Quality of TERF-Adjacent Discourse

If you’re curious about the quality of the comments I do not let through, well, know that as a minnow in the giant blogging ocean, I don’t get too many bad ones. (Save for last summer when blogging about Portland. Hoo, boy! Got an increase in douchegabbers that month.)

Still, once a month or so, I get comments like this from an asshat who named his commenting account “robert paulson“:

tired of all the faggotry goin on these days

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Guy Fawkes: Good Activists and Social Change

So the first official entry in our Guy Fawkes series is from a great thread on Pharyngula about BeyoncĂ©’s feminism. The whole thread is worth your time, but let’s pick up where beloved commenter chimera mentions

One of my favorite philosophers said something on the radio the other day that struck me. He said his favorite black civil rights leaders of the 60s were The Black Panthers because they had no pretension of being “good” (read: appropriate, upstanding, notable, conforming, respectable, moral, role model for your kids, and all that
.). And that a person doesn’t have to be “good” (in that sense) to call for political change.

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How do you solve a problem like kathleenzielinski?

So, over on that Pharyngula thread that has sparked a week’s worth of posts here on Pervert Justice, the main instigator of the back and forth was a commenter named kathleenzielinski who tends to pop up in threads that are not about trans people and pose a very, very serious question about “Why do we take all these trans people seriously, with their rights and stuff, when they deserve rights of course but not the almighty excessive rights that these trans people are always demanding, like the right to grow their wheatgrass for juicing right in my shower under my bathroom skylight? Why are over 90% of trans people telling me that I can’t move wheatgrass out of my own way when I take a shower in my own bathroom just because the shower is where the daylight from the skylight hits?”

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Privilege, Deference, and Moral Certainty

GG has been discussing in other threads the concept of epistemic deference, focused on epistemic deference of members of empowered majorities with respect to members of disempowered minorities. As it happens, I’ve lectured on just this topic at Portland State University, the University of Vermont, and a couple other places. (University of Minnesota I think… but I’m not entirely sure, and it would have been my visit to the Minneapolis campus, if you’re wondering PZ: I’ve never been to Morris). I even spoke to it when speaking to a North American conference of human rights officials and boards. So I’ve been thinking about this problem for a LONG time. More than 20 years, certainly. As a result, I have at hand things I’ve written right here on FtB available to quote.

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kathleenzielinski’s “gay rights movement”

So, over on Pharyngula kathleenzielinski has been having a bit of a say. I will likely go into other things said by kathleenzielinski (and issues that they raise or raised) later. But for now, I want to talk about the Great kathleenzielinski Gay Rights Movement, which, she would like you to know, is much, much better than that icky trans rights movement to which she would like to compare her GRM:

I will say this: The gay rights movement moved as quickly as it did because we took the time to win over our opposition using their own language. Conservative arguments were made in favor of gay marriage and legal equality. Some of us even quoted the Bible. We didn’t demonize people whose real fault was that they didn’t understand us. We won them over.

The trans rights movement is, if we are to believe kathleenzielinski, both moving much more slowly than her cherished GRM and is also much less friendly and compassionate to the bigots who oppose trans rights than the gays were to the bigots who opposed gay rights.

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Ignoring abuse to focus on lexicography

Okay, this is turning into a thing.

So in the thread created to talk about the phenomenon where people announce on the internet that they’re too afraid to discuss issues central to (or sometimes merely implicating) trans persons’ human rights before immediately launching a conversation about their concerns about granting trans persons equal human rights, one new commenter, GG, decided to change the subject. Although I feel vexed that what I wrote seemed to be ignored in favor of the commenter’s preferred conversation, the comment and request for response were both respectful and, as it turns out, the issues that GG unknowingly raised are actually significant. So I decided to respond, but I’m not going to allow that thread to be derailed so I have created this new post to discuss what GG brought up. Let’s start with GG’s comment, which itself begins with a quote from a BBC news article:  

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Being a Transphobe, the Great Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time

So first, I hate the words “transphobia” and “transphobe” but let’s save that for a footnote, or better yet another post (we’ll see if I can stop myself from rambling into that territory at the bottom of this). So setting that aside, I have noted that many, many people seem paralyzed with fear at the idea that they might do something which they consider reasonable, or good, or perhaps not good but a minor error which deserves no bad consequence, and despite the not at all truly bad nature of their conduct, end up labeled a “transphobe” or “transphobic”. They often cry out about their “fear” of being called “transphobic”. They positively scream about the injustice of it all:

Someone thought that I’m a transphobe, when really I just hate the idea of being inconvenienced in any way, except for all those ways that I am inconvenienced which I just accept as an unavoidable fact of life, like having to lie to my boss about how that watch is so cool and I wish I had one.

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Joyce Carol Oates and the great pronoun debates

So, I was hanging out on Wonkette early this morning, curating some artisanal tabs, when I came across an article I thought might be interesting to talk about. (You can find it here.)

Because it did actually generate some discussion, and because some people found it valuable and one person specifically asked to have it posted to my blog so that it could be found more easily than would be the case if it were left buried in Disqus comments, I’m going to cross post here the long ass thing I wrote over there.

Yes, it’s long ass, but you’re going to read it anyway, since you don’t want my diligent efforts to go to waste, do you?

I said, “DO YOU?”

Fine, don’t read it. I’ll just sit over here NOT being passive aggressive at you. So there.

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Bias does not exist, bring on the sportsball!

So you’re presumably familiar with Sha’Carri Richardson who will miss the Olympics. What I did not know is that the test she “failed” is notoriously inaccurate. We can say what we want about banning marijuana and not gewurztraminer (and I’ve said plenty this week), but this thing looks a whole lot worse when we find out the test isn’t even accurate:

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Gender News: Cis people are insane, refuse help

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