The other day I said something on Twitter that roused the ire of a mob of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs) who proceeded to lecture me on how having two X chromosomes definitively makes you a female. I have no idea what I said to provoke them, but now one of them has announced that I am an MRA.
Yesterday, I found one of PZ Myers tweets disparaging women who simply want their own spaces.
What’s with all these TERFs nattering at me?
— PZ Myers (@pzmyers) April 3, 2015
He was embracing the transpolitical rhetoric meant to silence women. TERF stands for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist.’ It’s a massive straw man. We are however setting boundaries and making safe spaces for women which we EXPECT to be honoured by biological males. PZ Myers has a scientific background and I got into a Twitter fight with another male claiming he was doing masters level biology. You can imagine my shock at finding that someone at that level of biology could possibly fuck up so badly.
PZ Myers saw my tweet that said XX is female. He immediately engaged in an MRA stunt and claimed that Androgen Insensitivity was somehow an argument to my statement that females have XX chromosomes and males are XY.
— PZ Myers (@pzmyers) April 3, 2015
I made sure to point out we were NOT talking about intersex conditions or endocrinology. PZ shut up after his one lazy shot but it took his male friend Ben Blanchard a bit longer.
First let me point out that the litte tweet I chirped out was because the TERFs were flocking to me — I hadn’t barged into one of their conversations, or invited them to explain to me what makes for a real woman, but there they were, in my space. So she doesn’t get to complain about me violating boundaries.
Secondly, I do have a scientific background, and I don’t even know what it means to define “biological male” so absolutely. As I pointed out earlier, Nature published a good article on the scientific consensus on the biology of sex, and comes down soundly on the side of defining it as a spectrum. You want to pretend it’s black and white? Fine. You don’t get to claim scientific standing for your beliefs.
Thirdly, my comeback was brief because I see little point in arguing at length with bigots. She said having two X chromosomes made you female, an X and a Y makes you male, and that’s absolutely it. All I had to to was mention androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) to refute that.
Declaring intersex conditions and endocrinology, i.e., biology, as excluded from her definition is an attempt to ignore the evidence and declare victory by fiat. She is simply ignoring the problem.
So I’ll emphasize it again. You want to define sex by chromosomes. AIS women have the male chromosome set, but were raised as girls and women, look like women, are superficially indistinguishable from women. Do you deny them their womanhood? Would you insist that they must use the men’s restroom?
The comments there are more of the same.
Everybody knows what is a girl and what is a boy. These dudebros just love using their own bullshit patriarchal scientific and patriarchal establishments to beat women over the head and waste our time.
Never trust a statement that begins “Everybody knows…”. There is a continuum. The two extremes are the most heavily populated, and the range in between is thin, but that doesn’t invalidate its existence. The purpose of pointing that out is not to beat women over the head, but to tell them that they don’t get to beat the minority over the head.
We’re not saying we don’t support transpeople. We’re saying we want our women-only spaces respected and they’re not being respected.
I want lesbians to be able to say ‘I don’t like penis’ without a whole bunch of men in dresses screeching at them they’re ‘transphobes’ or ‘transmisogyny.’
How is it misogyny to not want to sleep with a man? They’re not actually women. That’s the point.
It is not misogyny to not want to sleep with a man. Acknowledging the status of trans woman is not a promise to have sex with them, just as me saying women are my equals is not at all synonymous with saying there is now an obligation to have sex. No one has to like the penis or like the vulva — it is a matter of personal preference. I think they’re both lovely organs, as are fingers and elbows and ears and noses*, but can sympathize fully with someone else not wanting to do anything intimate with any of them.
These people sound a heck of a lot like anti-gay activists — their arguments all reduce to “that’s icky” and trying to impose their personal preferences on everyone else.
*But not toes. Toes are stubby deformed digits, and feet are like hideously warped mutant bony hands. We ought to pass laws against foot fetishists, and people who walk around barefoot in my spaces ought to be shot.