I was wasting time scrolling through my Facebook feed, when I came across a post that said something along the lines of:

If you believe that transgender women are men, and transgender men are women, then either DM me for more information or unfriend me now.

Now this person isn’t a close friend, but rather a friend of my sister’s. But we have had a few good moments of quality time over the years. There is much we disagree on. For instance, she is a lesbian, in a lesbian marriage, while I hold to traditional views on sexuality and marriage.

One of those quality moments I mentioned was having dinner together while we were both on vacation for a mutual friend’s marriage. We were the only two people in our group travelling alone, and everyone else was having ‘couple time’. We had a very pleasant meal on the beach at sunset, and both of us spoke longingly about the people who we were dating, both of whom ended up being our spouses.

Maybe it’s just me, but I had no problem sharing this conversation without a hint of judgment or disdain, even though I hold strongly to my differing values. I really appreciated the depth of affection she had for her partner, and it was a really good conversation. We live in a diverse society where people are free to live their lives as they see fit. I believe strongly in the golden rule, and since I wouldn’t want someone demeaning my values or rejecting my friendship because of them, I really take no issue doing the same for others. We can still get along, after all, and enjoy others as individuals even when we disagree, even on fundamental things. I think this is called ‘tolerance’.

But tolerance, once demanded from those who live alternative lifestyles and values, seems to be rejected more and more, just as it is being adopted more and more from those who hold traditional values. I think it’s fairly obvious why. Cultural values in America have quickly changed, to the point that the alternative values are those dominant in the culture, while traditional values are being pushed out of polite society. Perhaps the transgender issues are one of the most prominent examples of how rapid this is occurring.

So what did I do? Well, what she asked. I unfriended her.

I considered writing a message first, but I’m just tired, and (maybe this is a faulty attitude) it would not have been productive. If she does notice, and happens to ask, I will tell her why. Perhaps I will send her to this post.

I know she would have sent me links, or made arguments about scientific bases for transgenderism, or highlighted the “hate” of people not agreeing with transgender values. Trust me, I’ve heard it all. I understand the issue better than most, having been a roommate for many years with a transgender woman as he progressed from short cropped hair and jeans to long hair, fake boobs, and leggings. I love that man and still count him as a friend, even though we definitely do not agree. If he happens to ever read this, maybe he’ll understand that we just view these things differently, and that doesn’t change how much I value him as a person and friend. But frankly, I’m afraid he too will reject me because I am not willing to go along with calling a rake a spade.

And that would be a shame.

There’s a theory going around political science circles that has taken off in this new cultural era, that of the “Big Sort“. The idea is that, while American society is more diverse than ever, it is becoming more polarized than ever, as people self-select into geographies and affiliations that share their own views, to the exclusion of others. It’s generally viewed as a negative development.

It’s long been obvious on a political level, as political bubbles have been around for ages. But I haven’t had it affect me on a personal level, at least not to this extent, until now. And I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse.

My life will go on okay without her friendship on Facebook. If my other friend were to disown me because I do not share his views on his transgender expression, I would lose more, but life would go on. But I worry about the cumulative cost of this, personally and on a societal basis. I am also concerned about the chilling effect of all this–how I suppress or hide my true beliefs from genuine friends because I worry their friendship is contingent on me checking some box in sharing certain values.

Or at the very least, I fear a gut-wrenching and uncomfortable conversation that only serves to alienate us from one another. But then again, maybe such a conversation will be productive, and help us both realize we can be friends without agreeing, even on fundamental things. I think of the lesbian married couple my wife and I really enjoy spending time with, or my gay cousin and his extreme-activist partner. I think of many members of my family and their far-left views on politics and utter disdain for traditional religion. There are many others I count as friends for whom this is a worry of mine.

So what do we do? How do we act? What are the consequences of this trend and the prospects for it coming back the other way?

I know one thing. I believe what I believe, and will hold fast to my values, including the value that I will treat others as I want to be treated, and that all people have value no matter what they may believe or do.

43 comments

  1. The idea is that, BECAUSE American society is more diverse than ever, it is becoming more polarized than ever

    Fixed that for you.

    It’s coincidental that you posted this today. I had a related experience yesterday. I went shopping for a gift for somebody at a particular store that sells a lot of pop culture clothing and items. It’s that place where all of the employees are required to have not less than four piercings above the neck. You probably know it.

    Anyway, I was trying to get an item off a top shelf and failing at it. So a chubby young employee with short, blond hair and Harry Potter glasses came by and used a pole to get what I wanted down. I took my items to the cash register and the cashier asked me, “Did any of our employees help you out to day?”

    “Yes! She did and she did a great job”, I said, motioning toward the employee who had retrieved the item.

    The employee gave me a cross look and replied in a low voice, “I’m actually a guy.”

    “Ah, yes, of course. He did and he did a great job”, I said without missing a beat, keeping a smile. I kept my eyes on *him* while sending a telepathic message of “Is that going to be good enough or are we going to have trouble on a lovely Sunday afternoon?” As I did that, I studied *his* face to determine if I made a mistake. Nope. Soft skin, delicate facial structure, pink lips, no Adams apple. I may have assumed gender, but I got the sex right.

    *He* didn’t say anything, instead just made a quick nod and went back to work. *He* clearly wasn’t happy but decided that getting into it with a customer wasn’t worth it. Thankfully, misgendering someone isn’t a yet a crime in my state. The cashier didn’t acknowledge our exchange at all and so we quickly concluded our business and I left.

    And that’s America in 2017. We are all separated into various self-identifying tribes along all possible lines and we walk around being suspicious of each other, looking for offense, and being afraid that we might offend another tribe with some microagression. Welcome to the PC Dystopia.

    So what do we do? How do we act? What are the consequences of this trend and the prospects for it coming back the other way?

    You have two choices, I suppose.

    You could acknowledge that the cultural Left has effectively destroyed everything that could possibly unite us under a single identity in favor of sorting each other and ourselves into tribes. From there, just embrace the idea that you’re simply a member of the White Straight Christian Male Tribe and that the other tribes actively resent you and everything you believe, do, and say is an assault against them. Your wisest course of action is to minimize contact with members of other tribes and when you can’t, try not say or do anything at all that might trigger them when you encounter them in real life.

    If you go down this road, you’re also supposed to get a bad haircut and carry around a tiki torch or something. I’m not fully clear on how it works. Point is that your first option is to accept that the polarization is normal and the other tribes are going to sort you into a tribe whether you want them to or not. Whether it’s your “white privilege” or because you’re “manspreading” or whatever they want to call it, other people will put an identity on you and you can choose to embrace it or not.

    It’s basically like being in prison, where everyone has to join an exclusive gang if they don’t want to be a bitch. That’s what we’re being turned into, sociologically, under this point of view.

    Your second option is to rebel against the polarization culture and keep doing what you’ve been doing. View people as individuals, rather than members of tribes. Practice the Golden Rule and be nice to your fellow human beings.

