Four Signs Your Trans Healthcare Opinion is Cissexist Claptrap

At some point during my career of fact-checking the trans-antagonistic self indulgent wankery that passes for journalism these days, things started to blur together. I could play a game called “Who Said It: Transphobic Radical ‘Feminist’ or Catholic Priest?” when examining the statements and sometimes mix them up, their tangled logic and moralistic aggression seemingly borrowing from one another to the point of being difficult to tell apart. In this morass I began to notice a number of repeated rhetorical tricks frequently present in these anti-trans hit pieces, tricks which I’ve documented below. These rhetorical devices often obfuscate the increasingly-clear evidence to their hypothetical questions, which are themselves posed to give the impression of being unanswerable–so just go with your gut. You know, the gut that’s more willing to accept a conspiracy theory than some statistics.

And so, here we are, four red flags common in cissexist healthcare op-eds.

1. It positions “trans” and “healthy” as mutually exclusive.

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Parent’s perspective on BBC’s “Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?”

The United Kingdom’s exports of trans-antagonism is a mystery as-of-yet unexplained to me, but I know it’s a lot of fact-free nonsense. If the stakes weren’t so damn high, I would be bemused. I’m working on yet another piece on BBC’s trainwreck documentary–a word cloud that illustrates the not-so-subtle prejudice in which the work was formed (hint: if the words “happy” and “trans” are only mentioned as mutually exclusive outcomes, your work is cis supremacist as fuck). But in the mean time, I thought y’all might appreciate a parent of a trans kid’s perspective on the entire pseudollectual ordeal. (emphasis original)

I am horrified with the segment on the distinction of men’s and women’s brains. No-one is genuinely claiming that transgender girls have a girl’s brain filled with kittens and roses as totally distinct from a boy’s brain filled with trucks and beer. The phrase ‘girl’s brain in a boy’s body’ is a colloquial shorthand that some transgender people have used to explain that they feel their identity is an innate part of themselves and not a choice or a whim. No-one means this literally. And the brain is one of the least understood parts of the body, there is a lot we still don’t know. Claiming that transgender advocate are perpetuating old fashioned gender stereotypes and propagating restrictive gender boxes is utter nonsense – I tell my transgender daughter that she can play with any toys she likes, I have no time for minimising her potential through old fashioned sexist stereotypes.

This parent knows their history, that’s for damn sure! Kudos.

The show presented Zucker and Blanchard as experts – it did not explain how widely discredited their work and their approaches are. When it did highlight criticism, it presented it as criticism from ‘transgender advocates’, not including the criticism from respected academics who criticise the quality and robustness of their research and their conclusions.

Yep, I noticed that too!

Who exactly is a ‘transgender advocate’ was never explained – it was presented as the fearsome, mysterious group, so powerful and threatening (if this lobby is so very strangely powerful, why are transgender people’s rights so regularly trampled on in life and in the media?).

Louder for the people in the back please.

Read more here.

-Shiv

The Guardian’s readership continues to depress me

“Sisterhood” discourse is deader-than-dead, yet The Guardian‘s readership clings to it like a fucking life raft.

On the topic of cis and trans women “having differences.”

To say we are the same is ridiculous.

Paging all cis people. I repeat: paging all cis people.

Nobody is making this argument.

 

Will somebody help me tell The Guardian’s readers to smarten the fuck up already? I mean, kudos for keeping straw farmers in business, I guess, but this shit is getting tiresome.

-Shiv

“The Church hasn’t been targeted by threats of violence”

…but that’s not going to stop them from starting their very own morality police:

A church in Alabama is well on its way to having its own police force. On Tuesday, Alabama state senators voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that would allow Briarwood Presbyterian in suburban Birmingham to have its own cops. Now the proposed legislation heads to the desk of Governor Kay Ivey, who was sworn in days ago after Robert Brentley resigned in disgrace over a sex scandal.

Alabama SB 193 is sponsored by Republican Majority Leader J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, who has represented the district for nearly 30 years, making him one of the longest-serving and most powerful senators in the state legislature. The bill would endow the church with the power to “appoint and employ one or more persons to act as police officers,” and would give members of the church police department “all of the powers of law enforcement officers in this state.”

And my “favourite” part–they’re not even responding to any measurable, actual threats:

Briarwood administrators have admitted that the megachurch hasn’t been targeted by threats or violence, such as that endured by mosques around the country.

Man, how many white people need to worry about “Sharia” with churches like these?

Perhaps the cherry on top–if the queer community organized in its own defense to account for police incompetence, we’d be called vigilantes. It’s not like minorities have had to do that before.

-Shiv

Don’t get *too* optimistic, there

Abby Brockman strikes me is a bit too optimistic despite catching a critical detail in this scoop: The United States’ border patrol agencies are bleeding out employees faster than they can hire. However, it’s not because the employees in question are having crises of conscience--it’s because the conditions in which they work are shitty.

Trump has ordered the agency to add 5,000 agents to beef up patrols and surveillance in advance of his proposed border wall. But its current 19,000-strong force is already 2,000 shy of a target set during the Obama administration.

Officials said tough screening, especially a lie-detector test, rejected many qualified candidates, and that tough conditions such as living in remote, rugged areas prompted more than 1,000 agents to quit every year.

