What is the “trans question”, anyway?


This is a puzzling headline: The Tories are right to debate the trans question – it’s not a distraction. It doesn’t say what the “trans question” is…we’re just supposed to debate it. How? You can’t just say something needs to be debated without saying what the proposition is.

Or can you?

Here’s a question: rutabagas. Now go — DEBATE. Now. I need the rutabaga question resolved immediately.

There’s some vague something we’re supposed to discuss about the “trans question”, but nothing in this article helps me understand. There are odd hints that they’re trying to get to something deeper, but it’s almost as if they’re afraid to say it openly.

It is to the chagrin of many women on the left that Tory politicians are leading this overdue debate. Keir Starmer has been hopeless on the issue, ignoring letters from feminists and lesbians who are in despair about Labour’s refusal to give clear answers to questions about biological sex. I told him face-to-face in May about the harassment of feminists in the Labour Party, but he’s still trying to sit on the fence. And Labour is losing support among women as a result.

See what I mean? This author thinks there’s some key difference between Labour and Tories on “biological sex”. Does one side think it’s not biological?

OK, to clarify my earlier question about rutabagas: where do you stand on questions about biological vegetables? No, I’m not going to say what those questions are: you must simply debate rutabaga and biological vegetables.

I’m not being disingenuous. You have to be clear on what the issue is. For example, do rutabagas exist, or should they exist, or what is the best way to cut and cook a rutabaga, or is a rutabaga actually just a confused turnip, or was the hybridization of Brassica oleracea and Brassica rapa an abomination before god that must be prohibited by law? Those are proper questions. We could discuss those, except I fear that if the opposition made their issues clearly they’d look silly and their irrational hatred of root vegetables would be clear. (By the way, if this debate is between Tories and Labour, they’d probably call them “swedes” which would open the door to some ugly misinterpretations across the North Sea.)

I wonder if this is related to “the Jewish question”?

Comments

  1. =8)-DX says

    They won’t admit it, but this is always about whether trans people should be allowed to exist in public. In the word of the Bard: “To be or not to be, that is the question.”
    =8)-DX

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    On the question of biological vegetables: Tomatoes are the big issue, as everyone is willing to consider them a vegetable even though they are a biological fruit. Meanwhile, the official state vegetable of Oklahoma is watermelon.

  3. Carl Andersson says

    Oh hey, it’s Joan Smith stinking up the place again!
    I really don’t get why the UK has this issue with transphobia…

  4. says

    I wonder what the supposed harassment of Labour Party feminists the author is talking about is. I suspect she means they’re being called out for their transphobia.

  5. Susan Montgomery says

    @5 & 6 In both cases, it’s a question of needing relevance. Radfems are long-forgotten 70’s kitsch and the UK is an American Air Force base with worse food. Trans-bashing is a way for both parties to get attention and pretend that they still matter.

  6. consciousness razor says

    Should they all be put onto the trains?

    Or should we use prison buses since we already have tons of those? Just imagine how much more we could cut the deficit and help the middle class with common sense approaches like these, a New York Times columnist reports.

    But perhaps we could use what we learn from the trains to send people to the stars and finally rid ourselves of this miserable planet, a Washington Post columnist ponders thoughtfully.

    Once that debate is settled, you’re supposed to play a game of twenty questions and guess what happens next. (Hint: among other things, it will include more tax exemptions for the wealthy, so just treat that one like the free square on a bingo card.)

  7. raven says

    Oh hey, it’s Joan Smith stinking up the place again!
    I really don’t get why the UK has this issue with transphobia…

    Yeah, I don’t either.

    The better question, which Carl Andersson just asked is…The Transphobia Question???
    Why are some of the British so Transphobic?
    How does the existence of Trans people affect their lives and society?

    And, how do they propose to deal with their Trans Question anyway?
    Are we talking about concentration camps, gas chambers, industrial sized crematoriums, and mass graves?
    Or will the UK do a Russian style attack? Shell the Trans cities to rubble, move in with tanks, and round up any survivors and send them off to some remote island in the North sea with a shovel and tarp to survive or not.

  8. raven says

    I told him face-to-face in May about the harassment of feminists in the Labour Party, but he’s still trying to sit on the fence. And Labour is losing support among women as a result.

    Is this even true?
    I doubt it.
    I also don’t see that feminists are going to get a better deal from the Tories.

    About all I can come up with is that the “Trans Question” is a substitute for actually paying attention and dealing with the real problems that the UK has.
    Right now that would be the ongoing Covid-19 virus pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ongoing Brexit problems, recession, inflation, etc..

  9. Tethys says

    I suspect this debate would involve just asking questions, and possibly some advocating for the devil, before they come up with plans to deport them to Rwanda in order to protect the sanctity of public toilets and girls sports.

    As for the vegetables, turnips are white fleshed, and rutabagas aka swedes are the orange ones that are grown as fodder for dairy animals.

    Rutabaga is also a mild term of derision, as in “Don’t be such a transphobic rutabaga!”, due to the fact that they grow with their heads buried firmly in the ground.

    In addition to being a commonly grown vegetable, the term Swede has the same implication in the US, with added snide attitude towards Swedish immigrants from the German immigrants.

  10. Snarki, child of Loki says

    “was the hybridization of Brassica oleracea and Brassica rapa an abomination before god that must be prohibited by law? result in their being devoured

  11. Artor says

    Someone is Just Asking Questions in search of a solution. A final solution, you might say.

  12. says

    Whether it’s nurturing a crop of rutabagas to maturity and harvesting them to help feed a hungry world, or wanting that piece of land for an Amazon distribution center parking lot, both sides have a rutabaga problem.
    –The NY Times

  13. says

    Don’t forget “the Irish Question”. Whenever you see “The [Group] Question” mentioned in British politics, it means that the majority opinion among the Tories and Labour is that [Group], whoever they may be, are a nuisance which is interfering with the peaceful and rightful purpose of government (making the rich richer), and the “question” is: should we exterminate them, or merely maltreat them in ways which would, in a battle, be considered war crimes? IIRC, there was at one time “the India Question”. And no matter how serious the controversy may be, if the group involved is liked by the mainstream consensus, the controversy will not be referred to as “The [Group] Question”. Even at the height of the recent scandals, when the Paradise Papers showed they were a bunch of brazen tax-dodgers and there was a revelation that they had meddled in laws to exempt themselves from any sort of governance for decades and their treatment of Meghan demonstrated that they remain massively racist and Prince Andrew was revealed to be unquestionably a lifelong pedophile who the entire group had coordinated to protect for decades, there was no such thing as “The Royal Family Question”.

  14. rockwhisperer says

    The answer to the rutabaga question is no. Just no. There are other healthy root veggies for feeding a hungry world, that don’t contribute to eating disorders in children who are forced to eat them.

    At 62, I perceive that the older I get, the more puzzled I am by people who will simply not live and let live. If I don’t know you, I refuse to judge you, unless you have killed many people and the evidence against you is not just hearsay. Period, end of discussion. I am straight, White, cis, and happily married. Therefore, I have absolutely no personal interest in someone else’s sexual orientation. As to gender identity, I can’t figure out why I should care, except that I know people who suffer from gender dysphoria in the US generally find that insurance, even if they have it, doesn’t cover the treatments and surgeries to align their bodies with their minds. That’s a political problem, and I’m a voter, so it is my job to care.

    I also care that people who are historically oppressed minorities should no longer be oppressed. which is another political issue that requires my attention. That anyone currently WANTS to oppress them simply baffles me. I have heard variations of “THEY shouldn’t exist” or “THEY shouldn’t be in our country” or “THEY want to corrupt our children” bullshit all my life, and I’m still waiting to understand why some people shouldn’t exist, or shouldn’t be in the US, or are corrupting children. Citations [expletive] needed, and they had damned well better be from well-regarded scientific journals.

  15. Susan Montgomery says

    @20 Well put. But why us? I can see RadFems being angry that we mess up their conflict theory dynamic by blurring the lines in their Us vs Them view of society. But, the Tories? Maybe it messes up their own math a bit, but they’re not as Jeebus-driven or insecure about masculinity as US conservatives.

    Or, it could be that far too many trans “allies” are as uninformed about us as conservatives are and can only offer defenses which just make things worse. Or, it could be that Europe isn’t as enlightened as we thought. What do you think?

  16. says

    @#22, Susan Montgomery:

    Anti-trans-ness is just an issue which resonates with right-wing voters, it doesn’t have any particular religious basis that wouldn’t also apply to being, say, anti-corrective-lenses. In the UK, the only demographics which still are sticking to the Tories are the very rich and people over 60; presumably this is, like Brexit was, being pitched at old people as an attempt to bring back the Good Old Days to keep them voting for Tories despite all the recent failures. For some reason, in the UK as in the US, no matter how dumb right-wingers are, at least they actually try to appease their base instead of abandoning their base to chase votes outside it, which their opposition constantly does.

  17. atheistsince2011 says

    Moderators, would a brief list-format answer to PZ Myers’ question be permitted if it did not link outside, was phrased as neutrally as possibly, didn’t misgender anyone, and did not trigger offensive debate (etc) any more than OP already does?
    TW: gender
    ———————
    I understand you don’t want to actually debate answers to these questions here. I understand that you think your opponents’ (whether they be religious conservatives, radical feminists, or ordinary women raised in a sex-based culture) raising of the above questions is only motivated by unspeakable bigotry on par with nazism (and that must be the only reason why there is caginess and self-censorship) and I understand how you came to believe that. With all that said, here are the questions:

    What should be the accepted meaning of these terms: sex, gender, man, woman, non binary, sexuality?
    Should these meanings be pluralistic/multicultural, or mandated/legislated?
    Does gender trump sex, for example could a ‘female’ patient be permitted to request a ‘man’ caregiver but not a ‘male’ caregiver? I.e. how are rights conflicts resolved?
    Should ‘sexes’ be a protected class at all, or only ‘genders’?
    Is human sexuality predominantly based on ‘sex’ or ‘gender’?

  18. Rich Woods says

    I’m quite happy for the Tories to fly their bigot flags. It lets the rest of us know who, if faced with a real-life trolley question, we should leave to die first.

  19. Louis says

    @Carl Andersson #5,

    I’m in the UK and I haven’t got a clue. Trans people are people. Flawed and wonderful in all measures, just like the rest of us.

    The Tories et al are easy to explain, cynical exploitation of bigotry/fanning the flames of bigotry to distract from the real problems in their government/management of the country. I don’t say this to minimise the oppression of trans people or their struggle for their rights, but as a “problem”, from the perspective of the entire nation, the “problem” of trans people is miniscule. Of course the “cost of living crisis” etc are “massive problems”, and of course these problems disproportionately affect the disadvantaged and oppressed (Including trans people).

    Obviously, as a human rights issue it’s enormous and serious, but that ain’t where the bigots are coming from.

    I’ve read a few bits of anti-trans work from “gender critical” (or whatever euphemism is being used) feminists, I really have tried to “get it”, and maybe I’m thick but it all seems to boil down to “If men become women, women who are already struggling and oppressed will have to share what little they have with men who have become women”.

    I don’t think the above, I’m shortening the wording of what I’ve read, quite a few times, from a few sources.

    It’s quite a shitty argument, if only because the same could have been, and was, said about every minority. It’s irrelevant to how and why people of various different groups should be afforded the same liberties and opportunities as everyone else. At the core of all of this stuff I think the real thing being objected to is, seriously, thinking. Bigots have to think to include The Other in their little circle of “humans”. They don’t like thinking, they’re busy with their lives and they simply don’t have the bandwidth, so they want The Other to go away. Hence why our Beloved Tory Overlords are whipping the anti-trans line. A stressed populace, experiencing an entirely engineered economic crisis (on the back of an entirely unengineered pandemic), dealing with a tripling of energy costs, a near doubling of fuel costs (and the commensurate increase in cost of all goods), and stagnating (or real terms falling) wages is being given another outlet to focus their ire upon. Immigrants, the EU, and now trans people.}

    Nasty, cynical, evil bullshit. But by God how the money rolls in!

    Louis

  20. StevoR says

    Who is asking which “trans question” and why is perhaps the more pertinant and significant question here maybe?

  21. cartomancer says

    Like most things in the UK, this current wave of transphobic bigotry is a very class-based thing. When I talk to LGBT people, obviously they have nothing but contempt for it. When I talk to my working-class family and friends they see it as the thinly-disguised distracting stuff and nonsense it is. When I talk to my middle-class colleagues and the wealthy parents of my students, they’re the ones who seem to go in for it. Though, fortunately, the students themselves very much do not. And, I have to say, I’ve only ever heard this sort of stuff from women in real life. It seems to be a hobby-horse of well-off, middle-class women more than anything else (though, of course, not everyone who falls into that category holds these awful opinions). It strikes me as a kind of neurotic, class-based purity culture, of a piece with not letting your children have working class friends. About the only people who have time for it are the ones so egregiously comfortable in their life circumstances they don’t have anything better to think about.

    Fortunately, apart from a few rabid ideologues with nothing better to do, most of the people who casually expound such views can be talked out of them. Which is something I make it my business to do whenever they come up.

  22. Susan Montgomery says

    @23 Thanks! That does make a lot of sense about the Tories. What about the Lefties? I can see some of what you said applying to a Cambridge Communist, but not all. Why else would the RadLefties be getting in on this?

  23. KG says

    I understand that you think your opponents’ (whether they be religious conservatives, radical feminists, or ordinary women raised in a sex-based culture) raising of the above questions is only motivated by unspeakable bigotry on par with nazism (and that must be the only reason why there is caginess and self-censorship) and I understand how you came to believe that.- atheistsince2011@25

    Since you’ve gone out of your way to establish your bad faith with the above crap, I doubt whether anyone’s interested in answering your “gotcha” questions.

  24. says

    #25:
    I understand you don’t want to actually debate answers to these questions here. Declaration of bad faith already?
    What should be the accepted meaning of these terms: sex, gender, man, woman, non binary, sexuality? Let those who are concerned determine that, rather than letting them be dictated by privileged majorities who want to exclude people. You do realize that these are complex phenomena, right?
    Should these meanings be pluralistic/multicultural, or mandated/legislated? The whole problem is that some people want to legislate what those terms are allowed to mean, in defiance of how they are practiced.
    Does gender trump sex, for example could a ‘female’ patient be permitted to request a ‘man’ caregiver but not a ‘male’ caregiver? I.e. how are rights conflicts resolved? I see that term “caregiver” and wonder who you are to demand that only people who are compliant with your ideological demands be allowed to give you care?
    How would you feel about someone demanding that their nurse be white, rather than black? You shouldn’t have a right to be racist or sexist in a hospital!
    Should ‘sexes’ be a protected class at all, or only ‘genders’? No one is talking about a protected class. We’re saying that you shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate on the basis of any class.
    Is human sexuality predominantly based on ‘sex’ or ‘gender’? I give this one a prize for being the dumbest of your questions. Human sexuality and reproduction are two very different things. Our sexual behaviors evolved primarily to foster the survival of our group. Almost all human sexuality is social and cultural, making your question irrelevant.

    I predict you won’t last long here. You’ve shown up with a lot of ugly baggage.

  25. Louis says

    Fuck it, I’ll bite!

    @atheistsince2011 #25

    Just quickly, not all people with “concerns/questions” are bigots, but all bigots hide behind “concerns/questions”. I’m profoundly ignorant of the “trans debate” (but as a point of principle, I don’t debate whether or not other humans are human, so it’s a wasted and entirely fictional division), but I’m not ignorant about bigotry and its mechanisms. Dehumanisation of people/groups of people isn’t subtle, it’s been done since time immemorial. Just like denialism (climate, holocaust etc etc) has identifiable modes of expression and strategy, so does bigotry. It’s a set of modes of thinking, a set of techniques. It’s subject independent. So it is relatively easy to spot which people with “concerns/questions” are playing with a straight bat derived from a (good faith) lack of understanding or ignorance, and which people are acting in bad faith.

    I wonder if KG’s point about your questions will get through. It really should.

    What should be the accepted meaning of these terms: race, ethnicity, white, black?
    Should these meanings be pluralistic/multicultural, or mandated/legislated?
    Does culture trump race, for example could a ‘white’ patient be permitted to request a ‘white’ caregiver but not a ‘black’ caregiver? I.e. how are rights conflicts resolved?
    Should ‘races’ be a protected class at all, or only ‘cultural expressions’?
    Is human expression predominantly based on ‘race’ or ‘culture’?

    I wonder if that makes it more or less obvious.

    Hmmm.

    Louis

  26. says

    Why are some of the British so Transphobic?
    How does the existence of Trans people affect their lives and society?

    So far at least, I’ve seen no news of any actual spike in sex-crimes committed by trans people. No actual wave of transwomen assaulting or harassing ciswomen in women’s loos, nothing. Has anyone else heard of such a spike in actual criminal incidents? Even the transphobes aren’t citing reports of such a thing. Looks to me like a lot of hysteria (or should I say testeria?) over a fake issue, which just happens to coincide with the ruling party’s inability to deal credibly with REAL issues.

    And speaking of diversionary hate-campaigns, I notice atheistsince2011 @25 is asking a lot of questions about pronouns, and not saying one word about actual rights, legal status or real-world treatment of trans people anywhere. Word usage is complex, dimwit. Stop quibbling over dictionary-definitions and deal with real life for once.

  27. says

    I say let’s elect only rutabagas to office. That will solve every problem. After all, have you ever hear of a rutabaga losing a debate? Rutabagas are pro-vegetable all the way. And, I’m sure that mr. mofo manchin will support an all rutabaga ticket.

    Help, I’m suffering from sarcasm poisoning.

    But, the UK tories and labour parties (just like the repugnantcants and corp. democraps) sound like they’ve hired the ghost of Professor Irwin Corey to coach them.

  28. says

    PZ hit on some very important points. Too many people demand that their terms and conditions dictate how people are labelled and how their actions are limited. There is a great difference between biological reality and the fantasy of bigoted opinion. Hateful attitudes are destructive.

  29. says

    @25 smells rather like a troll JAQing off, so I’m not going to address the individual questions they’re throwing around – PZ and others already have done so quite thoroughly already, anyway.

    I just want to point out that every single question asked assumes the rigid gender binary is the valid, natural, and unquestionable reality for human society from the start (just as Louis@76’s rephrasing of those questions assumes “race” a valid construct beyond cultural habit). Further, those questions further assume that it is proper and natural and valid to treat people differently based on which of these rigid boxes – man/woman, black/caucasian, etc – they sort into (and that those that don’t sort neatly should be hammered into one box or another regardless of how well they actually fit).

    Starting with questions that assume the validity of the status quo just reinforces the status quo, much like debating the color of Yahweh’s shoes presupposes that toxic beings’ actual existence.

    Screw all that.

  30. simplicio says

    Just call me the answer man. The Tories, being the health-conscious bunch that they are, have decided to outlaw trans fats, but they wanted to let the other parties debate the question before pressing on.

    Now, about the rutabaga question, I hate them, so no debate. No, rutabagas are not a biological vegetable, they do exist, but they certainly shouldn’t. The best way to cook them is in a garbage can placed in a sunny area, They were created by Satan to torture little children, and they an abomination in God’s presence. I hope this settles the great rutabaga question.

    The debate about biological sex was settled long ago when Madison Cawthorn helped out Ketanji Brown with the definition of a woman. There are only two sexes, as demonstrated by the four sexes of white throated sparrows, and a woman is a person with two X chromosomes and no talliwacker (the scientific word is ‘dingaling’). This eliminates embarrassments such as Turner’s syndrome people from being called women, as well as Kleinfelter’s syndrome, since even though they have the requisite two X chromosomes, they also have dingalings. This leaves open the question of how to classify those dangerous people with Jacobs syndrome or other aneuploidies. Actually, that one is easy — they aren’t people.

    Time to move on to the Jewish question. This one is rather important! Are giraffes clean animals? That was answered in the 1960s, and the answer is “yes”. This leaves open whether rutabagas are clean vegetables, but that has already been answered. No. Who, in their right minds, ever thought they were vegetables

  31. Owlmirror says

    Context: The Midnight Society is basically Twitter short fiction involving genre writers interacting. Some of the writers who appear have been dead for decades; some are very much alive, but are portrayed satirically.

    A certain Rowling “appears” at these meetings and vents transphobia. Recently, “she” reechoed the real JKR’s endorsement of Matt Walsh.

    Rowling: i jussst have concernsss about the transss question, that’sss all
    Rowling: i think we sshould come to a sssolution

    https://twitter.com/midnight_pals/status/1548388496934518784

  32. Jazzlet says

    Susan
    It very much depends on who you mean by RadLefties. The Labour Party are rather more left wing than any American party even under Kier Starmer, by our definitions very much a centre lefty. To take him, he has pissed off the TERF fraction because he has not assured them that he will protect women only spaces from transwomen; he hasn’t actualy said what his policy would be mind – at least not so loudly that I’ve heard – but he hasn’t automatically joined the TERFs so there’s that. As far as farther left groups go fair warning I’m giving a hugely biased take, all of the ones I have had dealings with over the years are pretty unreconstructed; they may say the right things, but they’re very white, anti-semitic and, again in my experience, pretty misogynistic too, so I suspect they would be equally “welcoming” to transpeople. That said there are plenty on the left of Labour, many more working class, who are all you might want, and open to learing more, but as Louis and CR said they see trans issues as largely a distraction from the bigger issues, partly because they think the ‘issues’ are obvious and it’s obvious that transpeople ought to be given the rights they want. The loud TERFs you have heard are as CCR says the white middle class women, a portion of whom are journalists or commentators with sufficient clout to get pieces in eg The Guardian on a regular basis; my personal view is that even in that demographic they are very much a minority, but I don’t have any evidence to support that, it is just my impression.

  33. Susan Montgomery says

    @45 I take your point. Trust the British to make an already complicated definition even more complicated. I’ll have to look further into it.

  34. StevoR says

    @ 25. atheistsince2011 : “I understand..

    Do you tho? Not sure you do and not sure of your good faith – or its opposite in asking here in the way you do..

    .. raising of the above questions is only motivated by unspeakable bigotry on par with nazism (and that must be the only reason why there is caginess and self-censorship) and I understand how you came to believe that.

    Question for you – what makes you think PZ and most others in the Horde (?) here are being either cagey or self-censoring and why? What evidence do you have for that because I for one don’t see it.

    With all that said, here are the questions: (Ed – numbering for convenience.)

    1. What should be the accepted meaning of these terms: sex, gender, man, woman, non binary, sexuality?
    2. Should these meanings be pluralistic/multicultural, or mandated/legislated?
    3. Does gender trump sex, for example could a ‘female’ patient be permitted to request a ‘man’ caregiver but not a ‘male’ caregiver? I.e. how are rights conflicts resolved?
    4. Should ‘sexes’ be a protected class at all, or only ‘genders’?
    5. Is human sexuality predominantly based on ‘sex’ or ‘gender’?

    1) Depends on context. (You forgot “..person, camera TV” after man, woman, BTW.)

    Why does having a specific definition for these terms matter to you?

    2) Yes.

    3) Peacefully with the consent of the parties involved – & without transphobia getting a hecklers veto or being allowing to be a determinative factor.

    4) Class of what? Context dependent & what exactly do you mean by sex / gender here? Please rephrase the question so that it makes sense.

    5) Dunno. Why? Also what do you mean when using sex and gender and why does it matter to you? Human sexuality is complex and variable and as Spock would say, most illogical. It is also private and up to the consenting individuals involved.

  35. Russell says

    PZ has solved one of the great political dilemmas of the day !

    He has identified the best word to put on bathroom doors for the M&F challenged:

    Have you ever been tempted to apply a pronoun to a rutabaga? Or felt compelled to reflect on its gender? Not I.

    Only the radixophobic will deny that there are questions of rutabaga identity best left for rutabagas to answer behind closed doors, and the nation has only to provide them and let the rutabagas sort it out.

  36. says

    From the cited article:

    So much of what has happened, from organisations like Stonewall arguing against single-sex spaces to the creation of an atmosphere where feminists are thrown off Twitter for “liking” gender-critical tweets, has occurred by stealth.

    How are either of those events examples of “stealth?”

