Sunday, January 28, 2024

A Muddled Mess

So, this past week, Federal Court justice Mosley issued a ruling on a group of cases attacking the Federal Government's use of the Emergencies Act as somehow illegal/unconstitutional/whatever.

Let me start off by saying that I've read a good number of rulings from Canadian judges, and usually they're pretty readable.  This is not one of them.  In fact it is shockingly unclear in so many respects. In other words, to be utterly charitable, it feels like the judge had a horribly unclear picture of the evidence before him and that is reflected in the utterly muddled outcome. 
Let's start with the end where we get a clear statement from the justice as to how muddled his thinking really is. 

Collective Punishment

So, apparently the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza had some number of its staff involved in the October 7 attack on Israel.  This has resulted in numerous countries halting funding of UNRWA.  The best estimates I can find are that somewhere in the range of a dozen employees of UNRWA are involved.  That’s 12 people - in an organization of thousands, just in Gaza.

There’s a problem here.  The problem is that this amounts to little more than collective punishment. I know that Israel takes the position that anyone near or around someone who had anything to do with the October 7 attacks must be Hamas-aligned.  

In some ways, this is a variation on the “Nazi Bar” analogy, which basically postulates that if you don’t deal immediately and aggressively with Nazis in your bar, you will end up with a Nazi bar in fairly short order.  Israel is essentially arguing that anyone within 10’ of a Hamas supporter is Hamas, and therefore UNRWA is Hamas.  

The problem with the approach being taken in Gaza, and with UNRWA is this:  It isn’t dealing with holding the offenders responsible for their actions, it is in fact holding everyone in the room responsible for their actions.  Returning to the Nazi Bar idea for a moment, it’s as if we have a single Nazi in the bar, so we blow the whole bar up immediately without regard for the other patrons in the bar.  Is the couple sitting at a table having a quiet conversation a pair of Nazis?  No - we have a patron in the bar that is a Nazi, and by blowing up the whole establishment, we are engaging in collective punishment.  

In fact, Israel’s whole approach to the current situation in Gaza demonstrates a collective punishment approach.  They have systematically levelled infrastructure in Gaza regardless of whether it is explicitly Hamas militant or civilian housing.  In essence, Israel has said “we’re going to carpet bomb Gaza into the Stone Age”, and clearly has no interest in distinguishing between Hamas militants and civilian residents.  Sadly, this approach will do little except harden people against each other further, lending further internal justification to the hard line approach taken on both sides of this conflict.  

Let’s say the current focus on UNRWA ends up dismantling the organization for a moment.  What does that accomplish besides making life that much worse for the Palestinian people already marginalized and abused under Israel’s bombardment of Gaza?  Does it solve anything at all?

Now, before anybody starts “yabutting” at me about what Hamas did on October 7, 2023 as justification, let me be abundantly clear here:  What Hamas did on that day was wrong for many of the same reasons that what Israel’s government is doing in Gaza is wrong.  When it comes to this conflict, we can trace it back centuries, and longer - and I assure you that neither side has a lock on “right”.  The simple fact of the matter is that collective punishment for any wrong is never successful.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

It's A Confession

In the wake of Rachel Notley stepping down as leader of the Alberta NDP,  the geniuses over at National Post decided to publish an "opinion" piece that tries to lay all of Alberta's political problems at her feet

Besides being partisan drivel, it's interesting to go through this particular example because it's so revealing of the rhetorical acrobatics that the writer engages in to twist things to suit his particular worldview. 

First, wearing a watch - any watch - is not a statement about someone's politics and policies.  If that's your evidence for her being "woke", and "ideological", it's pretty slim pickings.  Calling a leader whose government operated to the political right of where Peter Lougheed sat "ideological" and "Marxist" is more of a confession of how far to the extreme right today's conservatism has slid since Grant Notley was alive. 

Uh yeah - here's the thing about that.  Oil patch executives ASKED for Tzeporah German to be part of the panel.  So, if that was a "provocation", it was only a "provocation" to Alberta's political conservatives.  Considering the hundreds of thousands that the UCP has thrown at people who have led their various faux-consultation panels since 2019, the $20,000 or so that Tzeporah Berman took home seems like a pittance. 

