Qthat there is hatred, even discrimination, towards transgender people is a reality, and it must be fought. This hatred has no place in a society that has chosen to adhere to universalist values and respect for the individual. However, these values authorize criticism when it does not attack people, but gives itself the possibility of expressing an opinion, an opinion, a warning about concepts, ideas and, in the case which concerns us, of practices.
So, is it reasonable, acceptable, to accuse of transphobia anyone who criticizes the transaffirmative discourses which today are set up as absolute dogmas and truths? For example, by refusing the postulate that sex would be “assigned” at birth? Is it acceptable to condemn anyone who claims there are two sexes as the enemy to be killed? Is it still acceptable to proclaim that it is necessary to support “trans minors” without questioning their discomfort? Do these refusals of dialogue on subjects as serious as the medicalization of children identified as trans very quickly not deserve debate? A dangerous intolerance to criticism is emerging in our country on issues that affect society as a whole.
Each minority that poses as the victim of a specific discrimination takes as its banner a single word: phobia. This is how new phobias have invaded the media space, from Islamophobia to fatphobia and transphobia. This “phobia” of social life is counter-productive in terms of the fight against discrimination, because, by imposing a pathological and subjective reading of acts which must rather be established and proven, it generates a regression in the legal conception of discrimination .
What is “phobia”? Greek phobos, fright, fear or repulsion, it is an irrational and irrational fear triggered by a harmless circumstance. It is the unreal nature of the danger that distinguishes phobia from fear. The word “transphobia” recently entered the Le Robert dictionary, with the definition: “Attitude of hostility, discrimination towards transsexual or transgender people”. By an abusive diversion of nosology, transphobia no longer designates an irrational fear of trans people, but a morbid aversion, often associated with a “moral panic” coming from minds taxed as “conservatives” emanating from “rigid” personalities.
We take issue with this distortion, taking the example of transphobia. Who can today be called transphobic? Anyone who doesn’t buy into the whole trans ideology. And that’s a lot of people. We speak of ideology in the case of a discourse which defines a priori what it is permissible to think. Anyone who discusses the interest of the medicalization of minors by invoking the numerous scientific studies which show the risks of these treatments, their lack of effectiveness on well-being and psychological suffering, their lack of effect on the suicide rate.
When it comes to heavy medical treatments for adolescents, isn’t there a duty to deal with this issue with moderation and discernment?
We say that the phobization of those who oppose the abusive medicalization of minors is a way of rendering inaudible the arguments for asserting caution. However, when it comes to heavy medical treatments for adolescents, isn’t there a duty to deal with this issue with moderation and discernment? A significant number of these adolescents present psychopathological disorders (depression, anorexia, autism, etc.).
How to understand that the slightest criticism concerning trans people is immediately amalgamated with a hateful rejection by the press or on social networks in the name of liberal progressivism? If parents deny their child permission to change their first name or take hormones, are they transphobic?
To fight against discrimination, trans visibility days are intended to promote transidentity. In addition, advertising campaigns by means of posters in the streets of several major cities in France (“Yes, my little girl is trans”), the distribution by family planning of an image of a pregnant man or even information in public schools by militant associations claiming to fight against transphobia. So much the better if transgender people have benefited from it: everyone has been able to feel recognized in their choice of intimate life, which has favored better social integration.
However, personal freedom cannot be transformed into a collective norm. In the United States, to cite just one but telling example, Disney President Karey Burke said that “as the mother of a transgender child and a pansexual child”, she supports having “LGBTQIA+ characters in our stories” and wants at least 50% of Disney characters to be from the LGBTQIA community and racial minorities. There is no doubt that many people will join this community to take advantage of these quotas! Nevertheless, in the name of diversity Karey Burke reinvents segregation with its corollary: the rise of tensions and resentments between communities.
Despite advances in trans rights, accusations of transphobia have never been so vocal from transactivists who of course we distinguish from trans people. Today, any opinion that departs a little from the accepted euphoric discourse on transidentity is systematically disavowed.
The “ideological frenzy” is coupled with an “ideological terror” (Raymond Aron), and both cancel any inclination to debate. Electronic condemnations with the “theological sociodrones” that are slander, anathema, discredit dissuade people from speaking out. This totalitarianism of self-determined and self-referred individuals who transform social networks into parallel courts of justice is winning over our institutions day by day, which bow, out of fear, to the injunctions of “normative self-service” (Pierre Legendre) and become instruments of these new despots. Let us quote Laurent Dubreuil: “the politics of identity reinforces the advent of a democratized despotism, where authoritarian power is no longer in the sole hands of the tyrant, the party or the State, but within the reach of individuals manufactured that go through types of totalitarian desires. The electronic packs crush all the opponents with the stick of justice: “transphobic”!
This moral and victim stance can only set a rhetorical trap for any opponent necessarily rejected in the camp of evil and obscurantism. The power of perverted language is its ability to intimidate, even to terrorize. And this newspeak in an amphigouric style impresses, even amazes the interlocutor, it is made up of words that fascinate and abstruse concepts (for example, the first name at birth is a “morinom”, surname “dead” or even “mégenrage” when we use another first name or pronoun than the one with which the person identifies since the feeling prevails). These neologisms draw a moral binary: either we are for and it is good, or we are silent because it is wrong and hateful to think otherwise. It is an offense and it is condemnable; so you have to choose your side: pro-trans or transphobic.
In a democratic society, debate and criticism are consubstantial with social life: should we accept all the demands of trans people? What repercussions, what consequences do they have on the community, the healthcare system? Are we ready to trivialize and facilitate the transition from an early age? Are we going to medicalize all the crises of adolescence?
Once again, we insist: the rights of trans people must be protected, which in no way prevents the right to contradictory debate on subjects that concern us all. In order not to be qualified as transphobes, we would be summoned to accept the whole of a proselytizing transactivist ideology without discussion? Not content to accuse of transphobia everything that seems “offensive” to them, the activists add: “moral panic”, “reactionary” and “extreme right”. If, according to these activists, “transphobia kills”, the unfounded accusation of transphobia undermines democracy and diverts attention from the necessary protection of minors.
*The petitioners : Nicole Atheagynecologist-endocrinologist, member of the management board of the Little Mermaid Observatory; Caroline CalbaCertified and Associate English Teacher; Sophie Dechenechild and child psychiatrist, member of the management board of the Little Mermaid ObservatoryChantal Delsolphilosopher, member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences; Caroline Eliacheffchild psychiatrist, co-director of the Little Mermaid Observatory; Claude Habibprofessor emeritus of literature at the Sorbonne Nouvelle; Celine Massonuniversity professor, co-director of the Little Mermaid Observatory; Isabella of Meccanemassociate professor of philosophy, member of the CSL; Francois Rastierlinguist, research director at the CNRS; Laurent Le Vagueresepsychiatrist and psychoanalyst; Michele Vianespresident of Regards de femmes, and Sylvie Zuccapsychiatrist, member of the management board of the Little Mermaid Observatory.