Eliza Mondegreen #transphobia elizamondegreen.substack.com



These pollsters talk about the need to polish the language and “educate” the public about trans issues in order to increase buy-in. But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem that faces trans activism. Trans activism thrives in the shadows of civil society: the less the public understands about the issue, the more supportive (or at least less opposed) they are. Excursions into the sunlight don’t tend to go well. This is not because trans activism has a public-relations problem. This is because trans activism has a reality problem.

Trans activism has been sold to the public—to the extent that any case has been made for these radical changes at all—as an urgent human-rights crusade that only bigots would oppose that somehow won’t affect the rights of anyone who doesn’t identify as trans. And since no one else is supposed to be affected, no one is supposed to have an opinion.

But trans activism is actually an “uphill battle” against material reality and civil society. Around the world, lobbyists have been changing laws and hoping nobody would notice (no, really, that’s the strategy).

But now the fallout is starting to come into view: strained relationships and broken families, detransitioners who’ve experienced medical harm, outright cheating in women’s sports, Orwellian language rules enforced by shameless bullies… it’s not a pretty picture. And it’s not what anyone was sold in exchange for their silent compliance.

Eliza Mondegreen #transphobia elizamondegreen.substack.com


Having a trans-identified person in your life is meant to bind you to a certain perspective on trans issues.

That's the expectation: if you have a friend or family member who identifies as transgender, then of course you must agree that sterilizing gender-confused kids is great and men competing in women's sports is great and Dylan Mulvaney has been a woman for 365 days and counting, and anything else—no matter your reasons—is a heinous betrayal.

When a loved one converts, everyone in that person’s life is supposed to convert. Suddenly, whatever I once believed, whatever I once said, should not only go unsaid but unbelieved.

And the failure or refusal to convert causes real and terrible pain. It is terrible to deal in such pain. It's impossible to explain why you didn't convert and be understood. You're not allowed to have your own reasons, your own analysis, your own conscience. You were supposed to give all that away.

I tried to treat a loved one's embrace of what I think of as a pernicious belief system about gender the way I would treat a loved one joining a(ny other) cult. That is, I did not join myself. I stayed outside. I tried to keep a life outside the cult alive and to keep the person I knew and loved alive, espscially those parts she was most determined to extinguish. I pushed back, gently. I didn't push back too hard. I know how brittle these beliefs are. I know what people will do to defend what can't survive scrutiny. I have done those things.

When I think about the sense of constriction that wrapped itself around my life over the last seven years, it started with one person I loved and the fragile falsities they desperately needed to be true.

At first, it seemed like any other delicate situation among friends: the bad boyfriend she just can't let go of, the drinking problem he can't admit. When a subject hasn’t ripened, you avoid it, politely, diplomatically. Attempts to force such a conversation will fail. So you wait.

But what I experienced with one person who tied my tongue, thousands of people experienced and found their tongues tied, too. That includes—as Helen Joyce has pointed out—people at media outlets and publishing houses and NGOs and government agencies and universities: bound by loved ones’ transitions, binding entire organizations in turn.


Eliza Mondegreen #transphobia elizamondegreen.substack.com

"You're NOT crazy"
Trans radicalization volume #98437

r/asktransgender asks: “What do transphobes want us to do? Relocate? Detransition? Die?

The answer is simple—and not nearly so dire: just keep your wacky, pernicious belief system to yourself. You’re free to hold any beliefs you want about sex and gender. But don’t enforce that belief system on the rest of us: don’t indoctrinate children into it. Don’t rewrite laws around it. Don’t bend medicine to it. Don’t punish the people who refuse to submit to it.

But that’s not a very satisfying answer to a movement that’s going through an intensive process of self-radicalization. If the trans movement is to excuse its own radicalization and violence, then the real beliefs and objectives of its political opponents—opponents that include lifelong feminists, tree-huggers, children’s authors, poets, worried parents, medical providers, people of faith—won’t do. Instead, we must be remade in a monstrous image.


