Are Conservatives Winning the Gender Debate?

Sometimes following politics can be a bit like watching a hotly contested football game between your favorite team and its archrival.

One minute, your team is marching down the field; the next, they’re giving up a big play. You go up by a few points, only to fall behind again as the hated opponent responds. You think you’re going to win, then you’re sure you’re about to lose. And so it goes, back and forth, as you perch breathlessly on the edge of your seat, yelling at the TV.

Similarly, when it comes to politics, one day’s headlines suggest your side is making progress; the next day, you appear to be going down in flames. This applies to almost all issues conservatives care about, from immigration to abortion to presidential polling, but I’d like to focus here on the battle over gender.

Are we winning or losing on that front? Are we as a society moving toward a universal acceptance of ideas like “there are more than two genders” and everyone gets to pick their own, or are we returning to sanity, to an understanding that gender is biological based?

There is some evidence that Team Sanity has been advancing the football lately.

Consider this: compared to past years, Pride Month 2024 has seemed rather muted. Many companies that have long been all-in, such as Nike and Target, appear to have pulled back a bit due, no doubt to conservative backlash in 2023 over their perceived promotion of transgenderism.

In the United Kingdom, puberty blockers will no longer be “routinely prescribed” to children after a study by the National Health Service found there was “not enough evidence” to justify their use.

Lia Thomas—formally William Thomas—will not be allowed to compete in the Olympics as a female swimmer after the sport’s governing body, World Aquatics, denied his petition, a ruling upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A spokesperson for World Aquatics called the decision “a major step forward in our efforts to protect women’s sports.”

A district court judge in Louisiana recently granted a temporary injunction in that state—as well as in Mississippi, Idaho, and Montana—against the Biden administration’s new Title IX rules, which the judge called “an abuse of power” and “a threat to democracy.” The Biden administration added “gender identify” to the list of protected characteristics, making it difficult for colleges to prevent male athletes from participating in female sports.

Another district court judge in Kentucky issued a similar ruling just last week, torching Biden’s “radical rewrite of Title IX” that “eradicates privacy, safety, and fairness for … women and girls.” The decision covers Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Indiana.

These two court cases ensure that the question of whether men can compete in women’s sports will eventually be decided by the currently-right-leaning Supreme Court—a development that could bode well for our side.

On the other hand, our opponents have definitely picked up a few first downs: the Biden administration continues to promote transgenderism as if its political life depends on it—and maybe it does. Most recently, Vice President Kamala Harris hosted the cast of “Queer Eye”—one of whom, Jonathan Van Ness, a bearded man sporting a dress and high heels, took questions from the press at the podium in the White House briefing room.

Biden’s Department of Justice has charged Dr. Eithan Haim with multiple felonies after he blew the whistle on illegal gender reassignment surgeries performed on children at Texas Children’s Hospital.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has concocted a new rule essentially defining “misgendering” as a form of workplace “discrimination.” According to the EEOC, workers must use the “preferred pronouns” of co-workers, subordinates, and even customers or face fines and other penalties.

Perhaps most disturbing, a district court judge in Florida issued an injunction halting the state’s ban on transgender surgeries and hormones for minors. Governor Ron DeSantis’s office released a statement disagreeing with “the Court’s erroneous ruling” and vowed to appeal. That means this question, too, will be decided by the Supreme Court, which just agreed to consider an appeal regarding a similar ban in Tennessee, although in that case the district court ruled in favor of the state.

Adding everything up, it seems like our team might have forged ahead by a bit. We should celebrate that, even as we continue to play hard and seek to finish the drill.

At the same time, we have to be realistic and accept the fact that the battle is not over by a long shot. A lot can still change. However, with bona fide stars like Matt Walsh, Chris Rufo, and Riley Gaines leading the charge, the odds do, for the first time in a long time, appear to be in our favor.

Image by calypso77 — Adobe Stock — Asset ID#: 509763557


  • Rob Jenkins

    Rob Jenkins is an associate professor of English at Georgia State University – Perimeter College and a Higher Education Fellow at Campus Reform. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Think Better, Write Better, Welcome to My Classroom, and The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders. In addition to Campus Reform Online, he has written for the Brownstone Institute, Townhall, The Daily Wire, American Thinker, PJ Media, The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. The opinions expressed here are his own.

    View all posts

One thought on “Are Conservatives Winning the Gender Debate?”

  1. Thirty years ago, Rush Limbough joked about “male lesbians” — in jest, we claimed that we were women trapped in men’s bodies, but women who were also lesbians, and thus doubly oppressed and hence entitled to double affirmative action.

    Did it ever get the feminists mad.

    But now — they exist!

    The gender wars will be over when ladies start preferring to date gentlemen, and when there are actually ladies for the gentlemen to date. My guess is that the imminent introduction of sexbots — robots that are able to do things sexually that no human female ever could — is going to force women to compete on things such as nurturing and such, the traditional things that men sought in a mate, and which the feminist movement decreed that women should not provide.

    The fights between the lesbians and the transgendered is just a distraction. The real issue is our birth rate — people who want to have children can’t afford to have them, and can’t find a partner they can trust enough to have them with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *