Have We Reached ‘Peak Woke’?

Have We Reached ‘Peak Woke’? by Michael L. Brown for Ask Dr Brown

Columnist David French recently expressed his hope that we have reached “peak woke.” He defined this as “the peak (for now) of left-wing institutional intolerance and illiberalism regarding race, sex, and religion.” I certainly hope he is right, since the alternative is hard to imagine.

To be sure, many of us saw this craziness coming a long time ago, both in terms of intolerance and cultural madness.

After all, in my 2011 book A Queer Thing Happened to America, I could already reference a June 2000 article in the Village Voice titled, “Two Dads with a Difference—Neither of Us Was Born Male.” As one of the “dads” explained, “We are transgendered men (female-to-male, or FTM). My boyfriend is the mother of my child.”

To repeat: that was back in 2000.

And I could already reference an August 2001 article by Richard John Niehaus in First Things in which he wrote, “The Transgender Revolution’ is the latest political cause being promoted by those of heightened consciousness. Columnist John Leo notes that San Francisco now pays for city employees who want sex-change operations, and a number of television shows are in the works portraying the joys of transgendered liberation. The Los Angeles Times had a sympathetic story on a husband and wife who are both having the operation. They will stay married, but the husband will become the wife and vice versa.”

To repeat: this was written back in 2001.

On the other hand, the mainstreaming of this societal craziness is particularly shocking, especially when we think of the devastatingly destructive impact it has had on impressionable children. (For my recent article on this, see here.) How could so many people accept as normative something that is so very bizarre? (I say this with compassion for those who struggle with their gender identity while at the same time being convinced that hormone therapy and sex-change surgery are notthe way to go.)

A case in point is the concept that people are “assigned” a gender at birth as opposed to being born male or female.

When I first came across this concept while doing research for the Queer Thingbook, I actually found it laughable. “Are you kidding?” I thought to myself. “Gender you’re assigned at birth – as if the doctor makes some arbitrary choice? Seriously?”

In the chapter titled “Lavender Language, Gender Speak, and Queer Semantics: Toward An Omnisexual Society?” I interacted with some definitions given to various LGBTQ+ terms.

The definition of “genderqueer” was a term “for people who feel that their gender identities [sic] or gender expression do not correspond to the gender assigned to them at birth, but who do not want to transition to the ‘opposite’ gender.”

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