  37. atheistsince2011 says

    wonder who you are to demand that only people who are compliant with your ideological demands be allowed to give you care?”
    Women around the world and throughout history have a recognised pattern of requesting, for example, intimate care be provided by other women rather than men, as a way to manage and mitigate the epidemic of male violence and predation that has permeated every society ever.
    It’s not a sword, it’s a shield. It may hurt men’s feelings but men’s feelings are not as important as women’s safety.

    There are many such accomodations and affirmative policies in many countries. If you’re against these, so be it, but I put to you that you should recognise that your view isn’t popular, is a radical departure from the status quo in every country on earth, and requires public conversation to get to where you want to be. This public conversation would not be akin to ‘the Jewish question’.

    If you want your society to remove all accomodations for women and institute sex-blindness, how are you going to achieve this without public conversation at a political level?

    I’m not sure what you want though, because you seem to be inconsistent about whether there can be rights and anti-discrimination laws, or everyone just self-organises and self-governs with no legal framework. I don’t think you’re a radical libertarian MRA but you appear to be advocating radical libertarian MRA ideas here, so there’s something going awry.

    “I give this one a prize for being the dumbest of your questions”
    There is an active and vocal contingent of homophobes who advocate for the premise that if a person‘s sexuality is based on sex rather than gender, it is rooted in bigotry. They say things like “you need to examine your preferences”. They compare homosexuality (and heterosexuality too for what it’s worth) to racism. There’s also the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ flavour, who say things like “it’s ok to only be attracted to one sex, just don’t talk about it”.
    If you’re not part of this contingent, I respect you for that, but this contingent exists and they will not be defeated by being ignored.

  38. atheistsince2011 says

    Addendum: and yes I know what the party line is on left-wing homophobia: “this isn’t happening, this isn’t what’s being said, people are just defending themselves against rudeness or from being excluded or misgendered”. I do understand that perspective.

  39. atheistsince2011 says

    The problem guys is that if you have a legal framework for anything, someone is going to get a hecklers veto. Who is it going to be?
    And if you don’t have a legal framework, then your Rand-ian anarchist hyper capitalist free-for-all is going to suck for everyone who isn’t the violent top dog.

  40. Tethys says

    If you want your society to remove all accomodations for women and institute sex-blindness,

    You mean like striking down Roe vs Wade? I’m quite sure PZ is against the state removing the right to bodily autonomy for anyone who can become pregnant, which is not an accommodation for women.

    Sex blindness is a trollish complaint. Nobody has said you can’t notice that people have genders, merely that gender is not a binary.

  41. John Morales says

    atheistsince, so predictable that your objections all relate to trans women, and that every objection you have is predicated on trans women not being women.
    I’ve had plenty of discussions with transphobes, and it always boils down to that.
    Basically, the dogmatic belief that the gender assigned at birth is forever more fixed.

    Women around the world and throughout history have a recognised pattern of requesting, for example, intimate care be provided by other women rather than men, as a way to manage and mitigate the epidemic of male violence and predation that has permeated every society ever.

    And men around the world and throughout history have a recognised pattern of male violence and predation that has permeated every society ever, so that’s clearly the root cause. A few more women won’t change that, will it?

    It’s not a sword, it’s a shield. It may hurt men’s feelings but men’s feelings are not as important as women’s safety.

    What about trans womens’ safety? Shouldn’t that count?

    If you want your society to remove all accomodations for women and institute sex-blindness, how are you going to achieve this without public conversation at a political level?

    See what I mean? That right there is the rigid and dogmatic premise at work.
    If trans women aren’t women, everything follows.

    The problem guys is that if you have a legal framework for anything, someone is going to get a hecklers veto.

    Even if that were true, that’s irrelevant.
    If it’s a problem for every possible framework, then no framework is exempt in any case. Change the framework, the problem remains. Don’t change it, it remains.

  42. says

    So your argument is this: men — all men — are beasts, and women have to be protected from them. Boys will be boys, you know.
    I reject that. The majority of men are decent people, and the ones who aren’t have had their decency stripped away by the people who excuse brute behavior as the natural state of things. Like you.
    No, I’m not a libertarian or an MRA, I loudly oppose both those things, and if you try to accuse me of either you’re either incredibly stupid or you’re trolling. Probably both.

  43. says

    Women around the world and throughout history have a recognised pattern of requesting, for example, intimate care be provided by other women rather than men, as a way to manage and mitigate the epidemic of male violence and predation that has permeated every society ever.

    As a woman who has made this request for a long time [and I’ll note that it’s only because of the ACA that in recent years I a) have health care at all, and b) have any say in its provision], I can say that I have never, once, not a single time, thought to consider whether the woman providing it was cis or trans. Never ever. What an absurd insinuation.

  44. says

    @atheistsince:

    From #25:

    I understand

    From #25:

    I understand

    From #52:

    I know

    From #52:

    I do understand

    Yeah, here’s the thing. You obviously don’t. There is a difference between “I have heard this said” and “I understand this”. If you actually understood the things you claim to understand (and “know”), then you wouldn’t have asked the questions you did in #25.

    Therefore… you’re either lying to yourself when you say, “I understand” or you’re lying to us. Either way puts your value as a conversation partner in doubt.

    #52:

    if you have a legal framework for anything, someone is going to get a hecklers veto. Who is it going to be?

    Add law to the things you don’t understand. “Heckler’s veto” is a term of art that actually means something, and the entire point of coining the term heckler’s veto was to clarify what the law would NOT give.

    Nobody gets the heckler’s veto in law. That’s the whole fucking point. But I’m sure you “understand” that, in some odd sense of the word “understand”.

    #51:

    It’s not a sword, it’s a shield. It may hurt men’s feelings but men’s feelings are not as important as women’s safety.

    Which would be a significant statement if you yourself actually understood the difference between feelings and safety.

    As it happens, you’re speaking to a group of people that include some who have been leaders in articulating distinctions between feelings (especially but not only of “comfort”) and safety (not limited to safety from physical injury or sexual assaults). Your “insight” then is not only not particularly needed here (though in a large enough audience there will always be some who need to hear it), but is actually decades behind.

    We’ve studied safety, and it turns out that cis-women can and do commit violence, job discrimination, harassment, and other wrongs against other cis-women. Likewise people who thought that requesting someone who shares their religion or some other trait thought salient have frequently and tragically been disabused of the notion that a feeling that one is safe is not the same as actually being safe.

    What keeps people safe is a strong culture of accountability with a focus on proportional and restorative sentences. If you demonize groups (yes, even people whose behavior has earned our well-justified outrage and anger), then you cause actual victims to question their own experiences, to delay reporting of someone who abuses or assaults them because the person who committed the outrage doesn’t seem like a demon with no redeeming qualities, but someone with many positive qualities they show in public combined in the same person as someone who ruthlessly abuses trust in private. The “demon” theory of abuse (just like the “man” theory of abuse) provides the illusion of safety by telling people that they will always know when someone is a threat to them. Unfortunately actual safety is not achieved in that way.

    You may, of course, trot out statistics that show men commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime and sexualized assaults, but, again, being half as likely to be raped is not the same thing as being “safe” from rape.

    Time after time professionals who work on these issues hear folks say that they thought they were safe because they did X, or the abuser had characteristic Y.

    But feelings of safety are not the same as actual safety, and your understanding of this issue is so primitive you clearly haven’t grappled with the difference.

  45. atheistsince2011 says

    ‘TWAW’ comments:
    Right, exactly! So if trans women are women then you need to decide how law, policies, frameworks etc are going to intervene or not intervene based on that.
    Back to the intimate care example, here are just some options:
    1- a woman can request a female caregiver and this must be accommodated.
    2- a woman can request a female caregiver but this request may be denied.
    3- a woman is not permitted to request a female caregiver
    3- a woman can request a female caregiver but the state will decide who is ‘female’
    4- and many more approaches etc
    You can’t have all these at once. If there is an option instituted society-wide, this will require public conversation. This conversation will necessarily need to cover who is a woman, who is female, who is not, how we determine this, and so on. The answer may well be ultimately the answer you want!
    But contra OP, this conversation is not akin to the ‘Jewish question’ or Jim Crow.

    “The majority of men are decent people”
    This is #notallmen and has been refuted by feminism 101.
    Feminist theory generally holds that while most men may be decent people, there is enough male violence at sufficient severity to warrant intervention, and women can’t easily check who is a good man and who is not. Absent intervention, male violence prevails. You can debate what is the best intervention but I don’t think you’ll ever be able to show male violence isn’t a unique and significant issue.
    For example, why have some train lines in some countries institute ‘women only’ carriages? Why do you think this was done? Do you think that women were harassing and upskirting men at the same rate men were doing that to women?

    It’s good that you’re positive about men, so is most feminism right. Feminism has to be optimistic and say that there is a world we can work towards without male violence, that’s the goal, but we’re not there yet and we shouldn’t pretend we are.

  46. atheistsince2011 says

    “Unfortunately actual safety is not achieved in that way.”
    Ok, if you believe that accomodations shouldn’t exist based on gender or sex then say that and own it, but I don’t think that’s the mainstream view and I think it’s ok to have a public conversation about it.

  47. John Morales says

    atheistsince, sure doesn’t look like you’ve read comments other than our host’s.

    Quite notable how you’ve backed right away from the “trans question”, whatever that may be, and are restricting yourself to the topic of men and women.

    For example, why have some train lines in some countries institute ‘women only’ carriages?

    They can still have those, in fact, every social circumstance that applies to men and to women applies exactly the same whether or not those men or women happen to be trans.

    Again, your predicate is inferable from your rhetorical question.

    And, from experience, I know nothing will change that fundamental dogma.
    Once a baby is born, its gender is perforce determined then and there, and must persist thus forever more. Reality be damned.

    feminism 101

    Such erudition regarding the topic!

  48. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Ok, if you believe that accomodations shouldn’t exist based on gender or sex then say that and own it […]

    Quite the counter-productive rhetorical move there, since the phrasing implies you think sex and gender are distinct things.

    (heh)

  49. says

    atheistsince2011 @ #64, I said @ #57 that I’ve long requested treatment by women healthcare providers. Perhaps you could explain what this has to do with the OP.

  50. raven says

    Stupid troll:

    There is an active and vocal contingent of homophobes who advocate for the premise that if a person‘s sexuality is based on sex rather than gender, it is rooted in bigotry. They say things like “you need to examine your preferences”.

    This is gibberish.
    Who cares what a few crackpots say?
    You are free to ignore them, tell them to shut up, or point out where they are wrong.

    Stupid troll:

    They compare homosexuality (and heterosexuality too for what it’s worth) to racism. There’s also the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ flavour, who say things like “it’s ok to only be attracted to one sex, just don’t talk about it”.

    More gibberish.
    Who is they and why should anyone care?
    Again, anyone is free to ignore them, tell them to shut up, or point out where they are wrong.

    The fact that people have opinions that atheistsince2011 doesn’t like or disagrees with is trivial and irrelevant.That is true for everyone.
    As a Pagan, feminist, progressive, scientist, I’m someone that most of the world disagrees with for one reason or another. This is normal

    I actually tried to figure out what this guy is trying to say and couldn’t do it. It’s written so vaguely and incoherently that it isn’t worth the effort to decipher.
    I’m guessing he hates Trans people and is trying to come up with reasons why he hates Trans people and can’t actually find any reasons.

  51. says

    Once a baby is born, its gender is perforce determined then and there, and must persist thus forever more. Reality be damned.

    It’s wild! A few observations by someone on the scene give rise to a binary assignment, and this has power over someone’s life course!

  52. raven says

    I’ll make it as simple as possible for atheistsince2011 and see if it works.

    What do you want to do with and to Trans people?
    .1. Kill them.
    This isn’t a strawperson option. It happens a lot. Trans have a high suicide and a high homicide rate.
    ..2. Make Trans illegal and round them up and throw them in jail?
    .3. Persecute them. Limit what jobs they can perform and how much schooling they can get.
    .4. Exile them to someplace cold and remote like the North Sea islands or Siberia.
    .5. Something else?

    Won’t get a real answer.
    This exercise requires the troll to be honest and capable of coherent thought.
    Both are remote possibilities but it has a chance to prove me wrong.

    My solution to the Trans problem.
    What problem? I’ve never heard of Trans people causing problems. I’ve heard countless cases where Trans people have been victims of Transphobes, up to and including being murdered.
    They are just people going about their lives like everyone. Leave them the hell alone!!!

  53. Tethys says

    I don’t feel any urge to define who is a woman, or a man, for legal purposes. The law should be blind as regards equality and human rights, so it is written to specifically make it a crime to discriminate against a person due to gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, religious affiliation, etc..

    Dealing with the creepy men who grope women on trains by charging them with assault, issuing fines, and banning them from public transport seem like a better approach than segregated train cars. Pretending that male predatory behavior is normal is the opposite of a solution to men being predatory creeps.

    Inventing bizarre scenarios involving the gender of abusive caregivers seems like a trolley problem.

  54. says

    When you do, try to think about how engaging with the places where you’ve made obvious errors – like your use of “heckler’s veto” – undermine your credibility, and how actually acknowledging that you’re a human being who doesn’t “understand” everything and is willing to learn and acknowledge your own mistakes might make you more credible to others when you suggest that they might be wrong. If you don’t care about valid critiques of your comments, why should I care about your critique of mine, even if your critique is valid?

    If you ignore all the places where you were wrong to jump forward with your agenda, no one is going to take your critiques seriously since then you would be the quintessential irrational actor who doesn’t care about facts when they get in the way of your argument. No one wants to talk to someone like that, and right now, regardless how you see yourself, that’s how you’re acting by singling out portions of comments that you feel you can use to advance your argument while ignoring the critiques of your own comments.

  55. raven says

    Transgender people over four times more likely than …https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu › Press

    Mar 23, 2021 — Transgender people are over four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault …

    This is not an example of a Trans problem
    It’s an example of a cisgender problem.
    They have a history and high likelihood of assaulting Trans people.

  56. lochaber says

    atheistsince2011>

    why are you so adamant that we have strict definitions for these various categories?

    One of the reasons people (self included) get their hackles up over questions like this, is because some of us can’t really see much point to it unless someone is interesting in pigeonholing and oppressing people. Most people looking for a “simple” definition in regards to man/woman, are also looking to restrict and reduce the rights of a chunk of the population based on that definition.

    And none of us have forgotten that those very same people who were oh-so-concerned about the almost nonexistent threat (of cis-guys claiming to be trans women, and then entering women’s bathrooms to assault women), also opposed places having multiple, single-occupant, gender neutral bathrooms.

  57. says

    @lochaber:

    Yes. Exactly. Whether or not “octroons” were “negroes” before the law would have been irrelevant in the Plessy case if there weren’t laws discriminating on the basis of race.

    If you want to prohibit discrimination you don’t need a careful definition. Laws against discrimination on the basis of religion, for instance, do not require a strict definition of “religion” or “christianity” or “heretic”. Rather they are written to prohibit discrimination based on actual or perceived religion. If the person kicking you out of the diner does so because they perceive you to be a heretic against their religion satisfies the requirement and you don’t actually need to know if a Sedavacantist is technically Catholic or not technically Catholic and thus the bully and the victim are or are not legally different religions. It is enough that the bully perceived a difference in religions and then acted to discriminate on that basis.

    Defining religion is much more difficult than defining gender or sex (not that those are particularly simple, but they are less complex than religion). If atheistsince2011 was actually serious about how such things are handled in law, there is an entire body of scholarly work about statutory and constitutional drafting and interpretation related to such questions.

    Instead, atheist since2011 comes to some random blog where even the author of the blog is not a lawyer to ask how questions with tens of thousands of careful legal scholarship informing them should be answered.

    We want the questions answered fairly and in a way that promotes human rights, but we haven’t all studied such things to the depth that specific answers might require. Instead we recognize that actual experts exist and we trust that if they can sort out how to handle religious discrimination then at least the basic-level questions asked by a random person on the internet are probably already well handled with respect to gender and sex discrimination.

    What isn’t handled is whether it’s “fair” to discriminate against trans people. Society is deeply divided on that point. But that’s not a question of statutory drafting. That’s a question of popular opinion (and will).

    But, again, atheistsince2011’s understanding of such things is so primitive that they can’t imagine that the thorny problems aren’t about definitions but about fairness and justice and, yes, safety.

    But if they did, they’d recognize that a capitalist carceral state is more frustratingly relevant to the question of how to protect and support a population than specific definitions of gender.

  58. lochaber says

    @Crip Dyke>

    Thanks, both for the mention, but more importantly for a more coherent framing and argument of the idea I was stumbling around with.

    :)

  59. Kevin Karplus says

    I thought that the rutabaga question was “which yellow root is most discriminated against? rutabagas or mangel wurzels?” You don’t get to count takuan, which is just white daikon that has been dyed in the pickling process.

  60. atheistsince2011 says

    Hecklers veto: Yes Crip Dyke I thought this meant ‘final say’ – I see it’s a specific thing that doesn’t mean that. Happy to acknowledge you are correct about this and I was wrong.

    John:“What about trans womens’ safety? Shouldn’t that count?”
    Of course.

    John:”…the phrasing implies you think sex and gender are distinct things.”
    I definitely think they are distinct things.

    John:”in fact, every social circumstance that applies to men and to women applies exactly the same whether or not those men or women happen to be trans.”
    Great, I’m not going to argue against you on that. But I don’t think that people who do argue against you are akin to nazis. Not everyone agrees with your position that gender can matter but sex can’t.

    EM: “I just want to point out that every single question asked assumes the rigid gender binary is the valid, natural, and unquestionable reality for human society from the start”
    No, it assumes that the gender binary (or sex binary) is a model to be attacked or defended or changed. ‘Unquestionable’ is what OP wants, remember? I am not team ‘unquestionable’.

    SC: “Perhaps you could explain what this has to do with the OP.”
    Sure, so for example there are public debates about whether we can request a particular gender caregiver but not a particular sex caregiver. OP suggests there’s nothing to debate about this, and anyone who wants to request a same-sex caregiver, or anyone who wants to clarify what ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ mean, is like a nazi.

    Steve:”Question for you – what makes you think PZ and most others in the Horde (?) here are being either cagey or self-censoring and why?”
    You misunderstand, PZ in the OP is saying that the people who want a public discussion on sex and gender are cagey. Check the OP again.

    Tethys: “Sex blindness is a trollish complaint. Nobody has said you can’t notice that people have genders, merely that gender is not a binary.”
    If a framework or rule can’t refer to a persons sex, that framework or rule is sex-blind. That might not be a bad thing, but it is a thing to evaluate. If a framework refers to genders but not to sex, that framework is not gender-blind but it is sex-blind.

    John: “If trans women aren’t women, everything follows.”
    No, see for example current IOC approach to trans inclusion in swimming. A system can acknowledge trans women as women while not completely disregarding peoples sex. Whether that is clunky, a good idea or not, backhanded misgendering, etc, is part of the public discussion.

    Raven: “Who cares what a few crackpots say?”
    Probably people who are exposed to it, mainly.

    Lochaber: “why are you so adamant that we have strict definitions for these various categories?”
    I’m not. I think flexible definitions should always be on the table. And SC replying to you is 100% on the money about anti discrim laws.
    But to use my example again, if a woman requests a female intimate caregiver, who gets to decide what ‘female’ means? If you say it’s not the patient herself who gets to decide, aren’t you the one imposing your definitions on her?
    Sometimes people try to give off “oh I just live and let live” energy, while probably having very prescriptive and absolutist answers to the questions. It is because they have prescriptive and absolutist answers that they feel that there doesn’t need to be public debate.

  61. John Morales says

    atheistsince:

    John: “If trans women aren’t women, everything follows.”
    No, see for example current IOC approach to trans inclusion in swimming.

    Um, the IOC is not a social enterprise; it’s a professional sporting body.
    The Olympic games are not a typical suburban swimming club.

    And yes, the very point I was making is that when you refer to things like “some train lines in some countries institute ‘women only’ carriages” you only have a case if trans women aren’t women — else, they belong in that carriage.

    John:”…the phrasing implies you think sex and gender are distinct things.”
    I definitely think they are distinct things.

    Well then, it’s clear that the IOC is discriminating by sex, not by gender.
    So how is that relevant to the social status of trans women, outside elite sports?

    Not everyone agrees with your position that gender can matter but sex can’t.

    Whatever made you imagine that’s my position?
    Of course sex matters; if you have testicles, you don’t go to gynecologist, you go to an urologist. If you’re pregnant, you go to an obstetrician.
    That’s just physiology.

    (Obviously, anything can matter; skin colour, hair type, whatever)

    And I reiterate what I noted right at the beginning; those such as you focus on trans women, totally ignoring trans men — though they are both aspects of transgenderism.

    Anyway, there’s no actual problem.

    (I’m pretty sure the Tories aren’t thinking of elite women’s sport — though that comes up so very often. How often have you been involved in elite women’s sport? I never have, it’s abstract to me)

  62. F.O. says

    Just chiming in to say, as a cishet man, I find the notion that I’m a predator and that I can’t control myself or that I can’t take responsibility of whether I hurt someone or not EXTREMELY insulting.

    Further, if this was true, then men would need to be barred from ANY position of responsibility, if anything because they are easily manipulated.

  63. says

    Hecklers veto: Yes Crip Dyke I thought this meant ‘final say’ – I see it’s a specific thing that doesn’t mean that. Happy to acknowledge you are correct about this and I was wrong.

    This is a promising move towards a more productive conversation.

    That out of the way, I’d like to hear your thoughts on my point that safety and feelings of safety are not the same thing.

    Additionally you seem to leave some important things unsaid when you use words like “must” or “needs”. As one example:

    if trans women are women then you need to decide how law, policies, frameworks etc are going to intervene or not intervene based on that.

    A need implies a consequence. Clearly it’s not literally true that one “needs” to decide how laws, policies, frameworks, etc. are going to function with respect to trans people. We know this because the law has not clarified these things in many places at all, ever. Yet law enforcement have arrested trans persons and decided what jail cells will hold them. Courts have made decisions about whether a trans person’s marriage is valid (and thus requires a divorce) or invalid (and thus should never have received recognition in the first place, thus requiring no divorce or annulment at its end). The courts in Texas are (in)famous for deciding against trans persons in every case. If it was to a trans person’s advantage to have been married, the marriage was considered null and void. If it was to a trans person’s DISadvantage to have been married (perhaps they are wealthy and being sued for divorce by someone who wanted alimony), the marriage was recognized by the courts. The problem was so notorious in legal circles that the supreme court of civil appeal in Texas (they have a separate one for criminal appeals) was asked when they would resolve the question of what sex a trans person was — the sex assigned at birth, the sex of medical reassignment, what? — for the purposes of marriage so that a trans person would be able to know in advance if they were in a real marriage or not.

    To my knowledge, they declined to answer that question, and they certainly declined to ever take an appeal so that trans people could get married. They hated the very idea of trans marriage because no matter what they decided, they would either create apparent gay marriages (to their way of thinking, actual queer marriages to mine, such as when someone assigned male at birth transitions and marries another woman) or actual (to their way of thinking) gay marriages when someone assigned male at birth transitions and marries a man.

    The point here is that NO. Neither the law nor anyone else “needs” to do this in any existential sense.

    But it’s true that not doing so creates consequences. In Texas one consequence was that courts were free to invalidate any marriage that they liked, just to indulge judges’ prejudices. So even though it’s not true in the abstract or unqualified sense that someone “needs” to specify policy and law, it’s true that if such laws and policies go unspecified, there will be consequences.

    What makes your question so inchoate, so badly formed, if you will, is that you never specify which consequences you care about.

    I mean, one of those consequences is that lawyers like me will make money arguing these cases in court. Was your question intended to specify that we “need” to prevent certain lawyers from making an income?

    I kinda doubt it, but you certainly didn’t think things through enough to exclude that possibility.

    So let me help you out. What you “need” to do is read some disability law. We prevent discrimination based on disability in employment, but we do allow for exceptions. Many of these are referred to as “bona fide job/occupational requirements”. When do we allow those exceptions? What policy purposes do those exceptions serve? What public benefit justifies those policy purposes and how much evidence was required in order to prove that such policy purposes place those laws and their exceptions in so-called “intra vires” (“within the power”) territory for legislative bodies?

