Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Junk Science Masquerading As Political Advocacy

 Yesterday, I learned of the existence of a group calling themselves "Gender Dysphoria Alliance Canada". I was not happy with what I saw. 

They claim to be "evidence-based", and that's the first red flag when I wandered over to their website and started perusing it.  To me, the term "evidence-based" means something quite specific.  It means that you are using the best available science to inform your positions and advocacy. This is not particularly difficult to understand ... I hope. 

However, this group is not representing gender dysphoria, or its treatment in a reasonable  and evidence-based manner.  Far too much of the material presented is far from the mainstream of treatment and support for transgender people, and far too many talking points come straight out of the anti-transgender "Gender Critical" world. 

As far as I can tell, nobody involved with this group is actually involved in the science or treatment aspects related to Gender Dysphoria, and given the nature of what they are presenting, that is deeply concerning. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

It's Time To Blow Up The Party System

I have never been a political partisan.  That isn't to say I don't have political beliefs, or positions.  But I simply don't buy into the broad idea of being a member of a political party.  My own politics are fairly complex, and I don't wish to find myself in the position of having to conform with some "party policy" or another on the basis of creating the appearance of unity.  

However, over the last decade or so, I have observed a disturbing change in the nature of our political parties in Canada. They have become businesses - businesses that sell access to power.  Perhaps most disturbingly, they do so on the backs of what is largely a volunteer workforce.  While a small number of people are employed by these parties, the vast majority of the work of fundraising (cash flow) is really done by the active volunteer base.  Meanwhile, the proposition to the voter is "if our party gets into power, we can give you what you want".  

This is true of all parties - everybody is jockeying for a position of influence somewhere.  However, it has also created a more disturbing industry of groups that are attempting to control the parties themselves.  Don't get me wrong, factions in a party are a normal social consequence of putting a group of people together to accomplish a common goal.  I'm talking about organizations like Campaign Life who have spent decades organizing their base in a bid to assert covert control over the Conservative Party. 

But there's more to this whole picture. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Faking Incidents To Attack Rights

The recent Wi Spa video incident in Los Angeles raises some very troubling implications about both the tactics that the Gender Critical / TERF crowd are now adopting, as well as the role of emerging technologies in facilitating those tactics.  

The first point is that the Wi Spa incident suggests that in the absence of real incidents supporting the claim that allowing transgender women to access female spaces will enable sexual predators, the next step is to start manufacturing the incidents needed.  We've certainly heard threats along these lines in the past, where RW organizers have threatened to enter women's spaces on the basis of claiming a female gender identity. I'm not aware of any such incidents actually happening. 

A willingness to manufacture incidents to support a political narrative strikes me as both dishonest and dangerous.  

The potential role of technologies like Deep Fake to enable the creation of "evidence" for these moments is profoundly worrisome.  It is now perfectly plausible that someone could make a video of a space, and then insert the desired person - complete with verbal cues etc. - into the video.  This is a very dangerous situation for anyone, because it means that "the camera never lies" evidence is now subject to overt manipulation and outright fakery.  

Now we are in the situation where "events" can be manufactured on someone's laptop and distributed around the internet very quickly.  Just as the Wi Spa incident has resulted in two transgender women being violently attacked, the potential for the fundamental safety of people to be violated is much higher now. 

Friday, July 02, 2021

Senator Plett's Speech On Bill C-6

 So, the other day, Bill C-6 passed from the House of Commons to the Senate.  As I had expected, Senator Don Plett led the conservative attack on the bill with a lengthy, long-winded speech full of utter nonsense.  

Let's take a closer look at the speech now that it's in the Hansard, and I've had some time to read it and digest the nonsense that Senator Plett has uttered. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

On Transgender Athletic Performance

There is an enormous amount of noise being made about the alleged advantage that transgender women have in athletics.  First, let me start off by saying that the topic of athletic performance is not an area of expertise for me, so what follows is largely my opinion, bolstered by observations about what I see in the academic materials published. 

Broadly speaking, the claims of "an advantage" hinge around the development of secondary sex characteristics from a male puberty.  Generally speaking, these claims fall into a small range of categories relating to skeletal structure, muscle mass, and height, and so on.

A superficial look would suggest that a male certainly does have "an advantage" in athletics, and to some extent that is borne out by marked differences between male and female record performances in various forms of athletics.  However, it's a much more complicated discussion when we start talking about transgender athletes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

On Bill C-6 - Conversion Therapy

 Bill C-6's next step is on to the Senate once the House of Commons holds a third reading vote.  I expect the usual suspects like Senator Plett will do their level best to muddy the waters and confuse things.  Let's take a closer look at what the uproar is really about.  

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Let's Talk A Bit About "Gender Ideology"

Over at The Economist, we have a somewhat simplistic article blathering away about how there's a backlash happening against "Gender Ideology".

I'm not going to dissect the article in detail, because there's a more important point that needs to be made here.  The concept of "Gender Ideology" is fundamentally a creation of the various anti-transgender groups in an effort to define the discourse.

The problem with the term is that it is fundamentally a straw man in the first place. A variety of people opposed to transgender rights contributed to the "idea" that there is such a thing, be they "TERF"s, hardline religious types, or more recently the so-called "Gender Criticals".

Junk Science Masquerading As Political Advocacy

 Yesterday, I learned of the existence of a group calling themselves "Gender Dysphoria Alliance Canada". I was not happy with what...