You might be a TERF if…

Creating a world without fear
September 23, 2013
If trans women aren’t welcome, neither am I
September 25, 2013

You might be a TERF if…

By Cristan Williams
@cristanwilliams

 

I’ve noticed that there seems to be some confusion about what a TERF* is so, here’s a quick guide to help you figure out if you’re a TERF. Chances are that you’re a TERF if you believe that you’re a feminist when you…

1.) Claim that trans women are cis men, that trans men are cis women and purposefully misgender trans people.

2.) Out trans people to employers.

3.) Tell trans women their surgery is about supporting rape culture.

4.) Assert that lesbian-identified trans women can’t be lesbian.

5.) Claim that a world without trans people is preferable.1

6.) Find that your anti-trans arguments and the anti-trans arguments of far right-wing groups match.2

7.) Assert cis privilege isn’t real; that non-trans people aren’t privileged in a society that’s hostile to trans people.

8.) Claim that gender isn’t real, but the MAAB/FAAB binary is.

9.) Claim that trans surgeries were pioneered by men in service of the patriarchy.3

10.) Lie about rape and death threats you’ve received from trans people.

11.) Fearmonger about the rape/violence threat trans women pose to cis women in the women’s restroom.

12.) Assert that trans people transition to satisfy their sexual urges.

13.) Degrade and dehumanize the genitals of trans people.

14.) Work to overturn trans equality protections.

15.) Work to halt access to trans medical care.

16.) Appeal to the Klan Fallacy.

17.) Compare transition to a disgusting Frankenstein-like process.

18.) Claim that trans people transition due to political or social pressures.4

19.) Claim that when you work to halt the propagation of anti-feminist stereotypes it’s empowerment, but when trans people work to halt the propagation of anti-trans stereotypes it’s censorship .

20.) Assert that trans women transition because they’re actually gay men and that trans men transition because they’re lesbians wanting to escape the patriarchy.

21.) Threaten actual radical feminist organizations with killing its trans members, and then show up at the radfem event armed with guns.

22.) Beat actual radical feminists for protecting trans women from a TERF bashing.

23.) Mob Lesbian Avengers who have a trans kid with them and then threaten the kid with a knife.

24.) Menace a butch Lesbian radical feminist so much that the radfem decides to start their own inclusive Women’s Music Festival.

25.) Threaten a group of trans women with bodily violence so that they have to start something called Camp Trans in protest.

26.) Promote so-called “bathroom bills” because you think it’s “pro-Lesbian.”

27.) Find that Tea Party Republicans start promoting your TERF rhetoric.

28.) Promote right-wing propaganda mill nonsense to substantiate your hate because they’re the only ones who, in your estimation, are your ideological allies.

29.) Find that right-wing pundits and even hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church defend TERF hate.

30.) Appeal to vaginal odors as being a sexed essence which demarcates an authentic sexed status, so that trans women aren’t actual women because the vaginas of trans women are so smelly that it causes “serious smell issues” while, simultaneously being so non-smelly that a trans woman can never know (as actual women apparently do) what it’s like to have a “big, hairy, smelly vagina.”

Bonus: Pretend that the term “TERF” –popularized, in 2008 by a radical feminist-inclusive feminist community as a way of distinguishing between radical feminists from anti-trans bigots who label themselves “radical feminists”– was actually created by the trans  community in order to slur feminism.

Would you like to read what TERFs, in their own words, say they believe?

Read about #TERFlogic here.

But, What Does Feminism Looks Like?

So now I want to be unequivocal in my words: I believe that transgender people, including those who have transitioned, are living out real, authentic lives. Those lives should be celebrated, not questioned. Their health care decisions should be theirs and theirs alone to make. And what I wrote decades ago does not reflect what we know today as we move away from only the binary boxes of “masculine” or “feminine” and begin to live along the full human continuum of identity and expression.

Gloria Steinem, feminist icon & activist

Work with transsexuals, and studies of formation of gender identity in children provide basic information which challenges the notion that there are two discrete biological sexes. That information threatens to transform the traditional biology of sex difference into the radical biology of sex similarity… Every transsexual is entitled to a sex-change operation, and it should be provided by the community as one of its functions.

Andrea Dworkin, radical feminist pioneer & activist

Male dominant society has defined women as a discrete biological group forever. If this was going to produce liberation, we’d be free.… To me, women is a political group. I never had much occasion to say that, or work with it, until the last few years when there has been a lot of discussion about whether transwomen are women… I always thought I don’t care how someone becomes a woman or a man; it does not matter to me. It is just part of their specificity, their uniqueness, like everyone else’s. Anybody who identifies as a woman, wants to be a woman, is going around being a woman, as far as I’m concerned, is a woman.

Catharine MacKinnon, radical feminist pioneer & activist

The notion that truly revolutionary radical feminism is trans-inclusive is a no brainer. I honestly do not understand how or why a strain of radical feminism has emerged that favors a biology-based/sex-essentialist theory of ‘sex caste’ over the theory of ‘sex class’ as set forth in the work of Witting, Andrea, and MacKinnon. Can radical feminism be ‘reclaimed’ so that its trans-inclusivity—which is inherent—is made apparent? I hope so.

John Stoltenberg, radical feminist & activist

The above is a statement from the iconic radical feminist journal, Lesbian Tide and was published as a direct response to a TERF effort to purge trans women from women’s groups.


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Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites TransAdvocate.com and TheTERFs.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.

109 Comments

  1. […] had many reservations about the button because they are often the victims of false abuse reports by TERfs. Merely streamlining the abuse-reporting process would not necessarily benefit trans women. […]

  2. The_L1985 says:

    I will admit, at one time I saw a TV special about intersex people and…well. One such individual said that after discovering she was intersex, she decided to continue to live as a woman, and that she was currently in a lesbian relationship. My overly-sheltered teenage brain thought, “but if she wanted to be with a woman, wouldn’t it be easier to just choose to be a man? After all, she can pick which one!”

    Then, I met actual gay and transgender people in real life. I am ashamed for even thinking what I mention in the above paragraph.

    So for some people, at least, it’s just plain ignorance. That doesn’t excuse people being disgusting and cruel to non-cishet folks. But at least we can change. 🙂 That gives me hope for even the TERFs.

    • homasapiens says:

      You were never a TERF, my friend. You were merely ignorant. You fixed that. TERFs, by definition, have fat too much emotional and ideological investment in their ignorance — they will go to astounding lengths to preserve it.

  3. […] then we have the Terf brigade have a look here for more info check it out. also a petition on change.org has been created to Monitor Gender […]

  4. […] and community within feminism.  Trans women are understandably leery of the movement since TERFs poisoned the well with their dangerous rhetoric.  Women of colour have often been excluded from, […]

  5. superlizzard says:

    as far as i’m concerned thesse women aren’t feminists, they just hate men… i am moderately gender dysphoric, and i have been told more than once that i am just “a lesbian in denial” i was told by a terf once that having a preference for men was just “being a slave to the patriarchy” considering that i have never in my life been interested in female anatomy, this is rather ludicrous, but that’s what i get for not being gay, i guess… although i do think i would have made an absolutely fabulous drag queen if i had been born male 😀 the problem here, in my opinion, isn’t so much fear, or misunderstanding, as it is blind irrational hatred of all things that have ever possessed a penis, which is really quite silly, because penises are harmless, without the patriarchal bullshit society pushes along with them there are plenty of straight men out there who are proud to call themselves feminists, and each and every one of them possesses a penis, too should we automatically consider them our enemies? ‘cuz if we do, my sex life is screwed…. haha

  6. Seran Gee says:

    I used to be a TERF. It’s something I shamefully admit to add this to the list in hopes that others like me can see the error of their exclusive ways. Maybe others can avoid the mistakes I’ve made.

    You are a TERF if you:

    Think gender reassignment surgery reinforces the gender/sex conflation that supposes that men have penises and women have vaginas.

  7. […] http://www.transadvocate.com/you-might-be-a-terf-if_n_10226.htm (media for the promotion of trans issues and the support of transppl and allies) […]

  8. […] feminist and trans discourse, the term refers to a very specific type of person who wraps anti-trans bigotry in the language of feminism. A hallmark of TERF discourse is that it tends to sound a lot like the […]

  9. DarlieB says:

    I understand black people destroyed the white race and fat people set back the skinny peoples cause! When will it all end ?!

  10. […] a great deal of social acceptance; the Boston queer community doesn’t have a significant TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) contingent, and the geek community here is very […]

  11. […] who are worthy of Phyllis Schlafly’s scorn (and all of ours, really): TERFs. TERF stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, and they are horrible, awful, cruel women. One of […]

  12. […] can you tell if you’re a TERF? Well, Cristan Williams outlines that […]

  13. […] in New York: ‘An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail’. Routledge, 2007[4] See #17 of the You Might be a TERF if… list.[5] See pages 12 – 17 of the Trans Media Watch’s initial submission to the […]

  14. […] in New York: ‘An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail’. Routledge, 2007 [4] See #17 of the You Might be a TERF if… list. [5] See pages 12 – 17 of the Trans Media Watch’s initial submission to the Leveson […]

  15. […] is no different. We have our misandrists, and our TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists-truly horrible women), and we even have SCUM. // […]

  16. […] You might be a TERF if… […]

  17. Zoey Tur says:

    When I first came out as transsexual, a feminist associated with Mitchfest said in her blog “[and as for that idiot Bob Tur, the one that the Indigo Girl’s believe should be soaping his balls at Mitchfest.” Well, the Indigo girls got the message loud and clear, and announced last year that they will no longer play the festival. Now, with acts dropping out, Mitchfest organizers are scrambling to defend their transphobic policies. Guess what, Mitchfest’s primary organizer Lisa Vogel is transgender, (her?) himself, a PCOS (polycyclic ovarian syndrome) patient. This could be one big reason Vogel so transphobic. Self-hatred is common. Two, if the transgender community really wanted to change Mitchfest’s anti-transgender policy, apply for jobs with the festival disclosing your transgender status. Then, when rejected for employment, file an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) complaint. Any employer with 15 or more employees cannot discriminate based on transgender status. Big fines and a hiring order are available to those discrimated against. This is a result of the Macy v Holder decision. For more information http://www.eeoc.gov

  18. susie says:

    It’s all about men really, isn’t it?

  19. […] TERF ideology: You might be a TERF if – A list of the most common characteristics of a TERF and the […]

  20. […] Capitol Hill Staffers Blocked for Antitrans Wikipedia Edits You might be a TERF if… | The TransAdvocate __________________ If there's one thing linguists can agree on, it's that you never bring a U to a […]

  21. […] Philadelinquency.com supports #YesAllWomen #AllWomenCan #YesAllTransWomen and we personally despise TERF feminists.   We suspect within PBOC there exists some streaks of TERFism among them.   We’ve yet to […]

  22. […] people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and there is a similarly vicious debate today about the acceptability of having trans women in women’s spaces, such as the Michigan […]

  23. […] people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and there is a similarly vicious debate today about the acceptability of having trans women in women’s spaces, such as the Michigan […]

  24. […] people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and there is a similarly vicious debate today about the acceptability of having trans women in women's spaces, such as the Michigan Womyn's Music […]

  25. […] people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and there is a similarly vicious debate today about the acceptability of having trans women in women’s spaces, such as the Michigan […]

  26. […] people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and there is a similarly vicious debate today about the acceptability of having trans women in women’s spaces, such as the Michigan […]

  27. […] recently came across the claim that the word TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) was used against someone as part of a “campaign of harassment” and should therefore be […]

  28. […] transformed into something exclusionary and discriminatory, such as in the disgusting bigotry of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism (TERFs). Instead of empowering, such feminism seeks to divide, exclude, silence and oppress under […]

  29. […] ‘hate speech’, and extreme misrepresentations of those political positions. (One such tactic is the false conflation of ‘gender-critical feminism’ with the extreme views of a very small minori… who genuinely exhibit transphobic beliefs and behaviour, and perpetrate literal hatred and […]

  30. […] Another problem with White Feminism is being Trans-Exclusionary (or, a TERF).  […]

  31. […] Trans women are women and sometimes the conversation around dedicated women’s spaces are hostile toward trans women. I want and ROAR wants “quality literature by women. Period.” So […]

  32. […] example, TERFs consider themselves feminists, but that’s not exactly an inclusive and intersectional […]

  33. […] piece entitled “What Makes a Woman,” self-appointed spokeswoman for women, esteemed TERFer, and expert on our what our genitals have to say about us Elinor Burkett posits that Caitlyn […]

  34. […] piece entitled “What Makes a Woman,” self-appointed spokeswoman for women, esteemed TERFer, and expert on what our genitals have to say about us Elinor Burkett posits that Caitlyn Jenner […]

  35. […] This is not feminism – it is hatred and problematic and absolutely terrible. There is a checklist of things terfs tend to believe if you are […]

  36. This piece is co-authored by Jamie Utt and Jenika McCrayer.
    Here at Everyday Feminism, we’ve covered a wide range of topics exploring the nuances of patriarchal oppression. But once in a while, it’s nice to step back from the complexities of feminist thought to help people better access, understand, and hopefully embrace feminism.
    As two people working in feminist movements for justice, we get a lot of questions from cisgendermen about what their place in feminism can and should be.
    And considering that we find a lot of well-intentioned men are terribly confused about the basic tenets of feminist movements, we thought we’d take some time to answer a few of those questions.
    Notably, though, we come to this analysis with very different places – a Black woman and a White man. Also, we think it’s important to note that we both are cisgender, and as such, our perspectives are limiting.
    We worked hard to be inclusive of how feminism serves trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, but we hope to demystify the feminist movement for cis men and make it easier to open up for a dialogue in your community about this and whatever we missed!
    With that said, then, here’s our take on the questions we get so often from men.
    1. What Is Feminism? And Can Men Be Feminists?
    To understand whether or not men can be feminist, men really need to understand what feminism actually is.
    But the tricky part is that feminism isn’t just one thing!
    Depending on who you’re in community with, feminism can be totally and completely different.
    Thus, it’s important to be clear what we’re talking about when we say “feminism.”
    Though there are innumerable ways that people understand and express their feminism, we see the meaning of the term falling into two general concepts:
    Option A: Feminism is a movement for and about women.
    To some, feminists are women striving to better the lives of women. Feminism is a movement for gender equality socially, politically, and economically.
    Each wave of feminism has expanded to include multiple groups of marginalized people in society, but its basis remains as a movement for and by women (including trans women).
    Men can surely have a role in this understanding of feminism, but men’s relationship to feminism would be better understood as an ally/solidarity relationship built on accountable work.
    Option B: Feminism is a movement about gender justice.
    Patriarchy hurts everyone, even if it hurts women and non-binary people more and in profoundly different ways than cisgender men.
    Feminism, then, is a movement to combat systemic and institutional oppression that disproportionately affects disenfranchised groups in our society with the main focus on women.
    Thus, in this concept, feminism is a movement where people of all genders can be feminists if they’re willing to do the work to dismantle patriarchal oppression.
    So where men fit in feminism depends a lot on who they’re in community with and how communities understand the role of feminism in working for justice!
    2. Hold the Phone – What’s This Patriarchy Stuff You Keep Mentioning?
    The term patriarchy generally is referring to systems and social norms that are, by in large, created by cisgender men for cisgender men and that, as a result, marginalize and oppress those who are not cis men (or those passing for cis men).
    3. Okay, But Who Is Feminism For?
    In some ways, it depends on who you ask.
    To us, feminism is for everyone (so long as we’re all accountable to those marginalized people who ought to be in leadership).
    There are different types of gender equality movements that also focus on intersections of race, ethnicity, and class, like womanism or Third World Feminism, but the current wave of feminism we participate in  is seen as an intersectional and inclusive umbrella movement.
    To some people, feminism is an inclusive, intersectional movement for social justice that centers marginalized and oppressed people in the work for freedom.
    To others, it’s strictly aims to serve cisgender women, particularly focusing on the issues that affect White women.
    To those people, feminism isn’t meant to be inclusive at all.
    For example, TERFs consider themselves feminists, but that’s not exactly an inclusive and intersectional anti-oppressive feminism when it seeks to actively advance the oppression of our transgender and gender non-conforming family.
    At Everyday Feminism, we work to inform the wider struggle for intersectional feminist justice, so our feminism centers women, trans folks, and non-binary people, particularly those most marginalized and oppressed in our society because of race, class, ability, religion, sexual identity, citizenship experience, or body size.
    4. But Isn’t Feminism About Hating Men?
    Read the rest at Everyday Feminism.
    Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterLike this:Like Loading…

    Related

  37. Here at Everyday Feminism, we’ve covered a wide range of topics exploring the nuances of patriarchal oppression. But once in a while, it’s nice to step back from the complexities of feminist thought to help people better access, understand, and hopefully embrace feminism.
    As two people working in feminist movements for justice, we get a lot of questions from cisgendermen about what their place in feminism can and should be.
    And considering that we find a lot of well-intentioned men are terribly confused about the basic tenets of feminist movements, we thought we’d take some time to answer a few of those questions.
    Notably, though, we come to this analysis with very different places – a Black woman and a White man. Also, we think it’s important to note that we both are cisgender, and as such, our perspectives are limiting.
    We worked hard to be inclusive of how feminism serves trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, but we hope to demystify the feminist movement for cis men and make it easier to open up for a dialogue in your community about this and whatever we missed!
    With that said, then, here’s our take on the questions we get so often from men.
    1. What Is Feminism? And Can Men Be Feminists?
    To understand whether or not men can be feminist, men really need to understand what feminism actually is.
    But the tricky part is that feminism isn’t just one thing!
    Depending on who you’re in community with, feminism can be totally and completely different.
    Thus, it’s important to be clear what we’re talking about when we say “feminism.”
    Though there are innumerable ways that people understand and express their feminism, we see the meaning of the term falling into two general concepts:
    Option A: Feminism is a movement for and about women.
    To some, feminists are women striving to better the lives of women. Feminism is a movement for gender equality socially, politically, and economically.
    Each wave of feminism has expanded to include multiple groups of marginalized people in society, but its basis remains as a movement for and by women (including trans women).
    Men can surely have a role in this understanding of feminism, but men’s relationship to feminism would be better understood as an ally/solidarity relationship built on accountable work.
    Option B: Feminism is a movement about gender justice.
    Patriarchy hurts everyone, even if it hurts women and non-binary people more and in profoundly different ways than cisgender men.
    Feminism, then, is a movement to combat systemic and institutional oppression that disproportionately affects disenfranchised groups in our society with the main focus on women.
    Thus, in this concept, feminism is a movement where people of all genders can be feminists if they’re willing to do the work to dismantle patriarchal oppression.
    So where men fit in feminism depends a lot on who they’re in community with and how communities understand the role of feminism in working for justice!
    2. Hold the Phone – What’s This Patriarchy Stuff You Keep Mentioning?
    The term patriarchy generally is referring to systems and social norms that are, by in large, created by cisgender men for cisgender men and that, as a result, marginalize and oppress those who are not cis men (or those passing for cis men).
    3. Okay, But Who Is Feminism For?
    In some ways, it depends on who you ask.
    To us, feminism is for everyone (so long as we’re all accountable to those marginalized people who ought to be in leadership).
    There are different types of gender equality movements that also focus on intersections of race, ethnicity, and class, like womanism or Third World Feminism, but the current wave of feminism we participate in  is seen as an intersectional and inclusive umbrella movement.
    To some people, feminism is an inclusive, intersectional movement for social justice that centers marginalized and oppressed people in the work for freedom.
    To others, it’s strictly aims to serve cisgender women, particularly focusing on the issues that affect White women.
    To those people, feminism isn’t meant to be inclusive at all.
    For example, TERFs consider themselves feminists, but that’s not exactly an inclusive and intersectional anti-oppressive feminism when it seeks to actively advance the oppression of our transgender and gender non-conforming family.
    At Everyday Feminism, we work to inform the wider struggle for intersectional feminist justice, so our feminism centers women, trans folks, and non-binary people, particularly those most marginalized and oppressed in our society because of race, class, ability, religion, sexual identity, citizenship experience, or body size.
    4. But Isn’t Feminism About Hating Men?
    Simple answer: No.
    Feminists don’t hate men. We hate male privilege and the systems that create and reinscribe it. “Not all men” are awful, but all men benefit from male privilege.
    Feminism is about dismantling the systems in which people are oppressed for their gender identity, those same systems that privilege cisgender men.
    Thus, men can play a role in dismantling those systems so long as they are following the leadership of those who don’t share their gender identity!
    Notably, though, many men think feminists and feminism hates them because men are not centered or made to feel comfortable in their privilege.
    We need to be clear not to conflate men not being the center of a movement with that movement marginalizing or hating men.
    5. Can I, As a Man, Call Myself Feminist?
    This is the sticky part.
    It’s not a man’s place to label themselves as a feminist since at its core, feminism is for gaining equality for women. A woman you are close to can assign that label to you, but you have to earn it!
    And you have to keep earning it.
    It’s important to incorporate feminist practice in your daily life – earning the label of feminist isn’t even half of the work. It’s a challenge to unlearn harmful patriarchal ideas, and it’s work you must do routinely in order to be a strong ally within feminist spaces.
    In feminist spaces, it’s best for men to take the backseat and actively listen to women’s concerns while thinking of productive ways to challenge their own privilege while lending support to the movement.
    Regardless of what you choose to call yourself, though, what really matters is how you act. Are you acting in ways that are accountable to people across difference and that advance and support feminist liberation?
    Then don’t worry too much about the label and just do the work.
    6. As a Man, Why Would I Want to Be a Feminist or Hold Feminist Ideals?
    Why not?
    As a man, you also benefit from feminist ideals!
    Feminism is about getting rid of oppressive forces that hold women down and also make men adhere to restrictive norms and ideals.
    Patriarchy wants you to be dominating, assertive, hyper-masculine, athletic, emotionless, and the breadwinner of a heteronormative family. That’s a lot of pressure!
    Feminism seeks to eradicate patriarchal norms like these that have men bound and women perceived as inferior.
    Perhaps more importantly, though, the people in our lives who don’t share our identity are hurt to greater and varying degrees by patriarchal oppression.
    That should be enough for us to want to strive for an intersectional feminist understanding of justice.
    What brings many men to feminism in the first place is realizing how much our current society hurts those we love. And that empathetic concern should inform our own values!
    7. Why Is There a Need for Women-Only Spaces? Isn’t Segregation Bad?
    You know what’s bad? State-sanctioned segregation meant to reinforce the oppression of already marginalized people.
    You know what’s awesome? Allowing for, encouraging, and protecting spaces for those who are marginalized in our wider society to meet in a space that offers reprieve frommicroaggressions and other enactments of oppression.
    Thus, let’s stop using “segregation is bad” to break up protected spaces for women, people of Color, and other marginalized and oppressed people.
    In our society, there are very few spaces where cisgender men aren’t welcomed, centered, and safe. That’s not true for people of other genders, so those spaces have to be created.
    Women-only spaces (and remember, when we say “women,” we are absolutely including trans women) are necessary because women can share their ideas and mobilize without the interference of someone who holds the privilege they are actively fighting against – and who may not fully understand how they benefit at the expense of women’s oppression.
    It’s an uncomfortable experience to be confronted with your own privilege – and also your ignorance of oppressions others may face – so you must willing to let go of control and allow for spaces where you are not centered or welcome.
    8. Should Feminist and Pro-Feminist Men Ever Meet or Do Work in Men-Only Spaces?
    This one’s tricky because, in theory, yes, there should be spaces for men to do feminist work with other men where they can work through the hard stuff without relying on women to do this emotional labor for us.
    However, in reality, men have not always proven trustworthy when meeting in all-male groups to talk about gender.
    You know… because of those few thousand years in Western society where men ruled in all-male spaces and treated women as chattel while killing anyone who didn’t fit within those tiny gender constructs.
    Thus, the trick is that men’s feminist groups need to exist in explicit accountability to people who don’t share their gender identity.
    If you’re working in one of these spaces, be careful that the focus is on aiding and supporting women and not making your problems the center of discourse.
    There are lots of examples of this working well. Check out the Oakland’s Men Project for just one example.
    9. But Aren’t Men Oppressed, Too?
    No… And yes.
    Men are not oppressed as men, though transgender men do often experience gender oppression.
    A woman being mean to you online or rejecting your romantic advances is not oppression. Butyou may experience oppression due to other aspects of identity – racist oppression, classist oppression, ableist oppression, religious oppression, and so on.
    Feminism is all about working on the intersections of identities to challenge societal oppression. And men do suffer and struggle within our patriarchal systems.
    The patriarchal pressures put on men do lead to higher rates of suicide, and men are expected to go fight wars for the oligarchy’s empire when that’s not necessarily expected of women.
    But all of these things are rooted in violent patriarchy, which only furthers why men ought to strive to be in feminist solidarity and to live out feminist ideals.
    10. So What Is My Role As a Man in Feminism?
    We’re sure you’re sensing a theme here, but there’s no easy answer.
    Simply put, your role is to listen to women’s concerns, challenge your male privilege, and hold other men accountable.
    You can be an invaluable ally to the feminist movement because you can challenge yourself and others to acknowledge gender inequalities in our society, which will bring us one step closer to eradicating injustice.
    Perhaps the best way to answer this question, though, is to ask the feminist people in your life!
    Different people who are experiencing oppression want different things from those they consider allies.
    Thus, perhaps the best thing that men can do in feminism is to listen to the feminist cis women, transgender people, and non-binary people in our lives and take cues from their leadership about working for justice!
    ***
    We hoped to have made things clearer for you, and hopefully, it’s easier for you to approach feminists in your community!
    So, can men be feminist? From our perspective, definitely, so long as you’re not simply self identifying as such without any accountability!
    After all, labels aren’t as important as the actions behind them. We hope you’re willing and able to hold yourself and other men accountable and work to support and uplift the women around you while working to dismantle harmful patriarchal systems.
    Yes, feminism is for you as well! You can be a powerful ally for fighting against patriarchal oppression – and eradicating injustices in our society will set you free as well.
    Taken From: See the originaly published Content!
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  38. As the name suggests, trans-exclusionary radical feminism refers to a branch of feminism that believes that trans women are men, not women. Essentially, they believe that gender is determined by one’s genitals, not one’s gender identity.
    They don’t believe that trans women are oppressed, despite the fact that trans women are very much vulnerable to abuse, poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and a lack of access to medical care and state assistance.
    TERFs have been instrumental in barring trans women from gaining and exercising their human rights. TERF groups have attempted to prevent trans women from using women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and other women’s-only amenities.
    Notorious TERF, Cathy Brennan, is well-known for doxxing trans women. This means that Brennan compiled information on trans women – sometimes publishing the information online – and often outed them to their friends, families, acquaintances, colleagues, doctors, and others, thus putting their lives in danger.
    Trans-exclusionary radical feminism invalidates the experiences and identities of trans people. It is dangerous.
    Just to be clear, at Gender Action Project, we reject TERF-ism as it perpetuates transantagonism – something we, as a student society, want to tackle. We recognise 100% that trans women are women. We support trans people no matter their gender or lack thereof.
    More info: http://www.transadvocate.com/you-might-be-a-terf-if_n_10226.htm
    Image by Michelle Avenant
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    Tags: doxxing, gender, terf, trans-exclusionary, trans-exclusionary radical feminism, trans-exclusionary radical feminist, transgender, transphobia, white feminism

  39. mizzoufsu says:

    Hello feminists!
    This week we discussed the term “radical” – its history, its definition, its problematic past and present, and whether or not to reclaim the word, redefine it, or choose another term completely.
    So to begin, the word “radical” is defined as: (1) of or going to the root or origin; fundamental; (2) favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms. Radical feminism is defined as a perspective in feminism which calls for a radical reordering of society in which white cisgender heterosexual colonialist (etc.) supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts. It advocates for the dissolving of oppressive structures in lieu of new structures. Liberal feminism, on another hand, is defined as another perspective within feminism which advocates working within the structure of mainstream society and government, and integrating women into this structure.