    The second choice is by far the more courageous and noble, but it’s extremely risky. I was lucky in that when I had the incident with the store employee that *he* wasn’t in a position to lash out. Had it been a different situation involving a coworker, a client, or someone else then I would have been in for a bad time.

    I’m still clinging to the idea that the second choice is right, but I’m not going to lie. The first choice is seductively looking more and more realistic every year. I don’t want to harm or offend anyone, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that there are people in this country who are being conditioned to hate people like me and they’re looking for reasons to fight and ruin me at every opportunity.

    I’d love to stay neutral and just live my life, but I don’t think I’m going to be allowed to.

    I’m not saying this to upset you but I think that when you chose to unfriend that woman, you took a small step toward the first option. I leave it to you to decide if that’s a good or bad thing.

    What are the consequences of the polarization? Probably violence and separation in the long term. If we don’t have anything that unites us and have a bunch of reasons to be divided, it’s going to cause conflict and social chaos and I don’t see any way of reversing the current trend.

    For all that, I suppose we can just take joy in knowing that every time we treat other people with respect regardless of their life circumstances, have productive discussions with those with whom we disagree, and try to celebrate the dwindling number of common uniting beliefs we still have left it is an act of rebellion against the Forces of Stupid. We will probably lose, but it’s the Good Fight.

  2. It’s an interesting conundrum. I would say that the advent of social media is accelerating this “Big Sort” and making it more evident in society today.

  3. Great post zoom. This is something my friend encountered during the election and shortly after. We’d discussed the election extensively in the months running up to the day and had both just sort of written it off trump would be elected but he did. Immediately after the election my feed on Facebook started getting filled with angry posts as people seemed to start questioning if their neighbor was the closeted trump voter that tipped the scales:

    My friend and I were the ambiguous (unintended pun) voters; I’d kept my eye on trump, decided he wasn’t a maxi but wasn’t presidential material either and despite every fiber of my being hating Hillary I voted for her because she was more tolerable than trump (if that’s even possible). Casting a vote for sanders was a vote for trump to me so I passed my pencil over him too.

    Iv been in political social networks long enough to know that when trump was elected that it was going to damage some relationships to talk about it. Most Californians, I believe, truly just cannot understand why someone would vote for him. Our state is such a different political entity, our state so dominated with like minded politics that it was just unfathomable to most of my peers this could happen.

    My friend cannot leave things unsaid; so the day after the election he posted this innocuous sentence in an attempt to be pithy: “well, we were screwed either way, I guess.”

    Immediately an old colleague of ours from work jumped in and said something to the effect of “I can’t believe you’d even say this! I’m unfriending you and never speak to me again!” Wtf?

    My friend had spent the night before freaking out over the phone calling me about trump getting elected. He thought it was going to be bad for Israel (his home country), bad for his Australian wife and plummet the United States standing in the world. He was AMBIVALENT about it and the person we’re acquaintances with was a work colleague of ours and a decorated engineer from on of the most prestigious schools in the nation. He wasn’t stupid, and my friend wasn’t a trump supporter.

    I think there’s two dynamics that take place in social media that cause these mass triggering. The first has been an issue ever since I’ve used emails and text to communicate: it’s difficult to discern a “tone of voice” to a body of text. Nuance can be co stride many ways and since social media is relaxed in theory people that resort to dark humor, sarcasm, stoicism etc can get misunderstood and reacted to. The other is what you’re talking about where people are self selecting their environment online accordingly, whittling ideologies down to ideological purities in their social groups.

    So, we agree. However I’d just add this. Before you sail off into the distance I wouldn’t leave your view unsaid. When I encounter things like this I try to understand the other’s view, or walk a mile in their shoes, so to speak. Maybe he/she is militant due to bad experiences. Maybe they’re lashing out because they’ve experienced so much rejection, they’d rather reject people before being rejected themselves. Maybe they’re in a bad place mentally.

    If it’s your friend, you owe them the extra effort, even if it’s a pain in the ass. If not then just carry on.

  4. Here’s a timely article I came across on Drudge about a study Pew just completed. They’ve asked the same series of questions to people since 1994. Unsurprisingly the political divide is worse than ever.

    In political values ranging from views of government and the social safety net to opinions about immigrants, race and homosexuality, Americans are less likely than in the past to hold a mix of conservative and liberal views. At the same time, ideological consistency – the shares of Americans holding liberal or conservative views across a wider range of issues – is increasingly associated with partisanship, a recent Pew Research Center study shows. This reflects a continuation of trends documented in the Center’s 2014 study of political polarization in the American public.

    Overall, 32% of Americans now take a roughly equal number of conservative and liberal positions on a scale based on 10 questions asked together in seven surveys since 1994. As recently as 2015, 38% had this mix of values – and 49% did so in 1994 and 2004.

    Reflecting growing partisan gaps across most of the individual questions in the scale – even those where both parties have shifted in the same direction – Republicans and Democrats are now further apart ideologically than at any point in more than two decades.

    Some of the charts are fascinating.

  5. I’d love to stay neutral and just live my life, but I don’t think I’m going to be allowed to.

    This is my biggest desire. I’ve expressed it in almost the same terms many times to my wife. As we’re about to have our first child, I have been thinking a lot about our family’s values, how we fit in to society, and what I need to do as its head. Our child is going to face a lot of things I never had to growing up, and I am worried about what this sort means for us.

    I’m not saying this to upset you but I think that when you chose to unfriend that woman, you took a small step toward the first option. I leave it to you to decide if that’s a good or bad thing.

    Notwithstanding my #1 priority of protecting my family and its values, I think it is definitely a bad thing I took that step. But like I said, I’m just tired. I’ve seen enough lecturing on this topic and know where I and my values stand. My friendship with her just wasn’t strong enough for me to want to go through it, and yeah, I think that’s just plain weakness on my part. What did it for me was not just her post, but her reply to a comment that basically said “not disagreeing with you, but do you think it’s a good idea to alienate people who might think differently?” She replied that opposing hate and violence to transgender people is important enough to her to do so, doubling down on her initial post. That was it for me.

  6. She replied that opposing hate and violence to transgender people is important enough to her to do so, doubling down on her initial post. That was it for me.

    Yeah, that’s how it is. The argument that transgenderism is a mental illness that should be treated rather than indulged is considered “hate and violence” by some people. It’s a point of view that shouldn’t be considered and anyone who holds it should be shunned.

    I keep going back to Erik Erickson’s writings on You Will Be Made to Care. Honestly, I thought he was exaggerating when he first published it. Now I think he was right and I’m amazed at how quickly it all came to pass.

    It goes beyond LGBT issues. They hold that any policy disagreement on our part against them is rooted in sexism, racism, Islamaphobia, and homophobia, etc. Honest disagreement doesn’t exist anymore as far as many among the Left are concerned. If you oppose them, they want you and your “hate speech” silenced. They don’t want you to be able to even voice your opinion where they might have to read it or hear it.

