Gender Envy; Race Envy

Thinking that all your existential problems would be solved by transitioning would be naïve. Transgender people must feel driven to follow their goals, despite knowing how difficult the road will be, and how incomplete their successes. That is why some are so sensitive to other people’s scepticism.

However, the idea that adopting the trappings of another gender as any sort of solution, no matter how approximate, reinforces modern dehumanising generalisations about “the other.” 

Assuming that another gender offers a greater sense of existential wholeness, or that another racial group is having a much better time than you are demonstrates just how alienated we have all become. Advantages are largely seen not in the experience of individuals, far too bound up in their own problems to notice. The absence of all the things we don’t suffer from is eclipsed by the presence of all the things we do. That is why all those who condemn white privilege could equally be condemned for exhibiting able bodied privilege or non-downs-syndrome privilege or non-haemophiliac privilege, and so on and on.

By the noughties, a belief in the equality of all people, and in multicultural acceptance of difference, had narrowed the distance, if not bridged the gap, between some racial, ethnic and religious groups, between genders and between some sectarian political groups, between some majorities and minorities[1]. Many legal battles had been won. We were making progress. 

Now, however, encouraged by the impersonal abstractions of online living, the distances have grown, once more. Rights advocates no longer agitate for equality, but for retributive and redistributive advantage for their tribe: a rebalancing of the statistics. 

Statistics do not deal with the complexity of any single person’s experience. They are numbers, averages that do not equate to anybody’s experiences. Yet the inequalities they show are used to attack individuals: living, breathing, warm-blooded, emotional, aspirational human beings just like you. This is unfair. 

We should have enough empathy to realise that nobody is having a particularly good time. 


[1] Bearing in mind that anyone can be part of a majority in one aspect of their identity or behaviour, and part of a minority in another.

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