Ah yes, the requisite whine about Bill 6 - and misrepresentation of it Bill 6 that the conservatives have used as a bludgeon since day one to rile up rural Alberta followers.  Bill 6 was intended to address one key thing about farming:  workplace injuries.  Period.  Alberta is decades behind other provinces in recognizing that farm workers are disproportionately affected by workplace injuries, and leaves those workers without any kind of coverage for recovery.  The claim is made that this is about "families" - it's not.  The family farm is a cutesy little myth that conservatives trot out when it's convenient, but then they ignore the "corporate factory farm" model that dominates today's agricultural world.  A world where the people working the land are employees, and unlike other heavy industries, those employees have between few and no protections if working conditions are unsafe. 

So, yeah, real divisive there.  The divisiveness was sown by, and fed, by the conservatives who jumped on it to spread fear among rural Albertans that the government was coming to take away their lifestyle.  

That was a scorched earth campaign?  Wow - did you pay attention to the 4 year long rage campaign that Kenney and the nascent UCP conducted starting in 2015?  The one where everything the NDP ever said or did was attacked no matter what it was?  

Yeah, I don't think the divisiveness was the NDP here.  Again, the conservatives chose the path of anger, rage, and fear mongering.  Alberta sees the consequences of this every day, whether it is the regular outbursts from the idiot Convoy organizers, or the closed arrogance of a UCP government that has chosen a "burn it all down" approach to governing. 

Alberta spent decades voting as if it were some kind of political monolith.  That wasn't democracy - it was single party rule, and that party got pretty rotten over the years.  It took decades for Albertans to even notice.  Healthy democracy lives not by unity of ideas, but by a willingness to see the ideas that differ from your own as valid and worthy.  Conservatives have eschewed that in Canada, becoming increasingly insular and closed-door, only saying what they think will get them elected in public. Other approaches to politics and governance are sneered at and derided.  

The UCP is moving to isolate Alberta from the rest of Canada, against the wishes of the vast majority of its population on matters like the CPP.  And we're supposed to believe that somehow or another this is all about Rachel Notley?  Wow. 

For National Post and its writers to claim that "it's the NDP's fault" is laughably silly.  

Destabilizing The Middle East / Persian Gulf

By now, it should be clear that there is a significant effort in progress to destabilize the Middle East / Persian Gulf region.  The current round arguably starts with the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.  It escalated with Houthi militants attacking shipping through the Persian Gulf in response to Israel’s attack on Gaza.

Then this past week, Iran started engaging in missile attacks on neighbours including Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria.  Iran’s direct engagement is interesting here because to this point, they’ve been acting as a proxy power providing resources to the Houthis, Hezbollah, and Hamas.  

To this point, Iran has been playing more of a role of providing supplies and logistics support to the various groups, and yet here we have the country directly engaging with attacks on 3 countries - one of which, Syria - is adjacent to Israel in terms of weapon range.  

Given that Israel has a track record of extraterritorial attacks on perceived enemies, Iran may be sending a message to Israel in particular that it too can reach across borders with its weapons.  Essentially making itself “a bigger threat” to discourage Israel or the US from engaging with targets in Iran directly.  

However, we cannot ignore the connections between Iran and Russia.  Iran has been supplying drones (and likely other weapons) to Russia in support of Russia’s war in Ukraine.  Sanctions have driven Russia, Iran, and China together as a political and trading bloc, and I suspect that there is more than a small amount of co-operation between them on foreign policy.  

Of the Persian powers, Iran has enjoyed a relatively lengthy period of being unmolested by either its neighbours or international powers.  That means it has been able to build up its military infrastructure considerably, including manufacturing as well as  building up direct military muscle.  It must feel that it is in a position where more direct engagement in conflict is sustainable.

