Disclaimer: I am a Mugwump, a politically homeless conservative. Generally speaking, I view the world through the lens of issues vs. partisanship. I am objective, unhappy with "Republicans" as a whole but will NEVER EVER play for other team, Democrats.
For years I avoided Twitter but recently jumped back into the Twitter-Sphere. One immediate observation is that my "leftish" friends/followers are using pronouns in their bio. I knew pronouns was a "thing" but did not thoroughly understand the depths at which gender neutral pronouns have gripped society.
So, I send messages, emails, and even pick up the phone and discuss pronouns with some of my "woke" friends attempting to make some sense of it. To be brutally honest, after 5-6 conversations I had not received an explanation that made much sense to me, or appeased my appetitive to understand why it's such a big "thing". Then, finally an in-person conversation and debate with a progressive friend helped me better understand the "pro" gender neutral position, that is not say it persuaded me at all to change my beliefs, but I now certainly understand the other side of the argument better. That conversation and debate will follow, shortly.
Next step, I jump into the rabbit holes of the internet attempting to make sense of it all. Finally, I find some content, articles, and information that help me better understand pronouns.
As someone that has worked in technology (software developer) and sales/marketing automation for 25 years, I found the linked article below to be helpful in explaining, from a marketing perspective, the intent of pronouns.
In my Neanderthal mind, which my leftish friends like to refer to, here is how I interpret and perceive pronouns, specifically gender neutral pronouns.
Since the beginning of time, mankind has always made the assumption that a person with male body parts is a male (he, him) and female body parts is female (her, she). This assumption according to some is wrong and does not consider a percentage of the population in which this assumption does not apply. The introduction of gender neutral pronouns is a cultural and societal means of which to be more inclusive for the percentage of the population in which traditional pronoun assignment does not apply.
Now that I better understand the raging debate of gender neutral pronouns, I find it a necessity to dig a little bit deeper, actually a LOTTA bit deeper. For me, there are two very serious issues/questions that need to be addressed in this conversation.
- Freedom of Speech - At what point does social acceptance and "education" of gender neutral pronouns intrude on Freedom of Speech?
- Violating Other People's Rights - Essentially, anything and everything that is ever said will NEVER be 100% received an noble or righteous, inevitably someone will be offended. Do you draw a line, if so where do you draw the line?
I will write more in the future about Freedom of Speech, Hate Speech, and Violating 3rd Party's Rights. For the remainder of this article, I would like to share a real in person debate I had with a friend, a very smart, educated, informed, and passionate progressive (i.e. a self-admitted borderline communist).
A Recent Debate - Conservative vs. Progressive Perspectives
I want to share an exchange and debate, an in-person debate over a cup of tea, with MAWA contributor Beauregard "Bo" Bolshevik about gender identity. Bo is an attorney who has practiced law for 30+ years so these are NOT easy debates, always mutually respectful but never easy.
The conversation was prompted in discussion about the male turned female swimmer Lia Thomas, who is now breaking collegiate records as a female swimmer although they (please note my proper use of gender neutral pronoun here) were born as a male.
I asked Bo; What % of people do you think are trans, or people that struggle with trans identity?
Bo answered 3%.
My response to Bo; the number is far less than 3%, I believe it's closer to 0.1% (1/1000).
The conversation dovetails into the mental and physical conditions that contribute to transgenderism and our conversation focuses specifically on Klinefelter Syndrome, where a biological male is born an extra X chromosome. People with Klinefelter Syndrome have an affinity for transgenderism, an affinity in this case meaning physical, mental, and emotional.
Next, we search for the what rate of males are born with this condition, depending on the study or data you cite the prevalence will fall between 1/500 - 1/700, which is between 0.14% and 0.2%.
For this conversation and debate, we only focused on male-to-female transgenderism. That said, it's a safe assumption, I believe, to assume a relative similar percentage of female-to-male transgenderism, mathematically speaking; IT'S NOT ADDITIVE, IT'S RELATIVE AND PROPORTIONAL.
So, now that we have some REAL numbers to launch a debate from, I ask the question.
Can we agree that people who have transgender tendencies is far closer to 0.1% than 3%, can we assume 0.5% for the sake of this conversation?
Bo agrees, for the sake of this debate and conversation we use 0.5%.
NOTE: Bo and I understand and agreed that there are many other conditions that contribute to transgenderism, therefore we agreed 0.14-0.2% is low, 0.5% was a number we could use as a baseline for the conversation. In the moment, we used 0.5-1% as an acceptable assumed range, even though I believe 1% is high, we both agreed 0.14% is low.
The next question we discuss;
Since the beginning of time, regardless of whether you are for creation or evolution, there have been males and females. Why are we re-engineering society, culture, and mankind to accommodate 0.5% of the population?
Bo's position; "Until recently, humans have never fully considered gender identity. Historically, they always considered gender to whatever the doctor says when a baby is born, 'Congratulations on your baby boy/girl.' What the doctor has done is assigned SEX but not GENDER."
My position; "It's a biological fact that when a baby is born with a penis, they are a boy. When a baby is born with a vagina, it's a girl. Without any physical health complications, that baby boy will grow up with the ability produce offspring as a contributing male, and the baby girl will grow up with the ability to produce offspring as a contributing female."
This is where the debate train derailed! From this point forward we could not find any common ground, once again our frequent conversations are ALWAYS mutually respectful. When Bo and I get to this point we simply agree to disagree.
For me, a Type A, left brained, common sense, issue oriented, conservative, I have to ask the rhetorical question; "Is the world SERIOUS about re-engineering societal norms, history, tradition, etc. for 0.5% of the population?" If ever there is an issue that could or should be extended as a plebiscite, this may be one of those issues. Myself, I would relent to a vote of the masses, a true plebiscite. If my American brothers and sisters voted that indeed gender neutral pronouns along with gender identity is a road we wish to travel, I would not like it but I would follow the law. Likewise, I would hope that people with opposing views would relent to a popular opinion. Is "majority rule" realistic? Unfortunately, not.
Bo and I are friends and do business together, we are mutually respectful, we are not policy makers, and we understand that when we reach a point in a heated debate we better stop because we do not want ideological differences to ruin a long enduring friendship. That said, both Bo's representation (progressives) and my representation (conservatives) have a job to do, and that is to resolve differences and create policy that best reflects the wishes of the American people and THAT IS NOT AN EASY JOB.