There is this idea floating about that our gender is “assigned” at birth. If we take that idea seriously, what else might have simply been “assigned” at birth that we can go right ahead and re-assign?
I cannot help but wonder how people would respond to applying this kind of rationale to other aspects of what happens in the delivery room. For instance, our daughter was born on February 28, but we were hoping for a March baby. What if the doctor “assigned” a birth date of, say, March 9? Or even March 2; whatever suited us best. Our son was born in the evening, but it might be kind of cool to say you were born at 12:01 in the morning, so perhaps we can just “re-assign” that as the birth time? And no woman wants to give birth to a nine-pound baby so we could save women everywhere a whole lot of discomfort by simply “assigning” all babies a birth weight in the six-pound range. Not too low, though, or doctor’s get nervous about the baby’s health!
I cannot imagine anybody taking these other “assignments” seriously, but for some reason when we are discussing sexuality such language is treated with extreme seriousness. And while some people might think this language is limited to gender, the “assignment” of birth years is apparently fair game these days. An Ontario man (husband and father of seven) decided that he “felt” that he was a six-year-old girl. Or, to be more correct (as the linked article clarifies), he felt he was an eight year old girl until he decided to go with six instead because he would fit better into his adopted family. His biological birth year is back in the 20th century, but when one seriously entertains the idea that these kinds of objective facts are mere “assignments” then his birth year could easily be shifted into an entirely different century.
How long before somebody with a biological age of, say, 14 years enters a bar and declares that he “self-identifies” as somebody who is 21? He has the human right to be treated according to his self-identified age, rather than the birth-year that was “assigned at birth.” Bring on the beer!
Or perhaps somebody with a biological age of 35 can “feel” like they are 65 and start collecting government pension. Again, self-identification is all that’s needed, right?
I’m in the process of trying to launch a business, so I’m always on the lookout for sources of funding because businesses are unfortunately expensive. There are a number of sources of small business funding that are available to first nations people, so how long before somebody “self-identifies” as first nations and takes money from those are truly are ethnically first nations? Would there be a public uproar? There are a number of sources of small-business funding that are specific to women, and others that are specific to young people. If that “six year old girl” from Ontario were to secure government funding intended for women because he “feels” like a female – and funding intended for young people because he “feels” like he is only 6 – would anybody object? What about all the biological and genetic women who missed out on the funding because of him? What about the young people who missed out on funding because some 56-year-old “feels” like he’s 6?
It gets more extreme. I might “feel” like I am disabled. What happens if I act on that feeling?
Some people “feel” like they really are animals instead of humans.
These may seem like absurd ideas, but the blurring of the lines between reality – as it is – and reality – as we “feel” it is – is accelerating at a remarkable pace. Yesterday, it was spiritual exceptionalism. Today, sexual exceptionalism. And age exceptionalism, ethnicity exceptionalism, disability exceptionalism, species exceptionalism.
And on it goes.
Welcome to the world of “self identification.” I wish I could say this is all hypothetical, but as the links I provided verify, each of the examples I listed actually describes real people, alive today. And their “self identifications” are taken seriously.
One can only fathom what tomorrow will bring.