Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation technique used to make people doubt reality. Hello, transgender defense club.
As the past few news cycles have proven, the Left appears to be losing the transgender debate, in large part because its position in this debate is preposterous, anti-scientific nonsense. “A man can be a woman if he wants to” is a clearly false statement—demonstrably so—and the growing pushback against this ideology may be a sign that things are turning around. It’s possible the public may finally stop treating a mental illness as a celebrated social-justice cause. One can hope.
Nonetheless, progressives have become desperate to regain the ground they’ve lost, and increasingly their tactics resemble the phenomenon known as “gaslighting,” in which one party tries to convince another, through rhetorical dishonesty and outright fakery, that the latter’s memory, intelligence, and even sanity are in doubt.
Take Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. Upset at the comparisons between “transgender woman” Caitlyn Jenner and serial race-faker Rachel Dolezal, Williams explained why the two are not comparable, noting that “race and gender are actually two different things,” pointing out that there are multiple studies that point towards a “biological basis for gender identity,” and claiming that before she believes in “transracialism,” she’d “like to see some data first, thanks.”
Gender Is Biological, Except When It’s Not
This is actually a fairly common tactic within this debate: a constantly-shifting explication of transgender pathology. Whenever the Left grows even moderately desperate when debating transgenderism, they make an appeal to biology, claiming that studies have shown a marked neurological difference between transgenders and non-transgenders. Yet we are also constantly being told that gender is a “social construct,” eternally malleable and essentially fiction. But these two classifications cannot exist simultaneously: something cannot be both biological and a product of societal influences.
The point isn’t to make a coherent argument, but to propagate lies and falsehoods to embarrass and confuse conservatives as much as possible.
And it’s not even remotely settled one way or the other. The National Center for Transgender Equality, for one, concedes that “there is not yet scientific consensus” on what causes transgenderism. The American Psychological Association admits that “there is no single explanation for why some people are transgender.” According to the APA, biology, early childhood and adulthood may all play a role in a person’s “gender identity.”
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