Thursday, 23 May 2019

What Tangled Webs We Weave

Prickly Pear Trees, Rachel Dolezal, and Rights of Choice

Here is the received wisdom from someone who should know better.

You can’t choose your colour, race, ethnicity or nationality.  Golriz wants to include “gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability.
You basically don’t choose your gender, sexual orientation or disability so I agree there may be a case for including those. I suspect if they do, the majority of complaints will be people alleging speech attacking white men should be prosecuted so be careful of what you ask for.
But religion is a choice. Billions of people around the world choose whether or not to follow a particular religion, or none at all. Sure in some countries there is great cultural pressure to be of a particular religion, but in NZ we have true freedom of religion.  [David Farrar, Kiwiblog]
The weasel word is this:  "You basically don’t choose your gender, sexual orientation . . . ".  First up, what is the meaning of "basically" in Farrar's sentence?
  Secondly, what is the scientific basis for asserting that basically one has a given gender and sexuality.  Is there a scientific basis for this assertion, or not?  Thirdly, if someone would deny his or her un-chosen gender or sexual orientation how much time of the day ought such denials or choices to be given?

We may choose to identify as a prickly pear tree.  How much credence does such a demand warrant?  How much legal recognition ought to be accorded such a claim?  If someone were to laugh at us and mock us for such an identity choice, would their mockery be "hate speech"?

Rachel Dolezal "identified" as black.  She was later exposed to be genetically a Caucasian. In the meantime she had become president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane Washington.  She was forced to resign.  All self-identifying humanoid prickly pear trees wept in solidarity with Rachel.  Arguably, anyone who did not weep, but laughed, was guilty of hate speech.

But we suspect David Farrar really wants to support those who self-identify in their gender and/or sexual orientation in a way that is contrary to their scientific gender.  In other words, one's gender may be male, but self-identification as a female trumps one's genes.  That's why, we suggest, Farrar puts in the weasel word: "you basically don't choose your gender . . . "

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