transgender people their preferred pronouns. It just feels like common courtesy to call a male-identified transgender person “he” for example. Even if, deep down, you really believe he is a woman. I don’t think it hurts people’s pride to compromise on this – otherwise the discourse will become combative. I totally agree that anything other than “he” or “she” is too much. There are two genders and “they” is a plural noun.

  70. Frederick says

    The whole “trans-genderism” fad is just another example of Socialist sadism, creating subdivisions in an already badly splintered culture.
    40% of surgical gender re-assignments end in suicide. I thought the Hippocratic oath began, “First, do no harm”?
    Why not demand federally financed stomach stapling for anorexic teenagers?
    Distemper and Parvo inoculations for Furries?

    Encouraging insanity, as a political tactic, is going to result in a civil war. This, inside the most heavily armed population in human history, seems contra-indicated.

  71. Ian M says

    Honestly, even though I agree with most of the author’s opinions about feminism and the SJW movement’s capacity for blacklisting even the mildest of critics, I agree with her co-workers in this case. She does not understand transgenderism, and it is her lack of understanding, not her hetero-ness or whiteness, that disqualifies her from having an opinion.

    As educated as she is, I am shocked that she has never heard of Abraham Maslow or the Hierarchy of Needs. It is a pyramid diagram that shows that human cognition gets healthier as certain biological and psychological needs are met. It looks like this:

    Now, the physical and biological stuff is all in the first two sections of the pyramid, and these are things that in our society (compared to about half the world) are pretty much givens. Even the poorest of the poor in Western culture has almost all of the bottom two sections covered.

    The last three are all mental/emotional needs – relationships with others, self-esteem, and something called self-actualization, which is working to become one’s best self. Some people self-actualize by getting a new haircut or going to the gym to modify their body through exercise. In fact, modifying one’s body to look like one feels is nothing new in our culture, and has been done for thousands of years and before civilization began (as cave paintings show).

    Take further the social tendency to shame people who do not fit into gender roles, especially men who do not fit the label of “toxic masculinity” that gets lumped on them by misandrists posing as feminists. Not to mention that being transgender is almost physically painful for the people who experience it.

    Ultimately, transgender people only want to self-actualize, that is, be their best selves, and this is not only very liberating but extremely healthy… Except when nay-sayers and deniers trash them as “delusional” the way the author and many of the commenters here have. That is not ideology, that is psychology, and the author should educate herself on the difference before putting her foot in her mouth. For many people, realizing they are transgender is not only liberating but solves a host of other mental health issues such as depression and social anxiety.

    One commenter alluded to a 40% rate of suicide among transgenders, but including that statistic is disingenuous. Thanks to heteronormative and gender-binary attitudes in both society in general and medicine in particular, transitioning from one biological sex to the other is subject to a lot of “gatekeeping,” where doctors call all the shots regardless of a patient’s needs. I’m absolutely certain that if the statistic included all the “do it yourselfers” who transitioned independent of a doctor’s care, that rate would drop significantly.

    Then again, we are also a society that devalues mental health and only counts the physical, which is why abused spouses have to be bodily harmed before a court will count it as abuse, regardless of years of emotional abuse.

    Ultimately, though, it’s none of any of your business. It all comes down to, what makes each individual feel their very best? And for some, that is gender switching. All you have to do is use some words correctly when you are referencing them. Sadly, I would bet many of the critics of transgenderism in this thread also style themselves as libertarians who celebrate individualism, but I guess trans people aren’t individuals and don’t get that privilege.

  72. Liamski says

    The paragraph that starts “Women like me aren’t supposed….”. Brilliant, she nails it right there.

  73. Andy Espersen says

    Libby Emmons, an artist, in her life drifted into an “….industry that relies almost entirely on philanthropic donations …………”. In other words, she (unconsciously) prostituted herself and her art to gain funds, to further her career.

    Welcome out here, Libby – out of your shackles. You will be a lot poorer – but you will be free. And you are now back in your real career – the one for which you will be remembered.

  74. Realworldman says

    It is beyond explanation that so many of the later generations have somehow acquired the ability to alter matter and space-time, simply by wishing something to be a certain way that makes them feel good or important. And it is even more inexplicable that the leaders of our institutions and government play along with or invent this sad state of affairs for their own nefarious ends. Reason and science have never been faced with such powerful delusion and subterfuge as it is today. When the University becomes one of the primary myth peddlers, it is an ominous sign. If this insidious trend is not reversed posthaste, our species may wish and delude itself into extinction. Eric Blair may have been prescient, but his prose now pales juxtaposed against the shear idiocy on display today. The level of western discourse has not declined from the past, but rather vanished altogether. It perplexes me what kind of existence the cabal of oligarchy envisions for itself when the global population is rendered mute, culture homogenized into oblivion and the environment is no longer habitable.

  75. Pingback: Fault line in the Left: Progressive playwright is blacklisted for dissenting from transgender groupthink - Fellowship Of The Minds

  76. I want to debate this.

    How do people who write for this blog get away with saying things like, “no one wants to debate this”? There are plenty of people who want to.

    I disagree with ‘transgender’ as an umbrella term. I disagree with the legal notion that pronouns are exclusively a “trans rights” issue. You don’t have to be transgender to change a pronoun as a custom to suit your preference. Obviously, it is one issue that affects trans people, but not necessarily just trans people. I think it shouldn’t matter if someone is transgender or not when it comes to pronouns and a the trans rights movement is in danger of setting a precedent that it didn’t intend.

    I do however, believe that there exists a condition in which a person believes they belong in a different body with a different sex and their gender identity is in conflict with their physical body.

    I also believe that intersex people should have the right to decide on their own gender identity and not be assigned at birth and raised as the gender their parents have chosen for them. Intersex people are proof that gender is not defined by sex organs or by attempts at raising someone as a particular gender. They are often completely ignored in this debate because interestingly, they are not transgender yet offer evidence that gender is not a response to one’s physical form which is taught or socialized as well as evidence that gender identity is manifested internally despite visible physical features.

    Why is it so hard to contemplate that there is a a group of people who do not have visible mutations but do not agree with what their body suggests they are? Are intersexed people just mentally ill if they want to choose a gender that suits them? No. There is something else going on here. Something you can’t see and no one can fully explain.

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