“She says she’s non-binary.”
The speaker was a gay friend of mine. It was Saturday night, and we were at a bar in the small Norwegian town where we both live. He pointed to our waitress, a 20-ish blonde who was flirting with some of the younger guys.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
The weekend before, my friend explained, the waitress had tried to bond with him by stating that she, too, in her way, was “queer.” Specifically, “non-binary.”
In fact, she’s obviously nothing of the kind. Like countless other young folks these days, she’s a full-fledged, card-carrying heterosexual girl who’s been taught to see gender identity as a smorgasbord.
A smorgasbord from which you can take one item right now and another, say, ten minutes from now. At 8:00 PM, non-binary. At 8:10, pangender. Or whatever.
Ten or twenty years ago, some kids decided they were goth. Or emo. Most of them pursued these identities for a while, then got over it.
But at no point did they fool themselves into thinking that these were genders.
I’m glad I wasn’t there the other night when that waitress announced her non-binary status, because I fear I’d have made a scene.
“Listen,” I can imagine myself saying, “when I was young you could get arrested for being gay. It didn’t become legal here until 1972; in some U.S. states, 2003. Some of us spent years fighting to overturn those laws and reverse the attitudes behind them. This is serious stuff. It goes to the core of who one is and whom one loves. And it lasts a lifetime.
“Miss, you’re not queer and you’re not non-binary. You’re a straight girl who seems perfectly nice, but who wants to come off as interesting by appropriating labels that don’t belong to you. I understand that. But you should know that by doing so, you’re trivializing other people’s lives. Please cut it out.”
Every word of that imaginary rebuke is true. But it wouldn’t have been kind to say these things to that young woman, who is, after all, only a product of her environment. She’s so immersed in this mentality that my little speech probably would’ve baffled her.
Then again, this smorgasbord-gender stuff is not something to be easily dismissed. Because it does more than just trivialize.
How many swishy boys end up being convinced that they’re trans by parents who’d rather have a straight trans daughter than a gay “cis” son – even if it involves an irreversible surgical mutilation? How many female runners or tennis players or weightlifters in high schools are losing hopes of sports careers – or athletic scholarships – because they’re being pitted against hulking M-to-Fs?
The other day, a gay American rapper named Kurtis Tripp posted a tweet that read as follows:
I’m so sick of hearing about how “queer” has been reclaimed. I had that word spit in my face as recently as 2018. And look at WHO is reclaiming it? Mostly heterosexuals cosplaying as the opposite sex and as “gay.”
Stop co-opting our language. Stop colonizing gay culture.
I’d never heard of Tripp before. On his Instagram page, I saw a recently posted meme reading “bottoms and tops / we all hate cops.” Not my kind of politics, to say the least. But I do agree with Tripp’s negative take on the eagerness of many non-gay people to snap up the “queer” label as if it were some kind of adornment – a Christmas-tree ornament, say, or a brooch or necklace that you can wear out one night and then toss back in a dresser drawer when you return home.
In any case, Tripp’s Twitter account has now – surprise! – been suspended. But before that happened, Rosie Duffield, a Labour Party member of the British Parliament, clicked “like” on Tripp’s tweet. And the world crashed down on her. A party spokesman said she was being investigated. The party’s own LGBT+ group said she’d “endorsed homophobic & transphobic content.”
(So in 2021, when a gay man chides non-gays for calling themselves queer, it’s “homophobic.” Right.)
To be sure, not everybody attacked Duffield. J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author, is a lefty; another British writer, Julie Bindel, is an outspoken lesbian feminist. But both, to their credit, stood with Duffield. They understand that trans ideology – which teaches that straights can instantly decide to be queer, and that any man is a woman the moment he says he is – represents an existential challenge not only to gays but also to women.
Also on Duffield’s side was Debbie Hayton – a transsexual activist but an opponent of trans ideology – who after contacting Tripp received a reply expanding on his tweet. The proposition that “anyone can identify as ’queer,’” he told her, amounts to “homophobia thinly veiled with ‘wokeness.’” He’s absolutely correct.
And it’s not just homophobia. It’s misogyny. It’s hostility to any concept of identity that’s founded on biology and/or deep-seated self-knowledge rather than on a passing whim or fancy or trend.
And it’s about time that those of us who haven’t bought into the insane and destructive new woke order started saying so.