In Response to: Becoming Joy

Having a transgendered son, I naturally read your article “Becoming Joy” with great interest. One question not addressed in gender literature, and which the article does not address either, is what makes a person male or female. In simple terms, what can a person point to and say, “I have this and not that, so I am male” or “I have that and not this, so I am female”? I have read repeatedly that the basis is self-identification, but I have not seen any reason for a person to self-identify one way or another.

One transgendered person told me that this self-identification is arbitrary. My son’s response was that it is not arbitrary, but he could not explain it to me. The article also speaks of Ladin’s intense feelings about this. But one cannot build a society on subjective feelings, no matter how deeply or sincerely or intensely held.

A dictionary provides clear, simple, objective definitions. “Female” is “of the type that bears young” and “male” is “of the type that begets young.” These definitions provide a reality check that gender theorists lack. Until they can define their basic terms, they literally do not know what they are talking about.

People have called me hateful for asking these questions; they have called me a bigot for using logic; they have called me an extremist for quoting the dictionary. Transgendered people would be better served if their advocates answered basic questions, rather than abusing those who ask them.

John F. Fay *85
Mary Esther, Fla.