Eccentricity, says Ambrose Bierce in his Devil’s Dictionary, is “a method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.” If you’re looking for fools, and want to observe them accentuating their incapacity, you need look no further than contemporary sexual progressivists. Though, I must warn you, you may not know whether to laugh or cry.
Exhibit A would be a 19 March op-ed in The Washington Post entitled: “The latest form of transphobia: Saying lesbians are going extinct,” by Lynne Stahl, a humanities librarian at West Virginia University. Stahl objects to concerns among gays and lesbians that transgenderism represents an existential threat to their existence. You might be curious as to how one member of the LGBTQ acronym could possibly be a threat to two of the others. The answer, explains Stahl, is that many gay and lesbian persons fear that the popularity of transgenderism persuades many, rather than remaining “cisgender” gay or lesbian, to “transition” to the other gender.
Stahl, a self-described “cisgender lesbian,” describes such concerns as another manifestation of “transphobia,” by which she means that people expressing such fears, including heterosexuals, are exhibiting their own prejudices and biases against another victim class, namely, transsexuals. This is ironic (or, one might say, hypocritical), given that homosexual persons are supposed to also be a group of oppressed persons with grievances against an oppressive, “heteronormative” American society. As George Orwell vis-a-vis his classic Animal Farm might note, the oppressed, upon their ascension to power, have a tendency to become the oppressors they so emphatically despise and malign.
Yet for me, the main take-away was how utterly absurd and blinkered contemporary progressivist sexuality has become. Stahl, for example, describes herself as a “lesbian researcher of tomboyism trained in queer theory.” What, might I ask, does it mean to be “trained in queer theory”? Is that an actual academic discipline, or sub-discipline, in credentialed universities? Who funds such stupid things? What on earth does it mean that she researches “tomboyism,” as if that is actually a thing worth investing academic resources and mental energy in studying?
Indeed, Stahl’s op-ed is overflowing with contrived, self-indulgent nonsense demonstrative of how absurd and unserious the secular academy has truly become in its adoption of pseudoscience and spurious jargon. She discusses how some worry that “lesbians are being ‘seduced’ into transmasculinity.” She approvingly cites categories like “homophile,” “invert,” and “female husband” as real things, comparable, I suppose, to boy or girl, dog or cat, tree or grass.
“Transmasculine.” “Nonbinary.” “Cisgender.” “Queerness.” What is all of this claptrap? If my two deceased Catholic grandfathers (God rest their souls) were to attempt to read such gibberish, they would think it was a bizarre joke, or even another language, perhaps a bastardized form of some ivory-tower English. If I stretch my intellectual imagination into the most absurd contortions, I think I can follow the logic (or illogic, as it were) of Stahl’s argument.
But why should anyone even bother doing this? To even try and make sense of Stahl’s argument is to enter into a fictional, self-absorbed world defined by an indulgent obsession with one’s gender and sexuality. Today his clothes were a little too stylish and form-fitting and he exhibited some feminine behaviors—perhaps he possesses some metrosexual, heteronormative-transgressing tendencies. Yesterday she played in the mud and joined in the neighborhood football game—that has tomboyistic, transmasculine traits written all over it.
Or boys are boys, and girls are girls, and certain qualities—physical, emotional, social, and psychological—typically define one sex and not the other. Certainly, there are exceptions to the rule and some grey areas, but generally, when children are raised by loving, engaged mothers and fathers in stable households, they evince certain qualities that have been associated with their sex since the earliest human records. Or, as our Catechism teaches, “Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others. Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life” (CCC §2332-2333).
The sexual revolution rejected the givenness of the human person and his or her sexuality as understood by biblical tradition and natural law, instead declaring that “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” in the unfortunately immortal words of feminist Irina Dunn. The pill gave us unfettered freedom to pursue sexual promiscuity with little immediately observable effects (long-term consequences are another thing). Creative, or one might more aptly say demonic, use of plastic enabled us to engage in sexual acts that had typically resulted in sexually-transmitted diseases. And the pseudoscience of the Kinsey Reports sought to normalize the most perverse, anti-human, anti-social forms of sexual deviance.
And yet, more than two generations from this disastrous garbage, people like Stahl press on. The problem, they tell us, is that too many oppressive heteronormative, cisgender power structures remain. We still, despite the propaganda pumped through our television screens, popular music, movie theaters, and magazines, have not completely dispensed with certain outdated conceptions of sexual identity and behavior. Thus, the revolution must proceed, reflecting the so-called Tocqueville effect. No matter how many broken marriages, wrecked childhoods, and permanently mutilated bodies it leaves in its wake, the project must prevail.
Woke sexuality, as Stahl’s article so patently proves, descends into incomprehensible jibber jabber. It is entirely disconnected from reality: the reality of philosophical logic, the reality of biology, and the reality of common sense. To say as much risks being labeled imaginative slurs like “homophobic” or “transphobic.” So be it. The teachings of Christ and His Church must be upheld and proclaimed for the sake of truth and the salvation of the world, including our confused neighbors who undermine and obscure their callings as God’s beautiful creations.
As St. Paul declared, “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever!” They exchanged natural relations for unnatural, indulging in “dishonorable passions” and committing “shameless acts” (Romans 1). What is shameless, in addition to Stahl’s twisted conception of the human person and human sexuality, is that she actually thinks she’s saving the world. May God help us.
[Photo Credit: Shutterstock]