    But radical feminism has not really lived up to its name – many feminists reject the term “radical” because of this. Around the 1980s, groups called TERFs and SWERFs emerged. A TERF is a Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. TERFs purposely misgender transgender people and perpetuate violence and hate toward them. They reinforce ideas that conflate sex and gender and define women as those having certain genitalia and certain chromosomes. We know that this view is transphobic and dangerous.

    SWERFs are Sex-Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminists. SWERFs tend to infantilize sex workers, claiming they know what’s best for these folks and that consent can’t be given or received in situations where money is involved. Many support models for the legality/illegality of the sex industry (i.e., the Nordic Model) that have been rejected by sex workers. These actions take away the autonomy and protection of sex workers. This brings to the forefront a truth we all should know and work on every day: instead of assuming what is best for marginalized folks, we have to listen to and support them. They know best their own needs.

    After discussing how the term “radical” is being used by TERFs and SWERFs (AKA “radfems”), we talked about how the term “radical” is used to disenfranchise or derail feminists. It is often used in a context in which someone is telling a feminist that their ideas are too far-fetched, too extreme. This tactic is used to make feminists feel invalidated and is used to silence them.
    Next, we listed some “radical” everyday actions – actions that challenge the status quo, challenge current social and political structures and institutions. Some of these included:
    To be inclusive
    To think and act intersectionally
    To love your body
    To perform self-care
    To check your privilege
    To question institutional structures
    To educate yourself or others
    To take up space
    To exist in a society that does not want to recognize you
    From here, we looked at popular advertising campaigns that both challenge and reinforce institutional structures – both radical and not. We looked at the Always #LikeAGirl, Pantene Shine Strong, Dove Real Beauty, and Covergirl #GirlsCan campaigns. While these campaigns challenge gender norms and promote body- and skin-positivity, they do so through selling women things to change or adjust their appearances. They use feminism through the veins of capitalism and manipulation of advertising.

    So, after all of this, the issue for us becomes – do we identify with radicalism? Can we redefine or rephrase it so as not to exclude transgender people and sex workers? Can we/should we reclaim radical from those who use it to invalidate feminists and those who use it to perpetuate hate or violence? We don’t have the answers.
    Some of those in attendance at our meeting identify as intersectional feminists instead, so as to describe inclusion and separate themselves from exclusive radfems. Others self-identify as socialist feminists, believing that patriarchy and capitalism are inherently intertwined and to end one, we must end both. Others still identify as radical feminists and use the term to describe their rejection of neo-liberalism and emphasis on recreating sociopolitical structures, and believe it can be reclaimed from TERFs, SWERFs, and anti-feminists.
    These issues are oh-so-complex, and are hard to fully capture even in one meeting or blog post. They are not easy to navigate. We simply want FSU to foster a safe environment to share thoughts and opinions about feminism and all its complexities, challenges, and shortcomings without judgment or fear.
    Our next meeting will be Fluffy Feminism on October 19 in partnership with Mizzou’s own Fluffy GRLs! Hope to see you there!
    –Allie
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  40. […] still be trans and will still deserve respect, no matter what you may hear from Internet trolls, Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, and/or GOP […]

  41. Julian Vigo  had her lawyers threaten transadvocate.com’s webhost to have this article removed.
    I am republishing it with permission to prevent erasing of history.
    When the hate becomes personal: my experience with TERF harassment
    By Dana Taylor
    Social Context
    Studies show that the trans population lives under extreme psychological pressures unseen in even active military personnel. Fifty-five percent of trans people were found to live with social anxiety. Within the general American population, similar types of anxiety are experienced by only 6.8% of the population while these levels of anxiety were found to exist at a rate of 8.2% among military personal.

    Transgender and gender variant persons are frequently harassed and discriminated against when seeking housing or applying to jobs or schools, are often victims of violent hate crimes, and face challenges in marriage, adoption and parenting rights.
    Discrimination and lack of equal civil rights is damaging to the mental health of transgender and gender variant individuals. For example, gender-based discrimination and victimization were found to be independently associated with attempted suicide in a population of transgender individuals, 32% of whom had histories of trying to kill themselves, and in the largest survey to date of gender variant and transgender people 41% reported attempting suicide.
    The APA joins other organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, in endorsing strong policy statements deploring the discrimination experienced by gender variant and transgender individuals and calling for laws to protect their civil rights.
    – The American Psychological Association, 2012
    The National Institute of Health defines Social Anxiety Disorder as being characterized by a, “… persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and feeling embarrassed or humiliated by their actions. This fear may be so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other activities and may negatively affect the person’s ability to form relationships.”
    “… ethnic minority MtF transgender persons who experience negative interactions with health providers and face discrimination in the health care system feel strong barriers to utilizing health care services, and consequently exacerbate health disparities. Transphobia experience, depression, and economic pressure would also contribute to the barriers to utilizing services experienced by MtF transgender persons of color. This vicious cycle must be eliminated by developing health intervention programs specific to MtF transgender persons.” – Nemoto, Operario and Keatley, 2005
    [hr]
    TERFs and the Social Context: The History
    Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism (TERF) is a branch of “feminism” that acts to destroy the patriarchy by destroying the reality of trans women. The TERF movement attempted to do exactly this advocating for a national program of forced repetitive therapy, legislating trans people out of existence and successfully having access to trans medical and psychological care effectively banned in the United States.[1, 2] The historical TERF movement was as unrelenting as it was cruel. Whether by intention or design, TERFs have been exceedingly skilled in leveraging the above social context.
    After the members of the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and the Queens Liberation Front (QLF) started the Stonewall Riot and funded the post-stonewall legal fight, TERFs began a campaign to politicize the fact that trans people could use the correct restrooms at New York City Hall[3]. Unsurprisingly, trans people were  stripped from the equality protections their money and attorneys had been fighting for since Stonewall. During the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day post-parade rally, trans people were excluded from participation due to TERF objections. Over TERF objections, a member of the STAR took to the stage and implored the gathered to think of themselves as one community and that we should actually care for our homeless, abused and wrongfully jailed. A TERF took the stage immediately afterward to assert that transwomen were men and should know their place. The STAR member went home and in despair, attempted suicide. The name of that STAR member was Sylvia Revara.
    Cathy Brennan is seen by many as a particularly hateful public face of the modern TERF movement. She’s attempted to intervene in the medical care of trans people and has a history of ‘harassing’ the families of trans people, outing a trans kid to their school, working with an ex-gay group in targeting another trans kid and outing trans people to their employers.
    More about TERFs can be found here [Strong Trigger Warning].
    [hr]
    My Experience

    On October 1, 2013 my university employer asked me, “Remember when you warned me that Cathy Brennan may contact your employer due to a magazine article I was interviewed in? Well, she just contacted us.” Fortunately, I had warned him about Brennan just the week before that this might happen because I was interviewed by Bitch Magazine and thought that she might retaliate by attempting to silence me or get me fired.
    I logged into my campus work computer from home and opened the email Brennan sent. I received a direct copy of it as I am on the abuse/security alias due to working in the Office of Information Security. I am sure Brennan didn’t realize that. I read the email and began shaking. It was full of libelous remarks about me. It hadn’t even sunk in yet that my coworkers also received this as well as our campus police department and the registrar’s office (really? the registrar?).
    Disclaimer, there is no need to redact her contact information as she posts this all over the Internet.

    I was in shock after reading this. The more this soaked in the more of a panicky feeling I got. I told my boss I couldn’t come to work that day. Among other libelous claims, included was an outrageous lie that I had harassed her about rape.
    I went to work the next day and when I walked into my suite it hit me that my coworkers saw these lies and I wondered if they believed in them. I suddenly had a full-blown panic attack. I wondered if I was about to lose a long-term job that I absolutely adored. I wondered if my employer might buy into this monster narrative[4, 5, 6] our culture so enjoys. I felt violated; I can’t express to you the level of gut-wrenching anxiety her lies inspired. The panic seemed to go on and on without end. Wave after wave of anxiety crashed through me. It was as if she had reached out and desecrated what had once been a source of safety and pride.
    And that was only the beginning of a coordinated attempt to engineer the ruination of both my reputation and my carrier. In the middle of an extended panic attack, none other than Janice Raymond – the very TERF that engineered the death of trans healthcare in America – contacted my employer, supporting Brennan’s narrative. On top of that, another of Brennan’s supporters – an infamous internet troll – contacted my employer as well. At this point, the panic was omnipresent, eclipsing all else. I could no longer function and was forced to take medical leave.  Later in October I was diagnosed with acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    Their coordinated attack changed everything. The trauma they inflicted isn’t visible. They didn’t break my legs, they merely broke my spirit. Unlike a simple broken bone, the type of violence they inflicted is especially cruel because PTSD forces me to relive the trauma they caused over and over again.
    I am trying my best to learn how to cope with this debilitating condition and am currently on medical leave from work. I never know when an episode is going to hit me. Sometimes there are identifiable triggers and sometimes it just happens out of the blue. In each case I feel good one minute then just seconds later the PTSD is so horrific that it  is unbearable. I’m trying to learn how to manage it, especially when the PTSD is particularly bad. I found that reaching out can sometimes help. Also, if it gets to be unbearable, I attempt to seek help.
    In February I checked myself into the emergency room because the trauma was totally overwhelming. In the moment, I saw no relief in sight and at the time, death almost seemed preferable to the hell I was experiencing. I tweeted about what was going on and I also reached out to a few folks on FaceBook to let them know what was going on.
    When next I visited my doctor, he attempted to hold under observation for a few days because he said he had been informed that I was planning a suicide attempt.  I asked if the person who contacted him was Cathy Brennan. He said it was. On top of everything Brennan, had almost managed to have me held against my will for days in a psych ward because I was suffering with PTSD her behavior caused.
    Worse, an anonymous tipster contacted my job’s security team, the campus police. The campus police then took the issue to my boss’s boss. The information supplied to campus police was similar to the tip supplied to my doctor and it is my belief that the anonymous tipster was none other than Cathy Brennan. If that is true, Brennan has managed to involve my co-workers, my boss, my boss’s boss, my employer’s security team, the university registrar’s office and my doctor in her harassment of me. It should be noted that prior to all of this I had asked her to leave me alone and to cease any and all contact with me.
    Facing the hate
    Recently, TERFs have been gloating over my PTSD:
    Gallus Mag of Gender Trender (TW for extreme Transmisogyny) 
    This is an image capture of a comment made by @gallusmag that shows those who favored her tweet. Note that Julian“Human Rights Consultant” Vigo, writer for the Huffington Post and author of a transmisogynistic article on Counter Punch liked the tweet.
    While I don’t recall ever claiming that I was planning on killing myself, according to Julian Vigo I had taken to twitter to dramatize the various ways I was going to off myself because I was playing some sort of abusive political game.

    Then, of course, TERFs began the mocking and gaslighting dog-pile:

    Writing this article has been a somewhat triggering ordeal for me but it had to be done. I was told that my treatment for PTSD will be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which means being exposed to what caused my trauma over and over again. For me, this article was therapeutic in that I’m not only recounting what happened, I’m also reaching out to those who may have suffered some similar abuse from the TERF movement.
    I can see now that asking Cathy Brennan to just leave me alone doesn’t work. With the support of my friends and therapist, I am pursing legal means to ensure that she leaves me alone. At times I’m overcome with the shear hate that the TERF movement embraces. More often than not, these moments are followed by crippling PTSD.
    However, I know that I’m not the only person who’s faced this level of enmity. If you’ve suffered because of similar attacks, I’d love to hear from you. I want you to know that you’re not alone and I also want you to know that it’s possible to fight back in a way that will stop the abuse. In the coming months, I will post updates on the progress I’ve had and share any successes I have in stopping the abuse.
    _________________________________________________________________________________
    [1] Stryker, Susan Transgender History. Seal Press, 2008
    [2] Raymond, Janice G., The Transsexual Empire. Reprinted 1993: The Women’s Press, 1978
    [3] Cohen, Stephan The Gay Liberation Youth Movement in New York: ‘An Army of Lovers Cannot Fail’. Routledge, 2007
    [4] See #17 of the You Might be a TERF if… list.
    [5] See pages 12 – 17 of the Trans Media Watch’s initial submission to the Leveson Inquiry for an overview of the monstering of trans people.
    [6} See also the following commentary: Scary Trans Monsters, LGBT WeeklyMy Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage by Susan Stryker and Trans Activism Of The Monstrous, PHB.
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  42. […] you could say one thing to the Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (or TERFs) of the world, what would it […]

  43. […] feminism – has expressed her disapproval of Jenner’s acceptance speech, expressing a very TERF-ish worldview in the process through a statement on her Facebook […]

  44. StickyDrama says:

    […] Enough, screamed the lesbians. We support your civil rights, just please don’t shove your lady sticks waved in our faces. Outraged trans advocates termed this group of lesbians TERFs: Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. […]

  45. Ten LGBTQ News Stories The Mainstream Media Ignored In 2015

    Educate! #BlackLivesMatter, Black Trans Women By Toshio Meronek, http://www.truth-out.orgDecember 30th, 2015
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    Print FriendlyAbove Photo: From left to right: Elisha Walker, Kandis Capri and India Clarke – portraits of some of the Black trans women and gender-nonconforming femme people who were murdered in 2015. (Art: Micah Bazant)
    If the mainstream media has its way, 2015 will be remembered as the year gay marriage (and divorce) became legal in the United States; Caitlyn Jenner told us what being a trans woman was really about (famously declaring the “hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear“); and the benevolent tech titans at Facebook made us a rainbow filter for our profile pics (while it continued to repress queer and trans people’s ability to use their preferred names). But so much more happened in the last 12 months.
    Let’s talk about the important battles won, and those that we’re still fighting, and the people we’ve lost, and all those who have survived against the odds.
    1. #BlackTransLivesMatter and intersectional LGBTQ and anti-racist activists got creative.
    For the first #TransLiberationTuesday Day of Action in August, rallies and die-in protests (think classic sit-in protests, but more horizontal) happened in 20-some cities across the United States, including Atlanta, Cleveland, Fresno, Grand Rapids and Nashville.
    Two anonymous activists did the world a service, correcting New York City’s Stonewall riots monument – doing over its statues of white people with black and brown paint – in an ode to trans matriarch and Stonewall veteran Miss Major.
    In New Orleans, youth-focused trans organization BreakOUT! unveiled a billboard counting the death toll of trans women.
    Groups of queer and trans people of color entered historically anti-trans drinking holes in San Francisco’s gayborhood, the Castro District, calling out the gay bars’ discrimination-laced records and demanding that their patrons stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.
    (Art: Micah Bazant)2. HRC hearts corporations.
    The United States’ biggest LGBT nonprofit, the Human Rights Campaign, kept on keeping on, just releasing its latestCorporate Equality Report, giving snaps to some pretty awful companies like Boeing, Monsanto and Morgan Stanley. As Truthout reported last January, HRC has increasingly gotten lots of flack from queer people for continuing the charade of applauding companies that may have some gay employees, but still abuse human rights and the environment.
    3. Equality California hearts HRC.
    In April, Equality California showed its love for political dynasties, becoming the first big gay nonprofit-industrial-complex organization to put its weight behind the other totally sketchy HRC, endorsing questionable ally Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.
    4. #FreeChelsea
    WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning began tweeting, via her lawyer, from inside federal prison in rural Kansas and quickly emerged as one of the most informed and important voices around the “war on terror” that the US wages against its own citizens. She continues to speak out about the prison’s gender conformist policies through a frequent column in the Guardian.
    Then in August, in a clear act of retaliation, prison authorities put Manning in solitary confinement and she lost access to the gym and library for three weeks – allfor possessing a tube of expired toothpaste and prohibited reading material like Vanity Fair’s Caitlyn Jenner issue.
    (Art: Micah Bazant)5. Trans people of color vs. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Even in the mainstream media, Jennicet Gutiérrez won June by heckling President Obama at a fancy LGBT party at the White House. She was promptly removed and booed by other audience members – jealous nonprofit hacks desperate for a picture with the president. Her action launched a thousand gay, Obama apologist op-eds, who tried to make respectability politics arguments like, “She should have waited her turn!”
    But would the despicable treatment of LGBTQ people in US immigration detention centers be quite as visible if Gutiérrez had been a nice, polite, quiet transgender lady?Familia, #Not1More, SONG, and all of the people involved in the ongoing hunger strikes at immigration detention centers across the country keep working to free all detainees.
    6. Spotlight on sex workers
    The August Rentboy raid in New York City, in which the Department of Homeland Security and New York City police arrested the owners and staff of a male escort website, was national news – but activists like Monica Jones (whose 2013 “walking while trans” charges were finally dropped in February) quickly pointed out that criminalization of queer and trans sex workers of color happens on the daily. Why exactly did it take a raid of a company operated by and catering to white gay dudes for The New York Times and CBS to pay attention?
    (Art: Micah Bazant)7. Michfest’s music died.
    Also in August: Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival sighed its 40th, and last, anti-trans sigh. Trans-exclusive radical feminists (TERFs) had long battled against including trans women on the festival grounds. One of the “womyn-born-womyn” founders cited the “McCarthyist” tactics of transgender activists for the festival’s end. Girl bye!
    8. Anti-trans violence is (still) on the rise.
    The organizers of the Trans Day of Remembrance (held annually on November 20) reported that “the number of reported cases of trans-phobic based hate crimes has more than doubled since 1999 when the first TDoR was held.”
    Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department had its first TDoR-inspired “Walk of Remembrance” in possibly the best example of pinkwashing since Israel began pretending like it cares about queer rights. Countless studies, such as those released this year by Black & Pink, BreakOUT! and the Urban Institute, continue to point to police and prisons as the top culprits of brutality against queer and trans people.
    9. HIV criminalization: now more ruthless than ever.
    As the national movement against prisons gained momentum, cases like Michael Johnson’s – the Black 23-year-old sentenced to 30 years in prison for allegedly transmitting HIV to willing sex partners in Missouri – highlight just how thirsty the prison industrial complex is for Black, queer bodies. Plus, jails and prisons have increasingly moved toward constructing LGBT-segregated cellblocks that are supposed to make queer and trans prisoners safer. Queer and trans activists are clear on the fact that this is just a ploy to increase funding to the prison industrial complex, while taking away resources from social services to help the people most disproportionately targeted by the “justice” system – trans women of color. Just a thought: put some of those resources, like the money used in a police sting operation entrapping Missourian Robert Smith for allegedly failing to reveal his HIV status to Craigslist hookup partners, toward HIV health services and sex education.
    10. Queer and trans film in focus
    In November, the Obama family held a transgender movie night, choosing to screen two works starring non-trans actors, by non-trans filmmakers. But real, live trans and queer actors and filmmakers gave us some amazing stuff to look at:
    Criminal Queers, a story about queer resistance to the prison industrial complex inspired by the queer feminist epic Born in Flames and starring the real-life Angela Davis, with cameos by CeCe McDonald, Miss Major and other queer radical heroes.
    MAJOR!, in which the titular star declares “I’m still fucking here!” and reminds the forgetful masses that trans women of color should not only be celebrated when they’re gone.
    The best Christmas movie ever: Tangerine. The friendship dramedy about low-income, Black, trans sex workers actually got quite a bit of positive mainstream press, but the White House decided to snub it in favor of a movie night revolving around upper-class, white, trans characters portrayed by upper-class, straight, white actors, by upper-class, straight, white directors. Shocked.
    Important documentaries about important topics: Consent, which looks at draconian HIV criminalization in Canada, and Pinkwashing Exposed, about the Israeli pinkwashing of the occupation of Palestine.
    We also got an amazing trailer for Happy Birthday, Marsha! (an antidote to this year’s whitewashed Stonewall), which we cannot wait for. 2016 can’t come quickly enough!
    So there’s still work to do in 2016. We’ll end with a message to people at all the big media conglomerates like Comcast and Viacom: Please do your jobs better, so that we don’t have to write another one of these damn lists next year.
    Related Posts:Project Censored 2015: Top Ten News Stories The Media Ignored November 29, 2015 Killer Drone News Blackout, Media Ignore Whistleblowers December 7, 2015 Public Art In Philadelphia Tells The Stories Of The Undocumented October 20, 2015 History Has Good News For Today’s Student Protesters November 12, 2015 Breaking News: SF Financial District Shut Down Over Climate Profiteers September 28, 2015


  46.  
    In addition to being Women’s History Month, March is also #TransComicMonth.  We interviewed Marcy Cook, creator of the hashtag.
    1. Where are you from?
    I’m originally from Europe, though I now live in Western Canada, the land
    of the hot PM and professional panda-petter Justin Trudeau. Canada is
    little understood in Europe, so it was in interesting move to many of my
    friends. They assumed I’d be living in ice and snow constantly. In fact
    it’s warm, lots of space trees and fresh air. Canada offered me more
    freedom than Europe could and now I wouldn’t go back.
    Western Canada!
     
    2. What do you do?
    I’m a professional writer, amateur artist, and diversity advisor. None of
    which are big money gigs unless you get very lucky so I have a day job to
    pay the bills. Professional cat wrangler! It’s a niche market.
     
    3. Where would people know you from?
    I write on various topics at The Mary Sue, I also write for the comic book
    website Panels. I have a comic book story out right now, part one was in
    issue #7 of Rosy Press ‘Fresh Romance’ and part two will be in issue #8.
    I’ve also written for Women Writing on Comics and Book Riot. I’m always
    surprised when someone says they’ve read something of mine, it’s still
    magical to me.
     