Clearly, conflict in the Middle East is beneficial to Russia’s interests as it takes attention away from their actions in Ukraine, and it also serves to divert resources away from NATO.  Putin has long railed against NATO expansion, but he knows that Western economies depend on stable shipping through the Suez Canal and Persian Gulf.  Further, he also knows that Western powers are politically committed to ensuring Israel’s existence.  Therefore, conflict in the region is advantageous to Russia’s interests on multiple fronts.

However, Iran isn’t a mindless puppet subservient to Putin’s whims.  Iran’s leadership must see some advantage here.  Certainly, war against Israel is a potential unifying force among the states dominated by Islam.  So, why drop missiles on its neighbours?  I surmise that part of this is to establish dominance.  It sends out a clear message that while Iran’s weapons can reach Israel, that also means they can reach into the borders of potential allies should they attempt some kind of treachery.  

Iran likely has designs on becoming a dominant regional power.  It certainly has significant resources with which to accomplish that, and becoming the local arms supplier in the region brings a lot of political influence.  Its existing alliances with Russia and China are important here, as between them, they form a massive bloc of influence that spans across Asia, through the Middle East and into Africa.  

With Western influence in the Middle East waning, and political threats to the solidarity of NATO becoming a major part of the upcoming elections cycle in the United States, this “Eastern Axis of Influence” could easily become a major world power bloc.  

War in the Middle East could serve as an opportunity for this bloc of countries to become the “broker” with dominant control of the region.  The likely scenario that could unfold here would be another Arab-Israeli war, only on a much larger scale than previous wars.  That war serves a dual purpose - it will unquestionably fuck up shipping through the Red Sea (far more than the Houthis have done already), creating enormous economic pressures in the West, and it creates an opportunity for Moscow, Beijing and Tehran to come together to broker a “peace plan”.  

In the West, we like to believe that “economic sanctions” and the threat of NATO can hold Russia (and others) in check.  However, the balance of power in the world is shifting, and I’m not sure that remains the case for much longer - especially if a war in the Middle East takes hold. 

Monday, January 08, 2024

It's Not Always Conspiracy Theory Thinking

For a very long time, I have believed that the political right wing, and the religious far right in particular is far more politically organized and well-funded than most of us would like to believe.  Back in 2010, Marci McDonald published a book called "The Armageddon Factor".  It's a bit dated in 2024, but it laid out the connections between the Harper-led CPC and a range of far right actors, both in Canada and the United States - mostly with an orientation towards "Socially Conservative (SoCon)" issues.  That book alone provides a significant basis for asserting that there is a significant far right organization that continues to fund and campaign for a range of policy and legislative initiatives.  

It often seems a bit like it's "conspiracy theory" level thinking to assert that there is in fact a large, well-funded network of far right actors.  Then someone like Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) writes a document like this with receipts:  Group Dynamics and Division of Labor Within The Anti-LGBTQ+ Pseudoscience Network.  

I recognize most of the names mentioned in this document, and I have encountered them in the past. Just about every anti-trans trope that I've heard in the last few years originates with one or more groups in this document.  It's no surprise on that front.  What I'd like to see from here is a document drawing out the connections between Canadian groups and the groups in this document.

Here's where this isn't a conspiracy theory - we have actual evidence connecting these various organizations together here, as well as evidence of a funding network.  It's one thing to imagine a conspiracy, it's another altogether to have a fairly solid research effort that draws out the connections in depth.   

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Speaking of False Premises

Back in the comments over here, we have quite a doozy of a comment that warrants a more detailed response, because there are underlying assumptions and beliefs that are encompassed that range from misguided to flat out wrong.  

Wow - where to begin with this?  Let’s start with long standing campaigns to erase transgender people from society.  Those range from accusing the transgender community at large of being “groomers” (coded slang for pedophiles), to denying them access to public washroom facilities, and a plethora of laws being tabled which are clearly designed to all but ban transgender people from accessing needed health care, or even basics like the right to exist peacefully in their communities (and it’s in the order of hundreds of these laws in the US, and other countries like the UK and Canada have similar campaigns but the scope of them isn’t as ridiculously huge for a number of reasons).

Discrimination is an ongoing problem for the transgender community, resulting in everything from being excluded socially to under-employment.  Laws like Canada’s C-16 are helpful in setting the tone and providing guidance to the courts, but they are a long ways from addressing the underlying societal prejudices.  It’s stunning how much discrimination and hatred is claimed in the name of people’s “deeply held religious beliefs” (something I argue is used as a shield for holding “views” that are otherwise reprehensible, especially in the context of what their religion preaches on other matters).  

At its core, the most fundamental of rights - that of being able to move through society without facing a constant barrage of hostility, discrimination, and hatred - is routinely denied to transgender people (and transgender women in particular).  There are clearly those who would round all transgender women up and lock them away in camps (and yes, I’ve seen musings on the part of US anti-trans activists along those lines).

The accusation that “transgender people are lying about their sex” is one of the oldest canards in the anti-transgender arsenal, and it’s based on a deeply misguided understanding of what being transgender means.  In an ultimate irony, it’s rooted in a deeply misogynistic belief about women in general.  The idea of trans women as “deceivers” has long been a staple of attempted defences in court cases ranging from rape to murder.  If it sounds familiar, it’s because it’s based on the same false premise as the argument that “because a woman was dressed a particular way, she was “leading the man on” - it’s a variation of the Madonna/Whore paradox. One might call the transgender equivalent of this the Woman/Drag Queen paradox.   Anti-transgender misogyny is still misogyny at its core, and it takes on many of the same tropes as a result. 

Which leads us into what our commenter calls “the weeds” of the sex versus gender issue. Except it’s not “the weeds” at all, because it’s a point that is deeply central to the experience of being transgender.  Going back to Harry Benjamin’s works on the matter, we find a fairly consistent pattern of transgender people saying (in essence) that their inner experience of their bodies and their experiences socially are deeply discordant with their overall person.  They see themselves one way, but they experience a social environment based on their body which they often cannot relate to at all. 

Allow me a bit of a sidebar discussion here of the relationship between the body and social roles: 

One feature of transgender narratives that is important to understand is the understanding that the body and social roles in our society are deeply intertwined.  That is to say that being a woman in society has both physiological as well as social components.  Likewise, so does “being a man”.  

Some of those components are biologically essential - the ability to bear children is often cited as an example, yet at the same time we also know that just because a person can bear children doesn’t necessarily mean that they are psychologically inclined towards the kind of nurturing and caregiving that is intrinsic to being a mother (it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily abusive, just that they have no interest in being a parent - tragically this is sometimes only discovered after the birth of a child).  

However, there is an entire social sphere that exists associated with the general idea of being a “woman”, and that covers a wide range of factors, ranging from social connections to how one is interacted with in public settings.  The concepts of manhood or womanhood have multiple facets, and it is important to recognize that a lot of it is social, not intrinsically biological in nature. Transgender people are acutely aware of this kind of distinction, and they take many difficult steps in life in order to fit in to the social context that feels more natural to them. 

Which brings me to the issue around “trans women are women”.  The class “woman” in our society has both physical and social / emotional components.  At their core, the transgender woman is a feminine person who happens to start off with a male physical body.  So, the statement our commenter makes about “transgender women are feminine” is in some respects correct.  But - society as a whole has this binary conceptualization that we have “men” and “women”, and frankly a “feminine man” is in for a very rough life at the hands of the other “men” in society.  From a social perspective in particular, the statement “trans women are women” is quite true.  

That brings me to matters of sex denominators on public identification documents.  There are a whole host of reasons why it’s important for transgender people to be able to change those documents.  Putting a transgender woman into the male lockup after an arrest is basically setting the person up for a violent assault or worse (yeah - we know damn well that assault and sexual assault is a thing in men’s prisons - we’ll come back to that in a bit).  Similarly, sending a transgender man into the ladies’ changing room isn’t exactly setting things up for a successful outcome either.  Here, the social aspects of “man” and “woman” often prevail over the physical aspects of their bodies.  

