This morning I woke up, and like most mornings, I readied myself for the daily wave of anti-trans rhetoric.
For those of you who don’t know what a gish gallop is, it’s a tool used when debating to overwhelm an opponent with SO MANY arguments, with no discretion for the validity of the argument, that it is impossible to respond. Waves and waves of anti-trans “concerns” flood the news, and by the time you even begin to answer one “concern,” there are a dozen more that have accumulated while you’ve been responding.
Honestly, some days it’s hard to breathe when I get hit by that tidal wave.
Something I’ve observed though is that most of the “concerns” around trans folks are premised on fundamentally not believing trans people are who they say they are. This pile of problems creates an unnavigable morass to distract from the primary issue: trans people are people who deserve full human rights, dignity, and respect.
I cannot tell you how many times I have stopped a conversation about women’s bathrooms or trans people in sports in its tracks by simply cutting straight to the chase “Do you believe that trans women are real women?” In that moment there is often… a hesitation, and then something like “Well… yes but also they haven’t lived as real women…” or “If someone has fully transitioned, then yes, but if they haven’t then…” This slippery nugget slithers under the majority of trans-related concerns, creating an Otherness in people’s minds, and until it is addressed it will continue to insinuate itself into every “concern.”
It’s okay to not “get it.” It’s okay to be confused, and there will be lots of messy uncomfortable moments as the world adjusts to creating space for trans people. People’s feelings will get hurt. Change is hard! But the first thing you can do as an ally is simply this: believe trans people.
Trans people are basically made into a public spectacle where everyone gets to chat about what they really think is enough for someone to be “real.” People jump right into discussing the logistics of “the trans debate,” creating a huge tally of problems, without first reflecting on their own biases and coming to truly 100% accept that trans people are telling the truth about who they are. Any argument that isn’t first founded on believing trans people is simply a bad faith argument. A lot of people need a little guidance to get to this place.
For instance, my mother is an extremely liberal woman, but she definitely struggled to accept that trans women were “real” women, even years after accepting me, her own kid, as nonbinary. I asked her to engage in an imaginative exercise with me. “Imagine,” I told her, “That you are you: Kate. Exactly you, with all the textures and flavors of Kate-ness, knowing with your full heart and soul that you are YOU.” Then I asked her to imagine herself born in a different body. Not that she had been born a man, but as herself, Kate, treated like someone else. By building from that imaginative space, I asked her to imagine being forced into certain kinds of behaviors and expectations knowing that she was really herself underneath all that, and that furthermore when she tried to tell people the truth of who she was, they tried to convince her that she was mentally ill and tried to heavily regulate her in public and private spaces. Trans women don’t spend their childhoods “living as boys,” they spend their childhoods living as girls who are perceived and forced to live as boys. Trans women endure all the same pressures and gender norms as cis women do but in different ways, and they have to wrangle with the added layers of transphobia and misogyny that emerge when they come out or try to transition.
“But women are killed all over the world, just for being women,” she told me in one heated argument.
“Exactly,” I responded. “And some of those women are trans.”
That’s when she got it.
I have had so many awkward and uncomfortable but transformative conversations when I shift the gear to what I am really hearing underneath a person’s “concerns.” I am hearing that they don’t get it and that that makes them afraid. I am hearing that they are afraid that they will lose something, that women will be robbed of their spaces. However, once someone is able to make this mental shift, their concerns shift as they realize that protecting trans women IS protecting women, and that women’s rights and trans rights are inherently woven together.
So my task for you today, Jackals, is to reflect on who in your life you can have this gentle conversation with. I wouldn’t go for your far-right MAGA hat wearing uncle, but maybe there’s someone in your book club or friend group who you can invite out for coffee. Help trans folks by seeing if you can get one person to open their mind today. If all 200+ of you who commented on my last post could shift 5 people over the course of the month, that’s 1,000 people who are suddenly seeing things a bit more clearly.
Also, speaking to my own mental health: Because every day feels like an assault, I have to take these posts simply and gently. They’re probably full of typos! I’m hoping to do a post about later in the week about how transphobia is an old tool used by fascists to seize power, and definitely recommend the linked article. I also encourage people to stay up to date on anti-trans legislation by subscribing to Erin in the Morning substack — Erin is doing *tremendous work* for the trans community and is well-worth subscribing to!
I’m on a train heading to DC for a wedding, and I’m spending a few extra days there because I’m thinking of moving there. If you’re local and have any fun recs, please holler in the comments! Hopefully his majesty will be okay for a few days without me.
I’ll be brutally honest. I don’t believe you’re really a planet.
I missed your intro post, as I’m really just an infrequent lurker these days. But still, please allow me to say “Welcome.”
@Baud: STOP PLUTO-ING ME, OPPRESSOR
I will try talking about imagining yourself in a different body and how I would react if people expected me to be different. Enjoy your trip to DC. The cherry blossoms are not quite out, but peaking. There are some early blooms by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel near the tidal basin. The great magnolias by the Smithsonian Castle are lovely.
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Thoughts on Transgenderism.
I love that this is the first thing I get to read today. As a trans person, who transitioned fifteen years ago, I feel my life is MORE under attack now than ever before. Back then my whole goal was to stealth and pretend to not exist, now I just pray that I get to exist.
Dorothy A. Winsor
To me, one of the best ways to imagine myself in a different body is through fiction. I just finished Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki in which one of the point of view characters is trans. It helped me a little to see through this character’s eyes and live her experience.
At my book club on Monday, one of the most conservative members announced her choice for the May discussion that she’s slated to lead: Mad Honey by Jody Picoult and Jennifer Boylan. This club member is a big Picoult fan and I’m willing to bet she picked the book without reading it because it includes a trans character. I’ll be interested to see how the discussion goes.
Should you find the time, stop by and say “Howdy!” to Owney.
I am happy to say that is basically the argument that I have used in conversations with ostensibly friendly family members who are just kind of “weirded out” by the idea of trans people. Not really deep thinkers by nature, it was a way to get them to cast a more sympathetic eye.
ETA: For the more literary minded, I have used Gregor Samsa. Imagine waking up one morning to find you are you, but your outer form is something completely different, wouldn’t you want to do anything to become your proper self?
I also think that particular imaginative leap is key. Not trying to imagine why someone with a body like yours would want to change it, but that you, with your personality and your gender, were unaccountably born with a different body and identified from birth as a gender that doesn’t match.
I was thinking about that after reading a cis man saying that, while he could respect the choice, he couldn’t viscerally understand why someone with a male body would want to change that. The thing that he’d need to start by imagining is not being a trans woman, but being a trans man.
You beat me to it. I was going to recommend the Postal Museum. Off the beaten track, but right next to the train station and a lot of fun.
I also missed your “welcome” post, so now I’ll go back to your tag and see what else you wrote.
And thanks for being here and for writing this. I have a trans child not out to the world, and so I live in a nebulous brain area. Ultimately when I read people arguing against trans rights, I want to scream. Person first, human rights. Eh, my thoughts aren’t coming together, but Hi. Nice cat, to boot!
@Baud: I suppose you don’t think Planetjanet is a planet, either?
Beautifully written. Thank you.
If you are going to be in DC for awhile to look around, take a day for Baltimore. It’s a train ride away and they have wonderful museums from Art (Walters, BMA, Visionary), Science and Tech (Aquarium, Museum of Industry, B&O) and local history (Babe Ruth, Poe, Maritime, and historic houses of worship) and the Dental Museum is more fun than you think.
DC people never go to Baltimore. You’d think it was on another planet.
That is silly. It’s right there in their name.
truth. which is why 95% of those lawmakers talking about how ‘ concerned’ they are with respect to trans people are not to be believed. That’s my default position.
they started off with ‘ what about the children’ and suddenly, we are now seeing laws about trans ADULTS. getting all up in their business.
Got to your first post late and thoroughly enjoyed it and the thoughtful comments. Thank you for sharing experiences and insights!
Where in the DC area will you be staying? It’s a big place!
This breaks my heart all kinds of ways.
I just want to know how they are supposed to know that someone using the ladies room is not a woman.
I know lots of people, myself included, who have been mistaken for the “opposite” sex from behind. One of my girlfriends had sharp features and was skinny and almost flat, and she was mistaken for a boy frequently until after she had her first child and developed noticeable breasts.
I just assume the person knows where they are and where they belong.
@rikyrah: One of the problems we have here is that liberals are perennially eager to try to identify excesses and failure modes of their own attitudes. They assume that that’s part of exercising good faith, and they absolutely bend over backwards. “Obviously it’s good to support trans rights, but might there be some corner case where it can be taken too far?”
But it’s always 100% bad faith on the other side. Express the slightest reservation and the opposition will use it as an opening to blow your whole program wide open. They go from denouncing political correctness in the name of free speech directly to banning books and making classroom discussions a crime.
And why should anyone besides a particular trans person decide what ‘fully transitioned’ means for themselves anyway? One of my friends is a trans man, and nobody would confuse him for a woman. If he still has a vagina, has he fully transitioned? I’d say that’s his business. (I’ve never asked him, why should I?)
I’ll have to reflect a little more on your post, and you are probably booked solid with wedding related events, but a few places to consider if you have a little downtime (especially if you are lucky enough to be free on a week day — so much nicer):
National Museum of the American Indian
U.S. Botanic Gardens
All in a line on Independence Avenue beginning at 12th Street and walking towards the Capitol.
Give Chef Jose Andres a little coin and treat yourself to lunch at Oyamel (around 7th Street, up a few blocks from the Mall).
My brain and heart and thumbs are stumbling trying to express my admiration for you here. For your experience and they way you are using it to connect and expand and bring humanity. What an asset to this place!
When it comes down to it, so much that we talk about here is about developing the courage to be open, versus the fear that causes people to close. In so many ways the challenge for us that work to open the world is about listening to the fear and helping people overcome it.
That’s a really wonderful drawing, Eddie! (Delightful cat, too.)
@JaneE: That’s just because you mind your own damned business. What kind of person does that?
I don’t think saying “trans women are real women” is going to convince anyone who doesn’t buy into the claim to start with.
Obviously, trans people deserve full human rights. An adult who wants to transition should, and does, have the right to do so, and should have insurance coverage for any related treatments.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to “just believe” a child when they say they’re trans, and want to medically transition. It doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to tell a child that they can *be* boy or a girl, when in reality that’s just not possible.
It also doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be some spaces reserved for biological women.
These topics need a more nuanced discussion than simply saying “trans women are women.”
Dorothy A. Winsor
@JaneE: Right. How are they planning on enforcing these bathroom laws?
“…the primary issue: trans people are people who deserve full human rights, dignity, and respect.”
“Something I’ve observed though is that most of the “concerns” around trans folks are premised on fundamentally not believing trans people are who they say they are.”
This is especially frustrating when I see it coming from Gay/Lesbian people I know. People who had to battle the “You’re not what you say you are” bullshit, themselves with their own family, co-workers etc., but then turn around and use it against Transgender people.
Listen to people and BELIEVE THEM! is really the first step to unlearning every Ism/Phobia. That wall of disbelief and refusal to listen to marginalized groups is the biggest piece, holding up individual Racism, Misogyny, Transphobia, Xenophobia etc. Once you start listening/believing them, the rest comes pretty easily (the work of dismantling systems, of course, is much harder). But it really is as simple as flipping a switch in your brain and just committing to NOT REJECTING and hand-waving away, what people from marginalized groups tell you about their identity, lived experience, oppression etc.
I do have this conversation fairly often, as my “I support Trangender visibility” sign on my farmers market booth inspires it often. And as my friend Meghan says, most people just don’t understand, and most try to be kind (Meghan is far more generous than me). In the end, I hope we can return to the old-fashioned idea of live and let live.
and repeating from downstairs for planet eddie and other local jackals: Speaking of the *not* smoldering ruins of Seattle, going to mention again that I’ll be there from the night of the 3rd to the late afternoon of the 6th, and am cooking up a meetup with opiejeanne and Dan B. Any local jackals interested in joining us can email me at skinluvvers at g mail dot com so we can get a consensus of date and time that will work. Alas, not a weekend, so unlikely the legendary Yutsano can join us.
@David Hunt: I was thinking the same – as I did not recognize the poster!
@Pittsburgh Mike: I’ll tell you what, we can have the more nuanced discussion once people accept the general proposition. I don’t see the point of fighting over details when the right is trying to eliminate a whole group of people.
