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.

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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… Read more »

Zurvan

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.

Judge Dredd, Pro Se

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… Read more »

Zurvan

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… Read more »

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.… Read more »

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… Read more »

Zurvan

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… Read more »

Zurvan

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.

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

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 –… Read more »

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

CMNZ

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

Zurvan

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

CMNZ

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.

brownbag

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

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 –… Read more »

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

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

CMNZ

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

CMNZ

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?

CMNZ

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.… Read more »

blameme

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?

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… Read more »

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.

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.

Zurvan

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.

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

“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.

Zurvan

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… Read more »

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