    As I’ve said before, this movement to silence and shun people over political disagreements and politicize every activity and relationship is divisive, it’s totalitarian, it’s anti-free speech, it’s destructive, it’s harmful, and it’s coming entirely from the Left. The harder they push, the more the Alt-Right grows and the more shrill they become in return. It’s bound to get much, much worse and I strongly believe it will eventually get violent and violence will become the norm.

    FWIW, I think you did the right thing by dropping her. She doesn’t like or respect you or your beliefs and there’s no point in talking to her further.

  7. We’re definitely getting into tribes. And that’s a natural consequence of living a huge amount of our live son platforms that make money out being able to specifically target ads. It’s a feature, not a bug.
    This is why this site (and former sites of a similar nature) are so important. Often I’ll hear about a story via my various types of media, and I’ll file it away in terms of a ‘thing that definitely happened’.

    Then I’ll see it discussed here, and it’s not like you think that my side is lying – it’s more like that we’re having a completely different discussion. The facts are basically the same, but the conversation is about a different thing altogether.

    Two quick things on the ‘tolerance of alternative lifestyles’ point. And as a straight white male, I’m speaking for other people here, so bear with me. Just trying to add some alternative perspective. This is going to get provocative, so hold onto your hats.

    Live and let live is a fine tactic for us to have (yeah yeah, white privilege) , but others don’t have that luxury, and that’s their point. You personally might disagree with them, but it might not change your behavior towards them. But you voted for someone who made it legal for them to be fired from their job because of their (trans)gender. You have contributed negatively towards that persons life.

    The other point is that while you view it as a political disagreement, they may view it as deeply personal. The best comparison I can think of is religion – as most people’s faith is deeply personal.

    Let’s say it’s my contention that believing in God is a mental illness that should be treated. Children aren’t born believing in God, so therefore it’s not natural. In fact, speaking to a non existent being is so far out of the realm of normal, that it makes me worry about whether these people should be in decision making positions. And anyway I’m tired of being told off for not knowing which religious holiday it is. It’s not my responsibility to keep track of Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza or whatever they’re calling it this week.

    Now I know you’re a religious person – and I understand that we view things differently. I still count you as a friend. I just think you’re mentally ill, and shouldn’t be allowed to do some of the things that I am allowed to, as I am a rational human, and you…. Well …. You need some help.
    How ready are you to have a rational discussion about how who you are as a person is a mental illness.

  8. Let’s say it’s my contention that believing in God is a mental illness that should be treated. Children aren’t born believing in God, so therefore it’s not natural. In fact, speaking to a non existent being is so far out of the realm of normal, that it makes me worry about whether these people should be in decision making positions. And anyway I’m tired of being told off for not knowing which religious holiday it is. It’s not my responsibility to keep track of Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza or whatever they’re calling it this week.

    That’s an interesting perspective, and honestly one that made me think. But as far as my religion, I don’t care if anyone else believes like I do. I don’t force you to partake in my particular “mental illness”. That’s certainly not the case on the other side (transgenderism), such as the example above. Granted, they haven’t resorted to bombing people in the name of transgenderism…yet.

  9. As far as

    I just think you’re mentally ill, and shouldn’t be allowed to do some of the things that I am allowed to, as I am a rational human, and you…. Well …. You need some help.

    What exactly do you think “our side” is saying transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to do? If a guy wants to cut off his wang, and call himself a woman…no skin off my nose. Just don’t ask me to partake in that particular level of crazy…or expect my tax dollars to pay for it.

  10. Then I’ll see it discussed here, and it’s not like you think that my side is lying – it’s more like that we’re having a completely different discussion. The facts are basically the same, but the conversation is about a different thing altogether.

    I love this so much, I’d have sex with it no matter what it identified as. You have a genius for framing arguments in the best and fairest way. I really wish this was more common in the world.

    You personally might disagree with them, but it might not change your behavior towards them. But you voted for someone who made it legal for them to be fired from their job because of their (trans)gender. You have contributed negatively towards that persons life.

    Yes, policy frequently does have personal effects and it definitely makes people more emotional. A lot of people are terrified of Obamacare being repealed because they were only able to get health insurance due to the pre-existing condition clause. They very much have a stake in the outcome of what Congress and the President decide, but does that justify Democrats saying, “You want to kill old and sick people”?

    I think we should be able to argue without assuming the absolute worst motivations from the other side.

    Now I assume that you’re talking about Trump’s transgender military ban. It should be possible to examine the effects of transgendered people on military readiness without it being “hate speech”, shouldn’t it?

    Now I know you’re a religious person – and I understand that we view things differently. I still count you as a friend. I just think you’re mentally ill, and shouldn’t be allowed to do some of the things that I am allowed to, as I am a rational human, and you…. Well …. You need some help.

    This is a great comparison. The impact that religion should have on government policy is one we have everyday in the US. You can certainly attempt to call “believes in religion” a mental illness, but I think it’s a bad comparison. 40% of Christians don’t attempt suicide. 40% of transgendered people do. In America, religious people are generally happier than non-religious people. So where’s the harm in religion compared to transgendered people, who suffer from higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general US population?

    The better comparison is what Zurvan said. Do religious people try to get society to participate in their own delusions? Yes, I think it’s fair to say that many do in the form of legislating according to religious morality and the like. And I’m saying that as a religious person.

    What we’re having here is an actual conversation about the impact of transgenderism and religion on policy and note that we can do it without resorting to calling criticism of transgenderism as a lifestyle without calling it hate speech and the effect of religion on life without anyone calling it “Christ punching.”

    I mean, these are the conversations I’d love to have, but it’s gotten to be impossible IRL and on most social media outlets.

  11. Another “great post, Zoom” from me. I don’t agree with a lot of it, but it is thought provoking and it does reveal a disturbing tendency of late. I have only blocked one person on FB, a person very dear to me, but her posts were starting to bother me more than they should and there were SO MANY OF THEM. I will unblock her at some point, but for now it is a relief not to see her crazy-making shit stream for pages at a time.

    I understand your friend to some extent but I disagree with her. She is just as tired as everyone else of having circular discussions that go nowhere with people that think that she is a freak for something that she believes she cannot control. Cress put it better than I can, so I will just say that I agree with his post.

    Naturally, I bristle at the implication that this is only the so-called “left”, but the right doesn’t do it. That is just untrue. The specific issues might change but the tactics don’t. Try “if you believe a person should be able to abort their rapist’s baby, just unfriend me now’ on for size. Perhaps it depends on where you live, but I hear off the cuff, offensive right-leaning crap almost every day, including just today. I have become accustomed to just giggling and blowing it off because it really isn’t worth getting into a “discussion” about it in the middle of a work-related function with someone I have known for many years and generally like.

    This has been decades in the making and will be decades in the unmaking. It isn’t just transgenderism or any one issue. It is much more complicated than that. It really has to do with how we deal with opinions that are different from our own. Some people can’t handle it for some reason so they put themselves in a bubble.