@rikyrah: I am fortunate though, I live in Colorado. One of the safest states (though I amazingly transitioned in Houston back in ’08. Though back then, I could easily stealth.)
I also have a huge friendly community here, and my wife of twenty-five years! I’ve also helped other people find themselves and transition, but it’s just such a scary time now.
@Omnes Omnibus: Of course, but people do. MYOB was Ann Landers most common advice. And her sister Abby’s.
Jacqueline Squid Onassis
@Pittsburgh Mike: You give yourself away when you use the term “biological women.” That’s how I know who you are.
If you’d like to be an ally, you can say, “cis women” and recognize that trans women ARE women who belong in women’s spaces.
So for some subset there are likely some kids who might think they are but realize they are not. That’s when a therapist helps. Some of my own family – liberal as they are or independent – they’ve also been talking about their concerns. One of them was about friend’s kids who told their parents to use certain pronouns in high school, but a few years later reverted back. I think we might see a lot of gender exploration from 13-20 – but that kind of exploration should involve a therapist.
@Omnes Omnibus: That’s my take on the issue too — it’s a triage thing. Sometimes I wonder if we can ever get to broader acceptance of the general proposition without a more nuanced discussion, but on the other hand, is anyone who is persuadable held back by lack of nuanced discussions? I have my doubts.
All these anti-trans laws could become a form of harassment from the govt for men and women who might have androgynous features.
You hit the nail on the head with “believe them”. This the heart of every diversity training/discussion I have been in. Many will not believe, have faith or empathy until they see it or experience it. I would be rich for all the times I have heard “I don’t believe that happens.” They can’t hear a tree fall unless it is in their forest. It also causes a parochial addressing of concerns. A population cannot imagine anything beyond their experience, when they should be a uniting around all their concerns. The concerns are universal: be who we are without hassle or fear.
I believe but don’t fully understand but I don’t need to. I am your ally, advocate, and accomplice. Btw Ursula LeGuin’s(sp) books caused me to consider the various ways of being. Be well.
The Moar You Know
This has not been my experience with most people. Not even most “liberal” folks. The answer is almost always a flat-out, immediate “no”.
Where do you go with that?
I think what’s really remarkable and also why right wing messaging have gained a foothold is the sheer amount of societal changes that have occurred since the 90s. The cultural changes are massive.
Tattoos, body art, piercings, – things that were kind of anti-establishment have become routine. Heck, even neck/face tattoos now (although I have no idea why you would do that, but you do you)
From there, it’s LBGTQ+ becoming seen and accepted. Black folks becoming a large part of the middle class – also being seen. All of that drives cultural changes on what and what isn’t acceptable. We also have a wide variety of sexual and friend relationships.
Our society is becoming more accepting of things that we know are on a spectrum. (sex, ableness, mental) Our human constructs are no longer adequate – gendered languages for example.
Hell of a phenomena.
@Pittsburgh Mike: Thank you for showing us that you don’t believe trans people are who they say they are. You are the problem *ding ding ding ding ding*
My entire life is having nuanced conversations about gender, but there is simply no point having a nuanced argument with someone who doesn’t accept the fundamental premise of trans people being right about who they are.
@lowtechcyclist: THIS!!! If gender is a spectrum not a binary (which I think anyone who has done even the most basic, good-faith reading of the science would agree is true) then by definition, transitioning is also a spectrum. Some AFAB people (assigned female at birth) decide to get bottom surgery. Some don’t. Same goes for AMAB, Intersex people etc.
@Pittsburgh Mike: An important thing to understand is that generally kids are not being rushed into anything irreversible–it’s not like a 5-year-old says they’re trans and they immediately get surgery. What happens is that maybe kids who are approaching puberty get puberty blockers, so they can put off any irreversible decision, and they don’t get locked into physical changes that are irreversible or difficult to alter.
But I’d respect their choices when it comes to how they’re categorized and pronoun’ed and addressed. Yes, kids change their minds about things a lot. But that level of respect tells them that if they decide differently later, they’ll get the same kind of respect.
There seems to be an idea that kids need to be railroaded strongly into a cis gender identity and if through some strange quirk of personality they still push against that as adults, then we can respect it. But there’s going to be unnecessary suffering involved in that. My understanding is that frequently, trans people know they’re trans very early in life. Insisting that some kid is a boy or a girl contrary to what they think is not a harmless neutral position.
So I did have a discussion with my sister, who is basically non-judgmental and definitely liberal. The “women in sports” issue is a hook for her, and you have to give opponents credit for knowing where to insert the knife for the quickest and cleanest kill.
As I said to her, as I have said to myself, these people don’t give a rat’s ass for women’s sports, have probably never even been to a swim meet and would probably turn the tv off rather than watch one even if it was the only programming being aired. So, we all know that, as I said to my sister (who is recovering from reconstructive breast surgery), this is a way to divert people from things that really matter to them and that affect so many more people, like good schools, or just about anything else, and they do it by demonizing a group small enough that it can be effectively othered, even in this day and age of Internet and mass communications.
Which is not to say that issues affecting transgendered persons aren’t important, and I totally agree that persecution of transgendered persons is just part of the misogyny and patriarchy that is intent on finding a way to punish people but especially female people for not conforming to established patriarchal imperatives in how they live their lives. They aren’t happy that they get to live their own life, they want to live yours too or at least tell you how you have to live it in a way that maximizes their hold on power and privilege.
I told her that I refused to be distracted. She agreed and we moved on.
What I told my son, probably when he was 10 and we were watching a science show on the ambiguity of gender in many people — it’s very hard maybe impossible to imagine if you are happy in your own body, but this sense of being “misgendered” seems to be very deeply felt and genuine in the people expressing it, and we have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they know themselves better than we do.
A part of me does understand the disorientation of feminists who have spent a lifetime fighting against the artificial construct of gender, and how it imprisons women who don’t conform to its narrow and biting contours. They are fearful that acceptance of transgendered women will be seen as pushing a construct that elevates the immutability of gender differences in a way that implicitly if not explicitly knocks back their quest for women to be accepted as people who should not be constrained by gender divisions that are imposed by social and cultural norms.
Which is to say, that I do think it is important to think about transgenderism in a way that is at least cognizant of the feelings and arguments of people who should be friendly but who seem unable to close this gap on their own.
@Omnes Omnibus: The downside of not having nuanced discussions until Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott are universally recognized as hateful fools is that you lose a lot of elections along the way.
If you want to convince people of the validity of a position different their current thoughts, you have to be willing to engage. Otherwise, you’re just performing.
@The Moar You Know: This is tricky. It involves a LOT of listening and gentle questioning. I’ve had these conversations with SO many people, and honestly it just takes time.
Usually I just start with: “Why?” and I go from there. Often the reason why comes down to a hurt in that person that they need to address. I think just being willing to listen to that and gently respond with my own experience and resources can help shift people. I don’t try to shift someone further than they can go, I just try to move them as far as they can go that day.
I remember one of the things that helped was having more trans representation in media. I can sit down with someone and show them Pose or Transparent (for all that it is problematic) and that helps broaden their ideas a bit.
@Pittsburgh Mike: So I had this discussion with my sister (a former teacher), and here are a few things that we agreed on:
The idea that kids are “pushed” into permanent changes is simply bananas. It is quite a bit more likely that kids (as well as adults) will face many barriers in accessing even temporary or non-permanent treatment and lifestyle changes.
@cain: I thing the same is true about India too. The last 20 years saw a lot of societal change and the conservative elements are pushing back.
I attended a Twitter Space before the UP elections and that point was made by a journalist who was attending the space. The empowerment of OBCs and Dalits that culminated into successive governments by the Yadavs (Janata Dal) and then Mayawati (BSP) has consolidated the upper castes into a vote bank for BJP. (>90% Brahmins and Thakurs vote for the BJP now)
@Barbara: I think the reason you see feminist pushback is that many women have dedicated their lives to the proposition that being a woman shouldn’t restrict your role in society, whether it is in your choice of job, or any other interests for that matter.
Now, they see people being told that if you’re a girl or woman and you’re rejecting the gendered role that some in society want to stick you with, you should consider transitioning to being a man.
And they’re saying “No.”
@Barbara: Yes! There’s a lot that is really great that has been written about trans folks in sports. I linked some of this in the last post I did:
The Science Says Let Transgender Women Play Sports
ACLU: Four Myths about Trans Athletes Debunked
Semi-OT but related: has anyone been watching the tv series Next In Fashion on Netflix? It’s a Project Runway rip-off design show hosted by Tan France (of Queer Eye fame) and model Gigi Hadid. Anyways
this season has a Transgender man named James as one of the contestants. But we didn’t find that out until the fourth episode where each designer was asked to design a look inspired by their childhood. So when they pulled up the photo for James the audience saw a little girl. I don’t know if James was warned before coming onto the show that there would be a challenge like this (reality shows love to make episode narratives around coming outs like this) but he was noticeably uncomfortable with the whole thing. Whether or not the show outed him without his consent (which would be a HUGE NO NO), just the fact that they forced him to sit there and see a picture from the time when he was so unhappy that he considered suicide, is so gross. The show’s hosts and judges tried to spin it all into a triumphant celebration for James, but they really never should’ve put him in such a position in the first place. They didn’t dead-name or mis-gender him, but what they did was still super-shitty.
@Matt McIrvin: I think the issue is that a lot of children figure out their sexuality when they go through puberty. I’m guessing that’s why the percentage of people who proceed to cross-sex hormone treatments once they’re put on puberty blockers is something like 98% ( https://www.npr.org/2022/10/26/1131398960/gender-affirming-care-trans-puberty-suppression-teens ).
So, puberty blockers are really the first step towards medical transition, not simply an opportunity to buy time.
I can just imagine how sensitive and empathetic the bathroom monitors will be under the new bathroom laws. Not.
This is a TERF talking point and utterly crap.
I *celebrate* the women in my life — those who are feminine and those who are masculine. The idea that ANY trans person would want to force someone else to be trans is ridiculous. We want a world where everyone can feel fully embodied, seen, heard, and loved as themselves.
Every single one of your comments on this post is a bad faith argument as you clearly do not believe the premise that trans people are who they say they are. Do you see why it is impossible to argue with someone who argues in such bad faith?
Hi. Longtime lurker here. I’m a trans man in the process of transitioning late-ish in life, for a bunch of reasons.
I have multiple friends with kids who are trans, and I cannot overstate the importance of this next bit: even with children, the first principle is to trust and believe what they tell you about their gender identity.
I know a lot of generally liberal people get very uncomfortable about kids expressing a gender identity different than whatever was assigned them at birth. But accepting what a kid tells you about their gender does not in any way damage or endanger them. What it does do is tell those kids that they are safe and supported.
Responding to divergent gender expressions with doubt, or skepticism, or discouragement — however well intended — does the opposite. And FSM knows that we do not need trans kids feeling unsafe. We’ve got an epidemic of that already.
Trans children do not receive irreversible medical interventions. Generally, they do not receive any medical interventions at all until puberty, and then only in consultation with doctors and caregivers, and it’s most likely to be a puberty blocker — which, as previously explained, is temporary and reversible. (I cannot tell you how much I wish that had been available to me.)
Some of those gender-exploring kids may grow up to eventually identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Many — most — will not. Giving them a safe space to figure things out does the opposite of harm.
If you don’t think kids can know, ask yourself how old you were when you first recognized which gender you were attracted to. For most people, it’s way before they’re old enough to do anything about it.
Thanks for coming to my TED talk. Eddie, thank you for your posts.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
For a good bit of the public, they absolutely do not believe trans people are who they say they are. Period. They do not believe any sort of gender fluidity exists at all. Even though people who are anti-gay sometimes don’t believe someone is really gay, as in they could be converted or must at least bisexual, mostly homophobia is people struggling with their own feelings toward the same sex. With anti-trans sentiment, it is more they believe gender is binary and immutable and plus a healthy dose of misogyny.
@Pittsburgh Mike: That is absolute nonsense.
@Pittsburgh Mike: No, what they are doing is failing to understand that transitioning from male to female is unrelated to to their own experience of gender, as well as implicitly endorsing the view (IMHO) that women are worth less than men.
Regardless of what transgenderism means for gender in a larger sense, TERFs are failing to understand that their concerns have nothing in common with the “concerns” of, say evangelical Christians, who hate transgenderism precisely because it means there are some people who do not see their biological “purpose” as conforming to what “God” intended.
