Welcome to TERF Island

“Until the past few years, it wasn’t controversial to know or to say that there are two sexes, which are immutable; indeed, it was, and is, part of the background of our collective reality. But a competing belief system has emerged: that rather than the material reality of sex, we all have a “gender identity,” one that is sometimes in conflict with the bodies we receive from nature. Under the paradoxically menacing social imperative to “be kind,” new rules have been enshrined to sanctify this idea. Children, if they claim to be born in the wrong body, are put on puberty blockers to delay the onset of adulthood and, in some cases, prescribed cross-sex hormones and subjected to irreversible surgery, often rendering them infertile.

There are deep reasons for the emergence of this odd metaphysics: Among other shifts, the industrial age ushered in a great proximity between the sexes, treating humanity as only indifferently man or woman. The great heterodox Catholic thinker Ivan Illich noted in 1990 that male and female have become “neutered economic agents, stripped of any quality other than the functions of consumer and worker.” Sexual difference has been further reduced to a series of one-dimensional images, and our pornographic culture has reduced bodies to poses and parts. Our becoming-same has culminated in a hostile takeover of women by men, to the extent that our presence in language is erased: ‘Woman’ becomes ‘body with vagina,’ and ‘mother’ becomes ‘birthing person.’”