January 7, 2020

Sorry, gender cannot be reduced to biological sex.

Why is it transgender people cannot understand that biological sex is biological sex? That is pretty obvious isn't it? Or...?

The recent J. K. Rowling is a transphobic TERF debate has in many ways clarified what the anti-trans arguments boil down to.

Rowling gave her support to Maya Forstater, who – among other things – has argued that “I think that male people are not women. I don’t think being a woman/female is a matter of identity or womanly feelings. It is biology.”

Forstater's statement echoes a lot of similar arguments about trans people denying the reality of biological sex. How can sex be "socially constructed", when everyone can see that little boys have penises, and little girls have vaginas?

These common sense statements are  seductive,  partly because they seem so intuitively true  and partly because many  trans activist have found it hard to communicate their concerns in simple to understand ways.

Here comes a simple and common sense explanation for why Forstater's argument is wrong.

Words about motherhood

To put the whole discussion into perspective, I am going to use somewhat different, but related example, namely the concept of motherhood.

I am sure we all can agree that a good definition of "a mother" is a person who has given birth to a child. This truth actually applies to most mammals. The biological definition of "mother" therefore implies that the person in question is female, and she has a fully functioning uterus and fertile eggs.

But note that this is the biological definition of mother. It does not reflect the way we think of motherhood in a social and cultural setting.

I grew up with a friend whose biological mother had died giving birth to him. Her sister, who happened to be infertile and had no kids, adopted him. She and her husband raised him as their own. As far as he was concerned, she was his mother and her husband was his father, and that was the way the rest of us also saw it.

In other words, there is a cultural and social definition of motherhood that is different from the biological one. We could probably say that a mother is a woman who  who raises a particular kid and loves them and cares for them. The term "mother" is defined by the interaction between the woman and the child. She sees the kid as her child, and the kid sees the woman as their mother.

Moreover, the social role of being a mother also includes other members of the family and the community. They will also see this woman as the mother of this kid.

December 24, 2019

The Trans Separatist Betrayal Lives on in a New Form

Blair White is one of the most aggressive
trans separatists today, and she is actively
making fun of trans women who do not
live up to her conservative standards.
Those who have followed my blogs for a while, will know that I have argued against transgender separatism, people who think they are so much more trans than other transgender people that they have the right to decide who is in and who is out.

These "Harry Benjamin Sydrome supporters" and, more lately,  "truscum" or "transmedicalists", have all bought into the extreme gender binary and hate the idea that "normal people" should think of them as anything but a 100 percent man or woman.

(As if any cis man or woman is 100 percent male or female...)

Quite a few of them (but not all, I am glad to say) then  throw all other trans people under the bus, using a lot of traditional transphobic arguments in the process, the most obvious being that (”false”) trans women are scary, sexual, predators.

These two videos by karviday give a very good, although depressing, view into the world of transgender panics and how transphobic bullying tacts  are used by younger transgender separatists. None of this is OK.

November 28, 2019

An alternative hypothesis for the evolution of same-sex sexual behavior in animals

An article in The Washington Post presents a new approach to same-sex relationships in animals (and humans, by implication). Researchers argue that heterosexuality is a pretty recent invention, as far as evolution is concerned.

When Procreation is a God

Traditionally homosexual or bisexual practices have been seen as deviations that need to be explained. The premise is that sex is for pro-creation, so same-sex sex makes no sense. Why does not evolution eradicate such behavior, given that it does not lead to offspring?

Ray Blanchard, the man behind the transphobic  autogynephilia theory is, for instance,  deeply anchored in this way of thinking. He has spent a lot of time trying to explain why homosexuals exists. Moreover, he presents both homosexuality and transgender conditions as mental illnesses, again because they – presumably – do not lead to procreation.

(Why “evolutionary psychologists” have decided to make procreation God and the ruler over right and wrong will have to be addressed at another time. It makes little sense to me.)

Same-sex behavior is the starting point

The report presented in the Washington Post takes a completely different approach. Polysexuality might just as well be the natural default, if I understand the researchers correctly. Same-sex behavior has always been there.

November 19, 2019

Lesbian TERFs are using the exact same tactics against trans people as homophobes used against gay men and women


The arguments TERFs and other transphobes use against transgender people these days have also been used against gay and lesbian people.

"Trans-exclusionary radical feminists” (TERFs)  are arguing that trans women are a threat to cis women and children. The tactic is partly to sexualize transgender people, reducing their gender identity to some kind of perversion, and partly to describe them as member of some kind of sinister misguided cult ("transtrenders").

These are  not new types of tactics, historically. They have been used against feminists, people of color, working class citizens and gay men and lesbian women for ages.

So, you might rightly ask why lesbians and pro-lesbian feminists are using the same tactics against trans people, as straight, cis, people used against homosexuals. They have clearly learned nothing from history.

Over at twitter The Implausible Girl has collected a wide variety of newspaper clippings documenting how the arguments used against gay men and lesbian women are now repeated in a transgender context.  I will present some of them below.

The point is simply to document that the TERFs and other transphobes are committing the same crimes against trans people as those that have been committed against gay and lesbian people. And although there may be some people out there who ask legitimate questions about some of the arguments raised by some trans people, it is clear that as far as the TERF activists are concerned, this is not about discussing facts. This is about using any false argument that may force trans people back into their closets, even if that argument has been used against people like themselves.

October 1, 2019

Understanding the tactics of TERFs

Trans-exclusionary radical feminists are now actively harassing transgender kids in an attempt to erase their identities. (Photo:  Antonio Guillem)

Here's how trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) are trying to hide their transphobic bigotry.

I never recommend that trans people get engaged in online discussions with militant TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists). Many of them are Internet trolls, and there will be no constructive debate.

Nevertheless,  a few times a year I do engage with them on twitter, partly to show those who are listening in that there is a different way of looking at transgender people, and partly to find out how the TERFs think. There are not many of them, but they do some serious damage, and in order to limit that damage, we need to understand what drives them.

The two main groups of TERFs

There is no simple answer to that, as the TERFs are not a homogenous group. Still, if we allow for some simplification, we could say that there are at least two groups of women associated with their cause:

  1. White, straight, middle or upper class women, who are looking for some kind of excuse to force transgender children back into the closet and restrict transgender women to their homes.
  2. Militant "radical feminists".  The latter group consists mainly of real cis lesbians (some of them channeling aggressive  masculine energies), or cis straight women who resent men so much that they "have abandoned heterosexuality" (also known as "political lesbians").

The most vocal trolls belong to the second category.

(Please note that these women represent a very small, but active, minority among feminists. Most feminists, lesbians included, support transgender people.)

September 16, 2019

What does "assigned gender at birth" mean?

I think the transgender community and its allies often take the word "assigned" for granted, rarely stopping to think about what it means or what it conveys to others.

Guest post by Veronica Claire

This is a topic that I raised in a private conversation with Jack, and he was keen to see it shared with a wider audience.

Assigned gender and assigned sex

Nuances differ between assigned gender and assigned sex, and there are shades of meaning within each. The everyday sense of the word is easiest to recognise when we are talking about (a) the way society allocates social roles and expectations based on our genitalia, or (b) the case of intersex people who were raised as boys or girls and even operated on for no reason other than society's intolerance of ambiguity. This is assignment in anyone's dictionary.

Other times, assigned sex or gender is used essentially as a euphemism for anatomical sex at birth, in contexts where neither society's social assumptions nor the possibility of intersex conditions are really under consideration, and where casual readers might be mislead to believe that we are denying the reality of anatomical sex beyond the act of assignment. Such usage is not wrong, but it should be cogniscent rather than reflexive.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!