    4. How did you come to comics
    I’ve read comics since I could read, The Eagle and 2000AD were first, then
    super comics like Excalibur and manga such as Akira in the early 1990s.
    These days I pick and choose a lot more than I used to, at least for my
    personal purchases. Professionally I read whatever so I can deconstruct and
    both learn from comics and critique it.
    4a. Do you have a favorite:
    i. Comic Book
    If forced to choose I’d go for the current run of Squirrel Girl from
    Marvel. I love the idea that a super hero tries to solve things by talking
    before she starts fighting. Squirrel Girl is irreverent and funny but the
    concept of emotional connection and understanding is at its heart. I hope
    it doesn’t lose that as it goes forward.
    ii. Comic Book Movie
    The best super hero movie is by far Winter Soldier, but it’s not my
    favourite. That dubious honour goes to Guardians of the Galaxy, even though
    that movie has huge problems. I have a soft spot for Sci-Fi, what can I
    say. As for TV I’d recommend Jessica Jones and Agent Carter.

    iii. Character
    I don’t really have a favourite character, if I did it would change on a
    near daily basis depending on what I was reading and my mood. I’m enjoyingBlack Canary a lot and also Hellcat. I’m going to force myself to make a
    choice and right now I’d say Batgirl is my favourite character. I like the
    feel of the book and what they are trying to achieve with it – plus the
    team behind Batgirl is so ridiculously nice when you chat to them. That
    influences my choice a bit!
    Batgirl #49, Cover by Babs Tarr
    iv. What Are You
    A long list of titles that are for professional reading. On the personal
    side I’ve actually stopped buying monthly comics recently. Both DC and
    Marvel have moved a bit away from supporting diversity and women so I’ve
    decided to put my pull list on hold. I’m now waiting for the trades, a
    great recent trade for is Black Canary Vol 1 from DC Comics.
    5. What is #TransComicMonth?
    It’s highlighting trans comic book characters and trans creators;
    promoting trans inclusion and representation in comic books. A media that
    very much ignores and maligns trans people.
    How long have you been planning for  #TransComicsMonth?”
    It wasn’t planned, it just organically happened. Luckily it took off.
    What was the impetus for starting the hashtag?
    It was inspired by Black Comics Month which was created by
    @MizCaramelVixen. That idea inspired me to start a movement for trans
    people in comics.
    What would you like to see the hashtag achieve, other than the general goal of improved awareness for trans issues?
    To have made someone think, consider including trans creators behind the
    scenes in comics. Also to have people consider writing trans characters
    carefully with discussion from trans people. I’d also love Marvel to notice
    and phone me and ask me to pitch them a new take on Excalibur. OK that’s
    never going to happen but hey I can dream!
    Why March? How does this relate to the intersectional difficulties that the trans movement and the feminist movement sometimes experience?
    Trans Comic Book Month follows on from Black Comics Month, and black trans
    women are the most oppressed within the entire LGBTQ spectrum. They need a
    lot more protection and support from the rest of LGBTQ than they currently
    get. It would be good to promote trans PoC as much as possible during the
    month. March also contains International Women’s Day, which I think is a
    great time to promote women led comics and to try and bring in new women
    readers of comic books. The politics of feminism and transgender people
    overlap and are generally positive. It’s sad that a lunatic fringe exists
    within feminism, called trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERF), it’s a
    hate group that persecutes trans women. Luckily they are a tiny minority
    within feminism and shouldn’t taint the wider support that trans women get
    from feminists.
    What has the overall response been so far? Has it beensurprising?
    The response has been very positive and to me this has been the most
    surprising thing. I’ve not had anyone yell at me about this yet. People
    online yell at me for all sorts of reasons normally, I’m either doing
    something right with this or I’ve gone very wrong! The future will no doubt
    arrive at some point and tell me. I’ve spoken to someone at Marvel about a
    trans character they haven’t announced publicly yet, asking if they’ll make
    the announcement during trans comic book month. Yet to get a final answer
    though so I can’t say anything about that yet.
    What happens during the rest of the year?
    Hopefully creators and publishers will stop with transphobic nonsense like
    Airboy and Justice League 3000. I’ll continue talking about comic book
    diversity and working behind the scenes with comic book creators on how to
    do trans comic book characters in a positive way.
    What resources would you point people to if they want to know moreabout trans issues and trans comics?
    I wrote about how to create a positive trans comic book character overhere. As for trans issues, well I’d hesitate to point anyone at a single
    site. The best way to learn is to do your research (wiki and so on), read a
    variety of trans people online and talk to trans people. That way you’ll
    start to understand trans topics a lot better.
    7. Imagine you can pitch one comic-related property to a broadcastcompany (network, cable, streaming or movie company)? What do you pitch?
    If I had to pick one I’d go for one I know would be successful, GothamAcademy from DC Comics. It has everything a TV series needs, a contained
    location, new and known characters in an established property. I’m not sure
    why Gotham Academy isn’t already a TV show really, it would be wildly
    successful.
    Gotham Academy #9 Cover and Art by: Karl Kerschl Written by: Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher
     
     
     
    Share this:RedditFacebookTwitterTumblrEmailPinterest

  47. […] who, despite being anything but right-wing, nevertheless devolved into a favorite right-wing (and TERF – I know…same thing, but I digress) rant: likening gender transition to species […]

  48. […] You can find the original list on TransAdvocate. […]

  49. […] como “feministas”, pero son al mismo tiempo críticos y excluyentes hacia las personas trans. La ideología TERF sostiene, entre otras cosas, que las mujeres trans no son “mujeres reales” o que los hombres […]

  50. […] como “feministas”, pero son al mismo tiempo críticos y excluyentes hacia las personas trans. La ideología TERF sostiene, entre otras cosas, que las mujeres trans no son “mujeres reales” o que los hombres […]

  51. […] of legislations like HB 2 and political rhetoric embraced by transphobic politicians and TERF activists alike. At stake, in their minds, is both the respectability of (cis) women (under the […]

  52. Theresa Nicole says:

    I am slowly learning about different groups such as TERFs and slowly learning more about myself and being transgender. So if or when it happens how can I defend myself and my rights against people like this?
    It does not help now that the pope feels transgendered people are just as dangerous as nukes are. Trans people will not go anywhere, wipe us out to the last person and some how the in the next generation there will be trans and gay people. We have always been a part of society and always will. I am happy to see that Trans-people can openly serve in the military, I had to hide who I was during my time in the army and yet people still treated me differently than the others in my units.
    I guess all I can do right now is to keep educating myself, but it does remind me of the “Little Rascals He-man woman haters club” but only in reverse The She-woman man haters club.

  53. […] that the DSM-V no longer includes “transgender” as a mental illness. There’s a super awesome checklist that really helped me better understand what this term […]

  54. Merkin says:

    Dear Trans Community,

    I have been called a TERF many times because I accept biology as the standard for sexual identity. I’ve been called phobic in the myriad, and yes, trans people have threatened me and even my girlfriend with violence because I have refused to disavow biology and language. Even still, my stance is the same, and until biology evolves and makes human sex interchangeable, it will not waver.

    But I do not identify as a TERF. I don’t feel radical and I have no wish to exclude trans people. I don’t even know what I would exclude them from if I did feel that way. My issue with accepting a person born a male as a female or vis versa, is not grounded in conservatism, feminism, sexism, radicalism, hate or phobia. The reason that I accept scientific fact is because, it’s fact. Surgery cannot take a body that produces spermatazoa and change it to produce ova. And the same is true in reverse. It’s just not possible. No one gets to choose their sex, not even intersex persons. Even they are only male or female regardless of their outward sex organs. A body can only father or mother a child. It cannot do both, and it cannot pick which it wants to do.

    Sex just is.

    Males are defined by language as a member of a species whose gametes produce spermatazoa. Females are defined by language as a member of a species whose gametes produce ova. The pronouns that refer to male and female are just another way of labeling those sub-classifications. These are facts as laid out by genetics, by the natural order of the world. They supersede wants, desires, and emotions. They just are, like gravity. And the words used are there to help us describe the world around us.

    Those realities can be cruel. In the same way that you cannot change your sex, I will never have a biological child with my spouse. It’s heartbreaking. I wish it weren’t that way, but I’m willing to accept reality as it is, no matter how much it hurts, because I cannot change this piece of it. I’m profoundly sorry that in this same way, you feel cheated and dysphoric or dysmorphic. I’m not without compassion for the fact that you feel at odds with your body, that you had no say in how it functions when you so desperately wanted final word. I understand, maybe not perfectly, but truly because biology has affected me in that way too.

    I can’t deny science to make you feel better, anymore than I could deny that I’m a lesbian to make my family feel better. The truth isn’t always fair and sometimes it shakes away everything that we hold dear, but it won’t change. It can’t be changed. You are the sex that your genetics gave you and I am a lesbian. And while those two things are completely separate, we are the same in the sense that if you can accept what you are, I know that struggle too. What’s beautiful and hopeful for both of us is that accepting what we are doesn’t have to define who we are, even when the consequences of that acceptance are so hurtful.

    Gender is a social construct and it is completely interchangeable, just like orientation. If you are a male (a person whose body produces sperm), and you want to alter your body to look a certain way, or wish to wear dresses and make-up, that’s perfectly fine. The same goes for females (a person whose body produces ova). The social stigmas that cling to those misconceptions are beginning to fall and they will continue to do so until they are completely eradicated. That’s the beauty about things that aren’t fact: they can change. They can be shaped to fit our desires.

    My question to you is what is so bad about being a male? What is so bad about being a female? What is so bad about being gay or a lesbian? We can still look how we want, wear what we want, and love who we want. We can express femininity, masculinity, and androgyny to our heart’s desire. We can be who AND what we are, even if those don’t line up. Lesbians and gays can adopt a child with their spouses, or we can inseminate. There are ways to move around the laws of the universe without outright denying their existence.

    These struggles, while completely different, are what bind us into an inclusive community. Lesbians don’t have to date trans women and vis versa. To exclude a sex from orientation isn’t to exclude that community from tolerance and acceptance. We don’t have to be the same in order to be friends or allies. Excluding a male from the female category doesn’t have to be anymore hurtful than excluding females from male categories. I don’t belong everywhere, and neither do you. So we find those places where we do belong, and some of those places will be for both of us.

    I felt compelled to say this, to explain this, so that maybe someone could see that it’s not about hate, at least not for everyone. I don’t necessarily believe that this will help. In fact, I’m fairly certain that I’ll be called something nasty or the moderators might delete this before it can even be seen because it will trigger someone who isn’t ready to make the best of the hand they were dealt. And that’s okay. I mean, it’s not really, but I’m not writing this to win people over. I’m writing this because I’m the kind of person who has trouble sleeping soundly if they don’t at least try. So this is me trying.

    I accept you for who AND what you are. I have a profound wish that you will find peace with both sides of that coin. I cannot disavow human sub-classification or alter the proper use of pronouns as designed by language to fit either of our desires, but I can see your struggle, I can sympathize. And I do. I just hope that you can see mine too.

    Love,

    TERF

    • Cristan says:

      Would you agree that “sex” connotes physical/material/actual body aspects and that all things “gender” lives within the domain of the mind? In other words, “gender” does not exist independent of the mind; “gender” has no material essence, correct?

      • Merkin says:

        I would agree with that, yes, Cristan. That understanding is based on two things: science and trans word-of-mouth.

        To the science of it, the mind itself is an organ like any other, including those dedicated to sex. However, the mind can only go so far with science. It is the one organ in the body that has functions beyond that of physical operation. In fact, you don’t even need access to your mind to be alive. Your brain can be completely dead and your spinal cord will take care of that without an iota of brain function. Now, that can only last so long as you can go without food or water, which isn’t long at all. What I’m getting at here is that mind, while connected, performs functions that have no grounding in the physical word. This explains love, friendship, desires, imagination, art, etc.

        As for trans word-of-mouth, I can only understand the condition of being trans as described by a trans person. Trans people often talk about feelings and emotions that differ from the reality of their body. For M to F, they have coined it “lady brain.” This understanding is fallible, as I cannot understand what it means to be trans without being one myself. I would say the same for being a woman or a man. Brain function is different, and part of that is biology. Did you know that the frontal lobe of a biological female is much larger than a male’s? This would explain the nurture aspect in women as the frontal lobe is responsible for perceiving and responding to attacks. The old saying that men are more aggressive is indeed a biological fact. This is because, with a smaller frontal lobe, men do not have the same capacity as women to temper their response to an attack. Of course, there will be unique anomalies to this rule, but this is true for the vast majority, probably more than 99%. Back to the point of a trans mind being separate from their body, I do not see how there can be any other way given what they say and what is actually happening in their bodies. Their bodies are functioning normally in most cases. However, according to them, they feel like it’s the wrong body. Feelings to not exist in the physical word. They exist only in the mind. They can be caused by hormone production, different hormones providing different signals and responses. But again, most trans bodies are normal functioning in line with their actual sex, so this cannot actually be explained.

        • Cristan says:

          Yeah, that’s whole “Lady Brain” strawman is what TERF assert people like me believe. I don’t believe there is any essential thing/substance that makes a brain itself male or female.

          Since you seem to agree with me that the thoughts one has in one’s head has no material existence (in that thoughts cannot exist without a thinker), I think we agree that gender is the domain of the mind: that which relates to gender exists only within minds and that should there be no thinker, there would be no gender, correct? I mean, we agree that your thoughts do not exist outside of your head, correct?

          • Merkin says:

            Yes, thoughts and feelings are immaterial. They don’t have substance. I can’t pick a feeling up and hurl it at you. They exist outside of the physical realm, though they are stored in a physical body. It’s fascinating, if not a little overwhelming to think about. This is why I accept identity, trans or otherwise. I will say that I think the myriad of identities that people are claiming is getting a little out of hand. There’s literally no way anymore to understand anyone because no one person is the same.

          • Cristan says:

            @Merkin If we agree that mental constructs are immaterial, why do you seem to believe that sexed categories exist outside of our heads?

            While I would 100% agree that bodies and reproduction are material realities, I just can’t buy the TERF belief that conceptual categories aren’t gender. Saying “Sex not gender!” is like saying “Hoops not circles!” In other words, it’s a tautology rooted in the error that conception A (sex) isn’t a thought while conception B (gender) is a thought.

            Bodies and reproduction are a material reality. Our thoughts and feelings about them (which includes our language and categories) exist only within our minds.

    • Theresa Nicole says:

      Dear TERF:
      I am a 13 year veteran of the Army I work at my local VA and I have struggled with this part of me since I was 11 and now I am 50. I grew up an Army brat and lead a pretty strict and sheltered life. I was naive of many things growing up and did not understand what was going on with me. I kept this desire hidden but something with in me always made me stand out as someone that was different.
      Science is a wonderful thing and Einstein had some wonderful thoughts about it “All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” Albert Einstein
      So really should one person be able to stop someone from developing? If you accept me at face value no matter how I present and allow me to develop as a human and find my true voice such as you have. The thing I want is equal treatment fair treatment and to be able to use the bathroom in peace.
      I don’t know how you view religion but when you have the Pope saying things like this “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.” Pope Francis The he turns around as compares trans people to Nuclear weapons? And when comic relief is needed in a show or movie they put a guy into a dress.
      There is no respect for trans people in middle America or in most of the Western countries.
      All we ask for is to be left alone and be able to live our lives like everyone else.
      Again science is a good thing but to advance science we need imagination and that requires an open and accept mind to different view points.

    • Brennan Young says:

      Merkin, thank you for engaging in this debate. Your comments are interesting and extensive, but I will just respond to a couple of them. FWIW I regard myself as non-binary. That may or may not be important.

      You wrote: “Males are defined by language as a member of a species whose gametes produce spermatazoa. Females are defined by language as a member of a species whose gametes produce ova.”

      Not defined by language, but by reproductive biology. And nature itself has no names for any of these things. Not every individual has functional gametes (most social insects). Some have no gametes at all (fungi, ferns), some even change sex (e.g. clown fish), and yet, if we are talking about humans without [functional] gametes, or with ambiguous or absent genitals, we would most likely call such people ‘men’ or ‘women’ according to their presentation, ie. it would be their gender, not their reproductive biology which would be most significant in deciding the matter. (AIS is another fascinating example).

      You wrote: “The pronouns that refer to male and female are just another way of labeling those sub-classifications. ”

      Pronouns are very much more than just that. As social constructions, they have contextual meaning which varies even more so than words like “man” and “woman”.
      Examples: It is a common idiom amongst male theatre actors to refer to each other as she/her. The distinction between (e.g.) the French “il” and “elle” is a distinction of gender, not biology (not all French cats are male). Scandinavian languages have two ‘genders’, neither of which are masculine, or feminine. Nozzles, sockets, plugs and connectors have “male” and “female” forms, without a gamete in sight. When the Sergeant wakes up the male recruits, he might well say “Good morning, Ladies”. These are not biological facts, but as common idioms, they are factual enough to be relevant to a discussion about gendered nomenclature. Gendered pronouns and terms like “lady”, in general use, are not as fixed, or as constrained by biology as we might at first imagine.

      You wrote: “These are facts as laid out by genetics, by the natural order of the world.”

      Some facts are indeed laid out by nature. Naming is not. Categorisation is not. The map is not the territory.

      And even in the observable biological ‘territory’ of sex difference, nature provides us with intersex to confound our binary model of sex, i.e. proving beyond any doubt that it is a social construction – an approximation of the truth, a generalisation.

      Yes, intersex is no more common than red hair (and I notice that TERFs seem eager to disregard it, or underplay it as negligible, which is telling. Imagine if the UN’s convention of human rights did not apply to redheads!), but intersex is still a biological fact. It’s also a fact, that there are increasing amounts of hormone-disrupting chemicals in our environment, so we can safely expect intersex to be more prevalent in future. The proportion of children born with ambiguous genitals is increasing annually.

      In other words, the binary model of sex lacks nuance, lacks requisite variety, lacks absolute truth, even on purely biological terms.

      And now for the social, starting with some etymology:
      “Man” is the anglosaxon word for “human being”.
      “Woman” is the anglosaxon word for “woman”.
      [And fwiw the anglosaxon word for “man” (i.e. adult male human) is “wereman”. The “were” prefix has mostly been lost, but remains in the word “werewolf”. ]

      In general use, “woman” describes both the biological and social (i.e. both the “female” and the “feminine”). Sometimes the word “woman” refers to biology, sometimes to gender, sometimes (much of the time) the distinction is irrelevant. Words get their general meaning mostly through use, rather than some-or-other domain-specific definition. Doctors use the word “occult” in a very particular, domain-specific way. It doesn’t mean they’re all practitioners of the dark arts, nor are they ‘wrong’ to use the word the way they do. (They actually use it more correctly than the rest of us – and it doesn’t matter).

      A jerusalem artichoke is not an artichoke (biologically speaking), but the name overlap does not make artichokes any less real, or any less artichoke. There are two distinct kinds of semi-precious stone, completely different in composition, but each named “jade”.

      I mention these etymological and semantic details merely to indicate that words can and do change their meaning, historically, and contextually, and to emphasise that the facts about names and categories may not be (and need not be) biological facts in order to be useful or meaningful. Further, that by insisting on the strict adherence to a single definition, when several are in common use, we may end up distorting the truth, or even, in the worst cases, trampling on the rights of others.

      It seems to me that this whole debate about who is allowed to call themselves a woman is actually an effort to *constrain exclusively* the word “woman” to either its biological/reproductive meaning (the ‘TERF’ position) or its social meaning (the transpolitical position). Neither position is unassailable, so the argument will just keep going. The facts, whether biological or by social consensus, support neither position outright. When there clear anomalies in both positions, perhaps we should be looking for other alternatives, and get off each others’ throats.

      I think it’s a terrible shame that feminists are fighting each other over this. I am sure that the defenders of patriarchal power are mightily amused by the splitting and acrimony that has resulted.

      • Merkin says:

        Brennan,

        Thank you for engaging with me respectfully. I’ll address your responses because of it.

        1 – “[male and female are] Not defined by language, but by reproductive biology. And nature itself has no names for any of these things.”

        You sort of answered the context of what you’re addressing with the second sentence. I was arguing that the fact that language is man-made doesn’t detract from the material reality, as it was posed that language is a construct by which biology is identified and therefore male and female are just constructs. My point was that male and female are biological states of material reality. I was just taking away the construct argument by explaining that the construct of the terms doesn’t make the reality they express a construct by association.

        2 – “Not every individual has functional gametes (most social insects). Some have no gametes at all (fungi, ferns), some even change sex (e.g. clown fish), and yet, if we are talking about humans without [functional] gametes, or with ambiguous or absent genitals, we would most likely call such people ‘men’ or ‘women’ according to their presentation, ie. it would be their gender, not their reproductive biology which would be most significant in deciding the matter. (AIS is another fascinating example).”

        It’s true that there are non-dimorphic animals, insects, etc in nature. And even some, like with seahorses, where reproductive roles are switched. I don’t argue this at all, or how fascinating they are. However, we’re talking about humans. Only humans differentiate sex and gender, or seek to use social roles to identify those genders. What I mean by this is you won’t see a seahorse questioning his masculinity because he carries the children instead of the female. He simply accepts his function and what he is by instinct, and seeks to procreate. And the other sea creatures don’t judge his pregnant belly. Transgenderism is solely a human issue, and humans are dimorphic.

        In regards to those humans whose function is inhibited or ambiguous due to defect, and I assure you they are all defects, this does not inhibit the identification of what they are or how they are “supposed” to function. A male with defective gametes is still a male, he just has a defect. The defect or presentation of defect would not determine or invalidate sub-classification.

        As a society, we certainly use secondary sex characteristics such as breasts to refer to that sub-classification, but it’s a little strange to expect people to carry a generic marker for identification. If I had no breasts, a knot in my throat, were abnormally tall, or had other secondary identifiers to such a socially confusing extreme, I would be called sir, I’m sure. I’d simply correct the individual and move on. The point is that I shouldn’t lie to people. I should be honest, and if you don’t agree that lying is wrong or you believe the alternative so fully that you don’t consider it a lie, then consider that you’re beliefs should not become my beliefs, especially when those beliefs are provably inaccurate.

        When Jehovah’s witnesses come to my door and essentially lie to me, I know they believe it, but I don’t have to. The only difference between a trans person and a door-to-door evangelical is that the evangelicals aren’t trying to legislate me into their belief or religify religion free spaces.

        3 – “Pronouns are very much more than just that. As social constructions, they have contextual meaning which varies even more so than words like “man” and “woman”.”

        How so? They reference the nouns male and female by definition. They literally serve no other purpose. And as we’ve already discussed, male and female are not constructs. Therefore, the words referencing material reality are not just constructs.

        4 – “Examples: It is a common idiom amongst male theatre actors to refer to each other as she/her.”

        This is a joke. The fact that they aren’t she/her is what makes it a joke. The joke wouldn’t exist if she/her didn’t mean female.

        5 – “The distinction between (e.g.) the French “il” and “elle” is a distinction of gender, not biology (not all French cats are male).”

        A and o sounds in Spanish do the same thing. And when I asked my honors Spanish teacher how a car could be male, she had no answer. These languages gender inanimate objects rather willy nilly, but the context of that gender usage would change drastically when applied to humans and science, even in those languages. We’re referring to humans. We have to use them appropriately when referencing humans. Inanimate objects aren’t humans.

        6 – “Scandinavian languages have two ‘genders’, neither of which are masculine, or feminine.”

        I bet they only have male and female sexes though. And I bet they have words to appropriately classify those sexes and their biological differences.

        7 “Nozzles, sockets, plugs and connectors have “male” and “female” forms, without a gamete in sight.”

        Yes, and it’s rather funny you bring this up. Can you guess why male plugs have prongs and female plugs have holes to fit those prongs?

        8 – “When the Sergeant wakes up the male recruits, he might well say “Good morning, Ladies”.”

        This is the worst example so far. He does that to degrade those men by calling them women, because Somehow being a woman is insulting. And again, if ladies didn’t refer to females, his degrading joke would fall flat.

        9 – “These are not biological facts, but as common idioms, they are factual enough to be relevant to a discussion about gendered nomenclature.”

        These idioms are based on gendered nomenclature which are based on material biology. And without that material reality, these idioms would have no gendered context. They are dependent on material reality to have relevance.

        10 – “Gendered pronouns and terms like “lady”, in general use, are not as fixed, or as constrained by biology as we might at first imagine.”

        Please see my response to point 9.

        11 – “Some facts are indeed laid out by nature. Naming is not. Categorisation is not. The map is not the territory.”

        There would be no map without the territory. And no matter how you attempt to map the territory, the territory is fixed.

        12 – “And even in the observable biological ‘territory’ of sex difference, nature provides us with intersex to confound our binary model of sex, i.e. proving beyond any doubt that it is a social construction – an approximation of the truth, a generalisation.”

        No. Biologically speaking, intersex is not a third sex or gender. Intersex persons are either male or female, regardless of secondary sex characteristics. All but three individuals recorded since the 1400s with any variation of intersex have provided the role of mother or father. They had a sex, whether outwardly distinguishable or not, and it was male or female. Those 3 extreme anomalies were not a third sex or gender, but both male and female.

        13 – “Yes, intersex is no more common than red hair (and I notice that TERFs seem eager to disregard it, or underplay it as negligible, which is telling.”

        I do not deny intersex. I study it. They are male or female. And roughly 1 in 1400-2000 people are intersex, a defect existing on top of their male or female sex. Trans people are not intersex. They are male or female with the deep belief or feeling that they were born in the wrong body. There may or may not have been a hormonal imbalance that caused them to believe or feel this way. In fact, many studies to prove genetic defect in favor of transgenderism have failed and point to poor socialization or trauma. Trans people are quick to believe intersex validates gender variance, when biology, yet again, proves this to be false.

        14 – “Imagine if the UN’s convention of human rights did not apply to redheads!)”

        Trans legislation is not about Human Rights. No one denies trans people their humanity or right to individual happiness, not even TERFs. However, we do deny the legislation of provably false ideologies, especially when they eradicate protections in place for other humans who had no choice in their oppression, like PoC and women. Let alone the fact that these groups are opposed and assaulted in vastly higher numbers.

        15 – “but intersex is still a biological fact.”

        Agreed. However, the facts don’t validate transgender ideologies.

        16 – “It’s also a fact that there are increasing amounts of hormone-disrupting chemicals in our environment, so we can safely expect intersex to be more prevalent in future.”

        It’s possible. It doesn’t matter to this discussion though.

        17 – “The proportion of children born with ambiguous genitals is increasing annually.”

        Again, please research intersex. Ambiguous gamete delivery systems do not negate the reproductive function or classification thereof.

        18 – “In other words, the binary model of sex lacks nuance, lacks requisite variety, lacks absolute truth, even on purely biological terms.”

        False. Biology disagrees with you to a 99.5% probability.

        19 – ““Man” is the anglosaxon word for “human being”.”

        Yes, there’s are two definitions for man. One references sex, and this one the whole of humanity. In a discussion about sex, I fail to see the relevance of the latter.

        20 – “”Woman” is the anglosaxon word for “woman”.”

        Woman – noun – adult, human female.

        21 – “[And fwiw the anglosaxon word for “man” (i.e. adult male human) is “wereman”. The “were” prefix has mostly been lost, but remains in the word “werewolf”. ]

        In general use, “woman” describes both the biological and social (i.e. both the “female” and the “feminine”).”

        Woman only has one definition, and nowhere is that social or feminine. It references biological factors of age, species, and sex.

        22 – “Sometimes the word “woman” refers to biology, sometimes to gender, sometimes (much of the time) the distinction is irrelevant.”

        Maybe you believe this, but that’s not what the definitions entail, at all. Forgive me, but I need more than your word for it.

        23 – “Words get their general meaning mostly through use, rather than some-or-other domain-specific definition.”

        False. Most words are constructed via Greek word cells and roots. Dialects have sprung from these words, as well as colloquialisms. However, medical terms do not have dialects or slang.

        24 – “Doctors use the word “occult” in a very particular, domain-specific way. It doesn’t mean they’re all practitioners of the dark arts, nor are they ‘wrong’ to use the word the way they do. (They actually use it more correctly than the rest of us – and it doesn’t matter).”

        There are many uses for the word occult. The general population may be ignorant of the alternative uses, but I don’t see how this helps your argument at all.

        25 – “A jerusalem artichoke is not an artichoke (biologically speaking), but the name overlap does not make artichokes any less real, or any less artichoke. There are two distinct kinds of semi-precious stone, completely different in composition, but each named “jade”.”

        And I’ll bet you that they are given those names because that’s where their biology best fit. I seem to recall a huge debate in recent history over whether a tomato is a fruit or vegetable. In the end, it’s biological characteristics in regards to seed bearing (reproduction – imagine that) won the argument. I feel like we’re losing the plot here.

