Ok. It’s too late for this (but then it probably always was), because there are a lot of people just hell-bent on spotting a TERF in the bushes and not changing their view no matter what; the well is thoroughly poisoned and is going to stay that way. The poisoner oolon, who went to Pharyngula to work up the troops against me yesterday, is one such; that dude wants scalps, period.
But there are, I’m told, people who are just plain hurt and upset, especially trans people, and I don’t want to hurt people. Therefore I’ll try to clarify what I meant by refusing to answer yes or no.
(It’s like Bill Clinton and “is” – that was treated as a joke, but there actually is more than one meaning to “is.” Rumsfeld and his unknown unknowns were also treated as a joke, but he too was quite right – it’s only a pity he didn’t take the unknown unknowns a lot more seriously.)
There’s a difference, for instance, between an ontological is and a political is.
The more I think about the ontology of gender, the less I think I understand it. It’s slippery. That makes it impossible to answer yes/no questions about it.
But politically? Do you mean, will I take trans people’s word for it? Will I use their right names and pronouns? Of course I will. Do I want to make them jump through hoops to prove something to me? Of course not.
Do I get that trans people are severely marginalized, and have to jump through kinds of hoops I have no idea of? Hell yes.
I have thoughts and questions about gender, broadly speaking; gender as it affects all of us, and women in particular. I don’t think those thoughts are transphobic.
Jenora Feuer’s new guest post on the subject is illuminating, I think. Read it in tandem with this.