Breaking Glass

Are You a Bigot?

A major function of liberal society is inventing new forms of bigotry.  You take an obvious idea—something believed always, everywhere, and by all—and show that in fact it is not just false, but a vicious form of hatred and discrimination.  As a current case in point, I offer transphobia, which is defined as holding antagonistic feelings toward transsexuality and transsexual people.

To understand how the concept works in practice, look at the case of Josh Alcorn.  From his early years, this Ohio youth was clearly effeminate, and increasingly wished to act as a girl.  His parents were evangelical Christians (which in media reports of the case should properly be read as “Klan Nazi child molesters”), who sought out therapists to treat his depression.  When, at age 17, he requested gender-reassignment surgery, they protested that this would have to wait until he was a legal adult, at 18.  They even objected that they could not afford the treatments in question.  Josh then killed himself by walking in front of a truck.  In a manifestation of gross bigotry, the death notice supplied by the bereaved parents not only named their child as a son, but actually called him Josh, rather than Leelah.

Reacting against such prejudice, countless other parents have written to express their deep commitment to totally fluid concepts of “gender,” which children recognize...

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