Today’s transgender movement
is the latest effort to overturn
 what are in fact true 
assumptions about human life.
My recent report, “Sex, 
Gender, and the Origin of the
 Culture Wars,” reveals the
 intellectual roots of today’s
transgender movement so
that citizens can defend
 common sense against the
 corruptions that this movement
Transgenderism literally
means “beyond gender.” It
reflects the belief that society
arbitrarily and unjustly
“structures” gender, dividing
people arbitrarily into men
 or women and presenting to
all an acceptable way to behave.
The transgendered resolve to
overcome society’s structures,
 pointing the way to a new
 society where individuals make
 or follow their own “gender.”
 Society, in turn, must become
“post-structural” and affirm
whatever new identity individuals
 construct for themselves.
The Feminist Origins of Transgenderism
The transgender movement originates in the radical
 feminist project begun after World War II. The
 founding mother of radical feminism is French
 thinker Simone de Beauvoir, whose book, “The
Second Sex,” was published in America in 1953.
Beauvoir begins her book by asking, “What is a
woman?” Her answer sets the stage for
subsequent feminist thought: “One is not born,
 but rather becomes, a woman.” Society makes
or constructs a woman’s identity, not nature or God.
That socially constructed identity would eventually
 be called “gender.” If society would just stop
pigeonholing girls into artificial feminine roles,
second-wave feminists argue, they would no
longer act as if they were “the second sex” and
subordinate to men.

Sex, one’s biology and the closely linked
 psychological traits, should not shape one’s identity,
 according to these feminists. Sex or “biology is not
 destiny,” they say. Women must emancipate
themselves from all limits presented by biology
or society.
Transgenderism: The Latest Element in Feminism’s Rolling Revolution
Transgenderism is a branch with feminist roots.
It seeks to undermine the “traditional socialization”
of boys into men and girls into women because it
 denies the biological basis of manhood and
But it was radical feminist Judith Butler who first
 established the formal link between transgenderism
 and feminism.
Long an advocate for “transgressing” what society
conceives of as reality, Butler began defending
 drag and cross-dressing. Later she turned her
attention to the varied possibilities in transgender
lifestyles, which, she believes, would undo the
predominant ideas of gender.
Bulter was impressed by how “queers” “struggle
to rework the norms” and posit “a different future
for the norm itself.”
Exposure to strange new performances “make us
not only question what is real and what ‘must’ be,”
she said, “but they also show us how the norms
 that govern contemporary notions of reality can
be questioned and how new modes of reality can
 become instituted.”
Just as feminists hoped.
People who identify as transgender do not only
wish to be tolerated. The public must come to
 affirm these gender performances as admirable,
healthy, and authentic.
According to this view, a person’s identity is never
 fully real until it is endorsed by the public
authorities and recognized as such by one’s fellow
Thus the need, as many news stories attest to,
for schools to adapt their curriculum or change
 their bathroom policies to affirm transgender
To be sure, no feminist had transgenderism in
mind during the founding of the movement. But
 therein lies the irony—the radical feminist logic
laid down by Beauvoir now finds its latest
fulfillment in the transgender movement of 2017.