The New York Times has published an opinion piece by another young man who seeks to pass as a woman. In his essay, Manhattan, Illinois native Parker Marie Molloy tries futilely to mask the incoherence of his argument, which is that banning words passers don’t like from social media platforms is necessary to protect freedom of speech. His argument is composed of two dubious contentions:
1.) If language issues make passers feel really bad, they will choose not to speak, thereby undermining the free exchange of ideas, so conservatives need to get with “trans”-constructed Newspeak. In the mixed up, muddled up, shook up “trans” world, speech must be controlled in order to protect speech.
2.) There’s no point in debating the foundational questions regarding the meaning of biological sex, the relationship between sex and “gender identity,” and the meaning of language, so Americans should just move on to policy discussions.
What got Molloy all atwitter was public criticism of Twitter’s illiberal censorship, that is, its decision to ban “deadnaming” and “misgendering” on its allegedly open platform:
We prohibit targeting individuals with… content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.
“Deadnaming” refers to using the names passers were given by their parents at birth or by their adoptive parents. “Misgendering” is a pejorative term invented to stigmatize the use of correct pronouns when referring to passers. In case anyone has forgotten, pronouns correspond to biological sex—not to subjective internal, non-material feelings about biological sex, maleness, or femaleness.
To be clear, Molloy is arguing for banning certain words in news media and on social media, and worse, he’s arguing for forcing everyone to speak certain words—words that embody, espouse, and imply acquiescence to a set of arguable assumptions.
Specifically, he wants to ban “deadnaming.” For example, he would want banned from social and news media the name “Bruce” when referring to the man who won the Olympic decathlon in 1976. Already Wikipedia is scrubbing facts from its biographies. While Wikipedia still “deadnames” John Wayne and Elton John, it omits the “deadnames” of Janet Mock, Jazz Jennings, and Kate Bornstein.
And Molloy wants to force everyone on social media and in the news media to use incorrect pronouns when referring to passers. Banning “misgendering” means mandating that people use incorrect pronouns when referring to people who seek to pass as the opposite sex. But banning “misgendering” would mean mandating mis-sexing. Oh what tangled webs….
Despite its evident belief to the contrary, the “trans” cult has no intrinsic right to revolutionize English grammar for the entire English-speaking world to make themselves feel better about their false beliefs or disordered desires about their biological sex. And normal people who reject the faith-based beliefs of passers have no moral or ethical obligation to use their Newspeak.
Twitter means serious censorship business with this new policy. Canadian feminist Meghan Murphy has already been Twitter-disappeared, which pleases Molloy because Murphy “regularly calls trans women ‘he’ and ‘him,’” and says, “men aren’t women.” Molloy believes no one should be allowed to publicly say that objectively male persons are not women.
Molloy describes his subjective, internal feelings about hearing others describe human reality truthfully, objectively, and accurately:
I find it degrading to be constantly reminded that I am trans and that large segments of the population will forever see me as a delusional freak. Things like deadnaming, or purposely referring to a trans person by their former name, and misgendering—calling someone by a pronoun they don’t use—are used to express disagreement with the legitimacy of trans lives and identities.
There is no right to be free from encountering ideas that we will find discomfiting—particularly in an open society committed to free speech. Molloy has a right to pretend he is a woman, and others have a right to acknowledge he is a man. He has a right to ask that others refer to him as a woman, and others have a right to refuse to speak lies. Molloy has no right to mandate that others pretend along with him that men can be women.
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh points out the problems with pronoun diktats, which he opposes:
[W]hat if some people insist that their title is… “Your Holiness”?… [P]resumably the same logic that applies to gender-related self-chosen titles would apply to religion-related self-chosen titles. Both sex and religious discrimination are, after all, prohibited by the same laws…. The analogy [to “gender”-related pronoun mandates] would be if the government demanded that people have to be addressed using their own preferred race- or religion-linked titles—hypothetically, enforcing people’s demands that “you need to use the title ‘Sun Person’ when you refer to me, because I’m black,” or “you need to use the title ‘rav’ with me because I’m Jewish,” or “you need to use the title ‘friend’ with me because I’m a Quaker,” or “you need to address me as ‘thee’ rather than ‘you’ because I’m a Quaker.”