The concerns of feminists are theoretical and speculative — what does this mean for my theory of gender? We’ve been debating the role of gender in intelligence and ability for ages and we will go on doing so probably until the end of time. Transgenderism supports some points in favor of “immutable” gender traits and challenges others.
Maybe we will never understand it totally, but one thing I believe is, individuals should be able to carve their own path if they want to. And I reject, out of hand and completely, that we should stop people from pursuing their wishes because it conflicts with our ideas about who they “should” be under our preferred theories of gender.
That should be something that feminists can totally support.
You’re going to say, “well, yes, maybe if a person is an adult . . .” and I will say that I qualifiedly believe that adulthood is probably too rigid — and that capacity to give consent on fundamental issues (like, say getting contraception or an abortion) are things that we do recognize with minors.
I want to be very clear to everyone in the comments that this user is doing exactly what I discussed in my post: a gish gallop of bad faith arguments.
I’m glad we could have such a clear example for the class!
@The Moar You Know: I might go to some version of “I guess when you think about it there isn’t any such thing really…” and head into the reality that gender is a social construction.
One of the problems here in my experience is the tension between many actual trans people feeling a desperate need to get to the opposite gender running against the reality that binary gender is a social construct. I’m not really vibing with the term “real woman” at all, any more than I am “real man.”
Ah yes…the Gish Gallop…I have personally argued with fundie creationists over the years (retired Bio teacher here), and with reich winger acquaintances on FB nowadays, and recognize the tactic lol – I’ve educated several leftie friends about it (they were befuddled about what the RWNJs were doing), and gratified to see the light bulb going on when I told them…
What I mostly see is an insistence on a brutal, primitive religious based essentialism. There are only 2 sexes, sex and gender are identical and perfectly created, etc. Prohibiting anything related to transgender is another way of “protecting babies.”
I used to be somewhat shocked at the return to this idiocy. Now I just look for ways to fight it.
@Pittsburgh Mike: That’s the TERF line that people like Rowling are pushing, that it’s advocates for trans rights that are for rigid gender roles because they insist that anyone who’s outside the box needs to transition.
It’s bullshit. You can see that just from who these people ally with: right-wing gender police who are trying to cram everyone into as narrow a box as possible. It is not the trans-rights advocates who are harassing butch women in restrooms; who are raising panics about female athletes who they think look too masculine (often when they are actually cis); who are trying to shut down drag shows and outlaw the use of unusual pronouns in schools, etc., etc. It’s a theoretical argument that does not stand up to reality.
The OP here is by a nonbinary trans person. The whole brouhaha around novel pronouns largely centers on nonbinary people. It’s hard to imagine that as any kind of enforcement of rigid gender stereotypes.
@Bupalos: My response to this is, yeah, it’s a mystery — there is so much we don’t understand about gender and how biology factors into gendered differences. And it will go on. In the here and now, if someone truly believes that their “true” self can only be expressed in a body that conforms to the opposite gender, let’s not punish them because we haven’t achieved resolution of age-old social arguments about whether or how much binary gender is a real thing or a social construct.
That was the question that popped into my mind when I saw the phrase “real woman.” What does that mean? To me, it has no meaning and encompasses so many different possibilities. It really is a social construct and not particularly helpful.
@Maxim: Thank you for sharing this and welcome.
Perhaps the best way to handle a gish gallop is to state, “You’re spewing a lot of nonsense. Come back when you know something and we can talk.”
Dorothy A. Winsor
Someone posted a link to this John Oliver episode the other day. I apologize for not remembering. I found it helpful for its basic explanation of what gender affirming care for children typically consists of.
@satby: Ooh! Ooh! I want to come, too! I’ll send you an email.
@Maxim: As a person who works at a major US medical school with a hospital doing a lot of work in the area of human development, thank you.
@trnc: We could start filling out a bingo card.
I have often wondered why religious people are so afraid of things they don’t understand when one of the outsized tenets of their faith is “God works in mysterious ways,” but I generally assume it’s just a convenient dodge to questions about earthquakes that kill kids, etc.
Or, some feminists are also bigots.
@NotMax: I love the bit where Shapiro mocks the idea of gender being on a spectrum, totally oblivious to the fact that if he walked into the typical redneck bar or biker gang hangout (that is, a place where hypermasculine men congregate) in his pressed khakis, his hairless baby-face, and his generally dweeby demeanor, most of the inhabitants would look down on him as being “unmanly” because he’s not tall, not muscular, doesn’t have a deep voice, doesn’t work in a heavy-labor intensive profession, etc. And there’s nothing wrong with that … except that Shapiro demands we all live in a world of extreme gender essentialism that automatically classes Shapiro as “a manly man” alongside those bikers and cowboys and longshoremen simply because he has all the right plumbing.
@Matt McIrvin: Ha!
@rikyrah: Yes. This. And when they began to be excoriated for all the violence, threats to Children’s Hospitals, they pivoted back to adult trans and bathrooms, which had tanked as a meme before…they are throwing stuff at the wall because abortion is no longer a hot topic they can use to rile up the base
@NotMax: OMFG I can’t stand Shapiro
@WaterGirl: Yeah, Baud better wise up. And build his thighs up, I suppose.
@cain: Like the freakout over CRT, the freakout over Transgender issues is a reaction to the fact that we really have made some huge strides in the past few years (“we” as a society, I’m Cisgender myself). Just watching the Oscars red carpet coverage the other evening, we had Laverne Cox looking stunning and interviewing everyone, Hunter Schafer and Janelle Monae (non-binary) making everyone swoon. Reality tv shows nowadays almost always have Transgender contestants who are (mostly) treated respectfully. Shows like Pose, P-Valley, Sex Education, Never Have I Ever and Euphoria, with Trans or gender-exploring characters. Transgender activists marching proudly for various issues and even getting elected to Congress, etc. Most of us probably know people with Transgender loved-ones who are living more freely than had ever been possible only recently. Compared to just 20 years ago, it’s a much different world and much of it is wonderful. Sadly, the bigots are reacting as they always do.
I think you are correct that many arguments are premised on the idea trans people are simply playing dress-up. They think men are choosing to wear women’s clothes so they can go into the women’s bathroom. They think men are choosing to compete in women’s sports so they will have an advantage. Their idea of trans is probably Corporal Klinger from the TV show MASH who wears women’s clothing as a dodge to get out of the Army.
I doubt they understand the long and difficult journey of trans people. Years spent feeling off or wrong. Time in therapy. Medical treatments, hormone regimens, and painful surgery. Risking rejection from society. It’s not a lark, it’s not a whim
I keep waiting for someone to discover the existence of intersex people who were born different. God didn’t just make humans male and female, it’s not binary.
One barrier most men who are otherwise respectfully accepting of trans women (including as friend or colleague) won’t ever cross is willingness to accept them as a potential mate, e.g. girlfriend or wife. OTOH, unless they are more broadly transphobic or trans-hating, they can accept the choice of another man who pairs up with a trans female. This is no different than straight men accepting as a friend a man they know is gay, without any possibility of romantic pairing-off.
I blame Milton Berle.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
There is a nuance there, though. Gay and lesbian people, at least in my age group, have been told by straight people that even though they have explained over and over that they are physically attracted to people of the same sex (and often NOT attracted to people of the opposite sex), that it shouldn’t matter. They should still get married and have sexual relationships with people of the opposite sex. I can’t tell you how many times cis men who were attracted to me have said that it shouldn’t matter that they have male genitalia and I find that a huge turnoff, I should still have sex with them anyway because THEY thought it would be a great experience for me. The first time I heard the same message coming from a trans woman who had not transitioned, it made me angry. Genitalia are not irrelevant to sexual attraction. While genitalia aren’t the only thing about a person’s body or the way they package it that makes that person physically and sexually attractive, they are an important part of it.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Jon Stewart also did a great episode that is well worth watching. Free link here.
@JaneE: On this past Saturday I went into a women’s restroom and the person in the next stall was standing to urinate. A woman who has not fully transitioned yet.
I thought at first it was just someone who had mistakenly gone into the wrong restroom, and was slightly amused/sympathetic because I have gone into the men’s by mistake. I did not feel threatened by this person but I was curious; when I left my stall I saw this person exit the room and realized that it was a clerk, a woman who had helped me briefly earlier in the day. She had been polite and helpful in a place that was a bit chaotic, a huge “antique” mall that was so full of people that it was hard to maneuver, hard to be polite and in that moment I just hoped that the masses treated her well.
I’m 73. Enlightenment about many things came slowly at first.
@Pittsburgh Mike: Nuanced discussions don’t win elections.
@Pittsburgh Mike: Where are the “spaces” for intersex people? Should there be “spaces” for biological heterosexual people so they don’t have to associate with LGB and / or TQ people?
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: Well, Geez, I think my answer this bit of outrageous assumption that “any male will do” is to the effect of, “no one is attracted to everyone, and I will let you know if I am attracted to you.”
Receipts, please. Show me where literally anyone has ever said this even once. I have never in my life heard someone say “Oh, you want to challenge gender roles? HAVE YOU TRIED BEING TRANS INSTEAD?” That is a laughable and absurd claim, dude. You’ve already made it clear where you stand, and now you’re just adding disingenuous bad faith garbage on top.
@planet eddie: Thank you for posting this, and welcome to our little jackal soiree, even though this is your second post and I just missed the first.
@planet eddie: Thank you for posting this, and welcome to our little jackal soiree, even though this is your second post and I just missed the first.
Also, too, if someone suggests changing gender roles, you can always say no if you don’t want to.
I have this fantasy–and, actually, have had it since I was a teen–that the gender binary just . . . disappears. No more gendered pronouns, no more prescriptions for behavior, dress, etc. based on that binary, no more hierarchy based on gender–all of it gone. People can dress, behave, live, love, however the hell they want. Alternatively, expand it from a binary to a true spectrum, for language and identification purposes, with a variety of genders and pronouns. The insistence on a binary, an either/or, is at the root of all of it.
Until then, however, I believe people know who they are.
@opiejeanne: Not sure of how close of an inspection you made, but my sister is recovering from surgery and her doctor encouraged her to buy a device that is typically used for camping that allows her to pee standing up because her surgery makes it somewhat difficult to sit properly.
@Omnes Omnibus: What kind of person does that? Not totally sure, but I think her name is Karen.
@Baud: No, Baud. In Pittsburgh Mike’s world, transitioning is FORCED ON YOU AS SOON AS YOU SHOW AN IOTA OF DISLIKE FOR SOMETHING ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR ASSIGNED GENDER. Or something.
That do be how woke do.
@trnc: consider that religious faith is and always has been first and foremost about fear.
@cain: I think about this a lot, especially for children who don’t easily fit binary standards in appearance.
Alternatively, “one asshole in my underpants is enough.”
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: Thanks for adding that. Diamond Stylez (host of the Marsha’s Plate podcast) talked about this recently when the topic was discussed: is it Transphobic for someone to only want to date/f*** Cisgender women but not Transgender women? Which is a claim I’ve actually seen some Transgender activists and allies make. As Diamond put it: No, that goes against the very bedrock of Queer Liberation which is that nobody gets to tell anyone who they should f***. Sexual attraction and tastes are complicated. If we say “well you need to date/f*** who WE think you should” we aren’t being any better than people who think gay sex/love is somehow wrong and are doing the exact same bullshit policing that they are.
@Maxim: I knew some people with a kid who might be described as genderqueer–he identified as a boy, he was fine with being a boy, and he liked to wear dresses and pink stuff. This was in super liberal Cambridge, Mass. While they carefully asked him about his gender identity, I don’t recall any pressure whatsoever for him to identify as a girl.
I see zero tension between this and being supportive of trans kids. It’s just a matter of taking what they tell you seriously. There’s only a tension if someone goes Matt Walsh and insists on an objective definition of gender that can be measured with scientific instruments.
Look, I understand about wanting to push back against disingenuous or dishonest arguments, but the argument Pittsburgh Mike makes is one that is made, and I think a good response would be to address the argument rather than attack him for bringing it up.
For many generations the only way women could be fully autonomous is by living as men, whether they were actually transgender or not. History and popular entertainments are FULL of women-living-as-men, for any number of reasons. That is a legacy which colors women-in-society today, particularly in areas where women are still not accorded a full set of civil and economic rights. Those women didn’t necessarily want to “be men”; they wanted to have the same rights and opportunities men had.
@Omnes Omnibus: More than 30 years ago I started seeing articles about people whose gender was unclear at birth, and had been raised as one gender but identified as another when they were adults. Their gender assignment was arbitrarily made, surgery was done on them to “correct” (remove) their incomplete male genitalia and they were raised as girls. The articles were sympathetic to their suffering and yes, they had suffered, and there was no uproar, no outcry about these men.