        26 – “I mention these etymological and semantic details merely to indicate that words can and do change their meaning, historically, and contextually, and to emphasise that the facts about names and categories may not be (and need not be) biological facts in order to be useful or meaningful.”

        Okay. This helps with your train of thought, and I agree that language expands. But you’re not accounting for the fact that language doesn’t expand to the extent that it negates itself. If he can mean she and vis versa, neither will mean anything. Some words are set in stone because they reference an unchanging material reality. Male, female, and their associated pronouns are set in stone. If it makes you feel any better, I wish they weren’t.

        27 – “Further, that by insisting on the strict adherence to a single definition, when several are in common use, we may end up distorting the truth, or even, in the worst cases, trampling on the rights of others.”

        Ironically, altering their uses in this aspect does distort the truth. There are not several definitions for these words. Furthermore, that distortion is trampling over the rights of others. I can specifically and objectively lay out the facts and stats that prove it for the stance I’m defending. Can you? What rights are you denied by using the appropriate definitions of these words?

        28 – “It seems to me that this whole debate about who is allowed to call themselves a woman is actually an effort to *constrain exclusively* the word “woman” to either its biological/reproductive meaning (the ‘TERF’ position) or its social meaning (the transpolitical position).”

        We do not seek to constrain woman to biology. That is simply what woman means. There is no social definition of woman unless you subscribe to gender roles. And given that real radical feminists wish to topple gender roles and free both sexes from those constraints (which, ironically, are exactly what trans persons subscribe to while claiming being constrained), we cannot allow for gender to replace sex. And that’s to say that if there were no gender roles that it would be acceptable to adopt delusion. And I don’t. With or without gender roles, material reality is still there.

        29 – “Neither position is unassailable, so the argument will just keep going.”

        I’m sorry, truly, but trans apologists have no reproduceable or provable argument. They just can’t concede in the face of their feelings.

        30-“The facts, whether biological or by social consensus, support neither position outright.”

        Social consensus may or may not be fact. It never determines fact. Biology is provable and reproduceable within 99.5% accuracy in this arena. I’m sorry, but you’re just wrong. Why can’t you accept it? You lose nothing but what was never yours to begin with. However, you gain a better understanding of yourself, and you help increase society by resisting gender norms.

        31 – “When there clear anomalies in both positions, perhaps we should be looking for other alternatives, and get off each others’ throats.”

        I’m not on your throat. You’re on mine. I’m simply trying to get you off of me. I do not believe you do this intentionally. However, you aren’t listening. You’re willfully ignoring what’s happening though provable and I believe it’s because to listen would mean to doubt the framework you’ve built your identity on. And to allow that to collapse would be too emotionally catastrophic. Unfortunately, in this arena, compassion for you means a lack of compassion for others, and as I’ve said, I will not throw one community under a bus to satisfy another, let alone a vastly larger one without a choice in the matter.

        Please explain to me why you must be called a woman and have access to female-only spaces.

        Please explain why I shouldn’t be worried given the statistics towards male violence against women.

        Please explain why I shouldn’t be offended when you claim womanhood with a skirt and makeup?

        Please explain to me why the comfort and safety of. 003% is more important than that of 53%.

        Please explain to me why I should be happy to call my vagina a front hole, breast feeding chest feeding, and deny the pain of motherhood for your feelings.

        Please say something reasonable to address the real issues.

        32 – “I think it’s a terrible shame that feminists are fighting each other over this.”

        Feminists fighting for male misogyny, i.e. Insectional or third and fourth wave, are not feminists.

        33 – “I am sure that the defenders of patriarchal power are mightily amused by the splitting and acrimony that has resulted.”

        Certainly. And it would be even more rewarding for them should radfems like me, like TERFs, all adopted the liberal party line because they’d win. Women’s liberation would be failed. I’d rather they get a kick out of watching us fight rather than become one of them. Until trans apologists stop helping them, I have no better option.

        This was good. Thank you again.

        • Brennan Young says:

          “I was just taking away the construct argument by explaining that the construct of the terms doesn’t make the reality they express a construct by association.”
          – Quite so, but neither does it make the terminology less of a construct, so the argument remains.

          “The defect or presentation of defect would not determine or invalidate sub-classification.”
          – The word “defect” suggests a value judgement, and I don’t believe nature makes such judgements. Sickle cell anemia may also be a ‘defect’, and yet those who have it are immune to malaria, which is surely an advantage in some regions. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that ‘sex-liminality’ has the potential to serve some important social function which may help the larger population.

          I provided a series of language examples in my last post, not because those examples are especially important in themselves, but because they are evidence that in common use, gendered terms frequently deviate from biology, in various ways. I don’t see strong evidence that gendered pronouns are instances of this exclusively reproductive-biological definition.

          “Pronouns reference the nouns male and female by definition.”
          – No! They don’t! This is quite wrong. They reference individuals (or individual objects, or groups).
          Example: “Charlie is happy. He has a flower”. The “he” refers to “Charlie” not the word “male”.
          (Charlie, btw, is my kid’s plush bee toy. Charlie has no genitals, and looks more like a worker bee than a drone.)
          He/him and she/her are called “gendered pronouns”, not “sexed pronouns”. The clue is in the name.

          “These idioms are based on gendered nomenclature which are based on material biology.”
          – Maps of maps of territory, each one an approximation, a generalisation. Gender is not sex. Are you familiar with the difference between connotation and denotation? Gender connotes, rather than denotes sex. It’s important.

          “And without that material reality, these idioms would have no gendered context. They are dependent on material reality to have relevance.”
          – They are dependent on many things, apart from reproductive biology.

          “There would be no map without the territory. And no matter how you attempt to map the territory, the territory is fixed.”
          – Except that sometimes, even the territory changes. Try mapping a river delta! And no matter how you attempt to map the territory, your map will always be a construction.
          The important point is to make sure that the map takes account of all *meaningful variety* in the territory. You believe two sexes is enough variety – and in many cases it is. But I disagree that it is *always* enough. To generalize is to lose information – to disengage with the absolute truth.

          A metaphor: You have two colours, red and blue. I suggest that there is something called crimson and something called cyan, and something called purple but you are saying “oh, they’re just variants of red and blue”. They are indeed, but any painter or designer will want to (will probably need to) draw a distinction between all of these variants, even if that distinction might not be important to you, personally.

          “Woman only has one definition, and nowhere is that social or feminine. It references biological factors of age, species, and sex.”
          – This is incorrect. That’s how *you* choose to use that word. It’s one definition amongst many, and some of those definitions are clearly social, rather than biological.

          “Forgive me, but I need more than your word for it.”
          – Please do not take my word for it! Just pick any decent dictionary and you will find that “woman” has multiple entries. The website for Oxford and Merriman-Webster have five each. Longman has eight. At least one of those defintions which refers to the social and/or the feminine.
          e.g. “my woman” (like in the Blues) invariably means a wife or girlfriend, which are social, rather than biological categories.

          Therefore “Woman only has one definition” is false. And some definitions of “woman” are social.

          “Most words are constructed via Greek word cells and roots.”
          – Not sure why you mention this, but, fwiw it is incorrect. The vast majority of English words are germanic or latinate.

          “But you’re not accounting for the fact that language doesn’t expand to the extent that it negates itself.”
          – That’s because it does! It’s not even uncommon. Check out Wittgenstein’s work on symbolic language and meaning, tautology and contradiction, or (lighter reading) chapter 6 of “Through the Looking Glass”. In political science, the word “liberal” means “minimum government interference”, but it has almost the opposite meaning in the USA today. It’s more than fair to say that the American idiomatic use of the word “liberal” negates its classical definition.
          Another example (gender related): Until the late 1400s the word “girl” meant “child” (of whatever sex).

          Therefore “language doesn’t expand to the extent that it negates itself” is also false.

          “If he can mean she and vis versa, neither will mean anything.”
          – You’re mixing up logical levels here. People have been making exactly this kind of complaint about the corruption of language for hundreds of years. And yet the threatened semantic collapse has never happened. That’s because meaning is always contextual. If a word means A in the 13th century, and the same word means B in the 16th century, there is no contradiction. The word “bitch” uttered between lovers in the bedroom does not have the same meaning as when shouted at someone in busy traffic, and yet both interpretations of the word (which also has an additional, biological meaning) remain valid. There is no contradiction.

          “Some words are set in stone”
          – This is FALSE. If it were true, such words would be easily identified, and always identical in all human languages in the same family (e.g. those descending from proto-indo-european). That is patently not the case, not even between the gendered terms in languages most closely related to English. The longevity of word-referent pairs depends on their socio-historical usage, including the publication of dictionaries, or ‘word corpora’. You can ask any etymologist or linguist to confirm this. The only words which may reasonably said to be ‘fixed’ to their referents are onomatapoeic ones like “splash”
          *All* words are liable to change meaning, even words actually set in actual stone.

          “Male, female, and their associated pronouns are set in stone. If it makes you feel any better, I wish they weren’t.”
          – If it makes you feel any better, they’re *not* set in stone, so your wish may certainly come true. (Though I suspect that your wish is not entirely sincere). Their *referents* may be set in stone, but the words themselves are not. Pronouns, in particular, are ‘soft-coded’, deriving almost all of their meaning from the context. Again, please don’t take my word for it, ask an etymologist or linguist.

          “What rights are you denied by using the appropriate definitions of these words?”
          – “Appropriate” is a loaded term. What makes something “appropriate” is context-specific, and very often socially determined. I will still insist (despite your disagreement) that sometimes, it’s entirely appropriate to use “she” to refer to something other than a female human.
          Only a landlubber calls a water-going vessel “it”.

          “We do not seek to constrain woman to biology. That is simply what woman means. ”
          – Given that I have already demonstated that there *are* non-biological definitions of “woman” appearing in reputable dictionaries, and in everyday language, your second sentence here contradicts the first. Even if the biological definition is valid (which it is), and even if a social defintion connotes the biological, the word ‘simply’ is wrong, because there are multiple defintions, and because connotation is a complex kind of signification.

          “There is no social definition of woman unless you subscribe to gender roles.”
          – Not sure what you mean by ‘subscribe to’. But gender roles definitely exist as social constructions, so yes, there definitely *is* a social definition of woman, which also changes historically. As a feminist, I am more than keen to shake up and subvert gender roles. But I think it’s completely utopian to hope that they will (or expect that they can) be abolished in our lifetime (especially if men are disallowed from participating in that process). Until it happens, gender roles must be engaged with somehow, even critically. My own choice is to subvert them. I can’t subvert something by pretending it doesn’t exist.

          “And given that real radical feminists wish to topple gender roles and free both sexes from those constraints … we cannot allow for gender to replace sex.”
          – I absolutely agree. And it’s not what I am calling for. Neither can we allow for sex to replace gender, because it would have the same result: The conflation of gender and sex. I want the distinction between the two to be much clearer than it has been throughout most of human history. That requires challenging *all* forms of biological essentialism, which you seem quite circumspect about. The fact is that much of the time, perhaps even most of the time, when we divide people according to sex or gender, it is for reasons other than reproductive biology. Biological sex is irrelevant in *all* of these cases.

          “Social consensus may or may not be fact. It never determines fact.”
          – Never is a strong word. Social consensus definitely establishes *social* facts. Does “marriage” exist? Evidently it does. That seems to be a fact. It would not exist at all without social consensus, therefore the social consensus determines that fact. We might discuss whether marriage *ought* to exist, given that it has no biological ‘truth’, but institutionally, culturally and legally it is a fact. Even those who take an anti-marriage position must recognise this.

          “Biology is provable and reproduceable within 99.5% accuracy in this arena. I’m sorry, but you’re just wrong. Why can’t you accept it?”
          – Perhaps because that remaining 0.5% amounts to 37 million living, breathing people. I accept the figure of 99.5% as a good generalisation, which applies well in most cases, but if we seek the *whole* truth about biological sex difference, 99.5% is not enough.

          “You lose nothing but what was never yours to begin with. However, you gain a better understanding of yourself, and you help increase society by resisting gender norms.”
          – Are you accusing me of jealousy? Envy? Please, I am a gender non-conformist, resisting, confronting and subverting those norms every single day.

          “I do not believe you do this intentionally. However, you aren’t listening. You’re willfully ignoring what’s happening though provable and I believe it’s because to listen would mean to doubt the framework you’ve built your identity on. And to allow that to collapse would be too emotionally catastrophic.”
          – ‘Gee, Thanks’ for the unsolicited psychologising. I haven’t been personal with you at all, but here you presume to know about my ‘identity’ or what I might find emotionally difficult. (And you’re wrong in both cases). This is neither necessary nor helpful.

          “Please explain to me why you must be called a woman and have access to female-only spaces.”
          – Completely personally, I *don’t* insist on being called man or woman. But unless we’re talking about reproductive biology, those categories deserve disruption.
          I think the answer to this question depends entirely on the context where the word “woman” is used, and what space we are talking about. I don’t think it is wise or constructive to make a blanket rule about this. Why must it be resolved in such an absolute fashion?

          “Please explain why I shouldn’t be worried given the statistics towards male violence against women.”
          – Please explain why feminists should not be concerned about *all* patriarchal violence, regardless of the sex of the victim. Or maybe the son that is taught a lesson in ‘manning up’ by being beaten by his father is of no consequence, and he probably deserves a beating because he has a penis?
          Look, those statistics are absolutely worthy of attention. They reflect terribly on humanity. I don’t doubt the statistics, which actually underrepresent the truth of systemic and widespread patriarchal violence, I merely doubt their relevance to the topic of who may call themselves “woman”, or who may be allowed to be called “she”/”her”.

          “Please explain why I shouldn’t be offended when you claim womanhood with a skirt and makeup?”
          – I’m offended by loads of things, but that offense gives me no additional rights, adds no weight to the substance of my objections. Being offended is not a license to dictate terms. It doesn’t make your position right.
          And I *don’t* think a skirt or makeup is what makes a woman. AFAICT transwomen in general don’t believe this either. So, what may offend you here appears to be a caricature. The best reason I can give for not being offended by this claim is that it’s not an accurate representation of the claims actually being made. But if you choose to be offended by this misrepresentation, I can’t and won’t stop you. That’s your own business.

          “Please explain to me why the comfort and safety of. 003% is more important than that of 53%.”
          – Because it’s not a zero-sum game.
          Can you provide *any* (non-emotive) evidence that taking account of that .003% carries any additional threat for the 53%? This is exactly like white folks in the 1960s complaining about black folks using water fountains.

          Apparently your thinking has been influenced by many ghastly fantasies about predatory crossdressers, inspired in turn by far too many lurid slasher movies. These fantasies are perpetuated and spread by TERFs and by conservative groups, which does *absolutely nothing* to make the 53% more comfortable.
          On the contrary, it breeds unwarranted distrust and anxiety, even though there’s zero evidence that these scenarios are anything but a phobia – an irrational fear. Perhaps we should also be fighting to make the stalls bigger, to make claustrophobics (of whatever sex) more comfortable.
          I appeal to your sense of reality. If you could point to even a handful of cases where transwomen have assaulted ciswomen in the ladies’ room, the argument might have some weight. But those cases do not exist, so the safety issue is irrelevant. The argument is pure pathos. If you are genuinely concerned about the comfort of the 53%, then the only rational response is not to contribute to the spread of such improbable and ugly fantasies.

          “Please explain to me why I should be happy to call my vagina a front hole, breast feeding chest feeding, and deny the pain of motherhood for your feelings.”
          – I can’t explain. They’re not my views, so I wont defend them. This reminds me of the imaginary “war on christmas” that lazy conservatives use to bash “SJWs” and those crazy liberals. The idea that these are fundamental demands of the majority of trans people is simply wrong. There may be a identity politics activists who make these demands, disproportionately signal-boosted by conservative news outlets, but they are views far from commonly held by trans people. It seems to be a strawman, mostly intended to misrepresent transpeople, their intentions and their capacity for rational debate.

          “Feminists fighting for male misogyny, i.e. Insectional or third and fourth wave, are not feminists.”
          – Oh dear. If they believe in and fight for the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, then they are feminists. Wait, didn’t you just negate the meaning of the word “feminist” in that sentence? A of type B is not A. Weren’t you telling me that such negations of meaning never happened?
          Again you misrepresent, using sectarian semantics to exclude from your favoured category those you disagree with. This time you exclude those you view as ideologically impure. Is it Judean People’s Front, or People’s Front of Judea that is most guilty of splitting?
          I disagree with social liberals on a number of issues too, but that disagreement doesn’t take them beyond the pale, does not make me unwilling to support them in struggles I find important. The arguments you have been putting forward seem almost indistinguishable from biological determinism. Since I first studied feminism at university (over 25 years ago), I’ve understood that biological determinism is an anti-feminist position. Does it not give you pause that by far the strongest, loudest and most strident voices saying that “transwomen are men” are male conservative misogynists? Have you ever considered that for all your feminist rhetoric, in practical terms, you’re fighting *their* battles against gender non-conformism!

          “it would be even more rewarding for them should radfems like me, like TERFs, all adopted the liberal party line because they’d win. Women’s liberation would be failed. I’d rather they get a kick out of watching us fight rather than become one of them. Until trans apologists stop helping them, I have no better option.”
          – You do have a better option. Stop seeing this complex issue through a dualistic lens. There is no single party line. Find the nuances.

          • Merkin says:

            1 – “Quite so, but neither does it make the terminology less of a construct, so the argument remains.”

            If the material reality is giving life to the construct of language, then those terms are the identification of that material reality. Male/Man and Female/Woman are a material reality. Any label given to them is still a material reality. They are not interchangeable in material reality, and therefore the construction of these words has to depict that. They do. You’re argument here is really that man and woman aren’t just the material reality, but they are, and while I’ve explained that already, I’ll do so again as I respond here in the hopes that you’ll be honest with yourself. Or you, like the blogger, believe that because language is constructed, then it cannot fully convey material reality.

            If you believe the former, which you’ve stated, then we can continue, though I’m unsure if there’s value to such a discussion. If you believe the latter, then we cannot because we fundamentally disagree. And you seem to indicate that here as well.

            It’s inconsistent to believe words are just constructs when the words don’t suit what you believe, and then think they represent something materially real when that suits you. The standard has to be objective. Sexuality is an objective fact. Gender is a subjective identity placed on a sex. Your subjective beliefs, while open for debate, have no place in law or objective debates. Sexuality, gender, and their impact is an objective debate because sex and gender, while separate, are not entirely independent and these are objective facts.

            I believe that science has done a superb job of appropriately defining these words to specify the material reality. It’s evident in genetics, the ability to reproduce with staggeringly precise results, medical advancements, and hundreds of years of historical evidence. You have nothing to back up your claims but your feelings.

            2 – “The word “defect” suggests a value judgement, and I don’t believe nature makes such judgements.”

            You’re not accounting for appropriate context of defect. This is referring to a biological anomally. That isn’t inherently negative, as you go on to explain here…

            “Sickle cell anemia may also be a ‘defect’, and yet those who have it are immune to malaria, which is surely an advantage in some regions. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that ‘sex-liminality’ has the potential to serve some important social function which may help the larger population.”

            The fact that it’s a defect doesn’t make it negative, as you say. I’m not judging those with defects or the defects themselves. I’m stating that male and female are the goal of healthy human development, and anything that defects is still male or female, but an anomally therein with many factors. Again, that doesn’t mean it’s negative. So why bring it up?

            By the way, nature does make value judgements. Are you familiar with Darwinian evolution?

            3 – “I provided a series of language examples in my last post, not because those examples are especially important in themselves, but because they are evidence that in common use, gendered terms frequently deviate from biology, in various ways.”

            And if you’ll read my responses, I explained how they are biologically rooted to have any significance, even if they’re misused. The very problem with gender is that self-expressions are limited to each sex. So again, you can’t fully separate gender from sex without overhauling the collective mind. Someone somewhere is still going to attribute short hair to men and high heels to women – something subjective applied to material realities. And that brings us back to the entire problem with gender: subjectivity. Subjective claims, also known as opinions, that don’t fall in line with material reality where applicable, cannot and should not be more important than the material reality. Denying provable and reproduceable facts to placate a delusion regresses science, medicine, and the advancement of the human species. Don’t believe me, look up the flat earth movement or visit any Judeo church or read a medical journal or have a trans woman go to a gynecologist.

            4 – “I don’t see strong evidence that gendered pronouns are instances of this exclusively reproductive-biological definition.”

            This is because you believe their only gendered pronouns, see people misusing the words, and you also wish to have those words misused to reference trans people for whatever subjective reason. And then you defend the misuse of words because some language has been changed to account for misuse. How can you see it as wrong when you deny the objective reality for which those words are defined? Here’s a hint: they aren’t gendered pronouns. They’re sexed. And even in those aspects of gender where it is entirely a social construct, those constructs are still tied to sex.

            5 – “No! They don’t! This is quite wrong. They reference individuals (or individual objects, or groups).
            Example: “Charlie is happy. He has a flower”. The “he” refers to “Charlie” not the word “male”.
            (Charlie, btw, is my kid’s plush bee toy. Charlie has no genitals, and looks more like a worker bee than a drone.)

            No! They do! This is quite wrong. They are used to reference individuals. They are misused to reference objects or groups.

            Charlie, as you state, has no biology. But that doesn’t stop your child from referring to Charlie as a him or he. This is because your child decided subjectively that Charlie is male. Is Charlie male? No. When you call Charlie he in the sentence, sex, not gender, is inferred incorrectly. The fact that this inferrence is incorrect or impossible doesn’t change the sexual inferrence. The picture painted here isn’t that Charlie is masculine, as gender would denote, but that Charlie is a male, which is sexed. Otherwise your child would have describe Charlie’s masculine attributes as opposed to giving him a sex, and anyone could subjectively decide whether the stuffed animal is male based on their subjective idea of gender. No matter how you choose to look at it, there is an understanding about Charlie’s maleness. It’s a lie; everyone knows it. This is not the case with trans people. You’re demanding mass collusion in a lie, validation of a lie.

            6 – “He/him and she/her are called “gendered pronouns”, not “sexed pronouns”. The clue is in the name.”

            Because you choose to believe that he/him is gendered, not sexed, does not make it so.

            he
            hē/
            pronoun
            1. 1. 
used to refer to a man, boy, or male animal previously mentioned or easily identified. “everyone liked my father—he was the perfect gentleman.”

            noun
            1. 1. 
a male; a man.”is that a he or a she?”

            The only argument you have here is the “easily identified.” By choosing to mutilate your body, you remove the easily identifiable sex characteristics. It’s confusing at the least, dishonest at the worst. The clue is in what the words actually mean, not your subjective opinion of their meanings.

            7 – “Maps of maps of territory, each one an approximation, a generalisation.”

            With modern technology, these are not approximations. They are specific, concise, and easily reproduceable.

            8 – “Gender is not sex.”

            Agreed. However, gender refers to sex attributes and oppresses sex classes. Subjective ideology, in this case I’d call it patriarchy, has spread mass delusion to the point that sex is a class, and each class is oppressed by unfair and unrealistic gender standards simply by the happenstance of which sex they happen to be. You can’t remove sex from gender. You can remove gender from sex.

            9 – “Are you familiar with the difference between connotation and denotation? Gender connotes, rather than denotes sex. It’s important.”

            Yes. I know these words. Thank you for asking. Sex is the basis for gender. Is this healthy? I would say no at this time given its current application. However, that same history clearly indicates that sex plays an important role in determining the gender norms that many years ago ensured the survival of the species, and in modern times oppresse both sex classes. You cannot fully separate the two in modern society until gender roles stop oppressing sexes. Trans people using gender stereotypes to validate sexual confusion is a huge step backwards in stopping sexed oppression. Furthermore, gender doesn’t denote sex. It connotes sex based roles and ideals as sex denotes gender, biologically and historically.

            10 – “They are dependent on many things, apart from reproductive biology.”

            History, evolution, and science disagree with you. Those are some pretty big fixed attributes to deny.

            11 – “Except that sometimes, even the territory changes. Try mapping a river delta! And no matter how you attempt to map the territory, your map will always be a construction.”

            Territories can change when you’re talking about land or rivers. This is proven by science via erosion, carbon dating, and geology. Sex cannot. Since this is the context of our debate, I assumed that this was the basis for your analogy. To take this into the realm you’re actually attempting to use it on, a fully transitioned, pre-op trans person’s map, also known as their genetic profile, will be biologically male or female, even if they’re intersex. It doesn’t change. Gender is tied to sex. Sex is independent.

            12 – “The important point is to make sure that the map takes account of all *meaningful variety* in the territory. You believe two sexes is enough variety – and in many cases it is. But I disagree that it is *always* enough.”

            So you don’t believe that there are two sexes or that two sexes are enough, just like Christians believe in a bearded sky daddy because they choose to. My “belief” on this point is based on provable, reproduceable fact. Yours is based on how you feel. Otherwise, please prove that sexual dimorphism isn’t enough for humans by naming a third human sex and explaining how it reproduces. Until you can, you have no argument.

            13 – “To generalize is to lose information – to disengage with the absolute truth.”

            Sex isn’t a generalisation. It’s a provable, reproduce fact. In truth, you’re denying absolute truth and replacing it with “your truth.” And yes, because of this, you’ve not only lost information and absolute truth, but the plot as well.

            14 – “A metaphor: You have two colours, red and blue. I suggest that there is something called crimson and something called cyan, and something called purple but you are saying “oh, they’re just variants of red and blue”. They are indeed, but any painter or designer will want to (will probably need to) draw a distinction between all of these variants, even if that distinction might not be important to you, personally.”

            *facepalm*

            Those variant colors exist in material reality. Pass a light through a prism and you can see them. The other names identify those shades and tints of the existing primary colors, and they ARE just shades and tints of those primary colors.

            There are only two human sexes that exist in material reality and to make an accurate comparison, in your analogy, would be to say that there are infinite colors that don’t rely on the primary colors, and then give them names. This is provably false. A painter can’t use the non-primary color spectrum because it doesn’t exist…

            15 – “This is incorrect. That’s how *you* choose to use that word. It’s one definition amongst many, and some of those definitions are clearly social, rather than biological.”

