Do we have the right to modify our own bodies? Transhumanists are banking everything on this hope. But certain government bodies in North America say “No”.
Transgendered Americans are facing a backlash right now from certain science-denying segments of the population. They’re fighting for the rights to have agency over their bodies. Certain governments are telling them they cannot alter themselves in any way. That they will live out the destiny stamped upon their birth certificates until they die.
And the transhumanist community is sitting on the sidelines, keeping silent, and pretending this battle for civil rights isn’t our problem. Transhumanists are wrong.
We are now in the wake of the passing of House Bill 2 in North Carolina on March 24, 2016. Briefly, this bill forces transgendered folk to use the public restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. In other words, if you are a female in North Carolina, be prepared to see trans men with full beards in your restroom. After all, those men are just following the rules.
My question is to all transhumanists. At what point do we speak up?
Do we not feel it is our right to alter and evolve ourselves and bodies how we see fit? Are we comfortable letting our government say “You Are Your Birth Certificate. You Will Never Escape That Prison”?
The transgendered lead singer of the punk band Against Me, Laura Jane Grace, had a totally punk response while playing a concert in North Carolina. She burned her birth certificate onstage. [Watch here].
The new North Carolina law says the doctor present at your birth determines the rest of your life; your destiny. Whatever they imprint upon you on your first day in the hospital, the state of North Carolina believes that is sacrosanct. A stone you will forever wear around your neck.
That is the antithesis of transhumanism.
Where Is the Transhumanist Community?
If the transhumanist community is anything, it should be a voice of reason during these Calvinistic times. Aren’t critical thinking skills a cornerstone of transhumanism?
I am not the limitations of my birth certificate. Neither are you. We are transhumanists. We are only limited by the capacities of our own minds, not biology or government documents.
As long as we don’t harm others, we have the right to become whatever we want.
I don’t see many differences between the transhumanist community and the transgender community except the way society treats the two camps. If you use a smartphone to look up a date or a movie star’s name, this means you’ve augmented your brain with cyber technology. It means that you are essentially a cyborg. It means you are a transhuman. I’ve never heard anyone getting banned from a bathroom they feel comfortable in for responsible use of a smartphone.
Privilege is the only difference I see. On the transhumanist side, we have Zoltan Istvan running for president. You may or may not agree fully with his politics, but the simple fact he’s running is a quantum leap. That’s privilege and transhumanists mostly have it. Zoltan has said in interviews he envisions a government that no longer negatively impacts people’s health based on religious or antiquated belief systems.
But our transgendered cousins are suffering from bullying, a misinformed public, violence, and hateful legislation. That’s not privilege, that’s bigotry.
Shouldn’t the transhumanist community stand with transgendered humans?
People may alter their bodies in ways that better fit their personality and sense of self? Isn’t this the transhumanist motto?
To be our true, authentic selves, free from the confines of biology. To be the best we we can be.
If so, then the transhumanist community needs to formulate a plan.
HB2 may not be just an out of touch legislature governing like it’s 1950. It may be a prophecy of how our lawmakers will continue to treat people who believe in the right to alter our bodies in peaceful, enlightened ways.
My mind is not the same mind I had on Day One; the first day of my life. I’ve changed. I’ve grown. I’ve learned things. I feel that I am more than I was at birth.
If you feel these things too, then join us. I think it’s time to rise up, stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters, and add our voices to the protest.