  12. I don’t force you to partake in my particular “mental illness”. That’s certainly not the case on the other side (transgenderism), such as the example above.

    What’s the first line of the pledge of allegiance?

    What exactly do you think “our side” is saying transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to do?

    Sue for being fired because of their gender.

    or expect my tax dollars to pay for it.

    How much does your church pay in tax?

    I’m being facetious here – but my intention is to try and show the other side of the argument, and why someones transgenderism – and the dismissal of that aspect of their person – might being forth more of an emotional response than a rational one. When you read my post, was your instinct to defend it? So that, but every single day.

    but I think it’s a bad comparison

    The thing is, whether or not you think it’s a bad comparison or not doesn’t matter. I* do, and I think we need to have the debate about exactly how mentally ill you are. The fact that you’re not even willing to debate the fact that religion shows how defective your brain is, just shows how much of a snowflake you are. I’m not allowed to have a rational discussion, because I might ‘offend’ your delicate sensibilities. It’s religious correctness gone mad.

    *I don’t.

  13. The thing is, whether or not you think it’s a bad comparison or not doesn’t matter.

    No, you’re reaching now. But I’ll play along anyway since there’s nothing else going on at the moment.

    Religious belief isn’t a diagnosed psychological condition. Transgenderism is, based on the high rate of depression and anxiety experienced by those afflicted with it. I’m not basing that on my opinion. It’s your opinion versus Science and you don’t hate Science, do you?

    With regard to treatment under the law, I’ll just point to the First Amendment and the protection that religion enjoys under it. Transgenderism has no such protections. So did we enshrine the protection of insane beliefs into our Constitution? Maybe. But it’s not a mental condition according to anybody. Transgenderism…is. Or “gender dysphoria” or whatever they’re calling it now.

    I’m being facetious here – but my intention is to try and show the other side of the argument, and why someones transgenderism – and the dismissal of that aspect of their person – might being forth more of an emotional response than a rational one.

    Yes, it’s understandable that someone would have an emotional response if they’re actually impacted by it or even just have strong feelings over it through some other association or relationship.

    However, what stands to be gained by simply painting people who argue against transgender acceptance as hate-filled bigots no matter how grounded in Science or rational their arguments are? This is similar to the debate we had a couple of weeks ago regarding black-on-black and black-on-white crime. Can we address that social problem and policies for improving it without one side calling the other “racist” for pointing out things that are true but run afoul of political correct attitudes?

  14. Thrill – I’m not trying to actually have the debate as to whether Transgenderism is or is not a mental disorder (yet) – I’m just trying to demonstrate the terms of the argument from their perspective.

    You don’t think that comparing religion to transgenderism is a fair comparison. You may or may not be right – but that doesn’t matter, because I’m going to have that conversation with you anyway. And you’re going to get annoyed with it. You’re going to feel attacked, and you’re going to assume that my intentions are nefarious, that I don’t believe in science, and that I have something against religious people personally. Sound familiar?

  15. Nice work cress.

    Zoomwsu, you wrote in your OP:

    There is much we disagree on. For instance, she is a lesbian, in a lesbian marriage, while I hold to traditional views on sexuality and marriage.

    We can still get along, after all, and enjoy others as individuals even when we disagree, even on fundamental things. I think this is called ‘tolerance’.

    But tolerance, once demanded from those who live alternative lifestyles and values, seems to be rejected more and more

    But frankly, I’m afraid he too will reject me because I am not willing to go along with calling a rake a spade.

    What have you actually been doing/writing/saying that has revealed this lack of tolerance towards your beliefs? How does this “I’m unwilling to” stance actually manifest itself in these situations? Clearly on a personal level you have no issue with spending time with trans or gay people, to the point where you’re provided examples of friends.

    As for the FB request:

    If you believe that transgender women are men, and transgender men are women, then either DM me for more information or unfriend me now.

    I can totally understand why a trans person would not consider someone a friend if they can’t accept them as they fundamentally are. That would seem to be a very important prerequisite of being a friend. (Although arguably not a FB friend)

    I am also concerned about the chilling effect of all this–how I suppress or hide my true beliefs from genuine friends because I worry their friendship is contingent on me checking some box in sharing certain values.

    I think it goes far far deeper than you just ‘sharing certain values’. Gender / sexual preference is a fundamental part of the existence of these people. I don’t know how you could be a genuine friend of someone when you don’t accept a fundamental part of what/who they are.

  16. Speaking to an invisible being isn’t necessarily out of the norm; lots of normal people do it (they just don’t call it their deity of choice). And some of them can be seen muttering to themselves on the sidewalk, as well.
    I believe that most people in this country are still what we would call traditional, but we are a more diverse society-gender and otherwise-and traditional people will have to learn to deal with that just as they have other changes in society. At the same time, we shouldn’t allow the discussion to be controlled by people with an agenda on either side. That way lies BS like courses on transgenderism for grade schoolers and politicians who think gay and transgender rights will lead to the Apocalypse. Tribalism is also human nature-we are more comfortable with those most like ourselves-but it does seem we have forgotten how to agree to disagree and the easily offended are taking over.
    How do we solve this? Stand up to the offense industry, and teach people how to have actual conversations again, or at least be polite in not talking to each other. This is also why I don’t use Facebook for anything political.

  17. CMNZ,

    What have you actually been doing/writing/saying that has revealed this lack of tolerance towards your beliefs? How does this “I’m unwilling to” stance actually manifest itself in these situations?

    For the former statement, I was referring in general to the LGBT community’s attitudes regarding my views that homosexual lifestyles are wrong and that transgenderism is a disorder (body dysmorphia). I’ve seen enough tweets and facebook posts (including many from friends) that make it clear how my views would be regarded were they to really know what I think. How my “unwilling to” manifests itself is that I (somewhat cowardly, I admit) avoid talking about the subject and getting into a discussion over it for fear I would alienate my friends who think differently and for whom this is a core part of their identity. I’ve “misgendered” and been corrected multiple times, and sheepishly indulged their fantasy for fear of making a scene. It’s a gut-wrenching conversation I tend to avoid at all costs, and maybe that’s a failing on my part, but I don’t want to lose the friendship of people I truly like and love because they disagree with my views.

    I can totally understand why a trans person would not consider someone a friend if they can’t accept them as they fundamentally are. That would seem to be a very important prerequisite of being a friend.

    Yeah I understand it too, which is part of why I shirk from a big open conversation about our differing beliefs. But the thing is, I can and do accept them as they fundamentally are, we just have different views on what “are” means. For instance, my transgender roommate friend is a smart, funny, caring, and loyal individual, who in my opinion, has trouble accepting himself for who he is, and who longs to be something he can never be. A tragic flaw, but not one that would be cause for me to end a friendship. In his view, he is fundamentally a woman, despite his born biology, and I fear if I don’t agree with that view, he would end our friendship.