            The misuse of those words that you are pushing is your subjective opinion. Woman means adult human female. Female means ova producing human. These are facts. I can prove them. You can’t prove what you’re claiming and yet my interpretation is the subjective one?

            16 – “Please do not take my word for it! Just pick any decent dictionary and you will find that “woman” has multiple entries.”

            Merriam Webster, one of the oldest and most accepted and accredited dictionaries, does not deviate from this biological standard. I’m sure you’ll find that dictionary to be indecent to your feelings though. And here’s the thing: even google definitions don’t back your claim, and they’re notoriously liberal.

            17 – “The website for Oxford and Merriman-Webster have five each. Longman has eight. At least one of those defintions which refers to the social and/or the feminine.
            e.g. “my woman” (like in the Blues) invariably means a wife or girlfriend, which are social, rather than biological categories.

            All of those definitions refer to the biological standard of woman, which they label “an adult female person.” The “social” aspects of wife and girlfriend use woman IN the definition after they’ve stated that a woman is an adult female person. You clearly haven’t actually read what you’re presenting.

            18 – “Therefore “Woman only has one definition” is false. And some definitions of “woman” are social.”

            No, woman has one definition. Girlfriend and wife are social, and they both reference woman. They are not the definitions of woman…

            19 – “Not sure why you mention this, but, fwiw it is incorrect. The vast majority of English words are germanic or latinate.”

            Germanic has roots in romance, which is a Greek culture. They were adopted from Germanic runes, creating our alphabet, and Latin was added later. I brought this up because roots and cells are the foundation of most words using affixes and suffixes to alter function. For instance, the word biology is the combination of two roots that you will see over and over again in other words because their meaning is fixed: bio and ology. Bio refers to the Greek root word for life and ology to the Greek word for logia which is roughly body of knowledge. Biology is then the body of knowledge of life. This is the same for geology, geo roughly meaning earth, geography, etc. This is the same for male/man and female/woman. They are roots/root pairs and roots are fixed in language.

            20 – “That’s because it does! It’s not even uncommon. Check out Wittgenstein’s work on symbolic language and meaning, tautology and contradiction, or (lighter reading) chapter 6 of “Through the Looking Glass”. In political science, the word “liberal” means “minimum government interference”, but it has almost the opposite meaning in the USA today. It’s more than fair to say that the American idiomatic use of the word “liberal” negates its classical definition.
            Another example (gender related): Until the late 1400s the word “girl” meant “child” (of whatever sex).”

            *facepalm again*

            First, the meaning of liberal hasn’t changed.

            Second, the liberal you defined is an ideology. Followers of that ideology were called liberals to identify those followers. However, liberals refers to the person or group, not liberal, the ideology. The same goes for Christians or Muslims. Some Christians are pro gay and some Muslims aren’t militant. They may self-identify with that ideology while completely contradicting it, but that doesn’t change the meaning or negate the word. Because of the liberal split, there are phrases that further segment the followers of that ideology: classic liberals and modern liberals. Liberal is still a low government ideology, whether the followers actually hold true to that ideology or not. If there’s one thing I know for certain it’s that you can’t convince someone to stop inappropriately self-identifying, this discussion on trans ideology in point. People erroneously self-identifying should not and does not change the definition because then that definition has no meaning.

            21 – “Therefore “language doesn’t expand to the extent that it negates itself” is also false.”

            Just *facepalm*

            Biology will never mean sociology and visa versa. There are hundreds and thousands of these examples in all languages.

            22 – “You’re mixing up logical levels here.”

            This is a strong accusation coming from you.

            23 – “People have been making exactly this kind of complaint about the corruption of language for hundreds of years. And yet the threatened semantic collapse has never happened. That’s because meaning is always contextual. If a word means A in the 13th century, and the same word means B in the 16th century, there is no contradiction. The word “bitch” uttered between lovers in the bedroom does not have the same meaning as when shouted at someone in busy traffic, and yet both interpretations of the word (which also has an additional, biological meaning) remain valid. There is no contradiction.”

            Clearly, when you call someone a bitch in anger, you’re not referring to their canine genetics or female biology. You’re not doing this in the throes of passion either. However, when you’re talking about a male parakeet, you’re not going to call it a bitch. Trans people aren’t asking to be inappropriately identified as a degradation, slur, or romantic thrill. They are asking for their biological delusion to be validated en masse. If you wish to discuss context, by all means, but something tells me that the use of trans pronouns within the appropriate context will be offensive to you.

            24 – “This is FALSE. If it were true, such words would be easily identified, and always identical in all human languages in the same family (e.g. those descending from proto-indo-european).”

            This is TRUE. And word roots have been and are identified, and they’re set in stone.

            25 – “That is patently not the case, not even between the gendered terms in languages most closely related to English. The longevity of word-referent pairs depends on their socio-historical usage, including the publication of dictionaries, or ‘word corpora’. You can ask any etymologist or linguist to confirm this. The only words which may reasonably said to be ‘fixed’ to their referents are onomatapoeic ones like “splash.”

            Go ask those linguists about roots.

            26 – *All* words are liable to change meaning, even words actually set in actual stone.”

            False. Ology will never mean anything but body of knowledge. Geo, bio, graphy, etc, ect, ect…

            27 – “If it makes you feel any better, they’re *not* set in stone, so your wish may certainly come true.”

            Male and female are set in stone. They are roots and root pairs. The roots don’t change.

            28 – “(Though I suspect that your wish is not entirely sincere).”

            I do not need to you validate, believe, or accept my sincerity. I know how I feel. Either way, how I feel has nothing to do with how it actually is. Allow me to amend this statement: I wish that sex were malleable so that trans people wouldn’t suffer in their self-imposed delusions. I don’t have any stake in facts other than defending them against the legislation of mass delusion, most specifically those delusions that harm innocent people like yours does. What stake do you have in rejecting facts?

            29 – “Their *referents* may be set in stone, but the words themselves are not. Pronouns, in particular, are ‘soft-coded’, deriving almost all of their meaning from the context. Again, please don’t take my word for it, ask an etymologist or linguist.”

            I’m not engaging in this strawman any further. I’ve explained the context of using pronouns on humans and their relevance. Ask those linguists and etymologists this question: what does it mean to call a human he or she? They will tell you that it’s either biological or socially misused.

            30 – “Appropriate” is a loaded term. What makes something “appropriate” is context-specific, and very often socially determined.”

            In the context of humans, pronouns are biological, even socially. You disagree so you seek to change their relevance. I’m telling you no because biology says you’re wrong, but then there’s also the fact that the vast majority of society says you’re wrong too. The use of a word is appropriate within its definition.

            31 – “I will still insist (despite your disagreement) that sometimes, it’s entirely appropriate to use “she” to refer to something other than a female human.”

            You can insist all you like. Until you show me a human male capable of transitioning to female, I will insist you’re wrong. Notice how I’m sticking to humans as that’s the actual context of this argument.

            32 – “Only a landlubber calls a water-going vessel “it”.”

            Are trans people boats? If so, she away. Of course, you’ll have to prove their non-biological status with peer reviewed, accredited science for me to believe you. You keep talking about context and then jumping the shark.

            33 – “Given that I have already demonstated that there *are* non-biological definitions of “woman” appearing in reputable dictionaries, and in everyday language,…”

            You haven’t. You’ve given other words that reference woman and sources that define woman on biological standing. You’ve also reduced humans to boats and stuffed animals.

            34 – “…your second sentence here contradicts the first. Even if the biological definition is valid (which it is), and even if a social defintion connotes the biological, the word ‘simply’ is wrong, because there are multiple defintions, and because connotation is a complex kind of signification.”

            These multiple definitions you keep referring to aren’t multiple definitions of woman. They are others words referencing the definition of woman, and that is far from contradictory. Wife and girlfriend, mother, grandmother, etc, these words do not replace woman. They reference woman, which is clearly defined by biology in the same sources you cite.

            35 – “Not sure what you mean by ‘subscribe to’.”

            This means that to advocate or follow the social ideals imposed on the sexes, you are willfully propagating them and the oppression they represent.

            36 – “But gender roles definitely exist as social constructions, so yes, there definitely *is* a social definition of woman, which also changes historically.”

            I never said that gender roles don’t exist. A subscription to a magazine is willful. Not subscribing to a magazine doesn’t deny the magazine’s existence. Logic…

            Again, those “social” definitions aren’t drinking woman, they’re referencing woman.

            37 – “As a feminist, I am more than keen to shake up and subvert gender roles.”

            If you advocate for trans legislation, something extremely harmful to actual women, you are not a feminist. You may misuse the word feminism to include your delusion, but then you’re doing that all over the place.

            38 – “But I think it’s completely utopian to hope that they will (or expect that they can) be abolished in our lifetime (especially if men are disallowed from participating in that process).”

            I 100% agree. I sincerely doubt that I will see the stance I take on gender roles come to fruition, especially when trans legislation is a massive regression from the work feminist foremothers have laid and being pushed so hard. And also because there is evolutionary dimorphism at play.

            In truth, trans activism may be the death of actual feminism as it’s so much more wide spread than feminist misandry. And yes, men advocating for individual opportunity for their female counterparts is essential, and the same is true in reverse. It is essential for both sides to advocate for the other as both are oppressed by the same ideology. I don’t see those parts that are external to evolutionary dimorphism going away at all really.

            Regardless of the probability of outcome, I have conviction in my beliefs on gender roles and will continue to do what I can to stop the propagation of delusion. Just keeping the discussion going is a pivotal component to the cause.

            39 – “Until it happens, gender roles must be engaged with somehow, even critically.”

            If you mean by this that we must tow the gender line until it goes away, you’re again wrong. You cannot feed a fire in the hopes of extinguishing it. The solution is to understand biology and evolution, live your life outside of those roles where that desire exists, and continue to discuss their existence and harm. Trans people, modern feminists, and MGTOWs not only deny biological and evolutionary facts, they tow gender lines by swinging hard right or hard left. In truth, if trans people were simply being masculine women and effeminate men, they would be doing irrevocably wonderful feminist and MRM work. As it stands, the majority drink the kool-aid as it were.

            40 – “My own choice is to subvert them.”

            Your rhetoric would suggest otherwise.

            41 – “I can’t subvert something by pretending it doesn’t exist.”

            You can only subvert them by showing that masculinity and femininity do not always dictate sex. Trans people do just the opposite.

            42 – “I absolutely agree. And it’s not what I am calling for.”

            If you are calling for female erasure by inclusion of men, and male erasure by inclusion of women, as what you say suggests, then that is precisely what you’re calling for.

            43 – “Neither can we allow for sex to replace gender, because it would have the same result: The conflation of gender and sex.”

            Gender and sex, as I’ve said, are separate. However, gender is tied to sex creating stereotypes. Those stereotypes are based on sex and the key component of oppression for both sexes. Anything you reference for gender will tie into sex. The alternate is not true. He and she are sex. Roles are gender based assignments to sexes based on evolutionary lack of technology and accepted ideology.

            44 – “I want the distinction between the two to be much clearer than it has been throughout most of human history.”

            First, the distinctions between males and females are very clear. Men have more muscle mass; women more subcutaneous fat. Men have smaller frontal lobes making them more aggressive; women have larger frontal lobes making them more temperate. Men have penises and testes; women have vaginas, wombs, and ova. Men naturally produce more testosterone; where women produce more estrogen. The list goes on and on…

            Second, if you’re really looking for more clarification, you wouldn’t be trying to redefine what’s already there. In truth, you aren’t seeking to clarify, but to muddy the waters.

            Third, your feelings about these differences are irrelevant. So are mine.

            Forth, neither sex can adopt the other sex’s reproductive attributes, at least not functionally. Imitation doesn’t change biological makeup. This is set in stone. So are the words describing this.

            Fifth, any anomalies are still male or female.

            Sixth, I fail to understand why these differences aren’t clear enough for you.

            45 – “That requires challenging *all* forms of biological essentialism, which you seem quite circumspect about.”

            *another facepalm*

            First, biological facts aren’t “biological essentialism.” They’re facts. To challenge those facts is fine. The problem is that these facts have been challenged for hundreds of years but the results are always the same: men have organs that create sperm and women have organs that drop eggs.

            Second, you’re challenging sex with your erroneous pronoun usage, not gender, which is exactly the problem. And…

            Third, if you really want to challenge gender, be the sex you are and express the gender you choose. Trying to make your sex match your gender ideology challenges the current gender-sex match system how?

            46 – “The fact is that much of the time, perhaps even most of the time, when we divide people according to sex or gender, it is for reasons other than reproductive biology. Biological sex is irrelevant in *all* of these cases.”

            This is only half true. Division by sex is to protect the privacy, dignity, and safety of those with a differing biological experience. Division by gender is a construct that is rooted in evolutionary dimorphism, something else that’s fact and sex based. There was a time when the men had to provide and the women had to procreate to protect the survival of the species. With the advent of technology, this isn’t the case anymore. The problem is that as we evolved away from that physical need, we didn’t mentally evolve to keep up with it. We had adopted an ideology that it’s just natural, and that ideology corroded into modern day patriarchy because that’s not how it needs to be anymore.

            47 – “Never is a strong word. Social consensus definitely establishes *social* facts.”

            I literally have a red mark on my forehead from facepalming so much.

            Social consensus is subjective. Saying social facts is to say subjective facts or alternative facts. Facts are not subjective. They are objective. “Social fact” is an oxymoron. What I am saying here is that sometimes facts are socially accepted to be fact. This should be true in all cases, but there are some, like trans rhetoric for example, where facts are not accepted socially. This does not make the socially accepted rhetoric fact. The fact still remains. Socially accepted rhetoric that denies fact where applicable is delusion.

            48 – “Does “marriage” exist?”

            Marriage is a contract. When you draw up that contact, the contract then exists outside of the social and in the material. The marriage itself may or may not. You have to create a marriage contract for it to exist. And even then calling it a marriage is a matter of debate. The reason for this is because marriage is subjective. The contract of marriage is not. Sex, like a marriage contract, isn’t subjective. Again, this is crossing out of the context of this discussion.

            49 – “Evidently it does. That seems to be a fact.”

            It is a subjective fact. Lol

            50 – “It would not exist at all without social consensus, therefore the social consensus determines that fact.”

            Sorry, but no. The majority believing in something doesn’t make it fact. Facts exist outside of our subjective opinion. If what you say is true, then all Gods of all religions exist because vast majorities believe their chosen to be true.

            51 – “We might discuss whether marriage *ought* to exist, given that it has no biological ‘truth’, but institutionally, culturally and legally it is a fact.”

            Marriage contacts are a fact. People believing in marriage is a fact. This does not make marriage itself a fact.

            52 – “Even those who take an anti-marriage position must recognise this.”

            And here you are the most wrong out of anything you’ve said. I do not have to accept that marriage exists. I only have to recognize that marriage contacts exist. And no one has the right to force me to believe in something that can’t be proven, especially with legislation.

            I’m a lesbian. Do lesbians exist socially or materially? Well, when women have sex with other women to the exclusion of men, you have a material reality. Is this a preference or an innate state of being? That point is debatable. The difference is that I don’t need anyone to believe me. I don’t need to pass laws forcing them to believe. And yes, this means that the manner in which gay marriage legislation was passed was unconstitutional and wholly inappropriate. It’s not society’s job or responsibility to validate my feelings. Their only requirement as Americans is to accept that their beliefs are not mine and all humans have individual opportunity under the law regardless of belief.

            Marriage, as defined, isn’t a right; historically, it’s the bill of sale of a woman to a man by the woman’s father. Currently, it’s a contract between a man and a woman, but forced legislation has redefined it. The difference in redefinition here is that you can’t prove that marriage does or does not exist. It was never a fixed reality so the term was never a fixed reality. If you want to believe in it or take part in it, go ahead. My feelings on it don’t matter and there are no facts that negate or support its existence.

            53 – “Perhaps because that remaining 0.5% amounts to 37 million living, breathing people. I accept the figure of 99.5% as a good generalisation, which applies well in most cases, but if we seek the *whole* truth about biological sex difference, 99.5% is not enough.”

            Sigh…

            The reason that science is so effective in establishing facts is because it can introduce controlled variables to monitor, measure, record, and eventually reproduce results. The reason that science can identify sex with 99.5% accuracy is because they keep doing this to narrow in on the details. In order for them to build on what’s already known, they must first establish what’s known.

            Chromosomes, discovered by a woman and accredited to a man, were a huge breakthrough that allowed science to build on what was already known. What was already known? Men have penises and girls have vaginas. When they accepted that fact, they were able to dig into it to garner the biology that explains it.

            What I’m saying here is that you have to accept the basic facts that already exist in order to discover their nuances. And what makes them facts is that when you discover the nuances, they only further legitimize what you already knew, which is why the 99.5% is so high.

            As to the .5% remaining, they already know what these are. They’ve labeled it intersex, and can account for hundreds of different ways in which secondary sex characteristics may defect from the expected or the function of sex characteristics may be inadequate to reproduction. They then delved into those defects and discovered that what they already knew was true: intersex persons have one set of primary sex characteristics, organs, and chromosomes, regardless of the presence of secondary characteristics or viability, except for three recorded cases since the 1400s where they determined that it’s an extreme impossibility to have both primary sex characteristics. Even those three cases were male and female, not a third sex.

            If all of this data just isn’t good enough for you, then that’s on you, not society, not language, and not me.

            54 – “Are you accusing me of jealousy? Envy?”

            No. I’m explaining how what you believe is provably false. If those descrptions of your feelings on the facts are how you perceive yourself in relation to the facts, then I can’t really help you with that. Your feelings are yours alone and your responsibility to fix if you perceive them as negative.

            55 – “Please, I am a gender non-conformist, resisting, confronting and subverting those norms every single day.”

            If you are biologically male and wear heels, dresses, and makeup in order to validate your claim of being a woman, then you are a gender caricature of an oppressive system attempting to validate that oppressive system. If you are biologically male and wear heels, dresses, and makeup because that’s how you feel comfortable as a male, then you’re above assertion is correct.

            56 – “Gee, Thanks’ for the unsolicited psychologising. I haven’t been personal with you at all, but here you presume to know about my ‘identity’ or what I might find emotionally difficult. (And you’re wrong in both cases). This is neither necessary nor helpful.”

            Just my opinion. Take it or leave it. Though I’m curious why it upset you so much if it’s so dishonest.

            57 – “Completely personally, I *don’t* insist on being called man or woman. But unless we’re talking about reproductive biology, those categories deserve disruption.”

            What purpose to the collective does disrupting facts to placate delusion serve?

            58 – “I think the answer to this question depends entirely on the context where the word “woman” is used, and what space we are talking about.”

            I disagree. The word woman is defined as an adult human female and should be used in reference to adult human females.

            59 – “I don’t think it is wise or constructive to make a blanket rule about this. Why must it be resolved in such an absolute fashion?”

            First, no one’s making this a rule. It’s a fact. No one can change the facts. They can only delve into them, and again, in order to do that, they have to accept them first.

            Second, biology is necessary for life-saving medical research and the continuation of the species. You do also realize that a trans person could not seek SRS or HRT without scientific acceptance of male and female facts, right?

            60 – “Please explain why feminists should not be concerned about *all* patriarchal violence, regardless of the sex of the victim.”

            All people should care about all violence. This doesn’t mean that specific groups shouldn’t organize for a specific group’s benefit. Black people organize, and everyone rallies, but women focusing on female issues… They’re just hateful. To use your own words: the clue is in the name.

            61 – “Or maybe the son that is taught a lesson in ‘manning up’ by being beaten by his father is of no consequence, and he probably deserves a beating because he has a penis?”

            Feminists always have and always will advocate for child protection. The sex of the child is irrelevant. And to assume that I would believe that having a penis infers a desire for harm shows only that you have no argument and wish to derail the conversation by personally attacking me. It also shows that you’re delusion is so mass spread that feminists don’t even know what ideology they subscribe to anymore.

            62 – “Look, those statistics are absolutely worthy of attention. They reflect terribly on humanity. I don’t doubt the statistics actually underrepresent the truth of systemic and widespread patriarchal violence, I merely doubt their relevance to the topic of who may call themselves “woman”, or who may be allowed to be called “she”/”her”.”

            The statistics show that men perpetuate violence in vastly higher numbers, even on each other. “Allowing” men to claim womanhood undermines and trivializes that threat to both, and opens protected spaces, scholarships, sports, shelters, and skewed sociological data. You fail to see the social relevance?

            63 – “I’m offended by loads of things, but that offense gives me no additional rights, adds no weight to the substance of my objections.”

            Really? So you agree that legislation seeking to force others to collaborate in pronoun usage or face hate speech and violence charges is wrong? Because those additional rights are precisely what you’re demanding.

            64 – “Being offended is not a license to dictate terms. It doesn’t make your position right.”

            When my offense is with the violence women face at the hands of males, who are also trans women, and I’m trying to prohibit that violence, my offense is appropriately placed, carries legal weight, and yes, is right. Either way, you have no right currently it historically to legislate my opinion as wrong.

            65 – “And I *don’t* think a skirt or makeup is what makes a woman. AFAICT transwomen in general don’t believe this either. So, what may offend you here appears to be a caricature.”

            So getting breast implants, growing long hair and nails, wearing loads of makeup, genital mutilation, and synthetically altering your chemistry, the only means available to trans people to actually attempt to switch sexes, is just a caricature, even as the vast majority of trans people subscribe to these physical manifestations? Tell me, if these aren’t the only way for a man to become a “woman” how else can a man become a woman? And if they don’t believe this, why are they doing it? Why are they blogging abort fashion and makeup tips? Why do trans women who don’t follow through with any social or physical changes even need to use protected female spaces if they aren’t really identifiable as a caricature?

            66 – “The best reason I can give for not being offended by this claim is that it’s not an accurate representation of the claims actually being made. But if you choose to be offended by this misrepresentation, I can’t and won’t stop you. That’s your own business.”

            I’m more than offended by these methods and this ideology. Trans rhetoric literally erases and harms women and men. It’s not a claim. It’s the massive majority.

            67 – “Because it’s not a zero-sum game.”

            Nope, it’s not. It’s also not the female collective’s responsibility to hinder their own safety for anyone else’s. If you want or need something, get together and build what you need. Don’t seek to confiscate the safety that women have carved out for themselves, add surgical privileges to your identity, and legislate for those special privileges. We fought hard, and it wasn’t for you. It was for women. You aren’t a woman. If you want us to fight for you, then stop demanding, ask nicely, and give us a cause that’s not self-harming.

            68 – “Can you provide *any* (non-emotive) evidence that taking account of that .003% is a threat for the 53%?”

            Yes, many. Here’s just one list: youtu.be/zKYg_LlsNwg

            When you go to vet these, I’ll give you a hint: don’t use Google; use yahoo.

            69 – “This is exactly like white folks in the 1960s complaining about black folks using water fountains.”

            First, I take what I said earlier back. This is the worst thing you’ve said so far.

            Second, it’s not enough to appropriate the women’s movement but you want to go after people of color, women of color being the actual most vulnerable in our society outside of children and the infirmed?

            Third, stop trying to piggy-back a legitimate anti-oppression movement to further your insidious cause.

            Fourth, trans people are not born trans. There is no scientific data to support such a claim, and that’s despite the fact that scientists keep trying to support that claim. It has been determined that the disorder lives in the mind, just like any other mental illness, that it is a result of gender stereotypes, and this trans legislative insistence. Black people have zero choice in their race. Trans people do this to themselves. You should feel ashamed for comparing their oppression with trans issues, deeply, deeply ashamed.

            Fifth, white supremacists have an irrational and unfounded fear and hatred towards black people. I just gave you a slew of stats and trans perpetrators that prove that female fear of men is not irrational. In truth, it’s pivotal to female survival. Despite that fear, the majority still don’t hate men.

            70 – “Apparently your thinking has been influenced by many ghastly fantasies about predatory crossdressers, inspired in turn by far too many slasher movies.”

            And here you prove that you’re, at least socially, a male, because only a male could be this entitled and unaware of what real oppression, fear, and marginalization looks like. If you knew anything about what it means to be a woman in any current global society, you wouldn’t have to work so hard to dismiss stats and facts because you’d have lived them.

            71 – “These fantasies are perpetuated and spread by TERFs and by conservative groups, which does *absolutely nothing* to make the 53% more comfortable.”

            Real women, TERFs, actual feminists, conservative women and men, they’re all telling you what they need to be comfortable and you deny them that comfort because you and your piddly population are more important to you. At least conservatives recognize the threat that this legislation poses, even if it’s not entirely for the right reasons. At least they don’t seek to make things worse. You can’t even say that much.

            72 – “On the contrary, it breeds unwarranted distrust and anxiety, even though there’s zero evidence that these scenarios are anything but a phobia – an irrational fear.”

            See the stats, watch the videos, read the news, get raped and fondled and ogled for being a woman and then you can speak. You literally have zero credibility at this point, perhaps even in your humanity. Did you not just say in the above that you recognize the stats? Now you’re staying that there’s zero rationality to female fear of men?

            73 – “Perhaps we should also be fighting to make the stalls bigger, to make claustrophobics (of whatever sex) more comfortable.”

            Female fear of male sexual assault is irrational?Your socialistic liberal maleness is showing again. It’s your denial of all facts that’s irrational and misogynistic. Clearly, this mental disorder runs deeper than sexual confusion.

            73 – “I appeal to your sense of reality. If you could point to even a handful of cases where transwomen have assaulted ciswomen in the ladies’ room, the argument might have some weight. But those cases do not exist, so the safety issue is irrelevant.”

            I can literally point to hundreds, and I’ve pointed to many. Do some research instead of regurgitating your dogma.

            74 – “The argument is pure pathos.”

            Okay, let me get this right: gender isn’t tied to sex. Trans people can change sex because sex isn’t a material reality. Women have nothing to fear from men in skirts or otherwise, and we’re the pathological ones? Right… My IQ drops every time you type. Forgive me, I might have an episode of female hysteria.

            75 – “If you are genuinely concerned about the comfort of the 53%, then the only rational response is not to contribute to the spread of such improbable and ugly fantasies.”

