Paul Kengor: Frustrated feminists confront gender orthodoxy
Picture an elderly British man opening his newspaper and sharing this story with his wife: “A 52-year-old woman is guilty of raping two other women at a facility in West Yorkshire. Claiming to be suffering from erectile dysfunction, she assaulted the two women.”
The gentleman scratches his head and says to his wife: “My dear, this is very strange. A woman with ‘erectile dysfunction’ raped two other women?”
The truth is, NO, a woman “suffering” erectile dysfunction did not rape two women. A man did. The politically correct British newspaper, however, wouldn’t call the man a man because such would constitute pronoun discrimination and “bias” against a transgender person.
Such frustration was recently shared by Julia Beck, a lesbian and feminist deeply troubled by “this madness” created by transgender ideology. Beck was hounded by ideologues for refusing to call a biologically male rapist a woman. She knows the vast majority of rapes are by men. She doesn’t want the extreme vagaries of modern transgender ideology corrupting actual facts of biological reality. Nonetheless, it’s happening, and those who speak out, including feminists who’ve long been allies of the LGBTQ movement, are being punished for insufficient subservience to the new orthodoxy.
Tennis great Martina Navratilova was labeled “transphobic” after daring to suggest that transgender individuals in women’s athletics are cheaters because they are, in actuality, biological males defeating biological females in everything from track and field to weightlifting. In some cases, like mixed martial arts, these guys are beating up girls, and it’s deemed rude and offensive to question it.
“It is obvious that men have certain inherent physiological advantages over women,” Navratilova wrote in the British newspaper The Sunday Times. “These include height, weight, bone-density and muscularity. These advantages play a different role depending on the sport, with power-lifting being the biggest and most obvious advantage.”
She explained: “Normal testosterone levels for men aged 19 and above range from 240 to 950 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). For women aged 19 and above, normal testosterone levels range from eight to 60 ng/dL.”
Navratilova, who later apologized for using the word “cheating,” pled for common sense to literally level the playing field. Indeed, girls in high school will lose athletic scholarships because they’re losing races to boys competing as self-identified “girls.”
Navratilova is being condemned for heresy by ideologues in the LGBTQ movement. She’s learning what happens when you don’t acquiesce 100% to the ideological agenda.
We’ve all experienced this. At first, we were told to be compassionate — toward gays, toward those with “gender dysphoria,” etc. No problem. Now we’re learning that anything short of complete approval of everything from same-sex marriage to gender “transitioning,” despite one’s religious convictions, means you’re a homophobe, a trans-phobe, a bigot, a hater.
What’s most troubling here is the lack of freedom of conscience. One isn’t free to question any element of the agenda. That runs contrary to the very tolerance and diversity that’s proclaimed.
This is the new world we’re being dragged into — one in which dissent from the latest orthodoxy gets you in trouble. Even if you’ve long been an ally. Even if you’ve been a faithful feminist in good standing.
Paul Kengor is a professor of political science and chief academic fellow of the Institute for Faith & Freedom at Grove City College.