I wonder if what is different now is that it’s not just men reclaiming their denied gender identity.
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: Genitalia don’t HAVE to be determinatively related to attraction, anymore than eyes or skin color or intellect or anything else. Now obviously they generally are, and I wouldn’t have too much time for someone telling me what I should and shouldn’t be attracted to. That’s at the least deeply unattractive to me
Thank you for this post. My niece is in the process of transitioning into my nephew and I am struggling with how to be supportive without being judgmental. I know I have a lot of blind spots simply because this is something I’ve never had to navigate through before.
@Alison Rose: Meanwhile, outside of Mike’s fantasy world (in what we would call the “real” world), our society has such a hard-on (pun intended) to force people to live according to their assigned gender that people routinely hold gender reveal parties and load up on blue/pink stuff before their kid is even born!! But yeah the real problem is pushing everyone to be Trans, lol
“I don’t want to transition so nobody else should either” isn’t an argument.
Agreed, and I think it feeds into the right wing trope. What I would say is, as you more or less said, trans people are people. We may not understand what makes a trans person believe they need to change, but who says we need to understand everything? They must really believe it because no one would put themselves through that on a lark, and transitioning really only affects that person (the transition itself, so factoring out the hate and that may affect others around them).
@CaseyL: Yes, BUT… I have heard of some of those cases where the person was celebrated as a feminist icon for going to such lengths to break out of the social boxes women were put in… but if you go look at primary sources you find that this person was probably what we’d call a trans guy. Identified as male even privately, saw no tension in adopting a male identity, did not acknowledge they were doing it for any reason other than being male.
And I do imagine it’s painful, seeing figures ripped out of your history of liberation and stuck into somebody else’s. But it doesn’t mean you react by denying someone else’s reality of gender.
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
Imma let you fight this fire, but first I want to discuss the placement of the hydrant.
@Barbara: Stalls, Barbara. No inspection. The body of this woman had made me wonder briefly when we interacted, but then she was painfully thin and it was none of my business, and her face said “I’m a woman”.
Very young, tall, an attractive person, and none of my business.
Could? Why do I see so many assuming that’s a bug and not a feature?
Transgender people (like anybody who’s not straight) are a threat to the agenda: exert control over people by giving them strict roles in society they must play on penalty of ostracization at best and violence at worst.
But it’s not just the not-straight. It’s the straight who don’t conform to the roles they’re supposed to play. Look the way they’re supposed to look. Act the way they’re supposed to act.
Getting to use transgender folks as an excuse to shame, harass, or attack cis men and cis women who don’t look like “men and women” is a bonus, not a drawback.
That isn’t to say it couldn’t backfire, but a lot of these folks aren’t long-term thinkers.
DC resident here, I don’t know what neighborhood you are going to be based in but if you can try Ambar – there are a few in DC and they are good.
Also, the Cherry blossoms are starting to peak though in a limited way so keep your eyes open. They won’t be fully out because peak bloom is next week, but there are some that are starting out a little early.
@trnc: How is “trans people are people” different or better than “trans women are women”? Because outside of a few super loonies, transphobes don’t generally insist that trans people are like…aliens or something. They think other fucked up things — trans people are mentally unwell, confused, etc — but many of them don’t literally think trans people are not actual human beings. The issue here is getting them to accept someone as the gender that person says they are. What “feeds into the right wing trope” is ceding the argument and NOT defending the womanhood of trans women or the manhood of trans men.
@UncleEbeneezer: The gender-reveal party baffled me until someone explained that in the subculture that does these things, it’s the man counterpart of the baby shower. Which is why there are all these strange violent stunts involving explosives and such.
Why do we need a man counterpart of the baby shower that is drenched in performative macho? Well, I guess dad didn’t want to be left out of the fun, but these are obviously people for whom the sharp distinction between “man things” and “woman things” is super important…
@CaseyL: What Mike is doing is no different than what Transphobic trolls and TERFs do. Same arguments. It’s not “attacking” him to point that outing ask what that suggests. When you advance the preferred arguments of trolls, nobody owes you the assumption that you are arguing in good faith and some people will rightfully push back hard. There are still plenty of patient and respectful responses addressing all the bad arguments that Mike can read and sit with in this thread. He can always just stop digging and make a sincere effort to change and be better. That’s on him, nobody else.
@Pittsburgh Mike: By your logic black and brown people should be more “white” instead of protesting racism.
And white people should have their own spaces where they can feel comfortable because otherwise we will lose elections.
Worked out great for Hitler.
I hope everyone takes the time to watch Planet Eddie’s TED. It’s really beautiful and beautifully constructed.
@UncleEbeneezer: Thanks for the welcome!
@planet eddie: Back atcha.
@Mimi haha: Thank you for the work you do. It’s so very important.
Exactly. Thank you.
OT, but Wonkette’s take on this now viral expose that Woke is Meaningless, part infinity, is good.
Mai Naem mobile
I am so sick and tired of hearing about the transgendered issue. This is as stupid as the bathroom issue the RWingers ginned up years ago. First I just don’t believe this affects a whole lot of people. I bet its way way less than one percent of the population. Second, there is no way a kid enters this kind of journey without really needing it. Kids wants to be ‘normal’ and fitting in the crowd, not getting bullied and made fun of. Also with the cost of healthcare, people aren’t just going to spend big $$$ just for the heck of it.. I became aware of transgenderism years ago when an acquaintance of mine did a long local radio piece on a transgendered woman. I hope RWingers move onto a new target soon so these people can be left in peace.
I disagree with your interpretation. I believe Pittsburgh Mike was restating something most of us have seen, which is that even people who may be inclined to understand can’t always make the full leap, so they may need a bit of hand holding to get them there.
…and one I did not make. At all. Even a little bit.
@CaseyL: …So far he’s made several arguments in rapid succession (we have “your assertions are just egging on the haters”, “trans kids are just denying reality”, “there need to be spaces for bio-women”, “puberty blockers are pushing kids to transition”, “advocates are anti-feminist because if a woman desires liberation they push her to transition”), and, yes, they’re all quite familiar arguments but he’s got everyone racing to address the earlier ones while he produces more.
Yeah, that’s the Gish Gallop strategy. I did my bit to show good faith but I’m out now.
@Mai Naem mobile: Please don’t use terms like “transgendered” and “transgenderism” if you’re trying to be supportive.
Also, I’ll just gently say that “I’m sick and tired of hearing about this issue” is not the kindest thing you could say on a post from a trans person talking about how afraid they have to be to simply wake up and try to live their life that day.
@Matt McIrvin: Yes, and in many cultures, what we in the US would consider “dresses” are worn by everyone regardless of gender.
In the United States, roughly 100 years ago, pink was considered a masculine color that was “too strong” for girls — who were encouraged to wear blue, instead, which was thought to be a much softer and more fitting color for them.
Absolutely, and these Hindu nationalists are blaming the West for these changes. When you understand a greater reality then you need to change it – it’s no different than what they teach you about Hinduism. These people will never experience Brahman and/or moksha.
Same hypocritical bullshit as believing any non-hetero orientation is choice.
Comes from the same people too — their hetero orientation wasn’t a choice, well duh, of course not! That’s how it goes when god’s design is done right. It can only be a choice, your will, to reject god’s will.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
To me, the accouterments of gender – clothing, hairstyles, accessories, footwear, makeup – are merely cultural constructs that are really encompassed by expression rights under the First Amendment.
It’s no different than my fondness for the plaids, denim, tattoos and eyeglass styles on me that my wife hates. Likewise, I prefer women to be a little more inked, pierced and revealing than “decent society” thinks they should be. It’s all just about free expression and expressing yourself as you prefer.
No need for confusion or messy entanglements about biology or psychology – it’s actually easy peasy. We should wear and present how we want.
We really need to re-establish our relationship with the First Amendment. It isn’t all about facilitating the actions of the Talibornagain in shitting on everybody who isn’t one of them.
@Alison Rose: What terms then? How do you talk about something if you can’t describe it? Genuinely curious. I use those terms too.
@Mai Naem mobile:
Completely agree, except that I don’t thing wingnuts ever completely leave issues behind. After all, we’re talking about racism and slavery in 2023. Also, their next target is somehow always worse. But that’s the reason we have to be prepared to talk about it – to get non-wingnuts to understand at least enough that it makes it very difficult for wingnuts to openly target (eventually).
As with abortion, which is between a woman and her doctor, this is between the child, their parent, and their doctor. Can you help me understand who else needs to participate in this “more nuanced discussion”?
I have posed the question more in the realm of awkwardness. Like, haven’t you ever felt awkward, self-conscious of how you stand, or how your arms hang, or just like everybody is looking at you? Now imagine feeling like that all the time, even in private.
But, fundamentally, no one really has to genuinely relate. I think that’s a broken part of our understanding of empathy. Someone else’s rights and humanity don’t depend on my moral imagination.
@Suzanne: And, in fact, that was the point he was making, in a somewhat awkward way–that he didn’t have to understand it, he just had to have that respect. But I do think understanding can help too.
@Barbara: You don’t say “transgendered woman” in the same way you don’t say “blonded woman”. Transgender is an adjective, a descriptive word.
“Transgenderism” is the word bigots use to discuss the whole general topic of being trans, as a way to try to medicalize it and make it sound like a disorder.
Yep. How many times do we hear of a politician changing his or her mind about some issue — access to mental health or marriage rights for gay people — because they realized it affected someone in their family?
And they think they deserve credit for coming around on some issue of equality or dignity only because they didn’t want someone they already loved to be hurt.
To paraphrase Jesus, even the most evil man in the world can genuinely love the members of his own family.
@schrodingers_cat: I had a 19 or 20 year old guy accost me, a 40+ man, around at a small town in Rajasthan. How did he peg me for being gay? I didn’t check him out and kept hoping he’d go away. His last entreaty to me to take him with us was, “I’m Brahmin.” It seemed so primitive to me.
@Alison Rose: I get the adjective — transgender not transgendered — but I will have to think about the use of transgenderism. Not that I don’t understand the point that you are making, but I am not sure what the alternative is.
Yes, this is how I know someone is a self-absorbed asshole.
@Barbara: Most trans people would say that the term “transgenderism” is offensive, so it shouldn’t be something you have to think about whether or not you’re going to use. But in the case of the commenter I was replying to, who said “I became aware of transgenderism years ago” – you could say instead that you became aware of transgender identity or trans people or the trans community or similar. It’s honestly not that difficult.
Ok, I am that kind of feminist and absolutely no one has ever suggested I should transition, so I call BS on this. And I think a lot of TERFs react the way they do because they feel their identities threatened, even though they aren’t at all. We don’t give credence to QAnon fantasies, we don’t need to give credence to this either.
The Moar You Know
@UncleEbeneezer: Amen. Put that on the fuckin’ dollar bill. Let’s get that understood as a part of the national ethos.
Is that what the statistic tells you? What it tells me is that they were right about themselves ALL ALONG.
@Matt McIrvin: Very well put. This notion that there’s some nefarious “gender transition industry” out there forcing thousands of questioning kids to get sex change operations before they’ve even started puberty is pure QAnon-type lunacy. Some kids come to realize at a very early age that they’re not the sex assigned at birth. Others, like our son, identified as trans only after puberty (they knew they were “queer/pansexual” as early as middle school). Others may end up somewhere on a non-binary spectrum. The point is, as you said, that whatever the journey, they get love, support, and the space to figure it all out.
@opiejeanne: I remember when those cases of surgery to “fix” intersex kids were reported as unproblematic medical miracles. There was an “ABC World of Discovery” episode that touted it, proclaiming that what resulted in the end was a normal, happy little girl. I read many years later that that particular kid was not at all happy about having been “fixed” and raised as a girl–I forget if they identified as male or as neither, but definitely not female.
But those cases probably got more sympathy in part because they still involved some strong identification between some form of biological sex and gender–it had just been messed with “unnaturally” by a doctor.
What fascinates me more is that early cases of people seeking and getting gender-affirming surgery, like Christine Jorgensen, got much more sympathetic treatment in the media than you’d expect.
I think people feel less threatened by these cases if they think of them as extraordinarily rare curiosities rather than as something that’s popping up all over–and we all know that the fraction of a group that is required to elicit the “they’re taking over!” reaction from the fearful is really small.
