The High and Holy Church of Both Sides preaches on gender variance


Crip Dyke has a stupendous analysis on the trainwreck calling itself “An Argument for a Liberal and Rational Approach to Transgender Rights and Inclusion.” Like Crip, I was made aware of the piece through Trav at Bi Any Means, as well as their article for Splice Today Also like Crip, I thought Trav was a bit mild when they describe the piece as “missing the mark.” Crip goes into detail about the blinkered arrogance required to style oneself rational whilst equivocating trans feminists and anti-trans hatemongers. Content notice for trans-antagonistic nonsense quoted & characterized by Crip for the purposes of criticism:

Take, for example, their second premise. They don’t actually quote anyone saying the things they suggest are believed by one “extreme” side. I have no doubt that they could find such quotes if they wanted, but it still would not help them because they simply and utterly fail to show any evidence that they understand why there is such a divide between people who believe that some people are deluded about their genders and others believe the first group are horribly wrong.

Consider the feminists among those who belong (as much as anyone belongs) to anti-trans* faction described by the authors. While there are those who, more or less, would describe trans*-asserted gender identities as false (very few use “delusion”) do so because they believe that gender is sex and sex is gender. To produce sperm is to be male biologically, and I don’t know of any trans* persons who would contest that. The question is whether this is all that it takes to make one a man. There are trans* advocates (yes on freethoughblogs, even) who use the word female to describe trans* women and male to describe trans* men, but this is a considered position. It’s not an inability to understand that some people are born with uteruses. It’s stressing that the social relationships are primary and, since most of the time we don’t know what someone else’s genitals look like and nearly all the time we don’t have first hand chances to examine another’s chromosomes or genome, “male” should be used in a way similar to how “men” is used. It’s a position that is in part a reaction to the victimization of trans* people by non-trans* folk, and it does flow out of reasoning that finds past definitions of male and female inadequate, but it’s not a delusion.

What is on display is a disagreement about definitions, about what words mean and what they communicate (intentionally or not). You could find the most extreme anti-trans* feminists and the most extreme pro-trans* activists and if you got them to adopt a single definition for the purposes of communicating for a day, no one in the room would have trouble actually using the definition correctly. This isn’t about how trans* people are initially perceived. It’s about how they are categorized and how the socially-constructed categories of man and woman and male and female and trans (and many others) are defined. It’s about how people think these words are best used. Frankly, I’ve met many a trans*-exclusive radical feminist who demonstrated more knowledge of these important issues than Pluckrose and Lindsay, so I’m not sure what the authors use to justify thinking they have anything to contribute if they are not more informed than at least one of the factions that they consider to be ruining the possibilities for fruitful communication.

As I said in Crip’s thread: *chef finger kisses.*

Read more of Crip here or Trav here (or here).

Lastly the “High and Holy Church of Both Sides” is a term coined by American political commentator driftglass, who is, to put it mildly, exasperated with the Beltway’s capacity to equivocate Republican crimes against humanity with Democrat incompetence. I thought comparing “stop killing me” to “I want trans people to die” would be an apt application of the concept.

-Shiv

Edit October 17: I format html like a profeshunal.

Comments

  1. Siobhan says

    @1 Trav Mamone

    Always tricky to balance personal voice with the editorial take, so I understand. :)

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Trav: Style plays into it, relationships play into it, and more than anything, our best understandings of the feelings and intentions of the person(s) being criticized play into it.

    As I’ve said before, intent isn’t magic, but how you reach people and get them to change depends very much on what they value, what they intend. You seemed to believe that it was worth speaking to them and helping them get better, in part (I assume) because you saw something in their writing that indicated an attempt to do something, an intention to do something, with which you could relate. When you see a common value with someone who is, in your opinion, making an error, that can definitely be an appropriate time to try to make change by communicating sympathetically with the person who (you believe) is making a mistake.

    Let nothing quell that good instinct.

    I just happened to perceive their motivations differently and saw little in common in what they wanted to achieve and what I wanted to achieve, thus making my approach very different. But I’m not right, and you’re not wrong.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing the article up for a good discussion here on FtB!

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