"I identify as an Apache attack helicopter"

This meme has been around for a few years now - where people will claim that they identify as an Apache attack helicopter and demand to be treated with respect as the helicopter that they are. It has been popularized on the military-fan page Funker530 on Facebook and many other places elsewhere.

Obviously, this is not serious. But if you were a teacher or school administrator, where would you draw the line? If a student demands to be treated as a helicopter (or velociraptor, or dump truck), would you treat him as one? What if he were really, really, serious about it?

Where is the boundary where “I identify as something” no longer qualifies as valid?

Further examples here and here.

In general, I would defer to medical and psychological professionals who specialize in this sort of identity. In my understanding, there’s a broad consensus that gender identity is a real thing (not a phase or mere preference, etc.) that really can be different from biological sex. I’m not aware of any sort of consensus, or anything close to that, that would suggest some legitimacy for something like what you suggest.

Fine. If you’re a helicopter, and I see you about to take a bite of a sandwich, I will smack it out of your hand because I don’t want your T700 turbine engines to be destroyed by FOD. If you ask nicely, I’ll even help feed you the JP-5 that you need to fulfill your identity.

I would want to know if I can join their ride share.

Have you got any real-life examples that involve someone sincerely making a claim of this sort?

Wow, never heard of that one. And I thought I was up on my memes.

Also, this one is a Cobra. Do we HAVE to respect them, too? They’re obviously inferior to Apaches.

I would ask them how do they wish me to treat them. I will tell them I can treat them like I treat everyone else or I can treat them like they are severely mentally ill. But without explicit instructions, I don’t know how to treat a helicopter.

I’ll tell you what, if what is shown in those silly posters (actual helicopters asking for rights) comes to light, I will seriously consider fighting for those rights.

I think it’s safe to say if you’re at the point where you’re saying you’re a giant hunk of metal, you’re past the line of validity. I’d go as far as saying someone who would actually try this argument is saying some very interesting things about how far apparent they conceive men and women as being.

“Fine. I’ll insist that each morning you drink JP 8 so that you’re ready to work all day. Oh, and if needed I’ll feel free to strip you for parts.”


Sincerity is what makes a persons gender identity statement valid.

People who say their sexual identity is “helicopter” aren’t sincere.

Okay, you go use the helicopters’ bathroom.

“I identify as an Apache helicopter!”
“Apache helicopters can’t talk.”

This is a stupid response, because the point of the “I identify as an attack helicopter,” is not to make a claim about oneself, it is to denigrate trans people. It’s supposed to be a ridiculous statement. By pointing out that its ridiculous, you are supporting their actual point, which is that it’s “ridiculous” for a man to “pretend” to be a woman.

Don’t play into their rhetorical trap.

That sort of thing sounds like a cute refutation of the claim to identify as an Apache helicopter but I don’t think it survives much scrutiny. For example, if you are born female but identify as male, you may still need to see a gynecologist for medical issues.

When someone explicitly tells me that they don’t want to be treated like a human being, with human rights, I’m going to deny their request.

I’ll also point out how it’s a dumb analogy for someone else who’s wanting to be treated like a human being with rights.

Oh. I totally didn’t get that. Makes sense though. I don’t think they are equivalent responses, if that’s supposed to be their point. I mean, we are all human, after all, and sexual identification is going to be all in the mind as much as the physiology, but we aren’t helicopters and there is simply no way to identify as an inanimate object. As posters have pointed out, helicopters don’t talk…they also don’t eat.

It IS a stupid point if that’s what they are getting at.

Surely in 99.9% of cases common sense prevails.

A person saying they identify as an attack helicopter is speaking ironically. They do not, in fact, identify as a helicopter in any conceivable way. Any sane person knows that.

A biological man who identifies as a woman, or vice versa, is very probably speaking sincerely. We can discuss why that happens all day but surely most reasonable people would agree a trans person is not speaking ironically or jovially.

Those two situations would seem to be to be, well, 99.9% of cases. The 0.1% of cases, like Rachel Dolezal, are, I suppose, where a discussion is to be had.

“I identify as an Apache attack helicopter”

“I identify you as an idiot”