Since this is a quick post at lunchtime, two unrelated points. Sorry
My favorite response I’ve seen done to the gish gallop was the individual who responded to rack point as it was rolling out with “false”, “opinion”, or “half-truth”.
It interrupted the flow, and put an onus on the galloper to cope with the flurry. Usually it allowed Jim to add, “Prove it.”
What he told me was that the reason the gish gallop succeed is because we tend to be polite and wait out turn to respond, and then we feel we have to explain how each point is wrong.
It did not always work, but often enough to make it a standard tactic.
Point two. My spouse is one of those generally liberal feminists with a blind spot resistance to trans women. A wedge I’m using on gentle and long term persuasion is “why women and not men?” It’s working, gradually, but it does take time and if it weren’t the person I live and will spend the rest of our mutual lives with I’d not have been willing or able to put in this much effort.
Point being there are no ready solutions. Time and effort will be required.
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
@Barbara: Trans identity. Being Trans. Living as a Trans person.
Transgenderism goes to the right’s notion that being Trans is somehow an ideology.
One thing that strikes me as a cis het white Protestant male is the extent to which there is this huge burden of explaining yourself that so many people who are not CHWPM have to bear and that simply does not apply to CHWPMs. And it’s stupid and frustrating that it exists. We live in a world with lots of people who are not like us in some way, but they’re all people, so treating them as people should be the default. It is terrible that for so many it is not.
You make me sympathetic to CHWPMs because they are burdened with the acronym CHWPM.
“A wedge I’m using on gentle and long term persuasion is “why women and not men?” ”
Could you spell that out a bit more? Like, “why women” what?
Is the fuller form, “why do you like women and do not like men?”? Or, “why do women get to call themselves women, and men do not get to call themselves women?”? What goes into the blank after “why women_____ and not men______?”?
I’d like to know more about gentle persuasions that are available for the slow learners.
@trnc: As someone who navigates transphobia in all its flavors and textures every day, we’ll have to agree to disagree. He’s made several pretty standard anti-trans arguments, and is rhetorically dressing them up as “what other people say.” Debating in good faith would be to ask how to combat those narratives, not doubling down on them as he is in this comment thread.
I have written two fairly nuanced posts here and have many more to come, but I won’t argue with someone who pulls out everyday TERF arguments that denigrate my existence. Who has the time?
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@UncleEbeneezer: And thank you for your reply!
@Omnes Omnibus: This is great for explaining people with gender dysmorphia, but it fails with certain kinds of non-binary and agender identities.
For instance, the answer to that question for me is no. I wouldn’t care. I have minimal to no attachment to my body as part of my identity. If my body could shift across a wide spectrum of apparent ages and genders to suit my mood, I’d be constantly changing it because it’s just a weakly important aesthetic to me.
Dysmorphia is as tricky for me to understand as cis people’s hostility to challenging their gender associations is. I can empathize, and respect, but it is not intuitive.
I don’t mean to take away from the broader discussion here, but there are more kinds of gender expression and identity than the binaries and not all of us neatly fit into these discussions, but we share the same broad label. It’s a little tricky to fully talk about our experiences some times without conflating wildly different sets of issues. Some of the things that have come up in the thread, like teens undergoing gender exploration and ending back where they started make more sense in a fluid/nonbinary context.
It’s also way easier for people like me to pass, so I do recognize how much more important it is to defend my trans brothers and sisters who are in more of a binary. But this stuff is actually really diverse in expression and more recognition of things being a broad spectrum can only help.
I suspect, if people stopped caring so much about enforcing gender roles there’d be more of a shift to something that would look more like gender fluidity as closer to the average experience, with extremes on either end, just like there’s a sizable uptick in bi/pansexuality as general same sex interactions becomes more acceptable.
Forcing people into rigid boxes never maps well to the reality of our lives experiences. Humans are messy at best.
FWIW, my interpretation of his style leads me to the same conclusion.
@randy khan: A thing that really terrifies conservatives about all of these issues is the idea that in some future world they might not be recognized as the default kind of person. They know the burden of explanation exists, obviously; they just believe they personally have the right to not carry it.
That’s what’s behind the horror of “Press 1 for English” too.
Yes, but not fear of the unknown, per se, because they’re told “I know you’re going to hell if you do this,” but they’re also told to accept what they don’t understand. Thus, the immense disconnect that makes some religious people hate what they don’t understand.
Perhaps you’re right. I’m struggling to understand how someone can feel that they should be a boy or girl without tying that label to some sort of external model of what they think a boy or girl actually is.
But maybe you’re right, and you can just feel you’re the other sex without associating that sex with any particular behavior.
@planet eddie: OK. Could be my own interpretation of what I saw. I started to go back through his other comments but got sidetracked by other interesting comments. As you say, who has the time?
Thanks for the response.
I agree. I think another part of it is that every tribe has it’s share of assholes and conservatives understand how the assholes of their tribe have treated other people and don’t want to be subject to that experience.
@Baud: Me three. I assume it’s trolling until proven otherwise.
IMHO, don’t worry so much about understanding and focus instead on whether you accept it. I accept a lot of things I don’t understand. That doesn’t mean I don’t try to understand, but it’s impossible to understand everything we have to deal with, especially with the speed of change these days.
@planet eddie: It dawned on me that if you took Mike’s comments and changed “trans” to “black and brown” his observations were obviously bigoted. His”losing elections” really got to me. Let’s roll back civil rights because it’s important to win elections. What does it say if we win elections and then abandon the country to bigotry?
Who won? What did we win?
@Kirk Spencer: Gish’s original version of the Gish Gallop was used when he managed to sucker scientists into debating him on stage (in front of an audience sympathetic to Gish) over whether or not creationism was true. Bad, bad idea, folks.
People often think being right or being smart makes you a good debater. It doesn’t. Debating is a completely separate skill set.
The Kropenhagen Interpretation
A firm but attentive grasp makes you a good debater.
I suspect the views Pittsburgh Mike expressed (whether his own or not) are closer to the mainstream than the consensus opinion on trans issues commenters here hold. Social mores are evolving rapidly, and hallelujah for that, but it takes a while for people to catch up. It always does.
While that work goes on, we need to figure out how to counter hard-right weaponization of trans issues for political gain. I’ve found reference to NCAA data that demonstrates the inclusion of trans women hasn’t undermined women’s collegiate sports more broadly in the way feared/hyped to be helpful. (Thanks, Sister Golden Bear!)
On the gender-affirming care for kids issue, the argument that seems most persuasive to people who are still sorting out their feelings on trans issues is that it’s up to the families and doctors involved, not Ron DeSantis.
Republican talk on any subject is bullshit and I make a rule to never engage in their arguments. I rebut by attacking with assertions of reality. I do not discuss the substance of their arguments because to do so assumes that they are talking in good faith and they never are. Besides, to do so implies frames the argument in their terms. So if someone is babbling nonsense about trans people ar mean, I just assert that they are humans, deserving of the respect that self-proclaimed Christians say they have for all humans, and respectful people learn about others and don’t attack them, And I repeat that until the Republican shuts up. I do a lot of arguing on FB with rightwing neighbors.
I just had a connection hiccup.
@Eolirin: Honestly… while I identify as cis, I kind of feel that way too. If changing your body were as easy and consequence-free as in a John Varley story, I’d probably mess with it all the time.
But I also know from observing other cis people that most of them do not feel that way. There are lots of attitudes.
I’m late to this discussion, but I wanted to highlight this passage, in particular. Let’s break it down.
First of all, you need to define what you mean by “a child.” There is a huge difference between a 5-year-old and a 15-year-old, and your response, and the resulting conversation, are likely to be very different in each case. The former, in particular, isn’t likely to “say they’re trans,” but will instead give you other indications that they are not comfortable. And yes, it is most definitely “a good idea” to believe them in both cases. The harm you will cause by your failure to do so is incalculable.
Someone who is old enough to understand what it means to “medically transition,” and is old enough to request it, is old enough to have a serious discussion with and, again, absolutely should be believed. And you, and they, should definitely talk to professionals about next steps. They need your support, not your skepticism.
And this is where you went completely off the rails. Yes, it is entirely possible. Until you can get your head wrapped around this, you will continue to get pushback. Your refusal to understand and accept this means that you will continue to provide an example of precisely the kind of attitude that planet eddie identified in the original post. You are flailing because you refuse to recognize one simple fact.
@Dan B: I don’t have any idea how many exclusively (biologically) female spaces are really necessary. My only point was that there are some women who want to maintain some spaces, and it isn’t absurd on the face of it to try to understand their concerns.
FWIW, I happen to personally think the bathroom question is stupid; I can’t think of any reason why anyone’s choice of bathroom is a problem.
OTOH, I thought that all the acclaim that went to Lia Thomas for winning a swim race was silly. She went through male puberty; that’s quite an advantage, and one that sex-segregated swimming races was designed to avoid.
I will say that going from my statement that “some women want *some* female only spaces” to calling me a fan of Hitler is a bit much.
@Pittsburgh Mike: Sure. For most cis people, it’s hard for us to intrinsically understand what it is like to be trans. But you shouldn’t have to intrinsically understand something to accept it as valid. And you can identify with a particular gender without accepting or exhibiting all of the stereotypical traits associated with that gender, and you can also intentionally inhabit some of those traits without being a supplicant of the patriarchy.
My mom is a cis woman, and has never had a single doubt about her gender, and yet in my lifetime, I think I’ve seen her wear makeup literally less than five times. Seen her wear a skirt or dress perhaps a few more times. She wears no jewelry, no perfume, does nothing to her hair besides wash and comb it, lives in baggy t-shirts and jeans, has one basic handbag, loathes the idea of shopping or spa days or any of that stuff. And has been that way as long as I’ve known her. She is still a woman, just not a very traditionally feminine one.
I am also a cis woman, and for most of my adult life, I was quite feminine (though for many of those years, it was goth femininity, which many would deem unfeminine). I wore makeup every day, a pile of jewelry, skirts, dresses, had a ludicrously involved skincare routine, etc. In my 30s when I left my goth era and entered my more “queer femme” era, my femininity was still not totally stereotypical in that I wanted to be femme in a way that drew in women and ideally repulsed men. So I was engaging in some of those typical traits but not all, and not always in the typical way.
Someone assigned male at birth can know they’re a woman and want to fully inhabit their true identity, which might include some of those stereotypical bits, without deserving of being accused of upholding gender essentialism or something. And also, some of them may intentionally uphold some of it because it was denied to them for so long. For trans women, femininity can be very powerful.
Wow, thanks for your post, Eddie! I wish I’d been able to read this yesterday before my interaction with a co-worker who was concern trolling about a married lesbian couple with two children. Concern troll co-worker wondered whether one of the spouses was taking male hormones and *why* would they do such a thing after having *given birth* to a child. I could have responded more forcefully that it’s none of our business which child emerged from which uterus or why one partner might want want to transition.
I do actually address the internal feeling of gender in my TEDx talk and how we mix up gender signifiers from someone’s internal knowledge of self.
When I was growing up, I did not have a nonbinary model to follow, but I knew from a very very young age (4/5) that I was not a girl. It took me a while to figure out what exactly I was, but I was deeply unhappy until I did. Inside of me, there was simpy a wrongness that was ever present.
Since coming out and accepting myself as trans, I am overwhelmed sometimes by how happy I am in my body and in the world. I feel these thing inside of me, regardless of how I present externally, but it is also deeply amazing when the people outside of me accept and validate that my nonbinary identity is real, rather than making me feel like a problem or a mentally ill person.
I talked to my partner about it last night and I told him that it felt like the difference between playing an instrument that was slightly out of tune, versus fully resonating with myself.
An apt metaphor might be like trying to force people who are left-handed to use their right hand. We are in a right-handed world, how could someone *know* that they are left-handed? But someone who is left-handed simply is.
This is not an ideology; it’s not even the most important part of who I am! But it is *essential* to who I am. And one of the most validating parts of coming out has been the slow but full acceptance by my mother who first felt I was abandoning her as a woman or mutilating my body. She later told me that she now understood why I was “eddie” because she saw me — in my 30s — smiling and laughing fully for the first time since I had been a kid… That was a really good day.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@Eolirin: IMHO, I think greater visability of non-binary and agendered people in particular is what has set conservatives off so much. That is a profound threat to the very gendered social order they believe in. It is a much bigger threat than binary gender dysporia. I have a friend who is non-binary and that person believes the world would be a better place if we did get rid of gendered spaces, such as restrooms and locker rooms. Some feminists feel threatened by that, but I think those concerns are overblown. Most people are binary, and there will always be a need for single gendered spaces. Acknowledging the existance of non-binary people and providing options for them doesn’t change this.