When it comes to trans activism, we have a group of people who are (understandably) touchy about the suggestion that they might be crazy and the social pressure to reassure them that they're not crazy is heavy.

This has led to a lot of well-meaning people going along with a lot of things that are just flat-out bonkers, whether that's "I'm a woman because I say so" or "not amputating healthy body parts on demand at government expense is one of the early stages of genocide."

It's uncomfortable to say: You may sincerely feel that way but that feeling is not based in reality. We wouldn't be here now if more people had been willing to tolerate a little discomfort along the way. And I happen to think everyone would be better off for it, since nobody benefits from adopting irrational beliefs that terrorize them or lead them to mortify their bodies.

Eliza Mondegreen #transphobia elizamondegreen.substack.com

Extremism-fluid: The neo-Nazi-to-trans pipeline
"Hate groups prey on people who feel like outsiders or that they don't belong."

The other day, I was talking to a friend about people—men in particular—going from neo-Nazis to transgender activists and he quipped: "What is the pipeline? The neo-Nazi becomes tired of being unpopular but still wants to be in a hate group?"

It’s a thing I’ve observed online and in real life. So what might be going on here?

When these Redditors talk about the allure of neo-Nazism, white supremacism, and the alt-right, they talk about being recruited online based on personality and life-situation factors like being young, frustrated, misfit, desperate to belong, confused, insecure, and too online. There’s a lot of insight here. They just don’t extend this insight from their dark pasts to their dark presents. In fact, now they see themselves as reformed. They believe they’ve left all that in the past.

But how did these young people come to the ‘saving’ realization that they were really trans? They were recruited. Online. Based on the very same personality and life-situation factors. Often in the same online spaces. By the same radicalizing algorithms. To participate in the same kinds of antisocial behavior and aggression.

Only the cause is different. The participants, recruitment methods, vulnerability factors, appeal, and behaviors are the same.

In other words, it sure looks like Hoffer was right when he observed what we could call the “fluidity” that so often goes along with fanaticism. It's easy for an extremist of one stripe to become an extremist of another type. The belief system on behalf of which they take an extremist stance is always secondary to the pull of extremism itself. More important that the belief system is the opportunity an extremist movement presents to vent hatred and channel self-contempt, as Hoffer observed:
The real question is what young people need to break up with fanaticism and extremism altogether, not how to get them to shift from one form of extremism to another, more fashionable one.

Eliza Mondegreen #transphobia elizamondegreen.substack.com

Don't let sissy-porn addicts redefine what it means to be a woman

Redefining women from a sex class to a mixed-sex class based on male sexual projections reifies sex-role stereotypes and requires actual women and girls to dissociate body and mind. After all, we’re not allowed to say we’re women because we’re female anymore. We’re supposed to look inside ourselves and find something else that makes us women—something that has nothing to do with female embodiment—that a man can experience, too, like getting turned on by the idea of your own sexual defilement. If some men want to wear ‘women’ as masks, then women must be masks, nothing more.

This dissociation of mind and body is a disaster for women’s political organizing and it does a number on the mental health of individual women and girls, too. But sowing dissociation is a great recruitment tool for the new global empire of disembodiment.

Since the men boldly redefining 'woman' are a bunch of self-confessed sissy-porn addicts, no woman or girl will relate to the definitions they put forward.

Are you an "expectant asshole" with "blank, blank eyes"?

Didn't think so. Not much of a woman, are you?

How about: “Getting fucked makes you female because fucked is what a female is”?

Still no?

"There is something about being treated like shit by men that feels like affirmation itself, like a cry of delight from the deepest cavern of my breast... To be the victim of honest, undisguised sexism possesses an exhilarating vitality."

Do you feel an exhilarating vitality at being treated like shit by men or not so much?

Meanwhile, you’re constantly prompted to accept or reject your debasement. You’re expected to package yourself as “cisgender,” which means agreeing—publicly, repeatedly—that you’re comfortable with what every girl and woman in fact chafes against as she grows up and tries to find a place for herself in the world. [...]

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