Transgender rights (privilege, if you prefer), are an intractable issue in contemporary Western culture. Is a man who decides he’s a woman entitled to be treated as one? In the novel Quantum Cannibals Aarluk, a major character, changes from male to female as part of becoming a powerful shaman. (S)He marries and copulates with a nice man, and even adopts a daughter.
Aarluk doesn’t physically change. In fact, as prelude to adopting Osnat, he uses his male body to rape her. It’s not easy for a man to completely shed his masculinity.
Abigail Shrier agrees about the problem of transformation in a Wall Street Journal op-ed :
“…in contests of strength and speed, the athletic chasm between the sexes, which opens at puberty, is both permanent and unbridgeable. Once male puberty is complete, testosterone suppression doesn’t undo the biological advantages men possess: larger hearts, lungs and bones, greater bone density, more-oxygenated blood, more fast-twitch muscle fiber and vastly greater muscle mass.”
Martina Navratilova was named the greatest female tennis player in the world for thirty years. She came out of the closet in 1981 (before it was trendy) but recently has come under heavy criticism for violating the official progressive narrative. She said that transgender ‘women’ taking part in female athletics “is insane and it’s cheating… It would not be fair.” How long till she’s silenced by social media?
President Biden seems to disagree. One of his first Executive Orders was to force schools to allow transgender women to compete with biological women in athletic competitions. While some see this as a great advance for respect and dignity, others claim that it erases women from sports. Girls competing against people with male bodies will inevitably lose in many sports (and maybe scholarships that go with them). In some activities (such as wrestling), biological females will inevitably suffer real injuries at the hands of transformed persons.
Transformed Person Shamanism
Aarluk, the fictional transvestite shaman is based on a real phenomenon. Among some Aboriginal Siberian peoples (and elsewhere in the world), the spirits would order a young man to wear women’s clothes.
“He loses masculine strength, fleetness of foot in the race, endurance in wrestling, and acquires instead the helplessness of a woman. Even his psychical character changes. The transformed person loses his brute courage and fighting spirit, and becomes shy of strangers, even fond of small-talk and of nursing small children.”
Everyone in his village is too frightened by his physical and shamanic power to challenge Aarluk’s gender identity. Nevertheless he turns out to be a good mother, protecting, teaching, nurturing Osnat. It takes time, but eventually his daughter (an accomplished scientist) chooses to love and appreciate Aarluk.
What’s Your Equipment?
Is Aarluk a man or a woman? Is a six-foot, two hundred pound athlete with X & Y chromosomes and male genitals a man or a woman? Would a one-hundred twenty-pound person with ovaries want to enter a physical competition with such a transformed person? Would she want to share a locker room with a person with male equipment? The actress Keira Knightly recently said she would only do sex scenes with a female movie director. Would she feel comfortable, for example, with a transformed person like Dr. Richard/Rachel Levine, a respected pediatrician and high government official? It’s never simple.
It’s not simple even with the brute Aarluk:
“Osnat looked at the person who had raped her when they first met. Now the overwhelming feeling she had for Aarluk was – well, she didn’t know what it was. There was no word, no concept that encompassed gratitude, deep affection, revulsion and terror. It wasn’t love, it wasn’t hatred, nor was it somewhere between those feelings. But it was absolutely what she felt.”
If someone sees themselves differently, as a transformed person, to what extent are other people obliged to accept that vision? Are we allowed our own view?