While Molloy might find it degrading that others reject his faith-based assumptions about the nature, value, and meaning of biological sex, others find it degrading to be forced to pretend that his assumptions are true and good by being forced to use deceitful language.
Molloy muddies up the murky rhetorical waters even more when he claims that grammatically correct pronouns are “used to express disagreement with the legitimacy of trans lives and identities.” I can’t discern his meaning in the murk, so I’ll try to explain with clarity the real reasons grammatically correct pronouns are used.
Pronouns correspond to and denote objective biological sex, which has profound meaning. Sexual differentiation is the source of feelings of modesty and the desire for privacy when undressing and engaged in private bodily functions. Sexual differentiation is also foundational to marriage, childbearing, and childrearing. It is foundational to Judaism and Christianity. It is foundational to single-sex schools and competitive athletics. It is foundational to law enforcement and criminal justice, including prison assignments and public decency laws. It is foundational to health care. Sexual differentiation is real, and it matters. Using incorrect pronouns to refer to “trans”-identifying persons constitutes lying about an objective and deeply meaningful ontological reality. Using grammatically correct pronouns does not deny the existence of people who wish they had been born the opposite sex. It denies that they can be the sex they are not.
Molloy argues that those opposed to mis-sexing “see themselves as truth-tellers fighting against political correctness run amok.” He then ironically asserts that “voicing one’s personal ‘truth’ does just one thing: It shuts down conversation.” Did he hear himself?
Those who oppose incorrect-pronoun usage are not claiming “personal ‘truth.’” They’re acknowledging objective, scientific truth. It is Molloy who is voicing his “personal truth,” and quite literally trying to silence speech.
The ironies keep piling up. Next Molloy describes the absence of pronoun mandates as constituting a “content free-for-all” that “chills speech by allowing the dominant to control the parameters of debate, never letting discussion proceed past the pedantic obsession with names and pronouns.”
First, can there be better evidence that it is “trans”-cultists who have a pedantic obsession with pronouns than Molloy’s essay? Molloy demands ad nauseum which pronouns others must speak.
Second, Molloy’s argument here is a classic illustration of a question-begging fallacy. Pronoun-usage is the debate. To assert that everyone should just move on to the real debate assumes the proposed grammar revolution has been debated and settled. Just move on, you dominant conservatives, there’s nothing to debate here.
Molloy explains why he is reluctant to appear on television:
I wonder whether I’ll be able to discuss the day’s topic or whether I’m going to get roped into a debate over my own existence…. If this isn’t harassment, I don’t know what is.
How would this roping happen? Is Molloy suggesting that if a host or moderator were to use grammatically correct pronouns, Molloy couldn’t continue discussing the day’s topic? Why not? Would Molloy’s pedantic obsession with correctly sexed pronouns result in his refusal to discuss the day’s topic? If that’s what he meant, then he wouldn’t be “roped.” He would be tying himself up.
Molloy asserts that the use of grammatically correct (i.e., correctly sexed) pronouns constitutes harassment. But since mis-sexed pronouns embody moral, ontological, and political views, Molloy is implying that comity and respect require affirming all the beliefs and desires of others. Resist Molloy’s desires and stand guilty of harassment. Let’s add “harassment” to the growing list of terms the “LGBTQ” lexical pillagers have redefined.
Others view language mandates as harassment, and when fines or imprisonment is imposed for non-compliance, as has been done in New York City and California, the free flow of ideas is really impeded.
Molloy argues absurdly that,
Aside from the harm it does to trans people, it also impedes the free flow of ideas and debate, in the same way that conservatives often accuse student protesters of shutting down speech on college campuses. Sometimes, as the logic behind the campus speaker argument would dictate, we have to set parameters on speech if we want to actually have a debate on the issues.
By “it” in “it also impedes the free flow of ideas,” Molloy is referring (obsessively) to pronouns, suggesting that the refusal of television hosts to capitulate to his language rules—capitulation that would entail lying—is analogous to protesters shouting down speakers. Molloy says the use of pronouns he doesn’t like impedes the free flow of ideas and debates “in the say way” that drowning out speakers does. Really? In Molloy’s hypothetical television scenario, he chooses not to speak because he feels bad, whereas conservatives are trying to speak but being drowned out or disinvited.
