Transgenderism and word magic


A previous article ended with the statement that the path to transgenderism was laid by feminism. Transgenderism also owes much to postmodernism and especially to the postmodern belief in word magic. This article looks at how this belief affected history, journalism and politics before being picked up by transgenderism.


Word magic

Word magic is the means whereby saying something makes it true, and it is real. When a chairman says that a meeting is adjourned, it is adjourned, and this is just because he said those words. If an employer says “You’re fired!”, his employee is thereby fired. If, to lose one’s job in another way, one says “I resign”, one resigns. These are examples of a special class of speech act known as declarations.[1]

But word magic doesn’t work for ordinary statements. If I say that I am a millionaire, it doesn’t make me a millionaire. If you say that you are in the Seychelles when you are in New York, it doesn’t move you to the Seychelles. Yet many people believe that word magic does work for ordinary statements. They think that an ordinary statement can come true just by being made.

Word magic and postmodernism

Today’s belief in word magic originated with postmodernism, a school of thought which says that language, instead of letting us understand the world, stops us doing so and stops us so completely that external reality might as well not be there. There can therefore be no such things as truth or falsehood, for how can a statement be true or false of a world with which it cannot connect or that might not even exist?[2]

Postmodernism replaces the notion of a statement as something true or false by that of a “narrative”, saying that what we take to be true are only the narratives of groups, such as white people and men, who have the power to impose them on others, thus creating the illusion of objectivity. All that these groups’ narratives really do, say postmodernists, is express their prejudices and seek to advance their interests. Thus a postmodernist feminist described objectivity as nothing but male subjectivity.[3]

Postmodernists arrive at word magic via the idea that narratives “construct” social reality, which is as good as saying that they create it. This alleged creative power of ordinary statements was asserted by a social psychologist when he explained the persistence of national stereotypes such as of Italians as passionate.[4] This stereotype continued to exist because, he maintained, stereotypes are self-fulfilling. In other words, Italians really are passionate, but only because that is the way they are described. Reality didn’t come first; it was created by the description. This brings the concept of truth back into postmodernism, for if a narrative is self-fulfilling, it comes true automatically.

The appeal of postmodernism

Postmodernists find their theory appealing both as critics and as writers. As critics they find that it gives them a choice between two ways of rejecting an account of the world that they do not like. Either they can say that it only expresses its author’s prejudices and seeks to advance his sectional interests,[5] or they can undercut it completely by saying that it has no subject matter since there is no external reality for it to refer to.

As writers, their theory gives them carte blanche to fill their work with their own prejudices and use it pursue their own sectional interests, for it tells them that this is all that a narrative can do. How can they aspire to truth and objectivity when according to their theory there are no such things?[6] How can they be expected to establish facts when their theory says that establishing facts is impossible? They can therefore say what they like, and moreover, word magic will make it true. Should it so happen that their readers are not postmodernists but harbour a naive belief in reality and truth and assume that those they are reading are the same, so much the better.

Word magic and history

According to Richard Evans in a 1997 book defending the discipline of history, postmodernism was all-pervasive in academic discourse by 1993.[7] He cited What is History? by the Marxist E.H. Carr, published in 1961, as a precursor of postmodernism, where Carr wrote that historical facts were constituted by theory. Thus Carr suggested that the facts of history were the work of historians rather than of the people they were writing about.[8] Evans mentioned a 1981 book about the Weimar Republic by David Abraham, which misquoted a letter by omitting the word “not” and invented evidence.[9] There would have been little to complain about here for a postmodernist like Diane Purkiss, who said that historians should “just tell stories without bothering whether or not they are true”.[10] Other postmodernists denied that history could be impartial. Keith Jenkins described it as naked ideology.[11] Yet others suggested that there were no past events for historians to investigate. Hans Kellner stated that historians should stop behaving as though they were researching things that had actually happened.[12] Patrick Joyce seemed to admit that events really had occurred in the past but said that they could not be distinguished from the “historical discourses” that “constructed” them, raising the question of what the status of these events could have been before they were constructed by historians.[13] Evans noted that historians themselves, under the influence of postmodernism, were becoming less and less interested in the search for truth.[14]

