Guest post: Argumentum ad misericordiam

Originally a comment by Lady Mondegreen on Donors are disgusted.

Because fragile is the last thing we want to be or appear to be or claim to be. It’s degrading. It pulls against equality and ordinary inclusion in public life. So…why is it so appealing to “the trans community”? Why do we hear so very very much about it?

They need the argumentum ad misericordiam. Their movement relies on it to garner support. Why are we subjected to a “Trans Day of Remembrance,” when it’s easy to demonstrate that trans people aren’t any more likely to be murdered than anybody else? Why are gender critics constantly told we’re responsible for trans suicide and violence against “the trans community”?

It’s a rhetorical trick that’s very useful when your argument doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Appeal to pity. OK, so, maybe, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make yourself really really believe that Rachel Levine is a woman. It doesn’t matter, don’t you see? It’s so hard, being trans, so dangerous, a lot of Bad People are hurting them–but you’re not a Bad Person, right? You’re a compassionate person who doesn’t want people to suffer. So, use the pronouns. (They’re just words, and it means so much.) Be inclusive. (There aren’t really that many trans people anyway, what difference does it make in the scheme of things?) Just BE KIND. (It’s easy!)

But remember, being trans has nothing to do with mental illness. “The trans community” wouldn’t be so fragile if the Bad People would just stop hurting them. It’s called minority stress. (I keep meaning to look up minority stress; I don’t recall any other liberation movement appealing to it. But there I go, thinking with my head instead of my heart, like a Bad Person.)

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