    As it turns out, many of the complexities of legal judgements surrounding the questions I think you probably want answered have been explored in disability law in the US, NZ, Canada, the UK, and Australia over the last 25-30 years. If you actually want answers to your questions rather than internet fights, taking a course in the history of disability law would likely be very useful to you. You could learn something about the decision-making frameworks we already use when, say, an employer is required not to discriminate on the basis of a cleft lip or palate, but a customer doesn’t want to be served by such an employee.

    Again, the idea of rights in conflict is not new. I’ve lectured on it myself at both conferences and universities. Legal communities have been tackling this since before the Magna Carta was written, and there have been very significant developments in the US and other english-speaking common law countries since the mid-20th century and the disaster of Korematsu and similar legal abominations.

    This isn’t an area you understand better than others here, but if it’s an area you find interesting there already exist tens of thousands of pages of good writing on the subject…so you certainly could become an expert and then you certainly could come back to revisit the general idea of rights in conflict here in Pharyngula comments (or elsewhere) and really educate people about an important topic.

    But whether you do or don’t decide to become an expert in this area and then come back to teach folks what you’ve learned, PLEASE don’t use “need” or “must” or “required” without specifying the consequence that concerns you.

    As of right now, your original comment isn’t even lucid enough to directly address.

  64. StevoR says

    @ ^ atheistsince2011 : I answered all your questions in my # 47 and the only thing you respond to a minor point about perceived caginess? Plus you mispelled my nymn but anyhow. Ignoring the issue of your claim that people here incl. PZ are self-censoring – which, no. I don’t think so.

    Again since I’ve answered your questions how about you answer mine of :

    1) Why does having a specific definition for these terms ( sex, gender, man, woman, non binary, sexuality) matter to you?

    2) Please can you rephrase your fourth question so that it makes sense – Class of what? What exactly do you mean by sex / gender here?

    3) Why do you think PZ and commenters here are “self-censoring” and what evidence do you have to support that claim if any?

  65. Tethys says

    If somebody has a gender preference for their caregiver, then they would hire them. I don’t think avoiding abuse is a primary concern in deciding if you prefer a male nanny, or a female nanny.

    I still see no need to publicly debate the gender of women, regardless of their status as cis or trans gender. For any legal purposes they are simply adult humans, and gender still does not determine your legal rights.

  66. Louis says

    Minor addenda:

    1) “I heard some people say some stupid shit once, therefore this is binding on you”. Yeah, I heard someone say the world is flat once. Good luck applying this standard to yourself. What’s that you say? That would be illogical? Why we seem to have arrived at my point! A lot of people say stupid shit. Doesn’t mean that other people, not saying the same stupid shit, need to defend the stupid shit. Easy.

    2) I’ve got no problem with a woman requesting a woman caregiver. Transwomen are women. “Woman”, like “man” is something one becomes. No one is born a “woman”. We even have separate words for cis-female (and other) people, baby, infant, girl, woman etc. Arguably, like “adulting”, or “manning”, “womanning” is something that doesn’t just relate to what you are but what you do. Why it’s like there’s nuance in the world.

    3) As always, there’s a lot I don’t know (and will likely get wrong) here. For example, I can see arguments for not having transwomen staffing rape shelters and feel nothing but sympathy for that situation. And then I think “Okay, but what if there were such things as white women only shelters with no black staff” and I think my sympathy could be misplaced. Essentialism is so baked into to all our experiences that it can be tricky to think around that blockade. We habitually want nice neat categories so we don’t have to spend time thinking about things we don’t want to exercise the bandwidth on. This is true from political alignment to sports teams to everything.

    Oh wait…you thought it was a gotcha.

    Louis

  67. KG says

    But to use my example again, if a woman requests a female intimate caregiver, who gets to decide what ‘female’ means? If you say it’s not the patient herself who gets to decide, aren’t you the one imposing your definitions on her? atheistsince2011@82

    So what are you suggesting the woman needing care should be able to insist on for the caregiver? Genital examination? Karyotyping? Assessment of testosterone level? Distribution of body fat? (Note that any two of these can give what a devotee of binary thinking about sex would consider contradictory answers.) Be specific about how you think it should be ensured that the caregiver is female by the preferred definition of the woman needing care.

  68. says

    Since atheistsince2011 is now in the logorrhea phase of their ideology advocacy, I won’t be responding to them further. Everyone else can have fun exposing their ignorance.
    However, if the infestation spreads and they end up polluting other threads, they will be banned.

  69. Louis says

    KG,

    I think everyone should be karotyped, have a picture of their genitals, an up to date testosterone test value, body fat distribution, their views on toilet use, and the degree they are concerned for the children all recorded.

    Perhaps all this information could be organised onto some kind of convenient object like a card, or some papers. These papers could then be produced on demand to the relevant body of overseers and spot checks of the accuracy of the information could be performed. Obviously the overseeing authority would ask politely for these papers, using the word please, naturally. And as a multicultural country perhaps they could use different languages to make people of other nationalities feel welcome. For example, German. I think Hugo Boss could design the uniforms for these overseers.

    Seems fair.

    Louis

    P.S. would they have to eat rutabagas?

  70. says

    atheistsince @82:

    Great, I’m not going to argue against you on that. But I don’t think that people who do argue against you are akin to nazis.

    Well, your opinion is definitely wrong here: many of the people asking the same questions as you do, and advocating discrimination against trans people based on vague alleged “safety” concerns like yours, ACTUALLY ARE “AKIN” TO NAZIS, in that they advocate segregation and singling out of whole groups of people deemed “undesirable” or “untermenschen” or a “threat,” pretty much like the original Nazis, and all their “neo” successors, consistently do.

    OP suggests there’s nothing to debate about this, and anyone who wants to request a same-sex caregiver, or anyone who wants to clarify what ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ mean, is like a nazi.

    Please quote the part of the OP that “suggests” anything of the sort, or admit you’re full of shit and unfit to participate in this adult conversation. First, it is beyond asinine to equate asking for a same-sex caregiver and “wanting to clarify what ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ mean” — they’re not the same thing at all. And second, I’ve never heard ANYONE, ANYWHERE, “suggest” that anyone asking for a same-sex caregiver is a nazi.

    This quote alone shows that you are being deeply dishonest, even after promising to step back and consider what we’ve said to you so far. Grossly misrepresenting what others have said is generally called “poisoning the well,” and it’s a very good reason for us to conclude that you’re just too dishonest and malicious to be worth arguing with.

    You misunderstand, PZ in the OP is saying that the people who want a public discussion on sex and gender are cagey.

    If they were cagey, we wouldn’t have to deal with their endless bad-faith “questioning” of other people’s knowledge and lived experiences. Some loud-mouthed ignorant people (i.e., bigots, creepy gropers, people who can’t bring themselves to behave properly in public, etc.) really SHOULD be more cagey, at least long enough for them to actually read, listen and try to understand, instead of trying to impose their own simpleminded worldviews or fantasies on other people. There’s nothing at all wrong with shutting up when you realize your words contribute nothing and do no one any good. That’s why I’m cagey about things like superstring theory, race-relations as they apply to specific people I don’t know, other people’s health concerns, etc. etc.

    If a framework refers to genders but not to sex, that framework is not gender-blind but it is sex-blind.

    Utter bullshit. Gender and sex are interrelated, so it’s pretty hard to acknowledge one and not the other. Acknowledging a complex reality is not blindness — refusing to acknowledge it is.

    But to use my example again, if a woman requests a female intimate caregiver, who gets to decide what ‘female’ means?

    God’s balls, boy, are you really that clueless about how people choose (or can’t choose) their caregivers out here in the real world? If you need a doctor, you look up names in either a phone book or your insurance-provider’s directory, and you can choose a provider using the information available, which includes the providers’ names; so you can, at least, choose a provider whose name seems to match the gender you want. And then, if FOR WHATEVER REASON you don’t like that provider, you can choose another one, without ever being questioned about your reasons — all of that within the limits dictated by your location, circumstances, insurance network, etc. Seriously, there’s no trans-activist star-chamber looking over your shoulder in any of that, and never has been.

    Sometimes people try to give off “oh I just live and let live” energy, while probably having very prescriptive and absolutist answers to the questions. It is because they have prescriptive and absolutist answers that they feel that there doesn’t need to be public debate.

    I’m sorry, what the actual fuck does that even mean? I’d love to hear you explain that, if you can.

  71. Louis says

    PZ,

    Sorry I should have said appropriately censored pics on the ID papers. I am, of course, Very Concerned.

    I like rutabagas, with tatties and haggis they are stupendous. Mind you, anything with haggis is pretty great.

    Louis

  72. says

    @ ^ atheistsince2011 : I answered all your questions in my # 47 and the only thing you respond to a minor point about perceived caginess? Plus you mispelled my nymn but anyhow…

    Whaddaya complaining about, SteveORr? He totally ignored me!

  73. atheistsince2011 says

    John: “So how is that relevant to the social status of trans women, outside elite sports?”
    John, you are doing what I’m advocating for without realising it. You’ve sat down and thought about what sex and gender mean to you, you’ve thought about where these things are relevant and irrelevant, and you’ve started thinking about how to implement things politically (e.g one rule for elite sports, another rule for social sports) (there can be women-only carriages but trans women must be permitted to use them). So whatever you think of my position, maybe look in the mirror at yours?

    CD: “That out of the way, I’d like to hear your thoughts on my point that safety and feelings of safety are not the same thing.”
    You’re right, but I say distinguishing between these two things requires data and philosophy. For example this is why in the USA there’s a ‘women’s’ loo but not a ‘white people’ loo. Is this something people are really disagreeing with me on?
    Accomodations for women that have been put in place around the world have been done so on the back of statistics, as well as lived experience. The nature and impact of patriarchy in our societies isn’t something we are just wildly guessing about. Collecting and interpreting good data requires good philosophy. We don’t have good data or good philosophy right now.
    The people I feel I am arguing against want to enact, or remove, major public policies without data and without debate.

    “revisit the general idea of rights in conflict”
    If you believe that rights can conflict and that the conflict of rights often has complex resolution, you and I are on the same side.

    StevoR and RagingBee: I don’t want to answer the questions here. PZ’s view, as I interpret it, about the New Statesman article is that the idea of publicly debating sex, gender, etc, is beyond the pale, that the people who want to do it are dishonest, that it’s maybe about violence against trans people rather than balancing rights. So what I’m saying is -if you want to know what people have questions about and want to debate politically, here are some of the big questions for public conversation. And it’s not ‘should we throw people in gas chambers’, it’s what will be the meaning of sex and gender in law, who will get to decide, and so on.

    Louis: “2) I’ve got no problem with a woman requesting a woman caregiver. Transwomen are women.”
    Sounds like you do have a problem with people requesting a ‘female’ caregiver, though. Sounds like you want to set the terms on what gender and sex mean, and sounds like you want to set this not just for yourself but for everyone. Hence – public conversation.

    Louis: “For example, I can see arguments for not having transwomen staffing rape shelters and feel nothing but sympathy for that situation…I think my sympathy could be misplaced”
    Yeah, its a big conversation in many societies at the moment. That’s my point.
    Essentialism is awful, I’m against essentialism.

    KG:”So what are you suggesting the woman needing care should be able to insist on for the caregiver? Genital examination? Karyotyping? Assessment of testosterone level? Distribution of body fat?”
    I’m suggesting that as you correctly point out, the meaning of sex and gender sometimes needs to be decided in some contexts. I’m suggesting that we can’t sort this out without a public conversation, and I’m suggesting the public conversation is not as evil as portrayed in the OP.

    If we all agree that it’s ok to have public debates about sex and gender, and none of us disagree with each other then:
    a) check out the new statesman it’s got a fair few articles on this topic
    b) bit weird to say my views are like diarrhoea then but ok

    RagingBee: yeah there are bad faith actors in all public debates. I think PZ is trying to swing the idea that modern debates about sex and gender are all or mostly bad faith.

  74. atheistsince2011 says

    Hey PZ I know I have been super critical of your take on this and I think you’ve got it completely wrong, and I hear that you feel it’s vice versa, but I respect that you let me speak.

  75. Tethys says

    Is atheistsince2011 a real human, or a bot that regurgitates nonsense on the subject of gender vs sex (but only in regard to transwomen)

    Clearly we must debate this.

  76. lochaber says

    I think PZ is trying to swing the idea that modern debates about sex and gender are all or mostly bad faith.

    Yeah, I’m with PZ here, I think most of these debates are in bad faith. I’ll admit that there are a few ignorant and ill-informed people who do not have any familiarity with the language, or the actual biology behind sex, let alone gender, but then again, I feel that those people acting in good faith will be more interested in explanations, and willing to go and read more about a topic before they argue with certainty. And almost everyone “asking” these questions already has an answer in their head, and aren’t interested in what the other person said.

    The idea of gender, sex, and terms like “man” and “woman” are nebulous, fuzzy categories that rely on multiple indicators, very few of which are discernible to any outside party. If you look at any single, measurable, characteristic, you’ll likely get a somewhat bimodal distribution across the human population, whether it’s distance from urethra to anus, height, BMI, shoulder to hip ratio, cup size, muscle mass, blood hormone levels, or various pelvis or cranial measurements. Whatever method you rely on, if you map it out, and color in by gender (or sex), there is going to be a significant overlap. And, the more of those measures you combine, the more overlap there is going to be, to the point where drawing any line and declaring people on with characteristics to one side of the line are men, or male, or masculine, and those with characteristics on the other side are women, or female, or feminine, is just arbitrary to the point of being absurd.

    I didn’t address it when I was typing up the list, but now I think you could even throw X/Y chromosome ratios in there, and although you’d get a pretty spiked bimodal curve, there are still enough individuals with variances from the more common XX/XY chromosomal distribution, but it would be hard to graph since it is more of an integer (discrete? I’m rusty on my math/stats terms…) value, you get people with XXX, XX, XY, XYY, XXY, and countless others, but to the best of my knowledge, you don’t really get people with 0.5X and 2.3 Y or whatever…) And, before you dismiss this, earlier this year, PZ had a couple of blog posts about some XY individuals who had given birth. They identified as women, were checked off as female on their birth certificates, had all the physical characteristics commonly associated with cis-women, but during some test, it was revealed that they had an XY karyotype.

    Their is more variance than we can imagine, and trying to demand that everyone fit into an artificial pigeonhole is some sort of special blend of arrogance and ignorance.

    “false dichotomy” is considered a logical fallacy for a reason…

  77. says

    CD: “That out of the way, I’d like to hear your thoughts on my point that safety and feelings of safety are not the same thing.”

    You’re right, but I say distinguishing between these two things requires data and philosophy.

    No, that’s not what you said. Here’s what you said:

    From #25:

    I understand that you think your opponents’ (whether they be religious conservatives, radical feminists, or ordinary women raised in a sex-based culture) raising of the above questions is only motivated by unspeakable bigotry on par with nazism
    …[followed by a bunch of questions, none of which are statements articulating the importance of data or philosophy]

    From #52:

    Women around the world and throughout history have a recognised pattern of requesting, for example, intimate care be provided by other women rather than men, as a way to manage and mitigate the epidemic of male violence and predation that has permeated every society ever.
    It’s not a sword, it’s a shield. It may hurt men’s feelings but men’s feelings are not as important as women’s safety.
    There are many such accomodations and affirmative policies in many countries. If you’re against these, so be it, but I put to you that you should recognise that your view isn’t popular, is a radical departure from the status quo in every country on earth, and requires public conversation to get to where you want to be.

    Again, nothing about data or philosophy. Also please note that “trans women are women” does not come with the corollary, “and men are women”, or even the corollary, “and cis women requesting intimate care providers be women is no longer allowed”. So you assume that people who support trans communities and individuals are opposed to such policies, but you don’t show much… what is the word? Data? Evidence? … that this is the default view amongst persons who advocate antidiscrimination protections for trans employees.

    Still having no luck finding where you were saying, “Your side needs good data and philosophy.”

    Instead what you said was, “I attribute a very unpopular policy to your side, even though I quote no one ever articulating that policy much less advocating it, and then mock you for having an uphill climb ahead of you to implement your unpopular policy which I’ve never shown is yours.”

    One of the things about philosophy is that it has shown that the people who are having a thought are much more reliable reliable sources for verification that they are actually thinking that thought than random persons showing up on a blog.

    So… you’re here telling us what policies we espouse and that is… bad philosophy. Supported by zero data.

    Why should we believe you are an advocate of good philosophy and data when you, yourself, violate bedrock principles of both.

    It’s not hard to quote someone and provide a link to their work on the internet. So pick ONE person here in these comments who has said EVEN ONCE that women are no longer free to pick their own service providers.

    If you can’t, then when you say,

    I put to you that you should recognise that your view isn’t popular

    you are practicing bad philosophy with no data. And if you have no data that this is our view, or even the view of a single one among us, then isn’t that lying?

    Why would you lie to us about our own beliefs? It seems like we would pretty easily catch the lie and you would sabotage your credibility, which, of course, would then prevent useful conversation, though it would be highly likely to spark — and in fact it did spark — a lot of hostile snark at the person who showed up here and thought they knew better than we ourselves do what thoughts are in our heads and policies we have a history of advocating.

    Do you see now why you were met with hostility? We’re not stupid. We know you showed up to insult us with no evidence, bad data, and shit philosophy OR that you should up incredibly stupid and ignorant, but free of ill will. It really can’t be both. If you knew that you had no evidence that any of us were saying such things and then you told us

    your view isn’t popular

    you would be fully aware that you are not a telepath and you haven’t quoted/linked anyone here present to support your assertion. You would, in a word, be aware that you were lying about the people here present.

    Again, why would you do that?

    If you believe that rights can conflict and that the conflict of rights often has complex resolution, you and I are on the same side.

    But you don’t know anything about the long history of rights in conflict and how such conflicts are resolved.

    And do you have a quote from any person here, any of us, ever, in any context, saying that conflict-of-right never occurs? Or saying that such conflicts always have simple solutions?

    Because if not, then you know you showed up someplace where you have no evidence that anyone is not “on the same side” as you and acted belligerently.

    Why would you do that knowingly? Do you find it helps win people over to your view that “good philosophy” and “good data” are necessary to resolve social issues when you simply assume everyone is a bugfuck manichaean political malfeasor? I presume you’ve kept data on the success of this strategy.

  78. says

    StevoR and RagingBee: I don’t want to answer the questions here.

    First, why the hell not?

    And second, if you refuse to answer our questions, why the hell should we bother with yours?

    RagingBee: yeah there are bad faith actors in all public debates. I think PZ is trying to swing the idea that modern debates about sex and gender are all or mostly bad faith.

    PZ isn’t saying that, and you know it. He’s saying — and we have you as an example — that people who incessantly insist that everything and everyone be hammered into neat simple binary categories, and claiming this is somehow necessary for someone’s safety, are indeed arguing in bad faith and clearly seeking to rationalize their own prejudices instead. And on top of that, we have not merely asserted that your arguments and demands are in bad faith; we have actually pointed out to you, SPECIFICALLY, how and why your particular lines of argument are in bad faith. (i.e., my reference @93 to your misrepresentation of what PZ and others have said, just for starters.)

    I’m suggesting that we can’t sort this out without a public conversation…

    This is yet another well-known bit of dishonesty by transphobic and anti-feminist trolls: barge into an already-long-running public conversation about a topic and demand that there MUST be a public conversation, while being utterly oblivious to what’s already been said for many years by people far more knowledgeable of the topic than you. Do you REALLY believe there’s been no public conversation about this topic, anywhere, ever, before you showed up? Or do you expect everyone to just forget everything that’s been said before you showed up, and just start it all over again for your benefit, with your “concerns” and “questions” getting the top billing you think they deserve?

    If you think public conversation on “the trans question” is soooo important, I suggest, AT THE VERY LEAST, that you have a look at other FTBlogs, authored by actual trans people or people close to trans people, and just STFU and fucking read and process what is said there. Trust me, I’ve been there (Intransitive, Impossible Me, Pervert Justice, etc.), and such issues are discussed in far more depth and detail than they have been here. If you’re not willing to do any of that, then stop pretending either that you care, or that you have a valid place in this public discussion. Your choice.

  79. says

    Oh, and I’d just like to add a bit of advice on how to handle all those bothersome and indelicate questions about how to define (other people’s) sex or gender. This comes from, of all things, a Tory minister:

    Wherever you stand on sex and gender, this most divisive of issues, we mustn’t let politicians stoke the fires of harmful online discourse. We mustn’t let our leaders diminish the prospect of constructive conversations on trans rights any further than they have been already. In fact, we would all do well to take a line out of another Tory leadership contender’s book. Asked by Sky’s Sophy Ridge, “Are trans men men and are trans women women?” the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, responded refreshingly: “Let people live their life.”

  80. John Morales says

    atheistsince,

    First thing to note: you’ve evaded my question.
    You quoted it, you responded to it, but you didn’t answer it.
    It stands pending.

    Now, to your response:

    John, you are doing what I’m advocating for without realising it.

    Accepting the reality of the existence of trans people, and having no problem with them whatsoever? ‘Cos that’s what I do.

    If that’s what you advocate, you sure go about it in a funny way.

    You’ve sat down and thought about what sex and gender mean to you, you’ve thought about where these things are relevant and irrelevant, and you’ve started thinking about how to implement things politically (e.g one rule for elite sports, another rule for social sports) (there can be women-only carriages but trans women must be permitted to use them).

    I give it about as much thought as I need to; fuck-all, really. It’s so obvious.

    This, right here, is a dead giveaway:
    “(there can be women-only carriages but trans women must be permitted to use them)”

    In your head, you were (obviously!) thinking “(there can be women-only carriages but men pretending to be women must be permitted to use them)”.

    Basically, you can’t get away from that foundational premise.
    After all, without it, all objections fall flat.

    So whatever you think of my position, maybe look in the mirror at yours?

    I’m very comfortable that I’m on the right side of history.

    (it’s a bit like hating on drag queens just because they exist — as time passes, new generations have no issue with it)

  81. says

    This is yet another well-known bit of dishonesty by transphobic and anti-feminist trolls: barge into an already-long-running public conversation about a topic and demand that there MUST be a public conversation, while being utterly oblivious to what’s already been said for many years by people far more knowledgeable of the topic than you. Do you REALLY believe there’s been no public conversation about this topic, anywhere, ever, before you showed up?

    This. So much this.

    By twenty years ago – TWENTY YEARS – I was lecturing on rights in conflict in two different countries and specifically how disability rights and the history of applications of racial anti-discrimination laws to to the “women only space” of anti-domestic violence shelters could be used to inform policy making around trans anti-discrimination law.

    But random person on the internet is all like, “We have to acknowledge that rights can conflict!”

    yeah, catch up with the 1890s when the rights of employers and the rights of labor unions were in conflict. Or the rights of property owners in 1670 were in conflict with the rights of neighboring property owners in the wake of the Great Fire and new regulatory efforts by the crown which people who maintained fire hazards complained were an infringement on their property rights, even though allowing them unregulated use of the property in ways that created fire hazards diminished the property rights of others, and there was no way for the crown to “win” the rights-in-conflict game.

    SHIT HAS BEEN DISCUSSED.

    To think you’re bringing something new to this table simply by saying, “rights sometimes conflict, and solving those conflicts isn’t always easy!” takes a fuckload of intellectual arrogance.

    Fortunately for the Gender Crits and fellow travelers that’s one natural resource they have in abundance.

  82. Tethys says

    Being transgender is not some trendy new fad that the kids these days have invented. There are mentions of people who change genders, or have genders other than male or female, in the literature and oral traditions of every ancient society, worldwide. There are always going to be a small portion of humans who are transgender. Just accept the complex reality of gender in other peoples life, and move on.

    Debating trans peoples existence and claiming it’s necessary due to the fact that ‘men are assaulting women on trains’ in some nameless place, is some strong evidence against good faith argument.

  83. raven says

    Brain dead troll:

    StevoR and RagingBee: I don’t want to answer the questions here.

    Because you can’t because you are dumb and a troll.

    Raging Bee:
    First, why the hell not?

    And second, if you refuse to answer our questions, why the hell should we bother with yours?

    QFT.
    You wasted our time and said nothing coherent in two days.
    Our time is valuable and I’m not wasting another second of mine on a boring troll.