Word magic and journalism

Journalism was just as affected by postmodernism as was academic discourse. Many journalists found its fuzzification or abolition of the concept of truth attractive. Some taught it to other journalists. In a 2001 book called The Elements of Journalism, two journalists described truth as a “confusing principle”.[15] Ignoring the fact that it is not too confusing to be taught to any child, they gave as an example the fact that when U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara was on his way back from Vietnam, he said that the war was going well, yet then told the president that it was a disaster. The only confusing thing about this supposed example is the idea that it shows that the concept of truth is confusing. It applies straightforwardly: if one of McNamara’s statements was true, the other was not. Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenthal went on to say that we use the words “truth” and “lie” as though they convey something meaningful, but they offered no reason to doubt it. They had nothing useful to say but were only exploiting postmodern scepticism to suggest that the concept of truth might be too much for journalists, who could therefore not be blamed for disregarding it.

Word magic and politics

Postmodernism aids any political movement, such as anti-racism or feminism, in its bid for power. In 1985 the British police responded to pressure from the Home Office by adopting a postmodern definition of a racial incident, according to which such an incident needed no racial element. All that was needed was for someone, whoever they were and on however flimsy a basis, to say that it had one.[16] This enabled the police to create the racial-incident statistics the Home Office was demanding, appearing to show that White people were bent on attacking non-Whites. Feminism copied anti-racism by saying that for a case of sexual harassment to have occurred, no sexual harassment needed to have occurred. It was enough for a woman to say that it had or to say that she felt as if it had.

Such a reference to feelings indicates the presence of “feel magic”, which in the 1990s joined word magic to assist such ideologies. Less and less did an allegation need to refer to external reality; a member of a favoured group only needed to say that they had felt victimised for it to be taken that they had been victimised. When in 1999 Sir William Macpherson stated that a Black couple “feel deeply that they were patronised and sidelined”, it was inferred that they had been patronised and sidelined.[17] They felt it so it was true, especially since they felt it deeply. When the wife stated on another occasion that her family felt betrayed by British justice, this was taken to mean that her family had been betrayed by British justice.[18] The #MeToo movement depended largely on women’s claims to have felt unsafe or threatened. The question of whether they had actually been unsafe or threatened was less interesting than the fact that this was what, according to them, they had felt.

Politically advantageous claims made by non-Whites and women are further supported by the postmodern idea that to correct the dominance of the narratives of White men, those of the “oppressed” must be “privileged”.

Word magic and transgenderism

And so we see that in making use of the idea of word magic, transgender ideology had many predecessors, and its use of the idea is par excellence. It does not just promote “gender self-identification”, according to which one can simply call oneself a member of the opposite “gender” — meaning the opposite sex[19] — and be entitled to be treated as such. Its belief in word magic extends to saying that if one identifies as a member of the opposite sex, this makes one a member of that sex. According to transgender ideology, unaided words can defeat the most basic and evident reality.

Thus in 2015 a man wrote on a transgender message board: “I am a woman because I say I am, nothing else is needed”.[20] Like God, he spoke, and lo! It was the case. He went on to say: “Caitlyn is a woman not because of surgery or make-up but because that is what she says she is”. Being a woman had nothing to do with anatomy or appearance, he insisted, but everything to do with how you “identified”. His words were echoed in a headline: “I Am a Woman Because I Say I Am”.[21] An advisor to the Democratic National Committee told an interviewer: “Your gender identity determines your gender, period”.[22] In other words, what you say your sex is, it is. A social-science professor defined a woman as a person who identifies as a woman.[23] Call yourself a woman and you are one. How can this be? Word magic.

To give two more examples, an article on the Everyday Feminism website stated: “Transgender people’s genders are valid from the moment they identify as a new gender”. In other words, at the very moment they say that their sex has changed, it changes.[24] If the act of identifying is an act of speech, the words do it; if it is a feeling, reality responds to the feeling. In 2014, official guidance from East Sussex County Council’s Children’s Services department defined “gender” as “how a person feels in regards to male / female / neither / both”.[25] I feel X, therefore X, is the reasoning.

