The Sexual Revolution Hits Another Speed Bump

Well, it looks like the sexual revolution has hit another speed bump. As it continues its long press toward completely redefining all we’ve ever believed about gender and sexuality, it has encountered a pretty significant issue. This issue appears to prove that many people are expressing loyalty to the revolution outwardly while actually denying it with their deepest and truest desires. Let’s take a quick look, then consider some of the implications.

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A recent study by two Canadian researchers attempts to “describe the demographic characteristics of individuals who are willing to consider a transgender individual as a potential dating partner.” The researchers wanted to know whether people discriminate against transgendered people when it comes to romantic or sexual interest. How would they know whether such discrimination exists? Well, according to the terms of the sexual revolution, if transgendered people are truly the gender they identify with, they should be romantically and sexually desirable to those who are attracted to that gender. Thus people who were born male but now identify as women should be sexually appealing to heterosexual men. They are, after all, really and truly women, right? People who were born female but now identify as men should be considered romantically appealing to heterosexual women since they are really and truly men. Similarly, people who were born female but now identify as men, should be appealing to homosexual men. Anything less than this is evidence of a kind of inconsistency between what people say they believe and what they are actually willing to practice.

So what did this study find? The researchers concluded that transgendered people face extreme discrimination when it comes to romantic and sexual relationships. Nearly 1,000 people were asked about the genders of people they would be willing to date, and were able to choose as many of the following as they wished: cisgender man, cisgender woman, trans man, trans woman, and genderqueer. Virtually none of the heterosexuals surveyed indicated a willingness to date a transgendered person—just 1.8% of straight women and 3.3% of straight men. Homosexuals were only slightly more willing. A summary at the site them draws the following conclusions: “The high rates of trans exclusion from potential dating pools are undoubtedly due in part to cisnormativity, cissexism, and transphobia — all of which lead to lack of knowledge about transgender people and their bodies, discomfort with these unknowns, and fear of being discriminated against by proxy of one’s romantic partner. It is also possible that at least some of the trans exclusion is due to the fact that for some people, sexual orientation might be not (just) about a partner’s gender identity, but attraction to specific body types and/or judgment of reproductive capabilities.”

I believe this study is fascinating and important on a number of levels. Here are a few considerations.

First, I believe the majority of people in Western society today accept transgenderism as good and valid. They agree that some people experience gender dysphoria so that their gender and sex do not match. Most people are willing to grant that a man can be biologically female and a woman can be biologically male. Many even go so far as to celebrate transgenderism and to see its acceptance as a great victory of civil rights. However, the study seems to show that this acceptance and celebration is actually rather empty. The study has called their bluff by asking whether they believe this ideology enough to begin a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a transgendered person. The answer is a near-unanimous no. Their belief in transgenderism seems to be for other people, not for themselves.

Second, the study shows that the ultimate agenda of this phase of the sexual revolution is not merely to allow transgenderism, and not merely to accept it, and not even merely to celebrate it. The ultimate agenda is to believe in it to such an extent that a heterosexual man will be attracted to a person who identifies as female despite that person having male body parts. It’s really about the eradicating gender and sexual distinction altogether. A person today can wave the rainbow flag and march in the parade but still be considered a bigot if he or she or ze does not feel sexual attraction to transgendered people.

Third, the study shows that for the sexual revolution to be fully successful, it will need to unhinge reproduction from biology. And, as it happens, I’ve seen a number of articles lately making the case that it’s time to stop considering “traditional” reproduction as normal or normative. They insist we need stop correlating sex and reproduction, wombs and reproduction, breastfeeding and reproduction, and so on. Instead, reproduction should be spoken about in such broad terms that the range of “normal” is expanded to include IVF, three-parent babies, surrogacy, and so on. Technology and ideology should ensure we allow no “judgment of reproductive capabilities” in our romantic or sexual preferences, since men will no longer need women and women will no longer need men to reproduce in a way that’s considered perfectly mainstream.

Ultimately, the study shows that getting people to pay lip service to a revolution is far easier than getting people to fully embrace it in their hearts, their lives, and their bedrooms. Perhaps this is more than even this revolution can accomplish.