    BTW, you ignored my third grade level question at #71 like I predicted you would.
    All you’ve established is that you are using mommy’s computer and she is going to be mad when she finds out.

  84. Louis says

    atheistsince2011 #97

    “Louis: “2) I’ve got no problem with a woman requesting a woman caregiver. Transwomen are women.”
    Sounds like you do have a problem with people requesting a ‘female’ caregiver, though. Sounds like you want to set the terms on what gender and sex mean, and sounds like you want to set this not just for yourself but for everyone. Hence – public conversation.”

    Gender and sex have pretty well established meanings, and a great deal of nuanced understanding behind them, based on a welter of scientific data from a variety of fields. And don’t you notice the hypocrisy here on your part? The accusation of “[me] wanting to set this for everyone”… isn’t that precisely what you’re actually doing? I’m not trying to set the standard for anyone or everyone, I’m doing nothing more than opposing anti-trans bigotry.

    And just like you ignored, I’d oppose white people asking for only white caregivers for the exact same reason, and the extent of my opposition is this:

    “That’s pretty fucking racist”.

    That’s your lot.

    If someone tried to put in place a law (or other mechanism) that supported racist behaviour like this in healthcare, I’d oppose that law via the normal means. Challenging someone’s bigotry isn’t stopping them from being a bigot and acting accordingly.

    Notice that nowhere have I said “ZOMG PEOPLE SHOULD BE LOCKED UP FOR ASKING FOR FEMALE CAREGIVERS WHARGARBL!”. So, you know, maybe less of the strawmen. Argue with what people say, not with what you mistakenly believe they think. You can find out what people believe by, you know, asking questions. It’s a radical notion and a very good indicator that you are acting in good faith.

    As for the other part, you’ve so clearly missed the point, it’s not worth responding.

    Louis

  85. Louis says

    @Tethys #106,

    Please accept my THIS. a 100% THIS. Full throated, unequivocal THIS.

    Louis

  86. Louis says

    @CripDyke #105,

    Whoa whoa whoa whoa WHOA!

    Shit’s happened, like, BEFORE? Like there’s conversations that have been had about this and Teh Transes and suchlike have not sprung up ab initio</> in the last couple of weeks?

    I bet you’re one of them there interlecshuls who’ll tell me there’s stuff about this in books.

    I do not hold truck with such things. No sir. Only need one book. Small book. Soft paper.

    Louis

  87. Louis says

    Oops. Apologies for tag borking.

    I will not apologies for sarcasm. It’s hot here, and transphobes annoy me. I also haven’t yet had coffee, and that makes me dangerous.

  88. KG says

    KG:”So what are you suggesting the woman needing care should be able to insist on for the caregiver? Genital examination? Karyotyping? Assessment of testosterone level? Distribution of body fat?”
    I’m suggesting that as you correctly point out, the meaning of sex and gender sometimes needs to be decided in some contexts. – atheistsince2011@97

    Deliberate misrepresentation of my point, which was, of course, that sex is not the simple binary transphobes like to pretend it is.

  89. Louis says

    KG, oh come on, sex and gender are binaries. They’re either exactly what transphobes say they are, or they’re not…

    WHAT!?

    ;-)

    Louis

  90. says

    atheistsince2011 @ #96:

    KG:”So what are you suggesting the woman needing care should be able to insist on for the caregiver? Genital examination? Karyotyping? Assessment of testosterone level? Distribution of body fat?”
    I’m suggesting that as you correctly point out, the meaning of sex and gender sometimes needs to be decided in some contexts

    That’s a non-answer.

    (Also, I’m trying to figure out how this care-giver selection process would work in terms of trans men…)

    John Morales @ #104:

    This, right here, is a dead giveaway:
    “(there can be women-only carriages but trans women must be permitted to use them)”

    In your head, you were (obviously!) thinking “(there can be women-only carriages but men pretending to be women must be permitted to use them)”.

    Yes.

  91. says

    Tethys @106:

    Being transgender is not some trendy new fad that the kids these days have invented. There are mentions of people who change genders, or have genders other than male or female, in the literature and oral traditions of every ancient society, worldwide…

    Also, there was a German institute for the study of what was then called “sexology,” which had done a lot of study, and amassed a lot of knowledge of transgender people and issues. Then the Nazis took over and their dumbass followers burned it all. So if anyone thinks transgenderism is some newfangled fad never before seen anywhere, that’s one good reason they think that.

  92. says

    You know what?

    I’d give a lot to know what people like “atheistsince2011” talk about in more “gender crit” spaces of the internet before and after coming here for their drive-by pwning of the ignorant, extremist Pharyngulites and discovering that the ignorant, extremist Pharyngulites actually have thought this shit through a hell of a lot more carefully than they have and they can’t actually “win” by showing off their deep knowledge of the fact that “insert stupidly obvious thing here” since everyone else already knows “stupidly obvious thing” and doesn’t come to the same policy conclusions they do NOT because we are ignorant reactionaries who were unaware of “stupidly obvious thing” but because we actually have knowledge and thought and even sometimes actual expertise in these areas that stretch back years if not decades, leading different conclusions than those reached by people who think that there’s only one relevant fact.*

    I mean, I would give a lot for that.

    If by “a lot” one meant “three minutes of my time reading a summary of such things written by a competent and trustworthy masochist.

    =============================

    *One of the truly interesting dynamics of this age is the tendency of people who believe that if you’ve come up with a clear answer to a difficult question, that means you’re stupid and unwilling to think, entirely discounting the possibility that it might ALSO mean that you’re smart or at least of average intelligence and have put in a lot of work on such difficult questions and have now reached the “And look, I came up with a well-justified answer!” stage.

    How “answers” came to be a sign of zero thinking I will never know. They seem unable to distinguish between “I have never done any thinking and never will” and “I have done years of thinking and actually produced results through that process”.

    I mean, I guess it’s all of a piece with today’s anti-intellectualism, but it’s just so weird. It’s like someone coming in here and yelling that we may SAY that a^2 + b^2 = c^2 but ACTUALLY math is pretty fucking hard and why would you assume that without thinking?

    No, we don’t assume that. We studied the math. It’s been proved. Yes, it was hard, but it’s also been done before so now we actually have an answer and have had for a long time.

    Yes, anti-discrimination law creates thorny political issues. Yes, issues of safety are valid issues. Yes, policy makers have had to balance issues of “feelings of safety” and how they are affected (or not) by prejudice against issues of ACTUAL safety many times in the past. As I said, Great Fire of London and the minority of landowners who screamed about their freedom vs. the majority of landowners who didn’t want their shit to burn to the ground again. There is actual work on those subjects. And, weirdly, we see time and again when anti-discrimination legislation crops up that the people who want to discriminate ALWAYS say, “but this is completely different, because we have no prejudices just hard data that our very lives are at stake”, and it’s NEVER true. Anti-discrimination legislation ALWAYS goes through a period when it is resisted and as far as I know NEVER ends up with a wild increase in assaults and murders (if it has happened at all, it’s exceedingly rare). We also have countries to look to who have already adopted anti-discrimination legislation that protects trans folks. British GCs could look to what happened in those other countries if they wanted actual data on risks. But they don’t. Why? Because it shows that they’re spouting bullshit.

    All of which is why I resent the fuck out of people like “atheistsince2011” who claims to “only” be a proponent of good philosophy and data-based decision making, when they are practicing anti-intellectualism and JAQ’ing off here instead of going and reading the data from countries that have relevant anti-discrimination analogs.

  93. Tethys says

    @CD

    ignorant, extremist Pharyngulites and discovering that the ignorant, extremist Pharyngulites actually have thought this shit through a hell of a lot more carefully than they have…

    Thank you for providing such an excellent education on the topic. Every human deserves full equality and it’s disheartening to see how trans peoples existence is the latest topic of obsession and blatant demonizing by right wing fascists.

  94. atheistsince2011 says

    KG: “Be specific about how you think it should be ensured that the caregiver is female by the preferred definition of the woman needing care.”
    In everyday life I’ve never seen it done on anything other than a trust and honour system, and I’ve never seen a system where someone has recourse if they have doubts about the sex that someone is holding themselves out to be. Like yeah we do have birth certificates (for now), but we don’t carry them around with us. Sometimes people will argue that if we need to attach rules/norms/meanings to sex then this requires ‘on the spot genital checks’, this line was used in the US a lot recently, but this is pretty dishonest and ahistorical and mainly only argued as propaganda.
    If you’re asking as a matter of epistemology how it is that we determine sex in humans (and @lochaber), we look at what role a person would play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured. Humans are anisogamous so the sexes are labelled ‘female’ and ‘male’ which does look like a binary at first glance, but there are differences of sexual development (DSDs/VSDs) which can occur in some individuals. (DSDs also have nothing to do with ‘gender’, for what it’s worth). In applying biology to sociology we note that over human history, the class of humans known as ‘males’ has done some significant things regarding the class of humans known as ‘females’. It’s not the only meaningful way of categorising humans (there is race, gender identity, nationality, and many more) but it IS meaningful.
    I understand that in biology there are different ways of labelling humans that aren’t ‘male and female’, but I’d counter that when it comes to the application of human biology to sociology, we’ve never had utility in labelling like 6 human sexes based on hormonal reactions to a drug or like 10 sexes based on specific gene expression in the left lung or something. And is unclear to me why you would want to call those ‘sexes’. But if you did want to advocate for that go for it.

    Multi: there’s a general theme that a person asking for a same ‘gender’ caregiver is fine, but a person asking for a same ‘sex’ caregiver is comparable to racism.
    My question for that crowd would be to flip it around: what makes you think asking for a same gender caregiver is not like racism?
    And this comes back to what you say here Crip Dyke: “the history of applications of racial anti-discrimination laws to to the “women only space” of anti-domestic violence shelters could be used to inform policy making around trans anti-discrimination law.”
    I recognise your expertise on this. My position is that usually, shelters for women want to house trans women and are easily able to do so. They have good risk assessment.
    My position is also that if a shelter wants to be female only, that’s ok too. I wouldn’t nail a dead rat to their door and clamour for their defunding, like what happened to Vancouver Rape Relief in Canada.

  95. John Morales says

    My position is that usually, shelters for women want to house trans women and are easily able to do so. They have good risk assessment.
    My position is also that if a shelter wants to be female only, that’s ok too.

    The usual attempted equivocation, but the obfuscation is feeble.

    Translation: “My position is also that if a shelter for women wants to exclude trans women, that’s ok too.”

    (Your head-canon is transparent)

  96. Silentbob says

    @122 atheistsince2011

    If you’re asking as a matter of epistemology how it is that we determine sex in humans (and @lochaber), we look at what role a person would play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured.

    Lol. So we look at what a person would be if they weren’t what they are.

  97. says

    Okay, first let’s deal with

    I wouldn’t nail a dead rat to their door and clamour for their defunding, like what happened to Vancouver Rape Relief in Canada.

    I oppose nailing rats to doors. That’s horrific and is rightfully condemned. “Clamouring for defunding” is a reasonable action to take depending on your views. I’m sure that there are things that government funds that you would prefer not be funded, and things it does not fund that you would prefer be funded. I resent that taking a political stand on which organizations should be eligible for government funding is presented this way next to the dead rat bit. I’m not saying you intended to put them on a par, but it’s easily open to that interpretation. You may want to clarify your position on this.

    Now let’s go here:

    there’s a general theme that a person asking for a same ‘gender’ caregiver is fine, but a person asking for a same ‘sex’ caregiver is comparable to racism.

    There are reasons to object to your examples.

    First is that in many circumstances, someone is free to reject a caregiver for absolutely any reason at all. You seem to be confusion an employer’s responsibility not to discriminate with some hypothetical requirement that a customer give their money to a particular person, service, or agency under penalty of law. That shit just doesn’t exist, unless you want to say my wording is vague enough to include taxes. So let me exclude that interpretation. A person hiring a caregiver gets to hire anyone they want for whatever reason that they want.

    That said, this right doesn’t magically make it not racist if you as a home owner refuse to hire black arborists to trim your trees. No one has ever proposed a law forcing consumers to avoid discrimination in seeking services. So you’re confusing two issues — whether someone has the right to hire the caregiver of their choice with whether or not someone is a bigot.

    You need to get clear about these things, because being a bigot (of any sort) is perfectly legal. Certain actions that may be motivated by bigotry are punished by law, but not hiring yourself a care provider.

    Next, there is good reason to believe that certain people making these arguments are engaged in bigotry, not least because the women who would be outraged at having a trans care provider ALSO exhibit outrage at the idea that an FtM person might be their care provider (or share the same public bathroom). It is this catch 22 where the hypothetical woman used in GenderCrit arguments uses sex to exclude MtF trans women while using gender to exclude FtM trans men and non-binary people.

    While it’s possible to construct a neat hypothetical, when referring to accusations of bigotry you’re simply not characterizing them accurately. There is context and history here, and making certain statements, within a certain context can be strong evidence (sometimes even proof) of hatred or bigotry — in this case against trans persons.

    Further, let’s say — either in the case of an independent service provider, in which case the person with hiring/firing authority is also the customer, or in the case of someone employed by a care institution which then hires employees to perform care functions — that a customer/patient wishes to exclude potential care providers on the basis of sex. Most humans haven’t been karyotyped or otherwise tested for atypical sexual manifestations. How far can the person with hiring/firing authority go in requiring the care provider to submit to verification? Can I force you to undergo a cavity search? To have tissue cut from your body or blood drawn from it for the purpose of karyotyping? To undergo laparoscopy to biopsy gonadal tissue to ensure it produces ova (or sperm)?

    You repeatedly suggest that proposed non-discrimination schemes are legally fraught without ever considering the implications of your own ideas.

    Instead non-discrimination law should operate as it always has, and care providing institutions should prioritize patient comfort as they (often) have. But care providing institutions shouldn’t be allowed to fire a Black worker because they’ve been getting a lot of requests from patients for white caregivers, and they shouldn’t be allowed to fire a trans worker because they got requests for non-trans caregivers.

    I resent the way you twist non-discrimination law into something it has never been. It is not up to the patient to make non-discriminatory choices; rather the law puts that burden on institutions.

    Yet here you are acting as if non-discrimination proposals are designed to target some nervous old lady with cervical cancer who doesn’t want intimate care provided by someone she believes is a man in drag.

    Your hypothetical is dishonest.

    My question for that crowd would be to flip it around: what makes you think asking for a same gender caregiver is not like racism?

    It may be, in some circumstances. But even avowed KKK members deserve medical care. No one is saying that they don’t. But just because they deserve medical care doesn’t mean that the rest of the world loses their free speech rights to call them fucking racists. So it is with avowed cissexists and the world naming their cissexism.

    And this comes back to what you say here Crip Dyke: “the history of applications of racial anti-discrimination laws to to the “women only space” of anti-domestic violence shelters could be used to inform policy making around trans anti-discrimination law.”
    I recognise your expertise on this. My position is that usually, shelters for women want to house trans women and are easily able to do so. They have good risk assessment.
    My position is also that if a shelter wants to be female only, that’s ok too.

    But this is bullshit, for a couple reasons.

    First, shelters also hire trans staff to provide services. I know, because I have been on the paid staff of such a shelter. You’re refusing to grapple with what you consider to be an evil — that if the institution hires trans staff, then women might be “forced” to accept a caregiver who is believed to be something (trans? male? a man?) that they don’t like. Of course this is also bullshit, since shelters, like other care providers, would likely assign you a different case manager if you needed one. You wouldn’t have a choice of kicking them out of the building for the duration of your stay, so you might have to see them, but you wouldn’t be forced to receive care from them.

    Why does “good risk assessment” make this acceptable?

    Second, if “good risk assessment” allows personal choice to be overridden, then it’s necessary to say that we actually have data on things like trans people using bathroom access to assault cis women — or, in one common variation, cis men pretending to be trans in order to use bathroom access to assault cis women.

    The data is that this isn’t a problem, not least because cis men who want to illegally install hidden cameras or otherwise invade the privacy and even assault women in bathrooms already use other excuses that don’t require them to sacrifice their masculinity (authority as a building owner or business manager, responsibilities for cleaning restrooms, etc., etc.)

    Likewise, there is no significant data that trans “care providers” assault the people that they care for at any greater rate than cis care providers. And trust me, people have been looking for just that so that they can justify their prejudice.

    Even so, trans people do not use the data we have to insist that anti-discrimination laws function in new ways that target consumers and patients. Trans people and their advocates have asked to be included in the same regime of anti-discrimination law that protects others based on their own gender and/or sex.

    Again, your hypothetical is fundamentally dishonest, and I’m not sure if that’s because you honestly have no fucking clue how anti-discrimination law works, or if you know and are engaging in deliberate, pre-planned mendacity.

    that’s a rough place for you, credibility wise.

    =============================================================================

    Finally, and most importantly: why are you asking these questions of PZ, or the Pharyngula commenters? We play no outsized role in writing the law. We play no outsized role in enforcing the law. The blog isn’t a trans-advocacy blog in its focus, even if some posts are. No one here is an expert (to my knowledge) on the specific subject of gender ontology, though I’m an expert in related fields and am competent to give appropriate lay summations of our best definitions of gender and related terms. But unless you knew that before you initiated this conversation, that is only a happy (or perhaps very unhappy) coincidence for you. And if you knew beforehand that I had such relative expertise, why wouldn’t you have asked questions on Pervert Justice instead of Pharyngula.

    And, of course, if you were interested in definitions of gender and related terms, you could easily have searched on google for the best anthropological and ethnomethodological of such terms the entire world of human knowledge has to offer.

    In short, although you asked for definitions, it’s clear you didn’t actually want definitions. You wanted something else.

    Are you willing, at long last, to be honest about what you did want that you camouflaged with a request for definitions?

  98. Silentbob says

    Reading back through this thread, there is so much weirdness:

    @ 51 atheistsince2011

    There is an active and vocal contingent of homophobes who advocate for the premise that if a person’s sexuality is based on sex rather than gender, it is rooted in bigotry. They say things like “you need to examine your preferences”.

    So… cis people are like 99% of the population. The claim being made here, then, is that there is an “active and vocal” “contingent” who say they have no problem with two men having sex, or two women having sex, as long as they are the same gender (99%) – and these people are therefore “homophobes”?!?! How does that work?

    They compare homosexuality (and heterosexuality too for what it’s worth) to racism.

    Then immediately we are told this “contingent” is equally heterophobic! So doesn’t that defeat the premise? How can they be homophobic if they hold heterosexual people in the same alleged disdain? Surely, at a minimum, to be homophobic you must hold gay people to some standard you don’t hold straight people?

    There’s also the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ flavour, who say things like “it’s ok to only be attracted to one sex, just don’t talk about it”.

    Um… “don’t ask, don’t tell” treated being gay as unmentionable and therefore was stigmatizing. The point of telling people not to loudly proclaim that they’re disgusted by fat people, or Asians, or trans people, or whatever, is to avoid stigmatizing. So it’s more like the opposite. For the analogy to work, “don’t ask, don’t tell” would have to mean “don’t ostentatiously proclaim how disgusted you are by gay people”. But that’s not what it meant.

    If you’re not part of this contingent, I respect you for that, but this contingent exists and they will not be defeated by being ignored.

    My goodness! How shall we defeat the homophobic heterophobes who have no problem with anyone sleeping with any consenting adult, but at the same time think transphobia is bad. They must be defeated. (/sarcasm)

    Then immediately we get the bizarre disclaimer:

    yes I know what the party line is on left-wing homophobia: “this isn’t happening, this isn’t what’s being said, people are just defending themselves against rudeness or from being excluded or misgendered”. I do understand that perspective.

    So this contingent that can’t rationally exist, exists, and must be defeated, but you “understand” the “perspective” that they don’t actually exist.

    You are a clown.

  99. StevoR says

    @126. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden : Applause. Well put. You shouldn’t have to do this but I’m glad you do and huge respect for that.

    I wonder if atheistsince2011 will have the decency to respond and, if so, how? Guess we’re about to find out.

    @122. atheistsince2011 : Like yeah we do have birth certificates (for now), but we don’t carry them around with us.

    Huh? You think birth certificates are in danger of being phased out? Minor nit and bit of weirdness there but what the?

    In everyday life I’ve never seen it (ensuring that the caregiver is female by the preferred definition of the woman needing care. – Ed.) done on anything other than a trust and honour system, and I’ve never seen a system where someone has recourse if they have doubts about the sex that someone is holding themselves out to be. Like yeah we do have birth certificates (for now), but we don’t carry them around with us. Sometimes people will argue that if we need to attach rules/norms/meanings to sex then this requires ‘on the spot genital checks’, this line was used in the US a lot recently, but this is pretty dishonest and ahistorical and mainly only argued as propaganda.

    So you’ve never seen your (thus) Just Asking what-if Question of a female being worried by the trans or cis status of their care-givers in everyday life but you are still concerned about it and keen to raise it as an issue? Why? “Dishonest, ahistorical and argued as propaganda .. ” you claim but then immediately BEFORE saying that you’ve already typed :

    “I’ve never seen a system where someone has recourse if they have doubts about the sex that someone is holding themselves out to be.” Implying you think people should have some sort of “recourse” (what recourse specifically?) if people are unsure what sex / gender other people are? I.e. I’m guessing if you suspect somebody is trans you think people should have the “recourse” to .. well, again, what exactly? Demand proof of cispurity? Test them on the spot by a personal genitals or genetic check? Demand papers? Something else?

    Do you wanna stop being all coquetteish and evasive and outright confront us with what you would have cispeople with doubts about others do when they suspect some individual is trans? Do you think – as seems implied – that trans people are somehow violating a “trust and honour system” by presenting themselves as cismen or women? What other meaning or implication should we take from your own words there? Because that seems blatantly transphobic as fuck to me.

    Likewise your line “If you’re asking as a matter of epistemology how it is that we determine sex in humans (and @lochaber), we look at what role a person would play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured.”

    Implying trans people are somehow “injured” – and also intersex people and I guess non-binary and genderfluid and indeed all non-heteronormative queer and maybe even bisexual people too. Morbidly curious but do you consider circumcision typical or an injury?

    I recognise your (referring to Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden -ed) expertise on this.

    Good – but will you actually listen and accept what Crip Dyke says and look at her blog and learn from her here? Or will you just re-state your own admittedly not as expert position and imply that maybe its okay to exclude transwomen (again just transwomen?) from women’s shelters and imply that they are a risk that needs assessing and not actually “female” after all still?

    Funnily enough if you genuinely respect someone’s expertise, its usually good to just say so and then not immediately state your own position and keep asking questions that show you really don’t accept what they have already said. But do prove me wrong and surprise us all please.

  100. StevoR says

    PS. “..or like 10 sexes based on specific gene expression in the left lung or something. “

    Ah yes, those famously sex-determining, reproductive organs the lungs..

    As #125. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite has already mentioned.

  101. says

    Sometimes people will argue that if we need to attach rules/norms/meanings to sex then this requires ‘on the spot genital checks’, this line was used in the US a lot recently, but this is pretty dishonest and ahistorical and mainly only argued as propaganda.

    People like you are the ones being dishonest propagandists here. You keep insisting on strict “biological” definitions of what makes a person male or female — which INEVITABLY means we have to actually examine the biological features covered by such definitions to verify each person’s “biological” sex or gender. The on-the-spot body-searches logically follow from the demand for a strict “technical” or “bological” definition; and your refusal to acknowledge this proves that you’re the one being dishonest.

    And once again, I have to remind you that I’ve quoted an actual working definition AT LEAST TWICE, and you’ve still not acknowledged it. This proves beyond any shadow of doubt that you’re not interested in an honest discussion of the topic.

    If you’re asking as a matter of epistemology how it is that we determine sex in humans…

    Who here is asking that “as a matter of epistemology?” No one. We’re asking about the RELEVANCE of a definition in real-world decision-making. AS in, what decisions do you, or I, or us as people engaged in public dialogue, have to make, and which definition of “male” or “female” is RELEVANT to those decisions, and why is it relevant? This is another matter that I’ve mentioned to you, in plain English, AT LEAST TWICE SO FAR, and which you’re still pretending you never saw or heard.

