“Dreams of self-destruction, and probably many cases of suicide, are desires or attempts on the part of narcissistic individuals to give themselves a new birth by attacking themselves and thus bringing about self-fertilization.”
–Theodore Faithfull, The Mystery of the Androgyne: Three Papers on the Theory and Practice of Psychoanalysis, 1938
We’re not allowed to speculate any more on the motivation behind what used to be called “gender bending”: transvestism, transsexualism, etc. Indeed, that now quaint phrase seems destined to fall to the Maoist language police, suggesting as it does sexual identity is malleable and subject to human will and desire. Because while it might sound like that is precisely what the trans movement is about, it isn’t. That is, it is completely about that and completely against that.
While the theory is that sexual identity is a social construct free of biology that exists on a continuum–infinitely divisible, apparently–including as one such point the “gender fluid” individual whose sexual identity may change over time (but not, damn you, at whim), it also decrees that any suggestion this identity is not a congenital fact of birth (“born this way” in the slogan) is both immoral and unscientific. Thus the foundation of political homosexuality would be undermined. Because the movement is protected from criticism, this contradiction goes unexamined. Sexual identity exists like a particle in quantum physics, here, there, everywhere until pinned to a location by observation (or, in their case, declaration). Perhaps they shouldn’t speak of a continuum, but of a
But it’s increasingly obvious to me the blossoming of alternative sexual identities is driven by two things: individual psychology and social influence. Like many or most of us in this atomized age, gender benders are engaged in a desperate, narcissistic quest to satisfy two conflicting desires: to establish their unique individuality, and to find their place in a community of their own. Sexual dysphorics who act on their dysphoria seek to effect their own destruction and rebirth. Whatever there is that’s “heroic” about it at this point has less to do with social stigma and more to do with defiance of Mother Nature.
I was struck by this thought when perusing a photo collage of feminists and coming upon the picture of a butch lesbian. Her look was actually an impressive, in its way, mimicry of masculinity: pompadour haircut, practiced smile, perfect flannel shirt. I couldn’t help thinking this woman might have been aware of a choice available to her: be an unremarkable looking woman, or an impressive caricature of a lumberjack.