Sexuality in Science-Fiction 1. On Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War (c) (1974). Transgender prediction in Science-Fiction.

The Forever War by Joe Halderman

Disclaimer: Feminism is about equality. I accept it. I appreciate it. Women have the right to work, earn fairly, profit, be leaders, have equal access to amenities that meets their unique physical needs and in a way that isn’t seen as a burden, have sex, make porn, direct porn, be nuns, fight in wars, have kids, don’t have kids, do what they want. A big reason, why I support feminism is due to the history and current realities of violence against women across the globe. I grew up with a very strong-willed mother and she had a sense of humor. As a guy, regarding violence against women, it spurs a type of “old school cop” mentality where it triggers a natural need to protect (though women in many cases can defend themselves), yet, such protections from physical violence in both the developing and developed world needs to be taken seriously. I also don’t hate transgender people, yet this post is really about analyzing the underpinnings to this larger debate, while also looking back to speculative-fiction to see if where we are was actually predicted in the past. What may come off as male criticism, is actually actually me understanding the feelings behind such passion for change, particularly on something as fundamental as gender.

Is support for the trans-community entirely coming from a noble place or are they being used? Similar to the themes underlying the Green Movement, is the promulgation, not even the acceptance, of the transgender lifestyle, something akin to…population control. That sounds very conspiracy based but is it? We have…8 billion people now and the general vibe of social-responsibility seems depopulation. From Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (I don’t hate her) on Instagram speaking about not wanting children while cooking a vegetarian meal, to the drop in birth rates in the developing world, free pornography, but also the showcasing of raising children in “gender-less environments” or giving prepubescent children sex-change homophones, seems like a pragmatic strategy in influencing people to depopulate. A liberal, progressive, nice feelings way of subconsciously promoting a Malthusian view. I’m not even saying that it is bad if this is what’s going on but maybe we need to be honest about it. Blunt.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman was copyrighted in 1974 but the first Ballentine Books Edition is dated January 1976. To my knowledge, Haldeman fought in the Vietnam War and many consider The Forever War to be the antithesis to the pro-militarism of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Having written this piece in the nineteen-seventies, and as a veteran of a war that many considered American aggression, Haldeman created a universe that explores the view of a veteran lost in reality. The story also depicts the military as lifeless, bureaucratic, and more of an industry than an organization that mobilizes to solve a problem but then lay down arms. The main character, Private William Mandela, is recruited into the military to fight for Earth against an alien force (typical, yes I know). Yet, what’s interesting is that humans have to travel light-years to go fight the aliens and due to time-dilation from the Theory of Relativity, the troops stay the same age, only to return to Earth on leave and find it decades or hundreds of years into the future. Haldeman takes the real-life struggle of veterans to adapt to their homes to that of soldier’s in his fictional universe. The 1960s thru 1970s was a time of massive social changes: Feminism, Civil Rights Acts, Berkeley political-movements, Richard Nixon, The Southern Strategy, Barry Goldwater Republicanism, the FBI’s spying on US citizens seen as subversive, the forming of the EPA and rise of the Green Movement, the normalization of pornography with Deep Throat, inflation, dropping the gold standard, the Middle East Oil shock, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and the deaths of iconic musical and political activists.

An example of the changes that Pvt. Mandella and his fellow troops have to adapt to is the massive change in sexuality and gender.

A General briefs Mandella and his fellow troops who have just arrived back on Earth after being away from a long time: “Also keep in mind that your friends and sweethearts of two years ago are now going to be twenty-six years older than you. Many of your relatives will have passed away. I think you’ll find it a very lonely world”

“But to tell you more about this world, I’m going to turn you over to Sergeant Siri, who just arrived from Earth. Sergeant?” (p. 97).

“Thank you, General.” It looked as if there was something wrong with his skin, his face; and then I realized he was wearing face powder and lipstick. His nails were smooth white almonds. (p. 97-98).

“I don’t know where to being” He sucked in his upper lip and looked at us, frowning. “Things have changed so very much since I was a boy.” “I’m twenty-three so I wasn’t even born when you people left for Aleph… Well, for starts, how many of you are homosexual? Nobody. “That doesn’t really surprise me. I am, though” – no kidding – “and I guess about a third of everybody in Europe and North America is. Even more in India and the Middle East. Less in South America and China” “Most governments encourage homosexuality – the United Nations is officially neutral – they encouraged it mainly because homolife is the one sure method of birth control” (p. 98).

