The persistent myth of American-style transgenderism in non-White cultures

The LGBTQ+++ crowd often uses myths about non-White and Stone-Age cultures to force America to abandon biological sex in favor of magical gender switches and dozens of imaginary genders.  Most recently, a student at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNC) tried it after a Ben Shapiro speech.

At UNC, Shapiro's speech asserted that "men cannot become women."  After the speech, he opened the floor to questions from those who disagree with him.  A young man, after announcing that he was a mathematician and physicist who had "won the most prestigious award in the country," challenged Shapiro on the ground that "what you're saying is based on old data."

Shapiro responded, "I literally cited a study from last month, but sure."

The student was undeterred.  "Like, for example, gender identity disorder, that's a DSM 4 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), bro.  We use the DSM 5, now."  The student was trying to sound smart about the fact that what was once called gender identity disorder will henceforth be called gender dysphoria.  Shapiro, of course, already knew this and said so.

At that point, the student, stymied in his effort to denigrate Shapiro's fund of knowledge, launched a vulgar rant about Shapiro's wife and marriage, which Shapiro deftly deflected.

This was a prelude to the meat of the student's argument — namely, that biological "gender," divided between two sexes, is "a Western colonial idea of gender," adding, "The gender binary is a Western colonialist framework of gender."  His examples were "Native Americans, third gender people ... Native American societies, Western African societies, like Southern Native American societies like Mexico.  So, in other places that are not White-dominated ..."

And there it is...the myth that non-White societies recognized transgenderism.  However, it's either not true or reflects a primitivism devoid of biological reality.

Leftists claim that Japan recognized a third gender.  Not so.  During the Edo period (1603–1868), a "wakashū" was officially a teenage boy midway between childhood and manhood, with distinctive hair and clothes.  Unofficially, though, wakashū were teenage boys cross-dressing as females for chaste flirtation with women or for homosexual behavior with men.  Everyone understood, though, that these were boys.

The romance about Native Americans and "two spirit" people (again, implying transgenderism) is a modern academic concept layered over actual facts.  Mary Annette Pember, a left-leaning Ojibwe woman, took umbrage at the two-spirit notion being applied to the more than 500 different tribes in America, blaming this generalization on Will Roscoe, a White gay activist.

According to Pember, White men have used Native Americans as a foundation for advancing their own ideas.  In fact, as Kristopher Kohl Miner, of the Ho-Chunk Nation, told her, in his tribe, there was no evidence at all of LGBTQ people.  This makes sense, given that tribes had no written language before Whites came along.  Most theories are guesswork.

Pember also cites The Assassination of Hole in the Day, by Anton Treuer (of the Leech Lake Ojibwe tribe), which notes that "sex usually determined one's gender, and therefore one's work[.]"  The Ojibwe did recognize masculine women and feminized men but apparently did not pretend they had magically changed sex.  Wrote Treuer, "Men who chose to function as women were called ikwekanaazo, meaning 'one who endeavors to be like a woman.  Women who functioned as men were called ininiikaazo, meaning, one who endeavors to be like a man."  Cross-dressers, yes; transgender, no.

James Adair, a trader who lived among, studied, and wrote about the Catawba, Cherokee, Muscogee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Indians for four decades in the mid-18th century, recounted the story of an Indian boy chastised for showing homosexual tendencies.  In an aggressively warlike culture, there was no place for feminine men.

Pember's point about White gay scholars layering their desires on indigenous history is a good one.  It's difficult to find any information on the internet that honestly looks at those cultures the student named: West African, southern Native American, etc.  What one finds are polemics intended to prove a desired outcome — namely, that transgenderism (i.e., being born in the sexually wrong body) is real.

All societies have recognized homosexuality, masculine women, and feminine men.  Some societies have been more accepting than others (see, e.g., the Greeks and male homosexuality).  Societies also built little fictions around homosexuality, as the Edo Japanese did, by treating teenage catamites as women for use by older men.  I did find an article that flagrantly advocates for transgenderism and that lists all sorts of primitive tribes in Africa and Latin America that believe or believed in magical sex changes.  It seems stunningly regressive, however, to abandon biology in favor of animism and Stone-Age polytheism.

Image: Ben Shapiro's interlocutor.  Twitter screen grab.

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