The magic extends from words and feelings to desires. If you want it to be true, it is. When a young woman who said she believed that there were more than two genders was asked how many there were, she said: “I don’t know how many genders there are, but I just know everybody is who they want to be”.[26] You want to be X, therefore you are X.

It is only because the media have pressed the postmodern idea of word magic on the public so insistently for 35 years that people say such things, which in previous ages would have called their sanity into question. But people are selective in their insanity. If they want some milk and find that there is none in the fridge, they do not believe that they can put some there by saying that there is some there. The media have no interest in persuading them that they can.

Postmodernism feels free to switch at will from its scepticism about whether any statement can be true or is just an arbitrary “narrative” to its contrary idea that the speaker is the sole and supreme authority, whose words are true automatically. For postmodernism it all depends on who is speaking.

The reason transgender activists use the phrase “assigned at birth” is to suggest that when a doctor says “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl”, it is not that a baby’s sex has been observed but merely that a fairly trivial administrative process has occurred, conferring on the neonate a status that it might very well not have. At this point the activist is not a postmodernist but a realist, who believes that there is an objective fact of the matter, independent of language, which the incompetent doctor might have missed. “He does not say, as he could have done”, that the doctor’s statement brings the corresponding reality into being by word magic, because then he would have to accept that a baby declared to be a boy is indeed a boy. Rather, he wants to keep open the option that the truth might emerge years or decades later when the boy or man announces that he is really a girl or woman.

But when this happens, how will we know that it is the truth? This is where the activist becomes a postmodernist. We will know it because the boy or man, now a girl or woman, says so. Words make it true, but only coming from the person himself. What the doctor said counted for nothing, as we now see. In this way the activist puts himself at two removes from reality. Not only does he ignore that fact that a person’s sex has nothing to do with what they say about it at any point in their life; he also ignores the fact that it has nothing to do with what a doctor said about it when they were born. It was decided nine months before that when a sperm fertilised an egg.

It is easy to see the appeal to transgender activists of their belief in word magic. It makes them omnipotent. Their words govern nature. But it is even better than that. Having made a statement that comes true by word magic, they only need to add a dash of common sense to reach an intriguing conclusion such as that men can give birth and women can have penises. If Riki Wilchins, who according to Wikipedia is an American activist whose work has focused on the impact of gender norms, is anything to go by, a transgender activist finds this kind of thing amusing. Wilchins describes gender as the new frontier: “the place to … drive parents and sundry other authority figures crazy”.[27]

The media dutifully follow the activists, finding it equally amusing to mess with people’s minds. Already by 2014 the Daily Mail could cite “new statistics” revealing that pregnancy — “traditionally only applicable to women” — appeared to be “becoming more prevalent among males”.[28] The article stated: “In the 2013–2014 financial year 22 men in Western Australia gave birth”, before hardly reducing readers’ confusion by referring to a man who had “kept his female reproductive organs”. His female reproductive organs? And whereas at that date the media, when reporting on cases of transgender men exposing themselves to women or girls in changing rooms, did not use the expression “her penis” without quotation marks, now they regularly do.[29] They take themselves sufficiently to have accustomed us to the idea that a woman can have the male sexual organ.

All this is quite apart from the sheer coarsening of public discourse that transgenderism has brought us, as in signs carried by protestors saying “Lesbians don’t have penises”. Not that most of us would be aware of such things if the media did not tell us all about them.[30] But then, why should we not wish to have people’s sexual proclivities and private parts thrust upon us?


It is the media that must be blamed for all this. Who cares if a few idiots want to think that they can command reality with their words? Problems only come when the media mount a concerted campaign to get the rest of us to believe it. But such a campaign was well underway by the time transgender ideology came along.