“Some people just don’t want to live there,” said Randolph “Tex” Alles, acting deputy commissioner of CBP, a 60,000-strong agency that includes Border Patrol. “Hiring challenges are not new. Attracting and recruiting high quality individuals is a challenge for us.”

I wish I could claim optimism and say more people are becoming aware of the imperialist functions required by a state like the USA and consider said functions morally unconscionable, but those functions typically attract the bullies and sociopaths anyways. Boredom definitely strikes me as a much likelier culprit than the sudden discovery of a moral compass.

As ever, authoritarians give us a glimpse into their mindset with delightful(?) Freudian slips: (emphasis mine)

Tony Crowder, the executive director of Air and Marine Operations, told the Guardian his agency was struggling to retain and recruit enough pilots.

Commercial airlines were luring pilots who in some cases were expected to work in remote areas and participate in arrests. “They pay more and it’s a different type of work.”

Another problem is the attitude of young people, especially those for whom 9/11 is distant history. “They have a different view of public service. I don’t want to indict an entire generation but it’s harder to sell self-sacrifice for the common good.

I would argue the reverse, Mr. Crowder. Millenials are more likely to accept that the brown people you’re abusing count as part of the “common good.” To say nothing of how the Mexicans and South Americans brutalized by your practices had sweet fuck all to do with 9/11. That my generation is less willing to blindly accept authority is in my estimate a virtue we must desperately cling to. By the time we’re your age, the coastal cities will be flooded and we’ll need to start electing politicians governments who can think farther ahead than 4 years.

-Shiv

When can we apply nature’s toothpaste?

Now? Tomorrow? Next week?

Content Notice: Sexual assault, victim blaming, misogyny.

Like many private religious schools, BYU has an honor code that requires students to live by its standards of morality. BYU’s Mormon-specific version bans alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee, as well as beards (?!). It requires students to live in sex-segregated residence halls both on and off campus and forbids “homosexual behavior” of any sort. It also forbids sex between students who aren’t married, and that’s where the trouble begins.

According to reporting that first appeared last year, BYU uses its honor code to punish rape victims. Multiple students said that they reported a rape or sexual assault, only to have the school turn around and discipline them for breaking the rule against extramarital sex. Often, it interrogated them about what they were wearing, why they were alone with a man, or if they were acting “unchastely”. One student, Madi Barney, reported the man who raped her to police and faced expulsion as a result:

“I felt re-victimized,” she said.

Madi Barney said she was troubled that the school’s Title IX investigator didn’t offer her any support when she called.

“She only said we need to talk about the honor code. It looks like you violated it,” she said.

This is the same perverse logic as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other brutal Muslim theocracies that punish rape victims on the grounds that, by reporting rape, a woman is admitting to sex outside marriage. When they were called out on this, BYU’s defense was legalistic hair-splitting:

In BYU’s statement to the Tribune, spokeswoman Carri Jenkins pointed to the school’s sexual misconduct policy: “Violations of university policy or the… Honor Code do not make a victim at fault for sexual violence… and will be addressed separately from the sexual misconduct allegation.”

Barney scoffs at the claim of separation.

“‘Separate.’ That’s the word they constantly use to justify sending victims to the Honor Code,” said Barney. “You can’t just chop up the rape into little pieces and take out the parts you want to punish people for.”

BYU’s policy intimidated many rape victims into keeping quiet, since speaking up could destroy their own future whether or not the rapist was punished. They faced expulsion from school, loss of jobs, loss of housing. Even when there was enough evidence to charge the rapist with a felony, BYU refused to relent in its hounding of victims, to the point that a Utah prosecutor asked them to stop because it was interfering with his efforts to get witnesses to testify.

I need to stop wondering how low religious authoritarians can go. It’s not doing kind things to my mental health.

-Shiv

Signal boosting: The damage of abstinence-only sex “ed”

Larisa Manescu writes about her experiences of being raised on Texas’ sex non-education curriculum:

My freshman year of high school, an abstinence speaker compared my virginity to a fragile, delicate thing, like a gift wrapped in paper. There was still hope, he said, if I had already unwrapped my present; I could always re-wrap it by giving up sex entirely. But if I didn’t, I’d probably end up with genital warts. (All roads lead to genital warts in abstinence-only programs. Somewhere buried deep in the minds of most students who grew up in these programs is a repressed memory of passing around a face-down photograph around a giggling classroom, with the occasional gasp as someone dared to flip the photograph to reveal “diseased” genitalia.)

We didn’t get many details about how, exactly, STIs were transmitted or pregnancy came about, but there was plenty of pressure to remain untouched, or else.

When I missed my period at 16, I jumped to the conclusion that maybe, somehow, my then-boyfriend’s semen was magic and could survive exposure to air. Little flying warriors, those sperm! I remember coming home from school to discover that my mother had seen my panicked online messages and was waiting for me with a pregnancy test. I remember the shameful feeling of peeing with the door open, fumbling for an explanation, trying to say it wasn’t possible…I don’t think? My poor mom must have thought I was either a liar or a fool.

Of course, the test was negative.

Read more about it here.

-Shiv