Much ink has been spilt over Lena Dunham’s recent crusade against two American Airlines workers she overheard discussing transgenderism. Some say Dunham’s alacrity to eavesdrop on her fellow man and turn him into the authorities (even nongovernmental authorities like American Airlines) mirrors the spirit of voluntary compliance citizens of East Germany once gave the secret police. Others have noted Dunham’s hypocrisy in urging respect for people’s views about sex while turning informant on two airline workers sharing their own opinions on sex in a private conversation, without even attempting address the workers personally.
What ought to perplex Dunham is how seamlessly she slipped into using the same bigoted, provincial, old-world stereotypes as the flight attendants she accused. She did this by describing the attendants as “female” without having any politically correct evidence of their gender.
Dunham’s misstep transgresses her own draconian code of ethics, a code so mired in Orwellian newspeak and doublethink that not even the Left can keep it straight. Then again, why bother? It is far easier for the transgender activism movement Dunham champions to turn straight people bisexual, which is exactly what transgender philosophy does.
Gender Assumption à Accusation
The trouble started when Dunham took to Twitter on August 3 to perform her civic duty of ratting “2 female attendants” for “talking about how trans kids are a trend,” how “they’d never accept a trans child” and that “transness is gross.” When American Airlines asked for more info, Dunham replied, “I was in the arrivals hall coming from gate B30 to baggage,” “By the Hudson news across from the wine bar,” and “#acrossfromthewinebar.” American Airlines thanked her and promised to look into the matter.
But hang on. Did Dunham have any politically correct basis for assuming the offending flight attendants were female? Did Dunham speak to the persons she accused of bigotry? Did Dunham’s detailed account of the attendants’ conversation capture the accused parties self-identifying as women?
No, no, and no. Dunham made an assumption about people’s sex of a kind rational people make but transgender activism prohibits. Dunham guessed the sex of the accused based on their appearance, opinions, or both. She then used her assumption as the primary basis for identifying the persons when making her accusation.
Now We’re All Playing ‘Guess Who?’
Dunham could have described the attendants any number of ways that would have avoided making assumptions about their sex: height, build, hair color and length, accessories (think back to the game “Guess Who?”), attire, and items carrying. Instead, Dunham tapped into stereotypes about what women look like. That’s not a surprising action for a self-appointed advocate for transgender equality to take. But it is a hypocritical one.
Or maybe Dunham assumed the attendants were women not because of their physical attributes, but because of the views they were privately sharing. By the standards Dunham professes, this assumption is no better, because it would have additionally required Dunham to assume that women are typically less likely than men to adopt transgender dogmas. Even if such a stereotype is borne out by polling (and I am not saying it is), using it would be a slap in the face of all women who do accept transgender dogmas.
Whatever assumptions Dunham used to deduce the attendants were female, Dunham undermined a crucial premise of the transgender cause—that appearance and other biological attributes do not determine a person’s sex.
Cut Lena Dunham a Break—Consistency Is Impossible
Dunham’s inconsistency during her crusade exposes her hypocrisy, but more importantly, it exposes why Dunham’s position is untenable. Everyone who tries to hold it must sooner or later play the hypocrite, because consistently using the transgender movement’s “Brave New World” language is impossible.
The movement’s speech and assumptions are incompatible with the movement’s stated goal of equality for all. Played out, they move individuality and gender self-identification 180 degrees from the direction transgender activists intend.
The movement’s language and assumptions actually prohibit individuals from determining their own sexes. Worse, the same rules the movement pushes to protect transgender people’s rights can actually change other people’s sexual orientation. Let me say that again. By the transgender activist’s logic, someone else’s opinion can turn straight people bisexual, en masse.
Enter the Magical Shower Room
Consider a hypothetical shower room that can accommodate 10 individuals at once. Suppose nine men—some straight, some gay—occupy it. Now suppose a beautiful biological woman who identifies as such enters and start showering at the tenth spot. Assume the woman has features Dunham would classify as “female” and which are common to most individuals who identify as women.
Because all the men have eyes, all nine men would probably notice the woman. Because some of the men are straight and some are gay, however, the men would probably take interest in her for different reasons.
Now, tweak the hypothetical. Suppose the individual I described above as a biological woman identifies as a man who recently entered transition, so recently that the person has physical features historically classified as belonging only to females.
All nine men would probably notice the individual, albeit for various reasons specific to each man’s sexual orientation. But this time, the nature of the men’s interest in the individual would change his sexual orientation. Straight men attracted to the individual in transition would instantly become bisexual—because of their attraction to women and to the hypothetical individual, who identifies as a man.
For this metamorphosis to occur, it does not matter whether the men are aware of the female-looking individual’s gender identity. The trans person could announce it, or not, upon entering the room. Either way, the result would be a duplicative, stupefying, secret puberty for any straight man attracted to the female-looking self-identifying man using the tenth showerhead.
Equality for All, Except….
This is the natural trajectory of transgender activism’s language and assumptions. The activist’s presumption of a trans person’s infallibility in identifying his or her sex crowds out opinions to the contrary.
Logically, if the trans person is correct about his or her sex, that person’s opinion must negate other people’s contrary opinions—opinions not only about the trans person’s sex, but about his or her sexual orientation. The transgender activist’s presumption of infallibility renders the opinions of anyone doubting the dogma—such as a straight man who swears, by God, he is straight, or an American Airlines employee who thinks transgenderism a fad—are second-class, if not flying coach.