Although I don’t agree entirely with Ann Fausto-Sterling, her book “Sexing the Body” is a fairly decent exploration of the complex interactions between the physical and social aspects involved here.  Similarly, from a more transgender feminist perspective, Julia Seranno’s “Whipping Girl” explores more of the complex subject.

What about “women-only” public spaces (locker rooms, washrooms, etc)?  On this subject, I see it as a matter of individual judgment and behaviour.  Transgender women have been using “the ladies’ room” for a lot longer than the current anti-trans panic has been around, and for the most part there simply hasn’t been a problem.  

Sure, many salacious headlines are written when a transgender person _DOES_ step out of bounds and engages in anything from voyeurism to sexual assault in these contexts, but let’s be realistic here - it’s not a common occurrence. As with other forms of transgression where an individual’s actions become harmful to others, we deal with them individually.  We do not engage in “class punishment” by attacking the entirety of a group because of the actions of individuals.  

To wit - “Holy Transphobia, Batman!”.  This is a stereotype - and stereotypes like this are profoundly misguided.  I’ve been around the transgender community for a very long time, and while I would say that among transgender women, there is often a point in their transition that they make some questionable fashion choices, the proverbial “loud bearded woman” thing you’re describing here is little more than a caricature and quite distant from any objective reality.  Let’s try having a real conversation about what transition looks like, and what it means to not be a social asshole to others. 

First, transition is a process, and people have to learn sometime, somehow.  Most transgender women make a sincere effort to fit into the world of women as unobtrusively as possible.  Yes, there are a few who engage in something called “Gender Fuck” - which is what you may be describing - but they are rare, and usually only do that after becoming frustrated with some of the dumbfuckery that they are exposed to on a daily basis doing routine things like grocery shopping.  Is every transgender person going to be 5’2”, 100lbs and “passing pretty” - hell no, but then again, women in general comes in a huge range of body types, so what?  

As for “freedom of association”, “freedom of belief”, etc.  Nobody is asking you to “associate” with that person.  If you see them in the washroom or changing room, just leave them alone.  It’s not hard.  You can associate with whomever you like, you can believe whatever you wish about them - I doubt they particularly care.  If you start projecting your beliefs onto them, by, for example, using masculine pronouns and they tell you that’s not appropriate, how hard is it to back off and use whatever pronouns they tell you to use?  It’s called common courtesy.  If someone uses a nickname and you hate nicknames, do you not tell that person “please don’t do that”?  

Most of what this talks about, I’ve already addressed earlier.  However, it is revealing of several assumptions which need to be examined more specifically.  

First is the idea of “sex-based” here.  I’ve already discussed how “man” and “woman” are as much social roles as they are rooted in the physical body. The bugaboo here seems to be the mere idea that someone in the “ladies” might possibly possess a penis.  When we are talking about washroom facilities, the room marked “ladies” is all but universally individual stalls.  So, it’s difficult to understand how a transgender woman using a stall is any more of a threat than any other woman, regardless of whether they have undergone genital surgery or not. Someone trying to peer over, or under a stall is engaging in inappropriate conduct regardless of their genitalia.  As I previously noted about the issue of sexual assaults, we have to recognize that those happen, but to engage in collective punishment / restriction of a population because of the actions of one or two individuals is simply repugnant.  

The second part of your claims rests upon the general idea that “some sexual predators will claim to be transgender to gain access to prey”.  I’m not going to argue that there are no sexual predators in the transgender community - such a claim is trivially refuted.  However, such overlaps are rare and it’s going to be even more rare for an actual predator to “dress up as the prey”.  The reason for this is fairly simple: most sexual predators are engaging a power and violence motivated behaviour, and it is highly unlikely that they will “dress up as their prey” because that would be symbolically emasculating themselves.

Further, I would like to point out to you that women in general are not above committing sexual assault either. The research on this is still fairly sparse, but consider the following exploration of the subject in women’s prison facilities.

The long and short of my point here is that even those who are assigned female at birth (AFAB), and are raised in the appropriate gender role are not above being sexual predators either. I would argue that someone who is transgender, and has been socialized in their chosen gender role is unlikely to be any more of a danger.  