…And the little taste of what it’s actually like to modify your body that I got from obtaining a metal knee joint leaves me in awe of people who will go through that for the sake of presenting as the gender they know they are. But that’s also a subset of trans people.
That’s a very eloquent comment.
That’s certainly part of it, but I also think that some of this is because attacking gay men and women has lost its appeal and effectiveness. They needed a new “other” to go after, so they simply recycled the same arguments that they have used for the past 50 years or so, but now attached to a new target.
Please, can we dispense with this eversor-style bullshit? Thanks.
@PaulB: The way they frame it as a campaign to sexually abuse children is really what gives the game away. It’s the same damn thing they said the last time.
@Pittsburgh Mike: It’s actually not that much of an advantage in most cases, and there’s now a good amount of data to back it up.
Other people on here have presented the arguments more effectively than I’m going to, but sports are inherently biased toward genetic factors that exclude the vast majority of people who would otherwise be competing. The overwhelming majority of trans athletes end up as mediocre performers in their sports because the gender linked differences are, on average, tiny across the population, relative to those genetic differences, even if they’re statistically significant at the very highest performers, and the number of trans people competing in sports is so small that the odds of an athlete being both trans and in the .01% of performers that set benchmarks is staggeringly low. There are also cis women that massively outperform their peer groups and are closer to the male numbers in various sports due to genetic differences. They’re more dominant despite being cis than trans athletes tend to be.
Gender rather than performance-based segregation of sports is kind of insane, and way more exclusionary to a much larger amount of athletes than letting trans athletes compete with other people of their gender.
I think it’s less that “any male will do” and more “I’m interested in you, so you should reciprocate”. There are a lot of entitled men out there who think their interest should be enough to make any woman swoon, and who get really upset when the world doesn’t work that way. It’s basic incel thinking.
This. Just in general, it’s a lousy idea to teach children that they have to pretend to be someone different than they are. Or even worse, deny them the room to even acknowledge it to themselves. And it’s particularly important with something as fundamental as gender identity.
Give them room to figure it out. Let them tell you who they are, rather than the reverse.
Bingo. I’m a cis het guy, and I had my first crushes on girls (that I remember, anyway) when I was six. I even remember the names of two of them.
I’ve asked a few gay male friends I’ve had along the way when they first realized they were attracted to boys, and the answer was always “as far back as I can remember.”
@trnc: I’ve told people who think someone gay is imagining it, or was somehow talked into it, when they knew they were heterosexual and sexually attracted to the opposite sex. They almost always say when they were between 5th and 7th grade. Then I ask them if they think someone could ever talk them into being attracted to people of the same sex and they scoff and say “no way”. So then I ask why they think someone who is gay could so easily change who they are physically attracted to, if you know that you would never do that. Same thing with being trans, why would someone just wake up one day and suddenly say “now I want to be a woman” when they were born male. It’s like one commenter said above, they really think trans women are just men who want to dress as women so they can “invade” women’s spaces. That stupid Bari Weiss made a comment on Maher’s show that she knows a lot of straight people who “identify” as gay because that’s the “cool” thing to do now. No one challenged her on such an obviously stupid statement!
I always say I want people to be able to be who they are because it avoids a lot of hurt and problems. Some of you know about my friend whose husband decided at the age of 60 to “come out” as a trans woman. They said they had felt this way since they were a teenager, but felt they couldn’t do anything about it and wanted children so they got married and lived as a man. It caused my friend and their children a huge amount of pain that could have been avoided if trans people were more accepted when I was in my teens.
Sports economist here. Transgender athletes (as well as intersex athletes) in sports are obviously an actual thing that may cause significant competitive balance concerns that people like me would normally like to understand and address. But I think anyone trying to have a reasonable discussion about restrictions on transgender athletes will be co-opted by the vicious anti-trans community as another reason to ban their existence.
For that reason I have basically come to the position where I don’t think the sports economics community should really be discussing the “problem” of trans-athletes until their status as full citizens is fully recognized and protected. Once that happens we can more publicly debate some of the trickier things like the gender or conditions under which a transgender athlete can compete.
Quite honestly, while the NCAA is a disgrace is a lot of ways, at least they have thought carefully about the transgender issue. While they may or may not have gotten it right, at least they have taken care to try to get a decent answer.
@Betty Cracker: The opinion surveys I’ve seen are all over the place. A large majority of people support employment protections for trans people. A large majority will also support the anti-trans-rights position when you bring up the “sports cheaters” argument. And the surveys often include loaded questions about gender-affirming care for kids that seem designed to elicit concerned/fearful responses, and do so.
So, basically, I think most people’s hearts are basically in a good place on this but there are disingenuous wedge arguments that work really well on them.
And what we’re seeing here is all those bingo-card arguments, one after another. So I think it’s not so much that he represents the mainstream as that he’s listing all the tools that work well to push someone in the mainstream in a transphobic direction.
@planet eddie: That notion that trans women are just male predators pretending to be trans so they can assault women, like…do these people who claim this honestly think there are all these would-be rapists out there who have just been stymied by, for example, a door with a stick figure in a skirt, or women going into rooms where a women’s group is being held, or whatever. I mean, the stats make it pretty damn clear that rapists are definitely out there raping already. It’s not like some guy is sitting there thinking, Wow I’d really like to assault someone, but how can I if this Facebook group says no cis men allowed. I can’t possibly violate such a boundary.
It’s such an absurd notion. Plus, it ignores the fact that trans people are vastly more likely to be victims of sexual violence rather than perpetrators of it. I wonder if that cis lesbian also agrees that because a small number of undocumented immigrants have committed crimes in the US, we should kick all of them out and not allow anyone in.
Sister Golden Bear
Late to the thread (being a West Coaster), but THANK YOU again.
I’d go further, and say that in the minds of the more extreme haters, we’re not even real people. Hence the references to us being a “disease.”
@Eolirin: The U Penn swimmer who got many people’s panties in a twist won some races when she joined the women’s team, but lost most of those she entered. I think the hullaballoo was louder because she had started college as a member of the men’s swim team.
As I said to my sister, no one is going to excel as an elite swimmer if they don’t start young and swim miles and miles every week under the supervision of a good coach. And yes, have a particular physique as well as just the GD willingness to be so single-minded about anything at all and their sport in particular.
And how many people go to U. Penn. to be an Olympic or quasi-professional swimmer? Why does it matter? Are we going to level every other kind of external advantage, like having parents who can afford elite camps and training opportunities?
Once you take it to a team sport, like basketball or volleyball, it’s hard to see how there could be an advantage even hypothetically. Until I started watching collegiate volleyball I had no idea how many women there are who are as tall as male — yes male — basketball players. They are truly outliers, as you say.
Most elite athletes are outliers, and I am not sure why it matters so much in recreational or high school sports, which are supposed to be an adjunct of education and not focused on eliminating every perceived unfairness among the competitors.
Complete and utter distraction that they are willing to undertake even if they hurt and humiliate actual people. It makes me so angry that people fall for it.
Sister Golden Bear
One reason I say I didn’t grow up as a boy — in response to the arguments that trans women are irreparably tainted by male privilege — I had a trans childhood.
Which is not to say that many/most trans women have male privilege that they have to unlearn. But the reality of living full-time as a woman tends to smack in the face pretty hard with the lose of male privilege.
Also too, I definitely recommend following — and supporting — Erin in the Morning substack. She’s doing amazing work keeping with all the anti-trans bills.
@Barbara: I think a lot of the athletics anxiety has its origins in Cold War-era tales about Soviet Bloc countries trying to cheat in the Olympics. But, really, is that what you’re going to use to gauge all of athletics?
Sister Golden Bear
I hear you. I see you.
I’m in a “safe state” in CA, but I’m having the same anxieties, and wondering if I may need to leave the country in coming years (which most trans people don’t have the privilege to potentially do.)
Hugs, if hugs are OK.
I think the core horror for conservatives is the idea that there might be other valid ways to live one’s life than theirs. Their first assumption seems to be that there can only be one valid lifestyle. For theirs to be right, everyone else’s must be wrong, and they feel an incredibly strong urge to prove it.
Sister Golden Bear
You’ve just proved planet eddie’s point.
And for the record, gender clinics don’t pass out hormones like Halloween candies, let alone surgeries, which are extremely rare — this is a Republican talking point. The process of getting gender affirming care for trans kids (and adults*) a slow and careful process, involving multiple doctors, therapists, etc.
*Myself, I had to get letters from two therapists/psychologists before I could get bottom surgery — which is the standard protocol worldwide. In the UK, wait times even to get a gender-affirming care appointment take years and as a consequence pretty much all trans kids there reach adulthood before their first screening appointment.
@Victor Matheson: I’ll go one step further. Let Trans athletes play sports according to reasonable, science-based guidelines (like the ones we already have) and according to their gender identity, and then if Trans Athlete Domination suddenly occurs, we can start saying it’s a problem and tinker with policies to address it. In the meantime, give Transgender People ALL THE RIGHTS that any other people get and treat them with dignity and respect. The world won’t end. I’m certain of it.
@Sister Golden Bear: I totally hear this, and I considered talking in this post about the notion of being “socialized as trans,” but honestly it’s a more nuanced idea that I think is a bit overly complicated for a lot of people to understand. It’s also why I’m usually really forgiving of people using incorrect terminology and the like if their hearts are in the right place and they’re willing to believe the fundamentals. I honestly could give a damn if some rando misgenders me as long as I have healthcare.
Sister Golden Bear
It’s notable that the anti-trans people keep trotting out the same woman who detransitioned and regrets it. If there more, wouldn’t they be showcasing them true.
There’s another detransitioner on Twitter who makes the point that they really transitioned twice, from woman to man, and then man to a non-binary female — and there’s nothing wrong with that. They also point out that trans community is extremely support of detransitioners. (Though for the record, the vast majority of detransitioners do so for external reasons, e.g. trying preserve a marriage or a job, trying to keep their children.)
@lowtechcyclist: I was like 4 when I first realized I wanted to kiss girls. Nobody questioned my preference or suggested it was just a phase.
@Barbara: My trans niece was always basically very “girlie.” She liked girl toys. She had girl friends at an age when most boys think girls have cooties. When she announced she was trans I don’t think anyone in the family was surprised. But she says she is lucky at how supportive her family has been when she compares with her friends.
Sister Golden Bear
@Barbara: Friendly FYI, that the preferred terminology is “transgender people” not “transgendered people.” Akin to how one wouldn’t refer to gay people as “gayed people.”
@UncleEbeneezer: And yet I recall when gender reveal parties felt sort of liberating in that people were celebrating girls as much as boys. I even recall a time when they had surveys saying girls were slightly preferred even by prospective fathers (but still happy with sons etc). It’s just that is went into excess and got to be king of a sick culture thing. Now it is a custom that just needs to die out.
@Sister Golden Bear: Right, that makes sense. It’s not like there is a rule book, at least not officially, but I do understand that distinction.
Sister Golden Bear
The ironic thing is that the TERFs are adhering to 70s feminist idea about gender essentialism — i.e. women are inherently all the good in the world, and men are inherently evil predators. And then even more ironically they pushing an extremely narrow vision of what “being a woman” looks like — both figuratively and literally. It’s part of their “we can always” tell obsession with identifying supposed trans women — which on multiple occasions has included seeing photos of the Wizard Lady and declaring her to be trans.
Just because the TERFs claim this is happening, doesn’t mean it is. And it’s not. The is a rehash of the supposed “butch flight” where all the butch lesbians were transitioning to become trans men. When in reality there’s a huge resurgence of cisgender butch lesbians in recent years.
Stop drinking the TERFs Kool-Aid and listen to us who 1) are women, 2) are queer women, 3) are feminist queer women.
@Pittsburgh Mike: Your statements seem to believe that people’s concerns about Trans people should be validated. I believe that listening and pushback are very important. I’ve been in situations where straight people did not want me around because they assumed I would prey on then. Hitler wanted a country where the Jews were gone and started by passing exclusionary laws, then ghettos, then elimination. Your argument is the first step and should be met with an understanding of where that could lead and has led on a regular basis.
@Sister Golden Bear: optional, totally refuseable hugs for you also!!
@planet eddie: your crashing wave graphic is amazing, thank you for providing that and for doing this. I am not going to read all the comments and I am not ever gonna be able to please everyone. I will stick with the trans people are people theme.