Private Mandella speaking to the rreader states, “That sounded specious to me. In the army they freeze-dry and file a sperm sample and then vasectomize you. Pretty foolproof.” Mandella further adds, “I’d expected the Earth to have a lot more than nine billion people”. (p. 98).

Sergeant Siri later responds to a rude question by stating he didn’t wear cosmetics just because he was a homosexual; everybody did it. “I decided I’d be a maverick and just wear my face.” (p. 100-101).

The world is changing and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A world where people can be themselves or choose to be whatever it is they’ve always wanted to be. It’s a good thing that Gay Right’s are finally accepted in society, instead of a historically marginalized group of people forced to live in the shadows, be criminalized, etc. Yet, I will be honest that the Transgender debate when it really first gained steam in the later days of the Obama Administration, and the activism that followed in response to Donald Trump’s election, really caught me off guard. You never said anything our whole lives about supporting trans people, but now all of a sudden? How is that authentic? We’re you just bidding your time?

I did notice and I still do notice that there seems to be a higher degree of support among women and feminism for this. In one way, I think it’s from women’s ability to empathize and an inherent maternal instinct (yet, that’s making a gender assumption). Yet, I also suspect the support is because Feminism where it has been argued that gender is an oppressive construct, patriarchal in nature, which kept women down. So, by supporting transgender rights, it’s really a calculated move for many women to erase what they think is oppressing them. I don’t say this with belittlement to women or hatred of feminism (which is important) but more so from a sense of concern. Has the race to the finish line to liberation gone so far that we’re willing to redefine reality itself, just to win?

Support of this might not be coming entirely from a good place but might very well be from a very vindictive place through a passive-aggressive tactic which in itself is protected by an establishment defined political-correctness. People might have convinced themselves that it is for noble grounds or mercy or care, but what’s their personal incentive? If any? We have to ask. Essentially, the Transgender debate is not just protection of a marginalized group, but also an outlet for petty playground politics between boys and girls (typical in the USA), with the latter enjoying the effeminization of what they consider their antithesis. It might be funny to some but to others it might be coming from a very damaged place where they felt robbed of something and this a way of payback. For example, I was on Instagram and as We all know it’s a tank of political memes or posts spanning the spectrum. One particular post by a very anti-Trump feminist page stated, “Raise your daughters the same!”. I thought to myself that maybe this is where it started for her. She felt robbed, thus angry. We have to be honest in part about this possibly being the case in many ways. The Trans community is far fewer than biologically-born females or males, so such support in part seems like a strategy in female’s own unilateral liberation. There’s no other explanation, especially when we realize that children are being encouraged to not see gender. By the way, I am of the belief that biological sex and gender are the same, or strongly correlated, and I think we are confusing things such as occupational opportunity, power dynamics, expectations, etc., with this whole debate.

This what happens when you mix Postmodern Feminism with a Marxist view of history. The very nature of Postmodernism which falls under Continental existential (ego before essence in the Sartre’s words) frameworks is that there is “no truth”, but that’s a conundrum, because to say there is “no truth” is an objective claim. This is a revelation coming from a guy who went HARD down the joy of postmodernity, until I reached its inevitable conclusion…nothingness, nihilism. A type of feeling where nothing matters while feeling a sense of hyper-awareness. Yet, the deconstruction of my logos was actually therapeutic, too. By erasing or destabilizing my own preconceived notions – my grand narratives – I was able to rebuild my mind while discarding the “baggage”. What was left afterwards was something more liberal, progressive, indifferent to fear, more firm in my own ego, and with a suspicion of power and its ability to oppress people based on human-fabricated narratives. I had survived the over-stimulation of informational overload in a culture built on Darwinian materialism which debases the mind by shattering psyches be it in the normalization of daily gratuitous violence, the matrix impersonal nature of systems, or, the sadio-masochism underlying our notion of capitalist competition, bosses vs workers, etc. I was left with a very agree to disagree but we can all get a long mentality. So this section isn’t an indictment of postmodernism, which as a framework or tool, is a very powerful tool in scanning the infrastructure of our reality. Yet, there’s a level of caution that has to be used when we point that “Postmodern Deconstruction Ray Gun” at something. The power of it is alluring and it can be misused. The goal of postmodernism or Critical-Theory could be equated to using Relativity to flatten all supposed oppressive hierarchies, while also promulgating a type of constant cynical criticism to things so those bad “objective truths” never arise. The frameworks can be used to scan for analysis and discussion, or it can be used to bulldoze like a Miley Cyrus wrecking-ball for a paradigm shift. So, don’t get surprised if people react to what they consider a sense of anti-matter accruing in their subconsciousness. This tactic of “postmodern deconstruction” is a very powerful tool, yet, what if it turns on those who use it? What if what you thought you could control, violently shakes in your hand, and you go out with it? Will female liberation really be female liberation if there is nothing to actually define a female in the future, particularly biologically?