            They aren’t fantasies. They aren’t improbable, but factually proven. And yes, they’re ugly.

            76 – “I can’t explain. They’re not my views, so I wont defend them.”

            That’s a relief. I don’t know how much more of your insanity I can stomach. It’s vomit inducing.

            77 – “This reminds me of the imaginary “war on christmas” that lazy conservatives use to bash “SJWs” and those crazy liberals. The idea that these are fundamental demands of the majority of trans people is simply wrong.”

            Right.

            https://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/sunday/what-makes-a-woman.html

            When liberals rant about other liberals touting these new terms trans people are so keen on, you know you have a problem.

            78 – “There may be a identity politics activists who make these demands, disproportionately signal-boosted by conservative news outlets, but they are views far from commonly held by trans people.”

            Yes, the New York Times is a conservative publication. Oh, and Everyday Feminism and a dozen other popular trans and LGBT publications…

            79 – “It seems to be a strawman, mostly intended to misrepresent transpeople, their intentions and their capacity for rational debate.”

            The only strawman here is your blatant disregard of facts and insistance that mass delusion reign in their place.

            80 – “Oh dear. If they believe in and fight for the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, then they are feminists. Wait, didn’t you just negate the meaning of the word “feminist” in that sentence? A of type B is not A. Weren’t you telling me that such negations of meaning never happened?”

            Trans women aren’t women. Supporting trans legislation hurts women. Therefore, they aren’t feminists and the word was used appropriately and not negated. There you go letting your delusions redefine words to the point that they negate themselves, as you point out. This would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.

            81 – “Again you misrepresent, using sectarian semantics to exclude from your favoured category those you disagree with.”

            Nope, just plain old biology, reading comprehension, study, and life experience.

            82 – “This time you exclude those you view as ideologically impure. Is it Judean People’s Front, or People’s Front of Judea that is most guilty of splitting?”

            Any ideology that defies fact for blind faith, like trans ideology, isn’t impure, it’s wrong. Any follower of an ideology that doesn’t actually follow that ideology doesn’t change the definition of that ideology. Either way, believe what you want, just don’t expect me to believe it. The splits occur in the ideology because of self-identity. It’s just more proof that subjective identities are unreliable as a standard.

            83 – “I disagree with social liberals on a number of issues too, but that disagreement doesn’t take them beyond the pale, does not make me unwilling to support them in struggles I find important.”

            I follow facts. Any party upholding those facts in a specific issue, is one I can get behind. I just have yet to see libfems support worthy ideologies.

            84 – “The arguments you have been putting forward seem almost indistinguishable from biological determinism.”

            Biology has been determined and proven. If you want to call that biological determinism, by all means. Believing in facts isn’t something to be ashamed of, but go ahead and tell me how facts are shameful and transphobic.

            85 – “Since I first studied feminism at university (over 25 years ago)…”

            Ah, your education was liberal indoctrination, the equivalent of social religious seminary. This explains why you’re so confused.

            86 – “I’ve understood that biological determinism is an anti-feminist position.”

            No. Biology isn’t anti-feminist. Gender ideology is. For someone so keen on the distinction between the two, you seem to conflate them a lot.

            87 – “Does it not give you pause that by far the strongest, loudest and most strident voices saying that “transwomen are men” are male conservative misogynists?”

            No. Conservative men can know and believe in facts, just like liberals. Party affiliation doesn’t determine right and wrong, especially as neither party is entirely right or wrong on every issue. Does it not give you pause that you dismiss an entire group without considering their stance on an issue? Bigoted profiling much?

            88 – “Have you ever considered that for all your feminist rhetoric, in practical terms, you’re fighting *their* battles against gender non-conformism!”

            Believing in science isn’t gender conforming. Subscribing to unrealistic and harmful gender roles is. Again, you’re confusing the two. Have you ever considered that your desire to dress a certain way being confused with your sex actually does what you’re claiming of my disagreement?

            89 – “You do have a better option. Stop seeing this complex issue through a dualistic lens. There is no single party line. Find the nuances.”

            Christ, you’re a mess. Sex is dualistic for humans. The only nuances are in intersex, and even then those conditions are dualistic. Stop projecting your delusion onto facts. Stop considering gender norms as sex. Stop misusing words. Find the truth and stop touting alternative facts.

  55. Merkin says:

    Theresa,

    Thank you for sharing that small part of your personal life. I am sorry to hear that you struggled so much with how you felt. I know that struggle, as I’m 34 and I knew that I liked girls when I was 12, though I didn’t have an actual name for it and didn’t actually shake off that shame until just a couple of years ago. I too was very naive and kept myself hidden once I learned that being a lesbian was detestable to my own family. So in these ways I can sympathize. I’d also like to thank you for your service to our country, and say I’m sorry that your country hasn’t served you as fully.

    I whole-heartedly agree with you on science: it is a wonderful thing. And that quote from Albert Einstein is succinct in my opinion. Though, I am, in truth, more of a Tesla fan. 🙂 The key to this quote, or at least what stands out for me, is the “accorded to the individual.” To me, what he is saying is that you can seize any opportunity should you be aware enough and determined enough to seize it. I don’t see this as a person being boxed in by their environment, so much as their own inability to cope with their environment. Does that differ for you?

    I do not believe that one person should be able to hinder another’s growth, should that growth not infringe on the rights of others. I do not believe that being trans infringes on any other person’s rights anymore more than being gay or lesbian. I do not believe that you should be treated any differently than any other human on earth who respects others. The opportunity should be equal. The treatment should be equal. The pay should be equal. As to how this relates with the bathroom legislation, I would say that the rules should be equal as well.

    Bathrooms are divided by male and female. And these terms are again defined by biology. This makes sense to me as using the facilities is a biological imperative. It doesn’t have anything to do with identity. If it did, there would be many biological women that I wouldn’t want to share a bathroom with. Trans people are asking for an exception to the standard that everyone else follows. This does not sound equal to me. However, to be perfectly honest, I would not mind a trans woman in the bathroom because trans women are generally not interested in hurting anyone. However, because trans women are biologically male, this opens doors for cis men who seek new ways to prey upon women, and the numbers in which women are sexually assaulted are staggering.

    I understand that trans women face this reality as well. However, is it fair to ask women to pay that price when they are already paying so much just for existing? In fact, the trans community hasn’t actually asked, it’s been forced. This is evident by the myriad depictions of any woman who voices her concerns on this subject without outright agreement being labeled hateful with a million terms used to describe that hate. Is that really fair? To me, and again, this is my opinion, this shows that the patriarchy is alive and well, even amongst those who wish to be accepted as women. Until a reasonable solution for both sides can be achieved, or the number of trans women assaulted comes even close to the number of cis women, the trade isn’t a fair one for biological women, and biological women matter too, don’t they? I am very much open to compromise so long as it protects everyone. This does not protect everyone. If you want to go over the statistics on sexual assault in the trans and female communities, I’m happy to discuss it with you.

    My view on religion is that it should be abolished. The Pope is the figurehead of all that is wrong in this world, in my opinion. I would tell you that you should not seek alliances of any religious kind. I don’t. And the honest truth is because we will not find them. I choose instead to seek alliances with people of a like heart, hopefully someone like you, who will be receptive.

    I completely understand your frustration with movies and television and how they depict and view both homosexuals and trans persons. It’s a sad fact of life, but as I said in my original post, those misconceptions will continue to change as long as we keep patiently, and purposefully educating people in accepting variety. It is most disrespectful, but I would challenge you not to care what others think of who you are or seek validation of your feelings without. This is the only way that I know to cope with it until it changes, which may not even happen in my lifetime.

    I agree that imagination, openness, and acceptance are pivotal to a thriving community. However, there are boundaries to what can be accepted, and it’s not due to a lack imagination. There is no limit to the imagination, but there are limits to the physical world. I must accept these, If you tell me that gravity isn’t real, I cannot accept that because it is a provable fact. If you tell me that you feel like a woman inside, I can accept that. It’s not my place to tell you how you feel, even if I can’t understand it. But to say that you are a woman defies scientific law. Sure, you can make an airplane to defy gravity, but that doesn’t mean that you are flying. This would be an instance where, like with non-biological children for gays, you find a way to work with the reality of the situation to let loose the imagination, and wind up with something brilliant like an airplane.

    Please understand that I’m not telling you this to hurt you or defy how you feel. Again, I accept that you do not feel like a male inside. But I cannot accept that you are a female because that’s not possible. It’s no more possible than me producing a child with my girlfriend. So we adapt; we adopt. I feel like you are asking me to disavow reality and science because that’s the only way you can cope with how you feel. And while I understand that request, is it a fair one? If I would not accept that I’m straight to spare the feelings of my own family, how can I do that for anyone else? To me, it’s my family who should open their eyes to the reality of the world, and of me.

    Respectfully,

    TERF

    • Theresa Nicole says:

      TERF:
      Thank you for being civil, the one thing I ask is if I am out about and presenting as female I do not expect to be called on it or made fun because of it. You talk about science and how you and your wife cannot have children well due to scientific progress it may be a reality soon for you and your wife to have a child.
      Now lets use the bathroom topic, since your uncomfortable with a trans woman using the bathroom with you and you think but are not sure that one just walked in with you what are you going to do? There are some very masculine looking women and the same with men. So are you up to make a scene or just go about your business. If you don’t want to use the bathroom without making a scene then walk away till the person you suspect is trans leaves. before this became a national issue the bathroom question was always a big part of dealing with coming out trans and the advice was always the same get in do your business and leave.
      Sadly the human body never adapted the ability to physical change gender as some fish and frogs can, but you know the human body does produce the same hormones and to me it is some where when just as the child is developing in the womb that something happens maybe just a tad to much testosterone or estrogen or one of any different chemical baths that had to the child during that time.
      As for your question about male and female brain again science has shown that men and women have different though patterns and reactions to certain events, You know women react emotionally while a man man react aggressively to the same event.
      I cannot say why I feel this way any more than you can and all I know is that it is something that won’t go away any more than your feelings. So I ask when I go out presenting as female if your cannot accept it then walk away and let me be, just know how much energy it took to get dressed and go out feeling like I should. I would rather have you come up and give me a hug and say I understand how hard it is to do be yourself. Just know if the person you think is trans and you go up and say something and they are not well who knows.
      Thanks for the civil discussion.

  56. Merkin says:

    Theresa,

    Thank you in kind. I feel like we have a lot we can learn from each other and this is one of the few conversations I’ve had that has remained that way. I can guarantee you, at least where I’m concerned, that I wouldn’t point out or dehumanize you if I saw you somewhere.

    A small clarification: I am not married and my girlfriend and I decided to part ways a couple of weeks ago. It’s a difficult time.

    As to the topic of not being able to have biological children, yes, I am aware of a study being performed in which stem cells can be used from two women to create a child. Aside from the moral issues that will vary individually, that doesn’t change the current fact that it’s still not possible. It’s likely that the study won’t produce any viable results for many, many years, if at all, far beyond child rearing for my age bracket. It also has it’s flaws, meaning that it can only produce female children, it won’t work for male same-sex couples, and who knows the far reaching effects that genetic engineering can have on the quality of life for that child.

    To your point though, if science found a way to make it happen, then the fact remains that same-sex couples cannot conceive a biological child, but genetically engineer one. Again, it’s a work around for the biological facts that are still in place. Now, as to trans persons, if science can find a way to actually cause a person to swap sexes, I would concede in the same way. I truly hope that this is a reality at some point in the evolution of our species to help individuals like yourself.

    As you put it so well, “Now lets use the bathroom topic.” I have another clarification here: I said that I would not be opposed to a trans woman in the bathroom. That is not my issue, as trans women are not statistically inclined to commit violence towards women. And, to answer your question, if a trans woman were to come into the bathroom, as I’ve encountered many times before, I would not, and do not say a word, except maybe, “Hi.”

    As to masculine women, even those with beards, which again I’ve encountered, that is not an issue for me either. However, the legislation that allows men access to female only spaces is harmful for women. That is my issue.

    I have heard of the theory that there is a trans gene, or that it may have been caused by a mismatch of hormones during development. I have a higher level of testosterone in my system, so I know that this is a fact, though not conclusively proven to cause GIC. It has made menstruation hell on earth for me. This doesn’t change the fact that I produce ova which are viable to procreate, putting me squarely under the female sub-class.

    I want to encourage you not to wish that being trans could or would go away. I don’t want that for you. The reason that I posted here was to ask you to consider the reality of what you are, recognize that it’s at odds with who you are, and accept both as valid states of being. If I asked you if you are a male, would you be able to say yes?

    As to your last request, I acknowledge how tiring it is to fight social stigma. I acknowledge your right to be, and be happy. I wouldn’t just hug you, I’d buy you a drink and do some karaoke. Can you do me the favor of considering, just considering, my request about accepting that you are a male, that there’s nothing wrong with being male, that you express female, and there’s nothing wrong with that either?
    Thanks for the civil discussion.

    • Theresa Nicole says:

      I am sorry to hear you broke up a few weeks ago, I was just going on what you had posted I did not mean to cause pain in that way I to have lost a dear friend who loved and supported me but things have happened that caused us to go our own ways for now.
      I will admit this physical shell given to me ( one that I have not chosen) is that of a male and I have fallen in with the society standards of what that is supposed to mean. I was a skinny kid in fact the day I left for basic training I was only 119 pounds, I was picked not only for that but for being a virgin (the big kicker for my DIs was that I was from Las Vegas NV) what I thought was hazing and such through my time in the army could be straight up bullying because I did not fit in. Still I tried to act the roll that was expected of me and every step of they and over the last few days I have felt like a failed man because I could not fit into what is expected of men.
      Just know that when I am out and presenting as female I am expressing my true inner self it does not change the physical fact of my body, but no matter how I am dressed and presenting I am me no matter what part you see I am who I am and if I decide to change some physical appearance to make me feel better then I will.
      I know I cannot be what you are and you can never be what I am but if you had a device that would let me step into your body and take your place knowing everything women go through I would gladly take that step.
      And I would love to have a drink.

  57. Merkin says:

    Cristan, I was unable to reply on the actual thread, so I hope you see this. I get what you’re saying, and yes, “A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” But the meanings of words are not conceptualized in the respect that they describe the world around us. Some describe a conception, like gender, beautiful, or friend. And others describe the physical like body, sex, or gravity. To say that gravity doesn’t exist because the word used to label gravity isn’t a physical thing, doesn’t stop us from being pulled towards the poles. You can have another word that means female, but female still exists, no matter what you call it, and the label female is important to many things that are absolutely necessary, like getting appropriately treated at a hospital. If trans persons wish to have a term or pronoun that describes being trans that’s more palatable than trans, then by all means, give me that word and I will happily use it. Either way, a male is not a female, whether those words themselves are physical or not.

    • Cristan says:

      But the meanings of words are not conceptualized in the respect that they describe the world around us. Some describe a conception, like gender, beautiful, or friend. And others describe the physical like body, sex, or gravity.

      I suppose this is where we part ontologically. You assert that some mental formations are somehow more real than other mental formations. All mental formations concerning the material world are mental categorical representations of the physical world and are not the physical world itself. The thoughts and feelings you have about the mental category “sex” are not the physical body; they are merely thoughts: the domain of gender.

      The other place where we part ontologically is that you seem to engage essence-based reductionism as tautology:

      • Logic Step 1: Female Essence A (eg: a womb) is asserted to be present within a body; therefore,
      • Logic Step 2: The body itself is indistinguishable from Female Essence A; therefore,
      • Logic Step 3: This body is the category female because [go back to logic step 1].
      • Merkin says:

        Cristan,

        The problem is that the physical exists even if words are conceptualized. The particular words, male and female, conceptualize physical fact. That conception is based on that fact, which exists outside of conception. Therefore, if that fact is not changed, which it cannot be, how else can you conceptualize it? If female can mean male and vis versa, then both conceptualized words are no longer conceptualizing fact. Therefore, a new word to conceptualize that fact will either appear, or both words are rendered meaningless to both trans and cis genders alike. After all, aren’t trans persons seeking sexual validation through these words? If that’s not what trans persons are seeking, then why is it so offensive to use the factual words? If words are just concepts with no meaning in physical reality, then why do they even care?

        In the same way you point out that fact is circular, which it is – that’s why it’s a fact: it doesn’t deviate regardless of variables – you have also put yourself in a circular pattern of thinking:

        Step 1: Words are conceptual.
        Step 2: Concepts cannot be fact because concepts aren’t physical.
        Step 3: The physical doesn’t exist because (return to step one).

        The difference between the circular pattern in both concepts is that one defines the physical and the other denies its existence. Your circle would suggest that you deny the existence of the physical. If you do not, then you have to accept that words, while conceptualized, can be grounded in fact. But to do that, you have to accept that trans women are not women, but men with the condition of being trans, a concept outside of the physical.

        • Cristan says:

          conceptualize physical fact

          You’ve just asserted that there’s no functional difference between the physical world and the thought world. Your concept of “male” and “female” exist nowhere except in your head. There exists in the material reality bodies and reproduction; your thoughts about those realities are not the same thing as those realities.

          Step 3: The physical doesn’t exist because (return to step one).

          Nope. Please reread the sentence I wrote just prior to quoting your strawman. I’m clearly stating that bodies and reproduction are material realities and that the thoughts about have about that material realities don’t exist outside of your head. I’m always surprised at the away TERF apologists balk at the logic of the preceding sentence.

          • Merkin says:

            No, I don’t have thoughts on reality. Well, I do, but I’m not referencing them in this conversation because this isn’t about philosophy. Reality exists independent of thought. That’s what I’m trying to get across. Just because the word used to reference that reality isn’t physical, doesn’t mean that the physical exists to be. Let’s make this simpler:

            I am an aware being. I notice that if I jump into the air that I will come back down. I have no language, no way of communicating what will happen if I jump. I have jumped many times and the result is always the same. This is because of gravity, though that word doesn’t exist to me. I fall when I jump because regardless of my thoughts, that’s a physical reality. Giving that reality a word to communicate it doesn’t alter it eliminate the reality. It just now has a name. It could be any name, but once named and accepted as part of that language, that is how it is referred to.

            Furthermore, if I go back in time to early humanity and give it a name of my own choosing, trans people in this era will still try to assume that name, regardless of the composition of the language itself.

            Do you believe in physical reality outside of thought? If not, you won’t accept what I’m saying. If so, you cannot continue to believe as you do.

          • Cristan says:

            If your argument was truly, “[r]eality exists independent of thought” then we’d not be in disagreement; however, your argument is closer to “reality is the categorical ontology I assert.”

            Material bodies and reproduction exists regardless of the categorical ontology you assert; which is to say, regardless of the gender you assert. Bodies and reproduction are material realities, your thoughts about them are not.

            Do you believe in physical reality outside of thought?

            I think I’ve been quote clear in my materialist analysis: material reality exists regardless of what you, I, or anyone thinks about material reality.

          • Merkin says:

            Cristan,

            I’m not sure how else to explain this to you. I may not be explaining it well enough, but what you’re telling me is that reality and thoughts are completely separate, so that must mean that reality doesn’t exist outside of thought. The first half is true, but the second half Isn’t. Whether you perceive reality or not, it exists. I can prove that males make sperm and females ova. Regardless of what words describe either condition, both conditions still exist. And if they didn’t exist, no humans would. Those two sexes are biologically imperative to our species’ survival and the very reason we’re here. It’s not just a perceived notion like beauty. It is fact. And this brings me to my biggest issue with the trans movement: they will do and say anything to hold onto their fantasies. I can prove, have proven, that physical fact trumps feelings in reality. I feel like you’ve tried to dance those facts into a corner with philosophical theory. Philosophical theory doesn’t change the way physics and biology function. Only evolution can do that. And even then, evolution doesn’t occur because someone philosophied. It occurs whe inhabitants learn to use the reality around them to increase their comfort.

            But I don’t think we can agree on this. I can’t deny the facts and you aren’t accepting them. Tell me this though, if words and definitions are just perception, if male can mean female and the reverse, why do trans people care which category they’re in? Hell, if biology is just a concept, what makes you think you’re anything? You may not even be human. You may not even be…

          • Cristan says:

            I’m perplexed at your insistence that I’m claiming that “reality doesn’t exist outside of thought.” It’s almost as if you want me to be making a solipsistic argument so that it could be easily (and rightly!) dismissed. However, your insistence that your thoughts are somehow inherently tied to material reality is an argument that’s very close to a solipsistic position.

            I’ve stated over and over again that regardless of what you, I, or anyone else thinks, the material reality of bodies and reproduction exist. The things you think about that material reality are merely thoughts; they are not the material reality. This is a materialist analysis and is about as far from a solipsistic position as one can take.

            I can prove that males make sperm and females ova

            No, you can’t. What you can show is that at any given moment, a widely variant group of bodies will make sperm and ova; that some of the bodies that look like they should produce ova do and do not, while some bodies that look like they shouldn’t, do and do not. Moreover, you can show that there are also bodies that make both. You’ve created a reductionist and essentialist mental category wherein “female” = producer of ova.

            Reductionism is a conceptual category and I’m telling you that your mental category does not reflect the material reality I’ve noted in the above paragraph. I’m telling you that regardless of how much you want or need your mental constructions to be “true”, they’re merely thought constructions. Moreover, I’m telling you that your thoughts about “sex” are an aspect of gender itself; these thoughts exist nowhere else except inside your own head. You asserting otherwise is a solipsistic argument.

            Bodies and reproduction exist in the material reality regardless of the various essence-based categories you construct to help you think about the qualities of humanity in shorthand. Again: your shorthand thoughts and material reality are not the same thing; material reality exists regardless of whether you or I (or anyone else) are around to reflect upon it.

            I can’t deny the facts and you aren’t accepting them.

            If you believe that your reductionist thoughts about material reality are material reality, you’re a solipsist.

            Tell me this though, if words and definitions are just perception, if male can mean female and the reverse, why do trans people care which category they’re in? Hell, if biology is just a concept, what makes you think you’re anything? You may not even be human. You may not even be…

            This is a fine example of the slippery slope fallacy. You’re basically asserting that either your solipsism is material reality or else how do we know material reality exists? In fact, I “may not even be…”! That you apparently root your ontology in some form of solipsism and then claim that I’m using “philosophy” to not honestly engage this topic is kind of ironic.

            Tell me, have you ever read The Straight Mind by the pioneering radical feminist Monique Wittig?

          • Merkin says:

            Okay, let’s take this point by point:

            1 – I’m not insisting anything about your argument, nor am I trying to impose my ideals about your argument onto you. I’m pointing out the contradiction in your argument, but I’ll address that as we move on to the other points.

            2 – “I’ve stated over and over again that regardless of what you, I, or anyone else thinks, the material reality of bodies and reproduction exist.”

            This is true. You do keep repeating this.

            3 – “The things you think about that material reality are merely thoughts; they are not the material reality. This is a materialist analysis and is about as far from a solipsistic position as one can take.”

            This is not true. I am not giving you my thoughts on reality. I am giving you the facts on reality that are determined by science, specifically the science of the human body. The reason they are facts is because no matter how you look at them, perceive them, or theorize on them, these things hold absolutely true. You are correct that this is not solipsistic.

            4 – “No, you can’t [prove that men make sperm and women make ova]. What you can show is that at any given moment, a widely variant group of bodies will make sperm and ova, that some of the bodies that look like they should produce ova do and do not, while some bodies that look like they shouldn’t, do and do not.”

            Wrong. Let’s start with the words male and female.

            male
            māl/
            adjective
            1.
            of or denoting the sex that produces small, typically motile gametes, especially spermatozoa, with which a female may be fertilized or inseminated to produce offspring.

            fe·male
            ˈfēˌmāl/
            adjective
            1.
            of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) that can be fertilized by male gametes.

            Now let’s explore reality.

            re·al·i·ty
            rēˈalədē/
            noun
            1.
            the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.
            2.
            the state or quality of having existence or substance.

            Now let’s look at language and definitions.

            lan·guage
            ˈlaNGɡwij/
            noun
            1.
            the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.
            2.
            the system of communication used by a particular community or country.

            def·i·ni·tion
            ˌdefəˈniSH(ə)n/
            noun
            1.
            a statement of the exact meaning of a word, especially in a dictionary.
            2.
            the degree of distinctness in outline of an object, image, or sound, especially of an image in a photograph or on a screen.

            Lastly, let’s look at fact.

            fact
            fakt/
            noun
            a thing that is indisputably the case.

            Do you see the inconsistencies in your argument yet? You say that reality is separate from conception or perception. On this we agree because it’s a fact, again something indisputable. But then you turn around and say that reality is based on ideology and/or perception, which means that reality can’t be reality. To be honest, I’m perplexed by this stance as well. It negates itself into absolute nothingness. Reality cannot and does not account for feelings or thoughts. Then you say that I’m asserting that male and female are based on what it perceived, that what someone looks like determines how they’re body works, which is just not the case. A trans man on testosterone still produces viable ova and can become pregnant without surgery that does not change their sex, but removes only it’s function.

            5 – “Moreover, you can show that there are also bodies that make both. You’ve created a reductionist and essentialist mental category wherein “female” = producer of ova.”

            Again, wrong. A single human, not even intersex, can produce viable ova and sperm. It is biologically impossible for a single person to both father and mother the same child. This is not reductionist. It is reality. And yes, female, literally, means “ova producer,” which while crude is accurate.

            6 – “Reductionism is a conceptual category and I’m telling you that your mental category does not reflect the material reality I’ve noted in the above paragraph. I’m telling you that regardless of how much you want or need your mental constructions to be “true”, they’re merely thought constructions. Moreover, I’m telling you that your thoughts about “sex” are an aspect of gender itself; these thoughts exist nowhere else except inside your own head. You asserting otherwise is a solipsistic argument.”

            Again, so, so wrong. I neither defined the words nor shaped the biology of humans. This isn’t my thoughts or wants or desires. This is reality, science, biology. This is fact.

            sol·ip·sism
            ˈsälipˌsizəm/
            noun
            the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.