    I think it goes far far deeper than you just ‘sharing certain values’. Gender / sexual preference is a fundamental part of the existence of these people. I don’t know how you could be a genuine friend of someone when you don’t accept a fundamental part of what/who they are.

    I view people as individuals, not categories or groupings of an identity. Furthermore, I accept that my friends see things differently, have different values, even on such fundamental questions of identity. I am fearful they wouldn’t reciprocate that view. I am fearful they will view friendship the way you do, as requiring that I agree with their view on things, rather than accept that we can love each other for who we are as individuals despite some differences of view.

    For instance, with my lesbian married friends, my values are that marriage is between a man and a woman only. But I accept that they view marriage more expansively as including lesbian marriage. Hey, that’s ok! I am not trying to force my beliefs on them, and am perfectly content to let them live their values as they see fit. But it’s a two-way street. I would not want them to force their values on me, or be discontented with me living my values as I see fit.

    Likewise for my transgender friend, I accept that he views gender as more fluid than I. That he thinks what makes a woman is attitudes, felt identity, and expression. I happen to think what makes a woman is her biological makeup. I can accept these differences of view. Frankly, it doesn’t bother me much at all he sees it that way. He can life his life as he sees fit. Where I have trouble is that I don’t want to be forced (in my view) to say there are five lights. It’s not fair that his view is acceptable but mine isn’t. We should all able to interpret reality as we see fit, so long as we’re not harming others (and I’m not talking “emotional harm” or whatever of people not being able to accept that others see things differently). It’s a free country, with diverse views about truly fundamental things. Let’s live like it and accept that people might think differently and that doesn’t change their value as an individual.

  18. It’s an interesting conundrum, and one my family is trying to understand. You see, I am very religious, as is my family.

    However our daughter has come out of the closet and married her girlfriend last year. We participated in the wedding, and love both of them. We call her wife our daughter in law, and include them in all family activities as such.

    A number of years ago I said that government should get out of the business of defining what marriage is. No tax breaks for marriage, no other recognition. I didn’t support DOMA as most religious people did, as I could see the writing on the wall. I support civil unions, and think that’s all the government should recognize, because then it doesn’t matter, and removes the religious argument from it.

    None of this though has shifted my belief that real true marriage is a religious institution between a man and a woman.

    And that is all separate from the Transgender debate, IMO. I’m puzzled by the Trans topic being lumped into LGB in all things. There’s a world of difference between desiring the same sex, and wanting to be a different sex.

  19. I’m just trying to demonstrate the terms of the argument from their perspective.

    I get that and I thought I made it clear that I’m playing along. The problem here isn’t that I don’t have empathy for transgendered people. I do. I’ve even worried about whether or not the tranny I encountered on Sunday got upset enough to hurt him/herself after I misgendered him/her.

    Nobody is saying that the pro-transgender side doesn’t have an emotional investment or a valid reason to argue about the issue.

    You may or may not be right – but that doesn’t matter, because I’m going to have that conversation with you anyway. And you’re going to get annoyed with it. You’re going to feel attacked, and you’re going to assume that my intentions are nefarious, that I don’t believe in science, and that I have something against religious people personally. Sound familiar?

    No, I don’t feel annoyed or attacked by you expressing an opinion of policy issues. Even if I did, I wouldn’t eject people from my life because of their beliefs with very few exceptions. I haven’t, nor do I know of any religious person who has, ever demanded that someone unfriend them over any political issue.

    We’ve argued religious topics for years between this blog and others and I’ve never once threatened to ban you or tell you to go away simply because you disagreed with me over a political topic, whether it was one that personally affected me or not.

    I can’t imagine saying “I’ve been a victim of black-on-white crime, so if you support BLM, you can’t be my friend anymore!”

    Or…

    “My health insurance costs keep rising and I may have to drop my health coverage next year (true story) so if you want Obamacare to remain law, unfriend me now!”

    I don’t do that. It’s only some liberals who do and they do it on more topics than just LGBT ones.

    A couple of weeks ago, we were having a discussion and CM started replying to every point I was making by simply calling me a fascist. Did I ban him? No. Did I delete his comments? No. Did I tell him he’s not allowed to comment here anymore? No. All I did was tell him I wasn’t going to talk to him on that thread anymore.

    I don’t care about the name-calling. I’m just not going to waste time on a pointless discussion as to whether or not I’m a fascist (I’m not, but you have to admit they have cool uniforms). I don’t want CM to go away permanently. He does have valuable perspectives to share. However, the discussion had gotten unproductive and so I stepped away. I kept discussing it with other people, I just didn’t want to have a flamewar with one person.

    I’m a persuadable guy. You remember how dwex used to constantly discuss LGBT issues on the VO? We discussed those issues for years on the VO and later on Facebook and you know what? He did change my mind on many issues and got me to think differently on others. It never would have happened if he had just said, “Well, if you think differently from me on these issues I feel strongly about, then you don’t exist. Bye.”

    If there are good arguments on the pro-transgender side, I want to hear them. I even put up a whole post asking people to put those arguments forward a few months ago. But if I have a friend who disagrees with me and they don’t want to discuss it, then all they have to do is say so and we won’t talk about it. I’m not going to sacrifice a friend over such things if it can be avoided. Unfortunately, the Big Digital Sort is now the norm and both sides are worse off for not having a sober discussion about transgenderism and other topics that are affecting society today.

  20. I can totally understand why a trans person would not consider someone a friend if they can’t accept them as they fundamentally are. That would seem to be a very important prerequisite of being a friend.

    You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about this comment, and realized it is a supremely illiberal attitude. I know you’re not alone in that view. Like, wow, this is from people who wear the label of liberals, after all.

    If the standard is that people must share a worldview as a prerequisite to friendship, we are far further down the path of tribalism that Thrill suggests than maybe I realized.

    I’m a pretty open-minded and persuadable fellow, but I cannot be forced into believing something I don’t. Moreover, my values are more important than any particular friendship, perhaps even the sum total of my friendships (i.e. I think I’d rather be friendless and true than have friends while denying the truth). So if we’re going with your standard of friendship, sorry, I will retreat into my tribe and only associate with those who share my beliefs.

    I’d rather not do that. Please don’t force me to.

  21. CM started replying to every point I was making by simply calling me a fascist. Did I ban him? No. Did I delete his comments? No. Did I tell him he’s not allowed to comment here anymore? No. All I did was tell him I wasn’t going to talk to him on that thread anymore.

    I’m sorry but that’s just not true. I suggested it was facism and then asked why it wasn’t. You then refused to discuss it any further with me.

  22. Fascism much? You and Trump really are an excellent fit.

    And when Thrill was trying to explain that calling for respect for America was never divisive – your response:

    Fascism

    So you weren’t merely asking why this wasn’t fascism – before you ASKED that question you called Thrill a fascist for his argument. Only when he said he wasn’t responding did you think to stop with the petty name calling to ask him why demanding players to stand for the anthem wasn’t “fascism.”

