A constant preoccupation

Ray Blanchard talks to the National Review:

Kearns: What do we mean by “gender identity”?

Blanchard: What do mean by it?

Kearns: Yes. Let’s start with that.

Blanchard: Well, back in the days when I was writing a lot on that topic, which is quite a while ago now, I tended to avoid the phrase “gender identity” because I think that it’s a trivial concept when it’s applied to normal people. I mean normal men and normal woman know what sex they are, and they respond to that automatically, like when looking for a washroom. But I think it’s only at very unusual moments that a normal man or woman has a conscious awareness of “I’m a woman” or “I’m a man,” and this is often a highly emotional situation.

Just as we don’t normally have a conscious awareness of “I’m bipedal” or “I’m a primate” or “I can read.” We take a lot of stuff for granted, and we don’t generally obsess over it. This is one of the places we part company with trans people: we don’t want to obsess over it, we want to obsess over things that are more interesting. Life is short, time is limited, we don’t want to waste huge chunks of it hanging sparkly ornaments on our Gender Identity.

So, I don’t find the concept of “gender identity” useful for normal people, and the concept of cross-gender identity is really not a normal gender identity which has found itself lodged in the wrong body. Cross-gender identity is a constant preoccupation with, and unhappiness about, the individual’s gender. So, I guess you could say I believe in cross-gender identity, but I don’t much believe in gender identity.

Does any of that sound political? No. That could be why it’s such an awkward fit as a branch of left-wing thought.

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