Guest post: Easier to sidestep the minefield altogether

Originally a comment by As The Smoke Rises Upward on Very precise indeed.

I take all the sanctimonious defenses of the (uncontested) personhood of trans people as a kind of tacit admission. Atwood can’t engage with actual gender-critical arguments because then she would have to respond with the party-sanctioned genderist dogma, and she can’t do that without making some readers wonder if maybe the terves do have a point after all.

“Lesbians are morally deficient if they don’t want to sexually engage with male genitals.” Well, that’ll go over just fine with cultural conservatives, but it might raise an a few eyebrows among the liberals who still believe that “trans” simply means “super mega gay” and imagine the LGBT as one big happy family.

“Anything uniquely pertaining to the health or reproductive rights of vagina people/ cervix people/ uterus people/ ovary people/ breast people must never be spoken of as a women’s issue. After all, not all women have vaginas/ cervixes/ uteruses/ ovaries/ breasts, and not all people with vaginas/ cervixes/ uteruses/ ovaries/ breasts are women. In fact, we’d prefer not to fully acknowledge that the people with vaginas are also the people with cervixes, uteruses, et cetera. If we zoom out and look at the bigger biological picture instead of playing ad-libs with an anatomy textbook, we might be forced to use the f-word. No, not that f-word—the other one, the one that rhymes with email.” Another tough sell. Hard not to trigger at least a few red flags.

“It is good and right and just to sterilize children and teens who aren’t even old enough to consent to sex in the nane of affirming their gender identity. It is wicked and evil and hateful to ask why the number of children and teens supposedly requiring this treatment has increased by several thousand percent over the past decade. It’s also rank bigotry to raise any concerns about the long-term health effects of what is basically a medical experiment.” Oof, good luck spinning that so everyone will swallow it—it’s going to stick in a craw or two.

And so on and so forth. Atwood’s a gifted writer and her name alone carries a great deal of leftist cachet, so she could make the case for all of these points as effectively as anyone. But inevitably, no matter how painstakingly she rhetoricized, she would still be stuck arguing positions that not all of her fellow liberals would continue to accept once they understood what it was they were really supposed to be accepting. Easier to sidestep the minefield altogether: you never have to say anything you don’t want to when you’re debating a strawwoman.

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