    This is the BS he’s talking about – if he disagrees with kneeling, or anything else that Trump may be stating – he’s a fascist. Maybe, just maybe, before shooting from the hip (since you hate that our POTUS does that so much) you could, you know, reason with someone before actually calling them a fascist.

    Maybe you got caught up in the moment, I don’t know. Maybe if the order of the conversation was reversed and you asked why something wasn’t fascist – listened to his argument and then said, “I hate to tell you this Thrill, even though I don’t think you’re a fascist, in this instance you are supporting a tenet of fascism – demanding complete agreement etc, etc.”

    But, yeah – you’re first reaction to Thrill defending the whole anthem thing was to call him a fascist.

  23. The last thing I want to do is derail this thread. The only reason I brought up that earlier discussion here was to explain a situation in which we can choose not to have an unproductive conversation without banishing people from our lives.

    I’ll explain my reasoning one time only and you can have the last word if you want it, but I’m not going to derail this thread.

    First, I noted to pfluffy that people on the Left (and you specifically) don’t understand how much it troubles us when you guys do this:

    They have shown that if you disagree with them, they will try to ruin your reputation by calling you a bigot, get you fired, destroy your business, demonetize your videos, take down your website and if all else fails, they’ll hit you in the head with a fucking pole.

    I also specifically mentioned that you like to call us “Nazis”.

    So then you accused me of “fascism”. Instead of arguing with you, I illustrated that you were doing exactly the troublesome thing that I had been complaining about My hope was that you’d realize what you were doing and decide to stick to substantive arguments without trying to assign the worst motivations to what I was saying, but you didn’t.

    Instead, you decided to respond to two more of my points by calling me a “fascist” and then one more time after I replied. In fact, I think you were writing that comment in which you were quadrupling-down on calling me a “fascist” while I was writing my own reply that said I wasn’t going to bother talking to you anymore.

    In any event, you decided to call me a fascist three times after I highlighted that you were doing this sort of rhetoric which is destructive to discourse and breeds polarization and violence. I couldn’t tell if you were clueless or trolling, but decided that it was better to not waste time and energy trying to find out which one it was. You were derailing the thread and I chose to not let you do it, whether you were doing it intentionally or not.

    There’s no hard feelings on my part. Again, I brought it up here as an example of how I respond to the kind of provocative arguments that ilovecress was referring to. When I want to bury a hatchet, I bury it in the ground, not in the foreheads of people I like chatting with.

    I’m not bent out of shape over it. I’m not mad about it. I’m not going to argue about it. This is the ONLY time I’ll justify my actions on that thread. You can have the last word. As long as it isn’t “fascist”, please.

  24. Trying to bring it back to the topic – I think the best way I can explain it is that one side views it as a difference of opinion, and the other side views it as an attack on who they are. Disagreeing about policy is all well and good. I log off here and go back to my normal life (the usual liberal hobbies of cocktail parties, French cinema and punching bald eagles). But disagreeing about the fundamental worth of me as a human being is harder to ‘agree to disagree’ on.

    Identity politics and segmentation exacerbates this – and it’s not just in terms of transgender, m or gay rights issues. I’ve received comments like the above (if you don’t believe xyzzy, then F**K off) about the NFL issue, Charlottesville and even general Trump tweeting. People have their identities, and if those are threatened, then debate is closed down.

    I’m guessing that’s why there’s an over representation of non Americans on the ‘Liberal’ side of RVS. It’s fine for me, because we don’t really talk much about my identity, I get to comment and snipe from the sides. But I get that we’re talking about things much closer to yours, which is why I’m more careful with the way I phrase things (CM….)

  25. But disagreeing about the fundamental worth of me as a human being is harder to ‘agree to disagree’ on.

    See, I feel like I addressed the “empathy” angle. I don’t hold that a transgender is somehow “less than”. Nothing that they do makes it moral from my perspective to harass or harm them.

    Instead, I think that they need help and the psychiatric field is failing them in the name of political correctness. They need treatment to stop living in torment, not encouragement to keep trying to live a delusion. We shouldn’t be playing along with a man who wants to be a woman any more than we shouldn’t tell an anorexic woman that she looks fat because that’s what she really believes.

    I’m good with the gays. I like the gays just fine. The lesbians? I like them. The bisexuals? Well, I think they’re a bit screwy, but whatever. Totally harmless. Mostly harmless, anyway. Yes, there are certain risky behaviors and other negative social problems associated with certain subcultures among gays, but being gay itself doesn’t harm the person who is gay or anyone else.

    That just isn’t true of transgenderism. They suffer. They are more likely to suffer from all sorts of mental issues and letting the dysphoria go untreated doesn’t help the other issues. They’re more likely to harm themselves. They’re more likely to kill themselves, or try to.

    But none of that even comes close to what is happening to pre-pubescent children who are encouraged to adopt alternate gender preferences. Those kids are being harmed and they’re being abused and our society is turning a blind eye to it because of political correctness and sheer idiocy (but I repeat myself). Our society’s acceptance of transgenderism in children who haven’t reached or completed puberty to the point that they’re allowed to be mutilated with gender reassignment surgery is an atrocity. It’s unscientific, it’s ugly, and it’s wrong according to any code of morality I can think of.

    Add to those big things the smaller issues, such as the chaos that comes about from conflicts in personal interaction like I had on Sunday and disputes over men being placed in women’s prisons at the most extreme and allowed to shower in their locker rooms at the lesser ones, and I have to ask, “Why are we doing this for a tiny and deluded group of people?”

    So no, it’s not “hate or violence” that colors my views. I mean, I might hate the parents of “transgendered children” for being such abusive shitbags, but I have nothing but compassion for the transgendered. I want them to be treated and helped, not encouraged to embrace self-destructive delusions.

    The unquestioning encouragement of transgenderism is HURTING PEOPLE. Not that the transgendered themselves are hurting people. They’re blameless. They shouldn’t be treated as villains OR heroes. They’re victims. They need compassionate help.

  26. LOL – I think I just accidentally called you a snowflake….

    Nah, I knew what you what you meant.

    You know, it’s funny. I’ve never once discussed the politics in NZ as you do politics in the US. Call it lack of interest or an acknowledgement of ignorance. The one and only time I did was when you shared that survey with us a few weeks back before your elections.

    What I found was that I pretty much don’t exist anywhere on your local political spectrum. Not even close. Not even in your most “conservative” party. I can’t imagine me discussing any policy with regard to NZ and speaking anything that sounds unlike gibberish to you.

    I don’t lump you and CM together. You’ve always struck me as pretty worldly and you do have a very good understanding of America. Talking to you isn’t much different to me than talking to an American Democrat, honestly.

    I don’t get that impression with CM though. It’s not a knock against him, it’s just that I don’t think he’s ever met a right-wing Republican from the US face-to-face in his life and just…talked about anything. I think I’m so far outside of the realm of anything he’s encountered in his life, from an ideological perspective, that I might as well be from Jupiter. It definitely hasn’t helped that most of his conversations with American conservatives involve him getting insulted and fed Hannity talking points.