            My thoughts aren’t at play here. Yours are. You want to be a female. You are not. This is the reality for you as a male. Ironically, you are presenting a solipsistic argument to attempt to deny fact for the sake of those self evaluations, all the while accusing me of such.

            7 – “Bodies and reproduction exist in the material reality regardless of the various essence-based categories you construct to help you think about the qualities of humanity in shorthand. Again: your shorthand thoughts and material reality are not the same thing; material reality exists regardless of whether you or I (or anyone else) are around to reflect upon it.”

            We agree that they are separate, but my “thoughts” on fact aren’t mine. They are fact, probable, unavoidable, and indisputable. You’re need to reflect your reality into existence is exactly the problem.

            8 – “If you believe that your reductionist thoughts about material reality are material reality, you’re a solipsist.”

            You just accurately defined yourself.

            9 – “This is a fine example of the slippery slope fallacy. You’re basically asserting that either your solipsism is material reality or else how do we know material reality exists? In fact, I “may not even be…”! That you apparently root your ontology in some form of solipsism and then claim that I’m using “philosophy” to not honestly engage this topic is kind of ironic.”

            Yes, the irony astounds… Your entire argument is based on the thoughts you have about your sex. Mine is based entirely on the reality of your sex, not my thoughts.

            10 – “Tell me, have you ever read The Straight Mind by the pioneering radical feminist Monique Wittig?”

            When I read fiction, I tend to read something engaging and fun. This would not qualify. Mostly though, I tend to read non-fiction. I’m real like that.

          • Cristan says:

            Okay, yikes on your intersex education. You obviously didn’t even open the link in my original reply. Also, your obtuse dismissal of Wittig’s radical feminist analysis helps me to understand how you might simultaneously believe that “thoughts” aren’t material but fact assertions exist within the physical world.

            Tell me, when you claim to encounter a physical fact in the material world, do you pick it up and carry it around with you or do you use language and/or writing to carry the fact around?

  58. Merkin says:

    Cristan,

    I did not see a link in your thread. I originally determined that it might be because I was reading and replying from my phone. But I’m on my computer now, and there is no link in your reply, not that I can see. If you link it to me, I will look at it.

    I will concede to something though: upon reading my reply, I believe you are right that I chose my word incorrectly on intersex. It should not have said physically impossible to both father and mother a child. It should have said that it is physically improbable in the extreme. The odds of such a genetic anomaly occurring are 1 in 6 million. Also, there are only three recorded cases of such an anomaly since the early 1400s. So I will concede to this one point. However, the fact remains that for those that are in this anomalous group, their sex would not be male or female, but intersex. Personally, I don’t believe that this is a good enough term as it’s too broad and includes many other conditions like hermaphroditism. But my feelings don’t matter. That would be their categorized sex as currently defined. Now should language give them a unique identifier like it has with hermaphroditism, I would accept that word as well.

    I find it odd that with all of the evidence I provided that the reality of intersex was the only real argument you could come up with. In the true essence of the word trans people love to throw around, this would be an actual strawman.

    In regards to the book, I’ll admit that I was a bit flippant in my reply because the question was so absurd. While Wittig is praised in many trans inclusive feminist circles for her forward thinking, its not applicable to a conversation about facts. Furthermore, she has openly stated that she doesn’t believe that men and women are separate. While it can be fun to listen to someone’s musings, I’ll not entertain an opinion piece for the purposes of this discussion. You bringing it up is no less absurd than me directing you towards TERF literature that’s just as forward thinking. In fact, you would most likely find that insulting.

    Now to your question: are you serious here? Do I really need to explain how a fact like gravity can’t be carried around because instead of being tangible, it has force on the tangible? Bleeding is a fact. Many living things bleed. I can’t carry bleeding around in a backpack, but that doesn’t deny its existence. You’re going right back to your original argument, and it does you no good because that argument has been shattered over and over and over again. The words used to describe a fact, while meaningless outside of understanding them, do not alter the reality of that fact. They merely act as a lubricant in communicating the existence of that fact. The translation of the words that are the real argument here, male and female, has been very clearly and rigidly described by language. Scroll up. I didn’t make those definitions and I didn’t alter them. That’s what they are. That’s the reality. But if you really want to go there again, it will just bring me back to the original rebuttal of: if language can’t relate the facts, then why do you care if I call you a male? Male isn’t a reality because the it’s just a word and words aren’t physically real, right?

    • Cristan says:

      It should not have said physically impossible to both father and mother a child

      Then you are making a strawman argument. I said that some intersex people can produce both ovum and sperm, not that they can impregnate themselves and bear a child. The leader of my local intersex group has chimerism and had (until a recent operation) one functioning ovary and one function testie.

      If you link it to me, I will look at it.

      It’s in my 3-step logic loop that I described. I wrote, “Logic Step 3: This body is the category female because [go back to logic step 1].”

      While it can be fun to listen to someone’s musings, I’ll not entertain an opinion piece for the purposes of this discussion. You bringing it up is no less absurd than me directing you towards TERF literature that’s just as forward thinking. In fact, you would most likely find that insulting.

      The radical feminists Wittig, Dworkin, MacKinnon, Millett, and numerous others share the analysis you seem to be completely missing: Your description/conception/understanding/awareness/contextualization of material reality is not the same thing as material reality. Your characterization of Wittig’s sex analysis is as misconstrued as your apparent misunderstanding of my argument.

      Now to your question: are you serious here? Do I really need to explain how a fact like gravity can’t be carried around because instead of being tangible, it has force on the tangible? Bleeding is a fact. Many living things bleed.

      Gravity exists. Your understanding of gravity only exists in your head. The words you use to describe gravity are themselves culturally constructed symbols and your ability to accurately describe gravity depends upon your expertise, your language skills, your math skills, etc. All of these variables and aspects of culture are not the same thing as the material reality of gravity itself. Quoting the dictionary definition of gravity is about as divorced from the actual material existence of gravity as a painting of the moon is from the actual moon.

      if language can’t relate the facts, then why do you care if I call you a male? Male isn’t a reality because the it’s just a word and words aren’t physically real, right?

      This is a strawman. I’ve not claimed that language can’t be descriptive of material reality. I’ve claimed that language is a cultural construct that functionally constrains the understanding and the description of material reality; that your thoughts about material reality and material reality are two diffrent things. You seem to believe that the English word “sex” is such a perfect representation of the actual material reality of bodies and reproduction, the English cultural construct “sex” and material reality are basically the same thing; a distinction without difference. You seem to hold that reductionism and essentialism is the perfect metric for understanding and describing the material reality of bodies and reproduction, so much so that it functions as a tautology that would have one hold the man in the link is female because ovum = female.

  59. Merkin says:

    Cristan,

    We’re going in circles here. I’m tired of repeating myself. Aren’t you? I don’t misunderstand anything you’ve said and my feelings on the matter have nothing to do with believing in scientific fact. The irony of telling me that I’m denying fact that is proven and such a huge part of how we’re even here to have this discussion, while claiming to be something that you’re not, is no longer just what I wrongfully perceived as ignorance; It’s fucking tragic.

    I can only conclude that you’ve indoctrinated yourself so fully, so desperately, that you just can’t break yourself free from it. What makes this tragic to me is that I believe you’re doing it because to accept reality would just be too emotionally harmful to withstand. This may not be the reality of your situation so I won’t consider it fact. In this case, as you presume for all cases, I am only going off of how I’ve interpreted what you’ve said. And I fully, truly understand what you’re saying. But again, you’re trying to justify what you want by forcing it to be real. You can’t, at least not with me, and most definitely not with the natural law of the universe. You can lie to yourself. You can lie to others just as desperate to collude, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a lie.

    What I just don’t understand is why you can’t face the biological reality of what you are and how that functions in sex and reproduction. I don’t understand what is so harmful to you about being appropriately classified as male as based on those functions.

    So here, let’s put an end to this.

    Give me a reputable biological publication that explains, in depth, the ability to convert the reproductive function of the human male into that of a female, or vis versa. And no, I don’t mean the surgeries associated with making a body look socially passable. Show me the facts on how you are a woman without discussing your thoughts and feelings, basing it on how you look, basing it on how you perceive what I’m saying, or basing it in how language is just a concept even for factual realities. Base it all on the biological reality associated with the reproductive processes of your body. Show me that you can carry a child in the womb you don’t have and science cannot give you. Prove it. Give me REAL evidence outside of your desires and I promise you that I will accept fact as fact.

    But if you can’t, please consider accepting that you are a male who believes himself to be a female, and not only come to terms with that, but see that there’s nothing empirically or morally reprehensible with that particular state of being. Or, at the very least, be willing to compromise enough to see that male and female are defined on the reproductive reality of the world. And instead of seeking to place yourself in a category that is false under that definition, seek a new category to describe yourself that fits the reality of your situation AND the concept of your feelings.

    Personally, I thought the category Trans was that word. But apparently, if you aren’t classified incorrectly, you can’t be happy. This says to me, again my thoughts, not a reality that I can prove, that you just want sexual validation that no one with any inkling of the biological operation of sex and reproduction can give you.

    • Cristan says:

      You are asserting reductionism and essentialism as the perfect reflection of material reality; I’m questioning your ontology. To illustrate my point, answer the following question:

      Within all human bodies, can you –using only the languages you know, while using only the knowledge you currently have– describe all nuances of all sexed attributes?

      Certainly if “sex” means anything, it references the sexed attributes of human bodies.

      You are the one who made the fact assertion about the phenomenology of sex. Either your asserted ontology is the perfect metric of material reality you assert it to be or it isn’t.

      • Merkin says:

        1 – “You are asserting reductionism and essentialism as the perfect reflection of material reality; I’m questioning your ontology.”

        No. I’m asserting the reality of the situation as very specifically laid out by their definitions. You have attributed them as being reductionist and and essentialist. Oddly enough, you claim these things while also claiming that words don’t represent the whole reality. Therefore, your use of words is pointless to your own argument. But I’ve said this already, many times and in many ways. You refuse to see it.

        2 – “To illustrate my point, answer the following question: Within all human bodies, can you use only the languages you know, while using only the knowledge you currently have, describe all nuances of all sexed attributes?”

        I will answer this question yet again if you first answer the question I’ve posed many times without response: if the words aren’t good enough words to define reality, then why do trans people insist on being referred to as the realistically opposite label?

        3 – “Certainly if “sex” means anything, it references the sexed attributes of human bodies…”

        For once we agree. However, you don’t accept the actual definition of sex. You posit that sex isn’t a complete picture of reproductive reality. You are starkly contradictory in your own belief system, like a Christian saying, “God is real because God.”

        4 – “…and since you have exhibited confidence in your ontology, you’ll have no difficulty with this simple descriptive challenge.”

        I’ve not had difficulty explaining this over and over again. You’ve had difficulty either understanding it or, as I suspect, accepting it. And this is because, “[I am] the one who made the fact assertion about the phenomenology of sex.” Though here you’re “challenging” me to reassert something while claiming I haven’t already.

        5 – “Your asserted ontology is a valid metric of material reality or it isn’t.”

        I never asserted ontology. I asserted biology. Your confusing your sciences.

        • Cristan says:

          I’ll address your responses back to front:

          5. I never asserted ontology. I asserted biology.

          Biology is an ontology. Ontology is the nature of describing reality. You’ve asserted that “biology” (that is, the ontology) of human sex comes in 2 (and only 2 forms) and is reducible to and thus is essentially the ability to produce sperm or ovum. Your parameter/metric is an ontology.

          4. I’ve not had difficulty explaining this over and over again.

          Here I have a question: how are you replying to my posts? Are you doing it from your wordpress account, email, or some other way? I ask because about 2 minutes after I posted my reply, I removed this bit of snark from my reply because it was snark and not helpful. I’m wondering if you are able to see my replies as I intend them to be or if you’re using some type of secondary interface that records the initial post, but not any subsequent edits.

          3. However, you don’t accept the actual definition of sex.

          I’ve not rejected the material reality of reproduction or that bodies have sexed attributes. I’ve challenged your ontology position (see my response to your first question below).

          2. I will answer this question yet again if you first answer the question I’ve posed many times without response: if the words aren’t good enough…

          I didn’t say words can’t be descriptive. I said that words are cultural constructs that function as symbols. I’ve said that a cultural symbol and material reality are not the same thing. I’m challenging your position that the nuances of the material reality of human bodies (with their sexed attributes) and reproduction are reducible to one single sexed essence; which is to say, I’m challenging your ontology.

          1. Therefore, your use of words is pointless to your own argument. But I’ve said this already, many times and in many ways. You refuse to see it.

          Again, I’ve not said that words can’t be descriptive. My issue isn’t with the existence or use of words; my issue is the ontology of essentialist reductionism you position your words upon. A word definition isn’t valid ontology; you’re trying to substitute a definition in the place of a valid phenomenology… which is why your phenomenological logic is a tautology. Your argument is to shift from an essentialist reductionism to (when challenged) fallaciously appeal to a word as if it were itself a phenomenology. When I note your fallacious substitution of phenomenology with a word, you (in a strawman) respond that I claim words can’t be descriptive of reality.

          I’m challenging you to be honest in your discussion of sex. If you want to discuss the material reality of “sex” we will need to discuss ontology; essentialist reductionism isn’t a valid metric. If you want to discuss how we know what “sex” looks like when the material reality is observed, we will need discuss phenomenology; copypasting word definitions isn’t an observation. If you want to have an honest discussion about “sex,” let’s have it.

          • Merkin says:

            1 – “Biology is an ontology. Ontology is the nature of describing reality. You’ve asserted that “biology” (that is, the ontology) of human sex comes in 2 (and only 2 forms) and is reducible to and thus is essentially the ability to produce sperm or ovum. Your parameter/metric is an ontology.”

            I know you hate definitions, but let’s try this again:

            bi·ol·o·gy
            bīˈäləjē/Submit
            noun
            the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin, and distribution.

            on·tol·o·gy
            änˈtäləjē/Submit
            noun
            the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.

            These two things are not interchangeable, and no biology is not a child to a parent ontology. They can and do relate to each other, but both are independent and valid in their own uses. This is evidenced by the “nature” portion of the inherent definition of ontology.

            na·ture
            ˈnāCHər/Submit
            noun
            1.
            the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.
            2.
            the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.

            If you’ll actually read the definitions instead of glossing over them or completely ignoring them as you have previously, you’ll see that “The nature of being” is “opposed to humans or human creations.” You are, very literally, applying the wrong scientific principles to the wrong physical realities. It’s no wonder you’re so perplexed. That is unless you’re using the alternate definition of nature, which still doesn’t help your argument because it’s dealing with “features” and “characteristics,” not ” morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin, and distribution.”

            I am not giving you my thoughts. I am giving you the biological fact (not my ontology) of how they actually work.

            The definitions of the words you use matter, Cristan. Why can’t you see that? Why is defining something that’s fact too ambiguous for you? The definitions as applied to scientific fact do NOT leave wiggle room. So stop wiggling. You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole without destroying both objects, not in science. I am telling you that you are a biological male. Biology dictates that fact to you and to me and to every other species on earth that functions that way. You do not function outside of those realities reproductively, therefore you fall under their rule. That is WHAT you are, whether you like that definition or not. You cannot perceive or imagine or dig deeper in that reality to make it go away or mold it to fit your irrational desires. In fact, to go deeper in biology you must first accept the reality of the basics in order to find other truths that will always, every single time, reinforce the facts already at hand. That’s what makes them fact. If scientists were to believe as you do, idealistic musings that has absolutely no grounding in reality or fact, that male and female are not the reality for the vast majority of our species, we wouldn’t have medicine; we wouldn’t have cars; we wouldn’t have airplanes, and women would die in childbirth in droves. They’d literally be useless to advancement of the species. Perhaps shifting your focus away from radical ideals and philosophical theory would alleviate this for you. I understand and agree that these musings are entertaining and grant perspective in the abstract, but they do not change the reality at hand.

            2 – “Here I have a question: how are you replying to my posts? Are you doing it from your wordpress account, email, or some other way? I ask because about 2 minutes after I posted my reply, I removed this bit of snark from my reply because it was snark and not helpful. I’m wondering if you are able to see my replies as I intend them to be or if you’re using some type of secondary interface that records the initial post, but not any subsequent edits.”

            I am connected to the mother ship and use their advanced lightwave technology to track your every move. I’ve also secretly uploaded a ruby based software application to this blog that tracks and records each of your keystrokes to email it to me. I mean, I’m a TERF. We’re just evil like that…

            No, I’m using an iphone or chrome, nothing fancy in the extreme, but higher-end than most. I am a tech whore and a science major. I can’t help it.

            3 – “I’ve not rejected the material reality of reproduction or that bodies have sexed attributes. I’ve challenged your ontology position (see my response to your first question below).”

            I have not stated an ontological position on reality. I merely accept the definitions laid out by scientific fact and relay them. By dumping those definitions into the ontology bucket and ignoring their actual meanings, function, and purpose, you have literally denied the reality of the situation by classifying them as abstract. Furthermore, if you do not deny that human bodies are sexed, then where is our disagreement? Sexed human bodies have three possible realities: male, female, and intersex. They are unique, defined, and two are dependent upon each other to reproduce humans. They are all proven facts of biological human life. What other reality do you believe you should be classified as if not the one that exists? Do you defy these realities in a biological way? If so, why are you fucking around with TERFs on a trans blog? You could be advancing the species, famous, and loaded…

            4 – “I didn’t say words can’t be descriptive. I said that words are cultural constructs that function as symbols. I’ve said that a cultural symbol and material reality are not the same thing.”

            The symbols used to define the reality of the biology may not have existed in the real world until someone thought the symbol up and wrote it down. However, (this is a big however and seems to the be place where I keep losing you so let’s focus in here) when the realistic, proven fact of the physical is the given definition of that symbol, that symbol represents the reality not in the abstract, but in the real. If that is still too ambiguous, let me say it this way:

            I love circuit boards and circuit math. Circuits come with schematics developed by engineers to represent how a circuit works. The symbol for a resistor is essentially a squiggly line. Who knows why someone thought that this should represent the electrical fact of resistance. The symbol itself, without that fact to back it up, is silly and pointless. This does not change the facts that if you put a resister between a power source (input) and a lightbulb (output), it will ensure that the bulb doesn’t blow up in you face. Even though a squiggly line is essentially nonsense, the fact remains that resistance exists. It defines it so well that I could build you any electrical item that you provide a schematic for. Every electrical device you use, especially the device you’re reading from now, uses that symbol to relate that scientific law to ensure that the device functions properly.

            Now, to your point, if the facts are dug into and a new way to implement that fact comes to light, a new symbol is created. Ontology facilitates this. For resistors, there’s a squiggly line with a straight arrow through it. This means that it’s still a resistor, but it has varying degrees of resistance, just like a thermostat. To say that because we don’t know about variable resistors yet, resistor symbols don’t relate fact, is provably wrong. Especially when the reverse is true. Without finding the fact of resistance first, and accepting that fact, and symbolizing that fact to make it functional, you cannot find that resistance is variable.

            4 – “I’m challenging your position that the nuances of the material reality of human bodies (with their sexed attributes) and reproduction are reducible to one single sexed essence; which is to say, I’m challenging your ontology.”

            I’m confused as to why you’re challenging my ontology when I’ve not even related it to you. You do not know my thoughts or ideals on facts and biology. I’ve not spoken of them except to say that they exist and my thoughts on them are immaterial to the reality. I’ve also never stated that facts are singular. There is the fact of the condition of male. There is the fact of the condition of female. There is the fact of the condition of intersex, even as these almost always fall under the fact of the other because while they may be variable resistors, they’re still resistors.

            5 – “Again, I’ve not said that words can’t be descriptive. My issue isn’t with the existence or use of words; my issue is the ontology of essentialist reductionism you position your words upon.”

            I position the use of words within their defined factual laws. Please read the circuit analogy again if you still do not see this.

            6 – “A word definition isn’t valid ontology; you’re trying to substitute a definition in the place of a valid phenomenology… which is why your phenomenological logic is a tautology.”

            Maybe definition isn’t valid ontology, but we’re not dealing in ontology, we’re dealing in biology. Also, is it really fair to call what I’m saying tautology when the reason I’ve had to relate the facts multiple ways and multiple times is because you can’t seem to grasp them?

            7 – “Your argument is to shift from an essentialist reductionism to (when challenged) fallaciously appeal to a word as if it were itself a phenomenology. When I note your fallacious substitution of phenomenology with a word, you (in a strawman) respond that I claim words can’t be descriptive of reality.”

            Nothing I’ve said is a viewpoint of my own, rather the way the human species biologically works. To label that essentialist is to say that I am allowing my emotions to alter the reality. When in fact, that is exactly what trans people are trying to do when they force inclusion into biological realms that do not fit their anatomy for the sake of their feelings. My feelings on the subject don’t matter. Neither do yours. But your transgenderism lives only in your mind, not your body. I know what I am because science has appropriately classified the function of my body. I have no emotional stake in this other than I feel sorry for anyone who suffers, physically or emotionally. This strawman you say I’m trying to distract you with is ironic to me because I’m the only one here who has tried to stay on topic. But, if you didn’t claim that words can’t be descriptive enough, please explain how the definition of words that accurately relate the reality, which is the case in male and female, aren’t good enough for you to admit that you’re a male?

            8 – “I’m challenging you to be honest in your discussion of sex. If you want to discuss the material reality of “sex” we will need to discuss ontology;”

            No, you’re not challenging me at all. I know the facts. I accept the facts. And because of this, as a scientist, I can harness reality. I wish you could too. I’ve been completely honest and I think that’s why you can’t accept it. The truth is that you’re a male. Biology vividly illustrates this with scientific facts that are the reality. It’s almost as if you’re trying to talk me into circles in order to trip me up or cause me to contradict myself. But you can’t. I’ve repeated the facts over and over again (my tautology, right?). They are not going to change so that you can have a reality that is biologically impossible.

            And no, ontology – something that is, as defined by natural to be separate from humans – has no place in human biological fact. The definitions that are in place describe what’s real to the extreme. There is literally no way to get more descriptive than to classify sex, the entire basis of reproduction, than to base on gamete function. Gametes make the stuff that humans are made of. You either have this function or that function, and the function determines which definition is applicable. And if you have a different function or no function at all, well there are classifications for that as well that are just as appropriately grounded in the reality.

            9 – “Essentialist reductionism isn’t a valid metric.”

            Agreed. Your perception of the facts as I’ve related them, which I may not have related well enough though I’ve tried over and over, is still just your opinion. I’ve not reduced sexual realities. I’ve not related an opinion and I don’t believe that everything needs a label, but then you didn’t ask me that before accusing. The facts just are what they are. I accept them because they’re provable.

            10 – “If you want to discuss how we know what “sex” looks like when the material reality is observed, we will need discuss phenomenology; copypasting word definitions isn’t an observation. If you want to have an honest discussion about “sex,” let’s have it.”

            No, we don’t. I couldn’t care less about how something looks or my thoughts on what I’ve observed. The facts speak for themselves. What you really mean to say here is, “If we’re really going to discuss how we know what “sex” looks like, we need to observe and accept an illusion created by my mind so that I can be inappropriately classified to spare my feelings.” I would like to also point out that “what ‘sex’ looks like” is completely irrelevant to this conversation. Sex isn’t determined by appearance, but function. The facts aren’t going to change, but if you want to wax intellectual about them, be my guest. The minute you take your imagination out of the reality though, we’re going to continue to have problems. My ontology is based on harnessing fact to move between the lines. Yours is based on ignoring fact to feel better about the deletion of the lines.

            11 – You still haven’t answered my question: if words cannot fully express reality because they’re conceptualized and we may not see the whole reality because of our perceptions and yadda yadda, why do trans people wish to be incorrectly categorized?

            So I leave you with this:

            I am telling you right now that I identify as a duck. In my mind, I am a duck, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I have had surgery to remove body parts or alter them so that I look like a duck. Don’t bother looking at my genetic profile. I am telling you that I am a duck.

            But this is a strawman, right? Balk all you want. Misuse the word all you want. The honest fact is that a strawman is to distract you from the actual topic at hand. However, if you replace the word duck with male or female respectively, you have a trans persons delusional argument, which is succinct in the extreme because changing your sex is no less impossible than changing your species.

            As to my ontology, since you’re so keen on going there: Reality isn’t always easy to accept, but no one can alter reality because it exists outside of imagination and perception. In truth, the best that anyone can do to deal with a reality such as this, is not to labor under its oppressive boundaries, but to seek to accept it so fully that we can use its own devices to defy it. However small that defiance might be.

            I’m not explaining this again. However, I must thank you because you have helped me to put this to rest. I cannot continue to have compassion for this community’s suffering because it is self-imposed. I will continue to hope that trans people will shed their biological self-loathing and accept what they are as tenaciously as they accept who they are but I will no longer lose sleep over it. I can’t free you, only you can. I’ve tried, so my hands are clean.

          • Cristan says:

            Yikes. If biology isn’t an ontology, you must therefore believe that phylogeny isn’t biology since phylogeny is an ontology. If you care to do some actual research (instead of merely copypasting simple summaries), you’ll discover how and why you’re demonstrably wrong: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_ontology

            Here’s a copypaste summation that might help us move the conversation forward:

            “An ontology is a formal way of representing knowledge in which concepts are described both by their meaning and their relationship to each other.” – Bard, et al. Ontologies in biology: design, applications and future challenges. Nature Reviews Genetics 5, 213-222 (2004)

            To drive moy point home, here are a few pages from my biology textbook:
            1
            2
            3
            4

            So, can we please move past pretending that biology isn’t an ontology and that, specific to the biology of sex, your essentialist reductionism definition is not an ontology?

  60. Merkin says:

    Le sigh. Thank you for proving the point that I’ve already made with actual science:

    “These two things are not interchangeable, and no biology is not a child to a parent ontology. [b]They can and do relate to each other,[/b] but both are independent and valid in their own uses. This is evidenced by the “nature” portion of the inherent definition of ontology.”

