Friday, March 10, 2023

How Synthetic Sexual Identities Got Fast Tracked Through American Institutions

nationalreview |  What campaigners mean by “trans rights” is gender self-identification: that trans people be treated in every circumstance as members of the sex they identify with, rather than the sex they actually are.

This is not a human right at all. It is a demand that everyone else lose their rights to single-sex spaces, services, and activities. And in its requirement that everyone else accept trans people’s subjective beliefs as objective reality, it is akin to a new state religion, complete with blasphemy laws.

Even as one country after another introduces gender self-ID, very few voters know that this is happening, let alone support it.

In 2018 research by Populus, an independent pollster, crowdfunded by British feminists, found that only 15 percent of British adults agreed that legal sex change should be possible without a doctor’s sign-off. A majority classified a “person who was born male and has male genitalia but who identifies as a woman” as a man, and only tiny minorities said that such people should be allowed into women’s sports or changing rooms, or be incarcerated in a women’s prison if they committed a crime.

Two years later, YouGov found that half of British voters thought people should be “able to self-identify as a different gender to the one they were born in.” But two-thirds said legal sex change should only be possible with a doctor’s sign-off, with just 15 percent saying no sign-off should be needed. In other words, there is widespread support for people describing themselves as they wish, but not much for granting such self-descriptions legal status. The same poll also asked whether transwomen should be allowed in women’s sports and changing rooms, sometimes with a reminder that transwomen may have had no genital surgery, and sometimes without. The share saying yes was 20 percentage points lower with the reminder than without — again demonstrating widespread confusion about what being trans means, and that support for trans people does not imply support for self-declaration overriding reality.

A poll in Scotland in 2020 suggests that even young women, the demographic keenest on gender self-ID, become cooler when reminded of the practical implications. A slight majority of women aged 16 to 34 selected “anyone who says they’re a woman, regardless of their biology” as closer than “an adult human female, with XX chromosomes and female genitalia” to their conception of what the word “woman” means. (Young men were much less keen on the self-ID definition, though keener than older men. Overall, 72 percent of respondents chose the biological definition.) But that 52 percent share fell to 38 percent answering “yes” to: “Do you think someone who identifies as a woman, but was born male, and still has male genitalia, should be allowed to use female changing rooms where women and girls are undressing/showering, even if those women object?”

This pattern of broad sympathy for trans-identified people combined with opposition to the practical consequences of gender self-ID also holds in the U.S. In 2020, public-opinion polling in ten swing states found that at least three-quarters of likely voters — including a majority of registered Democrats — opposed allowing male people to compete in female sports. Proposals to ban puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for minors also polled extremely well. Two more polls the same year, one in California shortly before state laws changed to grant male convicts who identified as women the right to be held in women’s prisons, and one in Idaho to gauge support for the state legislature’s efforts to keep males out of women’s sports, found large majorities supporting separation by sex rather than gender identity.

Gender self-ID does not even play well with left-leaning voters. In early 2020, Eric Kaufmann, a politics professor, gave a random sample of likely British voters some text about a “trans rights” pledge signed by all but one of the candidates for the Labour Party leadership. It described women’s groups campaigning to maintain sex-based rights as “trans exclusionist hate groups,” and said Labour members supporting them should be expelled. The share who said they were likely to vote Labour at the next election was ten percentage points lower than in a control group who read nothing. Progressive campaigners have used “taboos around minority sensitivity to amplify their influence,” Kaufmann concluded, enabling them to “advance unpopular platforms that both weaken the Left and contribute to cultural polarisation.”

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