    CM can certainly correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll apologize if I am. It’s just that you always speak to us like you’re talking to normal people who you’re trying to get to understand while CM speaks to us as if he imagines he’s talking to Stephen Colbert’s caricature of a right-wing nutjob.

    It’s really been since I had some time to digest that survey you shared that I started thinking about that in my responses to CM. I’m trying to be just a little bit more understanding. I swear.

    I look at this post and I see the same problem. Nobody wants to understand each other. Why should they bother? The other side apparently doesn’t want to understand them. All I know for sure is that when people stop talking and listening, no understanding is possible. Just loss, anger, division, and hatred.

    Maybe today CM really does think I’m all into fascism. I have no control over that, I suppose. But I’m willing to keep chatting with him and maybe a year, five years from now, or whenever he’ll suddenly realize that I’m not an evil monster from Bill O’Reilly’s anus. He’ll still think I’m wrong about most things, I’m sure, but at least he’ll be able to articulate it in a way we can both understand.

  27. Instead, I think that they need help and the psychiatric field is failing them in the name of political correctness. They need treatment..

    How about if they view this attitude as you considering them as ‘less than’? Is homosexuality also just a delusion that can be treated?

  28. I’m good with the gays. I like the gays just fine. The lesbians? I like them. The bisexuals? Well, I think they’re a bit screwy, but whatever. Totally harmless. Mostly harmless, anyway. Yes, there are certain risky behaviors and other negative social problems associated with certain subcultures among gays, but being gay itself doesn’t harm the person who is gay or anyone else.

    That just isn’t true of transgenderism. They suffer. They are more likely to suffer from all sorts of mental issues and letting the dysphoria go untreated doesn’t help the other issues. They’re more likely to harm themselves. They’re more likely to kill themselves, or try to.

    Possibly the difference is that gay people aren’t forced to feel that way any longer. Might take another 30 years for transgender people. Gotta progress beyond these sort of attitudes. It’ll take ages.

  29. We know what you meant FFS. When you follow it up with he and Trump bring an excellent fit – Trump who you call a fascist – the meaning is clear.

    You apparently are the only person who can’t see what you’re doing. Maybe for once back off a bit and try to view your comments from the recipients point of view?

  30. But disagreeing about the fundamental worth of me as a human being is harder to ‘agree to disagree’ on.

    This is the stuff that drives me nuts in these conversations. Nobody is disagreeing on the “fundamental worth” of anyone. If anything, I have made great pains to emphasize how much I indeed value the “fundamental worth” of all people. Me believing that what constitutes a man or a woman is their biology doesn’t have any bearing on “fundamental worth”.

    For some reason, some people can’t abide by the fact that others view the world differently. For these folks, it’s not enough to treat people fairly, you must be made to accept their version of reality. It’s extremely illiberal and destructive.

  31. How about if they view this attitude as you considering them as ‘less than’?

    Then they are wrong.

    Just as I do not get to define their view of reality, they do not get to define mine. This is a two-way street.

    How I consider someone is how *I* consider them. Others do not get to define that. If they do, they are making a presumption that is grossly unfair and they are in the wrong. Period.

  32. I part ways with my liberal brethren to some extent when it comes to transgender issues. I do think that transgender is a condition beyond the control of the individual, but I also think that it is an issue beyond psychiatry. There is no pill or talk therapy that can convince someone that they are a man or woman reliably enough that it should be recommended to all sufferers. It is likely to make their mental health worse.

    The issue of children comes up a lot and I am largely in agreement with you, however I am less judgmental of the parents. I don’t think that gender reassignment surgery is appropriate for a minor but I am less bothered by letting them duke it out as the gender of their choice in school. They are the ones that have to do it day in day out. My perspective on this is related to raising my own unconventional child.

    I have hinted before that my son has a learning disorder called Specific Language Impairment. This is a heartbreaking disorder for parents to deal with as you watch your child struggle to talk, read and write. Reading a second grade book in fourth grade is a major victory worthy of a special dinner to celebrate.
    It has upended his upbringing since, as a parent, you will do most anything to get your child through K-12. I have done and allowed things that no parent around here would sanction and I would do most of it again. My son is finally reading on grade level for the first time and getting A’s and B’s in high school. I can say that we applied “secret sauce” to the problem, but by and large we will never fully know what works and what doesn’t. There is just something in his brain wired differently, and there isn’t much you can do about it except work around it and hope he catches up. And cry a lot.

    This is what the parents of Jimmy are struggling with when he comes to them and says “I am really Janey and I want to be a girl”. I do not approve of cutting off the body parts of minors for the obvious reasons, but letting them be a different gender otherwise may be the best they can do for the time being. Little Janey may not be giving them a choice.

    So, to tie this in with the original post, perhaps we should all walk at least a block in someone else’s shoes. I empathize with you, zoom, Thrill, et al, when you say that you feel forced to accept beliefs that are counter to yours. I just sat next to a coworker I have known a long time for three days in a class this week. I know that he is more conservative than I am and we didn’t discuss politics per se. We cracked each other up in various ways (i can be pretty funny when you get to know me) and I let slide the occasional racially tinted or off color joke. I have always been able to do this and fit into any scenario that I need to. I suppose that there are people that can’t or won’t.

  33. ust as I do not get to define their view of reality, they do not get to define mine. This is a two-way street.

    How I consider someone is how *I* consider them. Others do not get to define that. If they do, they are making a presumption that is grossly unfair and they are in the wrong. Period.

    Does this mean that we can finally put to rest that just because someone is a “liberal” that doesn’t mean that they are a “communist”? I am not a communist and I know zero liberals that are.

  34. Snarky comment aside, i agree that when someone tells you something to clarify their perspective they are probably telling you something valid and worth incorporating into your opinion. If you say you don’t “hate” someone I believe you. I sometimes get that consideration and sometimes I don’t. A lot of it seems to be people incorrectly “connecting the dots” and applying all sorts of logical fallacies like “if you think ______ you are a _________.” That last blank has all the implications of whatever term means even when the person just has one opinion.

  35. Good comments pfluffy and thanks for sharing that personal anecdote.

    Does this mean that we can finally put to rest that just because someone is a “liberal” that doesn’t mean that they are a “communist”? I am not a communist and I know zero liberals that are.

    Though I probably slip up sometimes myself, I have always avoided and hated conflation of “liberal” and “communist” for that exact reason, or more generally, the term “liberal” to mean “leftist”, since in my experience, there’s liberal and illiberal elements on both sides of the U.S. political divide.

  36. Since when is “facism much?” not a question? It’s got a goddamn question mark. FFS.

    That’s a bit disingenuous there, buddy. You knew exactly what you were implying by that rhetorical question.

