Saturday, October 24, 2020
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Reader’s comment: How can a boy ever know how it feels to be a girl?

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In response to Caroline ffiske: The Divided States of Transgenderism,

paul parmenter •wrote:

I still get stuck at step one of this transgender malarkey. It appears to start with a biological boy saying (or being persuaded to believe) that ‘I feel like a girl’ or a biological girl saying (or being persuaded to believe) that ‘I feel like a boy’.

But my immediate question, before any further step can be taken, is: how the hell do you know what the opposite sex ‘feels’ like? You are not another person, you are yourself. Your feelings are your own, and nobody else’s. And everybody else’s feelings are their own, not yours. So how can you know what a biologically different person feels like? For that matter, how do you know what any other human being feels like, even if they share your sex? Do you really have an insight into the mind and feelings of somebody else when you have never shared their life or had their unique experience? And how can you claim ownership not just of the feelings of an individual, but of a whole group of individuals, as if they all have the selfsame feelings too, and as if you are capable of knowing and sharing them. But do you? On what basis?

The only people who would appear to have a legitimate claim to demonstrable knowledge of what another person feels are identical twins. It has been well documented how they will often choose near-identical life paths even when living apart from one another. One can surmise that their brain structures are near-identical which causes them to think and make choices that follow very similar patterns. But if you are not an identical twin, where is your rationale for claiming ‘I think and feel exactly like you – in fact like all of you!’

You can generalise only in the loosest way about the thoughts and feelings of a huge group of people that constitute half of the human race, and are all different from one another in any case.

But what if we do accept that our feelings can be shared between the sexes, that we do have emotions, likes, dislikes and drivers that are common to many other people? It is often said that the differences between male and female are minor compared to the similarities. What common humanity we may share will be shared among male and female alike. There is no thought or emotion that has ever been demonstrated to belong uniquely to one sex and to be non-existent in the other; let alone being owned by every single member of that one sex and completely absent from every single member of the other sex. As far as anyone can measure or define our emotional lives and feelings, there appear to be huge overlaps between the sexes. This is a necessity for our survival; if it were otherwise, we could never communicate and share common cultures. Men and women would only ever fight or grunt at one another, and the law of the jungle would prevail (to women’s huge detriment).

So if you are a boy who claims to feel like a girl, then why can you not recognise that this feeling, whatever it is, is actually arising from you as a boy, and hence belongs as much to your sex as to the other? And vice versa for a girl who thinks she has the feelings of a boy?

I don’t see any solution to this dilemma. Either you accept that you really can share the same feelings as the opposite sex, in which case you have no reason to claim to belong to that opposite sex because you have just demonstrated that your own sex has those selfsame feelings, so they cannot form the basis for claiming that you are in the ‘wrong’ sex; or you have to accept that you really cannot share the same feelings as the opposite sex, in which case no amount of angst, or banner waving, or legislation, or butchering of either the language, your body, or both, is ever going to allow you to share them. So you might as well stop wasting your and everyone else’s time and causing trouble by making claims that on your own admission are impossible.

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