When conceiving Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, Helen Joyce knew she would have a rough ride, says Lionel Shriver in The Times. She finally sold it to a small British publisher, but no one in America would touch it. (One editor called it “radioactive”.) Though reviews were glowing, online detractors denounced Joyce as “an anti-semitic neo-Nazi”, while bookshops nervously tucked a few copies away under the counter. The BBC spurned interviews and Intelligence Squared pulled a podcast invitation.
What “grotesque authorial assertions” explain this recoil? That humans are either male or female; that sex is not “assigned”, but observable at birth; that we might think twice before allowing people born male “who still have their kit” into female prisons. Joyce has “no beef” with trans people, only with the movement’s radical ideology. So why has the issue become “such a hot button”? One reason is that this is a victim group “even men and white people” can join. Another is that young people have been “cast into a hell of obligingness”. Their parents probably took drugs, are cool with premarital sex and endorse much of the “woke” agenda. “How’s a poor kid to rebel?” Embracing gender-swapping “offers a rare opportunity to separate from their infernally permissive, infuriatingly simpatico parents”. Most of the left’s shibboleths have gone mainstream and we’ve entered a “purity spiral”, whereby political sanctity is measured by how pure we are. Transgenderism has become “the ultimate purity test”. But claiming maleness and femaleness is all in our heads is a departure from reality so extreme that it almost meets the textbook definition of insanity.