Mr. Bawer is upset that "transgenderism" was attached to his noble pursuit of "equal" rights for gays by queer activists, since sexual appetite isn't the equivalent of gender identity. He acknowledges that leftwing queer activism was always about tearing down the longstanding institutions of the West and argues . . .
. . . indeed, that the gay-rights movement and the transgender movement are utter opposites: while the former is rooted in the objective reality of homosexual attraction, the latter asks the general public to acknowledge an objective impossibility -- namely, the fanciful notion that subjective feelings alone can determine gender. The moment a person declares that he's now a she, or that she's now a he -- no hormones or surgery required -- one is supposed to respond with immediate and absolute affirmation.
Oh, dear. I think Mr. Bawer has missed the forest for the trees. Respectfully. His "equal" rights advocacy (of which he was an early promoter of SSM) has asked something very similar of the public. Namely, that we "acknowledge" the objective impossibility that two men or two women can be married to one another. In fact, gays insist on overthrowing reality, they don't just "ask." Because "equality" -- 'er something.
I've long argued that SSM advocates weren't asking for "equal" rights for gays. Persons who are same-sex attracted always had the "equal" right of legal and social acknowledgement of marriage to someone of the opposite sex. Heck, they even had that right within the Church! And the union of two men or two women isn't the equivalent of a married man and woman. What homosexual advocates laid claim to with SSM was a special right -- the "right" to overthrow the reality of marriage.
To recap: marriage has the dual purpose of 1) unifying a man and a woman for the (hopefully) intended purpose of 2) procreation. The unity piece is so essential not just for the couple's happiness, but because of the procreation piece. When mothers and fathers divorce, they "blow up their kids' planet," as Andrew Klavan says. And you should see what happens when homosexual couples with kids divorce! It's doubly confusing and tragic. This is no way to form a happy and healthy society.
While gays may find unity in a homosexual relationship (although the rates of promiscuity among gay men and domestic violence among lesbians as compared to heterosexuals would seem to suggest a problem), their relationship is intrinsically sterile. In short, marriage wasn't made for them either by nature or nature's God. If it's discriminatory to say so, it's discriminating an objective truth, which Mr. Bawer seems to be passionate about when it comes to transgenderism coopting his pet cause.
All of this societal degradation was totally predictable and was, in fact, predicted by opponents of the SSM cause. The slippery slope argument isn't always fallacious. Once we insist on lying about fundamentals such as what marriage is, it follows pretty naturally that we'd lie about other basic truths such as gender identity.
When I was a lefty I used to complain about conservatives wanting to "get into our underwear" on sexual morality. Now I wish gays had gotten out of their own underwear long enough to see the big societal/cultural picture.
My advice to Mr. Bawer? Never ever side with the Left -- not on feminism, not on economics, not on nationalism, not on social causes -- not even the ones you think are in your self-interest. That way leads to destruction. It always does, as that's the Left's objective and competence. The Left is very good at destroying, and I'm of the opinion it's too late now for the West. What we will have is anyone's guess, but I'm confident in saying our society will be neither free nor respectful of human dignity, as the one very much depends on the other, and we can have neither when we're lying to each other on the essentials of human anthropology.