    And that matter touches on another question you still refuse to answer: How is any of this your business at all? How are you impacted if anyone else fails to adhere to the strict “biological” definitions of sex you keep on demanding? If someone looks male or female to you, or tells you which pronouns they’d prefer you to use, what right or reason can you possibly have to waste anyone’s time questioning any of that?

    …but I’d counter that when it comes to the application of human biology to sociology, we’ve never had utility in labelling like 6 human sexes based on hormonal reactions to a drug or like 10 sexes based on specific gene expression in the left lung or something.

    What you mean “we,” paleface? Do you yourself have ANY expertise or experience that allows you to judge the “utility” of any such “labeling?” None of your comments here show any sign that you do; so you don’t get to speak for anyone else about finding “utility” in anything.

    Multi: there’s a general theme that a person asking for a same ‘gender’ caregiver is fine, but a person asking for a same ‘sex’ caregiver is comparable to racism.

    Where, exactly, is that “general theme” found? Only in your own imaginiation and your own eternal deliberate misrepresentation of what people are actually saying; which persists despite being corrected numerous times by more than one commenter here.

    And this gets back to yet another question of yours that I’ve answered AT LEAST TWICE: how caregivers are selected in real-world situations. ANd once again, you totally ignored my answer and kept on repeating the same “concerns” over and over again. Which once again proves you’re just a bigot desperately trying to pretend you have legitimate concerns about things you’ve never really been concerned enough to LEARN anything about.

    I recognise [CD’s] expertise on this…

    …followed by yet another droning repetition of your ignorant prejudices that they’ve already shown to be dead wrong. That’s not respect for their expertise; it’s an admission that you’re just going to keep on spouting your stupid bigoted opinions even when you know they’ve been proven wrong.

    I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I don’t think there’s any more use in engaging with atheistsince. He/she certainly isn’t engaging honestly with any of us.

  102. KG says

    Indirectly relevant to this thread, Caster Semenya out of world 5,000m as Coe signals tougher female sport rules. Caster Semenya is a South African athlete of great ability. She is a cisgender woman – assigned female at birth, self-identifying as a woman. But she is now being excluded from women’s athletics because she has a 46 XY karyotype with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, meaning she has internal testes, but produced low levels of dihydrotestosterone during sexual characteristic development. The <>IGuardian article says:

    Semenya’s appearance at these world championships came as the World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, gave his clearest indication yet that the governing body would do more to protect female sport.

    “We’ve always been guided by the science, and the science is pretty clear: we know that testosterone is the key determinant in performance,” he said.

    “I’m really over having any more of these discussions with second-rate sociologists who sit there trying to tell me or the science community that there may be some issue. There isn’t. Testosterone is the key determinant in performance.”

    Coe insisted it was his responsibility to “protect the integrity of women’s sport”.

    “We have two categories in our sport: one is age and one is gender,” he added. “Age because we think it’s better that Olympic champions don’t run against 14-year-olds in community sports. And gender because if you don’t have a gender separation, no woman would ever win another sporting event.”

    How exactly excluding women from women’s sport “protect[s] female sport”, I’m not sure, but Coe is of course unequivocally wrong, and betraying his bigotry and ignorance, in saying Semenya has been excluded on grounds of gender: her gender is, unequivocally, female. If it’s actually true that women with a 46 XY karyotype with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency are generally at an advantage relative to other women in athletic competition, it’s practically certain they have in the past won lots of championships, since both testosterone-level testing (which I believe is how Semenya’s condition came to light) and karyotyping are recent developments in sport. I leave atheistsince2011 to explain whether a care receiver should be able to insist on karyotyping cisgender women before accepting them as caregivers, without facing the horrific accusation of bigotry, which would obviously be so much worse than what has happened to Caster Semenya.

  103. says

    And following on to StevoR @128, let’s get back to this bit of atheistsince’s blithering:

    If you’re asking as a matter of epistemology how it is that we determine sex in humans (and @lochaber), we look at what role a person would play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured.

    Just for starters, why is “what role a person would play in sexual reproduction” even relevant in situations that have nothing at all to do with sexual reproduction?

    And moving on from that…what about a person who’s born intersex — as in, having a mix of distinct physical features of both sexes? How would we determine what that person would be if “developmentally typical?” Would “developmentally typical” be all girl, or all boy? If you can’t decide which of those two directions that person would go “if developmentally typical,” then this criterion is just useless.

    And the same is true for trans people. If, for example, your body says you’re male but your brain says you’re female (yes, I know I’m oversimplifying here, sorry), then which of the two decides what would have been “developmentally typical?” Someone looking at your body would probably say you’re male, but if every fibre of your being says you’re female and you’d have felt more normal in a female body, then why is that other person’s opinion more relevant or correct than yours? On what basis would we claim that that other person knows what would have been “developmentally typical” for you, and you don’t?

    What if your body looks feminine from head to toe, but with a penis added and no vagina or breasts? Would “developmentally typical” mean you should have had the breasts and vagina to match the rest of you? Or would it mean the rest of you should have been more masculine in shape to match the penis? Would it make a difference if the penis itself was not 100% “developmentally typical?”

    So no, this so-called technical/biological/objective definition of male or female doesn’t work either. But hey, if it’s so much trouble defining who is male and who is female, why not just…I dunno…let each person do the work of defining themselves? I mean, that’s a lot easier than having a small number of people doing the defining for MILLIONS of others, right?

  104. says

    But [Caster Semenya] is now being excluded from women’s athletics because she has a 46 XY karyotype with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, meaning she has internal testes, but produced low levels of dihydrotestosterone during sexual characteristic development.

    So she DIDN’T have typical-male-levels of testosterone — which supposedly makes you so strong no woman can ever compete against you — but they booted her out anyway? Was her performance well outside the range considered normal for women athletes in the same sport? Kinda looks like they don’t really need “testosterone” as an excuse for transphobia.

    And how much of a difference did her internal testes make, if they had to test her karyotype just to find them?

    Bigotry and hysteria are getting way out of hand, and institutions are starting to cave to it. And, as others have been predicting for years already, this isn’t just affecting transwomen; it’s starting to affect any woman who doesn’t conform to someone else’s (ever-narrowing) definition of “femininity.” Who’s next, lesbians with lower-pitched voices?

  105. says

    Ah yes, those famously sex-determining, reproductive organs the lungs..

    Yep, that’s where my eyes always went when I first started looking at Playboy…the girls’ lungs…straining my eyes to see past their breasts…yeah, that’s it…

  106. says

    Then there’s black women…and the racists who said Michelle Obama was really a man and Barack was secretly gay….So, yeah, black women will soon be in those particular crosshairs too. And there’s some tough-looking Hispanic women too…

  107. says

    Gender-Null makes sense here. My feeling of gender isn’t totally absent, but what’s there is so slight that I’m for all intents and purposes I’m immune to the damage done by misgendering. And I’m very analytical about the ways people use the words.
    The rest is finding uses for these, settings?

  108. logicalcat says

    @135

    Seems to suggest her T levels were higher than women generally have in that sport. At least that’s why KG believes is how they found out about her karyotype. Seems likely at least.

    As an aside I’ve meet too many trans people (offline) who do not want this to be the hill to die on especially since they would be the ones doing the dying. It’s being used as a wedge issue and I get the feeling the issue is being brought up by cis-people for their own righteous gratification.

    Leftists try hard to make sure that right wing straw men are real. So the terf straw men of denying women spaces with trans people is rendered true since trans inclusion in sports at the professional and elite level would mean cis-women will not be able to compete. Also no one gives a shit about trans-men apparently since they can never be competitive in anything ever sports related regardless of which side you are on.

    For the record I’m fine with this woman being allowed to compete internal testes or not she’s still a cis-woman.

  109. says

    Illogicalcat @142
    “Leftists try hard to make sure that right wing straw men are real. So the terf straw men of denying women spaces with trans people is rendered true since trans inclusion in sports at the professional and elite level would mean cis-women will not be able to compete.”

    [CITATION NEEDED]

  110. Silentbob says

    @ 142 logicalcat

    Also no one gives a shit about trans-men apparently since they can never be competitive in anything ever sports related regardless of which side you are on.

    Say what now?!!

  111. KG says

    Raging Bee @135
    Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is not the same as testosterone. It is produced from the latter, and what Caster Semenya lacks is the enzyme that does this; she presumably has testosterone levels in the usual male range, and that is what would have been detected. DHT is important in the development of the genitals, prostate and body hair distribution but not, at least according to the linked article (I make no claim to be an expert in these areas), male musculoskeletal development, unlike testosterone.

  112. atheistsince2011 says

    StevoR: “I wonder if atheistsince2011 will have the decency to respond and, if so, how?”
    I’m happy to have a conversation, but it’s really up to the boss how much I’m allowed to respond to questions. I used to read this blog for a few years around the time of the migration to FTB, I think the accusations of troll are off-base, but that’s my whole thesis here isn’t it.

    SilentBob: “Lol. So we look at what a person would be if they weren’t what they are.” Yes, you’ve worded it poorly, but yes, because both scientific and lay understandings of sex factor in that for any given individual, the vast majority of the time that individual won’t be actively reproducing, due to age, injury, choice, circumstance, whatever. The patriarchy also knows what sex an individual is, from before we are born to the day we die, whether we reproduce sexually or not.

    Crip Dyke:“First is that in many circumstances, someone is free to reject a caregiver for absolutely any reason at all.”
    But there are many situations where a person has limited or no choice- public hospitals, prisons, aged care homes, immigration detention, people limited by finances, people under guardianship, so on.

    “whether someone has the right to hire the caregiver of their choice with whether or not someone is a bigot.”
    Yeah someone tried that up above- “what’s the problem so long as I don’t want to literally arrest women?”
    The problem is that this attitude exemplified in this thread towards women’s rights feeds into and informs public policy, and is actively affecting lawmaking today.

    “How far can the person with hiring/firing authority go in requiring the care provider to submit to verification?”
    How far has it gone in the past? In my lifetime we had birth certificates, HR/govt records of our sex, and then the rest was an honour system.

    “…are designed to target some nervous old lady with cervical cancer who doesn’t want intimate care provided by someone she believes is a man in drag.”
    It’s not that they intend to have that effect, it’s that they will have that effect.

    “It may be, in some circumstances.”
    I feel like you’re avoiding the question. It IS a hard question for your worldview, that’s why I asked it. You don’t have to answer to me but I would challenge anyone who thinks that affirmative policies for ‘sex’ are like racism, to ask themselves why they don’t think the same about policies for ‘gender’.

    “we actually have data on things like trans people using bathroom access to assault cis women”Likewise, there is no significant data that trans “care providers” assault the people that they care for at any greater rate than cis care providers.”
    The data supports the side who wants mixed-sex bathrooms etc to the extent it supports anything, yes, but the data is also very poor quality and limited.
    I think this is a good argument by you, if we are assuming that the only rationale for dividing things by sex or gender is “number of assaults”. Take for example, idk, segregated school locker rooms for teenagers. These don’t exist because schools worry that teenagers will literally physically assault other teenagers. They exist because privacy, comfort and dignity in a sex-based society often involves people not being in a state of undress in the company of the opposite sex, unless specifically consented to. Assaults are part of the big picture, but they’re not the whole picture.
    Part of the sex-abolition movement frequently involves, whether this is stated explicitly or not, trying to break down the discomfort of female persons being around male persons while undressed, which is one of the most misogynistic elements to the worldview.

    SilentBob: “The point of telling people not to loudly proclaim that they’re disgusted by fat people, or Asians, or trans people, or whatever, is to avoid stigmatizing.”
    No, the true objection from the left wing homophobe is to same sex attraction, no matter how politely or quietly it is expressed. I shouldn’t have said I understand the perspective, I should have said “I’m aware of the arguments homophobes make to cover up or downplay their awfulness”. If you buy that same sex attraction is comparable to ‘being disgusted by fat people’, you’ve already been played like a fiddle by homophobic propaganda. Homosexuality is not a preference or kink. It’s innate, unchangeable, and it’s existence is just a really great and wonderful thing about humans.

    StevoR: “Huh? You think birth certificates are in danger of being phased out?”
    There’s been proposals by governments many times to remove sex from birth certificates, for example in Australia in 2018.

    “Implying trans people are somehow “injured””
    Absolutely not, I was talking about sex in that part you quoted. I’m saying a person who experiences a injury or illness and who can’t reproduce, still has a sex.

    RagingBee: “You keep insisting on strict “biological” definitions of what makes a person male or female — which INEVITABLY means we have to actually examine the biological features covered by such definitions to verify each person’s “biological” sex or gender.”
    Yes, for infants at birth, not for adults in day to day life.

    KG: “I leave atheistsince2011 to explain whether a care receiver should be able to insist on karyotyping cisgender women before accepting them as caregivers”
    No, that would be invasive, rude and burdensome.

    RagingBee:”Just for starters, why is “what role a person would play in sexual reproduction” even relevant in situations that have nothing at all to do with sexual reproduction?”
    The short answer is that it should not be relevant, but right now it is. Your question here is just a great classic feminist question.

    RagingBee:”But hey, if it’s so much trouble defining who is male and who is female…”
    I’d note that the accuracy rate for ‘sex’ determination at birth in the US is about 99.98%, give or take. The accuracy rate for ‘gender’ determination at birth in the US is about 90% and decreasing.

    Crip Dyke: “I’m not saying you intended to put them on a par, but it’s easily open to that interpretation. You may want to clarify your position on this.”
    Yes, they’re not on par, I didn’t word that well.

  113. Silentbob says

    @ 146 atheistsince2011

    Goodness! It’s a giant Gish-gallop of wrong. I’ll just start with the bit addressed to me and come back if I get time.

    both scientific and lay understandings of sex factor in that for any given individual, the vast majority of the time that individual won’t be actively reproducing, due to age, injury, choice, circumstance, whatever.

    You’re backpedalling. This is called a Mott & Bailey. You’re claim was not the obvious one that people don’t reproduce all the time. It was the ludicrous one that people who do not, cannot, never will, reproduce should be classed on the basis of how they would reproduce if they did reproduce. And I quote, “we look at what role a person would play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical”. This is incoherent nonsense. The role a sterile person plays in reproduction is “none”. An appeal to alternate realities where they are someone else is irrational.

    By the way, what “science” says about “sex” is that it is, “An assignment that is made at birth, usually male or female, typically on the basis of external genital anatomy but sometimes on the basis of internal gonads, chromosomes, or hormone levels”. (American Academy of Pediatrics.) No reference to reproductive ability.

    Back to atheistsince2011:

    The patriarchy also knows what sex an individual is, from before we are born to the day we die, whether we reproduce sexually or not.

    Leaving aside “before we are born(?)”, this is cisnormative (i.e. assuming all people are cisgender). If you knew anything about trans people you would know trans men experience male privilege: (This is a trans man on his experience post-transition)

    All of a sudden, fellow researchers began addressing him more collegially. “It was only changing sex at the age of 40 and experiencing life from the vantage of a man that I finally came to be fully aware of these barriers,” he writes. “People who don’t know I am transgender [now] treat me with much more respect. I can even complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by a man,”

    And trans women experience sexism and misogyny: (This is a trans woman responding to a cis man saying that like him, trans women are “male”)

    When was the last time a man grabbed your breasts in public, Jack? When was the last time you were upskirted? When was the last time a man sent you a dickpic and called you a whore? When was the last time you hid in a women’s bathroom from a man?

    Clearly, your claim is false. Patriarchy does not “know” sex. Patriarchy assigns gender and from that infers sex. Anyone read as a man or woman will be treated as such regardless of assigned sex.

  114. Silentbob says

    @ 146 atheistsince2011

    SilentBob: “The point of telling people not to loudly proclaim that they’re disgusted by fat people, or Asians, or trans people, or whatever, is to avoid stigmatizing.”
    No, the true objection from the left wing homophobe is to same sex attraction, no matter how politely or quietly it is expressed. I shouldn’t have said I understand the perspective, I should have said “I’m aware of the arguments homophobes make to cover up or downplay their awfulness”. If you buy that same sex attraction is comparable to ‘being disgusted by fat people’, you’ve already been played like a fiddle by homophobic propaganda. Homosexuality is not a preference or kink. It’s innate, unchangeable, and it’s existence is just a really great and wonderful thing about humans.

    This bit just has me scratching my head. So it starts off quoting me saying that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a bizarre way to frame criticism of people ostentatiously proclaiming how repulsed they are by a minority. Then instead of addressing that… repeats an earlier assertion of “left wing homophobia”. But surely the relevant parts to address from my same comment were:

    So… cis people are like 99% of the population. The claim being made here, then, is that there is an “active and vocal” “contingent” who say they have no problem with two men having sex, or two women having sex, as long as they are the same gender (99%) – and these people are therefore “homophobes”?!?! How does that work?
    Then immediately we are told this “contingent” is equally heterophobic! So doesn’t that defeat the premise? How can they be homophobic if they hold heterosexual people in the same alleged disdain? Surely, at a minimum, to be homophobic you must hold gay people to some standard you don’t hold straight people?

    Are you unwilling or simply unable to defend the position that people who have no problem whatsoever with sex between two men or two women are nevertheless “homophobic”; and do you recognise that there is no possible rational argument to be made that they are treating gay people any differently than straight people?

    P.S. Congrats on realising that people have psychological attributes, atypical for their genitalia, that are “innate, unchangeable, and… wonderful”. We’ll make a “transactivist” (i.e. non-bigot) of you yet. You’re almost there.

  115. John Morales says

    I’m happy to have a conversation, but it’s really up to the boss how much I’m allowed to respond to questions.

    Indeed. And you don’t have to guess, even!

    Stick to this thread, you’re good.

  116. KG says

    KG: “I leave atheistsince2011 to explain whether a care receiver should be able to insist on karyotyping cisgender women before accepting them as caregivers”
    No, that would be invasive, rude and burdensome. – atheistsince2011@146

    And yet you’re fine with invasive, rude and burdensome demands on transwomen. And you otherwise simply avoid the case of Caster Semenya, even though (or rather, because) it demolishes your claim that:

    If you’re asking as a matter of epistemology how it is that we determine sex in humans (and @lochaber), we look at what role a person would play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured.

    What role would Caster Semenya play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured? She has testes, and no ovaries, and if she did not lack the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, would presumably have developed male-typical genitals. So according to you, she’s a man, and if – having been excluded from elite athletics – she decides on a career as a carer, should be excluded from caring for someone who has specified they want only female carers. Comfortable with those conclusions?

  117. Silentbob says

    I say if Caster Semenya were “developmentally typical” she’d have ovaries like other people assigned female at birth.

    So now what? Do we arm wrestle to see whose imaginary reality wins?

  118. Silentbob says

    (Hint: We could always scrunch patriarchal prescriptions up into a tiny little ball and flush them down the nearest potty as actual radical feminists [not TERFs] advised us to do in the 70s. Then we wouldn’t be living through this era of fucked up trans and intersex prejudice.)

  119. Silentbob says

    Actual radfem [not TERF] Andrea Dworkin:

    Hormone and chromosome research, attempts to develop new means of human reproduction (life created in, or considerably supported by, the scientist’s laboratory), work with transsexuals, and studies of formation of gender identity in children provide basic information which challenges the notion that there are two discrete biological sexes. That information threatens to transform the traditional biology of sex difference into the radical biology of sex similarity. That is not to say there is one sex, but that there are many.

    Dworkin, Andrea (1974). Woman Hating. New York City: E. P. Dutton. p. 175-186. ISBN 0-525-47423-4.

  120. logicalcat says

    @143

    My citation is every single leftists who thinks it’s a good idea for trans women to compete along side cis women who would undoubtedly be pushed out unless you only decide to allow those who transition prior to puberty. Which I’m fine with. Do you want to deny that people don’t think this? In this thread? Then how about in this debate where they literally say “they are okay with ending women spaces if it ends mens spaces as well” and “ who gives a fuck if women can compete at the top level” to paraphrase some of the pro trans in sports people. https://youtu.be/nPss2z6ua1Y

    Now as for the general idea that leftists make sure right wing straw men are true there’s more examples outside of this issue. There’s the terf argument that trans people are just people faking to seem special and now you have leftists on twitter unironically claiming you do not need any dysphoria and that other kin, and xenogenders are real and that you are whatever you identify as no matter what (for the record I think nb people are real, I also think a hell of a lot of cis people pretend to be nb so they can have the status of being a marginal identity without the dangers involved). There’s also the right wing argument that lefties don’t believe that anyone has the right to self defense and lo and behold the demonization of a 17 year old kid amidst an anarchist state since no cops were allowed to interfere with the violent riot and was attacked by a former child predator rioter and apparently he’s the bad guy because he had a gun. There’s the right wing argument that feminists are man hating misandrists and then Depp v Heard happened and all of a sudden every feminist I saw was parroting common MRA talking points to dismiss and diminish the victim hood of Depp.

    I could go on but yea.

    Btw guys I only read this during down time at work so I’ll get to the rest of you if I can. If I even want to.

  121. says

    What role would Caster Semenya play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured?
    Typically, humans die in early childhood, long before they are capapble of sexual reproduction. That was the norm for almost all of human history, and it only changed with the widespread use of modern medicine on children. The vast majority of adults in developed countries today survived childhood because doctors altered our bodies with medicine and surgury when we were children.

    In a hypothetical alternate timeline where Caster Semenya had a “developmentally typical” life, she would have died in early childhood from tonsillitis. Or malaria. Or small pox.

    Moreover, the IOC cannot use “hypothetical alternate-timeline gametes” as an eligibility criteria for sports. Why? Because alternate-universe hypotheticals aren’t measurable. The IOC can measure the biological reality of what your testosterone level is now in the present of the real world. They can do a genital exam to determine what genitals you currently have in the present real world. They can give you an x-ray to see what internal sex organs you currently have in the real world. But they can’t use a time machine to see “what genitals did you used to have in the past,” or “in a hypothetical alternate timeline where your body is completely different from what it actually is, what gametes would you have?” Neither of those are observable or measurable, and neither of those are things that are relevant to the real-world present day.

    I do think it’s hilarious that transphobes on the one hand say “we’re just concerned with biological reality,” and then turn around and say “No! We have to avoid the biological reality of what trans and intersex people’s bodies are actually like, and instead focus on what reproductive role you would have in a hypothetical alternate universe! All of society must be segregated into separate but equal facilities based on hypothetical time-travel alternate universe gametes!”

  122. says

    And that “demonization of 17-year olds”? A racist child was given a gun and allowed to play enforcer.

    With that “pedo joe” I shamed them for using child abuse victims as political tools since that 17 year old had no way of knowing if any particular person had that attraction. After the fact scare mongering. The US doesn’t care about child abuse and people who manipulate language about that need shaming.

    And lots of LGBT+-phobes use fear of child abuse as a matter of course. “Pedo joe” shows it’s just another problem we need to work on generally and some people want to victim blame.

  123. atheistsince2011 says

    SilentBob:”It was the ludicrous one that people who do not, cannot, never will, reproduce should be classed on the basis of how they would reproduce if they did reproduce.”
    It’s not ludicrous, in most contexts it’s the most common approach. The reason for this depends on the context but generally for a context where we are looking at social treatment of the sexes:
    -individuals who are unable to reproduce often will still have proceeded down a male or female development path
    -Their progress down that development path will have given them a phenotype that society can recognise and interact with.

    “No reference to reproductive ability.”
    Uh, why do you think that the ‘assignment’ is based on genitals and gonads, and not say hair colour or femur length. It’s because the assignment is trying to determine reproductive role.

    SilentBob: (privilege etc) I think what your analysis is missing is the concept of passing. The extent to which trans men can access some parts of male privilege is a direct product of the extent to which the trans man passes as a male. A trans man who identifies as a man but who does not pass as a male is not going to be able to access any male privilege. This is also before getting into idea that many privileges and disadvantages attach to sex in a way that doesn’t change if people’s gender identity changes and regardless of passing. If you read about the experiences of passing trans people you will get a nuanced picture of life around the edges of our big social structures, which is great, but you’re not going to find a solid case to abolish the protections for the vast majority of people who do not exist in those edge spaces. You haven’t presented a strong case to remove sex from the equation.

