What would you say if someone told you that they were getting their left arm removed? This person's arm works perfectly fine, but they never really liked the way it made them feel. While the arm serves a functional purpose, it's not required to survive, and deep down this person never felt like the left arm belonged on their body. In fact their left arm was impeding them from truly living life as they see fit, and suppressing the true nature of their personality. Considering this, the only sensible solution for this person is to find a doctor to remove the left arm.
Would you consider this person crazy? I think most Americans would. Apparently however, everything changes when we're talking about a penis instead of a left arm. If we're talking about lopping off genitalia, not only is the decision sane but should be supported, celebrated, defended as a right, and maybe even subsidized by federal dollars (we'll see about that one in the upcoming legislation, whenever the Democrats get around to letting us know what they finally pass). The person undergoing such surgery not only deserves our approval, according to the liberal mindset, but we also need to treat them as we would any other human being, equally, without any question as to their mental state.
Witness the media treatment of Chastity Bono's decision to undergo transgender surgery — heralded as a "courageous decision to honor his (her) true identity." GLAAD added on to this saying, "Chaz Bono's decision to live his life authentically represents an important step forward, both for him personally and for all who are committed to advancing discussions about fairness and equality for transgender people" [emphasis mine]. Seems like having your body mutilated is an empowering action. Maybe we should all do it so that we can all be courageous in honor of our true, "authentic" selves. But the reality for Chastity is much less impressive than these impassioned cheers would have you believe. Growing up in Cher's shadow, not the best role model herself, Chaz entered an early teenage life of drugs and promiscuous sex with little actual parenting — typical for children of the extremely famous. Now we're supposed to support her "courageous" decision to permanently modify her body into that of a he? Sounds less like courage and more like confusion and adult-onset, teenage angst to me, cheered on by an ultra politically correct and unquestioning left.
Which brings us to Obama's latest and supposedly enlightened appointment at the Commerce department. Just don't call Amanda Simpson a "token" appointee. After all, gender or identity politics had absolutely nothing to do with the selection, at all. Nope. Nothing to see here folks. Out of 300 million Americans who could serve as Senior Commerce Advisor, the single most qualified for the job just happened to be among the infinitesimal fraction of Americans who also happened to have had their gender re-assigned. And incidentally Ms. Simpson, who for most of her career worked either for the government or as a military contractor for the government (read: little actual private sector commerce experience), is on the board of the National Center for Transgender Equality. But again, this is not identity politics at all! And if you believe that, email me as I have some can't-lose investment opportunities for you.
I know the Perez Hiltons out there will come out in full force and call for this Neanderthal's head for suggesting such anti-gay and insensitive points of view. Yet, even putting aside the obvious play by the Obama administration to the GLTB community (yes Amanda, you ARE a token, a mere effort to quell the GLTB masses), why shouldn't we question a transgendered individual's mental state? Can anyone tell me what the difference is between the psyche of those who have undergone extreme voluntary plastic surgery such as Michael Jackson, Jocelyn Wildenstein, and Joan Rivers, who are routinely characterized as a bit insane, versus the psyche of those voluntarily undergoing much more invasive sexual reassignment surgery such as Chaz Bono or Amanda Simpson? I'm not suggesting those undergoing gender reassignment are evil, and perhaps Ms. Simpson is perfectly well-adjusted. For me, the personal choices made by Simpson raise concerns as to whether she'd be fit for a cabinet level position in any administration. I'd hope we'd ask the same questions about any appointee who's made extreme personal choices resulting in permanent and major bodily modification, or any extreme behavior for that matter. This would seem to me to be true equality and even common sense.
But in the name of political correctness we're not supposed to even question it. That Ms. Simpson is transgendered can be mentioned, parlayed, bandied about by the president, presumably to prove how unbigoted he is (which in itself is a form of bigotry), but don't you dare question the reasoning (or confusion) behind her choice. Ms. Simpson's sanity is peerless. Aside from her desire to actually have her penis removed, we're told that she is otherwise completely normal and should be treated as such. Even if she isn't completely normal. That's right. I said it. She isn't.
There will be many who will respond to this article claiming that I have no idea what I'm talking about, that I am some middle-America redneck, that I need to get out to the coasts more. While this article isn't about me, and while I live in New York, I do want to share my own personal experience in this matter. I was very close friends with someone who underwent gender reassignment. I was his friend throughout the whole process, from when he became a she. This person had a sweet heart and was one of the most intelligent people I've ever met in my life. But one thing is for sure — this person was suffering. And the operation merely traded one form of suffering for another; it wasn't a solution or empowering or courageous. It was unfortunate and, frankly, strange. And while I still have lots of respect and support for this person, the whole episode left me thanking the powers that be that I wasn't afflicted with the same issues that my friend had. What's interesting about the experience is that at the time, being more politically correct and "hip," I didn't question my support for my friend's choice. After seeing what my friend lived through and continues to live with, perhaps I should have.
The selection of Ms. Simpson to the commerce post is yet another example of the endless game of identity politics engaged in by the current administration, at the cost of competent leadership. After all, the proof is in the pudding and a year into the Obama presidency, it's clear there are questions around this administration's competence. Even the most ardent Obama supporters are starting to question the handling of virtually every dust-up and for good reason. Whether Obama has been right or wrong on policy, he's almost always blows the nuance of the political dance with the American people and this falls squarely on the back of his cabinet. As such, he should really reconsider his identity-based appointee approach, in favor of a purely merit-based one. As if that will ever happen.
At the end of the day, I'm not making any claims to be the arbiter of what is moral or what's right. And I don't claim to have answers for those who face a dilemma regarding their own sexuality. In my view, people should have a right to make whatever personal choices they like, to their own benefit or detriment. And an elected president has the right to appoint any person of any persuasion, race, creed or whatever to office as he or she sees fit. By the same token, the rest of us have a right to question the mental fitness of such a person being promoted into a powerful position in government (as well as the fitness of the person doing the appointing), in full view of others more qualified, without being immediately labeled as homophobic, intolerant or bigoted.