One of the common TERF talking points is, “If I grew up today, I would have (wrongly) believed I was trans.” As with many TERF arguments, there’s also an anti-ace analogue: “If I grew up today, I would have sooner believed I was bisexual heteroromantic than just gay.” I’m going to take an analytical approach to understanding and countering these arguments.
The veil of ignorance
We can start by borrowing an idea from political philosophy: the veil of ignorance. We imagine that we have the opportunity to construct a society however we wish. Afterwards, we get to take our place within the society. The catch is, we don’t know which place we will take. So we don’t want the society to unfairly favor one group over another, because we may end up taking the unfavored position.
The veil of ignorance is particularly well-suited to this problem, because it’s pretty close to what we’re actually doing. We choose the cultural and social messages that are conveyed to the next generation. And, in order to make that choice, we imagine ourselves in the shoes of the next generation. “If I grew up today…”