    I also said:

    “Now, to your point, if the facts are dug into and a new way to implement that fact comes to light, a new symbol is created. [b]Ontology facilitates this.[/b] For resistors, there’s a squiggly line with a straight arrow through it. This means that it’s still a resistor, but it has varying degrees of resistance, just like a thermostat. To say that because we don’t know about variable resistors yet, resistor symbols don’t relate fact, is provably wrong. Especially when the reverse is true. Without finding the fact of resistance first, and accepting that fact, and symbolizing that fact to make it functional, you cannot find that resistance is variable.”

    This means that biology exists. Ontoloty exists. They can and should be used together to garner more truths. When that happens, it’s called “biological ontology.” Notice that they put the two together, not just call one the other…? This does not mean that one is dependent upon the other to exist. And without ontology, you could not delve into biology to garner more hidden truths that would further substantiate the basic truths that we already know, as I’ve described in resistors.

    Again, I’m telling you that we are not discussing ontology, or ontological biology. I am only going to discuss biology and the facts inherent therein. Can you please try to stay on task?

    You still have not answered my question and I can only assume that you’re avoiding it. If the terms male and female are immaterial and should not matter to a TERF for whatever reason, why do they matter to Trans people?

    • Cristan says:

      *headdesk*

      You might as well say that biology is not a child to a parent science, that the two are independent and valid in their own uses. There is no function of knowing without ontology. How do we understand aspects biological processes? Ontology; that is, we create metrics, ways of engaging, and symbols to contextualize what we perceive. These standards are an ontology.

      Yes, a word itself is not an ontology; the parameters for validating that a phenomenon correlates to the word is an ontology. Without a foundation of ontology, there can be no biology; we have no parameters for engaging the natural world. You want to talk about a word without talking about the parameters for validating that a phenomenon correlates to that particular word. I refuse to pretend that words/symbols are not situated upon ontologies. If you cannot or will not have a discussion about the ontology you are (whether you acknowledge it or not) asserting, then we have nothing more to discuss.

      • Merkin says:

        No, saying that biology is not a child to ontology is like saying that homosapiens are not children to primates. In truth, they’re brothers, independent but connected. Both biology and ontology ARE both sciences, separated but still connected. The reality of sex would exist without or without ontology or biology. To say that you can’t discuss biological facts without discussing ontology, is to say that the interpretation of the fact isn’t real enough so you want to explore it. Fine, explore it. Thathe goal of any scientist. No matter what, fact will not change, only be furthered by that exploration.

        And this brings us right back to our original arguments. Mine being that male and female have been defined accurately based on reproductive abilities that are proven facts. Just ask any pregnant woman how she got pregnant. But if you can’t accept those facts because the words used are too specific for you, then yes, there’s no point to this conversation.

        You still haven’t answered my question: if TERFs shouldn’t care about how male and female are used for whatever reason, why do trans people?

        That is the crux of the argument and the very argument you keep avoiding. Take away all of our differences on the validity of words and realities related herein and that question is still 100% answerable. You just don’t want to answer it.

        • Cristan says:

          No, saying that biology is not a child to ontology is like saying that homosapiens are not children to primates.

          Again, no. You and I are primates.

          In truth, they’re brothers, independent but connected.

          At this point in our conversation, I’m suspecting that I’m engaged with a case of Dunning-Kruger. You’re as wrong about human biology as you are obstinate in admitting that a framework of knowledge underpins what we refer to as “biology.”

  61. Merkin says:

    That’s right! I’s jus a stoopid TERF wif a serperiordity cawmplecks an you, yous jus so purfect and smert. Yous jus so above it all! Seriously, why you ever deigned to speak to us lesser beings is beyond me, but then everything is beyond me. I just can’t grasp the delicate intricacies of my girl parts. Maybe that’s the problem: biological women are still just women after all. Men are better at that too. They have all the luck…

    I own that I should have said monkeys, but I didn’t proof my post and it doesn’t matter at this point. If you’re going to be an asshole, you can do it alone. I will say that I’m no longer responding to you from a phone or on the go, if at all. I answer too quickly and one word mistake just wipes away my intelligence and the facts right along with it. But hey, I’m a superior idiot who doesn’t know what it’s like to have a real lady brain. What did you expect?

    Either way, the question still stands and you STILL refuse to answer : if male and female don’t cut the mustard for defining sex, why do trans people care which label they’re given?

    What is that now, maybe 6 times I’ve asked?

    • Cristan says:

      if male and female don’t cut the mustard for defining sex, why do trans people care which label they’re given?

      I never said that “male and female don’t cut the mustard for defining sex.” What I have done is question the framework of knowledge that you claim underpins these terms; which is to say, I’ve questioned your ontology. You’re merely asserted that the framework of knowledge for sex (and even biology!) are English word definitions. When challenged on this point, you claim that biology isn’t itself a framework of knowledge and that it isn’t the child of a framework of knowledge; that a framework of knowledge and biology are two different sciences. When I get frustrated with your gleeful yet obstinate wrongness, you pretend that I’ve claimed that you lack a ability to not be wrong because “lady brain.”

      If you refuse to discuss the framework of knowledge that underpins the words you want to talk about, our conversation won’t move forward.

  62. Merkin says:

    1 – “I never said that “male and female don’t cut the mustard for defining sex.”

    So you’re saying that they do? You agree that male and female accurately define the biological human sub-class of sex as based on reproductive bodily function as it exists in reality?

    2 – “What I have done is question the framework of knowledge that you claim underpins these terms; which is to say I’ve questioned your ontology. ,”

    First, “framework of knowledge” is too broad here. There is the framework of knowledge that is the reality, and the framework of knowledge that is conceptualized. Second, you’re arguing the conceptualized as “my” ontology, which is not the issue here. What I perceive has nothing to do with the reality of the situation, which you still can’t seem to grasp. I am refusing to argue the conceptualized because opinions don’t matter. I am dealing only in reality for the purposes of this discussion as feelings aren’t the problem. You can feel all you want. I’ll accept your feelings as just that. I just won’t accept them as reality. Is this the “your ontology” that you’re getting at or not?

    3 – “You’re merely asserted that the framework of knowledge for sex (and even biology!) are English word definitions.”

    No. I’ve asserted that the definitions describe the reality so well that they account for enough perspectives to be true no matter how you view it. I’ve asserted that philosophizing on those definitions doesn’t change the reality that they represent. I use the definitions as they are, not as I would ponder them, because they account for the reality, which exists outside of my pondering. I posted those definitions to you because you insist on using them in a way that suits you, not as they’re intended.

    4 – “When challenged on this point, you claim that biology isn’t itself a framework of knowledge and that it isn’t the child of a framework of knowledge; that a framework of knowledge and biology are two different sciences.”

    I assert this: framework of non-conceptualized knowledge = reality. Science deals with this reality, and the different sciences run in a hierarchy so you have: reality > science > biology, ontology, botony, etc > specialized fields focusing in on one piece of those puzzles, like cardiology. You have asserted essentially this: ontology > reality > science, which places all of your knowledge in the conceptual, not the reality. This is exactly my problem with the trans movement.

    5 – “When I get frustrated with your gleeful yet obstinate wrongness, you pretend that I’ve claimed that you lack a ability to not be wrong because “lady brain.””

    Lolz, okay. Since your definition of “wrongness” is grounded in perception because, as you’ve said, a perception based ontology is the framework for all knowledge, and not facts, this statement is as pointless as it is a personal attack to shift away from the fact that your argument doesn’t hold any water. All you can prove about my “wrongness” is that I forgot a word once and put in the wrong word once. Both of these mistakes have been owned. You, on the other hand, haven’t owned your mistakes, though I’ve pointed them out many times. What is the definition of obstinate again? Oh, right, it doesn’t matter.

    As to the ladybrain, no, I did not assert that I “lack the ability to not be wrong” – which took me a few readings to translate into a comprehensible sentence: I lack the ability to be right – because of ladybrain. I mocked the patriarichal nonsense that surrounds women, and the dark ages the trans movement would force to keep us in for the sake of yet more male fantasies and desires. If my joke was too subtle, I apologize, and seek to clarify with the statement: this was a joke, not literal.

    6 – “If you refuse to discuss the framework of knowledge that underpins the words you want to talk about, our conversation won’t move forward.”

    What this means is, “if you refuse to discuss the framework of knowledge that I perceive and accept it as fact, our conversation won’t move in the direction that I want it to.” In truth, as I’ve already pointed out, this conversation stopped going anywhere ages ago. But, I can’t seem to quit trying. So this is me no longer trying. As I’ve said, thank you for pointing out the obvious inability of the typical trans person to accept reality, that most will do anything to justify their fantasies, the fact that you won’t accept reality no matter how much I point at it and want you to – only to actually help you, no less – and that regardless of whether I succeeded, the fault of your self-imposed fantasies is your own.

    From here on out, I will no longer repeat what I’ve said. I will no longer indulge your fantasies. I will no longer trust you with my opinions that you’re so hellbent on focusing on. You’ve killed the trust and friendliness this discussion was built on, and in truth, you’ve killed my compassion. Well done, and again, thank you.

    If you have anything else to say that is not an honest, succinct answer to list item number 1 of this response, you will not get a response. Good luck, and happy new year.

    • Cristan says:

      There is the framework of knowledge that is the reality

      framework of non-conceptualized knowledge = reality. Science deals with this reality, and the different sciences run in a hierarchy so you have: reality > science > biology, ontology, botony

      Since your definition of “wrongness” is grounded in perception because, as you’ve said, a perception based ontology is the framework for all knowledge, and not facts, this statement is as pointless as it is a personal attack to shift away from the fact that your argument doesn’t hold any water.

      From here on out, I will no longer repeat what I’ve said. I will no longer indulge your fantasies. I will no longer trust you with my opinions that you’re so hellbent on focusing on. You’ve killed the trust and friendliness this discussion was built on, and in truth, you’ve killed my compassion. Well done, and again, thank you.

      LOL

  63. […] with having a vagina,” she said. The other category, Lejeck explained, includes feminists who argue trans women are actually men in disguise trying to infiltrate their […]

  64. Tony says:

    This is the dumbest thing that I have ever seen

  65. V. E. says:

    To the chromosome/birth anatomy/etymology fundamentalists in this thread:
    The dictionary is not the revealed word of God. Whether or not you believe that the Bible is God’ s word, Merriam-Webster’s isn’t. And if you don’t believe that the meaning of human life is reproduction or that humans have a moral imperative to reproduce sexually, then there’s no need to assert that a male human equals a sperm-producer and a female human equals an egg-producer.

    • Merkin says:

      1 – You sound like a religious extremist.

      2 – Reproduction is a fundamental basis of life that most people partake in, even when they shouldn’t. See abortion stats if your skeptical.

      3 – The “reason” that biology matters regardless of reproductive inclination is because it’s reality.

      4 – There is no rational reason to ignore reality and replace it with delusion.

      5 – The dictionary is not be the Bible, for which I’m thankful, but I’m not looking for fiction so your strange analogy lacks impact and merit.

      6 – Trans delusion is dogma, pure and simple, and I’d be more inclined to believe a doomsaying pastafarian than a trans person at this point. At least they have a real phenomenon they’re failing to adequately explain that exists outside of their feelings.

  66. Only this weekend did I see the extensive dialogue about feminism and sex/gender issues involving Merkin, Cristan, and others. Here I would like to address some of the issues in a way I hope may be constructive, from a perspective I call Sex And Gender Critical Inclusive Radical Feminism (SAGCIRF, pronounced “Sag-Surf”).

    This approach, looking back to the origins of patriarchy, questions both the sex and gender binaries early and often, and regards the task of Women’s Liberation, the emancipation of the female sex class, as including the liberation of intersex and transsex women (in older language “intersexual” and “transsexual” women) as members of this class, and as tied to the larger struggle for human liberation. This larger struggle relates to such deadly dimensions of patriarchy as race, social and economic class, and colonial or neocolonial oppression, as brilliantly captured in the African American scholar Kimberle/ Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality.

    First, a few words about feminist process, something dear to me as a daughter of the Second Wave. To me, the term T**F nowadays serves mainly to communicate disapproval, disdain, and other sentiments that might mildly be described as not-so-sisterly. Whatever it may have meant in 2008, today it is a term that, as far as I know, very few feminists would claim as a self-description. And so I will not use it here. While a contributor such as Merkin must decide whether or not to accept me as a sister, I can at least choose to act in a sisterly manner in this exchange of ideas.

    Merkin, if you are still participating, I would invite your own choice on how you wish your approach to sex/gender and feminism to be named or categorized — but for the moment will tentatively associate it with Gender Critical Feminism (GCF), an approach I have encountered which often describes itself as “Sex Not Gender.” And we are much in agreement that gender, more particularly as it plays out under patriarchy, needs very much to be questioned! Where we may differ is in the question of whether accepting the sex binary and indeed centering it as a guide to political action provides a escape from the prison of gender, or is in practice a way unintentionally to reinvent that prison, possibly in the name of “feminism.”

    Before getting into a SAGCIRF analysis of some of the basic questions raised in this dialogue, I would like to focus on two closely related points about the practical consequences of agreeing that intersex and transsex women, or females, are indeed members of the female sex class.

    First, inclusion as a woman or female in our very diverse feminist community does not necessarily imply inclusion in all of the groups, events, niches, or spaces within that larger community. As Jo Freeman (also known as Joreen), a germinal figure in Second Wave radical feminism, has written, feminist groups are “friendship networks” where not all women will fit in a given group. More recently, in 2014, another radical feminist, Finn Mackay, called for a sisterly understanding that most feminist spaces should be open to all women regardless of such factors as sex designated or assigned at birth — but that some spaces might have more specialized criteria.

    If a given women’s group or organization such as WoLF, the Women’s Liberation Front, wishes to restrict its membership to women who were deemed female at birth (presumably including intersex women assigned female at birth), I respect its right to do so. This right of free association can be affirmed, even if one takes a view (as I do) that WoLF does not represent the entire female sex class. Most of us take for granted the right for groups of women to build “safe spaces” along various lines, with the group deciding what those lines are and how they are to be defined.

    Secondly, arguments about the proper definition of “Lesbian” should take into account a basic principle of radical feminism, and feminism in general: the principle that no woman owes participation in sexual activity to anyone, including another woman — and, if she is Lesbian, more specifically another Lesbian woman. While “enthusiastic consent” is one frequent phrase used by feminists to describe the only valid basis for sexual sharing between humans, Catharine Mackinnon’s concept of desire without coercion may be even better.

    Thus to accept a given woman, including an intersex or transsex woman, as a Lesbian is not to imply that she has a right to claim sex with any other woman, or that any other woman has an obligation to consent, or even consider consenting, to sex with her. “No means no — no explanations needed!” Not only do basic feminist ethics oppose any basis for sexual activity other than enthusiastic consent or desire without coercion, but also our political survival. When unreciprocated attractions occur within a feminist group or community, it is vitally important that a woman be able to say “No, I’m not interested in you in that way,” and have her words respected in a spirit of sisterly solidarity by the woman who felt the attraction. The continued closeness and camaraderie that is the life of feminist groups, and especially small groups, demands no less.

    Finally, having seen some very long comments in this dialogue, I am making an attempt to focus each of my comments that follows on a given theme: for example, the biological concept of “sex” and how it may best be applied to humans from either a scientific or political perspective. My hope is thereby to encourage what may be a more “user-friendly” and effective dialogue.

  67. Much of this dialogue has focused on the nature of physical or biological sex, and the relationship between this reality and the language used to describe it, with the debate often becoming highly philosophical. Here, while leaving ultimate philosophical or metaphysical questions open, I would like to look practically at the reality voiced by feminist Ruth Herschberger in 1948, in her book _Adam’s Rib_: that, to borrow the title of one of her chapters, “Society Writes Biology.”

    From an evolutionary perspective, sex differentiation indeed has roots in reproduction, with a fossil from approximately 1.2 billion years ago named _Bangiomorpha pubescens_, a multicellular organism resembling a group of modern red algae traditionally known as the Bangiophyceae, proposed by Nicholas Butterfield as the earliest known organism showing signs of sexual reproduction. And sex differentiation, in humans and our primate relatives as well as other categories of organisms, retains a close connection with reproduction.

    However, at least in humans and such closely related primates as bonobos, sex differentiation and sexuality also have very important nonreproductive aspects and functions which we feminists should be the first to recognize and emphasize. For example, female bonobos often engage in mutual genital contact that may serve to resolve conflict and to strengthen social networks. Biological sex thus originates in, but may transcend, reproduction.

    Turning to humans, let us distinguish between the specifics of reproduction and reproductive dimorphism, and the much more varied continuum of primary and secondary sex characteristics. Both reproductive dimorphism, and the continuum of sex characteristics and traits, are relevant to a radical feminist perspective.

    Gametes are indeed essentially binary or dimorphic: ova and spermatozoa are distinct, without intermediate or transitional forms as far as I am aware. And it is true that an overwhelming majority of people in the female sex class produce ova, or were presumed at birth to do so; while an overwhelming majority of people in the male sex class produce or were presumed at birth to produce spermatozoa. We may thus speak of “women’s reproductive rights” as relevant to a very large majority of the female sex class, although not all women are directly affected, and some people other than women are.

    However, as Organization Intersex International (OII) observes, about 1-2% of the human population have bodies which are deemed intersex — that is, because of congenital causes, showing a mixture of primary and/or secondary sex characteristics deemed outside the usual “female/male” binary. Intersex is yet more common in some other mammalian species such as certain species of bears, which might be a hint that it is not the “defect” sometimes alleged, but a variation (or set of variations) compatible with and perhaps promoting group survival.

    Note that it is possible to speak of intersex or other people with “mixed sex characteristics” while leaving open the question the question of a person’s social sex status or self-identification. Hida Viloria and Dana Zzyym have written an excellent article on this point from their own intersex perspectives: . Thus we can say, for example, that the presence of a prostate gland is a “male sex characteristic,” while recognizing that some people with prostate glands may also have female sex characteristics like vulvae and breast development.

    While intersex people have mixed sex characteristics from birth as a natural variation or trait, transsex people have such characteristics as a result of consensual medical intervention, most of us having been deemed at birth as endosex (nonintersex) members of a binary sex from which we have transitioned. The intersex and transsex conditions are conceptually and often in reality quite distinct, although a minority of people in each group also come within the other, and experience both types of oppression associated with these conditions under patriarchy.

    For intersex people under modern patriarchy, a serious oppression is Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM), the imposition of nonconsensual surgeries on intersex infants and children before they are old enough to discover their own sex or gender identities and make informed decisions about their own bodies. These surgeries are almost always motivated not by the rare case where there may be actual medical necessity, but by a desire of adults to have an intersex child’s body made more “acceptable” to patriarchal sex binary norms. When intersex children are not subjected to IGM — a basic human rights violation recognized by the United Nations and closely allied to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) — most are happy with their intersex or sex variant bodies and do not desire surgery.

    With or without the trauma of IGM, most intersex people at least in modern patriarchal societies identify with their binary sexes assigned at birth. These people may identify simply as women or men, or also as intersex. However, a substantial minority seek transition to the other binary sex, and may identify as trans as well as intersex. And still other intersex people identify as nonbinary, genderqueer, or indeed as “intersex” to describe their gender identity as well as physical intersex variation.

    Those of us who are endosex and transsex — most but not all transsex people — do not experience the childhood medical abuse that intersex people do that stems from their being born with sex variant bodies at an age when they can neither consent to nor resist the interventions imposed on them by adults. In contrast, the minority of intersex people who are also transsex, or vice versa, may well experience both the characteristic intersex oppression of IGM and other childhood medical abuse, and the trans oppression of difficulty in obtaining medical transition care.

    For intersex people who are also trans, their intersex status has often been a special barrier to obtaining such transition care, beyond the hurdles faced by trans people who are endosex. In feminist and LGBTIQA communities where the “I” in intersex has too often stood mainly for “Invisible,” discussions of intersex should be coupled with a focus on intersex oppression, struggles, and rights which also advance the emancipation of the female sex class from the patriarchy which has given us the sex binary.

    Thus intersex and transsex people alike — clearly distinct although sometimes overlapping and intersecting categories — share the experience of having mixed sex characteristics outside the patriarchal sex binary, either congenitally (intersex) or through consensual medical alterations (transsex).

    From a practical perspective, the sex binary as applied to humans simply cannot do justice to the physical and social reality of intersex and transsex people. This is made clear, for example, by the case of Daniel Burghammer in 1601, a soldier evidently assigned male at birth and raised as a boy who in that year, while in Italy, gave birth to a healthy daughter, having served as a soldier for seven years. Anne Fausto-Sterling relates this story in her outstanding book _Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality_ (2000, pp. 35 and 274 n. 15), adding that the birth of this child, named Elizabeth, was celebrated as a miracle; but that the Church granted Burghammer’s wife a divorce, “suggesting” that it found giving birth “incompatible with role of husband.” (Fausto-Sterling, Ibid.)

    What the available sources do not offer us, as far as I know, is any account of how Burghammer, after giving birth, self-identified or viewed the situation, beyond describing his physical state as “half male and half female” (here I assume for the moment that he identified with his male status and role assigned at birth and generally lived up to this time, thus the pronoun “him”).

    If one adhered strictly to the patriarchal sex binary as the “material reality” that should determine social status, then we would have to say that Burghammer was “really female all along,” being in light of the birth of his daughter a proven ova-bearing human. However, even if we suppose that Burghammer now identified as female, and wished to join the community of women, a radical feminist perspective should recognize that this would indeed involve a process of social transition.

    Having lived her life so far in an officially sanctioned male role, including seven years in an all-male military unit, Burghammer would now need to renounce male privilege and learn women’s culture. From a feminist perspective, we may find it helpful to imagine her seeking a place in some early 17th-century European feminist community of women, and thus endeavoring to undergo a process not merely of female socialization, but of feminist socialization. There were indeed feminist women, and feminist groups (as we should now style them) in that time and place, providing a basis for this thought-experiment.

    Despite her having given birth, Burghammer might fairly be asked to go elsewhere if she sought admission to a women’s group specifically intended for women who had lived their entire lives as female. The request that she go elsewhere would be based not on “biological reality” — her ova are clearly just as “real” as those of any other member of the female sex class — but on the social reality of her having lived her previous life as male. Here the most relevant factor would be not her mixed sex characteristics, but her mixed socialization — overwhelmingly male, until she has had an opportunity to live for a while as female and learn about feminist process and sisterhood.

    In more inclusive women’s groups, Burghammer would face a process of adult female and more specifically feminist socialization. As an newcomer to women’s culture, she would need to “check her privilege” and be aware of some possible male-socialized behaviors to recognize and unlearn. She might also need to deal with a problem widespread among women, internalized misogyny, from a special angle, having been surrounded for many years by male peers likely voicing antifeminist stereotypes not directed (to their knowledge) against her, who was assumed to be a male!

    At the same time, to borrow the 21st-century insights of radical feminist Caroline Criado-Perez, Burghammer’s process of giving up male privilege could be highly edifying to her feminist sisters. Having seen the operations of male culture from the insider, she could share this knowledge with her new sisters, who could thus plan more effective resistance.

    What I shall term “sex/gender-inflexible” flavors of feminism, which turn to the sex binary as a moral compass, might find this scenario an especially perplexing one. A simple “Sex Not Gender” approach might require that Burghammer, now identifying as female after giving birth to her daughter Elizabeth, be accepted instantly and effortlessly as a female (or woman) despite having lived in a male status and undergone childhood male socialization, etc. And a simple “Woman Born Female” (WBF) approach — as the definition of who is a woman or female, as opposed to a definition for asubgroup of women who might sometimes seek spaces of their own — would permanently exclude from the entire women’s community a self-identified female who had given birth.

    A SAGCIRF perspective seeks to approach this intriguing scenario in a way at once more compassionate and more realistic. It respects Burghammer’s self-identification as female, and offers a path to social transition and membership in the women’s community, while inviting recognition on all sides that a process of transition and resocialization is involved. Both Burghammer and her sisters in the movement would need to exercise vigilance that patriarchal patterns of behavior not be recreated within the women’s community. For example, some women may perform what Joreen describes as “the mother role” in a way that is exploited by others in a group whose “demands become unrealistic,” with the woman who cannot or will not meet such unrealistic expectations sometimes being “trashed.” See Joreen, “Trashing: The Dark Side of Sisterhood” .

    Such behavior is by no means unique to women with past male privilege, and indeed the Second Wave concepts of feminist process, still relevant today, grew out of the experience that women who had lived their entire lives in a female status were quite capable of enacting or recreating patriarchal patterns of domination within women’s groups. If the presence in a women’s group of members with mixed sex characteristics or mixed socialization makes everyone more committed to good feminist process, then this can be a positive benefit to the group and the women’s community at large.

    A different reality also throws the “Sex Not Gender” approach into question: the reality that there are many women who were assigned female at birth and happily live and identify as female but who have intersex variations such as Complete Androgen Insensitivity (CAI) where the “You are your gonads” mentality would require that these women, born with testes and not ovaries nor a uterus, be deemed “male.” In practice, most if not all “Sex Not Gender” groups would accept these women as female since they were so deemed at birth, despite their 46-XY chromosomes.

    From a SAGCIRF perspective, the “Sex Not Gender” feminists are quite right in this instance in looking to female socialization (childhood and adult) rather than gonads as the test. And, unlike Burghammer in our hypothetical scenario where she identifies as female after living her life as male up to the point where she gives birth (demonstrating the presence of female gonads), women with CAI (and male gonads) do not require female resocialization, nor a process of renouncing male privilege — they have always lived as female, and likely have had lots of experience from early childhood on with female peer groups.

    From another perspective, of course, all radical feminist women fighting the patriarchy are going through a process of feminist resocialization. For most, the resocialization involves a redefinition of what it means to be “female”; for the minority with past male privilege, it also involves renouncing that privilege, and a resocialization at once female (into a new status) and feminist.

    This consideration of mixed sex characteristics and mixed socialization leads to another question: Why would feminists, or radical feminists in particular, wish to adopt the patriarchal sex binary as “biological reality” or the best approach to sex/gender questions, when Mother Nature seems much more creative? Is “You are your gonads or gametes” really the best approach for feminism? Addressing these questions invites us to focus on the theme of the next comment: the origins of patriarchy.

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