I read an article in a local rag last night (original article here: Pulse Magazine) on transgender people and their common struggles. It had an unsettling picture of a very earnest-looking transgender person who wanted to be referred to with the pronoun hir. The article was also very earnest, and earnest as well was the plea for understanding from these transgender folks. And I thought to myself, what would I say to such a one coming at me with such earnestness?
Upon reflection, I thought that perhaps I need not say very much at all.
Most of the appeals of transgender persons (and gay persons, for that matter) are based on highly subjective material. "I feel like this is the right thing," or "I feel that this is what I am supposed to do." In fact, my imaginary transgender interlocutor doesn't want to know what I think about hir lifestyle at all. I'm judged only on approval or disapproval of their subjective criteria. If I say it's OK, then I'm OK. If I say it's not OK, then I'm not OK.
So basically, I am judged on the basis of acceptance of subjective criteria and any rational criticism is irrelavent, at least to my transgender interlocutor.
So, this is why saying nothing is the best approach. Usually (and I'm speaking from experience) the conversation involves highly emotional challenges and accusations regarding personal disregard for someone else's feelings. The best one can do, usually to small avail, is to assure the interlocutor that your primary motivation in thinking as you do has nothing to do with their feelings. In fact, awareness of their feelings makes one very careful in what saying or doing anything. But one cannot base decisions of right and wrong on feelings alone.
I am earnest, as well, when I say that my reasons for disapproving of such lifestyles have everything to do with marriage, family, and the right ordering of society. In short, it has to do with other people. But that is a completely different topic, and one in which my interlocutor has very little interest.