It was never going to work.
You can’t erase gender and simultaneously maintain the gains of the gay rights movement in western culture over the last 30 years. The status of identifying as a person attracted to the same sex depends solely on the notion of gender. To erase gender boundaries is to erase millions of gay Americans. Whatever your opinion of the gay rights movement, that is an immutable fact. There is no “gay” without gender.
The trans activists are quickly pushing themselves out of the LGB into a lettered category of their own making. Case in point: Lauren Hough.
Lauren Hough is a lesbian author who has been hailed for her essay collection, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing. She was nominated for a Lambda Literary Prize in the category of “Best Lesbian Memoir.” The Lambda organization describes themselves as a group dedicated to elevating LGBTQ stories and authors.
For over 30 years, Lambda Literary has championed LGBTQ books and authors. No other organization in the world serves LGBTQ writers and readers more comprehensively than Lambda Literary. We believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read.
The problem is that Lambda decided they didn’t wanted to affirm Lauren Hough’s critically acclaimed work. After nominating her for the prize, the organization promptly rescinded the nomination. Did Hough send money to Canada’s Freedom Convoy? Did she question the 2020 election out loud, or go on Joe Rogan’s show to debate the efficacy of the COVID vaccine? These are all mortal sin,s according to Big Tech and progressive cancel culture. Surely, Hough found herself on the wrong side of one of those issues. What else could cause this accomplished, lesbian writer to be rejected by an organization dedicated to elevating gay voices?
Hough’s infraction was worse than all that. Slate explains:
Hough’s friend, writer Sandra Newman, was embroiled in a social media pile-on when she tweeted an announcement about her forthcoming novel, The Men, briefly describing it as a dystopian yarn set in a world in which “everyone with a Y chromosome suddenly, mysteriously disappears.” This scenario prompted complaints that the novel was transphobic, although very few of the complainants appear to have read the book. (Here’s a brief Twitter thread about The Men by Slate contributor Isaac Butler, who has read it.) Hough—who wrote in her Substack that Newman had supported and counseled her as she sought to publish Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing, her first book—maintains that she took to Twitter to tell Newman’s critics “to read the book before condemning it.” Lambda Literary says that unspecified tweets from Hough “exhibited what we believed to be a troubling hostility toward transgender critics and trans-allies.” The exact content of these tweets is unclear as, according to the New York Times, some of them may have been deleted.
So, Hough made the horrific mistake of coming to the defense of a friend and colleague, and actually suggesting people read the work before commenting on the work. Her mistake obviously wasn’t as horrific as the mistake made by her friend, who wrote a work of fiction that posited what would happen if men ceased to exist. According to the Goodreads mob (yes, that’s a thing), Newman’s greatest offense was distinguishing between chromosomes when writing a pretend story about pretend people in a pretend world.
As silly as it is to cancel Newman, it’s even sillier to cancel Hough, who didn’t even write the book. She didn’t sell it. She didn’t participate in it. She didn’t do anything but suggest people read it before criticizing it–and for her friendship, she was rewarded with her own community negating her hard-earned accolades. The group that was formed to represent underrepresented voices like Hough’s ended up turning on said underrepresented voice because it could not bear the weight of a crumbling socio-political alliance. Something had to give, and rather than defend Hough, they chose to cave to ignorance. Hough has become yet another sacrifice on the altar of misogyny.
These two movements cannot coexist peacefully. I say that as someone who has only ever been an observer. Right now, I am observing an exclusively progressive phenomenon fold in on itself. We might think our lesbian sisters are safe from the current thread of rabid misogyny running through pop culture, but we would be wrong. All women are the victims of this aggressive ideology. “Live and let live” is great, but only when both sides agree to let live. The all-trans-all-the-time mob isn’t willing to simply live their own lives and be happy with living in their own truth. They are so committed to bullying everyone into adopting their own version of the truth that they’ve even turned on the very women who have otherwise sought to be their allies.
Forget about the politics of LGBTQ issues. What happened to Hough is not just unfair; it is discriminatory and irrational. I wish I could help, but this was always going to be the end result. The LGB and the T cannot live peacefully together–as long as their representatives in organizations like Lambda insist on making gender nonexistent.
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