Sunday, August 15, 2021

Untangling Sex

The discourse around transgender people often breaks into two sides screaming at each other, one arguing that 'gender is a social construct', and the other stamping their feet and yelling that such an argument denies the biological realities of women.  Both positions are correct from certain perspectives, but the "biological" argument fails to recognize the deconstruction of "sex" that many transgender people find themselves forced to engage in, and that deconstruction forms the basis for a much more nuanced discussion of both the social and physical issues involved. 

In this essay, I will endeavour to walk the reader through the concepts involved in the deconstruction of sex that transgender people often use as they are coming to an understanding of their own experience which is so different from that of their peers.  I will then start to explore how this deconstruction opens doors to much more complete discussions of the issues faced not just by transgender people, but by all of us as we navigate our way through society. 

Saturday, August 07, 2021

TERFy Arguments On Twitter

Today turned out to be "Day of the TERFs" on Twitter for me.  I realize that for all that TERFs and GCs like to think of themselves as "clever" and being "the smart person in the room", they really aren't all that well informed.  Most of their arguments are fundamentally emotional arguments which have little real world evidence to back them up. 

Let me give you an example of the structure of the typical argument (and for the sake of the guilty, I'll paraphrase):

TERF:  "We have to keep men out of gender segregated facilities!!!"

Challenger: "So you want to ban transgender women from using the bathroom?" 

TERF: "No, I don't have a problem with transgender women, but we have to keep male predators out."

Challenger: "Then what do you want?" 

TERF: "Men have no place in women's facilities"

Challenger: "So, you propose what?"

TERF: "Men have penises.  They have no business in a women's washroom" 

Challenger: "So you want to ban transgender women?" 

TERF: "We have to keep sexual predators out so that women and girls are safe"

Challenger: "Then the real problem is sexual predators, not transgender women" 

TERF: "But what about all the women and girls who have been sexually assaulted in bathrooms?" 

Challenger: "Were the people who assaulted them transgender women?" 

TERF: "... no, but we're letting potential sexual predators with penises into women's spaces!"

Challenger: "Wait ... so you're saying that everybody with a penis is a predator now?" 

TERF: "No, but if we're allowing transgender women into bathrooms, what's stopping a man from dressing up and saying he's a woman?" 

Challenger: "Transgender women have been using public washrooms for decades.  Do you have any evidence this has ever happened?" 

TERF: <* Throws up random news article about a sexual assault in a bathroom *> 

Challenger:  "The attacker here clearly wasn't transgender ..."

TERF:  "Oh, so you want more sexual assaults to happen!"

Challenger:  "Most such assaults are committed by people known to the victim. Random assaults are comparatively rare, and ones involving transgender women even more so"

<It goes on from here, but I'll stop at this point because there's only so many times you can chase around the same mulberry bush> 

There's a series of underlying patterns here that I want to point out:  

1)  The automatic assumption that because someone has a penis, they are automatically a threat to women and girls.  

Simple observation of the world around us shows that this is simply false. By far the vast majority of male-bodied people simply aren't a problem.  So, why is it they keep banging away at transgender women as if they are some kind of threat?  

2) The minute that you challenge them directly, they pivot to "sexual predators"

It's a quaint 19th century type of notion that predators won't go into a room because it's marked "Ladies".  Sexual predators are a special subset of the population, and if you think a sign is going to stop them, you're missing a whole lot of bits of reality. We used to call them "peeping toms" back in the day, and every so often, one would get found hiding in a stall in the ladies' bathroom.

However, the claim now gets twisted into "but you're creating more opportunities for them by accommodating transgender women". Again, not really. These people would find / create opportunities before, they'll create them now. 

The idea that a predator would do the "wolf in sheep's clothing" routine to gain access to their prey is somewhat laughable. That isn't how the "predator-prey" thing works.

3) "But What About Women/Girls Who Have Been Sexually Assaulted?" 

This is a guilt play. They're demanding that the transgender woman live some kind of shadowy existence ultimately to "comfort" those who have been sexually assaulted. There is no justification for this, since nobody has shown that transgender women are more likely to commit sexual assaults than other women (and yes, such things do happen).

Access to appropriate therapy in the wake of a sexual assault is absolutely important, and needs to exist and be augmented from where it is today. Punishing transgender women because sexual assaults do happen seems unnecessarily harsh and unreasonable.

All of this is to say you will encounter a lot of twisting about to justify what amounts to "concern trolling" - which is to say, they don't actually have any valid concerns beyond their own discomfort with the fact that a transgender woman may in fact possess (or once possessed) a penis. Frankly, like everybody else, the transgender woman is in there for the same reason everybody else is - usually to pee, wash their hands, and leave.  (and maybe refresh their make-up a little) 

Lastly, on the subject of gender neutral facilities, there are no doubt design issues with what is currently done in public bathrooms and changing room facilities. Those issues need to be identified and appropriately dealt with. Collectively punishing transgender women because of these shortfalls is ... silly.   


Thursday, August 05, 2021

Alberta's Conservatives Are Abusers

 It should come as no surprise to most readers that I have little use for conservatism in its current form. I think it has become something to be reviled, and today, I was introduced to an article that reinforced my thoughts on the matter, and in some key respects highlights the nature of how conservatives have been abusing Albertans - for decades.  

The article is in Alberta Views:  "Rural Resentment"

When I saw this article reposted on Facebook, I started to write out a comment, but I quickly found it was getting too long to be a comment, so I'm moving it here. 

The Cass Review and the WPATH SOC

The Cass Review draws some astonishing conclusions about the WPATH Standards of Care (SOC) . More or less, the basic upshot of the Cass Rev...