    KG: “And yet you’re fine with invasive, rude and burdensome demands on transwomen.”
    If there was a demand I was ‘fine with’ presumably it would be because I did not think it was invasive, rude or burdensome. So far I’ve argued for sex on birth certificates, I guess, and against on the spot karyotyping. I’m not feeling like I’m being inconsistent here.

    KG:”– she decides on a career as a carer, should be excluded from caring for someone who has specified they want only female carers.”
    No, because she was labelled female at birth, raised as a female, and is presumably confirmed in all government records as female. Caster has a better claim to ‘female’ than the people who would be included as female under a sex-abolitionist/pro-gender framework.
    I don’t know where you’re going with this, what’s the argument? That if a tiny fraction of people have a difficult to determine or indeterminate sex, this means that society shouldn’t have accomodations based on sex?

    SilentBob: “Are you unwilling or simply unable to defend the position that people who have no problem whatsoever with sex between two men or two women are nevertheless “homophobic”;”
    These people are both homophobic and heterophobic, however ‘heterophobia’ is not a pressing social issue. We have seen this play out over the last few years – straight men have the social power to completely ignore challenges of heterosexuality. Half the joke of the ‘super straight’ thing from 2021 is that straight men have too much power to ever be affected by cotton ceiling style rhetoric. Lesbians, and to a slightly lesser extent gay men, do not have the social power to ignore criticism of homosexuality.

  124. atheistsince2011 says

    “I do think it’s hilarious that transphobes on the one hand say “we’re just concerned with biological reality,” and then turn around and say “No! We have to avoid the biological reality of what trans and intersex people’s bodies are actually like, and instead focus on what reproductive role you would have in a hypothetical alternate universe!”

    Well as far as elite sports have played out, organising bodies quickly abandon sex and look at testosterone levels instead, or whether a person has undergone male puberty. This approach has been called ‘transphobic’ by those who want no conversation about this and who want sport to be based on gender, and who want gender to be self-id regardless of what the trans or intersex persons body is actually like.

  125. John Morales says

    Well! We can’t have ‘sports at a high level of competition’ be affected by changes in social consciousness, can we?

    (Truly an epic issue!)

    Luckily for us all, not all sport is played at the, ahem, elite level.

    (The rest of it is fine, right? I mean, you were very specific)

  126. John Morales says

    BTW, I played competitive squash for around 20 years.

    Mixed teams, I at one point played a season in Div 1 (got thrashed, mostly).

    Never was an issue; both men and women competed (and most vigorously, I assure you).

    Dunno whether you’d consider that a high level of competition, but after that there’s only State representation, and professional playing (like, for a living).

    Certainly higher than, say, 98% of squash players.

  127. John Morales says

    Mind you, we did have separate changing rooms and showers for men and for women. So there’s that, but obs it’s got zero to do with elite sports, and everything to do with social customs.

  128. says

    @atheistsince2011

    I notice that you ignored what I specifically said was most important. I shall repeat it here for the benefit of others following along, but I will not engage anything else by you unless/until you engage honestly and productively with this:

    Finally, and most importantly: why are you asking these questions of PZ, or the Pharyngula commenters? We play no outsized role in writing the law. We play no outsized role in enforcing the law. The blog isn’t a trans-advocacy blog in its focus, even if some posts are. No one here is an expert (to my knowledge) on the specific subject of gender ontology, though I’m an expert in related fields and am competent to give appropriate lay summations of our best definitions of gender and related terms. But unless you knew that before you initiated this conversation, that is only a happy (or perhaps very unhappy) coincidence for you. And if you knew beforehand that I had such relative expertise, why wouldn’t you have asked questions on Pervert Justice instead of Pharyngula.
    And, of course, if you were interested in definitions of gender and related terms, you could easily have searched on google for the best anthropological and ethnomethodological definitions of such terms the entire world of human knowledge has to offer.
    In short, although you asked for definitions, it’s clear you didn’t actually want definitions. You wanted something else.
    Are you willing, at long last, to be honest about what you did want that you camouflaged with a request for definitions?

  129. says

    I’m happy to have a conversation, but it’s really up to the boss how much I’m allowed to respond to questions.

    So atheistsince2011 just starts out with pre-emptive whining about “censorship” or “cancel culture?” That’s really not a good start.

    But there are many situations where a person has limited or no choice…

    Yeah, we addressed that already. Nice of you to try to keep up.

    I feel like you’re avoiding the question.

    That’s pretty rich, coming from you. You’ve been pretty lame and cowardly about addressing our questions and responses to your assertions.

    The data supports the side who wants mixed-sex bathrooms etc to the extent it supports anything, yes, but the data is also very poor quality and limited.

    Is it really? Or is that just another excuse to disregard data and experience and stick with prejudice instead? I’m sure the racists said the same thing about desegregated public facilities: “We don’t really know how safe it is, so let’s keep putting it off indefinitely!” (Also, if we don’t really have enough data about sexual assault of ciswomen by transwomen, that could be because it’s just not happening to a statistically-significant degree. And if it IS happening to such a degree, you can bet the transphobes would be citing it every chance they get — which I still don’t see happening.)

    Part of the sex-abolition movement…

    There’s no such thing, liar.

    Well as far as elite sports have played out, organising bodies quickly abandon sex and look at testosterone levels instead, or whether a person has undergone male puberty.

    Which is, right or wrong, not at all like the alternative-reality approach you had advocated. So thank you for admitting your “if developmentally typical” criterion is useless bullshit.

    The short answer is that [“what role a person would play in sexual reproduction”] should not be relevant, but right now it is. Your question here is just a great classic feminist question.

    So you’re saying we have to talk about it because people are talking about it. We should refine that point, and say that people are spouting a dishonest excuse for discrimination, therefore we need to debunk it. Which several people here have done. If you want to keep on repeating a point that’s already been addressed, then you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. That’s called sealioning.

    RagingBee:”But hey, if it’s so much trouble defining who is male and who is female…”
    I’d note that the accuracy rate for ‘sex’ determination at birth in the US is about 99.98%, give or take. The accuracy rate for ‘gender’ determination at birth in the US is about 90% and decreasing.

    I’D note that you didn’t quote or answer the question that my “if” statement was leading up to. Just one of MANY points you still can’t bring yourself to address, even after a week’s break.

  130. says

    @raging bee:
    atheist since 2011 said:

    Well as far as elite sports have played out, organising bodies quickly abandon sex and look at testosterone levels instead, or whether a person has undergone male puberty.

    and while you responded (correctly) that this is contrary to the regime atheistsince2011 prefers, I think it’s also helpful to note that… this isn’t really true, or at least it’s a distorted picture that presents itself as comprehensive when it’s not.The WNBA, for instance, had a player come out recently (2021 or 2022, but not sure exactly when?) and they weren’t greeted with testing or some regulatory regime. They were greeted with a bunch of their teammates AND a bunch of their competitors on other teams congratulating them and marking it as a great day for the WNBA. The same looks likely to be true in certain women’s soccer leagues.

    In other words, in leagues where the players have a disproportionate amount of power, the trend is to less regulation and intrusive medical management and toward more welcoming environments and rules. Where athletes have less power, governing bodies are more likely to impose intensive and invasive testing regimes.

    Although I’ve seen no data on it, I wouldn’t be surprised if the more men are involved in the governance of women’s sport, the more hostile the rules of that sport are to trans participation.

  131. atheistsince2011 says

    RagingBee:
    “I’D note that you didn’t quote or answer the question that my “if” statement was leading up to.”
    Ok let’s do it. So what you said was:
    “And moving on from that…what about a person who’s born intersex — as in, having a mix of distinct physical features of both sexes? How would we determine what that person would be if “developmentally typical?” Would “developmentally typical” be all girl, or all boy? If you can’t decide which of those two directions that person would go “if developmentally typical,” then this criterion is just useless.”
    So for a lot of DSDs, the person’s sex is not indeterminate. This is why, for example, some DSDs are sex specific – there are male and female versions. E.g congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
    For people with DSDs who you would say have indeterminate sex, they are always still raised as male or female, and determination varies based on the individual, family, country, healthcare level, etc etc. So yes ‘if developmentally typical’ might be a useless criterion for a person with fully indeterminate sex, but it is not a useless criterion for people who do not have indeterminate sex, which is 99.98+% of people.

    “Someone looking at your body would probably say you’re male, but if every fibre of your being says you’re female and you’d have felt more normal in a female body, then why is that other person’s opinion more relevant or correct than yours?”
    You’re conflating sex and gender. Alternatively, you’re proposing a particular transmed theory of gender which is often derided as ‘pink brains and blue brains’. I think the short answer for you is that the science we have doesn’t currently support the idea of pink brains and blue brains.
    But if we grant you everything – the idea that a ‘female’ brain can be in a ‘male’ body – if we just grant all that, then yes there is a lot of situations where that person can be taken as female with no objection from anyone. That might even be like 90% of the time. We can talk about it. But there will be some situations where with having a male body and female brain, the male body will be arguably relevant and significant. For example sports, sexuality, socialisation, and single sex spaces. Maybe the argument still falls on the side of brain sex trumping body sex, but it’s hard to argue that without having the argument.

    “There’s no such thing, liar.”
    Well out one side of your mouth you say that there’s no push to abolish sex, and out the other side of your mouth you say that sex is ‘alternate reality’. Pick a story and stick to it? Examples of sex abolition include removing sex from records and paperwork, replacing single-sex things with mixed-sex things, and the theoretical/conceptual denial of sex as an attribute of homo sapiens. You’re just wrong here.
    I think you’re confused maybe because you believe in one flavour of trans theory, to you ‘gender identity’ is a kind of self-identified-sex, so you think sex is being maintained. But you seem unaware that there are other trans theories that don’t involve gender being a form of sex self-ID and which don’t rely on sex being kept as a concept and which seek to remove sex from the equation. For example, trans theories which position transness as some sort of innate psychological affinity for the cultural constructions around man-ness or woman-ness, like clothes, roles, etc. This is team “you don’t need dysphoria to be trans”.

    “Is it really?”
    Yes there’s been some limited (geographically and temporarily) studies, dating from around 2017/2018 onwards, that have looked at assault report trends in areas that ostensibly have replaced single sex spaces with single gender spaces. You can believe the studies are helpful if you want, like I said the data supports Crip Dyke&your position to the extent that it supports anything. I don’t believe assaults are the full picture, which is an argument you ignored.

    “Yeah, we addressed that already. Nice of you to try to keep up.”
    You didn’t address it. You said: “all of that within the limits dictated by your location, circumstances, insurance network, etc.”
    So you acknowledged that some people experience limits, yes, but you failed to realise how that impacts your argument. If your rebuttal to my issues is ‘people can just change provider’, then you need to think through that if there are reasons why a person cannot change their provider, your rebuttal immediately fails.

    “Yep, that’s where my eyes always went when I first started looking at Playboy…the girls’ lungs…straining my eyes to see past their breasts…”
    Someone in this thread was quoting Dworkin- you should put away the Playboy and pick up some Dworkin instead.

  132. atheistsince2011 says

    “and while you responded (correctly) that this is contrary to the regime atheistsince2011 prefers, I think it’s also helpful to note that… this isn’t really true, or at least it’s a distorted picture that presents itself as comprehensive when it’s not.”
    I don’t have a preferred regime for sports.
    If I had to choose I would like the regime for each sport to be debated, and maybe even voted on democratically with priority given to the views of current players? but also safety experts?
    You’ve cited for example team-based non-contact sports. These are probably the best for making mixed-sex. I think it’s a different story at least for individual sports, contact sports, and strength-speed based sports like weightlifting or sprinting etc.

  133. John Morales says

    I think it’s a different story at least for individual sports, contact sports, and strength-speed based sports like weightlifting or sprinting etc.

    I’m pretty sure the women’s team would shit all over the men’s team if the women were full adults and the men were youngsters, for individual sports, contact sports, and strength-speed based sports like weightlifting or sprinting etc.

    (I mean, out of the 4 or so billion men in existence, how many would beat either of the Williams sisters at tennis?)

    Anyway.
    I think you’re full of shit, and my original snark about (ahem) elite sports is that it’s such a tiny outlier and extreme case that it would be patently silly and inappropriate to base social acceptance of trans people on such views.

    But that’s the last refuge of the transphobes, apparently.

    (It has no traction)

  134. KG says

    KG:”– she decides on a career as a carer, should be excluded from caring for someone who has specified they want only female carers.”
    No, because she was labelled female at birth, raised as a female, and is presumably confirmed in all government records as female. Caster has a better claim to ‘female’ than the people who would be included as female under a sex-abolitionist/pro-gender framework.
    I don’t know where you’re going with this, what’s the argument? That if a tiny fraction of people have a difficult to determine or indeterminate sex, this means that society shouldn’t have accomodations based on sex? – atheistsince2011@163

    But by your definition @122, Caster is a man, no question, because if “we look at what role a person would play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured”, we note that if she did not have a difference of sexual development, she would be capable of the male role in reproduction, and in no circumstances would she be capable of the female role, since she has no ovaries or uterus. That is where I was “going with this”, as I made completely clear. There is no definition of sex that applies in all cases, and since the belief in such an unproblematic binary is a key part of the transphobic movement’s propaganda (although as in your case, they may admit exceptions if forced to do so, then revert to the basic claim the next time the opportunity arises), that’s an important point in itself.

    As for this:

    Caster has a better claim to ‘female’ than the people who would be included as female under a sex-abolitionist/pro-gender framework.

    it’s a lie. Since Caster identifies as a woman, she’s a woman under any approach that respects people’s expressed gender identity. But you have referred here to a “sex-abolitionist framework”. Who, exactly, has advocated such a framework, and where? I tried putting the phrase into a search engine, but everything that came up, as far as I looked down the list, concerned the abolition of sex work, or of prisons.

  135. says

    @atheistsince2011

    I notice that you are STILL ignoring what I specifically said was most important. I shall repeat it here (again) for the benefit of others following along, but I will not engage anything else by you unless/until you engage honestly and productively with this:

    Finally, and most importantly: why are you asking these questions of PZ, or the Pharyngula commenters? We play no outsized role in writing the law. We play no outsized role in enforcing the law. The blog isn’t a trans-advocacy blog in its focus, even if some posts are. No one here is an expert (to my knowledge) on the specific subject of gender ontology, though I’m an expert in related fields and am competent to give appropriate lay summations of our best definitions of gender and related terms. But unless you knew that before you initiated this conversation, that is only a happy (or perhaps very unhappy) coincidence for you. And if you knew beforehand that I had such relative expertise, why wouldn’t you have asked questions on Pervert Justice instead of Pharyngula.
    And, of course, if you were interested in definitions of gender and related terms, you could easily have searched on google for the best anthropological and ethnomethodological definitions of such terms the entire world of human knowledge has to offer.
    In short, although you asked for definitions, it’s clear you didn’t actually want definitions. You wanted something else.
    Are you willing, at long last, to be honest about what you did want that you camouflaged with a request for definitions?

  136. says

    @KG:

    We are required to define words in some way that unifies every use by every person who has ever advocated for the human rights of trans persons, whether we are experts or not, or we are labeled indifferent to the needs of cis women and therefore misogynist.

    Persons like atheistsince2011, however, are allowed to make up terms on the spot, use them in their own writing, and never clarify exactly what those terms reference or are intended to mean.

    It’s just science, KG! CHECKMATE, SEX-ABOLITIONIST!

  137. says

    atheistsince blithered thusly:

    Well out one side of your mouth you say that there’s no push to abolish sex, and out the other side of your mouth you say that sex is ‘alternate reality’.

    I never said “sex is alternate reality.” Either what I said was too complicated for you to understand, or you’re deliberately lying about what I said.

    And you STILL haven’t even pretended to respond to Crip Dyke’s questions. And I’m also going to guess that you never looked up any of the FTBlogs authored by actual trans people like I suggested. You’re obviously nothing but another stupid bigot desperately trying to hog attention and dominate conversations about things of which you know absolutely nothing.

  138. says

    Examples of sex abolition include removing sex from records and paperwork..

    Which records and “paperwork,” exactly?

    …replacing single-sex things with mixed-sex things…

    Which “things,” exactly? That’s kinda vague.

    …and the theoretical/conceptual denial of sex as an attribute of homo sapiens.

    Who is doing anything like that (whatever that actually means in your opinion), and in what context?

  139. says

    AS2011: Examples of sex abolition include removing sex from records and paperwork..

    RB: Which records and “paperwork,” exactly?

    More to the point, could there be a greater conflation between sex and gender than to say that if the government doesn’t keep track of sex, that your sex doesn’t exist? Like people will stop producing sperm and ova if their driver’s license doesn’t tell them what their reproductive role is?

    How THE FUCK would the government not putting your sex on your driver’s license = sex abolition?

    You have to wonder if these people listen to themselves at all.

  140. says

    RagingBee: “I’D note that you didn’t quote or answer the question that my “if” statement was leading up to.”
    Ok let’s do it. So what you said was: “And moving on from that…what about a person who’s born intersex…

    Umm, no, that is NOT the question that the sentence you quoted was leading up to. Are you really that desperate to avoid thinking of people just deciding for themselves who/what they are?

    For people with DSDs who you would say have indeterminate sex, they are always still raised as male or female, and determination varies based on the individual, family, country, healthcare level, etc etc. So yes ‘if developmentally typical’ might be a useless criterion for a person with fully indeterminate sex…

    First you advocate a BIOLOGICAL definition; then when I question it, you advocate a SOCIAL definition, which involves having each person’s gender determined by practically everyone BUT that person. We’re already doing that, and the reason for all this gender-identity controversy is that people are getting each other’s gender WRONG too many times. Oh, and it also denies anyone any agency in such important personal decisions.

    I think the short answer for you is that the science we have doesn’t currently support the idea of pink brains and blue brains.

    The actual experiences of trans people DOES support that idea. That’s kinda what “gender dysphoria” is.

    I don’t have a preferred regime for sports.
    If I had to choose I would like the regime for each sport to be debated, and maybe even voted on democratically with priority given to the views of current players? but also safety experts?

    To a certain extent, that’s being done already, as Crip Dyke already pointed out @172, yet another comment that you totally ignored. And I, for one, think the people with actual stakes in policymaking — including, but not limited to, actual players — can best figure all this out without self-righteous wankers like you insisting on simpleminded “scientific” criteria that — as we have repeatedly shown, here and elsewhere — just don’t help.

  141. atheistsince2011 says

    John: “I’m pretty sure the women’s team would shit all over the men’s team if the women were full adults and the men were youngsters,”
    Is there a proposal to remove age classes?

    “I think you’re full of shit, and my original snark about (ahem) elite sports is that it’s such a tiny outlier and extreme case that it would be patently silly and inappropriate to base social acceptance of trans people on such views.”
    If you are American, the things I’m discussing are the things that your governments, institutions, sporting bodies etc are making policies about. If you don’t play elite sports, then yes the policies for elite sports won’t affect your life.
    Keeping some things single-sex doesn’t entail ‘not socially accepting trans people’. It’s just acknowledging that sex and gender are different things, and in some situations things should be based on sex and not gender. Again, if very little things are based on sex that is good and the goal.

    KG: “But by your definition”
    If a person has a DSD they’re going to be an exception to that definition? I thought I went on to say that sex looks like a binary but there are exceptions, people with DSDs. The ‘if developmentally typical’ part can draw in some people to the category of male of female if they don’t depart too much. So yes whether a framework says that Caster is male, female or neither depends on the criteria used. Continued below.

    “There is no definition of sex that applies in all cases, “
    Yes agreed.
    “and since the belief in such an unproblematic binary is a key part of the transphobic movement’s propaganda”
    Nah. That’s the giant leap. From ‘DSDs exist’ to ‘we can’t label anyone’s sex’, there is rarely a connecting bridge of logic offered. If I’m wrong I’m wrong, but I’ve not heard anyone articulate this well anywhere. It’s always what you’re doing here, this assumption or declaration that if a person with a DSD just exists, then everything goes out the window regarding sex.

    “it’s a lie. Since Caster identifies as a woman, she’s a woman under any approach that respects people’s expressed gender identity.”
    So again there’s this conflation of sex and gender – you seem to want to say that if a person is male or female, that automatically determines whether they are a woman or a man. You seem to preclude the idea that someone can have a particular sex but a gender identity or role in society that doesn’t traditionally align with that sex. But like why not? Why can’t someone have a ‘male’ body but be considered a woman in their society?
    But aside from that, Caster’s situation is more than just ‘identifying as a woman’. She was raised as a female from birth by family and a society which genuinely believed she was female (so this is departing from John Money style scenarios). She doesn’t have male external genitalia. There are aspects of Caster’s life and body that will not be present in the people a self-id framework of sex would sweep into the category of female. A self-ID framework could include as ‘female’, for example, a person who has male genitalia, had no surgery or hormone therapy, who didn’t identify as a woman until their mid-life or older, and who may not even conceive of their gender in the way that you do, or the way that other cis or trans people do.
    You might be able to untangle all this into a workable social system but I truly believe you are aeons away from ‘people who disagree with me are bigots’ or ‘no debate’.

    RagingBee: “I never said “sex is alternate reality.””
    Ok yes. I have re-read that. I think my argument stands though: do you not see any dissonance between people who are saying ‘there is no push to abolish sex’ and also saying ‘actually sex isn’t a coherent or useful label for humans’. I also pointed out examples of sex abolition.

    “Umm, no, that is NOT the question that the sentence you quoted was leading up to.”
    Sorry I can’t find it then. If you repost it I’ll have a go. Up to you.

    “First you advocate a BIOLOGICAL definition; then when I question it, you advocate a SOCIAL definition, which involves having each person’s gender determined by practically everyone BUT that person.”
    Yes, what’s confusing you. Most people have a determinable biological sex. Some people don’t, and those people you may want to say they are intersex or no-sex or whatever labels your framework uses, but they will still be raised as male or female for social purposes.
    You seem to be operating under the same logic as KG, that if some don’t have a determinable sex, then nobody can have a determinable sex. This just doesn’t follow.

    “And you STILL haven’t even pretended to respond to Crip Dyke’s questions.”
    Also @ Crip Dyke:
    I made a post in response to PZ and have then responded to people’s direct questions or arguments. Like I said I’m happy to have a conversation. One benefit can be I learn something, test my ideas, see where I’m wrong, etc. There’s no need to go into motivations any deeper than that because it just becomes an excuse for a person with a weak argument to personally attack the arguer rather than the argument. Like a priest could shut down an argument from an atheist about e.g god’s genocides by saying ‘you’re only debating this because you’re an atheist, ‘we can ignore your questions because you’re not a true faithful believer’, or ‘you didn’t attend 3 years of bible study’, or whatever. And then it becomes a sidetrack about the atheist’s personal situation or membership of the right tribe, and the conversation about god’s genocides is derailed successfully. You are welcome to ignore anything I say at any time for any reason.

    KG: “Who, exactly, has advocated such a framework, and where?”
    If you put the phrase into google this report is on the first page: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/law/research/future-of-legal-gender-abolishing-legal-sex-status-full-report.pdf
    As one example, it’s obviously regional but the conversation is typical across ‘western’ countries.

    “How THE FUCK would the government not putting your sex on your driver’s license = sex abolition?”
    It’s about the institutional abolition of recognition/engagement with sex, not literally stopping people from producing eggs and sperm. Hope that helps.

  142. John Morales says

    If you are American, the things I’m discussing are the things that your governments, institutions, sporting bodies etc are making policies about.

    Why is government making policies about elite sports?
    That’s hardly a government issue.

    Basically, the same goes for institutions.

    That leaves the sporting bodies.
    But elite sports are all about money, as far as those bodies are concerned.

    They will, inevitably, bow to social expectations.

    (Hey, do you know the origin story of netball? Kinda cute, that is.
    Women’s sport in general? Things like marathons?)

    Keeping some things single-sex doesn’t entail ‘not socially accepting trans people’.

    Why do you use the word ‘sex’ when the word ‘gender’ is the sociological aspect?

    (You really are transparent)

  143. John Morales says

    Bottom line (ahem):
    I can’t see “the trans question” going any other way than “the atheism question” or “the gay question”.

    These are not the days of yore, and — by a long shot — everyone will be happier if a little more toleration is practiced.

    Suddenly, being an atheist is no biggie (outside certain enclaves).
    Same for being gay.

    Anyway. I expect it will be the same for being trans.