Also, as a cis het person who has been bullied, harassed, and stalked, I cannot stand the bloviating from people who dress up their fascist bathroom bills as something that would make me safe. Total BS in the service of harming others.
FWIW I got no problem with ANYone using any other toilet in the same bathroom, I mean other than the one I have waited for and am parked on tyvm.
The thing about trans women being men who want to invade feminine spaces so they can rape is just a calumny. It doesn’t have to make sense when you think about it in detail. The purpose is to manipulate people’s emotions so they start reacting emotionally rather than rationally.
apologies – wrote this and forgot to post. Also forgot how I was going to wrap this up. Looking forward to more from you, Planet Eddie?
One of the things I realized going through the 80-90s round of human rights expansions is that I have a real tendency to overthink things. So I recognized that, kept it to where it might be useful and focused on actual people and what would help them, rather than worrying about the theoretical people who lived in my mind.
The TERFs are sadly the boomers fighting back in the endless wars each generation of young feminists fight with their elders, holding onto the fantasy that if they had only done feminism “right,” we wouldn’t be in this mess today. Previously, the older generation simply rolled their eyes and waited for them to get older and see the truth. But this fight got a lot uglier. In the UK, the older generation of feminists, who were largely anti-psychiatry and distrustful of gynecological medicine in general, used their position to loudly denounce trans identity and activism in newspaper articles and editorials. They soon also got support from right wing politicians and the growing tradwives movement (wasn’t called that yet). As someone who saw these battles up close, there was a lot of misogynist garbage thrown around. People were fighting past each other, trying to refute anti-psychiatry arguments with emotional appeals. Deeply sad and ugly. (Apologies for not having decade old screen grabs on this.)
One of the realities of this sort of fight is that there is a need to move people one notch at a time in the right direction. If you lose an all out argument with someone, studies have shown you make them more confident in their mistaken beliefs. Back during the gay marriage fight here in Mass, friends were openly trying to move older relatives and neighbors from thinking of gay people as “perverts” to “weirdos” instead. Great? Absolutely not. But it did change some votes on this issue and probably made it easier for later acceptance of gay people in their lives and neighborhoods.
@opiejeanne: Quite a while ago – probably 25-30 years, the state put some “women’s urinals” in one stall in the rest area we use every week. I think it was an experiment to see if they could reduce the number of seat protectors. It was an open trough, normal toilet height with a narrower part sticking out in front, to be used standing up. Not unlike a taller version of the squat toilets in the orient. It would have worked well for anyone wearing a skirt and going commando. For those of us who use underwear and prefer pants, not so much. The comments of women seeing that in the stall were hilarious, if a bit repetitive. There are only so many ways to say “What the Hell is this?”. It was gone in two months, never to return.
We never sat on public toilets without seat protectors, which used to mean standing up/semi squatting to pee quite a bit. Now that I am older, if the handicapped stall is in use, I will stand because if I sat I would have a lot of difficulty in getting up again.
Sister Golden Bear
Nope. You’re simply wrong. Many kids who start puberty blockers go to taking hormones, but a number them don’t. Included the supported “I identify as an attack helicopter”* kid highlighted in Jesse Singal’s no utterly debunked scare article.
*Despite writing (anti) trans articles for years, Singal didn’t recognize a wide-spread meme in the trans community, which is a reclaiming slur, and in the context of the therapist notes (which were leak in a major HIPAA violation) the kid was clearing making a joke when they said that.
Sister Golden Bear
@Maxim: Hi Maxim, thanks for your TED talk. Good luck with your transition. I’m coming from the other side of things, but if you even need to talk, please feel free to reach out.
@Victor Matheson: I agree with much of what you’ve said.
The other thing I’d like to remember is that, for the vast majority of people, sports are ultimately for health and socializing and fun. There may be some very, very elite college and pro athletic realms in which this is a valid discussion to protect “fairness”, however you measure that. But at the levels at which 99.44% of people engage, it is much more critical to be inclusive and to build human relationships and to have a fun and healthful activity than it is to correctly identify “winners”.
And I am thoroughly done with the “but the athletic scholarship to college!” excuse. There are academic scholarships. Go after those.
@Sister Golden Bear: Thanks. I have actually wondered what drives the Terfs. I am a cis woman happily married. I have always described myself as being on the non radical fringe of feminism. I just want equal pay and repsect at work and out and about in the world. What I do otherwise is my own life.
Sister Golden Bear
@trnc: FYI, my responses here aren’t really in hopes of changing the mind our new resident gish galloper, rather it’s educating those who might have similar questions but are willing to listen.
@cain: The people who want to harass trans people won’t care if they get a few cis as collateral damage. The “kill them all and let God sort them out” mentality is still out there.
I hope I’m not out of line in posting this (especially if someone else has already done so), but it seems this Thomas Jefferson quote from Notes on the State of Virginia applies every bit as much to freedom of gender identity as to freedom of religious identity:
“The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subjects to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
Sister Golden Bear
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:
I’m sorry you experienced that, and sorry that she said to you, because that’s wrong. Unfortunately it’s not limited to straight cis men. There’s a reason why there’s a trope among gay cis men about getting straight men drunk and having sex with them, and I’ve seen similar “straight lust” among a few lesbians.
While one trans women’s opinion is one trans women’s opinion, I’d say the consensus view among queer trans women is that we’d just like to be considered as potential dating material — regardless of whether we have our original genitalia or not. I can tell you from hard experience the huge numbers of lesbian women (especially in my age group) who will simply ghost me as soon as they find out I’m trans (without any discussions of genitals.)
@Betty Cracker: That’s what got me there too. Records aren’t being smashed and the right keeps harping over the same 2-3 races over and over again because those are the only examples they have.
I’m going to add this with trepidation. While I do think the best plan by far is to always believe people, part of Covid was seeing the alt right weaponize the ADA to try to not wear masks. So I do think some of the pushback is a good thing just to prevent there being obvious loopholes in the laws that are being created. I trust trans people. I don’t trust assholes to not look at laws and intentionally use them in ways they weren’t intended just to mock the whole system.
In practice, it does appear that there are enough rules to prevent the bad faith people from trying to game it, so it’s not appearing to be a problem. But yeah, I don’t always trust people, at least not in the era of Internet trolls.
My baby sister (who loves our trans niece), age 58, happily cis and straight,wonders (mockingly) if she is not a real woman because she had a hysterectomy a few years back, and therefore has not had a normal slide into menopause and therefore will miss living the whole life cycle of being a woman.
She agrees with me that we all get to being women or men by various paths. Everyone has a different path depending on their life, times, family, culture, history and biology. And trans is as biological as cis. No one has the same path to adulthood.
Sister Golden Bear
Pretty much true with all minority groups. A big part of the anti-immigrant, racist freak out in the Midwest, is Hispanic went from a handful to larger (albeit still relatively small) part of the local populist. Although research has shown the anti-immigrant was actually strongest in the area with the highest percentage of whites. Probably because in other areas, people ended getting to know Hispanics and realized that maybe there were people too.
Erin is a great resource, and TransTwitter generally is good for learning perspective.
There is a very sophisticated Russian-sponsored propaganda campaign going on to make the United States culturally more like Russia, beginning with the easiest cultural scapegoats. The first step in Fox Newsing someone is convincing someone that a problem exists that they should be angry and scared about. People who ordinarily realize that billions of people are not illegally immigrating every year, that cities do not have “No-go zones” where even police fear to tread, and that your M&Ms will not make you gay, are eating up the same kinds of made-up problems when they concern people who are trans.
At its heart, this campaign is a variation of the old school homophobic notion that people choose to be gay, but even some people with nuanced views of what it means to be gay still choose to believe that being trans is a choice and not an inherent trait. People who believe it’s a choice will never ever accept that a trans person is who they say they are, and until that belief shifts they always will be vultnerable to the latest Fox Lite LIE – “parents are pushing their kids,” “people pretend to be trans for short-term manipulation of the system or to facilitate rape,” “kids are transitioning without counseling,” “governments are pushing transition as an alternative to homosexuality,” “trans women want to take over feminism to install de facto patricarchy,” etc., etc. That’s why it feels like whack-a-mole.
@Zzyzx: The first step to believing someone is listening to them.
There are always going to be assholes who will say, “So all I have to do is raise my hand and say “I’M A WOMAN” and I can compete in women’s sports” or threatening to go into bathrooms because “anyone can say they’re ANYTHING now.”
But there are lots of trans people of all ages who have been closeted and see an opportunity to live as themselves. It is scary and embarrassing to raise your hand and say you might be different. When someone has the bravery to raise their hand — whether they’re 16 or 61 — and say, “I’m confused,” they should be met with compassion and resources so that they can safely explore their identity. Some of those people will discover they are not trans, some of them will transition, but none of them should be afraid to raise their hand.
@Sister Golden Bear: Chait and Singal don’t deserve to be allowed back into polite company without sincere contrition, so never.
@Sister Golden Bear: Thank you, and I’m sorry for the prejudice you’ve experienced. I’m not signed up on any dating sites yet (thanks COVID), but if I get to that point, I plan to identify myself as trans right up front. I think that’ll be a lot less exhausting, to let people weed themselves out instead of me having to do it. Of course, that doesn’t work when you’re meeting people in person.
@Pittsburgh Mike: Literally no one is telling people that if they reject gender roles, they must be trans. No one. Gender roles=/= gender identity.
@Zzyzx: In general though, I’m a very practical person. I asked myself the questions:
Will this policy help people? What are the potential downsides? Are they actually happening? What is doing the most good?
In ever example I’ve ever seen, the case is overwhelmingly in favor of supporting trans rights as the downsides are much more trivial and don’t seem to be even manifesting. I went via practicality instead of morality but I got to the same result.
And while I get why people who just want to live the way they want to live care deeply, it’s hard to see why those who are restricting rights care so much about this.
@lowtechcyclist: i don’t know what that means, but I’ll stand by my opinion that in general and primarily, religious faith tends to be driven by fear, especially fear of death. Also a simple aversion to uncertainty, which is related to fear.
Sister Golden Bear
And that’s why there are butch lesbian trans women. I.e. they’re happy with “masculine” behavior and attire, but their bodies felt incongruent. Or why there’s women who dislike having breasts and/or ovaries to the point of having mastectomies and hysterectomies, who still identify as women (or more often non-binary).
Sex and gender are not only different things, both are more than just a spectrum, it’s a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff with countless variations, and I personally know multiple people who embody it. People who are happy living as a different gender, but who feel no need to change their bodies. Someone who really wanted to transition, but went on estrogen and then decided he was comfortable living as a man. Someone who got bottom surgery, but still lived as a man (though that was more that she worked in emergency services, which is not exactly the most gender enlightened field). Intersex people who were “fixed” and later felt their gender identity didn’t match the bodies that were created for them without their consent.
I’ll try to make this my takeaway from this discussion. You’ve already given me a lot to think about.
@planet eddie: well that’s why I basically keep moving further and further towards this position. It looks like the checks put in have been completely sufficient to prevent the damage people fear, so my concern has been answered.
I don’t always like the rhetoric being used, but that’s a lot different of a concern than watching people being hounded into suicide. The right sometimes makes the choice very easy.
Steve in the ATL
@planet eddie: late to the thread, but well played!
@UncleEbeneezer: Well, I was kind of embarrassed to be attracted to girls because in the culture of 7-year-old boys, girls were gross and had cooties. But I also dreaded how adults would act about it if they knew, because adults are legendarily gross and annoying about the romantic feelings of children.
In hindsight, I think I was overthinking it. Can’t imagine how much worse the embarrassment would have been if I’d been attracted to boys, or had realized I was a girl. But the idea that someone could know that at that age… is not implausible.
Thanks to Sister Golden Bear, Planet Eddie, and all the other commenters for a truly enlightening post. I have learned so much in a short time, and I am just so proud to be in a community that truly educates all of us, even the old farts who are eager to learn.
There will be a bunch of street closures Friday evening and Saturday on account of the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon and 5K. Details from a Department of Commerce email sent to its employees:
Since more than a few jackals are in the DC area, I figure this might be of general interest.
Sister Golden Bear
@Maxim: Oddly enough, there’s less prejudice towards trans men among queer women from what I’ve seen — in part because a number trans men previously identified as queer woman before their egg cracked (i.e. they realized they were actually trans). For example an upcoming “women’s weekend” is open to cis women, trans women and trans men (as well as women-identified non-binary folks).