[1] Declarations, whereby “one brings a state of affairs into existence by declaring it to exist”, were given this name by the philosopher John Searle (see John R. Searle, 1979, Expression and Meaning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.16), developing an idea of J.L. Austin’s.

[2] Postmodernism started gaining influence in the 1970s after the publication of such books as The Order of Things by Michel Foucault (1966) and Writing and Difference and Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida (both 1967).

[3] Adrienne Rich (1979) was quoted by Dale Spender, who was quoted by Roger Scruton in “Ideologically Speaking” in Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks (eds.), 1990, The State of the Language, Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 118-129.

[4] Mark Snyder, 1988, “Self-fulfilling stereotypes”, in Paula Rothenberg (ed.), Racism and Sexism: An Integrated Study, New York: St. Martin’s Press.

[5] This is basically Marx’s theory of ideology except that Marx thought that a true and scientific account of events was possible.

[6] Richard J. Evans, 1997, In Defence of History, London: Granta. Evans writes on p. 3 that according to postmodernism there are no such things as historical truth or objectivity.

[7] Ibid., p. 6.

[8] Ibid., p. 76.

[9] Ibid., p. 120.

[10] Ibid., p. 253.

[11] Ibid., p. 253.

[12] Ibid., p. 253.

[13] Ibid., p. 109.

[14] Ibid.. p. 4.

[15] Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenthal, 2003 (2001), The Elements of Journalism. London: Atlantic Books. The book has a chapter called “Truth: The First and Most Confusing Principle”.

[16] According to the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, the definition stated that a racial incident was “any incident in which it appears to the reporting or investigating officer that the complaint involves an element of racial motivation, or any incident which includes an allegation of racial motivation made by any person”. (John Newing, Dec. 8th 1998, “Race Equality in the UK Today: Developing Good Practice and Looking for Reform: The Police”, handed out at “QMW Public Policy Seminars: Developing New Legislation and Strategies on Race Equality”, Royal Over-Seas League, London SW1.)

[17] Sir William Macpherson, Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny. CM 4262-I, The Stationery Office, 1999, Paragraph 4.9.

[18] Doreen Lawrence quoted by the Guardian, April 27th 1996, “Lost dreams of an unspent life”.

[19] See also “Gender, ‘identifying as’ and identity”,

[20] Post by “SaraKama” to The Transgender Boards, Jan. 5th 2015,

[21] Lia Hodson, “I Am a Woman Because I Say I Am”, June 30th 2015, PBS Frontline,

[22] Fox News, Feb. 25th 2017, “Transgender Argument Obliterated”,

[23] Martin DeCoder, Oct. 21st 2022, “Heated Confrontation in “What Is a Woman?” | Matt Walsh and College Professor Breakdown”,

[24] Everyday Feminism, May 3rd 2016, “What is gender, anyway?” by West Anderson,

[25] East Sussex County Council Children’s Services, Oct. 2014, “Trans* Inclusion Schools Toolkit”, (file no longer there).

[26] (video now unavailable).

[27] Riki Wilchins’s book GenderQueer (2002) is quoted by Dale O’Leary in National Catholic Register, Aug. 22nd 2013, “Gender Identity Debate: When Reality Causes Distress”,

[28] MailOnline, Nov. 16th 2014, “‘Male pregnancy’ figures reveal how 54 MEN gave birth in Australia in the past 12 months”,

[29] See for example MailOnline (1) Oct. 22nd 2022, “Moment transgender singer strips NAKED live on Channel 4 and plays the keyboard with her PENIS”,, and (2) May 6th 2023, “Trans woman is cleared of flashing her penis at three women using Ohio YMCA after judge ruled she’s too FAT for her genitals to be visible”,

[30] Telegraph, Dec. 25th 2020, “Lesbians facing ‘extinction’ as transgenderism becomes pervasive, campaigners warn”, reproduced at Peak Trans!,

10 replies
  1. Tim Folke
    Tim Folke says:

    Excellent and thought-provoking article!

    The hallmark of all things satanic is the lie. Gender cannot be changed, regardless of clothing or mutilation.