Someone possessing a penis, or having possessed a penis in the past, does not make them intrinsically a threat.  If that was the case, we would have locked men away from women entirely decades ago.  But it’s similarly inappropriate to say that a transgender woman is a “man” because socially and emotionally, they ARE NOT (and your own argument earlier seems to recognize this).  Further, such suppositions make no sense when we are talking about those who have undergone surgeries, yet these broad stereotyping approaches attack all transgender people regardless of their individual realities. 

I would go so far as to suggest that you have likely interacted with transgender women in a wide range of contexts, including “sexed spaces”, and not even realized it, much less having had some catastrophic event occur as a result. Using individual events without evidence of there being a wider problem in the transgender community is disingenuous and suggests that you are falling into believing stereotypes that have no more validity than those which were used to justify segregation in the US, and Apartheid in South Africa. 

Monday, January 01, 2024

When An Argument Starts From A False Premise ...

This essay came up on my Twitter feed this morning.  Titled "In Defence of Gender", it's a lengthy piece of writing which attempts to justify taking a "both sides" approach to the current uproar over transgender rights - or perhaps I should say, inclusion of transgender women in society - because that's what a lot of it boils down to.  The essay was apparently published in March, 2023 - I was unable to address it at the time because I was caught up in issues related to the current efforts to push transgender women out of society (that's another story, for another day) - I will write my piece on it eventually. 

My objection to the opening paragraph should be clear enough to long time readers.  It's not a zero-sum argument when one side is accusing transgender women of being a myriad of things that cast them in the light of being an immediate danger to others.  When one side of an argument is literally engaging in eliminationist rhetoric, that isn't a "both sides" moment.  That's a "whoa - on what basis do you make that claim" moment.  We've seen this script before, and it's fucking messy. 

There's two things here I want to address.  First is this bizarre idea that "anybody who is uncomfortable with their body must be trans".  This isn't a thing. No mental health professional would ever do that, much less make a diagnosis that the person is transgender based on it.  This is one of many problems with what the author calls "Gender Critical political analysis" - it starts from false premises which have no basis in reality.  In fact, the entire construct of what Gender Critical (GC) writers call "Gender Ideology" is basically a form of straw man where they have created it, and dumped all of their anxieties about transgender people into it. 

Second is the idea that "biological sex is real, gender is a fiction".  Again, this comes largely out of the GC conceptualization of "Gender Ideology".  Early TERF writers often would rely on a very incorrect interpret of Judith Butler's early 1990's book "Gender Trouble" (among other feminist theorists).  They misinterpreted Butler's analysis, and they continue to do so now.  Butler's view is more correctly understood as there are social and psychological dimensions to gender roles that are external to the "gendered body" of the individual.  Part of the confusion is that the terms "gender" and "sex" are often used as synonyms for each other, and the reality is quite different.

Butler was talking about the social constructs that are built around a person's sex - the ideas of what it means to be a "man" or a "woman".  Womanhood in particular in Western cultures is built up around a combination of physical attributes as well as social expectations associated with, for example, the ability to produce children.  However, the idea that "gender is performative" created a somewhat problematic division that people still struggle with.  What aspects of "womanhood" are "intrinsic" to a female body, and what aspects are social constructs?  For example, not all women who bear children turn out to be willing or good mothers.  

Butler's model provokes us to ask what are the valid limits on what men or women should behave like in social contexts.  It does not make the claim that "gender is a fiction", nor do transgender people.  Transgender people do provoke a lot of very uncomfortable questions about exactly what those boundaries really look like.  

Here we come to the point where the writer starts commingling issues to arrive at a "thorny problem".  She asserts "When vulnerable women's safety is at stake ..., we cannot simply take everyone at their word when they assert that they too belong in those spaces".  Are transgender women not subject to sexual assault? Further, this also assumes that women do not engage in sexual assault.  She then goes on to argue (in essence) that because there is no clear "gatekeeping" on who is a valid transgender person, it is too easy for male predators to "cosplay being trans" to gain access to victims.  

