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 Diane Speaks His Piece 

October 19, 2004 
I have no idea who “Diane” is, but his e-mail message sounds angry with me. Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.In fact, Diane says he is “deeply offended” by the “pure bigotry” of my column of September 21, “Equality Run Amok,” which he finds “demeaning.”

You may think Diane is an odd name for a guy, but that’s Diane’s point. He claims to be a woman, “simply a woman,” and identifies himself, in case you haven’t already guessed, as a “transsexual.”

Sorry, Diane, but you aren’t a woman; you’re a mutilated man. And you aren’t a “transsexual,” because there’s no such thing. Let me know when you get pregnant, and I’ll reconsider my position.

Diane informs me that he is “legally a woman” — which I don’t doubt, the law being what it is these days — and is so identified on his baptismal certificate. He also says he’s been married to his “husband” for 20 years and is a “practicing Catholic.” Sure. He must belong to John Kerry’s parish.

By way of enlightening the sons of darkness, Diane explains (sigh!) that I’m confusing transsexuals with transvestites, homosexuals, drag queens, and such. Transsexualism, he assures me, is “not a choice.”

News to me! I’d have thought that if anything was elective surgery, it was ... well, that. But according to Diane, one is born transsexual — a woman’s brain trapped in a man’s body, and so forth — and only later decides whether to have the doc bring them into alignment. “Supportive studies and research,” he goes on, “is [sic] giving strong support to this [view].” That’s always the way with supportive research, isn’t it?

[Breaker quote: Against transphobia]Wait, there’s more. Diane, writing in late October, warns me that I may tip the election to Kerry. It seems that many in the transsexual community are leaning to President Bush, but are put off by Bush partisans like me — “transphobic bigots,” he calls them — who preach “hate” and make “unwarranted attacks” against them. And if the 2004 election is as close as the 2000 election, the transsexual vote could make the difference.

Well, here it’s my turn to be deeply offended — by Diane’s presumption that I’m a Bush partisan. I’ve repeatedly said I consider George W. Bush one of our worst presidents ever. Why do so many transsexuals harbor the stereotype that we transphobic bigots are Republicans?

I don’t pretend to speak for the entire transphobic community, but my own strong belief is that transphobia is not a matter of choice. I was born this way, and there is nothing “wrong” with it. We are all children of God, and labels don’t mean anything anyway. I very deeply respect Diane’s belief that he is a woman, which is his constitutional right as an American, but when he tries to legislate that belief on others by having the government legally certify him as a woman, I draw the line. That judgment must be left to each of us.

I know many people who consider themselves women, and I rarely argue the point with them. Most of them are confident and comfortable in their womanhood and require no corrective surgery. Many of them marry and have babies. If Diane had ever had a baby, I’m sure he’d have mentioned it. That would have provided him the perfect illustration of my ignorance of transsexualism.

There are always weird people here and there, but we live in the age of the aggressively abnormal — people who are ever ready to pounce on you for believing what everyone has always taken for granted, like the existence of two distinct sexes. The simplest common sense, or even a quip, is now called “hate.”

It would seem to follow from Diane’s account that transsexualism must also occur among animals — a sow’s brain trapped in a boar’s body, a hen’s brain trapped in a rooster’s body. But if so, veterinary science seems unaware of it and is doing virtually nothing about it. Maybe the supportive research is still in the early stages.

One of my favorite lines from the classics has always been “Nothing human is alien to me.” After pondering Diane’s message, I’m not sure I can say that without qualification.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2004 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
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