As I’ve always said, I don’t mind using whatever pronouns someone wants to be known by, but the buck stops for me when transgender women are considered as full biological women—and by that I mean women who produce (or have the potential to produce) large and immobile gametes. It’s not the word “woman” I object to; it’s the implicit conflation of biological women with transsexual women in every possible way: the equation of biological women with biological males who consider their gender to be female and may or may not take action to change their bodies. (I don’t care if they “transition” physically or not; I’ll be glad to use their pronouns.)
In this case, however, the gender transition is reversed: the Post uses “people” instead of “women” because they are catering to the other class of transsexuals: biological women who transition to the male gender—”transmen”. For this group the saying is “transmen are men.” Since transmen can get pregnant if they retain their female organs, but are prohibited from being called “women”, then they are lumped together with biological women as simply “pregnant people”.
Ergo, the Washington Post has caved to this tendency by issuing the following headline (mentioned in the latest Substack column on Bari Weiss’s site); click to read:
In her piece about feminism at Weiss’s site, Zoe Strimpel said this:
“Pregnant people at much higher risk of breakthrough Covid,” The Washington Post recently declared. This was in keeping with the newspaper’s official new language policy: “If we say pregnant women, we exclude those who are transgender and nonbinary.”
That is explicitly obeisance of the mantra “trans men are men”, which is correct in terms of moral or legal treatment, but isn’t biologically true. In fact, the word “woman” appears only once in the article:
The researchers measured the risk by analyzing the records of pairs of fully vaccinated patients from the same part of the country. In each pair, one patient had the condition that was being measured, and the other did not. The patients were not matched by age, and the pregnant people could have been matched in the analysis with a man or a woman.
Why are they even admitting that there’s a dichotomy between men and women? (Indeed, there must be, for the very concept of “transsexual women” recognizes that there are classes of “men” and “women”.) But of course there is a dichotomy—biologically. For all practical purposes, biological sex is a binary. The words “pregnant people“, however, appear six times. They can’t say “women” because transsexual men can sometimes get pregnant, and trans activists consider that this is the case of a man getting pregnant.
As I said, I’m happy to recognize someone’s self-assignment of gender, but I’m not willing to say that a transsexual male is a “man” in the biological sense—and getting pregnant is something that only biological women can do. If this continues, so that language is tweaked to conform to the wishes of “progressive” activists, will we eventually lose the words “man” and “woman” altogether? Why not, if the Post‘s policy be sensible? It’s no wonder that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was reluctant to answer the question “What is a woman?” (She punted, but I think she should have answered as I would have, drawing a distinction between women as a biological class and women as a gender group).
I was sent the Post link by a woman reader who had enough of the paper when she read this headline and of the Post’s new policy. As she wrote me:
I knew my subscription to the Post could only last so long once I was forced to cancel the New York Times, and this is it. I told them if women don’t exist, neither do I–and if I don’t exist, I can’t possibly subscribe to The Washington Post.