There's a fundamental problem for this argument.  Sexual predators generally do not "cosplay their victims to gain access" - that would be symbolically emasculating themselves.  Sexual predators are engaging in a power and violence game, and cosplay would be humiliating to them.  (I'm generalizing here - I know there are exceptions).  

The problem here is one of generalization.  To assert that because "some" transgender persons are sexual predators, that all transgender women must be excluded from "vulnerable spaces" is effectively engaging in a form of class punishment.  It is also offensively reductionist, ultimately turning into an argument that it is the penis (or imagined penis) that makes a person a threat.

Further, in spite of transgender people being significantly more visible in the last 15 years, the fact is that transgender women have been using "vulnerable female spaces" for many decades without any actual problems - a fact that many anti-transgender activists completely ignore. 

The writer goes on to opine on the treatment options for transgender people - and transgender youth in particular.  

I will simply point out here that based on her bio alone, Dr. Italia is completely unqualified to provide any such commentary.  Maybe leave that subject to people who have actual expertise, because your arguments here are basically "yes, let's traumatize more transgender people by making them suffer through a puberty that might just render them suicidal".  

Ah yes, deadnaming.  Here's the thing, if I tell you my name, I expect you to use it.  I don't expect you to go digging up something from my past and then use that to invalidate what I am writing today.  That's the critical piece here.  Changing one's name doesn't erase personal history, nor does it change who a person is today.  It's a name, not a definition.  

Let's be clear about how the GC world uses deadnaming.  It's a weapon.  They use it to silence and invalidate the voices of trans people.  It isn't used in "good faith" (in fact, it can't be).  You want to know why it gets blowback?  Because it's disingenuous and always used to prop up an otherwise unsustainable argument.  

Even here, where the author seemingly starts to moderate her stance a bit, she has to attempt to dismiss neuroscience.  Neuroscience is hardly "embryonic" these days, and arguably hasn't been in that state for a good 20 years or more.  There is a sizeable body of research showing the results she so easily dismisses.  

Speaking of ignoring science, here we go again.  Her interpretation here is hugely problematic because it essentially makes an effort to dismiss the existence of intersex people in the understanding of bodily sex.  This is hugely problematic, especially in light of the neuroscience evidence she referred to (and ignored) earlier. 

A more correct understanding of bodily sex is to think of it as a bimodal distribution, one with major peaks at the male and female ends of the spectrum, and a small number of people in between for a variety of reasons. Further, understanding that within the concept of gender identity there are also those who experience themselves as neither "man" nor "woman" per se, but rather fall somewhere in between, lends more credibility to the findings in the neuroscience domain as well.  

And here again, we have the author demonstrating how little she grasps of the scientific research around gender identity.  There's a compelling reason that Blanchard's model has not been adopted - it fails entirely to explain anything more than a tiny sliver of the transgender community.  Lengthy criticisms of the "autogynephilia hypothesis" have been published elsewhere - all I am going to say is that none of the papers I have seen supporting autogynephilia are particularly persuasive either in their arguments or in the data provided.  At this point, I view it as basically junk science that deserves to be in the same bin as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.

The GC world is engaging in an attempt at erasure - elimination, if you prefer.  They have fabricated a mythology of what it means to be transgender, and then they have turned the community into a collection of what they perceive to be monsters and extremists.  You cannot "both sides" this argument, not when one side is literally attacking a minority population with falsehoods, misinformation and bogus "theories".  There is no "debate" here - the GC world has argued for restrictions based on imagined hazards, rather than showing that there is an actual threat. 

Fundamentally, the argument for accepting transgender people as members of society is simple:  Transgender people exist, and they have existed far longer than most of today's wave of anti-transgender politicking has.  There is simply no compelling reason that your fears about transgender people are a valid justification for exclusion. Work through your own damn insecurities, because the trans community has already done their own work on that front. 

Letting Your Biases Get In Front Of You

Yesterday, I ran across this essay on X(itter), and it annoyed me because the author makes all kinds of errors of both fact and reason.  Si...