    End of the day, no matter how much FUD is spread, no matter how much DARVO is attempted, trans people are basically harmless to society, indeed, they are beneficial in that fewer unhappy (really unhappy, sometimes) people will be around. Everyone will benefit.

  144. says

    Like I said I’m happy to have a conversation. One benefit can be I learn something, test my ideas, see where I’m wrong, etc. There’s no need to go into motivations any deeper than that because it just becomes an excuse for a person with a weak argument to personally attack the arguer rather than the argument. Like a priest could shut down an argument from an atheist about e.g god’s genocides by saying ‘you’re only debating this because you’re an atheist, ‘we can ignore your questions because you’re not a true faithful believer’, or ‘you didn’t attend 3 years of bible study’, or whatever. And then it becomes a sidetrack about the atheist’s personal situation

    You clearly don’t understand the criticism at all. If you were interested in trying to

    learn something, test my ideas, see where I’m wrong, etc

    Then you would seek expert writing on the topic of your questions. But you didn’t seek expert writing. You came here. That shows all the curiosity and willingness to learn new things possessed by someone who visits the website of the American Arachnological Society seeking to understand the Higgs boson.

    I’m not attacking you, I’m trying to figure out what this conversation is even about, because what you SAY the conversation is about — your initial list of questions — is at odds with what resources you’re using in an attempt to answer your questions.

    You could say, “Oh, good show, there’s someone who has answered some of my questions! Got the URL?”

    But you didn’t. You studiously ignored what I said and now reveal that you believe it was an effort to insult you. I’m quite certain I’m more than knowledgeable enough to answer many of your questions, but you don’t appear to show any knowledge that this is true, and you don’t show any curiosity whatsoever when it is pointed out to you that answers to your questions — not necessarily the only answers, but high quality answers from someone much more knowledgeable than you — do exist on FtB and many places besides, but you won’t find answers to anthropological and political questions on the website of a biologist who got his PhD studying fish in artificial habitats.

    Why is it you won’t seek out good answers? Why aren’t you right now reading Kessler & McKenna’s Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach? Hell, there’s a great anthropology/archaeology podcast called “The Dirt” which has also covered the anthropology of gender with, IIRC, a brief discussion of gender ontology. You could listen to experts while you cook or clean or ride the subway. Why, instead of seeking out experts on gender, did you show up asking these questions on the website of a guy who teaches the genetics of cancer and is a recent convert to arachnology?

    The only logical answer, since nothing is stopping you, is that you don’t seek out expert answers because you don’t want educated answers to your questions. Exactly why you don’t want educated answers to your questions remains a mystery, but engaging with that question can help refocus the discussion where it’s actually productive since,
    1) the answers you asked for already exist in other places, go read a fucking book like everyone else, why don’t you?
    and
    2) you’re clearly seeking something else.

    So what is it you’re seeking? Be honest — most especially with yourself — and a productive conversation can be had.

    ==============

    Me: “How THE FUCK would the government not putting your sex on your driver’s license = sex abolition?”

    AS2011: It’s about the institutional abolition of recognition/engagement with sex, not literally stopping people from producing eggs and sperm. Hope that helps.

    Then it’s not “sex abolition” is it? So why do you accuse others of pushing for something that is demonstrably not what they advocate? Again, this isn’t to insult you, but if we’re going to have a productive conversation we have to know if you literally don’t know the difference between abolishing sex and the government not tracking sex categories on licenses, or if you do know the difference and can therefore be understood to be lying about what people actually advocate.

    Ignorance and dishonesty deserve separate responses, but I don’t know which to provide since I don’t know whether or not you were even aware at the time of writing that changing paperwork is not “abolishing sex”.

  145. chigau (違う) says

    ** shaking off the dust *
    HTML lesson
    Doing this
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    Results in this

    paste copied text here

  146. says

    Ok yes. I have re-read that. I think my argument stands though: do you not see any dissonance between people who are saying ‘there is no push to abolish sex’ and also saying ‘actually sex isn’t a coherent or useful label for humans’.

    Has anyone actually said ‘sex isn’t a coherent or useful label for humans’? Once again, you’re misrepresenting what others have said.

    I also pointed out examples of sex abolition.

    Actually, no, you just made vague allegations, without giving specific examples.

    Sorry I can’t find it then. If you repost it I’ll have a go. Up to you.

    I’m not repeating myself for your benefit. My comment is still up there for all to see. You found the sentence in question once, you can find it again. If you really want to.

    Keeping some things single-sex doesn’t entail ‘not socially accepting trans people’.

    It does if you’re discriminating against trans people based on bad information or simpleminded prejudice.

    I’m happy to have a conversation.

    So go ahead and “have” it already. You can do it here or on their blog. But since this is the THIRD time you’ve heard their arguments, and your only response is to complain about how we’re questioning your motives, I really don’t believe you’re willing to “have” any such conversation.

  147. says

    Actually, no, you just made vague allegations, without giving specific examples.

    I know, right? It’s almost as if they don’t know what they’re talking about. A legal provision might be helpful, or the policy of a large corporate entity. Or even quoting the goal of some specific advocacy effort by a particular group.

    But that would really suck, because what if the entirety of the policy was “big companies and my government should both stop peeking in my pants!” Gosh, that sure would be awkward for the argument that trans people are making life hard for all the people who :checks notes: want government and large corporations to stare at their genitals all day.

  148. anat says

    OK atheistsince2011, I have been trying to follow your line of thinking but I keep getting lost. In part, it is because you are using words differently than I would, in part because you are not being explicit about who is engaging in which behavior that you find unacceptable – I mean, it isn’t clear to me what unacceptable behavior is even taking place. Also, you seem to be having difficulty with people not necessarily fitting into one of two clear-cut binary options, as well as with using different definitions in different contexts. But what I find the most perplexing in your writing is the focus on total strangers’ reproductive systems. Do you really go through life dedicating so much thought to what might be under the clothes or inside the bodies of people you don’t know?

    OK, example time. You spent several posts on people choosing healthcare practitioners. I happen to know a young person of non-binary gender who is a Certified Nursing Assistant. They had worked for over a year in a Long-Term-Care facility (and have since switched to working at a hospital, where working conditions are better). While working in the LTC facility some of the patients perceived them to be a man while others perceived them to be a woman. Their assignments were based on these perceptions. Not difficult, and maximized everyone’s comfort levels. Better than tying oneself in knots over definitions, go out to the field and find out what works.

  149. John Morales says

    PS in case someone does not know, here is the origin story of netball. Should’ve done a link in the initial comment, but I was slack.

    The sport of netball is an English invention that traces its roots to basketball. In 1891 an American physical educator, James Naismith, created the court and ball game we now know as basketball. It was designed for students linked to the Young Men’s Christian Association, or YMCA. However, at the time women’s dress conventions of ankle length skirts and wrist length shirts hindered their physical movements, and meant that playing basketball with dribbling, and throwing long passes was difficult.
    So some female educators formed a modified version of the game. Instead of changing the female attire to fit the needs of the basketball rules, they modified the game to fit within the accepted feminine practices.

  150. atheistsince2011 says

    John: “Why do you use the word ‘sex’ when the word ‘gender’ is the sociological aspect?”
    I would use sex when referring to sex and gender when referring to gender. So if you’re asking, why are some things single sex but not single gender? The answer is because sex matters more than gender for some things. Examples of where sex is argued to matter includes some sports, human sexuality and relationships, spaces where people are vulnerable or undressed, advocacy for female people as a class, and so on. You might want to substitute gender for sex in all circumstances, but under modern gender theories, sex and gender have ‘come apart’, to use Judith Butler’s (I think?) phrase. The only reason you would have to substitute gender for sex is if you thought they were the same thing.

    RagingBee:”Actually, no, you just made vague allegations, without giving specific examples.”
    Specific examples:
    -removing sex from birth certificates
    -changing prison housing policy from multi-gender/single sex to mixed-sex/single-gender
    -changing sports leagues and competitions from ‘male’/‘female’ to ‘man’/‘woman’
    -promoting the idea that heterosexuality in humans primarily involves attraction to gender identities, rather than sexed bodies.

    CripDyke: “peeking in my pants!” “large corporations to stare at their genitals all day.”
    The idea behind this propaganda is to mentally associate the idea of governments recording and engaging with sex, something all societies have done always throughout written history, with the idea of some sort of predator who wants to perve on people. This is so wildly and obviously dishonest it blows my mind that people buy into this rhetoric.
    I’d love to see an example of a large corporation ‘staring at genitals all day’, but I think I’ll be waiting a while on that one.

    Anat: “But what I find the most perplexing in your writing is the focus on total strangers’ reproductive systems. Do you really go through life dedicating so much thought to what might be under the clothes or inside the bodies of people you don’t know?”
    So we all live in patriarchies that have structures, roles, norms and rules around our sexed bodies. These social structures are sometimes called ‘gender’. This is different from ‘gender identity’. The social structures aren’t neutral, it’s always specifically a violent and oppressive hierarchy that privileges male people over female people. These structures are applied to us based on our bodies from birth to death. Trans people occupy a unique place in the structures both historically and presently, varying in time and place.
    A specific example of how this works might be a man not listening to a woman in a gathering, or speaking over her. The man doesn’t specifically do this in a way that involves peering under people’s clothes or examining bodies. But the man is taught from birth that his voice is more important than a woman’s voice. He is taught this from birth because his body is male.
    And for non-trans/cis people, membership of the classes of ‘man’ or ‘woman’ is based on bodies. That is one way it always comes back to bodies. For trans people or non-binary people this is different.
    The connection between our sexed bodies and our life in patriarchy is completely arbitrary, cruel, wrong, and something we should resist and oppose, but we don’t resist it and oppose it by declaring (or pretending) that it isn’t happening. That’s for me and my culture/s though, I wouldn’t go to another part of the world with a very different culture and tell people that their body-culture connection is wrong.

    “Better than tying oneself in knots over definitions, go out to the field and find out what works.”
    Your example is an arrangement that a place has come up with that’s working well. That’a great. Maybe it’s a model that everywhere should use. Maybe society and institutions can have a conversation about what works with that model, how it works, how it can be implemented, and so on. “Finding out what works” is a great idea.

  151. John Morales says

    atheistsince:

    <

    blockquote>I would use sex when referring to sex and gender when referring to gender. So if you’re asking, why are some things single sex but not single gender?

    <

    blockquote>

    Perhaps I was too subtle for you. Wasn’t trying to be.

    Here:

    Keeping some things single-sex doesn’t entail ‘not socially accepting trans people’.

    Why do you use the word ‘sex’ when the word ‘gender’ is the sociological aspect?

    I mean, sure — you don’t do a prostrate exam on someone without a prostrate, for example.

    But you were — and I explicitly quoted you — talking about social acceptance, not biological treatment.

    (Like I said, transparent. It’s an equivocation I see all the time)

    I would use sex when referring to sex and gender when referring to gender.

    Well, you most certainly not do that in this instance.
    Under what potential conditions you would use sex when referring to sex and gender when referring to gender is clearly left to my imagination.

  152. John Morales says

    [bah markup fail]

    I should perhaps be even more explicit.

    Sports are very much a form of social congress.

    Sports can be changed to suit the applicable social milieu.

    (That was the perhaps overly subtle point about netball)

  153. atheistsince2011 says

    John:
    “Keeping some things single-sex doesn’t entail ‘not socially accepting trans people’.
    Why do you use the word ‘sex’ when the word ‘gender’ is the sociological aspect?”

    Oh ok gotcha gotcha. Ok so saying ‘this thing X is for male people’ doesn’t entail saying ‘trans men aren’t men’. Saying ‘this thing is for men’ and then not delineating whether than meant male people (sex) or men (social/gender) would cause confusion, yes! It becomes a clusterfuck because society does not have a coherent grasp on what ‘male’ and ‘man’ even mean, which is one reason to have society-wide conversations about these things.
    What I understand most trans advocates and allies to want, and what you seem to persuaded by here yourself, is for nothing to refer to sex- so everywhere we talk about men, male, women, female, we are always talking about ‘gender’ or social role or identity or all at once, and then for sex to be abolished and replaced with a mr-potato-head style system of understanding bodies. This is your ‘uterus havers’ and ‘prostrate havers’ kind of model, yeah.

  154. says

    Again with the “sex abolition” being the policy of “most trans advocates and allies”.

    But please, tell me ONE policy that amounts to “sex abolition” to which you object. One.

    You’re already on notice that “sex abolition” is a deceptive term. I’ve called you out on it, and you’ve agreed. That you continue to use the term and ascribe it as a goal of “most trans advocates and allies” shows that you’re too wedded to your dishonesty to speak plainly about specific issues.

    I’m inviting you to name one single policy with which you disagree and that amounts to “sex abolition”.

    I doubt you will, though, because you consistently respond to my comments with outrage over some detail you dislike, but rarely-to-never engage with substantive questions.

    You accuse people -including “most trans advocates” – of advancing “sex abolition”, something to which you are opposed.

    So it should be no problem for you to
    1. Detail the policy to which you are opposed
    2. Make a reasonable argument for why you find the policy in question objectionable,
    and
    3. Show evidence that this is, indeed, a policy that “most trans advocates” wish to see enacted.

    Unless, of course, you’ve been dishonest this whole time.

  155. John Morales says

    [1] Oh ok gotcha gotcha. Ok so saying ‘this thing X is for male people’ doesn’t entail saying ‘trans men aren’t men’. [2] Saying ‘this thing is for men’ and then not delineating whether than meant male people (sex) or men (social/gender) would cause confusion, yes! [3] It becomes a clusterfuck because society does not have a coherent grasp on what ‘male’ and ‘man’ even mean, which is one reason to have society-wide conversations about these things.

    Yes.
    Yes. But, clearly, you know better than the average uninformed person.
    Um, still seems evasive to me. Look, there’s the significance of sex, and there’s the significance of gender. As you just acknowledged in [2].

    (This discussion is not with society, it is with you)

    What I understand most trans advocates and allies to want, and what you seem to persuaded by here yourself, is for nothing to refer to sex

    Really? Why?

    As I noted, nobody is going to examine someone’s ovaries (or whatever bits) if they don’t have them.

    Refer to sex all you want when biological needs are at stake.
    Refer to gender for any social needs.

    (Not that complicated)

  156. atheistsince2011 says

    Crip Dyke:
    This page talks about recording crime data in Scotland:
    https://www.understanding-inequalities.ac.uk/news-and-blog/data-matters-recording-sex-and-gender-identity-in-the-criminal-justice-system

    A policy could be that:
    1. Sex and gender identity are both recorded
    2. Only sex is recorded
    3. Only gender identity is recorded
    4. Sex and gender identity are recorded inconsistently and treated as interchangeable

    If the policy was once 1 or 2, and is then changed to 3 or 4, this would be an example of a change that removes sex from the system.
    If you don’t like the term sex abolition, you could call it sex decertification, which was the language used in the other example I gave, decertifying birth certificates (linked above).

    Trans advocates have two broad approaches regarding ‘sex’ in registers and records and so on.
    The first approach is to conflate sex and gender, and say that a persons gender IS there sex. This is aligned with what you might call transmedicalist, dysphoria-centred approaches. This approach is the basis for sex recognition acts around the world that permit a trans person to alter their legal sex. For example the UK has a ‘gender recognition certificate’, the granting of which is said to change a persons legal sex.
    The second approach is to remove sex from records. The benefits of this are less chances for trans people to be misgendered, for example when handing over ID documents and drivers licenses. It also benefits nonbinary people who don’t fall into traditional gender binaries and who may not find their chosen label listed as an option otherwise. An example of a proposal to remove sex from records is in the policy paper I linked in the thread above to KG.

    To poll the popularity of each approach among community members you could look at public submissions by advocacy groups. Conversations among community usually leans more to the radical side, but those might just be the left-wing spaces I’m more familiar with.

  157. atheistsince2011 says

    John: “Um, still seems evasive to me.”

    Ok here is a person who obviously accepts trans people as their gender but who also does not think that a persons gender replaces their sex, for a specific thing (sports):

    https://amp.abc.net.au/article/101166396

    Now you seem to think this isn’t possible, having a nuanced view? This athlete must just be a bigot who doesn’t have all the facts that you have?

  158. John Morales says

    Now you seem to think this isn’t possible, having a nuanced view?

    Mate! Subjectivity is a thing. And so is nuance.

    (Of course it’s possible. But taking one specific side lacks a lot of nuance, dontcha think?)

    ‘Nuanced’ means something, BTW.
    And it’s not what you apparently imagine it is.

  159. says

    LOL.

    You’re not giving me a single policy to which you object.

    Why can’t you find a single policy to which you object? You’re saying that hypothetically someone might create a policy related to collecting crime statistics that differs from the current policy. But

    1) You don’t link to any such policy.
    2) Nor do you state unequivocally that you even oppose such a policy,
    and
    3) You provide no argument whatsoever WHY you oppose such a policy.

    Also, you don’t have even ONE trans advocate on record saying that crime statistics should be collected differently, and if so, how.

    Nor do you have evidence that current policies are consistent and intelligible and workable at the ground level. For instance, and I quote:

    Saying ‘this thing is for men’ and then not delineating whether than meant male people (sex) or men (social/gender) would cause confusion, yes! It becomes a clusterfuck because society does not have a coherent grasp on what ‘male’ and ‘man’ even mean, which is one reason to have society-wide conversations about these things.

    Given that you KNOW that the average person understands fuck all about the ontology of gender, and that the average person interchanges words as if the concepts that they signify were equivalent even when this is not so, how do you even know how crime statistics are collected currently? If a witness reports seeing someone mugged “by a man” and no suspect is ever convicted, then the only thing we could possibly record would be the gender attribution that the witness ascribes to the assailant.

    In any case, you still haven’t identified
    1. a single policy
    2. to which you object,
    3. your grounds for objection
    4. evidence that “most trans advocates” support the specific policy to which you object.

    Without that, you don’t have even a single policy objection to trans advocacy that anyone else could possibly judge to be reasonable or unreasonable. Before you can convince anyone that trans advocates are wrong about something, you kinda have to say what the thing is and why it’s wrong. You don’t get to just scream “Sex abolition!” and have people nod their heads in agreement with you that some deep injustice is occurring.

    ==========
    And you know what, you got me talking again, but I still don’t know what brought you here in the first place, since it obviously wasn’t definitions.

    Why are you here? What do you hope to accomplish?

  160. John Morales says

    PS, from the adduced article:

    Fellow Australian swimmer Maddie Groves was critical of Campbell’s comments, and asked if she was “okay with ostracising an already maligned group”.

    “There are already gender diverse people in swimming and I’m guessing they’re not feeling very accepted [right now],” Groves said on Twitter.

    “Shame on everyone that supported this discriminatory and unscientific decision.”

    So yeah, one swimmer thinks one thing, another thinks another thing.

    (Neither is less nuanced than the other

  161. KG says

    atheistsince2011@183,

    It’s always what you’re doing here, this assumption or declaration that if a person with a DSD just exists, then everything goes out the window regarding sex.

    An outright lie. I never said or implied anything of the kind. I did say that transphobes like to pretend there is some definition of sex which means that all people can be fitted into a strict binary: male or female. Consider for example the transphobic journalist Hadley Freeman, who says (with truly astonishing ignorance of the biology she professes to value):

    all living creatures are either male or female and that rare chromosomal variations don’t disprove that.

    Presumably, Freeman either insists that gastropods (for example) don’t exist, or goes around treading on them for violating the sacred sexual binary.

    “it’s a lie. Since Caster identifies as a woman, she’s a woman under any approach that respects people’s expressed gender identity.”
    So again there’s this conflation of sex and gender – you seem to want to say that if a person is male or female, that automatically determines whether they are a woman or a man. You seem to preclude the idea that someone can have a particular sex but a gender identity or role in society that doesn’t traditionally align with that sex.

    Your claim @122, to which I was responding, was that in determining sex in humans:

    we look at what role a person would play in sexual reproduction if developmentally typical and uninjured.

    but then you say:

    Caster has a better claim to ‘female’ than the people who would be included as female under a sex-abolitionist/pro-gender framework.

    If we use your definition, Caster Semenya has no claim at all to be female, because if she was “developmentally typical”, she would have all the internal and external sexual characteristics of a typical man. If you’re now admitting that your definition doesn’t work, fine.

    KG: “Who, exactly, has advocated such a framework, and where?”
    If you put the phrase into google this report is on the first page: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/law/research/future-of-legal-gender-abolishing-legal-sex-status-full-report.pdf

    No it doesn’t. I don’t normally use Google as my search-engine, but I just put the phrase “sex-abolitionist framework” into it, and as with DuckDuckGo, which I generally use, nothing relevant appeared on the first page – just stuff about abolishing sex work. I don’t know what phrase exactly you used to find the report you did, but in any case, it does not advocate a “sex-abolitionist framework” (what would this even mean?), but explores the possible consequences, good and bad, of no longer having official registration of either sex or gender, just as race is not officially registered. So I’ll repeat, who exactly is advocating a “sex-abolitionist framework”, and where?

  162. says

    …which is one reason to have society-wide conversations about these things.

    And again that self-important pretense that no such conversation has been going on for many years already. Guess what, fool — it HAS been going on, and you haven’t heard a word of it because all you want to do is talk over everyone else and make yourself and your ignorant prejudices the center of attention.

    Here’s a little protip the rest of us learned in grade-school: actual conversation includes LISTENING, not just talking. When you’re participating in a conversation, you need to know when to shut up and let others do the talking — and, of course, listen to and try to understand what they’re saying — when you at least suspect they might be more knowledgeable than you are.

    You keep on insisting that there has to be a “society-wide conversation” about how society treats trans people, but you’ve been utterly oblivious to what’s been said in such a conversation already, and you show absolutely ZERO interest in hearing any of it. Nor do you show any sign of interest in following up on any of the reading we’ve repeatedly recommended to you. And since you’re repeatedly and blatantly avoided many of the points we’ve made here, I, for one, am forced to conclude that a) there’s no point in trying to talk with you any further, and b) you’re only here to concern-troll and hog attention, since you haven’t specified any other goal or objective to your incessant badgering and whataboutery.

    PS: There’s also this matter of all those unspecified “trans activists” you keep crying about. Who are they, exactly? Are they the same unspecified trans activists who are allegedly rushing teenagers by the thousands into an assembly-line gender-transition process, somewhere in the decadent PC West? Because the more you complain about them, the more they sound like some vague, not-quite-real boogeyman, like “Antifa.”

  163. KG says

    Further to #205,
    The report atheistsince2011 linked to does not appear to use the term “sex-abolitionist” or similar.

  164. anat says

    atheistsince2011 @193:

    Yes, the initial decision of whether a child is raised as a girl or a boy (or neither, as may happen more at least in cases of ambiguity, as the message of intersex activists gets heard more) is based on the appearance of their genitals at the time of their birth. However it is not at all accurate to say that

    And for non-trans/cis people, membership of the classes of ‘man’ or ‘woman’ is based on bodies.

    Our social interactions are based on perceived gender, which overall has a strong (though imperfect) correlation with birth sex. There is no need to know what anyone’s sex is or was, whether at the time of their birth or at any other time in order to interact with them, talk about them, decide whether one feels comfortable around them, decide if one finds them attractive or not, and so forth. Plenty of children are completely capable of using gendered language correctly (and even engaging in gender policing, ie enforcing gender stereotypes) without knowing that biological sex exists – kids who have yet to learn about anatomical differences between male and female people. Once assigned gender has a life of its own.

    Something I found out last night – it turns out that the first to use sex on official documents was Napoleon, who wanted to know how many men he could recruit to his army. And according to here until 1974 Dutch passports did not have a sex or gender category, and soon they will no longer have such a category once more.

    The connection between our sexed bodies and our life in patriarchy is completely arbitrary, cruel, wrong, and something we should resist and oppose, but we don’t resist it and oppose it by declaring (or pretending) that it isn’t happening.

    Not having a sex or gender category on a document does not equal pretending that gender or sex discrimination isn’t happening. We don’t register race on official documents anymore, but we can document race-based discrimination based on people’s self-identification or on reports of perceived race, as the case may be. We can avoid just automatically following practices just because we have been doing the same for x decades and think carefully which information we want where and who should have access to that information when.

