February 5, 2024

Against the «common sense» of anti-rights groups (Part 1)

It is very common in anti-rights discourse to appeal to arguments whose authority lies, according to them, in “reality itself.” Thus, religious groups, trans-exclusionary radical feminists, libertarian conservatives, alternative right-wingers, liberals of dubious neutrality, and even orthodox leftists, invoke the apparently innocuous and incontestable mantle of common sense.

By guest writer Amilka González

Every time these groups obtain what they consider a small victory against the LGBTIQ population —that is, a setback in terms of human rights— and especially against the trans population, they cheer: Common sense has won! This is what happened recently in Spain with the reduction of LGBTI laws by the Government of the Community of Madrid —for a detailed approach to this situation, we recommend reading here , here and there .

Throughout the international arena where anti-rights groups strive to impose anti-rights rhetoric, the same script is repeated. The central point of their arguments is that common sense must necessarily be the guideline to follow when it comes to settling social disputes around sex and gender. And, according to them, their only interest here is to defend common sense and truth.

In this article we will try to answer several questions: What do these groups mean by common sense? In what ways can this elusive concept be understood in the context of science? What advantages or disadvantages would using common sense give us to resolve important differences in our societies? 

Let's see.

What is common sense? 

«Common sense is, as its name indicates, the unanimous feeling of the entire human race (...) of all times and all places, wise or ignorant, barbarian or civilized.» 

Amadeo Jacques. «Memory about common sense»

First of all, this is not a simple question and answering it in a non-superficial way is challenging. From a historical point of view, to get an idea of the magnitude of the issue, it is enough to know that common sense has been attempted to be defined many times since ancient times —and maybe, since very distant galaxies. 

January 4, 2024

Gender variation, normalcy, "autogynephilia" and the culture war

I was talking to the transgender blogger Joanna Santos on WhatsApp the other day and we made some observations regarding generational shifts regarding the role of transphobic theories like "autogymephilia" in the lives of trans and gender variant people.

If we allow ourselves to generalize a bit we may say that the older generations (boomers and those 50+) have had to face several challenges:

  1. The oppression and shaming that is associated with such theories, when used in politics and public spaces.
  2. The way these theories can be used by family and friends.
  3. The way these narratives easily become internalized, leading to shame, suppression of transgender dreams, fear, anger and depression.

The younger generation, and especially Gen Z and the Millenials, more often face only one of these three:

  1. The oppression and shaming that is associated with such theories, when used in politics and public spaces.

The right wing and TERF backlash against transgender rights makes this remaining bullet-point painfully visible right now, but as Joanna pointed out to me, young people today get their gender affirmed by those who matter: Friends and family. 

A new culture for the young

Younger cis people may not fully understand what being trans means, but are more likely to have grown up in a cultural setting where you respect and accept the identities of others, and where marginalized groups are to be included and not ostracized.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!