2018-07-09

Gender: Or, Why US Pronoun Patrolling Will Fail

When They Insist On Being Called "Them"...

I have a rule about facts: They're boring. That is, that which is really true doesn't need advocates. Thus, as a corollary, anything that's politically charged is based on a lie. Sometimes, it's people with the power that defend nonsense. Think of examples like the Medieval Catholic geocentrism or slavers' biological justifications for racism. They were bullshit. They always had been bullshit. However, the vox populi was on their sides, and consensus is enough for bullshitters. This time, however, the bullshit is on the side of the unpopular view. And, when small groups of wrong people are very loud, many people seem to believe there's a "dialogue" worth having. There isn't, and there never was. That said, I aim to show that enforcers of transgender shifts in English grammar are no different from Westboro Baptist Church protesters. Their only differences are what delusions they worship and what facts they curse as a result.

If they're so wrong and doomed to fail, why should we even care?

To be brief, we shouldn't. If we ignore most nonsense, it will naturally go away. We shouldn't really care about gender beyond language. After all, gender is, first and foremost, a linguistic feature. This much is clarified by Michelle Cretella:

"Gender, as a term, prior to the 1950's, number one, did not refer to people; and, number two, was not in the medical literature. [...] And so, they [sexologists who invented sexual reassignment surgeries] basically looked at the word 'gender', which meant "male and female", referring to grammar— and you can go online. I went back to dictionaries in the 1700's, and you can actually see the definition[s] of gender all the way up. So, in the 1950's, one of the sexologists at the time was John Money, Dr. John Money, and they said, 'Well, we're going to take gender and say, for people, it means "the social expression of an internal sexed identity". That's what we're treating.' They pulled it out of the air."
And, as a feature, it's culturally arbitrary. A language can have a dozen genders or none. It has no direct binding to human sexuality, and there are only people of a few sexes (males, females, and some intersex folks). It's the same way with colors, but in the opposite direction. Most humans can distinguish around three million distinct colors. However, most languages only have a few dozen words for them. This alone has served as the key empirical disproof of linguistic determinism. That is, our words do not decide what things we can perceive or what really exists. Wittgenstein was wrong. Sapir and Whorf were wrong. We can move on.

Then, why are you still on about transgender people?

Trannies aren't the issue. It's this push for a transgender grammar that's annoying.

- "But, that means I'm not really a woman.
I'm just a guy with a mutilated penis."
- "Basically, yes."
Transgender grammar is just the opposite face of that same linguistic determinism. We can only identify sex in a few ways. Linguistic gender, when applied to people, refers to people with those sexual features. However, when they bloat a grammar with invented genders, new sexes don't magically come into being. Neither do they serve to "increase awareness" of other genders, because they made the bullshit up. Their only recourse in the English language is to appeal to "preferred pronouns", and that tells the whole story.

"Preference" Nonsense

First is the word "preferred". What is this preference? Well, all we can observe is a preference to be inconvenient to native English speakers. Their pronouns make no meaningful reference to people's sexual features. Nor do their pronouns have any clear features beyond individual preferences. So, their preference is just to say, "I want a unique pronoun, even though available pronouns already describe me." It's a plea for a false endowment. It's difference for the sake of difference.

"Pronoun" Nonsense

Second is the word "pronoun". This is telling for two reasons. First, it reveals a deep (even deliberate) ignorance of the relevant linguistics. Gender in language is all about agreement, and agreement is matching inflections between nouns and other connected parts of speech. Gender of this sort doesn't exist in English. Gender in English is only present in some nouns' morphemes and in pronouns. For example, English distinguishes "actors" from "actresses" and "waiters" from "waitresses". That's morphological. Also, English uses pronouns "he" and "she" to refer to male and female people. That's lexical.

English gender agreement only occurs in pronoun tracing. Take this sentence:
  • "John and Sue wanted to meet Mary, but she doesn't want to meet him."
This is only slightly ambiguous. "She" could refer to Sue or Mary. Most English speakers would assume "she" replaces "Mary". But, if these asshats got their way with "them", it would read like this:
  • "John and Sue wanted to meet Mary, but they doesn't want to meet them."
All I heard was,
"My so-called journey was a mistake."
Thanks a fucking lot, transgender community! Now, I have to force a noun-verb disagreement to suit your shitty preferences. Not only that, I also have to guess whether "them" refers to John and Sue, or just John, or just Sue. Yeah, and the absent anaphor means I have to make an extra cognitive effort to understand "they". Otherwise, I might infer that John and Sue don't want to meet themselves. Again, congratulations, trans people. You just asked us to break our language because you don't want to get clocked, or for some other stupid reason.

Worse yet, this inconvenience also extends to other languages. Spanish transgenders have been pushing to alter Spanish orthography to use suffixes "~x" or "~@" instead of "~o" and "~a". It's meant to avoid assigning "false genders" to people. The result? Less convenience, more confusion. In this case, it's so bad that Spanish speakers wouldn't be able to pronounce the sentences as read with such changes:
  • "El/la enfermerx me dijo que hay solo un@ médicx acá que es un(a) cirujanx pediátric@."
Exacto, que se cojan por el culo.

Or, consider Russian and German, which have a "neuter" gender. That doesn't mean that "neuter-gendered" people exist. It also doesn't mean that "neuter" gender is a human social role. Any claim otherwise is a category mistake.

More "Pronoun" Nonsense

Second, this inconvenience causes speakers to avoid any verbal interaction with those who make these dumb requests. It's supremely ironic. They seek more dialogue over gender. Then, they make requests (or assholish demands) that cause further isolation. It's another symptom of linguistic ignorance. The core syntax of a language changes for only a few reasons. I've previously explained some of them. However, these pronoun patrolmen can only hope to appeal to its convenience or group sensitivity. They're clearly failing in that first front. What about our wishes not to offend people?

Sorry, but history is not on their side, either. Plenty of special interests have tried to reform the English language. None of them stuck for more than a few years, and only among a small group of people. The proof is in the corpus data:
And, for you, the transgender community:
Trans people, most of us don't care that you want to masquerade as the opposite sex, or if you think you "defy traditional genders" somehow. Abnormal sexuality and genital mutilation don't make you special. We have no obligation to comfort your delusions. That's why you will never win this imaginary rights battle. Seeking normal speakers to meet your silly requests is not doing your kind any favors. If you become outraged, it's your own fault. You shouldn't have fallen for Dr. Money's profit scheme.

What should we do, then, if we don't want to offend them?

The only correct pronoun here is "whatever-the-fuck".
I'm really not the person to ask. Just use their proper names all the time, I guess. But, don't waste your life dismantling a language for the sake of people's feelings. Soon enough, activists will have abandoned this futile effort. They'll move on to getting animals elected mayor or some other stupid shit. They might actually succeed in that effort. I'd sooner vote livestock into office than dice my syntax to hell.

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