  37. How about if they view this attitude as you considering them as ‘less than’?

    I would want to correct them and explain that someone who is transgender is no less a person than someone who has any other sort of obvious psychiatric or physical health condition. I think being fat is unhealthy and widespread obesity ultimately creates a burden on society in various ways. Does it mean I hate fat people? No.

    I can have a friend who’s fat and I can say, “Look, you’re fat and it’s unhealthy. You’re at higher risk for all sorts of bad outcomes.”

    My friend might come back and say, “Well, I am comfortable in my own skin. I like to eat and hate to exercise. That’s the life I want to live. I also want you to stop calling me ‘Bob’. From now on, everybody needs to refer to me by my new name, ‘Dump Truck’. My preferred pronoun isn’t ‘he’, it’s ‘gear’.”

    Okay, now what? Do I have to start pretending that being fat is actually great and ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? I’m not going to celebrate it when somebody is doing something that’s unhealthy nor am I going to encourage people to do things that are unhealthy.

    So I might say, “Dump Truck, I’ve made my thoughts on this known. You’re still my friend, but I’m here for you either way.” If he still thinks that I consider him to be less than a person over that, then I guess we can’t be friends. But that will be his own bad choice, not mine.

    And yes, this encouragement of fatness is another moronic thing that politically correct people do in the name of “combating fat shaming.” By no means am I singling out society’s wrongheaded indulgence of transgenderism as the only thing that’s problematic.

    Is homosexuality also just a delusion that can be treated?

    I don’t think it’s a delusion, no. To me, being gay is fundamentally a sexual preference, no more and no less. It’s my opinion that being gay does open people up to potentially dangerous and unsanitary sexual practices like anal sex. I am on the fence as to whether or not it’s natural. But it’s not delusional.

    Some women get turned on by giving blowjobs. There are men who like watching their wives screw other men. Other people are completely monogamous and will only have the most vanilla sex. Still other people never have sex at all. They’re not into it. Gays are just another category of sexual preference to me.

    And no, I don’t think it can be treated. I personally get turned on by really intelligent and confident black women. I have zero sexual interest in Asian women. I can’t explain it. You can put me in the Clockwork Orange chair, give me electric shocks, or pray at me and I will have those sexual preferences until the end of my life. I assume it’s the same for gays.

    That doesn’t prevent me from giving my opinion about aspects of the gay lifestyle that I think are problematic though. I’m definitely not going to encourage a gay friend to spend more time having sex with multiple partners in a bathhouse, no matter how much he might want to. The same applies to me with regard to sexy black ladies. My blonde wife is very clear that this would be hurtful behavior on my part, so I don’t mess with any other women.

    What I find sexually stimulating isn’t “delusional” and it isn’t true of anyone else either.

    But transgenderism isn’t a “sexual preference”. It’s a very rejection of one’s self-concept, to the point of adopting an entirely different persona at odds with one’s biological sex. We shouldn’t be bending over backwards to approve other people’s delusions because it doesn’t help them. Nothing will be good enough.

    Truth be told, I think the growing prevalence of transgenderism is probably more of a social issue with regard to gender roles and expectations than only a personal mental health one, but that’s probably a whole other discussion.

  38. the term “liberal” to mean “leftist”, since in my experience, there’s liberal and illiberal elements on both sides of the U.S. political divide.

    I usually try to differentiate between “liberal” and “leftist” as well. Leftist is a term I use when I’m describing more fringe people, from my point of view. When I say “left-wing” I usually just mean anyone left of center who can be leftist or liberal. It’s confusing as hell, I know, and I’m always having to explain which types of people I’m talking about when I say things like “Leftists hate America!” or “Liberals love America but think it has some flaws.”

    “Liberal” is a term I’m trying to eliminate from my vocabulary for the same reason you mentioned. Many of them aren’t liberal in the literal definition. “Progressive” is the better term.

  39. I suppose that for me it just isn’t a much of a stretch that once in awhile, the brain wiring doesn’t match the equipment provided. I have no idea what a person is supposed to do if in their minds they are not the same sex as their sex organs. If they can’t change their brains, then they have to change the equipment. I am not sure that brain science knows exactly how this works.

    There are people born with both sets of organs, no sex organs at all, don’t get proper balls/ovaries, etc. Lots can go wrong and I am not sure that “delusional” quite covers it. In the case of ambiguous organs, or botched circumcision, parents are often faced with making tough decisions for their infant children. Why is it a stretch to think that something went wrong?

    Again, I am against making permanent changes in children with normal sex organs. That is clearly an adult decision that should be made once a person is mature enough to understand the consequences.

    Now, if we are just going over and over semantics and vocabulary, fine. I have admitted before that I have a transgendered friend that i have never been able to switch to thinking as a woman. Never would I say that it isn’t difficult. I have chosen to let her live life without my awkward ass always saying “he” and “him” and calling her by her prior name. It would happen and i don’t need to humiliate the both of us.

    Honestly, if that is “hate” then whatever. Very few people really think that way. At best they would think it a shame to lose a good friend and on that score I agree.

  40. “Liberal” is a term I’m trying to eliminate from my vocabulary for the same reason you mentioned. Many of them aren’t liberal in the literal definition.

    Liberal and conservative have lost their true meanings. If every conversation has to start with a weird vocab lesson talking to people will become quite tedious.

  41. I just had my own experience with digital sorting.

    Prior to this thread, on Facebook I had gotten to the point where I followed my immediate family, and maybe two other people because, well, I get annoyed easily. So over the course of my time on Facebook, I had blocked virtually everyone because, honestly, I don’t care what you had for dinner, or what your results for of the 90th pointless survey you’ve taken this week are.

    As an extension of this thread, I decided to do a sort of social experiment. A few days ago, I went through my entire friend list on Facebook, and “followed” everyone. Everyone. Even the several friends I have who apparently live on Facebook, and post non-stop on there all day, every day.

    But I digress…

    As you’ve no doubt heard by now, there was a truck…attack, accident, whatever in NYC earlier today. It was first reported as a shooting, but as details have come out, it appears the idiot had a fake gun (or two), and killed/injured everyone with a truck.

    One of my acquaintances who lives in NY (I wouldn’t call her a friend) on Facebook posted that she was safe…and that “we need more gun control now!” I had read that the NYPD reported that there was no gun related injuries other than the suspect. So I took the opportunity to tell her I was glad she was safe, and that there was no gun related violence by the suspect according to the NYPD – it was fake guns.

    I was quickly told by her it didn’t matter, and that we needed more gun control so that things like this don’t happen. And one of her other friends chimed in and told me not to “start” whatever that means.

    So sharing facts of something is not welcome by certain people if it doesn’t fit their narrative. I could have shared more facts. I could have expressed my view that NY already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, but does little to reduce gun violence. I could have shared my desire to own guns, and my support of the second amendment. And I knew none of this would change any minds, and probably just become a long drawn out argument that I didn’t really want to have.

    Instead, I reiterated my gladness at her safety. And then unfriended her.

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