By the way, I am not a Jordan B. Peterson fan my any means. I don’t want to reduce this very important topic, but, in simple speak (referring to myself)…this seems like girls putting makeup on boys and a promotion of a lifestyle by redefining the rules, rather than explicitly supporting people who truly survived the crucible of life and decide to make a conscious adult, or near adult, decision. Maybe women are wired differently to men to not like gender or definition (maybe, I don’t know), but there’s this equal deification of femininity.

Let’s go back to the old notion of the “tomboy”. A girl who at a certain time in our not too far history engaged in things we considered male. Rough-and-tumble, getting dirty, jumping off things, etc. Or, for many of us guys, many can remember as kids that there was always the “female homey”, aka, the girl who was one of the fellas. There was no sexism. She balled with us the court, went on bike adventures, or hung out smoking and listening to music in the woods. If anything sexual was there, most of the guys were too scared act. We were innocent kids spared the realities of adult natural selection. Yet, the reasoning I remember about why the preferred boys was because “they didn’t get a long with girls”, or, “girls are catty”, but years later -after liberal arts college – they’re probably making the opposite case while the stand as firm feminists in solidarity. I think this fine. It shows development. It shows females coming into their self-empowered being. Yet, as a guy, having wrapped my head around the onslaught on articles on feminism by feminists, I look back on those times with a Marxist materialist view and also with a clinical biological-view. Girls were essentially getting the best of both worlds: a way to cancel out competition of other females while also engaging in activities the found more fun, and they were observing the boys in how they rank and stack each other in hierarchies. Searching for “alpha” traits, communication habits, how groups develop and follow plans.

It was unfair for women because a lot of the fun, adventurous, higher risk and reward occupations were highly male, and being a male or a female shouldn’t deny a person from entering a certain occupation. Also, boys were given a more honorific showcasing when it came to things such as sports, but this isn’t necessarily from a unilateral top-down patriarchy, but might have been simply intrinsic to both men and women. It’s a way for mother’s to maybe cheer on their “stud” boys, while also a way for women to asses how others socially appraise a male’s utility thus indicating a higher or lower level of utility. It’s a rough truth to accept… Women and men appraise things different. The lack of ticket-sales at a WNBA game may not be indicative of sexism or patriarchy but essentially men don’t appraise women the same regarding sports, i.e., they don’t find something sexual or of “social value” in it, whereas females might be opposite in watching male’s smash into each other – simulating selection and fitness. We shop differently. In a way, men might actually be more humane when choosing partners than females, though it seems on the surface than men have reduced women to a sexual object. Yet, things are changing I suspect for the better. There is something honorific about watching athletic, the best-of-thr-best, females win World Cups. There’s something attractive about the Amazonian Wonder Woman. There’s a sense of pride men should feel knowing a woman finished a race and she feels more confident that she ever felt. A woman’s confidence is essential and the more confidence the better our species is. However, just because females want to enter male spaces (which is fine) and thus adopt the fashion that is based off the utility from those occupations or lifestyles, doesn’t mean boys want to be girls. A boy doesn’t need to become a girl to like things traditionally associated with femininity, such as home-management, cooking, fashion, hair-care, caring for children, social services, etc.

