On November 29, 2009 Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner died of an apparent suicide. In 2007 he announced that he was a transsexual and began writing as Christine Daniels. In October 2008 he returned to work dressed in male clothing and began writing as Mike Penner again.
The point of this essay is not to speak ill of the dead.
It is to draw attention to yet another way that feminism and cultural Marxism are doing harm to men.
The incident seemed particularly timely to me because this past weekend I helped some young men move out of a crazy transsexual’s home where they were renting rooms. This former construction worker was open about the fact that he was taking black market hormones, and his behavior was extremely erratic. He had a history of suicide attempts. He owned several guns, and had made a plea to someone in the house to hold his ammunition—because “he couldn’t trust himself.” That’s about the time when my pals decided that discretion was the better part of tolerance.
This was no surprise to me. I associated with a wide range of pre and post-op transsexuals when I worked in New York City and San Francisco nightclubs in the 1990s. As with all things there were exceptions, but generally drag queens, trannies and transsexuals in all stages of transition were not well. They were often addicted to drugs, had been diagnosed with mental disorders or chemical imbalances, and many had at one point routinely engaged in prostitution. The erratic, emotionally unstable, borderline schizophrenic behavior my friends described to me was almost exactly what I had experienced myself in the past. A guy I knew a year ago was dating a pageant-winning local drag queen who had to be committed. Even in liberal communities where transsexuality is relatively accepted, suicidal behavior among known transsexuals is over or around 20%.
To be clear, I am not discussing female-to-male(FTM) transsexuals, but only male-to-female(MTF) transsexuals. Female transsexuality is a different ballgame; it seems to be almost entirely a feminist tom-boy fantasy and it is difficult to separate from feminist politics. At some point I will write something titled “Chaz Bono is Still a Fat Chick,” but today is not that day.
I have met a few convincing post-op transsexuals. Some of them were Pilipino ladyboys who started hormones early; some were simply “pretty” boys who were naturally delicate and soft-featured. They lived as women and bedded straight men (watch out fellas). As passable women they were also highly promiscuous. I knew of at least one who married a guy who paid for the expensive transition, and then dumped him later. It is worth noting, too, that many of these individuals occasionally engage in deceptive behavior, “hiding” their birth sex from potential sexual partners. It’s not just a comedy cliché. It happens, and it’s ethically reprehensible.
The majority of MTFs, however, are not even remotely convincing as women. Like Penner (as far as I can tell from this photo), many of the trannies I’ve known and seen have been rather tall men. At 6 foot 6, my pal’s landlord was only ever going to pass while sitting down in the corner of a very dark bar. A lot of them you can easily pick out a block away.
So what’s the point of this? Why are therapists encouraging these troubled men to attempt to become something they can never truly be? To what end?
While I’ll assume that some FTMs end up passing as women and live long, happy lives, I have a hard time believing they represent a majority of the males who identify as transsexual and undergo some sort of gender transformation. Why do professionals encourage this? Why does our federal government now recognize it by giving these men special protected status with the new “hate crimes” law? Why, in some communities, are very confused young boys being encouraged to identify as girls—virtually ensuring that they’ll spend the rest of their lives in therapy, that they’ll never feel normal or comfortable in their own skins? Why isn’t this considered child abuse? How long will it be before even asking these questions will be considered illegal “hate speech?”
The only thing that “proves” any theory of transsexuality is a feeling expressed by transsexuals that they were born “the wrong sex.” The available physical evidence strongly suggests that they were born male, and that they only thing wrong with them is in their heads. The idea that they were born “the wrong sex” is impossible to even contemplate without wandering into metaphysical territory. There’s a built-in notion of intent there. Who wanted them to be born a different sex, and why did they screw it up?
If a man takes hormones to look more like a woman, or a woman takes hormones to look more like a man, we accept it and legally recognize the switch.
If a man takes hormones to enhance his own natural masculinity, we call it immoral and we’ve made it illegal. We call him a cheater and threaten to put an asterisk beside his name. Why is it so much more acceptable to use drugs to alter your sex than it is to embrace and enhance what you were born with? From the perspective of mental health, isn’t that counterintuitive?
If an apotemnophiliac wants to have his leg amputated, our doctors call him insane and he ends up in dying of gangrene in Mexico. If a man wants to cut off his own penis, why do we officially applaud, fund it, and call it courageous?
It all fits too easily into the feminist/Marxist desire to subvert the patriarchy, to craft a society where sex is meaningless and distinct roles of men and women are a thing of the past. This sort of encouragement of those who, despite questionable mental health and the lack of a real understanding of the problem of transsexuality itself, want to change genders muddies the waters of public perception. Among transsexual writers—these people who are so obsessed with gender and being something different—the questioning of gender and the attack of traditional gender roles, especially traditional patriarchal roles for men, reaches a fevered pitch. The transgendered are most often on the far left of the radical left. In their world, only when gender is meaningless and every variant on a continuum between male and female are accepted wholeheartedly and without reservation—only when being a man means absolutely nothing—can men and women truly be equal.
The thing is…equality is a lie. We’re not born equal. We’re all born different.
You get dealt a set of cards, and you make the best of it. There are some things you can change, some things you can’t, and some things you should probably just accept. Little fixes are easy, but something as significant as a sex change…that’s a tall order. Being born male colors the way you see the world through your entire development. Maleness and femaleness are total experiences. They can’t be perceived—they have to be experienced. A man can never really know what it is to be a woman, to grow up female, to relate to the world that way. A male can only know a caricature of what it is to be a female, and vice versa.
I’m slightly above average across the board, but sure, I’d like a little more of this or that. I wish I could grow a decent beard. I’d take an extra ten I.Q. points and better math aptitude. I have a slight lag in certain areas of visual spatial perception that gets me all sorts of harassment. I’d gladly upgrade my metabolism so that I could have beer and bacon cheeseburgers with a side of pizza every night for dinner and never have to go to the gym.
Some guys are born short and it really bugs them and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it. Some guys will always fight weight. Some dudes are fucking DUMB. Some will always be Omegas. Some people have congenital illnesses, bad eyesight, handicaps—all sorts of physical and mental limitations. Some people are just real, real ugly.
But that’s part of being human, and sometimes being human sucks.
Mike Penner was apparently a very talented writer. He also had this “problem.” I believe that for others like Penner, the best way—the most humane way—would be to advise them to make the best of what they’ve got. He was never really going to be a woman. To hold that hope out for him seems like the real cruelty in all of this: to have him triumphantly “come out” and then painfully realize he could never truly “go back in.” He never could have known what it was like to really, truly be a woman. How could he? He would have always been an imposter, a poseur, a freak.
In our downward slide to matriarchy, empathy is set at an uncontrollable gush. Our master-nannies live in constant fear of passing judgement on anyone they see as weak or threatened or “oppressed.” They want to rock every runaway to sleep, to say “yes” to everything, to coddle and encourage every childish fantasy, to indulge every impulse, no matter how misguided it seems.
Sometimes the best answer, the sanest answer, the answer we really need…is a firm, paternal, “NO.”
Jack Donovan is the author of Androphilia and the co-author of Blood-Brotherhood and Other Rites of Male Alliance. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works in the fitness industry.