Whooo-oooo-whooo-oooo! It’s the gender police! Chief Inspector Kevin D. Williamson has put a warrant out for Laverne Cox because she isn’t taking the Cox part of her name literally enough.
Williamson laid out his case against Cox in a May 30 diatribe on National Review Online titled, dickishly, “Laverne Cox Is Not a Woman.”
As you know, Cox, who stars as Sophia Burset on “Orange is the New Black,” appeared on the June 9 cover of Time magazine next to the headline, “The transgender tipping point.”
Williamson will simply not stand for this.
“Cox, a fine actor, has become a spokesman — no doubt he would object to the term — for trans people,” Williamson writes.
Note Williamson’s flagrant use of the male pronoun, a fine way to tell a trans person, “I completely reject your existence and your right to your own identity” and also, “Fuck you.”
And, yes, I’m sure Cox would object to the term “spokesman,” you asshole, since she’s a woman. Also Cox has been clear in talking about her experience that every transgender person’s story is different, so she’s hardly claiming to be the end-all, be-all of trans folks.
According to Williamson, it all comes down to semantics.
“The infinite malleability of the postmodern idea of ‘gender,’ as opposed to the stubborn concreteness of sex, is precisely the reason the concept was invented,” he writes. “For all of the high-academic theory attached to the question, it is simply a mystical exercise in rearranging words to rearrange reality.”
In other words, “sex” is real, “gender” is some kind of liberal psychobabble. So if you’re born with a penis, you’re a man. End of story. Amen.
Cox has elected not to talk publically about her genitals, as it’s her business. But some people simply don’t know what to do with not knowing. It’s the classic Schrödinger’s penis experiment. If you don’t know whether or not she has a penis, how do you know whether or not she’s a he?
Williamson skirts the issue by declaring, “Regardless of the question of whether he has had his genitals amputated, Cox is not a woman, but an effigy of a woman.” In other words, Cox is pretend. A department-store dummy. A man playing dress-up.
And let’s talk about the use of the word “amputated” here. It’s clear Williamson has no tolerance for ambiguity and, indeed, rejects any and all ambiguity in the realm of sex and gender, but a man does not magically become a woman via getting his dick chopped off. Only the willfully ignorant think of a so-called “sex-change operation” this way.
Just like only the willfully ignorant argue that a man or woman must have “the right” genitals in order to identify as a man or a woman. It’s a shitty position to put trans folks in. The prevailing attitude is, if a woman has a penis, then she’s not really a woman. But if a woman used to have a penis, then she’s a man who chopped off his dick.
And if a penis is truly the mark of what makes a man a man, what of men who have lost their penises via car accidents or cancer or botched surgeries? Do they automatically become female?
Obviously not. And I suspect Williamson would agree and that he would also argue that men who lose their penises involuntarily are in no way similar to someone who elects to have gender-reassignment surgery. Those people, he says, are sick.
He writes, “[T]o amputate healthy organs in the service of a delusional tendency is the moral equivalent of meeting a man who believes he is Jesus and inquiring as to whether his insurance plan covers crucifixion.”
Zing! Translation: Transgender people are just crazy!
If Williamson believes that the genitals you were born with hold the key to your sex, then there’s no way for me to tell if he’s really a man until he Snapchats me some dick pics.
D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world, she reviews rock and roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister and teaches writing at the University of Michigan.