There’s a lot of conundrums going these days. For example, we can agree that the idea of Genetically-Modified Foods are bad, yet, it’s OK for a child to get chemically created hormone treatments? GMOs could help fight world hunger, but the other might affect a person’s natural sexual development which can have severe consequences if a child as an adult chooses to revert back to the sex they were born. Or, how can the Future be Female if gender doesn’t exist or is merely a social construct? Which is it? People might respond with a “well, it’s actually”, or “um, technically”, but this conundrum in theory means that the we’re going to erase everything which was male, by claiming we’re all going to be equal, but pushing matriarchy. In other words, your gender doesn’t exist, ours does, and this is how it’s going to be. I see no issue with an adult making decision to change their gender. I see no issue in having a world were “gender expectations” aren’t required, but I do see an issue with going against a unifying concept of Mother Nature by redefining gender because it suits political need. There’s something very badass about thinking about hard primal women of our past who also held their child, just as much as there’s something very badass about a male sitting watch at the entrance of the cave. There’s something within us as humans where this survival and division of labor is innate.

Just because the technological age has pushed us to a type of “post-” reality, doesn’t necessarily mean we turn our backs on the one unifying thing of our species…gender. Yet, I repeat we can still support trans people. My concern isn’t trans people but this larger redefinition of what is gender. We have a lot of issues facing our species: over-population in certain areas, depletion of resources, climate change/global warming, sectarian violence, pandemics, etc., but it doesn’t mean we need a “hard inversion” ideology to reverse this. All it really means is we need pace, innovation, and sustainability. A slow peaceful reduction that still operates on firm biological reality. It’s not about race, nationality, ethnicity, religion. Before any of these concepts hit the human mind, we were men and women, working together, maximizing each’s unique utility, to support the tribe, the warren, the village. We may respect each other for the same reasons, such as how we contribute, or how we treat others, but we revere each other in different ways, simply because Mother Nature made us different.

Trying to understand how this debate is being defined…Lets say that sex is sex, so this is the biology of what a person is born, but gender is behavior more so influenced by a type of chromosomal disposition…so…even if these concepts are separate, or better put, separate in certain cases, it’s nearly impossible to actually claim that gender is simply a construct. It seems more fitting to say it’s a construct for certain cases, rather than gender being a construct as a general rule.

I’ve even come to accept parent’s who decide to work with their children if that’s something they wish to do, though, I still feel very awkward about such as move, but it’s really not an awkwardness projected at the individual, but more so the intelligentsia hovering and managing these conversations. But, also I don’t have an issue. I more so focus on the level of love and care that parents can provide for supporting a child. It doesn’t trigger fear or anger in me. I don’t think “men are going to die” or be erased; however, I do suspect that feminism in a pragmatic way is seen as a key asset in mitigating the issues of a global interconnected Cosmopolitan technologically-linked reality. Abortion, the Green Movement, feminism, and to a degree LGBTQI, can all be used objectively to reverse the negative externalities of our very successes. These movements or people associated with them, are natural, they exist in nature, but I do also know that Fortune 500 companies, the United Nations, and even NGO’s such as the Rockefeller Population Council are probably tying to encourage these in clever marketing strategies, reinforcement, education, etc. Even the Green Movement we have to realize will not be some type of egalitarian utopia but really a type of externalization of Corporate Social-Responsibility since they have the means of production. They will be the ones who capitalize on this and own the technologies.

I want to end this by staying, maybe I’m a changed guy. Rather than trying to figure out whatever logical fallacies are underlying the debates, what is ultimately important is a sense of care of others which I do feel is unique to humans. We should take pride in the fact that we’re capable of humanity and care. The more I write this out, I honestly come to accept how the world is going. Trans people should have full protection under the law. There are ways or policies that can be made to permit Trans people to serve or continue serving in the Armed Forces. I just feel we still need to work on the kinks of how we teach it, when we teach it, look at ourselves and admit the true reasons about why we support it by being authentic instead of possibly being calculating, and also that ultimately it’s a choice, but it’s a choice that people should be supported in, but support in, by ensuring the mind is right and capable or mature enough to juxtapose differences, so that choice has value.