In response to the article’s insistence on using male pronouns when referring to the “transsexual” Charlene Hastings, one commentator wrote the following:“Regardless of your religious beliefs, Ms. Hastings deserves the simple courtesy of referring to her as the woman she is, legally, emotionally and psychologically, not as ‘he’ and ‘him.’ I am appalled at such blatant disrespect by this supposedly Christian publication.”I fully understand why the commentator might be offended by what she deems our discourtesy. I fail to understand, however, why she would think it discourtesy – at least, why she would think that we intended any discourtesy by referring to the putative female Hastings as a he. It would certainly be discourteous if we thought that Hastings had a claim to a female identity and refused to grant it to him. But the fact is, we don’t think Hastings can justly make that claim. What’s more, we think calling Hastings a she would be tantamount to a lie; and no one should expect someone to speak what he thinks is a lie.
The author is no bigot. Bigots aren't nearly so polite when they do hurtful things. He's not insensitive either, he just feels persecuted, and is fighting back. The more the evidence is against him, the more persecuted he feels, and the more he has to invoke higher laws than mere medical and scientific data.
I'll quote him, after he had the nous to read my site :
Forgive me, but I find this too ludicrous to take seriously. No number of scientist experts will convince me to accept something so beyond the pale of common sense. Some of us in this insane world still cling that wonderful, old democratic thing -- common sense. You would have us replace this with the conclusions of "experts" -- who will, most likely, be contradicted by other experts in the near future. I'm sorry, sir, but I will have none of it. Call me behind the times, intransigent, whatever else you want; but I'll have none of it. I prefer to maintain my sanity.I forgive him, of course. Even for calling me "sir". The situation is bizarre, unbelievable. He's honest, forthright, and if forced by his beliefs to be discourteous, it obviously goes against the grain. I will call him Old-Fashioned, but that's because he believes in things like Courage, and Integrity, and not following the latest fad. The Old-Fashioned virtues I believe in too. It's just that Reality gave me a whack in the mazzard with a wet fish.
Today, I had a nice chat with the mother of one of my little boy's best friends, and one of her relatives. She'd got the story third-hand from her son, via my son, but was reticent to ask about it, just in case things had gotten garbled, as they are wont to do when talking with 6 year olds. We discussed mutual life histories, what I was studying at Uni, how I worked with true geniuses but was able sometimes to substitute intuition for intellect and see things they couldn't...and one then remarked that maybe my son inherited the same unusual neurology. I then looked up at the sky, and said "OH I HOPE NOT!!!". That made evasions and attempts to talk around the elephant in the room impossible. After all, our family consisted of two women and one small boy, not quite the usual arrangement. That was a Dead Giveaway.
They didn't find the change difficult to believe, though when I showed them the pics of what I looked like before, that caused some double-takes. I'm too ordinary, just another Mum with a rambuctious first-grader to have been anything else.
No, the thing that totally boggled their minds was the absolute rubbish we have to put up with from the bigots, the "concerned citizens", government departments, the works. They knew how Blacks were treated in 50's Alabama. They knew how Jews were treated in Germany before the Holocaust got underway. But to think that in the society they lived in, a normal, sane, reasonable society, such persecution happened with no-one else aware of it was just incredible to them. They were shocked when I showed them the "Document of Identity" I was initially given. The document that allowed exit from the country, but in the fine print said "It does not constitute authority to re-enter Australia".
Some, when encountering the unbelievable, retreat into intellectual fortresses of denial for safety. Others reach out with hugs and attempts at understanding. Yet both types can be good people. I was lucky to have the second type around me, and both gave and received hugs. I confess that sometimes I need them.