I got into a bit of a tussle on Facebook recently when I used the accompanying graphic in response to someone adamant that we call Bruce by his new name and that we address him using feminine pronouns. It was honestly an attempt at humor that apparently fell flat. Too soon perhaps.
The exchange degenerated quickly after that sadly with implications of judgment and hypocrisy thrown my way for my personal insistence that Mr. Jenner be called Bruce… and that masculine pronouns be used when necessary.
If I meet someone, and that person introduces himself to me under a certain name, then that is the name I would use. This is the case even if it’s very clear I’m addressing a man in drag, which is what Bruce Jenner is, despite all the special pleading to the contrary. Furthermore, no one would ask in normal conversation if a person has a penis or a vagina.
We accept the identity people offer to us. It’s a simple matter of etiquette and charity. We don’t have to be needlessly cruel or provocative, especially to those who are mentally or emotionally troubled. If I met him and he said, “Call me Caitlyn,” I would. There’s no need to be a jerk about it.
But there’s a second issue at hand in this case.
We’re in the Silly Season, however, when people with gender identity disorder are the new ascendant class being used to batter society into compliance with a new social-sexual order. Issues of mental health have been weaponized to change our fundamental beliefs with a religious fervor that is alarming. as Brendan O’Neill observes:
With its millions of agog followers, its worship of an iconic image, its insistence we all ‘bow down’, the Cult of Caitlyn gives Catholic mariolatry a run for its money in the blind-devotion stakes. And of course, as with all venerated icons, anyone who refuses to recognise the truth of Caitlyn’s Vanity Fair cover has faced mob punishment or finger-wagging corrections of their goddess-defying blasphemy.
So when Drake Bell, a former American child star, tweeted ‘Sorry… still calling you Bruce’, he became the subject of global fury. The Cult of Caitlyn went insane. Even after Bell deleted his blasphemous comment, tweeters mauled him, suggesting he deactivate his Twitter account, or better still, ‘deactivate his life’. Meanwhile, a Twitter robot called @she_not_he has been set up to correct any ‘misgendering’ of Caitlyn. Winning high praise from much of the media, this bot is ‘scrubbing Twitter, looking for anyone who uses the “he” pronoun in conjunction with Caitlyn Jenner’s name’. The bot’s inventor says he is delighted that these misgendering miscreants have been ‘apologetic in their replies to the bot’, and ‘some have even deleted their original tweet’.
For this reason, in public discussion on the issue, I don’t see how we can use female pronouns or even his assumed name in public discourse. It’s moved beyond simple courtesy and into a public, political statement. We are being stampeded to recognize someone as something they are not, and it has serious ramifications.
There’s more, much more. Click on over and read the whole thing. Then pass it on.
It’s much needed food for thought but make no mistake about it, agreement with Mr. McDonald will put you squarely on one side of the cultural divide.
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.