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Man does not live by welfare alone
Is it a truth universally acknowledged, that an unhoused person in possession of a non-binary identity, must be in want of a space whip?
Mia identifies as a non-binary they. You can read about Mia in this article, published in Willamette Week, a free weekly publication here in Portland, Oregon. Both the article, and the publication, encapsulate some of the crazy of the moment.
Mia came to Portland several years ago to trim weed with some buddies. When the buddies left town, Mia found himself with neither work nor shelter. Mia is someone who apparently does not expect to do anything for himself. Mia, having lived on the streets for several years, is now, with other people who also identify as being in the LGBTQ+ community, being moved across the Willamette river to a new encampment. The encampment is being called a “village.” Two local schools objected to the location of the new “village”, in part due to the city’s refusal to “require felony background checks and implement a 1,000-foot no camping barrier around the village.” These objections were described as homophobic by a local politician.
In June of 2020, storefronts in Portland and other cities began to erect “don’t hurt me” walls—proclamations of support for BLM and defunding the police and all sorts of other propaganda (I first named and discussed this phenomenon on June 23, 2020, on DarkHorse). The purpose of such walls is to swear fealty to the cause, in the hopes that the store will not be vandalized. It’s a kind of preemptive protection racket, and it doesn’t always work.
“Don’t hurt me” walls aren’t as common now as they were during that mad Summer, but pledges of allegiance to the new orthodoxy, public displays of compliance, are happening in other ways. Were the schools who asked for background checks on their new homeless neighbors being homophobic? Uh, no. But perhaps in an attempt to demonstrate just how non-homophobic they are, one of the schools later offered “gift baskets” to the homeless. Point of order: just as you should not apologize for things of which you are not guilty, you should also not offer gifts to those who are taking advantage of you, or the system that you are functioning in. It is an attempt at appeasement that will not only not work, it will backfire.
But gift baskets were apparently offered, and Mia Winters asked for a space whip. What, pray tell, is a space whip? A space whip is “a cord filled with LED fiber-optic lights. The glow-in-the-dark accessory is popular at raves,” writes Willamette Week. “‘You whip it around like a flowtoy,’ Winters says.”
The article concludes, “No gift baskets have been delivered yet.”
Viktor Frankl, in the 1984 postscript to his heart-breaking, necessary, now-and-always central to the human condition book, Man’s Search for Meaning, writes the following (also read aloud on DarkHorse episode 128):
People have enough to live by but nothing to live for; they have the means but no meaning. To be sure, some do not even have the means. In particular, I think of the mass of people who are today unemployed. Fifty years ago, I published a study devoted to a specific type of depression I had diagnosed in cases of young patients suffering from what I called ‘unemployment neurosis.’ And I could show that this neurosis really originated in a twofold erroneous identification: being jobless was equated with being useless, and being useless was equated with having a meaningless life. Consequently, whenever I succeeded in persuading the patients to volunteer in youth organizations, adult education, public libraries and the like—in other words, as soon as they could fill their abundant free time with some sort of unpaid but meaningful activity—their depression disappeared although their economic situation had not changed and their hunger was the same. The truth is that man does not live by welfare alone.
Mia is not starving. Mia does not, apparently, need blankets or shoes or a water bottle or a toothbrush. Mia has enough to live by, but nothing to live for. Mia does not appear to need anything. Mia, a person with no permanent home, upon being offered a “gift basket” by a local school, asks for a toy. Mia is a child. Children, even those who have been alive for thirty years, do not know that thirty-year-old humans are responsible for their own decisions, and responsible for finding their own shelter and their own work.
Why? Society has failed many like Mia. Portland certainly isn’t helping, making everything so very easy for Mia to continue living the life that Mia is living.
We are told that Mia and others are “unhoused.” I say that Mia is facultatively homeless. This looks like a series of choices, not a string of bad luck. Perhaps the series of choices is, in Mia’s case as in so many, compounded by mental illness, drug addiction, or a childhood that rendered this person very poor at understanding consequences. All of these things may be true, and none of them are reason to allow people to be facultatively homeless. Having an understanding for how someone arrived at a place should not be conflated with letting them do whatever they want now that they are there.
We are told that the term is now “LGBTQ+.” Is it now. Mia is part of this elite group—the LGBTQ+ group—by virtue of having declared himself non-binary. That’s all it takes—a declaration. The rest of us are on notice that the only correct response is to affirm the declaration. I guess that having long flowing hair and pearls and bright red lipstick and eye makeup contributes to the fantasy. But that’s what it is: a fantasy.
See my “I am a woman – and a biologist” essay, if you are confused on this front. If you remain unsure about what sex and gender are, what it looks like in other species, what the implications are for humans, any of it, also consider the following: the Sex and Gender chapter in A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century, my essay “Protect Children: Do not allow them to transition”, and my forthcoming essay Me, She, He, They: Reality vs. Identity in the 21st Century, to be published in the anthology, Iconoclasts, just to start.
A few weeks ago, a piece was published in Sapiens titled Biological Science Rejects the Sex Binary, and That’s Good for Humanity.
Point one: No it does not. Biological science does not reject the sex binary.
Point two: If it did, that would not be good for humanity.
Point three: The fact that a whole lot of pseudo-scientific publications seem to think that sex is not binary reveals the fact that humanity is in quite a lot of trouble. As Ricky Gervais says in his most recent stand-up special, nobody tweeted “Women don’t have penises” ten years ago, because it would have been an insane thing to say. It was too obvious. Everybody knew this. And here’s the thing: Everybody still knows this. Women don’t have penises. Men can’t get pregnant. Men and women are different, and even though many of the roles that we have historically been slotted into are archaic now, men and women are still different.
Oh and by the way, for those who are pretending to be confused on the issue, “chest-feeding” and “front-hole” and “uterus-haver” are misogynistic abominations on the language, and on our collective ability to be good to one another, too. No, they are not compassionate words to use in the newest civil rights battle. Rather, they are dehumanizing and objectifying phrases that are effectively erasing the hard-won rights of women.
In response to the confused piece in Sapiens, the excellent Helen Joyce asks “What is in it for these people?” It’s a very good question.
Two of the responses to Helen’s tweet get right to the point:
I believe that the chronological taxonomy that we are being told to accept is as follows:
1930s – 1960s: Women, but nasty, bad women probably in need of drugs or therapy or discipline from their husbands.
1970s – yesterday: Women. Also, take your regressive expectations and stereotypes and shove them up your ass.
Now: Trans-men, or non-binary, or genderqueer, or something something something, but definitely what we’re gonna do is honor and respect both tradwives and men more than the vast majority of women out there. Those who were assigned-female-at-birth should recognize their privilege, be quiet, and let those with greater victim status stand up and explain what a woman is. While the assigned-female-at-birth crowd is sitting nicely and quietly and not doing anything else with their time, they should probably get the rest of us some lunch. Go on now, honey. We’re hungry over here.
Yep. Again, the answer is woman. Until yesterday. Now though? I guess now the answer is someone—me, for instance—who is expected to get the rest of y’all some lunch.
You are going to be waiting for a very long time.