    Someone once said that Liberalism was a mental disorder. At the time I thought that was a bit over the top. I’ve changed my mind.

    • What's up Skip
      What's up Skip says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with your first statement. However your assertion that ‘gender’ cannot be changed ignores the fact that it happens more and more. Enabling this changeability is really the very reason why the staid grammatical term ‘gender’ was first repurposed to describe all the non-external aspects of sexual identity, and then by sleight-of-hand to replace the word ‘sex’ altogether. Fill in a form nowadays and you’ll often be asked your ‘gender’ which may be ‘non-binary’. Hardly anybody understands what ‘gender’ is so a proportion are prepared to believe whatever they are told about it, in a way which would be less possible with the correct and logically immutable, at least in mammals, ‘sex’. We should not play their game, nor we should use their weaponised lie-words.

      • Tim Folke
        Tim Folke says:

        I appreciate your thoughts. However, forms, newly invented words, grammar, etc. do not change gender.

        It’s just male and female. This even extends to the plant world (pistil and stamen).

        I especially like the last sentence of your response!

    • Birhan Dargey
      Birhan Dargey says:

      I do not want to sound too gross, what would happen to womens status once TRANS begin to substitute them sexually, reproductively… Women are still behind the curve in their reaction to the trans threat, women are not reacting assertively forcefully. I recently read an article written by a trans/male to female activist arguing that a (TRANS) ASSHOLE/ synthetic vagina is just another form of (a real) vagina. Once Transhumanism begin reproducing humans without the need for women/men …what will the (our) future be like???

      • Tim Folke
        Tim Folke says:

        Agreed. It is time for real men to stand up and fight.

        As I’ve said before, the only ‘men’ who can comfortably straddle fences are geldings.

  2. John
    John says:

    A wise post just sighted:,
    “Do not get fooled by Meloni, she is not stopping the illegals & stopping Muslims from “praying” publicly will not solve the problem. Only solution is all non-Europeans must be repatriated & Italian Constitution must be explicit in stating Italians must be supermajority in perpetuity.”
    She is controlled opposition; any government decision that does not IMMEDIATELY embark on the correct path to reclaim our ethic homelands is a fake decision. There is precious little time to reclaim our homelands. Understand this, every non-European entering our homelands will not repatriate voluntarily. Reclaiming our homelands without a serious conflict with much suffering is delusional.

  3. John
    John says:

    On Italian tv as guests are interviewed I noticed that behind the guest & to their right there is a picture of Bob Marley (the globalists are relentless with indoctrination). Bit by bit, decade by decade (unless Italians wake-up) globalists will destroy Italy, it will no longer be Italian, Italy will be unrecognizable. As London, Paris, Detroit, Toronto, Malmo, Frankfurt, etc. are unrecognizable.

  4. Peter D. Bredon
    Peter D. Bredon says:

    “In other words, at the very moment they say that their sex has changed, it changes.”

    I find this more or less plausible than transubstatiation. No wonder the Pope is all behind it.

  5. Roberta Siena
    Roberta Siena says:

    Feminism opened the door to more and more subversive movements. As a seasoned pro-lifer and history researcher, I came upon a mind-blowing trend within Judaism. You need to search “rabbis and gender fluidity.” I sent several links to Henry Makow and he’s been positing them off and on. Use the Brave browser! free download, no censorship.

  6. John the First
    John the First says:

    Goethe already wrote that a society which is focused on the objective world is a healthy society, and a society which is focused on the subjective is a society in decline. He complained that in the arts the subjective was gaining ground already in his times.
    In the Athenian democracy, at the period of its decline, philosophical subjectivism was also gaining ground.
    In our times science is also becoming not subjective, as it needs to be collective, but science becomes political, hence the pseudo-science of human caused climate change for instance. Nobody but the children really believe that the planet is endangered, but it is good for politics and business, therefor it is opportune to believe in it. Add to the institutional pseudo-science, the daily small alarmism which purely subjective, a hot day and the world goes to pieces… Besides, everything is made politics these days, which is another characteristic of a period of decline.

Comments are closed.