Despite not establishing any points of correspondence between undesired pronoun-usage and screaming protestors or between his choice not to speak and conservative speakers’ inability to speak, Molloy goes on to say that what we’ve learned from these two (wholly different) scenarios is that we must set debate parameters. And the parameters Molloy thinks are not only just but necessary entail—you guessed it—acceding to Molloy’s begged question.
Molloy tries and fails again to construct a sound analogy. He points to an editorial in which Ben Shapiro argued that discussions about whether Trump’s actions or statements are racist are faulty if they start from the premise that he’s racist and, therefore, everything he says and does is racist. Shapiro says, “Perhaps Trump is a racist. Perhaps not.… But we can’t have a productive conversation that starts from the premise that Trump is a racist overall…. That conversation is about insults, not truth.”
Just as we can’t actually address the merits of any particular policy proposed by Mr. Trump if our focus is solely on the man himself, we can’t address the merits of policies that affect trans people if debate starts from the premise that trans people are and will always be whatever happens to be stamped on our original birth certificates. And as Mr. Shapiro notes, while there may or may not be truth to the statement that Mr. Trump is a racist, any discussion had through that lens will be “about insults, not truth.”
Molloy seems not to understand Shapiro’s point. Shapiro isn’t saying “Ignore the man. Just pay attention to his statements and policies.” He’s saying that presuming a character flaw—something we can’t know and is subjective—is unproductive. Evaluate instead, his statements and words.
The difference with the “trans” issue is that the premise Molloy wants us to elide is not an assumption about a character flaw. Being a biological male is a reality and saying so is not an insult.
The premise is a claim about the reality and meaning of an objective, constitutive feature of human beings and its meaning. The policies that Molloy prefers to discuss depend on answering the questions he wants to beg.
Molloy concludes by one last time implicitly begging readers to beg the question “Can men be women?” He introduces the Trump Administration’s possible clarification that the word “sex” in federal anti-discrimination policy refers to biological sex, a clarification that the “trans” cult ludicrously contends defines them out of existence. Molloy complained about the ensuing debate between “trans” cultists who oppose the change and conservatives who like it:
[T]he focus was almost universally on whether or not trans women are actually women and trans men are actually men. Rather than having a robust discussion about what practical effects a change to the Department of Health and Human Services definition of sex and gender might have… we found ourselves mired in the same stalemate.
Molloy desperately wants Americans to forgo a robust discussion of whether men can be women. He wants instead and only robust discussions of the practical effects of accepting his assumptions about biological sex. He acknowledges our responsibility as a “democratic public” to “hash out thorny policy issues,” but Molloy asserts we must set “guardrails for that conversation,” and those guardrails are based on his view that “trans”-identifying people are “not concepts, ideologies or philosophical questions to be pondered.” \
What a crock of sophistry. While people are not concepts, ideologies, or philosophical questions to be pondered, the choice to cross-dress, cross-sex-hormone-dope, mutilate healthy bodies, sexually integrate private spaces, and mandate grammatically incorrect pronoun-usage are justified by concepts and philosophical views that must be pondered and discussed openly and freely. Molloy might not want to discuss it, but one of the “practical effects” that is coming is the eradication of public recognition of sexual differentiation everywhere for everyone.
Don’t gobble up the baloney Molloy and his ideological compeers are serving to compel surrender to their cultural demands. And definitely don’t mis-sex people.
Listen to this article read by Laurie:
Save the Date!!!
On Saturday, March 16, 2019, the Illinois Family Institute will be hosting our annual Worldview Conference. This coming year, we will focus on the “transgender” revolution. We already have commitments from Dr. Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Pediatricians; Walt Heyer, former “transgender” and contributor to Public Discourse; and Denise Schick, Founder and Director of Help 4 Families, and daughter of a man who “identified” as a woman.
The Transgender Ideology:
What Is It? Where Will It Lead? What is the Church’s Role?
Stay tuned for more information!