  165. says

    Not having a sex or gender category on a document does not equal pretending that gender or sex discrimination isn’t happening.

    And is that really even a subject of controversy? From what I’ve heard so far, trans people aren’t really complaining about having their sex specified on their birth-certificates; they’re complaining about how that information is used much later to override their own choices and self-identification no matter what. AS2011’s blithering about “sex-abolition” in official documents really sounds like a deliberate deflection away from the real issues trans people are talking about. Sort of like how all this testerical screaming about “the trans question” is a deliberate deflection away from the disastrous harm and failures caused by far-right policies and mindsets an all matters nearly everywhere.

  166. anat says

    Raging Bee @209: The Netherlands is doing away with gender markers altogether. See here. I seem to recall it happening in some other countries as well. The Dutch case is interesting because such markers on passports were only introduced in 1974. They managed OK without them prior to that, I guess they’ll do fine without them in the future as well.

  167. anat says

    The question is when is it useful to have an official gender or sex marker on a document one carries and may be asked to present vs not having it there and simply relying on people’s statement of their gender or people’s perception of gender, as relevant?

  168. atheistsince2011 says

    “Our social interactions are based on perceived gender”
    You offered this in rebuttal to me saying that for cis people, membership of the class man or woman is based on bodies. I don’t see how ‘social interactions’ (which are external) are congruent to ‘membership of the class of man or woman’ (which can be either internal or external). So I suspect we are talking about slightly different things.
    If you ask a cis person why they are a man or woman, after initial bewilderment, they will give you an answer that refers to the sex of their body. Unlike for trans people, for cis people their conception of being a man or woman is completely independent from their feelings about their body, their feelings about their social role, their feelings about their gendered experiences, and so on. That’s what I mean when I say that for cis people, membership of the class man or woman is based on bodies.
    Anyway, a lot of our social interactions in patriarchy are done to us against our will and with complete indifference to our personal gender identity. This is one way in which your model of ‘perceived gender’ is less useful and predictive (and more offensive tbh) than a model which cites sex or perceived sex.
    But this is for society wide stuff – definitely experiences will be different in different spaces. In a progressive space, an explicitly feminist or anti-cisnormative space etc, with many trans and gender diverse people and not many cishets, sure gender identity and gender expression may be the be all and end all.

    “decide if one finds them attractive or not,”
    I’m having to make a lot of guesses about your views (thanks to the fact that one never hears the same definition of gender twice), but it sounds like here you conceive of there being a gender property people have, perhaps something like
    ‘gender presentation or expression’, that is the subject of attraction. Alternatively you might be saying that people generally experience sexual attraction to gender identities themselves, regardless of physical appearance, which is the even wilder take.
    Either way, it sounds like you believe, for example, that trans men are generally going to be appropriate candidates for sexual relationships with cis gay men, etc, and so on. This ultimately amounts to a claim that everyone is bisexual, because if a man can be either male or female, you’re saying that anyone attracted to ‘men’ (gender) can potentially be attracted to ‘females’ (sex). We know that this is false, not everyone is bisexual, because e.g:
    1. If it were true then 1900s conversion therapy would have worked.
    2. The lived experience of gay men shows that cis gay men and trans men are infrequent or non-typical sexual partners.*
    3. We can look to other species to see that sexual attraction exists absent gender/culture
    4. Across cultures and times, gender varies dramatically but heterosexuality/homosexuality/bisexuality are much more stable.
    5. People who are non bisexual, i.e heterosexual or homosexual, can readily consult their own feelings and experiences.
    If I’ve misconstrued you and you don’t disagree with me, then great.
    If you want to go down the sidetracks of ‘sex is complicated’ (per PZ above) or ‘my friend Ramesh is a cis gay man and he dated a trans man once’, I can address that, but the short response is that it doesn’t defend broad claims about large groups of people to identify individual or specific examples. The claim, for example, that absent bigotry most cis gay men should experience attraction to trans men, isn’t supported by finding one person who does, but by showing that ‘most’ do.

    “Plenty of children are completely capable of using gendered language correctly (and even engaging in gender policing, ie enforcing gender stereotypes) without knowing that biological sex exists – kids who have yet to learn about anatomical differences between male and female people”
    This is like if you said “children know what falling down means without knowing about physics or force of gravity, so we can conclude that falling down doesn’t involve physics or gravity.”

    “Not having a sex or gender category on a document does not equal pretending that gender or sex discrimination isn’t happening. “
    What is ‘sex discrimination’- Aren’t you immediately contradicting your above argument that social interaction is all about ‘perceived gender’?
    But anyway, agreed, except that the removal of sex categories on documentation is happening alongside a political and philosophical position that sex doesn’t exist, isn’t coherent, isn’t useful, or doesn’t matter, etc. I think the philosophical changes are more dramatic and significant than the administrative changes, anyway at the moment they are going hand in hand.

    *and this is why this idea that attraction is predominantly based on gender is so awful. Trans people are taught that if someone isn’t attracted to them, it can’t be because of their sex, but therefore must be because the person is bigoted, doesn’t accept them as their gender, is a ‘genital fetishist’, etc. And it’s all just sad and horrible and a lie.

  169. John Morales says

    Specimen:

    “Our social interactions are based on perceived gender”
    You offered this in rebuttal to me saying that for cis people, membership of the class man or woman is based on bodies.

    Um, I’m a cis person. And I damn well go by the gender someone expresses.
    I don’t really want to peek under their skirt or their trousers to work out how to interact with them.

    So. No rebuttal needed, really. From actual personal experience, your claim is at best existential, but it sure ain’t universal.

    If you ask a cis person why they are a man or woman, after initial bewilderment […]

    As a cis person, I can tell you right now you are full of shit, seeing as I don’t.

    (Same prob — you’re using ‘cis’ as a synonym for ‘uninformed’ and ‘clueless’, but no. Not everyone rejects information that doesn’t suit their prejudices)

    Trans people are taught that [blah]

    WTF? Trans people are those who have been put into the wrong box, not some sort of graduates from some sort of trans indoctrination school.

    (Geez!)

  170. says

    the removal of sex categories on documentation is happening alongside a political and philosophical position that sex doesn’t exist,

    Oh, bullshit. This is simply and completely false. I’m really not sure if you’re consciously lying or just amazingly stupid, but either way, this statement is false. There’s no way you can quote even 3 people on the entire planet earth — and there are a lot of crazy and/or stupid people on the planet earth — saying that biological sex doesn’t exist, and there’s certainly no way you can justify any assertion that there’s a political movement whose aim is to deny the existence of physical sex.

    What the fuck are you even here for? You still haven’t answered that. What was your goal when you showed up and what is your goal now, if it has changed?

  171. says

    Trans people are taught that if someone isn’t attracted to them, it can’t be because of their sex, but therefore must be because the person is bigoted, doesn’t accept them as their gender, is a ‘genital fetishist’, etc. And it’s all just sad and horrible and a lie.

    Imagine what this thread could have been like if you could actually cite any sources substantiating your assertions.

    Except, too bad, so sad, this is all just bullshit.

  172. says

    Either way, it sounds like you believe, for example, that trans men are generally going to be appropriate candidates for sexual relationships with cis gay men, etc, and so on. This ultimately amounts to a claim that everyone is bisexual…

    Um, no, a belief about trans men does not “amount to” any sort of claim about “everyone.” You have no clue what you’re talking about, and it’s really starting to look like you’ve lost track of what you’re here to say, if you ever had such a track. To quote Taylor Swift, “You need to calm down.” Not to mention shut up, give up your pointless quest for attention, and step back and do more listening and learning.

  173. anat says

    atheistsince2011 @212: Please reread my post @208 while being mindful that most of the time people wear clothes and thus biological sex is not directly observable during most social interactions (including situations where people come to realize they find person X sexually attractive). At most people assume others’ biological sex from their perceived gender if they even give thought to that. Also, I don’t know what experience you have with young children, but as a person who remembers quite a bit from my own childhood and as a person who raised a child I can tell you that gender identity can come before any understanding of biological sex (not having conducted any rigorous studies on that I can’t tell you how common this is).

  174. says

    anat: yes, kids learn and take on “gender identity,” in some form or other, from a very early age, starting when they’re first taught that there’s a difference between “boys” and “girls.” And sometimes they start questioning their gender-identity from an early age too.

  175. Jazzlet says

    @John Morales
    Prostrate – verb that has no relationship to sex.
    Prostate – organ in male humans (probably other mammals too, I’ve not checked)

    @AS2011
    What are you here for?

  176. John Morales says

    Jazzlet @219, well, that’s embarrassing. :|

    (Not that I didn’t know, which makes it worse)

  177. Jazzlet says

    John Morales @ 221
    Hey, the combination of an aging laptop keyboard and all the medicines I take mean typos are usual for me, that one was just too good to ignore given the discussion.

  178. John Morales says

    :)

    All good. I do it to others, can’t whinge when others do it to me.

    (And I’m a lucky bastard; only medicines I take are, um, recreational)

  179. StevoR says

    @ 212. atheistsince2011 :

    If you ask a cis person why they are a man or woman, after initial bewilderment, they will give you an answer that refers to the sex of their body.

    Depends who you ask and what their understanding of gender and sex etc ..is. IOW on the individual you ask and their expertise or thoughts. Why does the non-expert popular opinion of people without expertise or lived experience matter and count for so much to you here?

    Anyway, a lot of our social interactions in patriarchy are done to us against our will and with complete indifference to our personal gender identity. This is one way in which your model of ‘perceived gender’ is less useful and predictive (and more offensive tbh) than a model which cites sex or perceived sex.

    Wut? Your second sentence does not seem to follow and be only loosely connected with your first here. How is your version of pecieved sex or citing sex (like what, in an academic paper “sex footnote 1) see Dr Blurrypubes, 1935 Journal of Sexology?”) better , more predictive / useful than our “model of percieved gender” exactly?

    I’m having to make a lot of guesses about your views (thanks to the fact that one never hears the same definition of gender twice),

    Really? You never hear the same definition of gender twice? That surprises me..

    Either way, it sounds like you believe, for example, that trans men are generally going to be appropriate candidates for sexual relationships with cis gay men, etc, and so on. This ultimately amounts to a claim that everyone is bisexual, because if a man can be either male or female, you’re saying that anyone attracted to ‘men’ (gender) can potentially be attracted to ‘females’ (sex).

    Er, no, it seems you you are saying trans people aren’t the gender /sex they say they are. Sexual attraction is a personal and variable thing and not all people of any one gender / sex are attracted to all people of the opposite or same sex or neither or both.

    ..not everyone is bisexual, ..

    No, but many people are and the Kinsey scale is a real thing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_scale ) as are people being pansexual and genderfluid.

    If you want to go down the sidetracks of ‘sex is complicated’ (per PZ above) or ‘my friend Ramesh is a cis gay man and he dated a trans man once’, I can address that, but the short response is that it doesn’t defend broad claims about large groups of people to identify individual or specific examples.

    Can you tho’? Looks to me like you are brushing it aside and ignoring it.

    ..the short response is that it doesn’t defend broad claims about large groups of people to identify individual or specific examples. The claim, for example, that absent bigotry most cis gay men should experience attraction to trans men, isn’t supported by finding one person who does, but by showing that ‘most’ do.

    Yeah, you’re just taking the average or your percieved average and cultural norm as being everything and ignoring the outliers and variables and thinking that means they aren’t there. By your “logic” here all stars are be red dwarfs (75% of all stars, not a one visible without at least binoculars) and you’d ignore the existance of stars that make up pretty much all the visible ones in the sky because they are don’t meet your expectations and these brighter OBAF spectral type stars and thus most supernovae, etc .. would be unknown to you because they are so rare. (less than 5% of all stars.) Basically, you are saying because most people are X that means Y isn’t really a thing. It doesn’t work like that and you are grotesquely oversimplifying and ignoring the things people that are inconvenient to your case and worldview.

    What is ‘sex discrimination’- Aren’t you immediately contradicting your above argument that social interaction is all about ‘perceived gender’?

    Huh? How? Also you don’t seriously need a definition of what sexual discrimination is surely!?

    .. the removal of sex categories on documentation is happening alongside a political and philosophical position that sex doesn’t exist, isn’t coherent, isn’t useful, or doesn’t matter, etc…

    Really? Maybe in some contexts and circumstances but not all. Whjat exactly are you referring to and meaning by this and why is it a problem?

    Trans people are taught that if someone isn’t attracted to them, it can’t be because of their sex, but therefore must be because the person is bigoted, doesn’t accept them as their gender, is a ‘genital fetishist’, etc. And it’s all just sad and horrible and a lie.

    Really? Which trans people and how do you know and how many trasn people have you spoken to or read and learnt from exactly? Overgeneralising much? Also ignoring transphobia and reality much?

  180. Jim Balter says

    atheistsince2011@211

    “it’s all just sad and horrible and a lie”

    As good a summary of your comments as any. You started back @25 with some appallingly stupid bad faith nonsense that was immediately called out, and while you were better at times, what you ended up revealing about yourself is even worse. I was going to go into some detail about your many errors but then I came to my senses. I will make just two points: 1) “there can be women-only carriages but trans women must be permitted to use them” is as nonsensical as “there can be women-only carriages but women must be permitted to use them” or “there can be women-only carriages but left-handed women must be permitted to use them” unless the person who wrote it is a trans-exclusionary bigot (or Nazi, if you prefer). 2) Calls for “public conversations” in the world we occupy amounts to giving legitimacy to the arguments of people like Ron DeSantis and people screaming about “parental rights” at school board meetings.

  181. Jim Balter says

    One more thing (for now) prompted by the mention of “prostrate”:

    atheistsince2011@196

    What I understand most trans advocates and allies to want, and what you seem to persuaded by here yourself, is for nothing to refer to sex- so everywhere we talk about men, male, women, female, we are always talking about ‘gender’ or social role or identity or all at once, and then for sex to be abolished and replaced with a mr-potato-head style system of understanding bodies. This is your ‘uterus havers’ and ‘prostrate havers’ kind of model, yeah.

    We use trans-inclusive language such as “pregnant persons” rather than “pregnant women” not because of “a political and philosophical position that sex doesn’t exist” or anything to do with Mr. Potato Head, but for the same reason we say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” — because we aren’t exclusionary assholes.

  182. Jim Balter says

    Either way, it sounds like you believe, for example, that trans men are generally going to be appropriate candidates for sexual relationships with cis gay men, etc, and so on. This ultimately amounts to a claim that everyone is bisexual, because if a man can be either male or female, you’re saying that anyone attracted to ‘men’ (gender) can potentially be attracted to ‘females’ (sex).

    This is a bottomless pit of stupidity that ignores such things as variations in morphology of trans men and variations in top / bottom and effeminate / masculine preferences in gay men, indulges in weird concepts of “appropriate”, views relationships only from the POV of cis men–ignoring even the gender preferences of the trans men, slides from “generally” to “everyone”, completely misconstrues what “can be” means, and ignores the reality of actual existing relationships. Of course a man (gender) can have XY or XX or other chromosomes or whatever other measure of “male or female” you want to use, and of course gay men can potentially be attracted to people with various chromosomes etc. … depending on a whole array of details, just as is the case with anyone.

  183. says

    I’m having to make a lot of guesses about your views (thanks to the fact that one never hears the same definition of gender twice),

    I missed this the first time, but I really shouldn’t have. It has the same content as the following while being nearly as blatant:

    “I don’t like how there are a multiplicity of opinions which prevents me from treating you like a monolithic enemy, so I’m going to just tell you what’s in your head instead of asking you what you’re thinking. It’s much easier for me in this conversation if I tell you what you think rather than spending time listening.”

  184. anat says

    atheistsince2010 @212:

    Another bit:

    What is ‘sex discrimination’- Aren’t you immediately contradicting your above argument that social interaction is all about ‘perceived gender’?

    No. It is not necessary to know who belongs in category X to discriminate against people in category X. For instance, if one creates a policy or work environment that creates extra hardship specifically for people in category X one is discriminating against people in category X, and this happens even if one never meets people in category X face to face or knows that they had met such people.

  185. atheistsince2011 says

    John:

    And I damn well go by the gender someone expresses.”

    As you should. It’s polite and respectful to do so, and it shows willingness to see people as they want to be seen.

    John:

    you’re using ‘cis’ as a synonym for ‘uninformed’ and ‘clueless’, but no

    Kudos for understanding what I’m saying in that bit and correctly identifying the most common and strongest response. I think claims about cis people are made for political reasons, not because the claims reflect reality. I can only speak to my own experiences, conversations with people, etc, but I do think there’s a lot of material on the net from cis people – videos, blogs, interviews, etc- that supports my beliefs about this. There was a political need to have everyone experience gender in the same way, otherwise there could be gendered experiences that could be interpreted to be more ‘real’. This is why advocacy and theory moved away from that 1990s/early 2000s model of ‘some people are women because they are female, and some people are women because they identify as such’ and vice versa.
    And your thoughts here are VERY interesting. Up above I said something like, people who see themselves as easygoing and hyperrelativistic will often actually have a prescriptive worldview in some ways. And I think you do that here. Faced with the idea that cis people (broadly) don’t experience gender identity in the same way as trans people (broadly), putting aside your own experience as an individual, you consider cis people and say “no. I reject that. I believe that an informed and cluey cis person will experience their gender identity in a similar way to trans people”.
    In doing so you therefore become prescriptive, you deny people’s lived reality, you lose that claim to be easygoing or relativistic.

    “WTF”
    I’m trying to put in the ‘some’ ‘most’ ‘all’ modifiers where needed but I missed them there, sorry. Anyway this point touched on again below.

    Anat:

    mindful that most of the time people wear clothes and thus biological sex is not directly observable…At most people assume others’ biological sex from their perceived gender if they even give thought to that.

    Wow it sounds like we can pretty much get rid of this idea of ‘biological sex’ altogether, it’s so irrelevant to our interactions. We can all just use ‘perceived gender’ instead. Wait, what is gender for again?, and why are we keeping it around?
    And given there’s so much oppression of women by men, can women just stop gendering their clothes, and escape the oppression of men that way? Like what’s stopping women from doing that, in your analysis?

    Crip Dyke:

    like if you could actually cite any sources substantiating your assertions.

    Re the sexuality point).
    I could cite your very own blog post on FTB on the cotton ceiling as an example of some of the discourse in this area. I’m sorry, I just don’t buy for one second that the things I’m talking about here you’ve never heard before. You’re trolling me.
    But (Re sex abolition point):
    But you, and KG above, are absolutely correct that there is no ‘sex abolition movement’, and especially no actions undertaken under that banner. There’s no shadowy agenda, no big conspiracy. Everything that’s happening in the sex and gender space is piecemeal, disconnected, incompetently carried out by lawmakers who don’t have a good grasp on the concepts, and so on.
    If I used the word ‘movement’ before then I stand corrected. Movement isn’t the right word and I didn’t express that well.

    StevoR:

    Really? You never hear the same definition of gender twice? That surprises me..

    It shouldn’t surprise you if you are interested in the topic of gender and read widely on it.

    Er, no, it seems you you are saying trans people aren’t the gender /sex they say they are.

    You’re explicitly and openly making THE sex-gender conflation error.
    Sex is not gender. Gender is not sex.

    Sexual attraction is a personal and variable thing

    Yes.

    and not all people of any one gender / sex are attracted to all people of the opposite or same sex or neither or both.

    Yes.

    Yeah, you’re just taking the average or your percieved average and cultural norm as being everything and ignoring the outliers and variables and thinking that means they aren’t there.

    Nope!
    And @Jim Balter:
    You both are answering the question, e.g ‘is it ok for a cis gay man to experience attraction to a trans man and does this happen?’, (the answer is obviously yes and yes!) but that’s not the question I’m talking about. The question that has been raised, aggressively and in attack, by the cohort I was calling left wing homophobes, is ‘is it ok for a person to experience and describe their attraction only in terms of sex?’. I.e SSA and OSA, not same gender attraction or opposite gender attraction.
    See how that’s a different question? You’re framing yourself as playing defence, when actually you might be the attacker.
    See: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-57853385

    https://everydayfeminism.com/2017/04/cissexist-say-never-date-trans/

    What’s happening is where some trans people are experiencing sexual rejection on the basis of their sex, the response from some in the community has been to deny that this is a legitimate basis to reject a sexual partner, and that there is something else going on: prejudice, misgendering, peer pressure (thanks Crip Dyke) and so on.

    Jim:

    Must be permitted to use them is as nonsensical as there can be women-only carriages but women must be permitted to use them

    Yes, good comment. I should have said ‘female only carriages’ there for my comment to make sense. Good pick up.

    Calls for “public conversations” in the world we occupy amounts to giving legitimacy to the arguments of people like Ron DeSantis and people screaming about “parental rights” at school board meetings.

    You’re just begging the question IMO, but for the record Rob DeSantis is awful and book-banning is awful. ‘Everyone who disagrees with me is giving oxygen to my enemies’ is a partisan, manipulative take, and it’s the same error PZ is making in OP.
    It’s not true that all viewpoints are always worth discussing. For example, Nazism. It’s also not true that there are not viewpoints on sex and gender that are worth discussing.

    We use trans-inclusive language such as “pregnant persons” rather than “pregnant women”

    No, I wasn’t talking about inclusive language at that point. The example was ‘uterus-havers’ not as a replacement term for ‘women’, but as a replacement term for ‘female’. The idea I’m discussing is the idea that ‘female’ isn’t a useful label, but instead should be broken down into components, like ‘having a uterus’, ‘having eggs’, etc. This is done sometimes for inclusive reasons but sometimes for Ideological/political reasons.
    The sports example is where something could be labelled ‘female and male’, but is instead labelled ‘woman (gender) + low T’, and man (gender). It’s obviously not done to be inclusive, because of the T requirements excluding trans women from the ‘female’ category. But yet it is an example of where institutions just shied away from using the words female and male.

  186. John Morales says

    AS:

    Up above I said something like, people who see themselves as easygoing and hyperrelativistic will often actually have a prescriptive worldview in some ways. And I think you do that here. Faced with the idea that cis people (broadly) don’t experience gender identity in the same way as trans people (broadly), putting aside your own experience as an individual, you consider cis people and say “no. I reject that. I believe that an informed and cluey cis person will experience their gender identity in a similar way to trans people”.

    Wow, you are quite verbose. For you, I’ll do a bit too.

    This is the bit I quoted, and to which my response applied: “If you ask a cis person why they are a man or woman, after initial bewilderment”.
    It’s about cis people specifically (else you’d just have left the qualifier out, no?) being bewildered about their own perception of their gender identity (inferred from context, since your actual words are equivocal; most people would be bewildered as to why they were being asked that question), as if cis people were some sort of clueless bewildered mob.
    Again: No.

    In doing so you therefore become prescriptive, you deny people’s lived reality, you lose that claim to be easygoing or relativistic.

    <snicker>

    Yeah, sure — I’m the one trying to ban people from places and activities based purely on whether or not they are transgender.

    (What’s funniest is that you imagine I like to think of myself as easygoing or relativistic. Most everyone here familiar with my comments over the years considers me an opinionated asshole, and have let me know it in no uncertain terms at some time or other. You’re fishing in the wrong place!)

  187. John Morales says

    PS

    Was gonna leave the other stuff, but I can’t resist noting you made a lengthy response to CD’s noting you don’t cite any sources substantiating your assertions where you… don’t cite any sources substantiating your assertions.

    (Such a masterful move!)

  188. says

    Tired. So tired of this trained sea lion and his longwinded schtick.

    atheistsince2011 is now banned, to spare everyone the misery of reading his noise.

  189. KG says

    If you ask a cis person why they are a man or woman, after initial bewilderment, they will give you an answer that refers to the sex of their body. – atheistsince2011@212

    Amusing that atheistsince2011 ignores the fact that most of the people they’ve been arguing with are cis, but realise that there is no simple answer to such a question.

  190. Jim Balter says

    Just for the record:

    You both are answering the question, e.g ‘is it ok for a cis gay man to experience attraction to a trans man and does this happen?’

    No, moron, I was doing no such thing.

    Yes, good comment. I should have said ‘female only carriages’ there for my comment to make sense. Good pick up.

    No, ahole, you can’t make that substitution.

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