Although that does raise a question about how much trans men are still regarded by queer cis women as “not men.” I know it’s issue trans men contend with.
FWIW, when I’ve identified as a trans woman, in my dating profile, I rarely get any replies at all from queer women, and as mentioned, when I disclose later (in hope that they getting to know me first, but far before we’re sexually intimate) I get ghosted. It’s a bit of a no-win situation.
Via Reddit, somewhat related.
OT this is a great thread and I don’t want to disrail it, but a couple of threads could you comment on whether your computer access is an issue?
Mine is it lets me in then immediately tanks. I do no know if it dislike s what I am doing. But I mostly think everyone is doing their taxes. We be good people even if we mostly lie. And computer don’t lie..
@Barbara: We don’t talk about Asianism, or veteranism, or blue eyedism. Same thing.
Almost all programs at the highest level already test for drugs, including testosterone. The permissible level for women is low enough that any trans woman would either need surgery or anti-testosterone therapy to qualify. I can understand wanting to require some kind of anti-testosterone treatment for trans girls who want to participate in sports at a lower level that doesn’t already test for testosterone, but that’s about as far as “fairness” ought to go.
@Sister Golden Bear: That’s disappointing. You’d think the queer community would do a better job of being openminded.
@Bupalos: the commenter referenced is a very militant “all religion in every sense is completely awful garbage and should be eradicated from the planet”
it’s tedious, and to those of us who are religious, insulting.
Your comment didn’t come across as similar, though I would say that saying faith is “first and foremost about fear” is simply not true about all religions. I’m assuming you’re coming from a Western perspective for one thing, and there is a whole world of other religions and belief systems out there that are very different from Western faiths. Plus, speaking as a Jew, “fear” does not play a major role in our practices considering we don’t really have a concept of hell to be afraid of.
@trnc: yeah but the way they’re told to accept what they don’t understand is to claim that there is some sentient being with a plan that IS in control of it. That is still driven by fear I’d say.
@Bupalos: I think the characterizations you make are at best applicable to a subset of religious people. As a whole, they are a more diverse group than you give them credit for.
@planet eddie —
“Debating in good faith would be to ask how to combat those narratives, not doubling down on them as he is in this comment thread.”
With this in mind, and apologizing for seeming to be “just asking questions”, I’d like to ask your advice on how to counter the line of question below.
“Regarding ‘believing trans people’ : we encounter people all the time who have mental maps that are frankly , not true. People with anorexia, clinical depression, schizophrenia ( “a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally”) , etc. all deeply believe they are correct, but we/society does not agree. Why are trans people, sincerely believing though they may be, different?”
I very much want to combat this , which on the face seems (faux) reasonable: I like to ‘steel-man’ my positions when I can.
I very much appreciate you and everyone else explaining and engaging respectfully on a topic where I do not know much, but want to be a good ally.
That’s fine with me. I have literally no position on the minutiae of this issue because I have no knowledge of the science of endocrinology w/r/t athletic performance, and I don’t give a shit anyway. (FWIW, I have argued in the past that all doping probably ought to be allowed in sports because it’s their business if they want to take health risks to make themselves stronger, and many of our elite sports are terrible for one’s health as it stands.) I want trans people to be able to fully participate in society and that include the town bowling league and coaching T-ball and high school lacrosse or whatever.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@Sister Golden Bear: That was the case with my non-binary friend for a long time. I’m happy to report that they are happily married now to someone who identifies as lesbian.
@Alison Rose: Thanks for the explanation, and you bring up a good point that there is an entire universe of religious experience and expression to the point that it’s probably a little glib to talk this way.
It was originally a response to a kind of “isn’t it ironic that religious people would exhibit this inflexibility” comment, and I suppose I should leave it at a statement that I find it particularly not ironic.
@Ironsides99: I’m not trans so I can’t answer this from that perspective, but I am someone who has lived with chronic anorexia for most of my adult life, and in fact it nearly took my life in my early 30s. There is a vast difference between what anorexia makes one believe about one’s self and (my understanding of) trans identity. When I was at my lowest weight (my BMI at that point was just above 13…and the bottom of a “normal” BMI range is 18.5, so…there you go), I could look at my literal skeleton body in the mirror and with one small part of my brain, logically see that I was extremely thin…but most of my brain could only focus on the “fat” I still had. (That “fat” being basically skin.) It was almost like living under a constant hallucination. I literally could not see my body the way other people saw it and was imagining things that weren’t there. I truly believed that no matter how thin I was, I needed to be thinner because…….who fucking knows why, anorexia is hell.
Body size is a tangible thing. Gender is not. Sexuality is not, either, so I would challenge you to consider the comparison there. Do you think it would be fair to compare queer sexuality to having an eating disorder? When I looked at myself at that point and still saw weight I needed to lose, I was deluded because it was objectively incorrect. When a trans person looks at their body and knows that it doesn’t match who they truly know themselves to be, the only objective truth at play there is THEIR truth. A doctor can certainly say “wow yikes you are far too underweight” to someone who looked like I looked at that time. No one in their right mind would’ve told me “keep it up, babe” except other anorectics, because it is first and foremost a competition to see who gets to the gallows the quickest.
There is no such objective truth regarding gender, no matter how much transphobes want to believe there is.
As a former competitive athlete, though not a very talented one, I thing drug testing is on the whole a good thing. Yes, competitive athletics can be bad for your health. Athletes are pushed to train as hard as their bodies will allow. Often the only way to find those limits is to push past them, which is not good for your body. Performance enhancing drugs exaggerate that problem.
Even worse, they wind up becoming effectively mandatory. They work, to the point that in a lot of sports it’s very hard to compete if you aren’t taking them. That produces a race to the bottom effect, where everyone who wants to compete is almost required to take them. Drug testing is intrusive and can be draconian, but it still beats forcing people who want to compete at a high level to take drugs.
It might be unfair to categorize all religious people so glibly, there clearly are some people who are religious because of that kind of fear. More importantly, fear as a religious motivator tends to produce the kind of inflexible thinking you’re talking about. I think that says more about people who are motivated by fear than it does about religion, though. The same fearful attitude produces inflexible thinking among non-religious people, or maybe the mental inflexibility creates the fear.
@Ironsides99: To swipe from Mz. Kondo, Transitioning oft-sparks joy. I have people in my life who have affirmed that, over decades now. And that joy? Harms none but transphobes.
Most of the other situations you mention? Do not spark joy.
That’s the key rubric. When they decide to do the “yes, but,” remind them that, well:
What’s truly deviant, is to take away, or pass judgement, on joy that harms no one.
See, I just really don’t care. Like, if you have a competitive impulse, there’s other outlets. It’s this widespread cultural understanding of sports as being first and foremost about winning that I have an issue with. If you want to run, go run. It’s good for you. If you don’t want to engage in drug use, don’t. If we could adjust our understanding of athletics/games as being first and foremost about physical/mental health and human relationships, I think the issue of inclusivity would subsequently become much clearer to people.
@Suzanne: Maybe the level of vehemence with which people worry about unfair sports competition has to do with the pervasiveness of sports betting. If you primarily see it as a thing you might have money riding on, then, yeah, you’re going to be concerned about who wins as your primary consideration.
(That said, a lot of these arguments are about sports that almost none of these people seemed to care about until trans issues came up.)
Yeah, and a lot of people who opposed Title 9 and who want women to be tradwives are suddenly really concerned about fairness in women’s competitive athletics.
I don’t believe them for a minute. I believe they’re judgmental and are attempting to use the rhetoric of equality to their fucked-up ends. See also: “free speech” believers who apparently want to ban books and promote right-wing Christianity in public institutions. They are LIARS and deserve to me shamed as such.
Yes, but we have to deal with the world we live in, not some hypothetical better world. School sports outside of gym class are explicitly competitive, and a lot of the people who are attracted to them are attracted because they’re competitive. I would argue some of the real benefits of athletics come about precisely because they’re competitive. Some people will only become interested in sports if its competitive, and having a self-contained, relatively harmless outlet for their competitive drive is good for many people’s mental health.
On the specific aspect of trans kids and sports, some of those kids are going to be competitive and will want to participate in competitive sports. We need to make sure that outlet is available to them without making the competition a mockery for the other kids.
Thanks for describing your experience with anorexia. I can see now why it is not comparable to the trans experience. I am left handed-as are my children, and I am grateful that no teacher tried to change them or mock them for this trait. Would this be a valid comparison to a feeling that you are truly not what your body seems to say you are?
J R in WV
Thank G-D and the coders for the pie safe, where people like P’Burgh Mike can go to live away from me ~!!~
@oldster: My apologies for the very late reply, but work is unfortunately a matter of long hours these days. So…
“Why is women transitioning to men ok, but men transitioning to women not?” She hasn’t worked herself into the answer to that, and I think when she does her innate sense of fairness will modify her stance.
In the meantime, many of her answers echo some upthread and drawn ire. In simple it’s an assumption that men and women are transitioning for reasons of gain, not for being who they already are inside.
As to gentle persuasion, let the situation arise on its own either due to a third party or when she raises the issue (because she will). When she does then I never say she’s wrong, only that I disagree followed by asking an indirect question. Indirect meaning not “why do you” but “why does someone else”. Such as, “What reason would the shrink have to sign off on supporting a man transitioning just to be number one instead of number ten in a sport?” If it flows to conversation great, but if it’s still hitting the back brain and getting loud or tense I let her vent and work to change the subject. It’s slow. It’s planting seeds and letting her carry them. It’s a water on the stone method because gradually the opinion changes.
I find that when we get to yelling, our rage and defensiveness toward the other armors the opinion.
@Maxim: Even today, pink is a fairly staid and conservative color for a man’s dress shirt.
Late to this thread as usual. I see you will be in DC. Try out Come as You Are bar on 8th Street near Eastern Market. If you’re in DC for the weekend Eastern Market itself is a bit of a tradition. I’ve lived here 25 years and love it.
@lowtechcyclist: thanks for this!
@planet eddie: BTW I haven’t read all the comments but you’re more than welcome to email or contact me about living in DC, and/or what I know about LGBTQ life here. I’m gay and having worked on some of these issues know a pretty fair amount of the political side of the national lgbtq community. Happy to talk to you about DC as a place to live, put you in touch with interesting people or have a beverage of your choice with you sometime. I think WaterGirl probably has my email or I’m sure there’s some safe way to get in touch. u/caphilldcne if you want to DM me on Reddit.
Lots of right-wingers understand the morass they’d be caught in if they gave any kind of nuanced response to a question like “Do you believe that trans women are real women?” That’s why they simply sneer “Of course not”, and assert everyone is the biological gender they were assigned at birth, so really there is nothing to talk about beyond how to treat the mentally ill people who believe otherwise. To expect right-wingers to engage in good faith conversations based on evidence and logic is to ignore the accumulated record of their refusal to do so.
@caphilldcne: I would love that! I’ll try to DM you on Reddit. :)
This guy led the first band I was in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DISzSsscSs
We were kids, but we still knew, we could tell. There just wasn’t anything you could DO about it in the Eighties, so it was just his deal. Didn’t really think about it all that much, but HE sure did.
And now he’s trans. And I have been as supportive as I could. And he’s the one I think of when I think of how everybody, no matter how unlikely, should be heard and listened to. And if he wants to be trans, well, nobody is really surprised who knew him back in the day.
And if you come around being all like, in order to pass he ought to shave that beard and take it seriously…
My support came in the form of giving him a bunch of very nice shirts. Top surgery, just the thing the conservatives flip out about, went real good for him and so he needed men’s shirts.
If you know, you know. (and he says he’s trans at the end of the video, so you know)
Paul in KY
@Alison Rose: Agree. That one seems pretty farfetched.
Paul in KY
@oldster: I think it was: Why are you OK with women transitioning to men, but not men transitioning to women?
Thanks for your detailed reply. I’m very sorry you’ve had to go through anorexia–I too have had friends struggle with it.
Just to clarify, my goal was to adopt a position and question in order to get effective responses to it. You’ve certainly done that.
**I do not hold this position** I honestly don’t think I can pretend-defend it well, so I think I will stop here.
Honestly, both you and the original poster, planet eddie , have laid out the central point ‘ Any argument that isn’t first founded on believing trans people is simply a bad faith argument.”
Well said, thank you.
Your link also points out that things that were once unthinkable are now unremarkable ( for most people) . I’d like to think that as a society we will continue to extend full personhood and choice to people previously denied it. This thread certainly helps.