Posted by Curt on 14 July, 2016 at 10:23 am. 1 comment.


Matt Walsh:

Dear ultrasound technician,

Recently, I accompanied my partner to the doctor for an ultrasound to check on the progress of our precious little blob of cells. It was supposed to be a happy occasion, but, once again, our joy was preemptively crushed under the weight of blind intolerance.

Things started out OK. My partner sat in the chair and I sat down on the floor, so as not to send the problematic message that I’m above her in any way. I wish I could have undergone the pregnancy and ultrasound myself, as other fathers have done, but because of my own latent and unexamined cis-het prejudices I was unable to conceive. My partner (I don’t say “wife” because the word is far too patriarchal in the year 2016) generously offered to suffer the travails of child-bearing on her own.

Everything seemed to be going fine until it happened. It’s a moment I’ll never forget for as long as I live. A moment that so traumatized and injured me that I haven’t been able to walk or eat for days. A moment they warned me about in gender studies, but a moment I never thought I’d actually encounter in the year 2016. A moment that seemed, in an instant, to transport me back to the Dark Ages.

Suddenly, without warning, you shouted, “Look! It’s a boy!”

We were literally stunned. Our jaws literally dropped. We literally couldn’t even. We both shouted in unison: “Boy? What do you mean boy?”

“There. You can see the penis,” you said calmly. “Look, right there. You’re having a boy! Congratulations!”

Boy? Penis? CONGRATULATIONS? I recoiled in shock. My partner trembled with fury. I fell to the floor in uncontrollable convulsions. She fell on top of me. We rolled around screaming and wailing and weeping and clinging desperately to each other. The emotional anguish was simply too much for either of us to bear. We felt like black people must have felt when they were told to go to the back of the bus. We felt like Roman slaves must have felt when they were eaten by lions in the Coliseum. We felt like all persecuted peoples throughout history must have felt, only worse. We had become victims like them, only more so.

Our guttural growls and moans of rage may not have been discernible to you. Indeed, you looked at us like you didn’t even understand what you’d done. I wondered if you could actually be that stupid in the year 2016. Or were you faking your obliviousness? Was this hate crime intentional? Were we dealing with an authentic moron or a spiteful bigot cunningly cloaking her prejudices under a veil of feigned ignorance?

It’s hard to tell. But because I am the sort of person who displays great courage and humility in the face of persecution, I will use this travesty as an educational opportunity.

First of all, let’s review some basic science, shall we? I can’t believe I have to explain this to someone in the medical field in the year 2016, but here we go: The presence of a penis in no way indicates that it’s a boy. Penises are just arbitrary, fleshy protuberances, which, by some accident of nature, happen to attach themselves to certain humans and not to others. They’re like warts or pimples, only they can get people pregnant. But they mean nothing. They don’t tell you anything. Men can have penises. Women can have penises. Trees can have penises. Anyone or anything can have a penis. Anyone or anything can have anything or be anything. Biology textbooks may claim otherwise, but that’s because biology textbooks are riddled with transphobia and should be burned as heresy.

During the course of the ensuing argument you suggested that, if we didn’t believe you, my partner could take a blood test to confirm the gender. The test would examine the traces of fetal DNA found in the mother’s bloodstream, you said, and if a Y chromosome is detected in the mother’s blood that would supposedly confirm the fetus as male. But we’re far too smart and have watched too many transgender reality shows on TLC to fall for that superstitious nonsense. Chromosomes, like penises, mean nothing. What is a chromosome, anyway? I don’t think anybody really knows.

You’re obviously a simpleton, so let me break this down a little further. You cannot tell anything about a person based on their physical and biological makeup. Anatomy doesn’t matter. DNA doesn’t matter. Bone structure doesn’t matter. The reproductive system doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. You can’t tell what a person is just based on what that person is. You can’t even tell if it’s a person just because it’s a person. You can’t tell anything about anyone based on anything.

At our core, we are all indistinct lumps of gelatinous matter melding slowly into one another. In our truest form, we resemble something closer to a sponge or some other asexual, self-perpetuating sea creature. It’s really poetic when you think about it, even romantic. I often gaze longingly at my partner and say, “Nothing about you means anything.” And she’ll whisper softly back, “Your body is a vacant shell and you have no soul.” And then we kiss passionately.

That is why it was so shocking and offensive when you just blurted out, “It’s a boy.”  Who are you to assign a gender? Who are you to make that assumption? You can peer into that little magical screen and count the body parts, but those body parts do not add up to anything. You cannot simply observe a physical reality and draw conclusions based on it. Some would say that’s the very definition of science, but those people are transphobes and homophobes and should be executed.

Here’s the problem. You can look at the body parts of a fetus, but you can’t know how the fetus will feel. And without knowing its feelings, you cannot know anything else about it. The only thing that defines a person is the least stable and most fickle part of them: their emotional state. That is what determines everything about everyone. Without knowing it, you can’t know anything. You can’t even know if it’s human. For all you know, my partner is carrying a rooster or a tadpole or a pterodactyl in her womb. We can’t be sure until we’ve asked.

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