Let me make this perfectly clear

Fellow FtB blogger HJ Hornbeck over at Reprobate Spreadsheet privately alerted me to the fact that what I thought was a somewhat anodyne response that I made in a comment thread is being portrayed as somehow at least a semi-endorsement of transphobic views. My comment was purely a suggestion about how to keep small group discussions focused on the topic at hand, something I had some experience with as a teacher, and had nothing to do with whatever is the topic of discussion.

I tend not to write defensively. I assume that my words will be taken in good faith and not try to anticipate how my words could be misconstrued. I know that I am not aware of all the issues that members of the transgender community face and hence may, on occasion and out of pure ignorance, say or write something that should and could have been phrased better and thus may fall prey to those who seek to misinterpret my words to advance transphobic agendas. I would like to apologize in advance if that happens and would appreciate correction from those, like HJ, Crip Dyke, Andreas Avester, Rhiannon and others who know much more than I do.

So let me state my position as clearly as I possibly can.

I fully support the right of the transgender community to equal treatment and to be granted all the respect, rights, and privileges that all the rest of us enjoy. And I definitely oppose any attempt to exclude members of the transgender community from any activity by questioning the ‘reality’ of their gender.

Under no circumstances should people interpret what I write (even if poorly worded) as contradicting any of the above or as even the slightest endorsement of transphobic views.


  1. Sam N says

    I may fall into your camp Mano. I do my best, but I don’t know very much about it. I’m probably insensitive at times. No one close to me has transitioned. I hear a few amusing stories related by others regarding Ben Barres about his differential treatment as a male in science. But if anyone should think I somehow support an agenda to cause distress, or even really point out, any transgendered person. Think again. Their personal decisions do not affect my quality of life, and I’m happy to consider their feelings and be instructed when I make mistakes. Because, you know, they’re just human beings, like the rest of us. Stupid that even needs to be said.

  2. DrVanNostrand says

    Oh no! Does this mean there are now ZERO “sane” bloggers at FtB? The horror!

  3. says

    Thank you, Professor Singham. That means a lot.

    We don’t always have the luxury of assuming good faith. Too many betrayals, too much hate hidden under a veneer of outward civility. Thank you for clarifying.

  4. Mano Singham says

    abbeycadabra @#5,

    Sorry, I had not meant that list to be exhaustive of FtB bloggers who are transgender or even just of bloggers who are transgender but just put down those names that came to mind.

  5. Holms says

    A minor correction: the comment you describe as “a somewhat anodyne response” was not the being referred to in Roj Blake’s comment over there. Notice Roj says “Mano took one sip from the TRA cup when he asked Crip Dyke for more info on trans* issues”, clearly a reference to some other conversation in which you had an interaction with Crip Dyke.

    I am not certain which thread / interaction he was actually referring to, but it may have been this one.

  6. Silentbob says

    @ 8 Holms

    The relevant bit is surely

    Mano has just let a push back against TRAs flow.

    (TRA is transphobic jargon for Trans Rights Activist and is used indiscriminately to refer to anyone not prejudiced against trans people. It’s used because it sounds similar to MRA and invokes negative associations.)

  7. Holms says

    Yes that’s part of what was being said, but Mano was under the impression his anecdote about book clubs (iirc) was the conversation in question. So I cleared that bit up.

    TRA is the plainest description for an activist for trans rights possible. Trans rights activist.

  8. says

    Holms, you are as always being a lying prat.

    Dr. Singham, the phrase ‘TRA’ 1) is applied to all trans people who do not roll over and accept the hate, not to actual activists, and 2) was deliberately coined by TERFs by analogy with the whiny entitled manchlidren who call themselves ‘MRAs’.

    It is a term of hate. Holms knows this, and that’s why he and his fellow hate-buboes enjoy saying it. To them, the cruelty is the point.

  9. Hj Hornbeck says

    I can both second and third the observation on the use of “trans rights activist.”

    I note for the audience that the “gender critical” crowd — you know, TERFs — love to use the term TRA (trans rights activist) to refer to pretty much any trans person who doesn’t buy what they’re selling. I don’t know if this is meant to be a dogwhistle, but it at least quacks like one. […]

    It’s rhetorical sleight of hand. Trans people who want to live their lives without being called blackface actors are “activists”, while the people making those comments are merely expressing concerns. Telling people what they should be able to wear earns no mention in this essay at all, but replying on a public platform to tell you that you are being hurtful is “policing your speech”.

    Do you know where I first learned about this trick? From people who opposed the gay rights movement. “Gay rights activist” was a phrase I saw bandied about a lot while I was growing up, as though wanting to be able to marry one’s partner instantly transformed a person into some sort of unreasonable lobbyist, while opposing it was just the normal and natural thing to do.

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