Friday, 11 November 2011

Charity and transgenderism

Something that's always been an object of curiosity to me is the question of charity: what's the most important cause, what should you donate to? Others like to get into the Kantian line of arguments: you should donate to charity out of a sense of duty, and not out of self-gratification or any other motivation than this motivation. I don't personally go for the latter; £1,000 for Comic Relief is still £1,000 for Comic Relief whether it was donated by a selfless man wishing to help people's quality of life or by a business for the sake of looking good.

But it's still interesting to talk about what's the more important charity. Interesting beacuse in my view, it's a rather silly question. I'll talk about how I got onto this train of thought:

A close friend of mine is transgender, and transgender issues are something that mean an awful lot to me because I know a lot more now about just how badly transgendered people are treated in life, and affected by the motions of gender transition. I want to support charities that help out transgendered people; when I said this on the internet asking after any such charities, I was told I was a greedy asshole for supporting people's "petty sex changes". It wasn't politely stated but at the end of the day, it's another person telling me that there is one cause more important than another; in this case, the guy referred to "children starving in Africa". He obviously thinks that that is a more important cause than transgendered people in society.

And me? I don't think transgenderism is more important than starving children. I think that transgendered people are suffering just like any other person that charities direct aid to, and so they deserve help. I want to try and provide that help. I find this position defensible; I understand that not everybody does. But it reminds me of the starfish story that I learned of when I was interested in climate change. A boy is walking along a beach, throwing starfish that have drifted onto the beach into the sea. A woman comes along, puzzled, and says "Why are you doing that, you can't save all of them?" The boy picks up a starfish and says "No, but I can save this one," and throws it into the sea.

If we all give a little to our pet causes, then everything will get at least a little bit of funding and a little bit of support, and we can work at more of our problems.

Transgenderism isn't the most important cause in the world. But it's an important cause to me, and if I want to give my money to help transgendered people, I would like to think that's right. Obviously you're free to dispute that, and I welcome you to talk about it in the comments section :).

~Love Leonidas

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